Welcome to The WatchCat
Wednesday, October 17 2018 @ 05:47 am PDT

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Another Goodbye

General NewsOne of my grandfathers died this weekend.

We'd been expecting it for a long time, and it's pretty amazing that he held on as long as he did. Knowing his service record in the USMC, though, it wasn't a surprise that he held on for a few extra years.

It makes the "if onlys" a bit harder. We weren't close, but it still feels like the rug got pulled out from under me. He was part of my foundation, a key piece of who I am, and that piece is part grit and part too-hard shell. I broke through that shell with him once, and he told me about the blood sloshing around on the floor of the hospital ship.I hope that in that moment, he knew that he was heard. I could love and accept and be proud of the warrior he had once been. But he kept those memories locked down most of the time, maybe to protect us, maybe because he just couldn't bear to relive them.

A good friend of mine recently made an offhand comment about me not being a very affectionate person. It wasn't a criticism; she was just making an observation while discussing an issue. It surprised and stung me a bit, because I don't think of myself that way. But I realized that my deepest feelings do get buried. Thus I'm more like my grandfather than I realized.

Did my grandfather love me? The more I think about it, the more I believe that he did. But we primarily knew each other's walls, not the things inside. I wish we had given each other more of a chance to be real; I think it would have turned out well.

If you love someone, no matter how imperfectly, don't let them doubt it. Hug them a few seconds longer, send a two line email just because, give them grace when they screw up. Someday one or both of you will have to say goodbye.
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Veterans Day 2014

General NewsOne of my closest friends is a newly-minted sergeant. She's no glory hound; in fact, I remember her commenting about her trip home from Afghanistan and how problematic it was when people wanted to talk about her service all the time when she just wanted to get a nap before coming home. So it surprised me yesterday when she remarked about going into a particular store while in uniform, and no one there made the slightest acknowledgment of her service. I know the store in question. It's a hotbed of liberalism, so I wasn't really surprised. Just...sad. She's an amazing woman who has truly found her niche. But liberals probably see her skin color and the uniform and pity her at best. I almost wish someone had actually said what they were thinking; they might have learned their lesson.

Long ago, I thought only the old guys were the veterans. But then after Desert Storm, it was the dads, the uncles, the older cousins. Then it was the brothers, the classmates, the husbands... Now, fellow moms are veterans, and the older kids are enlisting.

I cannot imagine how not knowing any veterans would feel. No wonder liberals want to legislate the heck out of everything; their world must feel totally insecure. To know a veteran is to know sacrifice and honor and backbone. We understand it to varying degrees, but the collective character of veterans is a gift to our country that extends far beyond time in service.

So, to my family, friends, and those veterans I don't know by name: Thank you. You protect our freedoms, you keep our enemies at bay, and your character makes this a better country. We are truly blessed to have you.
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November Challenge

General NewsMen get Movember. I'm doing the 30 day push up/sit up challenge with some friends. Pushups have always been my nemesis, so I wasn't sure if I could do this. I started out easy, doing mostly modified pushups and then trying to work in a couple standard ones. Learning proper form made standard pushups possible, and one week into the process, I'm now doing ALL standard.

I'm so grateful to my friends for pulling me into this and to my heroes for keeping me inspired to keep building on this foundation. Starting every day with an accomplishment like this...awesome. Burning stress, taking 5 minutes to do something good for myself...this could get addictive.

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Hey, look, the blog is back online!

General NewsI'm still not sure of what happened with my hosting service these last few months, but thankfully it is sorted out and the old posts are back, so I might dare to write a new one or two someday.

Life has changed. The Great Move has been accomplished, although we still have crazy amounts of boxes to still unpack. We love our new house and moving back to an old haunt feels right. But it has been more than ten years since I've had any kind of residence here, so it's an odd experience. We're planning to stay for at least five years. Still, I wonder if I'm jinxing myself by throwing away the boxes and the bubble wrap.

Politics... I'm fed up and and yesterday's election showed that most of the country is fed up too. We'll see if the new government can do any better.

I'll do some mass postings of Wednesday Hero to catch up and then I'll try to work through all the things I flagged for attention these last couple months. Thanks for sticking around.
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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.