Welcome to The WatchCat
Sunday, August 19 2018 @ 06:22 pm PDT

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General NewsLong crazy weekend...

Yes, yes, I know we're in the middle of the week. I've been busy:

signing up for EMT classes,
surprising my mother with a visit,
putting in an offer for a house,
withdrawing an offer for a house,
window-shopping for stethoscopes, nitrile gloves and tactical, er...EMS pants,
donating about a thousand bucks' worth of electronics to charity,
and talking my way past the prerequisites so that I may actually be able to finish a paramedic program before I leave Oregon.

Yes, I definitely lived up to my reputation today. For whatever reason, people don't often doubt my intelligence or my ability to tackle challenges. Thus I often gain many exceptions to the rules. Maybe it's as one friend said, who would "hate to be the person who had to answer [my] questions." Or maybe I'm just good at managing perceptions. Unfortunately many people notice that ability and assume everything is manufactured when in reality I've been very transparent. I had a dream last night where I gave up on trying to convince a Middle East friend that I HADN'T spent half of my years in the military. Such is my life!

I'm going to need reference letters for this next program and I've had to stop myself from soliciting letters from some of you. I feel as though you know me, but I realize that most of you haven't been able to verify your impressions and would therefore be uncomfortable signing your name to a statement of my character. Fair enough; I understand. Yet I think about people I've known for years and wonder how accurate their reference letters would be. I'm confident they'd say nice things, but whether or not they understand what makes me tick is a very open question. And rather than growling about that, I'm remembering just how lucky I am to have some amazing people land in my life these past three and a half years. I wish you lived here or I lived there.

Truth is, I love friendships that are founded in the written word. The page is the natural habitat for my strongest thoughts and feelings. I can't always win a spoken argument but love a written one. And I can speak feelings and fears here which rarely would cross my lips.

So this is my shout-out to the Mikes, to the Brians, to Aaron, Phil, Jeffrey, E, LJLB, Sforush, Checky, Kat, and everyone else who takes time to listen and advise. You're great and I might have given up the blog long ago if it weren't for you.

Sweet dreams all! (hopefully you won't have to argue your identity in your dreams. :) )

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Personal security tip of the day....

General NewsIf you need to dispose of mid-level documents (stuff like email addresses, non-sensitive physical addresses, etc) and can't shred them or burn them, rip 'em up a little and toss them in with the litter box waste. It will deter most who are just shopping for identity theft victims.

...Of course, you can always mess with your enemies by proclaiming far and wide that this is how you dispose of all the good stuff... whether you do it or not. ;)
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Decision 2.0

SheepdogsWell, finally got a chance to talk with Mr. WatchCat about the A&P class...

We set some priorities, made some preemptive agreements, and decided that I will take the accelerated class. It'll be nuts (especially with some of the other things pending) but it came down to the knowledge that the sacrifices will still be preferable to the alternative.

I still have to jump through some hoops to make sure I can actually get into the accelerated class, but at least I know how to proceed now.

And the one thing assuring me that it'll all work out is that this scheme is just crazy enough to fit my life.
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douchebag alert: Freddy Rose

General NewsI normally keep my language polite but there seems to be no other word to get my point across. And while I usually focus on military-themed troublemakers, I thought you all would ...ahem...appreciate this exception:


Here's the story from local news:

PORTLAND, Ore. - Becky had a good job as a human resources manager at Timberline Lodge. She owned her own home.

But just a few months later, Becky was in the hole financially for about $40,000.

So, how could this happen?

Becky speculates that her good job and home ownership, combined with her trusting nature, attracted the attention of Freddy Rose.

To Becky, Rose seemed like the perfect man. He wined and dined her. He bought Christmas presents for her and her two kids.

But little did she know that those very same gifts were being purchased with her credit.

"How could somebody do that to children?," wonders Becky. "I mean, completely become part of their lives and have them call him 'daddy'?"

She realized something was wrong when she tried to refinance her house and thought she had near perfect credit. But when she talked to her lender, he offered another, much different story.

"He called me back later that day and said 'I'm not going to be able to get you this rate because you have a lot of debt'," said Becky.

The lender then explained that Becky had a VISA card with $12,000 charged on it that she failed to report.

It was then that Becky started to discover what Rose was up to.

"He was going through my mail and taking pre-approved applications out of my mail within the first three weeks he met me," Becky explains.

Investigators say that after talking with family, they discovered Rose had married twice in a few months, racking up credit, then divorcing.

Now Becky believes he took her family pictures to find new victims.

"I think pictures of my children are props for his next victim. To make up some story that we died in a horrific car accident."

Becky illustrates just how low Rose sunk during their time together: he even stole her son's birthday money.

Investigators believe that Rose is currently hiding in Mexico and is wanted on theft charges. If you have any information, contact the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at (503) 655-8211.

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Thursday Scramble

Scrambles Obama Eying Western Land for National Monuments

PDX "Swabbings" To Start In March

Massive Hack Attacks Shows Flaws in Today's Cybersecurity

Book recommendation: Mountain Rescue Doctor I was disappointed that it didn't discuss the 304th RQS more, but it was a great read on the challenges of mountain SAR. It definitely piqued my interest.

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Broken Heroes

The PTSD DiariesI had one of those "beware of this guy in the blogging world" conversations with a friend the other day. The person in question is a former Marine with a history of mental illness and a long list of ex wives.

And that's similar enough to the unstable guy another friend has fallen for that I had to do a double-take. (Different states, thankfully.)

And then of course there's a blog I read, written by the soon to be ex-wife of a Marine who was severely wounded and turned abusive on his wife.

By no means am I "picking" on the Marines. I'm Semper-Fi proud of the Marine blood running through my veins. But I believe that like many of the strongest things in this world, when they break, they break thoroughly, sending pieces flying in every direction.

At least from the information I have, the aforementioned wives had good reason to get out. I believe in the permanence of marriage, and I think military wives need to be stronger than the civilian run, but if it deteriorates to physical abuse, don't stop to pack, RUN.

But where I differ from many people is that I don't see an abusive Marine/soldier as a lost cause, particularly not if he had been mentally stable before deployment. And something has to be done to rescue him.

It's not the wife's job to rehabilitate. Marital dynamics make it difficult if not impossible. Self-hatred extends too readily to a spouse. The husband/wife connection, for good or for ill, creates a sense of mutual belonging that can turn deadly when rage runs deep. So often the spouse is the first target simply because she is the least likely to hit back.

But friends, some family members, and fellow veterans can get in his face and do something about it. We can't just keep it a secret of the military community, not when the outside world is just waiting for another "villain" from the military. We take care of our own.

I wrote a while back about the book Shadow of the Sword. It's such an important book for this struggle, because it shows that a good Marine can snap yet find his way again. Silence about PTSD has and will continue to kill.

We all have our jobs to do but I think it comes down to two things: ask the first question or tell the first story.
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Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero Blogroll
Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig
Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig


It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig.

On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him.

In one of those rare battlefield miracles, an insurgent sniper hit Lance Cpl. Koenig dead on in the front of his helmet, and he walked away from it with a smile on his face.

"I don't think I could be any luckier than this," Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.

You can read the rest of Lance Cpl. Koenig's story here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero. We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Solid advice for dealing with a mass shooter

Sheepdogs Straight Forward in a Crooked World: Get On Your Knees and Aim
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Life makes us bleed

General NewsSometimes life makes you bleed.

Got my immunizations yesterday and was told that I was a "bleeder." Probably it had something to do with the multiple cups of coffee I'd had with a friend shortly beforehand. But it was funny due to my past history of NOT bleeding... I'm almost always a difficult blood draw, ultimately epitomized by the time that they couldn't get anywhere with the vein on my hand and when they withdrew the needle, the hole didn't even bleed. But yesterday it was wholly appropriate that I bled.

I had a great breakfast (until noon!) with a friend from out of town yesterday. It's always extraordinary when you find things in common with someone who seems to be on the short list for sainthood. (I will say that in Orthodoxy, "saints" are often very colorful characters, not always what you expect.) I wish I could share some of her stories, but I'm amazed by the road she's walked. She and I can definitely go toe-to-toe on the "lucky to be alive" issue.

I've always struggled with the idea of being "holy" because it's seemed that most people's definitions of that exclude an opportunity to be myself. Yesterday I got a living example that it's possible, even with my unique (nuked-the-mold) personality.

And now I have a decision to make.

I took another look at the class schedule for the intensive A&P class I wanted to take. I liked it because it would let me fulfill several other commitments. But when I thought through the implications of the schedule, I realized that it would take away about a third of the waking hours when I get to see Mr. WatchCat. And we've had so little time together over the years that I'm not sure I can do that in good conscience. Yes, I believe in sacrificing to attain dreams, but I also believe in making sacrifices for the sake of family. I haven't made the final decision yet, but right now I'm leaning toward taking a slower, less certain route with the idea that I'll just finish up in another state.

I'm not giving up. But the strategy may have to change for a while.
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General NewsI could blame busyness or stress or lack of focus or sickness for the latest blogging drought. All true. But I think the biggest reason is that I wonder where I get off posing as an authoritative voice on anything. I don't have any of this fully figured out; the one thing I do know is that I need to know more.

I wonder if the mark of maturity is when you recognize who you are and wonder who the heck that person was that you once tried to be.

Or when you realize that the fault that has haunted you all your life is just a symptom of another problem.

Or maybe our biggest problem is inaccurate expectations of humanity.

Or noticing we're so turned around that we write blog posts that try to set life straight when we've already admitted we have little clue.

I'm realizing that if I have anything to offer, anything that makes this blog special, it is the struggle. I want people to know that it's ok to admit that we haven't achieved our goals yet. Some of us may never get there, or the goals might change.

Still, we have to try. Or at least I do.

I wrote in the book review below about how "what ifs" can destroy us. It's true, but I've been blessed by the other side of them as well; so many things could have interfered with the good things in my life now. So I'm learning to look less at the irritations and more at what I need to do with what I have at this moment.

That is all. (For now.)