Welcome to The WatchCat
Monday, October 20 2014 @ 02:42 AM PDT

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A word of explanation

General NewsI don't want to waste your time with ongoing apologies in lieu of posts, but I feel a brief explanation is in order.

I have a 2 year old. We're selling our current house. We're buying a new one in another town. There's also a possible job change in the works.

And for the moment, it's next to impossible for me to give the critical issues of our world the deep attention they require. I'm reading what I can, but I don't feel ready to write about them yet. But I intend to revive this blog just as soon as I can. Thanks for sticking with me.
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Good stuff

General NewsNavy Vet Creates His Own Prosthetic
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Those 40 virgins weren't quite what you expected...

General NewsA Woman's Job: Kurdish Female Fighters on the Front Lines in Iraq
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3 Years

General News

Memory Eternal. 3 years ago this tragedy hit and I had to take a hard look at my life. Now, I'm still not entirely where I want to be but I've made good strides. I've moved forward and built something. May we continue to embrace the gift of life in the face of so much death.

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New computer threat

General NewsThis takes "you don't know where that thumb drive has been" to a whole new level:


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Burned Out Moms

General NewsMost of you are probably aware of the search that is going on for missing Oregon mom Jennifer Huston. It hits close to home literally and figuratively, so I thought I should add my two cents.

Disclaimer: I HAVE NO INSIDE INFORMATION. I'm not Jennifer, I don't know her, I haven't seen her. I wish I could help in the search but I have my own mom-duties. This is my own speculation based on regional knowledge, news reports and life as a mom.

She gassed up her SUV, bought trail mix, Gatorade and OTC sleeping pills, and got less than $100 from an ATM. This isn't suicide. This isn't a woman leaving her husband. This is a woman who just wants a little short-term escape. I get that. When the story first broke and she had only been missing a short time, I had a brief moment of cheering her on, because I imagined her getting some well-deserved sleep in a private parking spot somewhere. Now, of course, it's evident that something went awry.

Ever wonder about those "baby on board" placards on cars? Supposedly they're to remind other drivers to not endanger the vehicle, but in truth they are warnings that the driver of the vehicle is not in prime condition. With the kids in the car, the driver may be running on adrenaline, dodging flying objects and trying to block out screams. But when the parent is alone, the exhaustion hits. You're not directly responsible for another life at that precise moment. And both reckless driving (ah, the freedom!) and being drowsy at the wheel are distinct possibilities. Then you add the landscape in the area surrounding Dundee/Newberg. It's wine country and forests, with lots of roads to nowhere, deep gulleys, sharp curves and no shoulders to the roads. I used to drive that area a lot when WatchKitten was a baby and the constant turns would rock him to sleep, but it required both hands on the wheel at all times and constant vigilance. Reaching for a drink or snack on those roads could be deadly. It would also be highly possible to pull into the wrong person's driveway, and that's a scenario no one wants to think about. Family and friends have asked people to drive the back roads looking for disturbed vegetation, dented barriers etc, but unless they close the roads to non-searchers, those drivers could end up in a bad situation as well. You'd have to drive at a snail's pace in order to scan the area safely.

As always, there are questions for the husband and relatives. The husband has passed a polygraph, and to the best of my knowledge there's no reason to suspect that he harmed his wife. But I was uneasy about quotes of "he's the most patient person I know" and general comments about the perfection of the marriage. Perfection is pressure. And parenthood...the pressures in our culture are huge. But I suspect that the pressure got to her, not her husband. And whether it was an accident or a medical issue or simply waking up after her face was already on the news, a few hour's escape turned into something worse.

Jennifer, if you're holed up in some cheap hotel reading this, know that a lot of burned out moms understand your need to escape. We're hoping your sanity time just got a little out of hand. We'll pray and search, and we hope to cheer your homecoming too.

EDIT 8/7/2014: It looks like I was wrong, as her body has been found and her death has been ruled a suicide. It's a reminder that rational thought doesn't apply when someone is thinking of ending their life. After much consideration, I've decided to leave this post up, partly for humility and partly as a reminder that burnout is dangerous on multiple levels. If you feel the ground is falling out from under you, call a friend, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life is worth more than you realize.
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The Ventura Idiot

General NewsWitnesses Rebuff Ventura's Assertion That Fight Was a Lie

After reading the various statements, I have a hard time imagining what Jesse Ventura thinks he's going to accomplish apart from dragging a bunch of good people through a miserable lawsuit. He was humiliated (deservedly so) and now seems to be seeking revenge in a petty, reprehensible manner that is consistent with the original behavior cited.

The article states that there is a discrepancy in the testimony regarding the location of the fight. One witness said patio and one said sidewalk. I've been to McP's. The patio area bleeds into the sidewalk, so unless there's a distinction of "inner patio" I don't see that as a true discrepancy. If anything, such minor variations are more consistent with individuals' memory rather than a made-up story. I also recognize enough names on the witness list to doubt that any of them would have used Michael Monsoor's wake as a context for a smear campaign.

Jesse Ventura is responsible for his own defamation. I wish I could hope he would man up and leave Taya Kyle alone, but his history suggests otherwise. I haven't yet read Chris Kyle's book. But Jesse Ventura has ruined his own reputation, and thus will never get my vote.

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My view of fog

General NewsIt has been...a storm.
And an almost peaceful week, the eye of the storm, is drawing to a close and I jump back into the fray tomorrow.

I used to think that gated communities were way too uptight for my taste, but I'm finding it a blessing to just exhale because I don't have to worry about who is driving by. While it's not true security, it's easier to relax here.

I met a Navy guy today who assumed I was a veteran. It's not the first time I've been mistaken for one, and it's always an odd feeling. I know I've done good work in my life, despite some missteps, but days like today make me feel like I missed my niche. And it's even stranger in these turbulent times when so many veterans are depressed and disillusioned by what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've always thought it would have been an honor to serve...but was I spared something?

I don't know what to make of this life. So many mistakes entangle us, yet the oddest things preserve us.

I'm getting ready to leave my new favorite place, and I'm trying to cultivate an attitude of patience. There's a life I want, but it's not yet in my reach.

One step forward in faith. Another day of endurance and looking hard for joy. Digging deeper, inside and out, for that first handhold.

There are circumstances and then there are choices. We mess up when we confuse the two.
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Belated Memorial Day

General NewsMemorial Day this year was only typical in that it was my usual float between the military and civilian worlds. The whole "Happy Memorial Day" and "Do you have any plans?" bugged me like it bugged many of you. I wished I could have taken my son to one of the services, ideally the one at the national cemetery, but the timing just didn't work out with a toddler schedule.

So I remembered names and read new ones in wordless sympathy as friends posted their personal remembrances. And it seemed that so many people were wearing their Army shirts or Navy hats that day, and I knew they were thinking of someone.

All in all, it was a day lived in front of the eyes of the fallen. Would they approve of how we spent the day?

And a strange, beautiful truth: how would they have spent the day if they had not sacrificed themselves for our freedom, for their brothers? Would they have felt it was too high a price to pay for life? A different choice would have made a different person. They gave us their best; we stop short at asking God to rewrite that history.

Then there are the shadow memorials. We remember those who lost something of themselves through service. We remember that innocence even as we hold on with white knuckles to every effort to build a new, stronger life.

This Memorial Day, my heart remembered, but my hands changed diapers and planted flowers and packed the garage in anticipation of the next adventure. We've been given life. But we do well to remember how we received that gift.