Episode 62–New Adventure, New Opportunity (New titles, summer fun, reconnecting with friends)

July 25, 2021

Good Sunday afternoon VFOT friends and followers. Today has been a weird weather day, here in the Berkshires. It rained hard overnight and this morning. It has cleared up since, but it’s still overcast, and everything is wet. This seemed like a good day to catch up on some indoor chores. I’ve been slowly puttering around, but I’ve gotten a bunch done. One of the biggest accomplishments was probably culling my t-shirt collection and disposing of some older, infrequently worn ones to make room for some recent acquisitions.

Pro-Reading

I’ve been plugging away at A People’s History of the United States—1492-Present, by Howard Zinn (Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States—1492-Present. 2003. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.)  I had some travel this week, so I missed a couple of days, but it’s going well. I’m in the middle of the Industrial Revolution and reading about the Women’s Labor movement and the beginnings of Women’s Suffrage. This is heavy stuff. More to come on this as I progress.

Other Reading

I blew through Medusa and had to pick some new titles. I’d learned from a recent installment of the Brass & Unity Podcast that Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman had recently released a new book, On Spiritual Combat. I downloaded that and got started on it. I’m really enjoying it, but its format doesn’t lend itself to short bursts throughout the course of the day. I’m still working through it, but I needed another title just to have handy.

Based on a recent conversation about scheduling some training next month, I decided to revisit The Trident, by Lt. Jason Redman. I’m just about finished reading this for the 2nd time. Man, I missed a whole bunch of stuff the 1st time through. I’m enjoying this re-read…and I’m really hoping that I get to meet Lt. Redman.

On top of those titles, I also learned about a couple of Sebastian Junger’s recent titles, including War and Freedom.  So, I downloaded both of those onto my Kindle…just to have them available.

Other Learning Opportunities

In addition to my “normal” training routines, I had a new and unique opportunity this week. A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a good friend. He wanted to put me in touch with the criminal justice program manager at a nearby college. After making contact, the program manager explained to me that they were working with a local police department on professional development for 1st line supervisors. After a couple of conversations, I was asked if I would consider putting together a custom leadership seminar for small groups of new sergeants. I was happy to agree.

This Tuesday and Wednesday, I delivered the 1st round of this seminar to 10 relatively new sergeants. It appears to have been a success. The plan is to offer the same seminar to 2 more groups in September and October.

1st custom supervisors’ course for SPD.

Some Stuff About Me

I’m not going to revisit the discussion from the previous blog. Let’s lighten this up a bit. I was recently telling a story about my stepfather to a friend. I’m going to repeat that story for you.

When I was a young boy, my stepfather was a long-haul trucker. He was what the industry described as an owner-operator. He owned his own tractors and a couple of trailers. Sometimes he hauled his own trailers, loaded with cargo. Sometimes, he would drop a trailer, hook up to someone else’s trailer and head to another destination warehouse. While he hauled a lot of different stuff, his mainstay was produce out of California back to the east coast, and frozen foods between the US and Canada. At various times, he tried his hand at a bunch of other stuff. For one long period, he and his team were hauling toys for KayBee Toy and Hobby to open all of their expansion stores.

One summer, when both my brother and I were in elementary school, my mom and stepfather came up with a plan. We were going to go to California to visit Disneyland. However, we weren’t going to travel out there like a normal family and fly. Instead, we were going to travel across the country and back in the truck. We loaded up our bags with clothes and books and games and threw our bags into the sleeper. Then we were off.

My mom, brother and I would take turns in the passenger seat. The others would sit or sleep in the sleeper compartment. On that trip, I had the best fried chicken of my life at a place called Ray’s Roost in Kentucky. We saw amazing landmarks all across the country. Ray pointed out a fort on the side of the highway that had been the set of the 70’s sitcom, F-Troop. We drove through the Mojave Desert at night. Once we arrived in California, we dropped the trailer we were hauling. After getting a full night’s sleep, we drove to the parking lot of Disneyland…in the truck. We parked in the remote lot among the normal families’ RVs, then went and spent the day as a family in the happiest place on earth.

After that, we picked up another trailer and headed home.

That fall, when we went back to school, my brother had to write an essay on what he did that summer. He wrote about this trip. His teacher accused him of making it up and sent him to the principal’s office. What young child could have made that story up?

FUN

We’ve had quite a bit of fun in the past 2 weeks. Our 1st date night was at Proprietor’s Lodge. While we were there, we ran into some old friends who were celebrating their wedding anniversary. It was lovely to see them. After dinner, it was home for dancing and prompt cards.

Last weekend, we went to have dinner and cocktails with some friends who had been out of state for several weeks. We hadn’t seen them since early June, and it was nice to catch up with them again. After dinner, we played games with them and their daughters. It was a fun night.

This week for date night, we started with cocktails at District. After a delicious specialty cocktail, we walked next door for steamed buns and ramen at Thistle & Mirth. This was a beautiful and fun night.

Yummy Ramen!

On Friday night, I had an early Jits class. Originally, the plan was to spend a quiet evening at home. However, during the day, C had learned that our same friends from above had experienced a loss in their family. C decided that we should take the pup to visit them and provide a little canine therapy. That was a good call. It was another fun night.

Yesterday was a full training morning. Once I got home, the weather broke, and it turned into a beautiful summer day. I spent the afternoon reading on the back deck and soaking in the sun. C wanted to try out her new Ninja air-fryer, so she cooked, and we ate on the deck. Then we retired inside and watched the 1st day of the Summer Olympics.

Today has been household chores and catching up.

Well, that’s enough for now. So, until next time…

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

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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 61: New Adventure, New Opportunity (Travel, training, seafood on the deck, and building relationships)

July 12, 2021

Good evening VFOT friends and followers. This episode is late. It is Monday evening, rather than Sunday afternoon/evening. I’ll explain a little bit more about that later…well, hang on…I guess I’ll just do it here.

Yesterday was, technically, my last day of vacation. It didn’t end up being that much of a vacation, but we had some fun planned and by the time we got home, I just didn’t want to switch back into “work mode” again. Today was going to be a long day, and I wanted the evening to be uninterrupted. I think I made the correct decision.

Pro-Reading

After a slight delay, I finally picked a new pro-reading title. This one was also recommended by the friend who recommended the Coates’ title. However, this one is much more academic. The title of the book is A People’s History of the United States—1492-Present, by Howard Zinn (Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States—1492-Present. 2003. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.) This volume is essentially a history textbook. I won’t say that it redefines or re-writes history. Instead, what it does is go back through the history of the Americas since Columbus’ landing and look at it from the perspectives of those residents who didn’t ordinarily get to write their history. So far, I’m up to the pre-Revolutionary colonial period. I’m enjoying this one very much. I’ll keep you posted as I get farther into it.

Other Reading

I’m thinking about pulling the pin on Zebras. I’m struggling with it and every time I read a couple of pages, I find myself wanting to throw it down. I’ll let you know if I get back on track with it.

I finished reading Seven Troop, by Andy McNabb (McNabb, Andy. Seven Troop. 2021. London: Welbeck Fiction Limited.) I loved this book. Like McNabb’s prior two autobiographies, this book is about his career in the British SAS. However, unlike the other two, this one is not focused on the adventures and operations. Instead, it focuses on the impacts and traumas of his career, and his fellow troopers. It really focuses on their fallen. He pays attention to those who were lost during operations, but also on those who took their own lives. This is a harrowing and vulnerable tale. I appreciate his openness and candor. This volume taught me a lot.

Once I finished Seven Troop, I needed to destress again, so I turned back to Clive Cussler. I downloaded Medusa, another of the novels in the Kurt Austin series. This one is fun and I’m enjoying it. Palette cleanser.

Other Learning Opportunities

During the 1st week of this period, I started with on online class on De-escalation. I know 1 of the 2 instructors pretty well. I’m not going to complain about the course. It just didn’t have a ton of new material. For a less experienced officer/trainer, it might have been great. I was a little bored.

Later that week, I had the chance to travel out east to visit the new Homeland Security Operations Center. I’m not going into any details about that visit, but it was pretty fascinating.

This week, as I said above, I was supposed to be off. That didn’t exactly go as planned. On Tuesday, I picked up an extra Muay Thai class and a jiu-jitsu class. That was awesome.

Wednesday, I slid into a morning Jits class before I had to go in for a meeting.

Thursday, I got in a short ruck march in the afternoon then slid into a jiu-jitsu class in the evening.

Friday morning, I sat down to start writing a draft document of a proposed police jiu-jitsu class. That evening, I picked up a fundamentals Jits class.

Saturday, I got to my normal training day. Helped coach the youth class, got in my regular Jits class, then rolled into Muay Thai. By that time, I was beat, so I called it a day at the dojo.

Some Stuff About Me

I lost my dad when I was very young. 8 days after my 3rd birthday, my younger brother was born. That night, my dad celebrated with his friends like 20-somethings did in the 70’s. Early the next morning, he wrapped his car around a tree and died. I’ve spent my entire life trying to learn how to deal with this loss. I’ve learned some things in the last several years about that night that I’d never known before. I’ve had men who were with him that night seek me out to apologize. This loss has affected every aspect of my life.

One of the positives that came out of that loss, was that it brought my stepfather into my life. I’m not going to get into details about how that came about, because it isn’t my story to tell. My stepfather has been one of the major influences in my life. He taught me the value of hard work, taught me to turn a wrench, introduced me to camping, boating, and swimming. He put me to work in his shop in middle school, high school, and college. He drove us across the country in a tractor trailer when I was in elementary school.

I saw my stepfather for a short visit recently. I know who he is, but he didn’t look like himself. Instead, he looked like my memories of his father, who was elderly when I met him. My stepfather is literally shuffling in the steps of his father, and for the 1st time in my life, I was struck by his age. He’s no longer the hearty and hale man I remember from my youth, manhandling engine blocks and transmissions. He looks old.

It finally hit me. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I’m going to have to face the inevitability of his mortality. Then, I’m going to lose my dad for the second time in my life. I’m much more capable of handling it this time, but I’m also completely aware of what I’m going to be losing this time. I’m not ready for this. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

FUN

Well, that was dark. Sorry. Let’s get to some fun.

Last Tuesday, I had to decide whether I was going to train or not. C was expecting a friend of ours for company. We hadn’t spent any time with her in a long time. I decided to stay home. We had a lovely takeout dinner from La Fogata, a few glasses of wine and watched some beautiful storms roll in from over the horizon. It was a lovely evening.

For date night, we headed down to south county for dinner at Rouge. We hadn’t been since before the pandemic, and this was an awesome night out. Tasty cocktails, delicious food. The conversations of our fellow diners were a little unusual, but all in all it was an amazing night.

Starting that Friday, we went into full-on holiday entertaining mode. On Friday, C had one of her work teams over for a small gathering on the deck. Food, fun, games, and libations. This was a fun group. Saturday, after training, we headed to a nearby farm for a work cookout. We spent a couple of hours with some of my colleagues and their families. That evening, we had 2 other couples and one of the couple’s 2 children. This was fun in a different way. We cracked crabs and crawfish and ate charbroiled oysters as we watched the fireflies. Sunday was Independence Day, we slept in. That afternoon, we headed to one of my training partner’s homes for their holiday cookout. On Monday, we returned the favor, had a couple more training partners over and tackled the rest of the crabs and crawfish out on that deck.

That was the beginning of my time off. I’ve already written about my extra training sessions.

For date night, C wasn’t feeling well. Instead of going out, we ordered takeout from District and settled in to watch movies. That’s a good date night choice too.

Saturday, I got my training in. After I got cleaned up, we headed to Balderdash for a glass of wine and to pick up our cellar club. It was busy, so after a glass, we headed over to Home Range Winery for a more relaxed experience. We shared a bottle of wine there. Then we headed home for another takeout dinner. This time from Arizona Pizza.

Sunday, we had to repair and replace some mats at the dojo. That took up a good chunk of the middle of the day. After that, we headed to the Beacon Cinema to check out the new Black Widow movie. Loved it! Then it was headed north to Ye Olde Forge for dinner.

Well, that’s enough for now. So, until next time…

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

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.

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.”