Second Amendment Firearms Training, Basic Pistol Lesson


Well, today was the day. Today I faced a fear. Today I spent close to 10 hours learning the basic lessons in pistols and shooting.

A few weeks ago, I met David Vidler at a networking event. David is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor and the owner of Second Amendment Firearms Training, LLC. I invited him to participate in a lunch & learn at work that our Human Resource manager was organizing. We named it Tacos & Guns. The people at my place of employment are huge gun enthusiasts. So I figured David would be a huge success as an addition to our lunch & learn. And he was.

After our lunch and learn that day, I decided that I needed to have a basic pistol lesson. This is just one of the many classes David offers in his business.

Now listen, I might be a conservative and I definitely support our 2nd Amendment but I have a little confession: I am/was ridiculously scared of guns. I don’t mean a healthy fear or a respectable fear, I mean an irrational fear.


Walther P22


Yes, I shot a gun once. It was during boot camp for the Navy and I was 18 years old and before I had any sort of fear at all. Remember being 18 and fearless?

So fast forward to a woman in her mid-forties, lived through quite a bit of stuff, watched too much news, and has a family. I was fearful of guns. I cringe when people around me have handguns. My anxiety level shoots through the roof when my bosses bring out their firearms to show them to me.

I now realize my fear came from the unknown. I didn’t know how to handle a firearm. I didn’t know anything about pistols, revolvers, semi-automatics. Just hearing the term “semi-automatic” would send my heart rate soaring with fear.


Pisol1David Vidler’s 8-hour Basic Pistol Class was just what I needed. We met at Gander Mountain for the class portion of instruction. We sat through four hours of class time, listening to all the terms and basic safety lessons, and how the gun worked. It was a lot of information to take in and my anxiety level was going up quickly because I get overwhelmed easily and like I said, it was a TON of information to take in because what if I forget something or what if I didn’t take it all in correctly?

After the four hour class portion, we broke for lunch and then headed to the shooting range. Lordy! The shooting range. I was a ball of nerves driving out to New Market where the range was located. But I moved forward anyway.

At the range, we had to take a quiz on range rules. We used a Walther P22 for shooting. We donned our safety gear which consisted of ear protection as well as eye protection. There were four people total in our class and I opted to shoot in the second group. We shot in groups of two. I wanted to watch the first two go ahead of me so I could see and hear what to expect and also to pick up on anything I might have forgotten from the class portion.

There was another group there on range, on their own, and they were shooting some LOUD firearms. I jumped so many times when they pulled their trigger. Even when I was watching them and KNEW the BANG was coming, I still jumped. From what I gathered, they were a family of four, parents and two grown children. They had a myriad of guns they were using, all large and all loud which was not putting me at ease whatsoever.

I was not sure if I was allowed to take my cell phone onto the range so I left it in my car. So there are no pictures of me or any other student shooting. :(

David demonstrating the sitting position, in the class room.

David demonstrating the sitting position, in the class room.

After the first two people in our group went then it was my turn. We shot first from a sitting position. I was shaking and sweating. But I went ahead and loaded the magazine and with the command of the instructor, loaded the gun. After taking off the safety, I took aim, making sure my grip was correct and stance was good. Applying a slow and steady squeeze of the trigger the gun discharged. The casing popped out and I stayed in my position because there is a follow through. I didn’t even look at the target. I was only relieved that I managed to pull the damned trigger.

But you know what happened after that? Oh, that wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t as bad and scary as I thought it would be. The next round we shot five times and after that ten times. The instructor called the range “COLD” so we could go out and look at our target. I actually had good aim.

Next was the standing position. The first few rounds I completely missed my target but then I realized I didn’t have it aimed correctly with the sights. After that realization and correction, I was back to being pretty spot on. My grouping was getting smaller and smaller.

In the end, I walked away feeling empowered and knowledgeable. This made me feel a little more confident and a lot less fearful of guns. We went back to our class room and finished up; cleaning the guns and taking a written test. I even received a certificate. :)


David Vidler of Second Amendment Firearms Training, LLCI highly recommend going through this basic pistol class. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Even if you don’t believe in guns or firearms, take this course so you can experience what it’s like to handle a firearm. Educate yourself in firearm safety and responsibility. David Vidler is an NRA certified instructor. He didn’t preach anything related to politics, he simply taught the course.

Find Second Amendment Firearms Training, LLC on Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

[Carol Marks is The Girl Gadabout, blogging the 256 area code of Alabama. I write about events, travel, product reviews, conduct interviews with the locals, and host the Fellow Travelers Series.]

Honeymooners, Part III Where We Go To Pompeii and Sorrento, Italy

I’m still trying to figure out a schedule for my editorial calendar. I have the categories figured out I just need a schedule. So in the meantime I’ll bring you another installment of my honeymoon, from 2008. I have a notebook where I have everything written down from all of the places we visited. I’m so glad I took the time to write down my feelings, experiences, and everything I saw and tasted and smelled and touched while out on our excursions. The notebook has been helpful in recalling things for this series.

The last time I wrote about my honeymoon I left you in Istanbul, Turkey and Athens, Greece in part II of the honeymoon series. Today, we are going back for a taste of Sorrento and experiencing Pompeii. I’ve already written about the farm in Sorrento that we visited so I’ll skim over that one again real quick.

Interview with Sara Rosso of Ms. Adventures in Italy


I am so excited! Today I bring you an email interview I did with Sara Rosso. If you remember, a few weeks back I did a blog post about bloggers who inspire me. Sara Rosso is definitely a blogger who I admire and who also inspires me.


When I sent that particular blog post out (linked above) into the social media world, I tagged Ms. Rosso with the link. I didn’t think she would see it or do anything with it because I know she’s a busy woman. But she did. Not only did she reply to my tweet but she also read the blog post and commented. Then she agreed to do the interview with me and that’s when my heart tried to exit my chest on its own accord. Seriously, I had to stop and catch my breath. Then I had to tell myself to settle down and breathe. After I calmed myself down, I then went over to the Rocket City Bloggers Facebook group to share the news with them because I had already been over there spewing all over the page how she had first replied to my Twitter, then commented on the blog. I know I acted like a 12-year old little girl at a Taylor Swift concert. Yeah, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

But I digress…..

Sara Rosso is the blogger behind Ms. Adventures in Italy, among a whole slew of other blogs and websites. But Ms. Adventures in Italy is how I first discovered Sara.

So without too much blabbering on about it, here is the interview.

Girl Gadabout: Why Italy? What landed you in Italy?

Sara Rosso: I first visited in 1994 when I was on a student trip – we visited the famous three – Rome, Venice, and Florence, and I remember wanting to come back. After that first trip, I became pretty obsessed about spending more time here. I loved the people I met, and the language, too – I’m also half Italian-American so I wanted to learn more about my family and their culture. I chose my undergraduate university in part because they had an Italian study abroad program. Then in 1999 I studied abroad in a tiny town in Tuscany, and I became convinced I wanted to come back here to live. I was afraid to move after graduation and risk not using my degree at all so I stuck it out in the corporate world for a few more years. In 2002 I visited again for a few weeks, and finally in summer 2003 I was ready to make the leap.

GG: You are doing a lot, how do you manage your time between podcasts, writing books, running several blogs, your photography, speaking events, and your full time job?

Sara Rosso: Obviously my full-time job comes first, but I think that people can engage in a lot of interests in their free time, and it comes down to rolling priorities and definitely enjoying what I do first and foremost. I can make time easier for things I enjoy. If I don’t enjoy them, I stop.

With regards to my blogs, several I’ve had for many years so I definitely invested some serious time in them when I had more time (one of my sites is actually called When I Have Time for a reason) and I have the luxury of being able to decide when and how often I write or take pictures, so I’m constantly bouncing around my projects. Also, I often tend to morph or change the subjects rather than the mediums: I’m always writing, I’m always taking pictures…but my focuses and interests adjust and morph over time.

GG: What made you decide to write the book, “How to order an Italian Coffee in Italy?”

Sara Rosso: When I lived in the US, I never drank coffee. I didn’t start drinking coffee until a few years after moving to Italy, and when friends came to visit me I often had to give them a mini-tutorial about how to order a coffee here in Italy. They seemed to really enjoy learning about it and I loved putting together the mini-guide with exactly the tips and suggestions I’d give to a good friend getting coffee with me tomorrow morning.

GG: In your article “Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto,” (which I love by the way, you’ve inspired me once again because I am the same way except that I kept berating myself for being curious and trying many things – and so I stopped. But after reading your Manifesto, I will embrace my curiosity and my willingness to fail and I will move forward).Anyway…. I wanted to ask, what sparked the idea to write this particular article?

Sara Rosso: The intro mentions I spent a lot of time talking to girlfriends about this, and it’s very true. I think that’s my personal impetus to publishing things is it’s often something I repeat to myself, then to others, and then I say…maybe I should share this with more people. Publishing and blogging is great because it allows your voice to multiply on its own. To make something resonate, you don’t need to raise your voice, you just need to have those moved by your words share it themselves. Not everything you publish will impact many people (sometimes just a handful) but it’s powerful when it does. I was really happy so many people appreciated that article and I have heard several stories where it’s actually changed something for them moving forward.

GG: Tell us a little more about the founding of World Nutella Day!

Sara Rosso: A fun little holiday on February 5th! Back when I first moved to Italy, Nutella was relatively unknown in the US so this was my way of introducing it to a whole new generation of bloggers and bakers. It’s been a lot of fun to see how people have gotten creative with Nutella since, and I see it now everywhere I go in the US when I’m back on a visit.

GG: I see that you will be speaking at the Chicago BlogHer 2013, what can we expect?

Sara Rosso: I’m not scheduled to speak at the moment (but things may change!) but I’ll definitely be at the conference, which I’ve attended three times already, and once as a speaker. We’ll be there sharing the love on WordPress, so hopefully if you or someone you know will be there, they’ll seek us out.

GG: If someone were to write a movie script about your life, who would you want to play you?

Sara Rosso: I love this question…it’s hard because most of the actresses I admire are older than me so not sure they’d be the best to play me, but I think Tina Fey would be good because we have a similar sense of humor, or someone like Natalie Portman who’s a great actress but I love that she has a goofy side, too. One can dream!

GG: Last question, I have had a fascination and love for Italy since childhood. It is my dream to work and live in Italy. I’ve only visited briefly, during my honeymoon, and it was everything I ever thought it would be and more. What is the first thing you would tell someone who is planning the move to work and live in Italy? (assuming they have landed a job in Italy)

Sara Rosso: I’ve definitely written a lot about this (check out How to Live and Work in Italy) but I think my number one piece of advice, after telling someone to learn the language immediately is: Don’t expect Italy to change for you. You are the new element in an existing system, so it only makes sense that you will be the one who changes. :)

### End of Interview ###1

I tell you what, I am just tickled pink that Sara agreed to the interview. I don’t tickle easily and Sara has made my whole year. Thank you Ms. Rosso for being so gracious and taking the time for this blogger.

Find out more about the blogger who inspires me at

Thanks for reading,

You might also like:
Robert Trent Jones, Grand National
Crispie Creme in Portsmouth, Ohio
Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO)

Rocket City Bloggers Meet & Greet


Big news! Big news! The Rocket City Bloggers are having a big ole bloggers bash.

Well, the official title of our event is called Rocket City Bloggers Meet & Greet and the purpose of this event it is to build relationships with other local bloggers and hopefully introduce our local bloggers to Huntsville businesses as well. It’s all about building those relationships people!

So, we have put our heads together to come up with this social/mixer Meet & Greet.

The Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau graciously stepped up to the plate for us and offered their space to us for our event. They will provide catering and beverages and will also have some of their staff on hand to welcome everyone.

Here are the specifics so far:

WHEN: June 27th – so save the date now! Put it on your calendar right now. You will not want to miss this event. It will be from 5:00 to 7:00PM and you can come and go as you please between those hours.

WHERE: Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau

There will be giveaways and local prizes from our Rocket City Bloggers too. Registration and RSVP details to follow soon.

All you have to do right now is to save the date – June 27th.

Not a blogger? That’s okay, come on out and meet the Rocket City Bloggers and do some networking of your own. To see a listing of of the Rocket City Bloggers and what topics they blog about, go to their site at

Look for our Tweets with the hashtag #RCBSocial

UPDATE – Registration link now live. GO HERE to register and RSVP for the event. This also gets your name in the running for one of our several door prizes and giveaways. Must be present to win. :)

Thanks for reading,

[Carol Marks is The Girl Gadabout, blogging the 256 area code of Alabama. I write about events, travel, product reviews, conduct interviews with the locals, and host the Fellow Travelers Series.]

Product Review: Cooling Eye Mask and Night Time Sleeping Masks

Part of the April Blog Challenge is to do a product review. I am trying to keep all of the April blogging challenges travel related in some way. Here is my product review.

The first product I am reviewing today was a gift. I believe it was a given to me as part of a pampering basket right after becoming a new mother, nearly 18 years ago. I know for sure that the eye mask was a gift and it was part of a bigger gift basket. I just can’t remember what is was for but it makes sense that it was a gift for new mothers – seeing as how we stay awake all night with our babies.

I have searched high and low, all over the internet, trying to locate the brand name of this specific eye mask but I am having no luck. So, while I am reviewing this specific product, you will have to find your own brand comparison.

Something is telling me this might even be an old gift-with-purchase from Mary Kay – still, it would have been 18 years ago and I don’t know if Mary Kay did gift-with-purchase back then or not.

Anyway, on with the review….

This little eye mask has been with me for a very long time, obviously. For nearly 18 years I have hauled this around with me wherever I traveled. It survived one estate sale and move to a new home as well as some adventurous road trips.

It travels well because it is small and can fold up easily to be stashed away in any sort of carry-on bag or makeup pouch. I’d just let it sit out from the freezer for a while to let it sweat off its condensation first. Let it get down to room temperature before packing it up.
Apparently, it can be used as a hot eye mask too. Why someone would want a hot eye mask is beyond me. But perhaps I should give it a try someday.

Mainly, I use mine for allergies. We have a cat. I’m allergic to cats and sometimes our cat’s dander gets the best of me. After rinsing my eyes out I can then relax with this nice cooling gel eye mask to help with the relief of itching and swelling.

I’ve also used this from time to time when I am tired and feel like my eyes need a pick-me-up.

The only downside to this eye mask is that the pads will not lay comfortably, or evenly, on my eyes by themselves without me having to push them onto my eyes and find a way to keep constant pressure on them.

Overall, I like this product and if anything ever happened to this one, I’d seek out a replacement for sure.


Ah, but now the sleep mask. The sleep mask is a must-have when you travel but it’s also good to use at home.

I’ll be honest, I do not use a sleep mask all the time. I want to go back to sleeping with one on a regular basis though. When I did use the sleep mask on occasion, I have to admit, it is definitely helpful and the sleep is steady. I think the reason I stopped wearing a sleep mask is because I was also sleeping with ear plugs and the ear plugs were insufficient. So apparently I have associated the sleep mask with the ear plugs. I have just now realized this and will start using the sleep mask again by itself.

Out of the three shown in my picture, I like the one that was handmade, the one with the writing on it. I purchased it from Etsy shop owner Squirrellicious. It has less padding then the other two but I like that about this particular eye mask. It also overs more of the eyes and face. It is more flexible than most manufactured eye masks and it is easy to clean. The strap is narrower and does NOT have velcro for the adjustment section. I like that it does not have velcro.

You can see in the photo comparison that the fabric on the padded eye mask is starting to “pill-up” and that does not make for soothing sleep with that up against your face.

This was part of my April Blog Challenge – to do a product review. I hope you found it helpful.

[Blogger’s Note – no teddy bears were hurt during this photo shoot. They are just well-loved. Freddie, the smaller bear, will be 18 years old next month while Corduroy is but a mere 16 years old.]

Thanks for reading,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...