Because of an excess of spambot activity, I have blocked new registrations. I hate taking such drastic measures, but I don't have time to clean up all the false registrations that result from whatever attack list I landed on. I will likely revise this in the future once I've upgraded some of my code, but until then, please email me if you would like a user account. Most days, you'll get a login within a few daylight hours. Please let me know:
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The WatchCat spent a year in Russia and the Middle East in preparation for a government career. Unfortunately she got in a little too deep, and health problems sabotaged her career before it began. The future? Now there's an open question. She gets her paws in the action whenever possible, with or without a paycheck. WatchCat keeps busy supporting the troops, recruiting pararescue candidates, yelling at traitors and helping people navigate the grey areas on international everything.
A close family member is active duty US military, but due to OPSEC (and the general need for family peace), WatchCat is unable to write about that person's activities. She makes the most of the opportunities that God gives her, knowing that she should be dead by now.
And yes, she is married & is going to stay married. Smacks upside the head are delivered as needed to those who don't understand this.
Any Amazon.com shopping you do via these links will help keep WatchCat in cream & ammo:
On a personal level, the blog is for days like today. For those days when there are warning bells in your head and you still don't know how you made it through what unfolded next. For those days when you feel guilty for what might have happened even though you did everything reasonable to avoid it and then some.
In short, we were nearly in a car accident today. My son and I. It would have been purely the other guy's fault; I had the right of way and he turned left into my left turn. I veered right and took every last scrap of road I could to get out of his way, and he missed the driver's side doors by inches. If I'd have stopped or stayed on course, we would have been hit. I'm sure of it. And so I still ask myself if I should have put my turn signal on earlier, and of course I'm mad about the wrong turn that put me on that particular road in the first place.
Thank God for our survival. Thank the angels and the saints. And I'm also thankful for the Muscovites and Cairo taxi drivers who influenced my understanding of what is possible on the road.
It's a lesson in gratitude for all those things "which we know and which we know not." Life is saved or lost by a thread. Remember to be thankful for even the threads we don't understand.
Like many of you, I'm spending a fair amount of my "free time" keeping an eye on what's happening in Ukraine. Perhaps unlike you, I have many Russian friends, some Ukrainian acquaintances and some almost-family types with strong Ukrainian ties. For these and other reasons, I have been very careful about my comments.
I'm not an expert on Ukraine, but I know Russia tolerably well. I know Orthodoxy. And I know a little something of the KGB of Putin's time.
Someone recently said that Russia is playing chess while the US is playing marbles. Keep that comment in mind with every article you read. Yes, it feels like the 1930s. And the 1980s. And 2008. We also need to remember Russia's Christian history and how this impacts their understanding of other territories.
We're getting a little too wrapped up in how Pres. Obama screwed this up. Yes, I predicted that Putin would have Obama for breakfast. But we need to move beyond that to have any real sense of what is happening.
Any simplistic explanation of what Putin is doing is likely wrong.
This is chess. Putin makes a move with his opponent's responses in mind. If he takes a pawn or a knight, was that his endgame? Of course not; he wants the queen to move.
Does Putin want to return Russia to her "former glory?" Probably.
Is it narcissism, like so many Russian leaders of the past?
He takes a knight and moves back a few spaces. So what does he really want?
Probably something most of us don't see.
This is a local story but I've decided it needs to go viral. ;) This shouldn't be news, but it is, and the fact that it has become a big deal just shows how much we need Jeremy Fischer's example. So sorry, Jeremy, but you're getting your fifteen minutes of fame.
Yes, I was that mom yesterday. The one with the screaming toddler who absolutely would not go into his car seat. And if you know his parents, it shouldn't be any surprise when I say that this little guy is strong. And wily. And very, very determined. So, I eventually got him locked down, but I hurt my lower back in the process.
This morning I was using the awesome tool known as the foam roller to try to unlock my muscles. And it struck me that using a foam roller right is a bit like working through other problems: if you avoid the pain, you won't get anywhere. You have to touch that spot over and over, and eventually lean in to the pain if you ever want it to release. It takes patience, because it doesn't happen instantly. It takes perseverance, because it will hurt and you'll want to go where it feels better. But if you avoid it, you'll just keep limping through life.
What do you believe about yourself?
What do you believe about the most important people in your life?
....Are you sure you are right?
One particular issue has tangled me and my relationships up for years. But in a recent late-night conversation about that issue, I heard the response, "I've been telling you X (the thing I want) for years, but it's like you don't believe I think that."
I don't trust easily, and if trust is broken, it is very hard for me to restore. But sometimes people do deserve our trust. They see things in us, good things that we don't know for ourselves. It can frustrate us if we think they are making something of us that we are not. My time in the Middle East did a real number on my understanding of what it is to be a woman, and I've spent years avoiding that pigeon hole. But the smartest thing I've done recently was to get personal feedback from a number of friends, and I discovered something interesting.
One of the things that makes me a good fiction writer is my ability to create a character or persona. I understand what pieces fit and how conflicts coexist. A person without conflict is boring at best and psychopathic at worst. So when my friends started describing myself to me, I realized those things I avoided were actually wrong for my character to neglect. Their absence put me out of balance; their presence belongs with the strong person I've become.
And so my current "project" is to rewrite the character in my head. We usually believe it is difficult to change ourselves, but we typically try to change our actions and hope the thoughts follow. I'm reversing that.
Decide who you are. Write it down, evaluate it, change the description to fit the person you are meant to be. Then act like it.
H/T SOFREP. Interesting perspective on Hollywood's loose relationship with the truth. I doubt that the script inaccuracies have much impact on the "propaganda" issues but the points about our tendency to learn history from Hollywood are valid.
This pretty much sums up the review: " It’s trying to tell us that whatever we may think we think about what our country did over the past dozen years – this SEAL team was based at Bagram Air Force base, where some of the worst acts of CIA or military torture were committed – dying for the red, white and blue is still a holy enterprise." The whole attitude of that statement angers me, but the ignorance is what really makes my head explode. How many thousands of soldiers have gone through Bagram? I have a good friend who was a postal worker there; will you accuse her too? The Left has been inbreeding for far too long; their brain function is diminishing.
I liked Dakota Meyer's response: Call it whatever you want to call it, but it was factual.
And facts upset the people who would rather ignore them.
Much of today was great. Probably the best part was conspiring with my best friend for various plans for our upcoming getaway (generously funded by our long-suffering husbands.) Second-best was getting someone to watch to WatchKitten for a bit so I could take care of various bits of business.
But as usual, there was too much to do in the time allotted, and I quickly transitioned from happy future vacationer to dangerously close to yelling at my child, the babysitter, the felines and anyone else who crossed my path. And I don't yell. If I slam a door people pull out the binoculars to see how far back it was that they crossed the line. Granted, chasing a toddler has shortened my fuse a bit, but that's only because it's been lit so many times. But back to this evening...
I had a situation. A safety issue in the house, requiring a very simple fix. Except I forgot that nothing is ever simple to fix in this house. And by the time I remembered that, scheduling flukes meant that the dwindling list of available helpful people was now comprised of people who would have to get out of bed and/or be paid exorbitant amounts of money to fix this idiotic problem. And while I can put up with a lot, I'm pretty sure that the WatchKitten would not sleep with the alarm squawking every 30 seconds.
Deep breath. Check my work. Squawk. Stare at it and pray. Squawk. Ask my favorite macho saint for help and try again. Squawk. Meanwhile the toddler is fussing, the kitties are yowling and the babysitter needs to be driven home. But I'm certainly not going to let go of my one helper until this is fixed. I take a deep breath and force myself to read all of the fine print on the panel. "May take 7-10 minutes for circuit to reset."
I'm not sure whether I feel like more or less of an idiot. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my work. Had I left it alone, the squawking would have resolved itself a half hour before. Why didn't I trust that I'd done it right?
I'll leave that hanging out there, because I know I'm not the only one. I know many brilliant people who second-guess themselves the instant something goes wrong. It's not an easy habit to shake; I know my triggers but I still do it. How much worse is it if you don't know the roots of your self-doubt?
"Even to the death fight for truth, and the Lord your God will battle for you." -Sirach 4:28
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Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" -Isaiah 6:8
As many of you are aware, the PJCountry blog disappeared in November 2008.
I'm doing my best to help the pararescue community by sharing PJ-related news and events on my blog. The following information may be helpful:
You will find answers to many questions at pararescue.com and specialtactics.com
If you're ready to become a PJ, you'll need to decide between Active Duty and Reserve. This will determine who will handle your official recruitment. Visit Contacts and POCs to find the appropriate person or email me.
304th Pararescue Team (Reserve) (Oregon)
If you're on the west coast near Oregon and are considering being a PJ/CRO on the Portland Pararescue Team (commitment of 4 years beyond training), contact TSgt Stanley Iakopo at stanley.iakopo AT us.af.mil or email me.
I have no official role with pararescue or other SpecOps but I know enough to get you connected to the right people. Email to CAT at THEWATCHCAT dot NET
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B
[For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
by Christopher Smart
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.