Installment 18: New Adventure, New Opportunity

October 21, 2019

Good evening VFOT friends and followers. I guess that you can say that this reporting period has been a little overwhelming because when I sat down to start putting this together, I thought I was getting ready to post it a day late. As I checked the calendar, I realized that I’m over a week late and that I was supposed to write this while I was in Chicago. I had no idea. I apologize for my tardiness.

As I said, the last several weeks have been marked by several periods of being overtaken by events, and in a couple of cases, of feeling completely overwhelmed. I’m fortunate to have a robust support structure surrounding me and keeping me on the path.

Pro-Reading
Competing requirements and travel have really impacted my morning routine, so I’m off pace with my daily pro-reading. Top of the list is still Blink. I’m making my way through it a couple of pages at a time. (Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. 2005. Little, Brown, and Company; New York, NY.)

As part of a local Community Reading Project sponsored by the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, I’ve also added No Visible Bruises (Snyder, R.S. (2019) No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing.) I’ve just gotten started on this one. It’s a tough topic, but I’m happy to learn something new and support this community effort.

Realistically, most of my pro-reading for the past several weeks has been schoolwork. I’ve read several chapters in a couple of different textbooks, and about a dozen articles focused on action research and positionality. It’s a lot.

Lethal Force is still in the rotation.

Other Reading
C and I had a little travel scheduled last week, and I needed something that would keep me engaged and that I could read in the airports and on the planes. So, I downloaded The Last Punisher, by Kevin Lacz (Lacz, Kevin. (2016) The Last Punisher: A Seal Team Three Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.) I’m going to start by saying that I really liked this book. It’s very well written and Lacz’s storytelling style is compelling. The way the narratives are structured keeps the reader engaged. However, there are some very troubling passages in this story. The Battle of Ramadi has been thoroughly documented by the officers and senior non-commissioned officers’ perspectives. I’ve read and listened to many of them. This story is written from the point of view of an enlisted sailor, who frequently questioned the decisions and motives of those in positions of authority over him and his teammates. It is never disrespectful, but there is clearly some resentment here. It’s a powerful memoir of personal involvement in a brutal battlespace. It is compelling.img_0437

Other Learning Opportunities
During the 2nd week of October, I had 2 separate training opportunities. On that Wednesday, I spent the day at our Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s Regional HQ, completing training on responding to high Consequence Incidents. Basically, this is a specialized HazMat class, dealing with the risks of crude oil and Ammonium Nitrate. The final part of the class dealt with the deliberate misuse, so that was in my wheelhouse.

From MEMA, I left straight for Rhode Island. I spent Thursday and Friday morning working with another group of new supervisors at the Justice System Training & Research Institute, focusing on situational leadership and crisis leadership. Friday morning was spent putting students through critical incident simulations. I love working with newly promoted supervisors. It always reenergizes me.

Last Wednesday was my make-up day on the range. This fall it was all about the long guns, so a full day on the rifle and the shotgun.

FUN
Despite a lot of work commitments and a lot of travel, I’ve managed to get quite a bit of Jiu-Jitsu in during the past 3 weeks. I’m happy about that. A few Sundays ago I hung out on the couch, watching football and hand-sewing school patches onto my new Gi.

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My Bristol trip allowed me to have another lovely meal at Roberto’s of Bristol. I love just sitting at the bar and enjoying some delicious food and some wonderful wine.

Then, on Saturday, we woke up at the butt-crack of dawn so we could travel to the airport and fly to Chicago….so C could run her next Marathon. My classmates generously hooked us up with their house after our Airbnb fell through. She had a great Marathon and we got to enjoy a little bit of Chicago. We’ll be back there soon to see more of the City.img_0366

We’ve had a couple of fun date nights and C rescued me and took me out for a great lunch when I was on the verge of a full-on panic over unfinished tasks. She takes such good care of me.

Once again, that is probably more than enough for now. So, until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*