Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Beginnings

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: 
    “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
    ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’” 
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:1-6
When I was a baby, my parents, as was the custom of their church, had me baptized. I don't remember anything about it. I do remember my youngest brother being baptized in the same church. I remember it because he threw up on the pastor. At least that's how I remember it, I was only six.

Years later, when I was a teenager, I was asked if I was going to "join" the church. I was puzzled. I had assumed that I had always belonged to the church, why would I have to "join" it? Well, I was a teenager, head strong and (like teens everywhere) I knew everything there was to know. So I declined.

When I was old enough to make my own decisions, even if they were bad decisions, I stopped going to church. My mother didn't like that at all, neither did my Dad. He was pretty adamant, declaring that I would do as my mother wished and go to church. When I asked him why he didn't go, except at Christmas and Easter, the argument was over.

Many, many years later (and I have told this story before), The Missus Herself was out and about in our wee town by the bay and came across a small stone chapel adjacent to the Town Common. (Yes, we have one of those, the town retains some of its Colonial charm.)

She sat on the front steps for a while, then came to a decision. Checking the board out front for the time of Sunday services, she went home. When I came home from work, she informed me that we would, as a family, be attending church that Sunday. That was back in 1999 I think, though it might have been 2000 as well. I don't remember all of the details of that time as I was still adjusting to the civilian world.

Did I protest her decision? Of course I did. Did I eventually shut the heck up and do as she bid me? Of course I did.

We went, as a family. The Naviguessor was off at college, but The Nuke and The WSO were still at home. They too did as their mother commanded.

A few years went by, our pastor, Fred, a dear friend, retired and a new fellow took over. One day after church I casually mentioned that we'd like to join the church. (The circle now being complete I guess.)

He asked us if we wished to be baptized, I, thinking of that baptism I had had as an infant, started to answer, "No." That's when the love of my life jumped in and indicated that, "Yes, we wish to be baptized. Both of us."

"We do?" I asked, somewhat puzzled.

"Yes, we do." spake the lady of the house, giving me "The Look."

"Um, yes, Pastor, yes, we'd both like to be baptized."

And so we were. On the 2nd of February in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Three. Now have I mentioned that the church we joined is a Baptist Church? No? Well, it is. And one thing that Baptists fully believe is necessary is a full-immersion baptism. Not a simple cleansing of one's brow, oh no. For us it's into the water. All the way into, and under, the water.

Now this was February. A cold February as I recall. The place of our baptism would be inside the church itself, we have a baptismal font (a rather small pool really) underneath where the choir sits. We can even fill it with warm water, which is a nice thing to have.

Now our baptism was held in the evening, another couple, and the pastor's wife were also being baptized. So on a dark and cold evening in February, The Missus Herself and I went forth to be baptized.

It was an amazing experience, the flickering candles, the words of the Scripture, and the presence of my family all made it a nearly overwhelming experience. (All of the progeny were there, along with The Naviguessor's lady of that time, my Mom and Dad, and both of my brothers as I recall.)

So in I went, something of a barbarian, and out I came, newly washed. Spiritually at any rate. Though the water was nice and warm, the air inside that old stone chapel (built in 1814) was not warm at all. In fact, it was pretty chilly.

Down the stairs behind the baptismal font I went to what was the pastor's office at the time. I don't think I have ever dried off and gotten dressed as fast as that night. Not before and certainly not since.

I still marvel at that evening. There was something in the air that night. I want to say the Holy Spirit was present, perhaps, perhaps not. But I felt, something.

And that is the story I share with you on this second Sunday of Advent.

I have been ever grateful for that new beginning. Perhaps the country might experience that as well. It is time to return to God.

Have a Blessed Sunday.

Let nothing ye dismay...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Season's Upon Us*

I took that opening picture last year at Christmas. The stockings on the back of the chair to the left have been in the family a long time (one of them for 63 years). I liked the way my Mom had things arranged, the lights in the vase. The picture of her and my Dad. The picture of my Dad in front of the flag he...

Let's leave that there. Six, almost seven years on and that wound is still raw. Some pain never goes away in this life.

You may notice the cat in the background, that's Spooky, one of my Mom's two cats. She's found a nice place in the window. Sometimes I like to do that, sit by the window and watch the birds, the clouds, the wind stirring the tall pines behind the house. It's peaceful.

It's also, I know, ephemeral. Nothing on this Earth lasts forever.

Not sure why I'm so maudlin tonight, perhaps it's due to the horrendous cold I came down with last night. Woke up feeling like Satan was dripping napalm down the back of my throat. So I'm a bit miserable today. (Friday to be precise, unless the cold goes away overnight, I'm sure that will be a true statement on Saturday when you read this.) When I'm ill I have too much time to think, and to remember. Expect a lot of stories of Christmases past this month. Memories can give comfort, they can bring pain. Christmas memories always comfort me.

A couple of readers shared some good stuff with me on Friday. Russ, who was my sergeant on Okinawa, and from whom I learned much, about the F-4 Phantom and about life, had the following in a comment. (In case you missed it.)

The traditions of Christmas have changed much through the ages.
Not a bit like it was on the night of those three sages.
To find the Savior of Man, they had traveled so far,
To a village they were guided by that bright Eastern Star.

There they found him, The Child, in a crib filled with hay.
And the presents they brought we recall to this day;
Frankincense, and Gold, so precious, and Myrrh.
Were they gifts rare and of value? They certainly were.

The first Santa was St Nicholas who, as legends relate,
Knew three young pretty maidens who bewailed of their fate.
They all wished to be married, but of dowry had none.
To each he gave a golden ball; the weddings were soon done.

Now gifts are brought by Santa Claus; a fat, old, jolly soul.
Who, with elves and Mrs. Santa, lives way up at the North Pole.
On Christmas Eve, upon his sleigh, he loads a lot of toys.
And takes them 'round the world to good little girls and boys.

The giving of gifts still goes on to this day,
But we observe that tradition in a much different way.
Today it's clothing, or games, a tool set, a ring.
What can you get, for that someone, who has everything?

The right gift can be found: don't look far, don't look wide.
It can be in your heart if you'll just look inside.
Many good things are free: the moon and stars up above,
But the best gift of all is friendship and love.

Christmas is the happiest time of the year.
The world's full of laughter, full of hope, joy, and cheer.
So rejoice, but remember what this day was meant to be:
The day our Lord came down to earth to save both you and me.

Frank J. Montoya
Poet Laureate, City of Fountain
That's Fountain in Colorado BTW. Wow, they have their own Poet Laureate! Well, I've always had a soft spot for Colorado. The Missus Herself likes to tell people she's "from" Colorado. It's the first place we lived when we came home from Korea. Both daughters were born there and I went to college there. It's a lovely place with awesome people.

Another thing passed along to me by Mike aka Proof (whom I count as a friend who I hopefully will meet in person some day), was the following beautiful collection of music about my favorite month. It's long, give it a listen if you will, I wrote this post while this played in the background. It's really good, especially if you love December and Christmas. Which I most unashamedly do.


* Oh yes, that tune from the Dropkick Murphys will be featured here before the month is out. I guarantee!

Friday, December 2, 2016

My Favorite Month

Given what month it is and the fact that the lead photo is one of Christmas lights on a snowy fence, one would have to be rather thick not to be able to guess to which month the title of the post refers. January? Nope. November? Nope. (Both are eligible because snow is possible in both of those months, also as some folks put their decorations up early, others take them down late, if at all.)

If you guessed December, then pat yourself on the back, for it certainly is the Sarge's favorite month. (Don't feel bad if you guessed wrong, I ain't that clever a fellow myself. In my profession "clever" is frowned upon as it is equivalent to saying "unmaintainable by anyone other than the person who wrote it." Yes, I am in the software business, no, I am not clever. Oh, don't confuse "clever" with "elegant," totally different. Elegant is good, clever is bad. As to my own personal level of "cleverness," do you know how many years it was before the true meaning of the pseudonym NaCly Dog struck me? More than I care to mention. Not clever, not me. But I digress...)

Perhaps the main reason I enjoy December so much is that it is the holiday season, which for me starts at Thanksgiving and ends with Epiphany in January. (For those who are interested in such things, in Germany, Epiphany is known as Dreikönigstag, I'll leave the pondering of that and it's meaning to you. Hint: Google is your friend in that regard.)

Yes, I suppose I enjoy the holiday more for it's colorful decorations, pretty lights, gift-giving (and getting, I'm not squeamish in that regard), and all around "good cheer." Though that last bit is rather strained these days. Those are the things I remember from my youth. It was also (and sometimes still is) a time for families to come together and celebrate.

I was reminiscing with my brother about how many people used to be crammed into our wee house on Christmas Day. Not all at once mind you, but they would come in waves, first one set of grandparents, then the other. Then an uncle and aunt. Perhaps a cousin would be with them, often multiple sets of uncles and aunts. A full house of happy people is a joy to behold. It's what I remember as a kid.

I guess that stuck with me over the years as I always look forward to this month with a great deal of excitement. Is December perfect and wonderful every year? No, of course not. But if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that my percentage of outstanding Decembers (as opposed to "meh" Decembers) runs close to 95%, even higher if memory serves. (Which as I get older happens not as reliably as it used to.)

Another thing I love about December will no doubt elicit a few groans from the readership. That would be the white stuff, snow. The fluffy, gently falling kind, not the Nor'easter blowing in your face, holy crap we're all going to freeze to death kind. (That usually waits until January.) In December the snow in these parts (if we get any at all) is typically minimal and of the "gone by noon" variety. Still and all it presents a picturesque and Christmas-y feel. Though I don't recall having snow on the ground for any of the 18 Decembers we've been residing in Little Rhody. For that we had to go further North, I have seen a few White Christmases in New Hampshire and Vermont since I retired from Uncle Sam's Aerial Follies. One of which was perhaps a tad too white, think 18+ inches of snow. In about six hours. Fortunately we were indoors the whole day.

I thought it looked pretty, The Olde Vermonter, who had to drive in it, wasn't as appreciative. Can't say I blame him. I also remember that Christmas (well, Boxing Day to be precise) as the last time I ever got to shovel snow with my Dad.

Funny the things you miss.


While in my idle youth and nearly pagan days of being a card carrying member of the aforementioned military service I wasn't nearly as observant of the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday as I am these days.

Yes, yes, I know that the 25th of December was chosen by Holy Mother Church to piggyback on the pagan Winter Solstice holiday season and that the Lord was probably not actually born in December. I get that, but during the aforementioned pagan times of my existence, while I acknowledged the "reason for the season," I didn't view the Birth of the Christ as the main reason for the season.

Older, and perhaps wiser, I now truly enjoy that aspect of the season. I shudder to think what would have become of me if The Missus Herself hadn't determined 18-odd years ago that we would be a church going family and "yes, you will go upstairs and put on something decent AND you will go to church AND you will enjoy it."

Though I had my doubts, I went and, wouldn't you know it, I did enjoy it. (Well, admittedly it took a few Sundays before I really got into it.) The older I get and the more I think about it, though Christmas is a lot of fun for me, it wouldn't be the same without the religious aspect.

There's something about a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve with a choir softly singing "Silent Night." Truly special to me, when I have my own bairns and their own bairns home for Christmas, I feel truly blessed. And my Mom, Dad is gone, but Mom, dear Mom, I love seeing her at Christmas as well.

So yeah, I like December. A lot.

Even though it is the beginning of winter with all that that entails in this neck of the woods. But no one who has ever experienced the harshness of a New England winter cannot but fail to appreciate the coming of Spring.

Four seasons are great. But December, I love it so.

This carol sounds lovely in any language, but I like it most in the original language. Have I mentioned how special Christmas is in Germany? No? Don't worry, I will. Eventually.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sleep? What's That?

(Original Photo Source)
Good morning and welcome aboard Old AF Sarge Airlines Flight 9672 with non-stop service to wherever we feel like going.

Please pay attention as the cardboard cutouts, er, cabin crew explain the safety features of this blog.

If you look directly overhead you will see the ceiling of whatever room you are currently seated in. Unless you're outdoors then you will see the sky. If you are aboard ship then you will see the overhead. Which is what the nautical types call a ceiling.

Why? I don't know, I was in the Air Force. A ceiling was a ceiling, unless you were aircrew, then it was something else altogether different.


  • the upper interior surface of a room or other similar compartment.
  • an upper limit, typically one set on prices, wages, or expenditure.
  • the maximum altitude that a particular aircraft can reach.
  • the altitude of the base of a cloud layer.

2. the inside planking of a ship's bottom and sides. (Source)

Oh. Maybe #2 is why they call what's over your head an overhead in the nautical services. As ceiling is something else on a ship. Or as the thing is over one's head, calling it an overhead just makes sense. But in that case, why does the Navy call the floor the deck. Why isn't it called the "underfoot." Hhmm, deep question worthy of further cogitation and analysis. Or not.

Now where was I? Oh yes, the ceiling, if we experience a loss of cabin pressure then nothing will fall out of the ceiling / overhead. One has to assume that the room you're sitting in is not pressurized at all, so the loss of cabin pressure might mean that someone forgot to close a window. As it's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere you might want to close that window. I'll wait while you do that.

In the event of a water landing hold the device you're using over your head, otherwise it will get wet and probably cease to function. Now if the water is too deep you're going to look pretty silly holding your cellphone, tablet, or computer over your head (no, no, no, not the overhead, "over your head") while you are drowning. Best let the device go and save yourself.

Oh yes, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Until it sinks, or not at all if you're sitting on an anvil. But I digress.

Yes, it's another "Gee the Sarge didn't get much sleep last night did he?" post. Well, I did, sort of. I got to bed at a reasonable hour but woke up at 0430. (Which at this time of year can also be expressed as "zero dark thirty" as it is rather dark out at that time.) The feline staff, who have yet to adjust to Eastern Standard Time, were somewhat elated that perhaps it was time to have breakfast.

Well, it wasn't. Crestfallen, they made no attempt to go back to sleep but were content to just sit there on the bed and look pathetic and cute. That and poke me with a paw every five minutes. I have learned that the first poke is gentle and soft. The second a bit more forceful, the third will have just a hint of claw.

I have never stayed in bed long enough to see what the fourth poke is like. As my "mama didn't raise no fool." Which, if you're still reading this post, you may seriously doubt.

So I am sleeping well, just not sleeping long. While my rational thought processes, such as they are, are sufficient to get me through the day at my paying job, by nightfall I am a bit mentally "winded."

I try to walk it off between arrival at the manse and dinner, but sometimes it's a bit much.

Thinking that is.

I wrote this post Tuesday night in anticipation of posting it Wednesday morning. However, Tuna stepped in and had his marvelous post up in time for Wednesday, delaying this post (the one you're reading now) until Thursday. So bear that in mind as you read the post, the published time slipped by an entire day. (Though this particular paragraph and the next were written Wednesday.) So while I am still tired, I did sleep well and long on Tuesday night. Now that Tuna has given me Wednesday off, I can sleep some more.

Nah, I'll probably just read and stay up too late. Again...

Anyhoo, make sure that your seatbelts are fastened, your seatback is in the upright position, and your tray table is stowed. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have (to blatantly steal from Suldog) "more better stuff."

Or at least something a bit more coherent.

We shall see.

(Original photo source)

This here is what you call the "fine print." Here is where I would list any disclaimers, modifiers, pseudonyms, or harmful ingredients which Proof's lawyer might find actionable. Or something. Dear Lord but I am tired...


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Hardest Day

Battle of Britain Movie Poster                                                                                                  Source

I'm straying into Sarge's territory here, WWII aviation history in Europe, but here goes.  I'm not sure how I missed this, but just over a month ago was the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.  However, a year before that, a great event was held commemorating the 75th. A little more than a year ago to be exact- August 18th, a day known as “The Hardest Day”  That's the name given to a WWII air battle fought during the Battle of Britain in 1940 between the Nazi German Luftwaffe and British Royal Air Force (RAF).                                                                                

While this event was probably documented in some sort of print media or online in the UK, I only heard about it the other day via an email from a friend of mine. He’s not a reader of The Chant, but he is a great American and aviation fan himself, being an employee of Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) until it merged with US Air in 1987.  4F during Viet Nam due to medical issues, he’s served vicariously through his two sons- one in the Marine Corps, and one in the Army.  A history buff himself, I get things like this from him fairly often. Maybe I should share more. I’ll start with this one for now.

Aircraft partcipating in the flyover parked on Biggin Hill Airfield south of London             Source

Reenactors race to their planes
Actual photo from WWII the battle                                                                 Source
Pilots during the Battle of Britain had to race to their planes, sometimes several times a day, in order to get airborne in time to counter the Luftwaffe aircraft attacking Britain.

More Spitfires over southern England                                                            Source


These special two-seat Spitfires were among the veteran aircraft to take part in the commemoration 

This was part of a plan by the Germans to invade Britain, Codenamed Operation Sealion, but air supremacy had to be achieved first.  Hermann Goering predicted that the could destroy the RAF within four day, assuming the weather cooperated and he started pounding air strips across the south of England.
Goering in 1936                                       Source

So during the summer of 1940, the skies over the south of England became a battle ground as the Luftwaffe, led by Goering, launched a war of attrition with the RAF.  The Luftwaffe started by attacking coastal shipping and dive-bombing ports, but by August, they had switched their tactics to directly targeting the RAF.


Messerschmitt Bf-109

According to the caption on Pinterest, this is an actual photo of a Bf-109 as it flew over the English Channel during the Battle of Britain.
From August 13, the Germans sent a mixture of light, medium and dive bombers protected by fighters to attack the RAF. Fighter command responded by sending their force of Hurricanes after the bombers, while the Spitfires were ordered to patrol higher and engage the Luftwaffe's fighters.

Everyone loves the Spitfire, but apparently it was the Hurricane that was the more influential fighter during the battle.  It was cheaper to build and an easier fighter to fly, but wasn't as aerobatic as it's more popular hangar-mate.


On The Hardest Day, the Luftwaffe had assembled 2,200 aircrew and launched 850 missions against targets in the south of England, launching three major strikes, looking to destroy the airfields at Kenley, Biggen Hill, Gosport, Ford, Thorney Island, Hornchurch and North Weald.  The RAF launched 900 missions involving 600 aircrew to stop them.  Earlier in the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe launched attacks from Norway targeting northeast England, trying to divide the RAF's resources.  

Following the raids that day however, the RAF and Fleet Air Arm had lost 68 aircraft with the Germans losing 69, but over the entire battle which lasted most of the summer and half of the fall, the RAF had lost 1012 aircraft and 537 crew, compared to 1918 Aircraft and more than 2600 aircrew for the Luftwaffe.  The act of defiance, while incredibly costly to the RAF, was not the decisive blow intended by Hitler, which would have allowed him to launch Operation Sealion, plans for which were cancelled shortly thereafter. The Hardest Day was not only the turning point of the Battle of Britain, it was the turning point of the whole war.
 There's a very good summary of the battle here if you're interested.

The commemoration was made up of 18 Spitfires and six Hurricanes - each with their wonderfully sounding Rolls-Royce Merlin engines - as they took to the sky watched by thousands of supporters and veterans.  As in the first pictures, the pilots of the 24 aircraft scrambled before forming up into three flights, with one flying west over Surrey, West Sussex, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, a second flying east over the former RAF bases in Kent and the third going south east over Seven oaks and Ashford to make a special salute over the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-Le-Ferne on the white cliffs of Dover.

They then returned to Biggin Hill for several fly pasts, before a lone Spitfire performed a victory roll over the crowd and runway.  

Veterans gather by a Spitfire at the commemoration day of the Battle of Britain, at Biggin Hill airport in Kent. It was the airborne fight that saved Britain from falling to the Nazis.

Mustang in RAF livery

I'm not sure to what extent this Mustang participated in the commemoration, but it was apparently a popular display. 

HAWKER                HURRICANE
1030hp                Rolls-Royce Merlin engine
1,030hp                Rolls-Royce Merlin engine
36ft                11
29ft                11
31ft                4
TOP                SPEED
Eight                - .303 Browning machine guns
Eight                - .303 Browing machine            guns

Most of the info came from my friend's email which appears to be from a post in The Daily Mail Online, I only added some writing to help the transitions and a few pictures as sourced, via Fair Use.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yesterday Was Monday, Or So I'm Told


The following post may contain opinions, commentary, and semi-witty remarks which may or may not have accurately reflected my mood at the time the post was written. The post was prepared on machinery which may or may not have been in contact with nuts, gluten, polyunsaturated fats, corn oil, refined sugar, coffee, cheese, cheese food, and cheesy remarks. Some words may not be suitable for small children or progressives. Contains small parts which may pose a problem for those with an oral fixation. May or may not contain material suitable for framing. All content is the intellectual property of some guy named Thad (who, fortunately, doesn't know any lawyers, barristers, or solicitors. No, not that Thad, a different one). Any photos used by the writer of the post unless otherwise marked belong to the person who took the photo. Said person may (or may not) be me. If a photo has a "source" in the caption, go look thither, as you may (or may not) be closer to the actual photographer. All items herein are marked "Fair Use" and are solely educational in nature. (If I could make money doing this do you think I'd still be doing the old "nine to five"?) So on and so forth, the party of the first part makes no claim of accuracy in regards to the party of the tenth part, but may do so when pigs fly.

Alrighty then. Can you tell I wrote this on a Monday night. No?

Okay, I'll be explicit. I wrote this on a Monday night. In fact, that last sentence was typed into my computer on or about the 28th of November in the Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Sixteen at approximately 1904 Eastern Standard Time. In other words, Mickey's big hand  was on the four and Mickey's little hand was on the seven. As it was dark and in this latitude the sun is above the horizon when Mickey's hands are positioned as in the aforementioned position, it was postmeridian, or afternoon. Actually it was evening, okay? Monday evening to be precise.

Further proof (if such is required) that the 28th of November was a Monday.
Man, I am being long-winded and...

Ahem, alrighty then.

Monday, the day I wrote this, was the first day back at work after the Thanksgiving holiday, which for me was five days long. Not to get into a discussion of relativity but Monday and Tuesday of last week lasted approximately a century, whereas Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday lasted approximately five minutes. Roughly.

So I'm a bit crotchety (not cranky though, don't want to incur Joe's wrath) and out of sorts. I have every confidence that I will soon be over it.

On that note...

The Communists portrayed in the previous sketch have all expired, assumed room temperature, or otherwise departed this vale of tears... Yes, that's right boys and girls, Fidel, much like Francisco Franco, is still dead. And that's all I've got to say about that. (And yes, I know, Fidel Castro wasn't actually in that sketch. I claim artistic license. Or something.)

In summary, that was all rather a long way to say, "I've got nothing..."

Now, I'm off to get some sleep, I think I need it.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Had a great Thanksgiving weekend, thanks for asking.

Spent a bit of time since Wednesday on my Daughter in Law's Christmas present.  The expectation is that it might even be finished by Christmas.  One hopes it will be ready, but when the guy talks about a "bit of Sanding", he's the master of the understatement.

Wednesday, Mrs Juvat and I took a road trip to Copperas Cove, Home of Fort Hood and the 1st Cavalry Division.  No, I'm not enlisting in the Army, or even visiting the base.  Our mission is to rescue the Daughter's car which had smote a large deer back in early October.  3 weeks to repair, it took (Stop with the Yoda, Juvat!).  The Daughter and I arranged a 3 sided rendezvous whereby she brought Little Juvat's jeep over here, we went to Copperas Cove to pick up the car, and then would go our separate ways.  Not to be.

The electronic ignition got a little banged up so the car wouldn't start when we got there.  They insisted it had worked before they called us.  So, I completed the circuit dropping my daughter in College Station where she would be attending the A&M football game with my Daughter in Law.  She would then ride with the Daughter in Law home where she would pick up the jeep again and use it until her car is fixed.

So, Mrs Juvat and I drove to Copperas Cove on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving to pick up the car.  Coming home was traveling "with traffic".  Took us an hour and a half to traverse Marble Falls, a town of about 6900 and less than 5 miles wide.  (2.21 to be exact, or as exact as Google Earth is.)
An hour and a half to travel down that black line til it crosses the Colorado River?  YGBSM!  Nope!

Fortunately, I have a classical music playlist on my phone and my truck has blue tooth.

I've flown Red Flag missions that weren't as involved as the rescue and recovery of the Daughter's Tiguan.

Thanksgiving itself was spent in the People's Republic of Austin visiting my niece, their brand new daughter, her husband and his family.  Arrived about 2, and the Grand Niece was a tad cranky.  She's 13 weeks old, so all the people was causing sensory overload.  Mrs Juvat immediately launched into Mom mode, took charge of the Grand Niece and a few minutes later, the baby is racked out in her lap.  Course, that meant to maintain the nap, sustenance must be conveyed to the nap inducer.  Proud to serve I was.
And we hadn't even had the roasted triptophan yet.

In between calls for more wine, I watched the Lions play Minnesota, only because the TV was on out back where the guys were hanging out talking.  First Pro Game I've watched in easily 10 years.  Yawn!  WHOGAS?  Buncha overpaid thugs.

The dinner was a fairly standard menu, with a few twists thrown in.  The turkey was tasty.  Smoked Balogna was .....Interesting.  The corn pudding was excellent as was the cranberry dressing.  Salads and pies were abundant.  I tried the former and passed on the latter.  The Blood Sugar was taking a hit as it was.  

My Green Chili Mac and Cheese was a big hit.  I thought it a bit bland, but not knowing the audience, I decided to leave out the Hot Pepper Flakes.  Just a dash, really, but kicks up the flavor profile.

The drive back over to Rancho Juvat was uneventful.  None of the deer spotted along the road decided to play chicken with me.  Given that I have yet to make the first payment on my truck (officially known as "My Truck"), I was grateful.

Friday it was back to sanding. Discretion being the much better part of valor, I avoided Black Friday by staying home....and sanding. 

Saturday, my most beautiful Daughter, my Daughter in Law and I needed to venture out to Lowes.  I needed more sandpaper, but I actually believe that light up ahead is the end of the sanding tunnel (train whistle be dammed), so I bought the stain and finish.

Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, was early Church.  I do like this time of year with the Christmas Hymns.  Gets a little dusty in the church at times for me.  It's a Trade Days Weekend, so the Wife is out there selling, and my Sister is manning her store against the Black Friday Hordes.  The Daughter has gone back to Austin to prepare for her workweek.  The Daughter in Law decided to head to San Antonio to do some holiday shopping and contribute to what Instapundit has described as the best Black Friday in 10 years.  I wonder how that can be?


I sanded.....Took a nap......Sanded.......and wrote this.  Because....I got nothin' else.

Now, if I can just find my table saw.