Welcome to The WatchCat
Monday, September 25 2017 @ 04:39 am PDT

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

This disturb anyone else?

General NewsUS Embassies to Close Sunday Aug 4 Amid Terrorist Threat
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Open Letter (let the chips fall where they may)

General NewsMy friend,
I know our friendship is complicated. It has this crazy ebb and flow and sometimes we even protect each other by not being in touch.

I miss you, but that's ok. That's life right now.

But sometimes I wonder if you avoid contact because I see too much. That's not saying I have any special talent; I just know both sides of you.

And I know you know better than this.

In some areas of life, you're unbelievably strong. You've overcome tremendous obstacles and continue to make something good of your life.

But there are other areas where past hurts weaken and control you. You've closed your eyes to old standards because they make you feel like a failure. And you take the shallow path in relationships because depth would make you feel out of control.

I'm here for you either way, in the shallows or in the deeps. Please remember that. But I wish you could see what I see. You were created for more than this.

You're safe with me. So I refuse to leave you behind.

Always,
-Cat
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Alone in my head

General NewsI recently spent some time at Threat Dynamics and didn't come down from the adrenaline high for about four hours. It's handgun training that you usually can't get in the civilian world. As they like to say there, the targets shoot back! It's fully interactive, so it's about as real as 2D can get.

But while it was good tactical training, it forced much deeper self-examination after it was all done. In short, there were times when I bordered on brilliant. Cool, controlled, definitely in the zone. Then there were other times when I completely screwed up. I've had this kind of dual experience many times before (EMT stuff comes to mind) and so as I drove home with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smile on my face from the adrenaline rush, I fought to sort it out.

I arrived at the absolute necessity of getting other people out of my head. I realized I was tripping up over a desire to prove myself to the instructor. In other areas, it's family, friends or colleagues. The names change but the patterns don't. I'd learned the lesson fairly quickly as a mom: focus on what the child needs, not what other moms are going to say. A mom's instincts are usually a whole lot better than the opinions of outsiders. My challenge now is to altogether stop thinking about what other people think of what I'm doing.

Unfortunately I've invested a lot of time getting into other people's heads. It's hard to boot myself out.

But I'm getting in my own way when I tune in for people's opinions. I want to know how to be mentally alone with the challenge. My suspicion is that it's a matter of discipline, of shutting the door in the face of those thoughts when they appear. If I can do that, my future may get interesting indeed.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Ventura Suit Against Chris Kyle's Widow

General NewsIf you haven't seen this yet, you should: Jesse Ventura Lawsuit Vs Murdered Navy SEAL Can Move Forward, Judge Says

To sum up, Jesse Ventura is going after Taya Kyle for the proceeds of "American Sniper."

What the article doesn't say is that the initial confrontation between Ventura and Kyle occurred when Ventura allegedly mouthed off about a whole slew of issues....at Mike Monsoor's wake. I'm trying to be objective since I can only work with other people's reports, but I have to come down on the side of Chris Kyle because it's a lot more plausible that someone would say something stupid at a wake (and be made to pay for it) than that a group of SEALs would just make up a story to discredit another retired SEAL. Maybe there was bad blood that wasn't getting talked about, but I just don't see it. So the inciting incident just adds to my fury.

But WHATEVER the truth of the matter is, it needs to stop at the grave. Going after the widow of a fellow SEAL is scum-sucking low, and it reinforces my opinion that Ventura's ego has overridden his brain. The SEALs can best decide how to handle Ventura; I'm more concerned about Taya Kyle.

Common decency demands that Ventura drop the suit against Taya Kyle, but it doesn't look like that's happening. While I don't know how big or small the book proceeds have been (and what the author gets is usually smaller than you'd imagine) Taya shouldn't have to use those funds for a legal defense. Someone has started a support page on Facebook, and I know that there's at least one memorial fund out there. I'm going to ask around about their legitimacy before posting any direct links. But decent people have to stand up and say that going after Taya Kyle is morally wrong.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Similar to WW1 Leadup....

General NewsStavridis: Flash Point in the Eastern Mediterranean
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Honesty and duty

General NewsI've written a lot on integrity over the years. so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that my thoughts on the subject are regularly challenged.

Yet I am also weary. Weary because the demands are often conflicting. Some of the hardest times of my life were when someone thought it was their "duty" to do something that ended up hurting me. Their motives might have been good but their actions were not. But I don't know if I get to complain, as various people have successfully gotten me to do the wrong thing for a supposedly good reason. Glass houses, you know.

Still, I've squirmed in a few recent conversations with people who evidently have stricter standards than I. They've challenged me. While part of my mind wants to accuse them of smug self-righteousness, another part says that their standards are better. Or perhaps it really is a question of the heart: what motivates us to do what is right?

I wonder if a lot of people lower their standards because they dislike feeling as though they don't measure up. Don't bother trying... see me as a rebel... or perhaps all kinds of nameless fears prompt us to choose falseness as a route to self-gratification.

As you can see, I don't have the answers. Black and white thinking has its value but it leaves a lot of us struggling to find our way back after a bad decision. I'm thinking as I type here...a strict code makes people feel safe. I've been on both sides of that. And right now I'm torn between the desire to do better and utter frustration with people who judge too quickly.
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Guilt

General NewsSomething funny happened on the road on my way to vacation.

But that's not the point of this. This post is catharsis for what happened next.

Traffic was backed up, allowing the drivers to laugh at something going on in one of the cars. The location was so well-managed that we thought it was road construction or some other planned event.

We got the signal to move and we began driving through a large gathering of people. I saw debris on the road. Accident? Someone was lying on the ground, well away from traffic, with people clustered around. But the scene was so well-managed...

I got to the end and realized I hadn't seen any emergency vehicles. The whole thing while we were stopped had been so funny that I just wasn't on the lookout for a crisis.

And I was on vacation, my first extended me-time in a year. And traffic would have made it hard to pull over. That's what I told myself. Not to mention that my certifications are expired.

Still, I felt terrible. I'd just about talked myself into turning around when the emergency vehicles started flying past. One two three four five.... they didn't need me any more. But a response like that, on this particular road, meant it was a bad call in every sense.

Lord, have mercy upon me, the sinner.

I'm still searching for the report so I can fight this out with God. If the man died waiting for help... forgive me, God. Nice intentions and "no obligation" weren't enough. My choice was selfish, and cause for a lot of self-examination.

Still, as I thought about that possible conversation with my confessor, I could predict part of what he would say: there's guilt we should own and there's guilt we shouldn't own. Patients die, even when we do everything right. That's God's call. If someone is friends with God...is death so terrible?

But it's too easy to delude ourselves into believing that our character has "arrived." Life will always find the flaws. Just one question: What do you do when you discover them?
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Quiet professionals

General NewsEven though I only gave the SEAL "Warrior Princess" story a headline glance, this bit from Froggy nails the bigger issues of quiet sacrifice. It's not so much about one operator or another as the cultural change. Yeah, it's a bit "old school" but I'm feeling old school these days... Silent Warriors V. The Warrior Princess
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Feedback please!

General NewsI'm having my semi-annual struggle with the status of the blog.

I don't want to waste anybody's time.

And I'm not sure of what I have to offer any more. These days, being a mom is taking just about everything I've got. And I'm not really looking to make this a mommy-blog. Pararescue... Current events... PTSD... it's still just as important as it ever was. But my life has changed and different things are taking my time and energy.

Forgive me, but I'm going to indulge in about 15 seconds of self-pity. I miss being that person who could offer all kinds of skills to friends and strangers just for the fun of it. I miss dropping in at a base or helping out at the VA. I miss being that emergency fallback.

Being a mom is... humbling. I'm muddy (etc!) in the trenches with everyone else who is just trying to survive their day. A good day is actually getting to sit down with my coffee and/or having time to wash my hair and maybe look in the mirror.

On the other hand, the mom version is still very much...me. I carried a small refrigerator up a flight of stairs a few weeks ago. I refuse to carry a traditional diaper bag. And although I've come a long way, I'm still terrible about calling for backup, preferring the expediency of handling a lot of things on my own.

A lot of other things I could say about all that, but again, I don't intend to make this a mommy blog. ;)

But if you have a moment to comment or email, I'd like to know what you'd like for this new version of me to write about here. None of us have time to waste. I make no promises, apart from keeping your input in mind, but I really would like to hear what I can offer that would be valuable to you.
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Pain

General NewsThis week I have a decent excuse for the lack of posts: I got hit in the eye and got a significant scratch on my cornea. (Lest you worry, the "how" had its own humor and is something I will hold over the perpetrator for years to come.) Day 1 wasn't so bad, but then irritation and infection set in and effectively shut me down for a while. Then, all the computer time I could tolerate was used rescheduling my vacation...sigh! Anyway...

A part of me stepped back from it all and started analyzing the oddities of dealing with pain. Because, well, no single moment was particularly horrible. A scratched cornea is a step or two down from childbirth, which I only rated a 6-7 on the pain scale. A few years ago I wrote about the emotional impact of getting hit (in training) and I see a similar trend here. I can mentally isolate any particular moment of physical pain. But it's the other stuff, the stuff that goes on in our heads, that makes or breaks our "pain threshold."

I see this as a mom, when my son falls and looks to me for whether he should laugh or cry. We hear the stories of SEALs like Mike Monsoor who overcome tremendous physical challenges in order to meet their goals.

But pain becomes unbearable when we're alone. It's unbearable when we expect it to break us. It shakes our foundations when we're hit, because on some visceral level we know that our fellow man isn't supposed to treat us that way.

Left unchecked, pain morphs into our way of relating to the world. It becomes a language of its own. I've had friends who would cut themselves just to feel something than numbness. Or they'll set themselves up to be hit because they crave physical contact so badly.

The experience of pain is all about the voice in your head. The nerves and pain receptors are going to do what they're going to do. But how do we interact with that physical sensation? Do we start to believe that no one cares that we're hurting? Or do we listen to heroes who say that pain is only temporary?

Pain doesn't make us weak; it only finds the existing weakness.

And that's okay. It gives us a place to start.