Welcome to The WatchCat
Wednesday, December 12 2018 @ 10:54 am PST

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New Year

General NewsSo I'm safely back in the USA after three weeks overseas. I had to mail half my stuff home via the base, I have what is probably the worst jet lag of my life, and to top it off, I've been sick for two weeks straight now. Yes, those items are at least somewhat interrelated!

Despite all that, it was a good trip. We squeezed in some excellent sightseeing, lots of family time (although it's never enough) and even saved the flight's Christmas party. And I think the flight commander finally figured out what I'm made of. We've known each other forever but have always struggled to connect, but when he figured out how sick I was the day after the party, I think he realized just how hard I pushed myself to make it all happen. It was a good thing, especially since he needs to know I have his back on an upcoming deployment.

A lot of topics I want to cover in the next few days... European airline security was quite interesting, as you might imagine. The Italians even wiped my clothes for explosive residue. It had me a bit nervous, actually, wondering if somehow something had cross-contaminated onto me. They just kept coming at me for further searches. London was interesting as well, although I wasn't targeted at all there. But everyone boarding our flight was frisked and their bags hand searched in addition to the normal metal detectors etc. But I forgot all about it when I got to my seat. We received an upgrade to Business Class on British Airways... Oh the bliss.... Seats that recline to a fully flat position, gourmet meals and unlimited adult beverages... semi-private compartments (and no one in the seat that shared my space), designer toiletries to erase some of the effects of trans-Atlantic travel... Truly an amazing way to travel. And to top it off, business class seemed to be well-populated with military types. I had a suspicion that they were handing out a lot of upgrades, and it made sense from a security perspective. Business class is of course near the *censored*pit, and if there's space available it makes sense to populate it with people who could actually be useful in a crisis.
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Wishing You a Merry Christmas

General NewsI have just a minute or two as I wait for my chance to shower...

I wish you all a very merry Christmas. Today is bittersweet as I am away from my own faith community, my friends and most of my family. As I write, my host is away, taking an NCO to the airport who is trying to get home in time to say a last goodbye.


A bunch of us are still sick. (I'm much better than I was though; thanks for the good wishes and inquiries.) We're away from home and trying to make a good Christmas for others here. It's not an easy Christmas, but this year, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Have a wonderful day. I'll write more when the dust settles.
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If You're Wondering

General News...I'm traveling at the moment. Not a whole lot of reliable internet available.

All is well except for me having what I hope is just a very nasty cold. Unfortunately this means that when I get back to my hotel, I just check email and fall into bed. I'll try to post some deeper things as soon as possible.

And if I don't have a chance to say this before the day, have a very Merry Christmas!
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Today's Score Card

General NewsAmtrak 4.5/5 Conductor with a hilarious sense of humor, on time arrival, but screwed up a few people's seat assignments.

SEATAC Airport 4/5 A couple great restaurants and bars, finicky wireless.

British Airways 3/5 Ok, so I'm spoiled by the old days. No hot towels, no Bailey's, small breakfast, arrived super late. But they're still better than most airlines. Free Drinks...

"London Heathrow Cars" 5/5 Picked us up in a Mercedes, professional driver (probably E. European) who probably could have gotten us safely through a war zone in time for tea... He got a 30% tip.

More later when I've finished with other companies...
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Roll Call

General NewsThis is one of those days when I remember why I don't do the work any more. Everything I want to talk about, I can't talk about. Vigilance remains a priority, both personally and nationally. And I'm sick, I'm tired, and I could really use a clear victory right about now. A couple are lurking just around the corner, so this is more a reflection of fatigue than despondence. I keep submitting work to one particular group, hoping for constructive criticism, and they consistently say, "Great work"and move on to critiquing someone else's ideas. Obviously it's not a bad thing, but it gets a little disconcerting after a while. Amidst all the fatigue and discouragement, I can't help but wonder if these responses are a sign that I should do more, not less.

In the midst of this, I have a request. It would be very helpful to know who my readers are. I have no interest in spamming or infringing on anyone's privacy, but I've had a lot of e-trouble recently and would like to know who the friendly faces are! If willing, please EMAIL with any or all of the following information:

Name (first, full or recognizable nickname)
Email address
How you found the blog
Anything else relevant!

Email to cat@thewatchcat.net All information stays between us.
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Counting Down...

General NewsIt's always different when it's your family...

A family member will be deploying next year. It's still some time away, but I'm watching the ripple effect in the family. Tears... contingency plans... worries... they're all coming to the surface.

It surprises me, but it shouldn't. We've all been at this for a while, but circumstances change and danger levels change. When you know that someone in the same spot you're loved one will be in just died, the reality slams in and you start fleshing out the what-if's.

I wrote earlier about the idea of the "first day of your real life." To me, this is the bedrock of courage. You face what you have to face, not so much because heaven is your "safety net," though it is, but because your eyes are fixed on something bigger and better.

That's how I cope. Don't get me wrong; I'll probably have Landstuhl on speed dial from wheels-up, but I've learned to have a big-picture focus that isn't destroyed when all hell breaks loose. At least, I hope I've learned.
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General Newsgoogle-site-verification: google3e11a9a445e20258.html