Installment 30: New Adventure, New Opportunity-The COVID Chronicles Continue

April 26, 2020

Good Sunday afternoon VFOT friends and followers. It is another rainy, dreary Sunday. This blog entry is due today, and once again, I’m just sitting to write it today. You’d think that with all that is going on, I’d find time to write more frequently, but no…not only am I not blogging more frequently, I’ve actually been writing less. I’m not even journaling regularly. I’m afraid that our current physical distancing practices are starting to erode some of the progress I’ve made in my personal development. I’m going to have to get to work unpacking that.

It is Operational Period 45. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to these 24-hour operational periods. I’ve been in government service for a long time, but other than the Police Academy, I don’t think that I’ve ever had a mission that lasted 45 consecutive days. This is new on many different fronts, and I can feel the experience changing me.


As I said in the last installment, this new paradigm has impacted my discipline and focus. I’m working differently and sleeping differently, so my pro-reading is all over the place. I got back to dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work,” by Brené Brown (Brown, Brené. dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work. 2018. New York. Random House.) sporadically, and am still working through it.

I finished One Green Beret, by Mark Giaconia. When I finished that one, I received a notice on my Kindle that Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s new book, Fortitude, was available for download (Crenshaw, Dan. Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage. 2020. New York: Hachette Book Group, Inc.). I’d been looking forward to this one since learning about it on the Jocko Podcast, so I downloaded and started it immediately.

That meant that Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is still on hold. I need to get back to it.

Other Reading

I haven’t undertaken any recreational book reading in the last couple of weeks. Instead, I’ve done a couple of things a little different. The first thing is that I’ve gotten back to reading some magazines that I enjoy. I had given up on magazine reading in favor of my pro-reading, but I decided to add some back in, mostly as a distraction.

The other thing that I’ve done is to add several new podcasts into my regular podcast library. Based on recommendations in other podcasts, I’ve added the Grounded podcast and The Thread podcast. Both of these are projects of Commander Willink. The 1st is a jiu-jitsu themed podcast with Echo Charles and the 2nd is a historical podcast with Darryl Cooper. I also added Cooper’s Martyrmade podcast. I also started exploring Crenshaw’s Hold These Truths podcast and The University of Badassery podcast with Mac and CJ. That one I only checked out a couple of episodes. Mostly, I listen to the podcasts while I’m driving or rucking.

Other Learning Opportunities

Learning has taken a backseat to doing during this current reality. However, I’ve been doing some research and exploring some new learning strategies. Echelon Front’s EF Online has added a ton of new content and switched to some “live” online interactions. The new content is great. Unfortunately, the live stuff occurs during the workday, so I haven’t gotten to take advantage of that yet. I’m looking forward to checking some of it out.


Focusing on having something to write about here has been a big motivation for me to make sure that I’m not falling into the trap of working all the time. Building in quality date nights and “couples” time makes it easy to step away from the laptop or tablet and put down the phone.

C and I have spent some great time building some deep conversations by using my “writing prompt” cards. These cards are a tool from my journaling provider that are designed to assist with writing, but we’ve been using them to prompt lengthy, deep conversations about us, both as individuals and as a couple. This has been fun.

We’ve been attempting to support many of our favorite local restaurants that are only open for take-out and delivery, but ordering out several times a week. We’re trying to spread the love by making our way through many of them for both variety and support. We’ve had some really great at home meals from some great small businesses.

Yesterday, after we both finished our workouts, we had a short “date” out on our back deck while we enjoyed a “COVID19Cocktail” while we enjoyed some much needed sun.


As our “shelter at home” reality has extended, I’ve invested both time and money in expanding my collection of at home fitness equipment. Some of this has been done to support companies that I love. For example, the company that I buy my supplements and some of my jiu-jitsu gear from, Origin, partnered with another Maine company to start manufacturing plyo-boxes. I don’t know that I “neeed” one, but I wanted to support them, so I ordered one. I’m proud to say that since it arrived, I’ve incorporated it into each of my at-home workouts. Some of the equipment was purchased just because I’m trying to regain some of my normal training. So, today, some foldable “home wrestling mats” arrived. I’m going to have to figure out how to place them in my home office tomorrow.

Last weekend, I needed to do something to break from the constant focus on the current emergency. I put on my weighted vest and my ruck, fired up a podcast, and headed out. The plan was very simple. If I felt strong when I hit my normal turning point, I was going to push on to the next possible turn. The end result was a ruck march with just under 40#. It lasted just under 4 hours and I went for just under 13 miles. I’m pretty proud of that.img_1295

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Be healthy. See you soon.

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


Installment 29: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Easter is a time of re-birth…even in uncertain times)

April 12, 2020 img_1234

 Happy Sunday my VFOT friends and followers. It’s Easter Sunday. If you’re a Christian and celebrate, Happy Easter to you. It has certainly been the most unusual Easter that I’ve ever experienced, but more on that later.   

My colleagues and I are in Operational Period 32 of our coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means as a member of the City’s Command and General Staff, my full-time job has been working on our response to the virus. That’s it. The normal work of running a police department has fallen to my team, without any advance warning. Their ability to pivot and take on these new challenges without missing a beat is nothing short of remarkable.   


 I’m going to be completely honest. I had to take a break from my professional reading. The long days, constant situational updates and deluge of e-mails has been exhausting and something had to give. Early on in this reporting period, I stepped back from dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work,” by Brené Brown (Brown, Brené. dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work. 2018. New York. Random House.) Instead, I switched to some professional related titles that weren’t really in alignment with my development goals, more as a distraction than anything else. Right now, I’m into One Green Beret, by Mark Giaconia. It’s an autobiography of a US Army Green Beret, and as far as I can tell, it is self-published. It’s good. It has a different perspective, but it’s still good.   

Other Reading 

 I finished The Wee Free Men and shifted over to the above book. Right now, that’s about all that I have the capacity for, other than staying caught up with work.  

 Other Learning Opportunities 

 There have been a lot of opportunities to learn during the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, they are all work related. I’ve participated in numerous webinars and Zoom conferences on topics ranging from foreign intelligence misinformation campaigns to procedures for obtaining FEMA funding, to establishing non-congregate housing units for displaced residents. There has been a lot of videoconferencing. It seems like there has been a couple of invitations every day. I fit them in when I can.  


As I wrote in the last installment, fun has been focused on mixing up my exercise and building new activities for date nights.   

Last weekend, I carried a bunch of my home fitness equipment upstairs and out to the deck. I put myself through an hour of mobility and flexibility followed by some full-body strength and conditioning. That was fun. I’ve also added to the difficulty these workouts and ruck marches by investing in a weighted vest. It has been an interesting addition.  


As far as date nights, C has been taking the lead on a lot of these. One night she made her homemade pizza. A couple of nights, we’ve ordered takeout from some of our favorite local restaurants to support our friends during these unusual times (The Lantern, District, Flavours). We’ve danced in the living room, sang some favorite songs, used my writing prompt cards to provoke some deep conversations, and created some new online challenges for our friends.  Life is difficult and challenging right now. However, Easter is a time of rebirth and new life, and this pandemic will pass, and we will emerge, tested and stronger.  img_1226

Today, I participated in an Easter service by live-streaming it to my tablet in my living room. After that I gave myself my 1st Quarantine haircut. It was like being back in the barracks.


Well, that is enough for now. Stay healthy and be well. Happy Easter!  

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