Sunday, December 9, 2018

Three in a Row, Singing First, Again


I realized on Friday that if I wanted to watch the game, I needed to get my DirecTV back up and running, it's been down for a while. Should have done it earlier, just don't watch much TV anymore, so it wasn't high on my list of things to do.

I called, they said the first time they had available was Monday. Oh well, I figured I could stream it on the computer. Which was interesting to say the least.

Prior to the game The Missus Herself and I had a couple of errands to run, upstairs bathroom faucet drips unless you shut it off just right. Which was tolerable but when the jobber-doo (sorry, technical term, I guess in layman's terms that would be a thingie, or perhaps a doo-hickey) which you push and pull to stop up the sink rusted in half, I figured it was time to swap it out. (Pushing the stopper closed by hand and prying it open with a screwdriver was getting just a little old.)

Then while we're out there, we had a couple of other stops to make, went to eat, and by the time we got home, fed the feline staff, then found the game online, Navy was already behind by 10.

What's more, to get the game free (I admit it I'm cheap about some things) I had to settle for Sumdood on YouTube who had his camera pointed at his TV set to see the game. As the sound from Sumdood's TV wasn't all that good, and Sumdood took it upon himself to comment on the game, rather than rely on the professional announcers, I switched back and forth between the game and old episodes of The Walking Dead.

I'm up to season three of that, it's interesting enough but I can see why I didn't jump right on that when it first came out. Exceedingly violent and gory, but there are some interesting human interactions between the cast. At least the cast who aren't zombies. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, I already saw all the episodes of the latest season of The Last Kingdom (I've read all the books save the latest but the TV series is pretty goof) so I needed another series to binge watch.

Anyhoo.

Army looked good, Navy did not. The game didn't seem to be as close as the score might let on. Does either team know that the rules allow for throwing the ball? While I'm all for tradition, I swear the game gets more boring every year. Army's new coach has Navy's number, Ken, you've had a good run but I think it might be time to go.

That's all I've got.

Maybe next year Middies, we'll see.

Retired Air Force Master Sergeant, current Navy Dad, begging for apologies from my Army ancestors, but none of y'all actually went to West Point and I've got friends who did go to Annapolis, had two of the progeny accepted there, but they chose ROTC instead. While I do have a friend who went to West Point, we did high school together, my loyalty lies with the Middies.

Sigh...



Saturday, December 8, 2018

So This Is Christmas

(Source)
'Tis the season, as they say, a time for merriment, friends, and family.

But do we remember the true reason for the season? Long ago and far from my native land, a couple were blessed with the birth of an infant. No, it probably didn't occur in December, that was Mother Church's way of getting some of the pagans to play. I mean we all like our holidays and our traditions, the Church knew that to take that away, people would resist. So they co-opted those old pagan traditions and made them Christian. (Just as they took the old pagans and made them Christians!)

The important thing to remember...

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
-- Isaiah 9:6-7 New King James Version

It's not the when of the thing, it's the what.

We sometimes forget that the whole point of this season is to remember the birth of our Savior, Christ the Lord. One thing which is going wrong in this world is that far too many have turned away from church, from the worship of God. We will pay a steep price for that if we are not careful.

I'm not the most religious of men, though I attend church every Sunday, (I might miss a Sunday or two in a year, but I try to be there). Many times I wonder why. Like I said, I'm not the most religious of men, but I am spiritual, I know there's a reason for me being here. I know that the Lord watches over me, it's the only way to explain me surviving the many foibles of my youth.

Enjoy the season, it is, after all, about love. Like the song says, all you need is love. If you have it, whether giving or receiving, everything else falls into place. At least that's my experience.

Speaking of that song, one of the writers of that wrote another one, which for many years I didn't really care for. Times change, one may gain wisdom, if one is patient. While I've always liked the tune, some of the lyrics I didn't care for when the song first came out.

1971 was the year, I had graduated from high school, I was in college, I had a draft card. Guys my age, though the war was winding down, were still dying in Vietnam. I wasn't scared, not really (I was too stupid to be afraid), but when I received my draft lottery number (201) I was somewhat relieved. (I still remember my number, I looked it up to be sure, but some things you don't forget.)

Now I'm older, a bit wiser (thanks to The Missus Herself), this year I listened to the lyrics, I mean really listened. It ain't a bad little song, not much there to argue with. YMMV



So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

-- John Lennon, Yoko Ono (Source)

May peace and love be yours, all the year round.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Remember...

Model of Pearl Harbor as it was on the 7th of December, 1941
Washington Navy Yard
Seventy-seven years ago, a lifetime ago, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States on the island of Oahu, at a place called Pearl Harbor. On the 7th of December, 1941, a date which shall, for those who remember, live in infamy.

I have remembered that date since I was a little boy, as I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on the 11th of September 2001, so my mother and father remembered where they were and what they were doing the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Fewer and fewer of the Greatest Generation are still with us, each day that goes by we lose a few more. Perhaps in my lifetime the last of that generation will pass into memory.

I have told this story every year since I started this blog, this year, I let others tell the story...



Model of  USS Arizona (BB-39)
Washington Navy Yard


A piece of the superstructure of USS Arizona (BB-39)
Washington Navy Yard






Never forget.

Remember them.

They gave all of their tomorrows, for our today.



Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Have Been Remiss

George Herbert Walker Bush
Naval Aviator, President
(Source)
I cannot let this week go by without noting the passing of a good man.

Youngest naval aviator in World War II.

Future President Bush in his Grumman TBM Avenger aboard USS San Jacinto in 1944.


Congressman from Texas.

Our Ambassador to the United Nations.

Director of Central Intelligence.

43rd Vice President of the United States.

41st President of the United States.

A lifetime of service, a good man.

I mourn his loss, though it's a sadness tinged with happiness...

Godspeed President Bush
(Photo: Marshall Ramsey)
(Source)
They can be together once more.


Fair winds and following seas Mr. President.



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

In A Pensive Mood

The Road in front of Saint-Simeon Farm in Winter, 1867 - Claude Monet
Started writing one post, then changed direction, sort of, and wrote this one.

It's the Christmas season and Sunday last was the first Sunday of Advent. I missed our church service as we were seeing to the health of one of the smaller members of our tribe.

Anya keeping a watchful eye on the doings of the neighborhood.
Like I have mentioned, she is doing well and is getting plenty of exercise trying to avoid taking her medicine. When captured, she gives only name, rank, and serial number. But she still has to take her meds. Though her will is strong, that of The Missus Herself is stronger. (Don't ask me how I know...)

Speaking of whom, she is currently watching a series from the BBC 2 on Netflix called Monty Don's French Gardens. She treated me to a few minutes of the episode where he visits Monet's garden. As I am a sucker for the Impressionists I gave it a look-see, I was amazed at the extent and beauty of Monsieur Monet's garden, which he himself created. A number of gardeners still work to keep it as it was in Monet's time.

At one moment I thought I was looking at a shot of the garden, as the camera moved back, I saw it was one of his paintings. Magnifique!

I have always felt that the Impressionists did not capture a scene in its exact form, but better yet, they captured the spirit of the scene. That opening painting, I have seen scenes similar to that many times in my life. Monsieur Monet's painting is how I see them in my memory and in my heart.

Such beauty.

As it is the Christmas season, and as I missed the first Sunday in Advent, thus missing the following hymn, I offer it to you here. To me it captures the spirit, the essence, of what this season is supposed to be. A hymn which always brings a tear to my eye. Two versions, one instrumental, one vocal, both of haunting, majestic beauty.

Rejoice!






O come, O come, Emmanuel
To free your captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel
To you shall come Emmanuel

O veni, veni Emmanuel
Captivum solve Israel
Qui gemit in exilio
Privates Dei Filio

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel

Gaude! Gaude!
Gaude! Gaude!
Gaude! Gaude!
Gaude! Gaude!

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel

Oh yes, I say rejoice.

And we wait...

For His return.




Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Our Non-Human Friends

(Source)
It was with some sadness that I read of the passing of one of Juvat's canines. Especially after a Sunday morning emergency trip to the veterinarian for one of the feline staff. Afterwards, The Missus Herself mentioned that the emotions over the loss of our non-human friends may be more than she will be able to bear in the future. I know what she means, but it's something I've thought about over the years, as I try to measure the pain of their loss against the joy of having shared life with them.

Doing a bit of research, it seems that our species began to interact with certain canine species a very long time ago, perhaps as long as 400,000 years ago. We were still hunter/gatherers at the time, we roamed the landscape and were more a part of nature than we are now. Some studies suggest that dogs became our companions through hunting.

Cats came along much later, perhaps as early as 15,000 years ago. It wasn't necessarily the Egyptians who first domesticated the cat, but they certainly seemed to be the first humans to actually revere the cat as a semi-divine being. Which has led to the cat's modern attitude towards humans. As has been said before, "Dogs have owners, cats have staff."

Cats were domesticated when we first started to settle in one place and learned to grow grain (I won't try to figure that out, it amazes me what early humans came up with, "Hey, let's see what this tastes like!") stored grain attracted rodents, which attracted cats.

While modern humans and modern canines aren't perhaps the hunters they once were, all cats are hunters. They retain that instinct and practice it from the time they are old enough to walk. If you look closely, you can see the wolf in the dog, you don't have to look that hard to see the tiger in the cat.


I grew up with a cat and have been a "cat person" my whole life. I think perhaps because my father was deathly afraid of dogs, he'd had a narrow escape as a kid from a very vicious dog. But I was also familiar with dogs from a very early age. My maternal grandparents lived on a farm, they had two dogs, both mixed breed, though one was mostly collie and the other mostly beagle.

When we would go to visit the farm, those dogs would go nuts, they were so happy to see us. I'm sure you know what I mean, wagging their tails so hard that their whole body was involved. Small yips and a happy look on their faces and a frantic need for physical contact. God, I loved those dogs. They were also fiercely protective of us.

My grandfather once demonstrated this to Ye Olde Vermonter and I. Those dogs adored my grandfather but one day he told us that he was going to come after us, he would act mad and make like he was going to hit us (which he never, ever did) and told us to watch the dogs.

At first they thought he was playing, then they sensed that he was demonstrating a lot of aggression towards my brother and I. They took it seriously and in an instant they were between my grandfather and us, snarling fiercely at him, fangs bared and ready to kill. Gramp defused the situation by laughing and backing off, but my brother and I had to convince the dogs that Gramp was just playing. I do think those dogs would've torn someone limb from limb if they had meant us harm.


Now cats are, on average, smaller than dogs and certainly far less emotional. I doubt that any of the cats I've known would have attacked someone for threatening me. Well, except maybe for Tommy, my first cat and the one I grew up with, from the age of five to the age of seventeen.

Tommy was unusual for a cat. He'd follow me to school and would follow my friends and I up into the woods when we were out for an afternoon. Nothing scared Tommy except for one animal, one of my friend's dogs, a big Golden Retriever named Sam. Oddly enough, Sam was one of the friendliest dogs I've ever known. But he was huge, so Tommy wanted nothing to do with him. If Sam was around, Tommy made himself scarce.

There was a family who lived briefly in our neighborhood who had a German Shepherd. Not a small dog but not one of the bigger of that breed. He probably weighed forty pounds, and he was terrified of Tommy. I don't know what happened to cause that but I did see the dog coming down the sidewalk one day. Tommy was sitting in the middle of that sidewalk.

That dog crossed the street with his head down and his tail tucked away. He kept an eye on Tommy but avoided direct eye contact. Tommy stared at that poor dog until he was a good hundred feet down the street.

That dog was in Tommy's territory and he let that poor dog know it.


For too long a stretch I had no pets in my life. Being single, then being in the Air Force didn't really present the opportunity. But on my last assignment in Germany, which turned into two three year tours, back to back, with a few months added on to take me to retirement, I insisted to The Missus Herself that if we were going to stay that long, we should get a cat.

She was hesitant at first, then I casually mentioned to the kids that we were "thinking of getting a cat." They got pretty excited and Mom realized that she was cornered. Yes, I was told, "don't ever do that again," but hey, it worked.

A friend of ours in the neighborhood had a landlord with a farm, and a pregnant cat. We determined that one of her litter would be ours, everyone agreed and one day when the kittens were about six months old, we went to pick one from the two who were left.

If you guessed that we left with both, you guessed right. I'm a big believer in not breaking up a set, so to speak. Those cats were a joy. I had been worried that The Missus Herself might be a bit stand-offish as she had not been thrilled with the idea of having "animals in the house," she turned out to be the biggest softy, spoiling those two cats like you wouldn't believe.

The Nuke once remarked that we treated the cats better than the kids. "If reincarnation is a real thing, I want to come back as a cat in this family." I pointed out that we were raising her and her siblings to be good, productive citizens. The cats, not so much, so they could pretty much do whatever they wanted, within reason of course. (Staying off the kitchen counters was the one hard and fast rule The Missus Herself enforced. Often by using a spray bottle of water. The cats persisted, she eventually gave up.)


All good things must end and we bid farewell to the sole survivor of our to German cats back in 2003. (Pat's brother Tiger had died very young, passing in 1998 at the age of five. He never saw the States.) I was devastated, as was The Missus Herself, it's amazing how attached one gets to those furry members of the tribe.

We lasted one weekend with no cats in the house. Pat had passed on a Friday, when I was at work Monday, I checked the internet to see if our local shelter had any cats. The house was just too empty, The Missus Herself being all alone at home with The Naviguesser being away in the Navy and the two daughters away at college. She and Pat had kept each other company for a few years.

When I called home to mention the availability of cats at the shelter, The Missus Herself asked, "Can we go over there when you get home?"

Why yes, yes we could.

Fifteen years on we still have those two (yes, we went to get one, but there were two sisters, damned near identical, how could I break up the set?) we picked up that chilly night in October. Sunday morning last, it seemed that we were about to lose one of them. Tore us both up, a lot. While at the veterinarian emergency clinic, there was another family there, about ten of them, with a very sick dog. Poor pooch didn't make it, that family was very torn up, I felt their loss having been in that situation.

Fortunately Anya just needed some antibiotics for a urinary tract infection, she seems to be doing fine. Though Sasha is pissed at her for getting "special" treatment. She's the jealous sort.

But it was harrowing all the same. Still and all, much as I hate to say it, it's something I need to prepare myself for emotionally. They are fifteen, which is old for a cat, about 78 in human years. But they're both pretty healthy, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Those who don't understand the attachment many of us have with our non-human family members are missing something very special. Something we humans have been experiencing for over ten thousand years.

It's a special relationship, one that can only be understood by experiencing it. They truly are family.



Monday, December 3, 2018

Advent

Well, this is going to be a BIG day!  We finally get to meet the new boss.  She called last Friday to set up a meeting with the gang at 1300.  The phone call went like this.

"Technology Department, this is juvat speaking."

"Hello, this is Dr  Smith (the name has been changed, and yes, I used my actual name also.)

"Hello, what can I do for you?"

"Do you work in the Tech Department?"

Pause (as I bit HARD on my tongue to stifle the YGBSM that was rapidly approaching my lips).

"Yes I do."

15 Days to go.

Had a bit of sadness this past Tuesday.  Canine Flight is down one.  Corky, our Jack Russell, was 18, having kidney failure, trouble walking, seeing and hearing.  All that having been said, it was still tough.

Came home from that and happened to be browsing Sarge's blogroll and came across this cartoon at Proof's place with the title "Fetch, Good Dog!".
Thanks Mike, I know you didn't post that for us specifically, but it helped.
This also helped.  Mrs J trying to take a nap with 3 dogs and Moushka and Mushka.  Schmedley is on the perch above too sophisticated to participate in this love fest.

So, the Honey Do List retirement procedures are being ironed out and we've been getting ready for Christmas.  MBD and SIL will be celebrating Christmas here with us, and we're going to be doing a bit of Skype Christmas gift unwrapping with Little Juvat and his beautiful bride in the Sandbox.  Ain't technology grand?

Getting things ready for that day, we chanced into some memory triggers.  MBD had asked me to make a picture holder for her a while back, which I did.  I'd also made a model so I could make sure I had all the settings right.  This isn't Rocket Science, folks.  I squared the sides of a piece of wood and cut a slot in it on an angle of about 10. This allows pictures to be displayed and easily changed. 

Mrs J, liked the idea and commandeered the model.  Our photos are still in disarray from Schmedley's cold cat launch back in March.  As we sort through them, some end up in the display for a short viewing period and then are filed in an appropriate place.

But it is fun, on the first Sunday of Advent, to look through old pictures of fun times.


Christmas in Fargo ND '61. I've gotten a bit taller, quite a bit heavier, but not any brighter.

Little Juvat sitting in his Grandfather's chair.  Cost his dad a dollar every time he did so..  Fievel was his Christmas Present that year.  Because I was  gone TDY, I would tape messages to him and Mrs J would put them in the Mouse so he would at least hear my voice.  

Christmas 86 (as was the previous pic).  Still had hair and two of the 3 favorite people in my life.  Oh, and I was on leave from Luke where I was learning to fly an Eagle.  A VERY good Christmas. 

Christmas 92.  The third of my favorite people.  She inherited my sense of humor and attitude and her mother's looks and brains.  Oh, and her and her brother's respective spouses round out the top 5 of my favorite people.
May you all have a very blessed Advent and Christmas.  Remember, there's only one gift that matters this season.  The gift of a Son to redeem Mankind and the love contained therein.  Share that Love with your family and friends.