Episode 53: New Adventure, New Opportunity-Reading, traveling, and reflecting on the past year

March 21, 2021

Happy, sunny Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. This weekend marks the beginning of Spring, and I took the opportunity to mark the occasion with a couple of special events…last night I fired up the SoloStove in the backyard and we had a beautiful early evening fire…today I put on my weighted vest and ruck and got out on the road for a couple of hours of ruck marching. Happy Spring!

Pro-Reading

I’m still working my way through Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness.  2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.)  This one is going really well and I’m enjoying it. The format makes it an easy read and I’m getting a lot out of it.

While not strictly pro-reading, I also finished reading Tangled Up In Blue: Policing The American City, by Rosa Brooks (Brooks, Rosa. Tangled Up In Blue: Policing The American City. 2021. New York: Penguin Press). This one popped up on several of my online law enforcement groups and was simultaneously recommended by a member of our local police advisory board. I did not have high hopes for Ms. Brooks to present a fair and balanced view of law enforcement based on her bio. I was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Brooks is a journalist with a strong background in human rights and is also a law school professor at Georgetown. In her 40s, she decided to join the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department’s Reserve force as a volunteer police officer. While she does inject the narrative with some social commentary, for the most part, it is a retrospective look at her experience as a police recruit and a rooking police officer. I really recommend this book.

Other Reading

After Tangled Up In Blue, I needed to lighten it up a bit. I turned back to Terry Pratchett and downloaded a new title to my Kindle. I’m just getting started with A Hat Full of Sky, another one of the Discworld series. I really love fantasy/science fiction as a palette cleanser and am having fun with this one.

Other Learning Opportunities

To start of this reporting period, I participated in NOBLE’s virtual annual CEO Symposium on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. I hadn’t attended the CEO Symposium in a number of years, and it was a good opportunity to gain some national perspective.

On Monday afternoon, I had to take some time to write a special blog post. I had some pretty disturbing nightmares and thought it was important to document this. You can find the post earlier on this site.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in a Municipal Public Safety Labor Law certification class. I’m learning a lot, but I really wish that I’d had the opportunity to learn some of this stuff earlier in my career. Labor law is not all that interesting, but it is pretty complicated, and I feel good about getting some specialty training in this area.

Last week, I got to take a training trip for the 1st time in a long time. It was refreshing to return to an activity from before the pandemic. It was also nice to catch up with some old friends and reconnect.

This Tuesday we had a great supervisory roundtable meeting to wrap up the quarter. We’re getting a lot done with this series and I’m looking forward to moving into the next quarter.

Some Stuff About Me

Here’s something that I don’t think that I’ve ever blogged about before. At one point in my past, I was a SCUBA diving instructor. I got into diving shortly before becoming a police officer. It was something that I’d been fascinated with since I was a child and that I’d always wanted to do. When I got out of college and got my first real job, I decided to treat myself to lessons.

As is my normal MO, when I learn something new, if I really enjoy it, I go all in. That’s what it was like for me as a diver. I went straight from basic open water diver into Stress and Rescue and recovery diver. I completed several specialty classes including night diving, navigation, and ice diving. After that, I started racking up dives and worked my way through Dive Control Specialist, to Assistant Instructor, and finally to Open Water Instructor. I kept that credential right up until I became the Chief.

When I got promoted, I could no longer commit to regularly teaching classes. After a period of time, it wasn’t cost effective for the shop that I certified through to continue paying my instructor’s insurance. As a result, I had to let my credential lapse.

Over the past several years, I haven’t been diving much. The only dives that I’ve done in the past several years were the 2 that I logged while on our honeymoon. I need to get in the water more.

The reason this came to mind this week is that I recently got a text from a dive buddy to tell me that my buoyancy compensator was serviced at the shop and is ready to pick up. That might be a sign.

FUN

We’ve had some fun date nights. We had to shift the first one early to accommodate my trip. That one was a little messed up because we had to slide date night in between work and an evening meeting.

This week, date night fell on St. Patrick’s Day. That meant revisiting a new tradition…dinner from Patrick’s Pub and some dark beer. This was a fun date night, but it was also the anniversary of the day that our City shut down for the pandemic. That was a bittersweet memory.

This week I got to get back to my regular training. Thursday night jiu-jitsu, Saturday morning Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu and a good ruck march today in the Spring sunshine. I’ll take it.

On another note, during my rucks I’ve been listening to podcasts instead of music. One of the things that I’ve been doing is listening to old episodes of Zero Blog Thirty from the beginning to catch up with the story arc. Last night and today, I got to the archived episodes from 1 year ago. It was very odd to hear the hosts start talking about coronavirus and not think that it was going to be a big deal. One of them actually said, “I don’t think this is something that we have to worry about in this country.” It is amazing how little we collectively knew and how we couldn’t suspect what was in store for us in the next couple of days and weeks. It’s unbelievable how dramatically our world has changed in one year.

Remember, if you need supplements, Jiu-jitsu gear, jeans, or boots, check out Origin’s offerings here: (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliate) for 10% off.

Well, that’s enough for this week. See you soon. Until then…be well, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.

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

If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).

“Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site.”

Episode 52.1: Special Installment (When the Demons Come)

March 8, 2021 

 Just some stuff about me 

 This is an off-scheduled special entry in the blog, because something happened, and I need to memorialize it. Nothing about pro-reading, training, travel, or fun. This is just one story.  

Yesterday was a good day. I slept in a bit, then had my coffee and finished reading the weekend edition of the paper. I got cleaned up and streamed our church service. Then I had some lunch and settled into my home office to get some work done. I had a productive afternoon and got all my urgent tasks done. I wrote yesterday’s blog. After that I had a hearty dinner and picked an interesting movie to watch. While watching the movie, I had a couple of glasses of wine, then C and I decided to turn in early. I took a natural sleep aid on my way to bed. I was dozing off way before my normal bedtime.  

I awoke a few hours later. I checked my watch. It was 1:30 AM. I felt like I’d slept soundly, but I was restless. I got up and walked to the bathroom. Washed my hands and went back to bed. I tossed and turned, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I grabbed my Kindle. I thought if I read for a little bit, maybe I’d nod off. It worked…sort of. I read and nodded 5 or 6 times. I’d read for a few minutes and start to doze off. Then I’d hide the Kindle and try to sleep. No luck. Intrusive distracting thoughts. What was that article about? How would that effect the department? What was my day like today? How can I help that officer? Grab the Kindle…try the same thing again. I looked at my watch. Nearly 2 hours had passed. It was almost 3:30 AM. I could feel my eyes getting heavy and sense myself drifting back to sleep.  

 It was 3:30 AM. I fell back asleep. Then the Demons came. I’ll save the dirty details for therapy. However, I’ll give you the highlights, because I want you to see how this works.  

 My dream started with me and C at a soccer game. We weren’t at a field I recognized, but I knew where we were within the City. After the game we decided to walk back to her car. We were walking to her campus. The road was right, but the houses weren’t. It started to rain. We took cover in the doorway of a building that doesn’t exist on that street. While we sheltered, a car pulled up across the street. A man got out. He pulled a long gun out of the car and walked around the back of it. He started firing up the hill at a house. Something was wrong. It couldn’t be a real gun. The sound was wrong. It looked wrong. I told C to stay put. I took out my badge, but I didn’t draw my gun. I didn’t call for assistance. This is all wrong. This isn’t how this goes.  

 I approached him with my badge held high. I identified myself as a police officer. I ordered him to put the gun down. He turned and looked at me, then he put it down. He looked at me again. Then he looked away. He started to walk across the street. That’s not right. He’s supposed to talk to me. He got back to the side of the street I’d come from. He was in the yard of the house next to the building where C was sheltering. Was she still there? Can I see her? He looks back at me…bends down? What’s he doing? 

 He comes up with a large stick in his hand. Turns and looks at me, with a vacant stare in his eyes. His gaze fixes on me and his posture changes. I can see the tension in his arms and shoulders. His feet are shuffling and he’s bouncing on the balls of his feet. Shit! I’m too close. I draw my sidearm, keep it at a low ready in my strong hand. Badge is still in my support hand. I order him to drop the stick. No response. I’m too close. There are no nearby barriers for me to take advantage of. I can’t move around his car without giving him access to the gun and the driver’s seat. I can’t move to the closest tree without exposing C. There’s nowhere to go. I tell him to drop it again. The sun’s going down. I can’t see clearly. Do I have a flashlight? Where is it. He ignores me. Movement to my left in my peripheral vision. It’s C. I scream at her…”Get back!” He thinks I mean him. Bends down again. Picks something else up. What is that? A garden tool? A ski pole? I can’t see. Where is C? She’s still there, I step left and forward to get between her and him. Damn it! Now I’m way to close. He raises both arms with the weapons in them. DROP THE WEAPONS! No response. He steps forward. I fire. I know I hit him, because I see him flinch. He doesn’t go down. I fire again. He drops to one knee. Stands back up. I fire again…and again. He drops. I move forward. Kick the weapons away. Look down. Holster my pistol. This is all wrong. I grab my cell phone and call for help. Waive C away and tell her to go back to the doorway.  

 Something is wrong. This isn’t the gun fight dream. I’ve had that one before. It doesn’t go like this. That one is about tactics…movement, cover, distance, space. This one’s about something else. What is it?  

 The response begins. Like everything else, it’s all wrong. This isn’t how this works. This is a shit show. There’s no perimeter. There’s no command. There’s no staging area. Resources are all over the place. There’s no plan. The gun is a paintball gun. The impacts are inside the house, but the glass isn’t broken. This doesn’t make any sense. At one point, I look down. There is a small girl running around in our crime scene. Whose child is this? Why is she here? This scene is a circus. If I look outside, I’m certain I’ll see someone selling peanuts and popcorn. This doesn’t make any sense.  

 I wake up. Cold winter light filters through the window. It is morning. I look at my watch. It’s 5:30 AM. I feel my guts grumbling. After 26 years, I’m self-aware enough to know what that means. I’m having a stress reaction. This time to the dream. I’m going to be sick. I go back to the bathroom. Yup. Stress reaction. I can feel my insides twisting. I finish and wash my hands again. I take my stomach medicine. 1 dose of my regular prescription supplemented with 1 dose of an over the counter. I return to the bedroom and lie back down to give the medicine a chance to work. It’s early enough that if I relax and let it work, I’ll be able to have a normal day.  

 I lay in bed, resting, giving the medicine time. I replay what I remember of the dream. Nothing makes sense. I know better than that. I teach this stuff. I have for years. What was it that I felt was wrong? Why am I having a stress reaction? As I replay it in my mind, it comes to me. After years of self-reflection and self-examination I can follow this thread. This is not the gun fight dream. I know how that one goes. This is the other one. 

This is the self-doubt dream. This is the I’m my own worst enemy dream. This is the I’m starting to pay attention to the critics and haters dream. This is the I’m not worth it and nobody thinks that I am dream. This is the I’m an impostor and everyone knows it dream.  

An hour passes. It’s time to get up. I’m feeling better…and now I know it was just a dream. This morning the demons came. This morning I beat them. That wasn’t always the case.   

img_3528

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

 If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF). 
 Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site. 
Comments Off on Episode 52.1: Special Installment (When the Demons Come) Posted in Uncategorized

Episode 52: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Memory issues, date nights, maybe I’ll go back to school)

March 7, 2021

Good Sunday evening VFOT fans and followers. It’s pretty late in the day, and I’ve been sitting at this computer for most of the afternoon. That probably hasn’t been the best use of my day, but it’s cold outside again and I had a lot of stuff that I had to get done this weekend, since the week is going to be pretty packed. More on that later.

Pro-Reading

I’m making my way through Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness.  2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.)  So far, this has been a remarkably interesting read. I’m really enjoying the way that Professor Burns takes a theory or a learning point, then demonstrates it by tying it to a historical figure. So far, the best stories have been about Spain’s Grand Armada. I’ll keep you posted as I continue with this one.

Other Reading

In my secondary reading, I’m re-reading Service: A Navy SEAL at War, by Marcus Luttrell (Luttrell, Marcus and Hornfischer, James, D. Service: A Navy SEAL at War. 2012. New York: Hachette Book Group.) This has been a little odd. I know that I’ve read it before, because it’s listed in both my vfot_leaders_r_readers Instragram page, and it’s referenced in Episode 38. Here’s the rub. I don’t remember any of it. Seriously, it’s like I’m reading it for the 1st time. I read it last August, while we were at the beach. I have no recollection of it. I can’t figure this one out. I rarely forget a book that I’ve enjoyed, and I wrote glowingly about this one.

Other Learning Opportunities

Last week, we had a really good Supervisory Roundtable at work. We kind of went down a rabbit hole with pending changes in the Commonwealth, but it was really productive.

I also started a new certification program on Public Safety Labor Law. Having been in management for over a decade, it’s kind of weird to finally be studying this stuff. The instructor is my friend and the general counsel to the Mass Chiefs. He’s doing a really good job with it.

On Thursday, I participated in a webinar on Use of Force Policy vs. Tactics. This was an outstanding learning opportunity.

Some Stuff About Me

On a personal front, I’m toying with the idea of going back to school. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might be saying, “Hey, Haven’t I heard that before?” Yes. I returned to school briefly in 2019. It was my intention to start a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. That plan didn’t work out. Last year, I started thinking about pursuing an MSW. For the past couple of months, I’ve been collecting transcripts and working on my application. That’s actually what I spent most of this afternoon doing. We’ll see how this goes.

FUN

Our date night during the 1st week was delivery from District. I tried a couple of new items. The sauteed shrimp on polenta was amazing.

My weekend training was Saturday morning Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu. The Muay Thai isn’t crushing me as badly as it was a couple of weeks ago. Slow progress.

On Saturday afternoon, C suggested that we go see a movie. Our local theater had re-opened the day before for the 1st time since last year’s lockdown. We went to see the new Croods sequel. It was silly and fun…and a small move toward returning to normalcy.

On Sunday, I finally got out for a ruck march. It was my 1st time kitting up and getting on the road since December 30th. The weather here has been crappy, but that’s really just and excuse. I should have been out there.

Our 2nd date night was delivery from Methuselah. The food was good, but the portions were a little small. I’m not sure how I feel about their menu.

On Friday afternoon, I had a late meeting. By the time the meeting was over, I was pretty gassed and didn’t feel like cooking. March has been declared Downtown Pittsfield Restaurant Month, so I decided to order some delivery from Brooklyn’s Best. We hadn’t ordered from them in a long time, and it felt like a good night for comfort food. That was an outstanding call. I went with the 5-cheese lobster ravioli. It was phenomenal.

Yesterday was more Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu, followed by some household chores and a pretty good nap. I’m kind of happy about that.

This morning, I started the day with church, then got to work on my application. All in all, not a bad day.

Well, that’s enough for this week. See you soon. Until then…be well, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.

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

If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).

“Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site.”

Comments Off on Episode 52: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Memory issues, date nights, maybe I’ll go back to school) Posted in Development, Fun, Learning, Training