Episode 40: New Adventure, New Opportunity-Transitioning to Fall.

September 20, 2020

Happy Sunday afternoon VFOT friends and followers. The last few weeks have been a blur. The summer has been winding down and the weather has been sliding toward fall. The transition has accompanied a busy time at work and lots of activities going on in the community. We’ve been busy and it’s actually been kind of exhausting. On the other hand, we’ve accomplished a lot and it’s been satisfying.


I have finally finished Daring Greatly-How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. (Brown, Brenè. Daring Greatly-How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. 2012. New York: Penguin Random House.) I can’t believe how long it took me to finish this one, but I really enjoyed it. I’ve said this before, but it amazes me how much Brown’s research and hypotheses on “vulnerability” aligns with concepts of “extreme ownership” and accountability. It is a very different message than my normal reading, but it very much supports other recent authors.

I haven’t actually picked another pro-reading title to start next. Maybe later today.

Other Reading

After I finished Turn the Ship Around, I found myself needing a little break. I decided to go way back and old school and picked up an old friend, Tom Clancy. I hadn’t read any Clancy in years. I used to read his stuff religiously. C had moved a pile of books into my office and I found my old copy of Rainbow Six sitting on time. That seemed like a good time. I made my way through it quickly. It was a nostalgic trip back in time. I really enjoyed it.

After finishing Rainbow Six, I flipped back through some old titles on my Kindle. I had recently listened to an interview with Robert O’Neill on Zero Blog Thirty. I decided to revisit his book, The Operator, which I had finished in November. This was a new and strange experience. I know I read it previously, because I documented it on my vfot_readers_are_leaders Instagram page. However, there were huge sections of this book that I simply did not recall. I don’t know if it’s age, stress, COVID brain, bourbon, or a combination of factors, but there were passages that I had highlighted, that I had know recollection of. It was very weird. I guess I got to read it again for the 1st time. I really liked it…again.

After finishing that, I picked another Navy Seal title, Inside Seal Team Six, by Don Mann. I just got started on this one, so standby for more on this.

Other Learning Opportunities

The biggest opportunity for new learning in the past 2 weeks came from starting the fall season of In-Service at work. After discussing it with the Training Unit, we had decided to revisit Fair and Impartial Policing, Procedural Justice, and ICAT, combining all of the pertinent points into one discussion. We paired that with some live-action Reality Based scenarios and our brand-new judgmental Use of Force simulator. The 1st 2 weeks have been outstanding. It’s been exhausting, but I’m getting a lot out of observing our people in these scenarios and I’m confident that they are too. I’m excited to be involved.

Last Friday was the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our Nation. We dedicated our radio program to reflecting on that date and the changes to the law enforcement profession since then.

We have managed to incorporate a lot of fun into the past 2 weeks. During the 1st week, we had a great date night at the Olde Forge. I hadn’t been since before the pandemic was declared. It was nice to get back for some dark beer and their wings. It was a renewal.

Last weekend, after my Saturday Jits class, we went to have lunch with some good friends and meet their new baby. We hadn’t seen them in almost a year, and their baby was born in July. It was nice to see them again. After that, we went back to our new “secret” vineyard and winery for another visit. This one was better than the 1st one. We left there to go have dinner at another place we hadn’t been before, the new Taphouse at Shaker Mill in West Stockbridge. That was a great new find.

That Sunday, I had to do some work on my new fitness challenge. That meant finishing both the “running” and paddling legs of my virtual Josh Billing’s Triathlon. I substituted a 6 mile ruck march for my running leg, then drove out to the Otis Reservoir and borrowed a friend’s kayak to complete the paddling leg. I got both done in time to come home and grill a steak for dinner.

I got another good ruck in on Tuesday afternoon and enjoyed the first hint of fall weather coming in.

On Wednesday, we had another amazing date night. We grabbed a quick, early dinner at District, then were fortunate to get to see the local production of Godspell from the Berkshire Theatre Group at their new outdoor tent space. It was amazing.

On Thursday, I continued my new charity fitness goal by completing my virtual Walk A Mile event. I did it with my ruck on to get some extra exercise. We had a great group turn out to join us. Plus, the EFC beat their fundraising goal.

This Friday, we had some friends over for a small dinner party and an outdoor campfire. I got out of work early to shop and meal prep. I served some charbroiled clams as an appetizer, followed by grilled steak and roasted fall vegetables. It was almost like normal, pre-COVID life.

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Stay healthy. Until next time…

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

Episode 39: New Adventure, New Opportunity (We’re bringing summer to a nice close)

September 7, 2020

Good Monday afternoon VFOT fans and followers.  It is Labor Day…and I labored mightily today…actually for the last 3 days. More on that lately.  It has been an absolutely glorious late summer weekend. It’s been awesome and we spent quite a bit of time outside.

In recognition of Labor Day, lets take a moment to thank all of our antecedents who worked so hard to produce workplace safety and employment laws. Thank you for all the sacrifices made on our behalf.

I should have written this yesterday, but I really just wanted to focus on rest and enjoying the day and evening. I didn’t think anyone would miss it if it was a day late.


I’m still pushing through Daring Greatly-How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. (Brown, Brenè. Daring Greatly-How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. 2012. New York: Penguin Random House.) I’m really enjoying it. It is taking longer than I normally like to take, but I’m restricting my reading on this to just my morning reading period, so it’s coming in small bites.

Other Reading

After finishing Service, by Chief Marcus Luttrell. I picked up Turn the Ship Around, by Captain David Marquet (Marquet, David. Turn the Ship Around. 2012. New York: Penguin Group.). This is another one of those titles that I allowed something that I read about it online bias me, and I put off reading. Once again, that was a mistake. I should have read it long ago. I got a lot out of this title, and I’ll be incorporating some of the Captain’s lessons into classes that I’m scheduled to deliver in the near future.

Other Learning Opportunities

I don’t know that this counts as a learning opportunity, but last weekend C and I took the opportunity to watch the movie, Free Solo, about the 1st free ascent of El Capitan. This was an amazing film and it rekindled my desire to get back out on a pitch and start climbing again. More to come on that in the future.

I also recently learned about the Zero Blog Thirty podcast. I’ve been listening to it frequently. This weekend I went back and started listening to the original episodes from 2016. I’m getting a lot out of listening to this program. Thanks to Marc for recommending it for me.


We have had a lot of fun in the past couple weeks, enjoying the last lingering days of summer. Last Wednesday, we had an amazing date night. I took a chance and got outdoor reservations for dinner on the patio at Trattoria Rustica. That was a great call and we had a tremendous dinner, then followed it up with prompt cards and dancing. It was a wonderful night.

Last weekend we had dinner at some friends’ home. That was also a blast. We took the pup for a doggie date night. It was a really nice time. The next afternoon we took a drive down to Big Elm Brewery for a few dark stouts out at the picnic tables. It was a good time.

During the week, I taught myself to cook beer can chicken on the grill. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.

This week, date night was low key. We had dinner out at Flavour’s. Then we just headed home for a quiet night in the living room. Just a relaxed time to recharge.

This holiday weekend, I took time to recharge and rest. The best way I found to do it was to start a couple of fires in the Solo Stove on Saturday and Sunday night. This was rejuvenating.

During the past 2 weeks, I’ve managed to keep up with my jiu-jitsu training. I’ve also added some additional cross-training. I got out for a long (26-mile) road ride on my road bike. That was a good day out. I also started a new fitness challenge. For the rest of the year I’m going to pick a series of charity fundraiser fitness events. I’m going to use these events as my benchmarks and the training for them as my fitness regimen. I’m off to a good start.

While it doesn’t qualify as fun exactly, I do have to account for the bulk of my last 3 days. Essentially, I spent most of the past 3 days moving an entire truckload of topsoil from the driveway to the back in the yard to fill in an old firepit. This absolutely smoked me. I’m beat.

Yesterday, we had a pretty cool adventure. While I was out on my long ride, I saw a small paper sign for a winery that I had never heard of before. So, after chores and errands, we headed out to find this winery. This was an absolute win. We had such an amazing time drinking wine on the patio near the barn. We liked it so much, we’re not actually ready to share the name or the location yet.

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Stay healthy. Until next time…

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