Welcome to The WatchCat
Thursday, November 23 2017 @ 06:42 am PST

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Vida Loca

General NewsYes, I'm still here. And I'm even going to pay to renew the domain. But it's been crazy around here...

We're trying to buy land and build a custom home.
We've adopted a stray cat who would be quite at home in Spec Ops.
We're trying to make sure our child survives till age 2. (See prior comments on SOCOM)
Company Christmas Party. Spent every moment of "free time" last week making sure we were appropriately prepared. Will probably spend the next month telling the stories of the night.

There's more, but duty calls. Stay sane, or if you can't, stay positive!
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Go

General News"Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing."

Always Go to the Funeral

This article is true on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. Someone once said that it's the things you don't do that turn into the biggest regrets. Yes. These critical moments don't get do-overs. So show up when people need you. It's okay if you're a mess. It's ok if for whatever reason it's all you can do to just get in the door. The action or inaction will be remembered.

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I choose hope

General NewsI'm smiling.

Even though my son threw my dinner on the floor, even though I have family members dealing with major medical issues, even though I will dance on the grave of the year 2013 in 47 days. I have many blessings but it's just been that kind of year.

But I'm smiling. Because I've hit bottom and dusted myself off, and I'll truly be damned if I choose anything other than hope and joy.

I cannot stand dwelling on the negative one moment longer.

I choose hope. Circumstances are the same but I will believe that solutions are out there.

I choose joy. There is both great evil and great good in this world. I will not allow evil to get too big for its britches. I will take opportunities to smack it down to size while keeping my eyes on the good.

Life sometimes limits our choices. But not these two.



Read this for a nudge in the right direction: http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/11/2...y-forever/
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Good perspective...

General NewsHelp Veterans by Taking Them Off the Pedestal
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Veteran Identification

General NewsThere's a "Veteran Transformation" video that's gone viral. In it, a veteran who has had years of homelessness and substance abuse gets a haircut, hair color, shave, new clothes etc. It's great to see the transformation. (Watch his expressions as the process goes on...the look on his face when he's getting the hair color is classic.)

A lot of people said, "it's impossible to watch this without crying." Well, I did. Maybe it was the day, or maybe just the expectation. Or maybe...

My time working at the VA hospital taught me a lot about who veterans are. Each conflict put its unique stamp on the men and women involved, from the nature of the fight all the way to the nature of the homecoming. "Invisible wounds" show in the hair, the beards, the demeanor.

I applaud what the organization that sponsored the makeover was trying to achieve. They did a good bit of healing there for that man.

But if society needs to give makeovers in order to see the hero, we don't really understand our veterans. We don't identify with them enough.

Yes, some of them look like my brother, who can wash his hair with a bar of soap.
Some look like my friend who looks like he belongs in GQ.
Or my sort-of-uncle former PJ who now looks more like Santa.
Or my grandfather, frail in the nursing home.
Or my other grandfather, aging but wiry and active.
Or the guy in the shelter with festering sores and sad eyes.
Or the man in the video.
Or the girl in the Master's program with curly brown hair and a victory over addiction.
Or my petite friend who has two kids.
Or.
Or.
Or.

I want to thank all of them, not just for their service, but because they continue to enrich my life. Some bear terrible wounds, some came out stronger than they went in, and many are somewhere in the middle. There's no archetype of the veteran. But if we pay attention, we'll likely find them in unexpected places.

THANK YOU to all who have served.

(And if you're not a veteran, find one and pay for their coffee or meal or whatever. Giving back a little is the best feeling in the world.)
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Shadows of Heroes

General NewsWe know we need our heroes. They pull us through moments of darkness and remind us that we are capable of so much more than what we're doing. Others have written on the need for heroes; I don't think I need to expound upon that.

But we humans can corrupt almost anything good, it seems. Well, maybe not the heroes themselves. But we can misuse them, appropriating them for all kinds of mind games.

I fell into this recently. I got despondent about the loss and forgot the inspiration of the life. After a few days of this, I started getting desperate for someone to tell me that my hero had a bad temper, or at the very least, drank from the milk carton.

But heroes have a way of saving us despite ourselves. Asking myself, "what would he think about what I'm making of him?" was a sure dose of reality. Talk about temper... heroes get more than a little grumpy when we put them on a pedestal and then use them as an excuse for moping around. It's so much better to get off the mat and choose one thing that we can do better.

"One thing" I said. And so I made my choices for the day based on that one thing. I can't tell you how many times I had to change what I was doing because of that one thing. Forget the circumstances. Forget other people's faults. I can make that one better choice in every situation.

If I keep it up for a lifetime, maybe I can look my hero in the eye in heaven.
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Excuse to drink more coffee...

General NewsStarbucks to Hire 10,000 Veterans and Military Spouses

First the refusal to ban concealed carry, and now this. If they could just get rid of that burnt flavor in my caramel macchiato, we'd be doing good.

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Combat Boots

General NewsI still have the combat boots that I wore in the Middle East over a decade ago. They are torn up, muddy. They rubbed some skin off when I wore them in the garden the other day.

I need to let them go. Not only are they in bad shape, but they have enough weird vibes on them that they're not the greatest things to have around.

You know I wasn't a soldier. I should have been; I look back and wonder how it was that it didn't happen. I remember coming home and JFK security asking me if I was a paratrooper. "No." They didn't ask any more questions. Not a soldier. A civilian looking for answers. Something of those boots represents the reckless, angry, determined person I was back then. Though I've changed much, it's hard to let those boots go.

I recently got rid of my Sorels that I had in Russia. But that was easier, because I gave them to the VVA and they'll either go to someone in need or be sold to fund other worthy endeavors. But my Corcorans aren't fit to donate. And I really should stop gardening in them.

I don't have a ring-finger spot for the ring I got in the Middle East. The pictures have too much emotion to go up on the wall. I do have a few items around the house that are more curiousity pieces than anything.

Throwing away the boots feels like letting the suburbanite kill the adventurer and stuff her in the trash.

But I've come up with a plan. I'm going indoor skydiving (vertical wind tunnel) soon. I will bring home some memento and I will hang it on my wall. And then, while the adrenaline is fresh, I'll throw out the boots, because I'm in much better shape than they are.
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November

General NewsWhy November is Statistically the Hardest Month, and How to Beat It

Basic summary: Depression spikes in November, particularly right before the Thanksgiving holiday. However, studies have shown that a focus on gratitude raises happiness by 25%.

So...I'm going to try to regularly post on the theme of gratitude this month. Today, I am thankful for:

1) My best friend's husband's medical condition improving.
2) A brief email exchange affirmed that all is well in a unique friendship.
3) I have a son who is so strong that it's like parenting a rocket at times.
4) I have a husband who works very hard (and whose skills are in demand) to ensure that we have what we need and more.
5) A cup of coffee, a snuggly feline and a few blessed minutes of quiet this morning.

What are your five?

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Not the only hand in the cookie jar

General NewsAre the delegates really this clueless?

Russia's Goodie Bags Bugged G-20 Delegates

Let's make this simple: Do not put any flash drive or other media into your computer unless you know it's from a trusted source. Period. Also, if you haven't heard about the latest computer virus, I should add: don't use pop-up offers to encrypt your files.

The UN push against the activities of the NSA borders on laughable. I don't disagree that the NSA needs reform, but I've never seen why there's outrage when one country spies on another. It's an opportunity for political capital, nothing more. And we spy on our allies to make sure they're still acting like allies.

So why the uproar at the UN? Simply put, other nations are taking advantage of the discontent, dissatisfaction and a whole lot of other dis-ses of the American people to curb our intelligence gathering. Why pay for counterintelligence if you can just get the other country to share their secrets and defund their IC?