Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Batman


So, Sunday night I hear Anya running back and forth in the upstairs hallway. Rather atypical behavior on her part unless, of course, she's chasing something. But the back and forth aspect confused me, if she were chasing a mouse, the mouse would go to ground as quickly as it could, not run up and down the hallway. That's a pretty good way for a mouse to commit suicide-by-cat.

So I head aloft to see what all the fuss is about. When I get upstairs Anya is sitting there looking at me as if to say, "What took you so long?" As I'm looking at her I see movement in my peripheral vision, not on the floor mind you, but in the air. About chest height.

Hhmm, a bird in the house? How the heck did that happen? Then I see the UFO in the air in planform, 'tis not a bird but a mammal.

Yup, classic bat shape. It's also worth noting that the little buggers are like mice in their ability to squeeze through very small openings. So unless The Missus Herself had had the door open (which happens, the storm door is in need of replacement and doesn't close properly, unless one grips it and forces it closed), I figure the little fellow got confused and chased supper into the house. Probably through some wee opening which I couldn't find.

But now I have a bat in the house, a rather panicked bat as he/she had been chased by a cat. Anya the cat, to be precise.

Now Anya was never much of a hunter, that was Sasha's strong suit, but since Sasha's passing Anya has taken an interest in hunting. We saw mouse sign in the house in mid-July, Anya was paying close attention to  the nooks and crannies favored by rodents. Since my return from Sandy Eggo in August, haven't seen any rodent-sign in the domicile. I'm guessing Anya's attentions to that problem have driven the mice back outside.

Anyhoo, Anya wanted to catch the bat, as she can't fly that notion was problematic to say the least. The Missus Herself opened the window and the screen in the room where the flying mammal had last been spotted. Thirty minutes passed with no further bat sightings, until I heard a yell from downstairs.

The bat had flown down there. (Must have been a young, inexperienced bat, his/her sonar obviously hadn't spotted the open window.)

I went to the shed and got the net (which we use in the koi pond, no Virgil, not so we can eat them). By the time I returned The Missus Herself had opened more windows. Also, the bat was no longer downstairs.

So back upstairs I went and sat myself down to continue watching 1864 (it's pretty good IMHO). Moments later I felt the flutter of leathery wings pass close aboard. Freaking bat was in the man cave!

So Anya and I turned to and resumed the hunt with net and flashlight. (Truth be told, Anya was now more interested in the flashlight than the bat, yes, I did indulge her with that.) After some long moments of stalking, interspersed with Anya chasing the flashlight beam, I realized that the bat was nowhere to be found.

I rattled curtains, shone my light into nooks and crannies above ground level. Nada, nichts, nothing. So I went around closing windows, though it was chilly last night, the little bugs were being attracted to the lights in the house. Reasoning that those same little bugs probably attracted the bat's attention as well, I presumed the bat had returned to its natural habitat.

The night wore on, no leathery wings fluttered, no small flying things hovered in the peripheral vision, I assumed that the bat adventure was over. Awakened in the morning, no bat reports from The Missus Herself and Anya had not seen anything during the night worth chasing (or mentioning). So adventure over, no bats in the house.

So I guess...



Anya is, of course, the Batcat. My trusted sidekick. She was never into ground warfare, she's apparently a devotee of anti-air warfare.

Sorry Juvat...

Update!

Seems that the bat did not make his/her get-away on Monday night but spent the entire night and all of Tuesday in the house, catching 40 winks somewhere. When The Missus Herself came home in the evening, the bat decided to awaken and flutter around the downstairs. Doors and windows were flung open and the bat made a dash for freedom. Unfortunately the storm door at the front of the house hadn't been opened yet and he/she flew into the screen.

Stunned, the wee bat lay there for a moment. As I dashed to open the screen door and help him/her outside, the little bugger came to life and began fluttering about once more, sans clue, sans exit strategy. (Kinda like certain generals I know.)

But now the front storm door being open, the bat made his/her escape. We think.

We shall see...



Monday, September 20, 2021

Sequins, Sequence, Seguin

 I had a really good Medal of Honor post all ginned up based on a recipient I recently read about in a post at Military.Com.  So I began researching it by searching Google. (Yes Beans, I used Brave as the browser, private mode through Tor, to attempt to throw Google off the scent.) Funny thing was, one of the first returns I got  had a address of oldafsarge.blogspot.com. Clicked the link and turns out it was the third one I'd published in the series. I still think it's a really good Medal of Honor post, but I didn't want to repost and that left me with no good back up subject.

So....There I was*..... early this month, suffering from Ground Hog Day syndrome which also seemed to be running rampant in the family.  Mrs J, being the astute observer and caring individual she is, started plotting  planning.  Any inquiries I made into her activities were shut down instantly with a "Top Secret, Need to Know only", comment.  I would return to my cave and rejoin my waiting Sudoku game.  After a few days of this, she presented me with a packing list and told me to get a bag packed as we were leaving the next day.  

Now, I have a strict rule in effect.  I am boycotting airlines until they lift the mask rule.  My boycott so far has taken out TWA, Braniff and Continental,  I think United will be next.

OK, maybe not exactly. But, I am not taking an Airline until they lift the rule.

When queried about that, she said travel would be by car and would be within a couple of hours drive.

"Well...OK then! Where to?"

"Seguin" 

Beans, it's pronounced si-GEEN. It's a middle sized town about 35 miles East of San Antonio.  It's named after Juan Seguin, one of the original men who helped Texas achieve independence.

 

Source

So, we leave about 3 the next afternoon, arriving in downtown San Antonio at 4:30.  San Antonio, much like Austin and Houston, has done a lot of growing lately, and not in a good way.  And...I-10 East is under construction, with several single lane construction areas.

Yes, Beans, many bad words were spoken, some even by Mrs J.

But we made it to Seguin. Mrs J had reserved an AirBnB house on River Oak drive,  so I assumed it would be somewhere near the Guadalupe River.

Pulled up to the house and parked.  We were joined almost simultaneously by MBD and SIL and DIL.  The front of the house was nothing special, so we went inside and were pleasantly surprised by the view from the back (upper) deck.


Yes, we WERE near the Guadalupe River.

Had to check out the water, so scurried down to see what was there. 


The view upstream which is to the left side of the landing, notice the light seems to be coming from that direction. That will be important in a short while.

The view from the dock.  Photo was taken the following morning.

I had arisen comparatively early (as compared to the rest of the clan), to capture preferred seating on the dock.



The sole living creature, other than myself, in sight was a heron across the river. Ahh, life in the fast lane!

So, what did you do, all day, juvat?

Funny you should ask, Beans.


I read.


I read some more...and napped


Properly rested now, I read and watched the world (ok the river) go by.

SIL discovered a Kayak in the storage room so decided he'd go for a paddle.  I thought nothing of it as he's fairly athletic.  So he takes off paddling quite speedily.  MBD has joined me at this point.  I ask her how long SIL has been kayaking.  She replies "As far as I know, this is his first time."

I am a bit concerned.

Here he is returning about an hour + later.

I'm standing on the right side of the dock

Notice that the light is coming from the left side of the picture. Why was I concerned?

Bonus Sarge Points to the first correct answer.

That evening we celebrated DIL's Birthday.



Little J didn't make it in time for the blowing out of the candles, but he did put in an appearance for the present opening.



The following morning we went our merry ways. No Beans, I didn't take the Interstate back.  I decided I'd take Texas FM12 and view the "Devil's Backbone".  My blood pressure was much lower on arrival home.

We had fun and it was well planned and executed by Mrs J. (No surprise there!)

Peace out, y'all!

*SJC

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Autumn

September Afternoon

The summer wanes, the light in the late afternoon takes on a different hue as the sun sets in the west, it's more mellow, softer if you will. One of the things I like about where I live is that we sit up on a small hill so that the sunrises and sunsets are easily viewed.

I don't care for the wide vistas of the Plains, sure you can see what's coming, but it can see you as well. Perhaps having grown up in the woods I'm just more comfortable there. I "feel" the forest around me, I know what sounds normal and what might indicate danger in the area. It's something I'm used to, a setting I'm comfortable with.

I've lived out there on the Plains, you can see for miles. Frankly, I feel exposed out there. I need the shelter of the trees, the protection of the hills and mountains. Yes, there are hazards in both places. Tornados, though rare here they do occur, are far more prevalent out there on the Plains. Here you have the occasional hurricane to contend with, lots of wind, lots of rain, so far we've been lucky in that respect in the twenty-two years we've lived here, a couple of close calls, but nothing like the typhoons I experienced on Okinawa.

But autumn is special here, soon the leaves will start to turn, the colors can be intense, the hills alive with bright colors can take your breath away. The air smells different, it's hard to explain, but those who know, they know.

I went through a long period of not really caring for the fall season. Part of that was having played high school football for four years and then not playing any more. I missed it a great deal. But as the years passed, I began to love fall once more.

It's almost here, I can nearly smell it in the air. Yes, I know what follows but I enjoy winter. I know it sounds odd but I am like a little kid when it starts snowing. It's exciting, the world becomes bright and shiny.

I know, it gets cold too, but here in Little Rhody it's nothing like where I grew up. I've seen temperatures as low as -40° in Vermont. I've been outside in -30° weather, delivering newspapers. Mind you, that's without any wind chill. The smoke from the chimneys in the valley would rise straight up into the air. Just seeing that you knew that it was cold outside, you only referred to a thermometer to see what number was associated with the cold.

At -40° school would be cancelled, often you couldn't get the buses started anyway. Safer to just stay home. At -30° you just had to be careful, one day I came close to not taking Mother Nature seriously. Might have cost me a few toes if I hadn't recognized the signs and got indoors. It can kill you if you're not paying attention.

But for now I'll enjoy early fall, it's usually pretty mild here at this time of year. We may see a day in the mid to high 80s, but that's rare enough.

Today though, is magnificent, so I enjoy it. Let tomorrow worry about itself.

This weather makes me smile.



Saturday, September 18, 2021

Where Did the Summer Go?


It hit me Friday morning, well, it was close to morning, when I awakened from an exhausted, dreamless sleep. It's mid-September, past mid-September really. Based on the southern march of the sun, summer ends in four days. Based on my personal calendar, it ended almost three weeks ago. Based on the weather, well, let's just say the summer goes, then returns for a bit and will do that here in Little Rhody until October sometime. Further north there is already a bite in the air at night.

For me it's been a year without summer. Since I heard the words, "she's in the early stages of kidney disease," it became a time of waiting, followed by a time of mourning, which continues in varying stages.

Going out to Sandy Eggo to work on the ship has been a big help, busy, busy, busy. No time to mourn really, no time to wallow in the agony of loss. Which has helped me keep my sanity. Every now and then I find myself dwelling on loss, my own, that of others, and what it means to me.

Staggering down the stairs to get a cup of coffee, I was still groggy and only partially awake. I expected to see a familiar face look up from the back of the couch where she liked to sleep. It hit me, hard, she's gone. Her sister remains, and don't get me wrong, she's an awesome cat, but she doesn't have her sister's passion. Sasha lived life to the fullest, she was more than a cat, she was a friend, she was a constant companion for nearly eighteen years. Her not being here is a physical thing, something is missing. Anya knows this as well, she still looks for her sister, then looks to me as if to say, "What have you done with her?"

There are things we do for our companion animals, good and not so good things. The last decision one must make for a beloved companion is often the toughest decision one must make. I've had to do it, I'm sure you all have as well. I always wonder if it truly was the right thing to do. They come to me in my dreams to reassure me that they bear no grudge. But is that real, or is it my brain trying to comfort itself?

I don't know.

I'm looking forward to going out to the ship again, knowing that it might be the last time, retirement looms and I'm not getting any younger. The next few months will determine whether or not I really will hang up my virtual spurs at the end of next year.

I remember when it was time to retire from the Air Force, it was nice knowing that there were certain things I wouldn't have to do any more. Then there were the things that I knew that I would miss. But staying wasn't an option, it was time to move on.

Just like the summer, I will eventually move on from the massive sense of loss I'm  currently experiencing. But all things must pass, new things come, old things go.

But for the moment, the pain of loss is nearly overwhelming...



On the Mend
Chris Shiflett, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel & Dave Grohl 

One more day that I've survived
Another night alone
Pay no mind I'm doing fine
I'm breathing on my own

I'm here
And I'm on the mend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend my friend

Wake me when the hour arrives
Wake me with my name
See you somewhere down the line
We're tethered once again

I'm here
And I'm on the mend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend my friend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend my friend

Was it you
Sat alone
Here we go

Close your eyes and stay a while
To take me where you go
Single file we walk the mile
Who's wandering back home

I'm here
And I'm on the mend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend my friend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend
I'm here
And I'm on the mend my friend

Was it you
Sat alone
Here we go
Here we go
Here we go
Here we go


Friday, September 17, 2021

Dame Bramaged

 Oh, boy, so sorry for this, gotta toss something together and you're getting brain leftovers tonight.  

Mrs. Andrew has a rather nasty tooth infection that flared up at the last minute and now we're dealing with that.  So tomorrow first thing call the doc and get some antibiotics and then go hunting for functional dentists who will be willing to rip out said tooth and maybe another tooth without charging an arm and a leg.

Until such time as she can get relief from the pain either by antibiotics or ripping the tooth out, we'll just have to muddle along using hot compresses, hot tea, tea-bag poultices on the area (the tannin helps draw out the infection) and excessive flossing to keep the infection going out, not in.

The reason for needing to find a new dentist is because the dentist that last worked on the tooth promised oh so heartily that she'd be able to 'save' the tooth, when Mrs. Andrew was ready to get it yanked out four years ago.  Lack of decent follow-up care or giveadamn by said dentist has us now scrambling for another one.  And hopefully one who will be willing to listen to us.

And the dental insurance doesn't take effect for another 6 darned months.  Darned it.

Oh, well, woe is me blah blah blah.  Life sucks, deal with it.

Instead, enchiladas.  Made by a fat white guy.  Wanna get all stroppy over cultural appropriation?  Then give up your cars, your refrigerators, your air conditioning, electricity, modern indoor plumbing, modern clothes, European style houses.

Enchiladas - Beans style

1 chicken breast, cut up into little bitty pieces.
1 clump of cilantro chopped up real fine (warsh the darned stuff first or you'll be eating sand)
1 can Pinto Beans
1 large or 2 small cans enchilada sauce
1 large or 2 small cans petite diced tomatoes (oh, sure, you could use fresh, but why?)(drained, drink the liquid, it's tomato juice for God's sake.)
Ground Cumin
Ground Chili Pepper
20 corn tortillas
2lb bag of shredded Cheddar cheese (or whatever your favorite mix of cheese for Mexish food you like)

In a large fry pan, brown the chicken in oil (I use bacon grease because IT'S THE SOUTH!)(and tasty) and adding Cumin and Chili Powder as you like it, lots if you like it, not so much if you don't.  Me?  Cover the chicken with Cumin and half the chicken with Chili Powder.)

Once brown and not sweating out liquid no more, add the cilantro, the Pinto beans and half the enchilada sauce and boil that stuff down until it's nice and thick and almost a paste (stir lots.)   If you want, toss in about a cup of cheese and melt it in.

Meanwhile, get a really large pan, or 2 smaller 8x8 pans, and grease that pan (or pans) up (with bacon grease, or butter, or, well, whatever, just not car grease)

Take a couple paper towel sheets, moisten, place 10 tortillas on the paper towels, wrap, place on plate, microwave for 1 minute.

Get a large plate, place between your fry pan full of goodness and the oven pan(s).  Plop the 10 hot tortillas on your large plate.

Add the other 10 tortillas onto the paper towel, wrap, toss in the microwave and cook for a minute.

Now, take 1/16th of the mixture and put it in a line in the center of the top hot tortilla.  Roll it, place it in the oven pan.  Continue for 7 more per side of big pan or 8 total in one small pan.  You should have 2 tortillas left over.  Plop the next 10 on top, finish off the filling and placing them in the other side of the pan or in the other pan.  You should now have 4 tortillas left over.

Pour your remaining enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas.

Pour your drained tomatoes on top of enchiladas.

Pour remaining cheese on top of enchiladas.

Smoosh down on the cheese to even everything out.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then bake at 424 for another 10-15, until the cheese is browned to your liking.

Now is the important part.  Your pan is full of sticky enchilada waste.  And you have 4 tortillas left over.  Waste. Tortillas. Hey, you're the cook, wipe that waste up with the tortillas and enjoy a snack while you're cleaning up.

Serve with your favorite sauce and sour cream and some Spanish or Mexican rice (in those neat microwave bags.)

2 enchiladas per person is a good serving.  That leaves, for two people, 3 more nights' worth.  Reheat 4 enchiladas in a microwave pan for another night's dinner (nukes for about 6-7 minutes.)  And then freeze 2 night's worth of 4 tortillas each wrapped in plastic wrap within a tight ziploc bag (thawed takes about 7-8 minutes of nuking, frozen takes more...)

Udder dan dat, I gots nothing.

So, well, here's a tune from the America I grew up in.

Neil Diamond's "America"
It's a good tune, full of hope and love for this country

Far, we've been traveling far
Without a home but not without a star
Free, only want to be free
We huddle close, hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America

Home, don't it seem so far away
We're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Every time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They're coming to America
Got a dream they've come to share
They're coming to America

They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America
They're coming to America today
Today, today, today, today

My country 'tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing today
Today, today, today
Today, today

Songwriters: Neil Diamond


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lagged...

I can appreciate the sentiment.
The view from my hotel window.
As in jet...

So yes, it's only three hours difference but...

I go to bed at "way too early" Sandy Eggo time (but is a tad late for Little Rhody) and get up "way too early" Sandy Eggo time, but which is perilously late here at the Home Office.

Work has also been very busy, in a good way. Trying to straighten out what is supposed to be in the system and what we had on the ship. Let me just say this, there were a couple of disconnects. We accomplished what the Navy wanted but the civilian side of the government has their own ideas as well.

The two don't always match, guess who gets to make sure it all comes together by December?

I don't get to pick and choose, but I do get to advise. Woe to those who don't listen, the Navy remembers when you don't give them what they need. I mean the guys wearing uniforms and actually under way, not the desk jockeys. The desk jockeys often want their cake and eat it too, which upper management seems to think is possible. But many in upper management are like the Bourbons of France...

Ils n'ont rien appris, ni rien oublié.¹

- Attributed to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand by the Chevalier de Panat, speaking of the Bourbons after their return to France after the fall of Napoléon. 

Ah well, I'm going to bed.

I got nothing.



¹ They have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Say What?


Life is getting too absurd.

The man is possibly a traitor.

Go read.

Of course it's possible that it's journalistic nonsense. Woodward isn't my "go to" guy for truth. But given Milley's track record, I wouldn't put it past him.

We are led by effing clowns.

Dangerous effing clowns.


I almost didn't post that "news flash" above, I don't care for politics at any time, but this one seemed too egregious to ignore. Who does this man think he is? There's a reason why the Founders instituted civilian control of the military. Milley is the poster boy for that.

But enough of that, this story just supports my theory that the current crop of stars needs to be retired, at the O-6 paygrade. There may be one or two who are worth spit, but I doubt it.


Things are back to "normal" for the time being. I returned from Sandy Eggo at a reasonable hour on Sunday, but took Monday off to try and beat the jet lag. It's only three hours, but...

Went to work yesterday, still groggy and on West Coast time in some respects. I did pile up a lot of extra hours out there, so I made the command decision to make this week, and the next, three day work weeks. I think I can live with that.

Working on the ship is more focused and with very clear objectives. Though the days are long they go by relatively quickly. At the end of the day you can walk down the pier and feel like you've accomplished something.

I guess I did okay as word on the street has me going back out in December, a shorter trip this time, only five days. But I will get to go underway and I'm all about going to sea for a few days. I didn't join the Navy as they always seem to go out for months at a time, not days. The beauty of an Air Force base is that they don't move. Well, at least not under their own power.


Some of my colleagues think I'm nuts and should be thinking about retiring. Believe me, I am, the new corporate masters have decreed that the pension shall change at the beginning of 2023, I don't plan to stick around for those changes. Word has it that the new plan is "more reflective of the competition." That translates to "their plans all suck, so should ours."

Ah, the life of a defense contractor, it ain't all beer and skittles.


The Internet is becoming less and less fun, everybody's bitching about something and many of my friends find no end of joy in announcing the latest stupid thing in our society. Particularly the escapades of the current administration, unconstitutional assholes all in my book, but hey, we let 'em get away with it. I daresay I have no idea on how to stop them, I'm too effing old to take to the streets anyway.

Ah, enough of this.

I'm doing precisely what I'm complaining about...