Monday, March 20, 2023

Leaving...On a Jet Plane...Maybe...Change 1...Probably

 So...There We were*...Looking forward to a nice little vacay drifting down the Danube River for a week with our Wine Maker Friends and 26 others.  Enjoying various wines and wineries along the way with a couple of follow up talks and tastes on board.  

Ahh...Retired Life!  Woke up Saturday morning a tad early, still working on changing the body clock to sync with the alarm clock.  Mrs. J is still asleep, she's been working hard to get all her guests on board their flights and enroute to Munich.  All are enroute or in-country already.

All except she and I.

Insert ominous music score here.

So. I'm sitting in the kitchen, being as quiet as I can to let her sleep.  My cell phone dings, I glance at it.  The sender is British Airways.  NBD, I think to myself, they've been sending me updates on our flight for a few days now.  2000 TO from Austin Bergstrom to London. Clear British Customs, then board another BA flight to Munich to meet the bus to take us to Vilshofen to board the boat.  Been getting this info regularly.  At that point, I believe it was my Sainted Mother, now Guardian Angel, that tapped me on the shoulder and said "Hey, Dummy! Read the frickin' message." 

She's gotten a bit more direct (and tetchy) since she took over the Guardian Angel duties.

Anyhow, who am I to question her?  I open it and read that our London to Munich flight has been cancelled and we are now scheduled on a London to Salzburg connecting flight.  Should be no problem, right?


Google Maps

Apparently, there isn't an easy way to get from Salzburg to the River. Nice!

So, Mrs. J is working with the River Tour company to figure this problem out.  I'm being very quiet and doing what I'm told without asking or commenting.  

Self-preservation, doncha-know?  Waiting to see how this turns out.

Given the traveling, I think a little space/time physics update regarding this and this week's post is appropriate.  It's 6 hours ahead there.  Given the circumstances mentioned above, it may be a while before I can get to the internet and respond to comments.  Similar circumstances will occur a week from  now.  The boat docks next Monday early and we're herded to the airport.  A million hours later we arrive back home.  Responding to comments will be nigh on to impossible.  So...Discuss amongst yourselves, please.

On the Grand Daughter front, a bit of good news.  She had a visit with her pulmonologist this past week.  The appointment went well and the Doc gave LJW the OK to try weaning her off her supplemental O2.  She had been using it with a 50% supplemental oxygen level since birth.  The Doc said to lower it to 25% for 2 days and see if she handled it ok.  Friday (I'm writing this on Saturday VS usual Sunday, see reason above.) the experiment started.  Checking with LJW that evening, Miss B was doing fine.  So, finger's crossed and prayers up, please.  Success here will be a VERY BIG THING!

Pen making has slipped to the back burner of late.  Mrs. J commented that there was a lot of dirt being tracked into the house lately, what with the drought, and that we needed to have "Outside Shoes" and "Inside Shoes".  Recognizing that I was in the middle of a very large mine field, I responded "Yes, Dear" and the laundry room became my shoe transfer facility.

Unfortunately, the days of my being able  to reach down from an upright position and touch my toes without shortly thereafter touching my face to the floor are way in the past.  Which is problematic as the laundry room has no seating.

So..A project being presented, regardless of the source,  is a gift from above.  In the picture above, I'd just applied my first coat of polyurethane to the Shoe Rack/Bench.  I'm on coat #3 #6 now and it's beginning to look pretty darn nice.  Unfortunately, drying time will finish right about the time we need to leave for our flight.

Assuming, of course, that British Airways figures their contractual obligations out properly. (See update below.)

We'll see.

Given that good news, I decided this picture pretty much sums things up.

Mrs J.  Captioned it with "But they told me to pull this to Eject."  Girl's got Fighter Pilot blood in her!

Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.

Late Breaking news.  Apparently, the moons of Jupiter are in alignment.  Mrs. J was able to talk to the right person who could talk to the right person who could...

The River Tour company's agents got us on a Lufthansa flight that arrives in Munich from London within about an hour of our original arrival time.  BA couldn't seem to make that connection (in all meanings of that word).  So, we've got to get to the airport a little earlier than we were in order to get new tickets printed, but with a little luck we should be good to go.  We will see what we will see.

(Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.)2


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Wasn't Going to Post, Changed My Mind ...

Old Town Alexandria
OAFS Photo
Been doing a lot of reminiscing as of late and while going through the photo archives saw this one. I need to get back down to Old Virginia one of these days. Love that town in particular.

Anyhoo, I also wanted to give Beans a break from carrying the load (which he has done magnificently) and I felt the urge to post something. Anything!

Beans' mentioning of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass the other day really sent me down memory lane. My parents had a number of his albums. This tune was a big favorite (me being a Taurus¹ and all ...)

Sounds very "south of the border," reminds of Sandy Eggo in some ways. Moi, The Missus Herself, and The Nuke in a Sandy Eggo eatery dining on very good Mexican food and being entertained by a strolling mariachi band some years back (like seven as I recall). Good times, good company, good food.

One of the benefits of being old (ish) is having lots and lots of memories, nearly all of them good. Been strolling memory lane a lot recently. It was good to hear that song again.

As for me, the status quo is being maintained, and for now, that's all I can ask for.

Be well, mi compadres.

¹ The astrological sign, not the car.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Arghhhhhh. And Music.

 Head still hurts.  Back still hurts.  Dog stomped on my wedding tackle so that hurts (120lb dog moving at roughly the speed of light means lots of force and energy transferred.)

So, instead, back to Dad's hi-fidelity music.

Yesterday I was commenting on Anonymous' comment posted at 2:42AM (probably West Coast Time) about his comment:

My parents had a Herb Alpert album with the girl covered in whipped cream and a white blanket (to give the impression it was all cream) on the cover. Boy that sure got my pubescent hormones raging.

  1. Um, that and the album cover for Apollo 100's "Joy" album. Can neither confirm or deny same with the Sears catalog if you know what I mean.

So, yeah, I was a pervy little kid, full of raging hormones and such.  Eh, I turned out, according to Mrs. Andrew, okay, so...

Apollo 100 was a band put together (from Wiki - Apollo 100 - Wikipedia ) by Tom Parker with fellow session musicians drummer Clem Cattiniguitarist Vic Flick, guitarist Zed Jenkins, percussionist Jim Lawless, and bassist Brian Odgers, starting in 1970 and ending in 1973.  Electronic variations of classical pieces, and their first piece, "Joy," an interpretation of JS Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" hit the top 40 chart and was included in several movies.  It was, sadly, all downhill for the group.

Good song, good album, totally hot lady on the front cover.

For to compare, here's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" as Bach and God intended,
On a cathedral pipe organ.
I like both versions.  Seriously love both versions.

And then, to go strange again, Werner Müller and His Orchestra, was another of Dad's favorites. Werner was one of the big composers of space age bachelor pad music according to Werner Müller ( and from the web page "Who was/is Werner Müller? Well, he contributed numerous albums to London's Phase Four label, the longest-running of the Space Age Bachelor Pad series. But thanks to London's standard approach to liner notes, although we know exactly what channelization was used and what other Phase Four records were available, we are left knowing nothing of Werner Müller."  Nice going there, London Records.  Jerks

His (and his orchestra's) version of "Aranjuez Mon Amour" which is part of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Juaquin Rodrigo, always a very soul-stirring piece of Spanish classical music, and Werner does it proud.  The piece, played correctly, always has a wistful and somewhat sad sound to it, kind of how I imagine Spain actually is, wistful and somewhat sad. 

"Aranjuez, Mon Amour" or "Concierto de Aranjuez" 
depending on who's doing the citationing
Lovely piece of music.  
Beautiful horn work, and sad strings
with a little electronic organ added in to spice it up
Dad's copy had a bunch of mouths on it, not some corner babe.

And, well, just because Bach, JS Bach...

Geez, youtube, canna you giva a guya a breaka with the album arta?  Seriously, corner babe again?  Yeesh.
And, yes, album art in the 60's and early 70's tended to not be very arty much.

Seriously, can you imagine a 17th Century time period spy novel where the main character who's doing all the spying and killing is none other than Bach, JS Bach?  In between building pipe organs, codifying modern music notation and scales, having lusty intentions with his ever-fertile wife and pissing off his employers because they were pissing him off, he has a life of intrigue and contract murder...  Sounds like fun, no?

So.  Herb Alpert, Apollo 100, Werner and his boys, and others.  Dad had eclectic tastes.

See ya.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Brame Frammage

 Hey, guess what?  It's Spring! So my head is splitting from severe sinus pressure and I've been snarling at Mrs. Andrew, Kegan the wundermup, passing animals and just, er, everything.

Seriously painful.  Sinuses swell, put pressure on frontal lobe, frontal lobe controls personality, personality goes all Mr. Hyde.  Usually I realize it before it gets bad and I can take my anti-Hulk pills (Vitamin I, ibuprophen) before I destroy too many bridges and wreck too many relationships.

Um, not today. 

I think it was about the third time Mrs. Andrew used The Voice to tell me to go try asexual reproduction or sexual self-reproduction or something along those lines while Kegan was curled up on her and not me that I realized I had become Hulk-Smash Hyde.  So instead of relief in 30 minutes or so, it's going to be a couple hours before snarly surly HSH is under control. Until then I'll just hide from the world, wich is kind of hard to do when you live in basically a trumped up studio apartment and your major piece of furniture where you live on is the bed you share with, uh, Mrs. Andrew and Kegan the wunderdog.

Back when I had the house, don't think I could escape, because being out of touch/out of reach of Mrs. Andrew was not a doable thing for a lot of reasons, mostly because she needed to make sure I didn't do anything too stupid to myself, like trying to use sugar and chocolate to control my mood, and, yes, I have eaten 3lbs of peanut M&Ms before in a depressive funk that was epic only in the amount of said candies consumed but everything else about that episode was just stupid and best left alone in the past. Unfortunately the guilt center of my brain keeps periodically cycling through all the guilt episodes so short of accidentally getting hit by lightning or having rebar pass through a portion of my brain or some other traumatic brain injury event, that memory will continue to surface.

Gloom, depression and sinus pressure.  

Wanna know what makes it all so extra special?  The smell of incipient sinus infection that comes from having sinuses filled to 3 times the approved pressure with sinus fluid thanks to trees and bushes and other green growing things having wild passionate vegetative sex all over the area, especially on my car and right where I want to walk.


So instead of witty repartee regarding other bodily issues like the time I passed out for three daysish after almost dying and other neat moments in my life, I get to regale you with Tales of Snot.

So we'll leave that at that and go into some music or something.

Growing up in occifer country on military bases in the 60's, well, guess who was very popular amongst said occifer class occifers?  If you said, "Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass," you'd be correct.

I could tell my dad was happy when strains of HAatTB came out of the occifer-class required really nice Japanese high fidelity stereo system (usually smuggled/carried lovingly from duty-free stations or on overseas flights as extra cargo from Okinawa or Japan itself) at volumes to be heard on the back porch while he and his occifer-mates were grilling on those big ceramic Japanese hibachis (probably secured the same way as the stereo pieces,) you know, the ones that once they get hot they get fragile so basically when you move you leave it for the next occifer or you move in and one's been left from the previous occifer and rumors abound about ceramic hibachis that have 'lived' at one quarters for 5-6 rounds of occifers moving in and out and in and out.  Seriously, growing up in the 60's on AFBs you would see said Japanese ceramic hibachis.  Kind of the predecessor of the Big Green Egg bbq grill. The reason they work so well is that once the very heavy ceramic shell is heated, it retains that heat for a looong time so you can cook evenly using a small amount of heat-making fuel.  As said before, actual period Japanese ceramic cookers were fragile once heated once, so in Japan and on Air Force Bases there was a cult of ceramic egg cooker users (and some that could, around 95% of the time could move the cookers by one house, maybe.)

Like this, except Made in Japan, 
not Made in America by Big Green Egg
A must have for certain levels of officers on AFBs back in the 60's

So HAatTB.

The Lonely Bull - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
one of my Dad's favorites
and mine.

Spanish Flea - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
another one of my Dad's and my favorites

Back when I had the lonely staff ass job at the outpost from hell working for the city of losers' police department, I would and did regularly blast Tijuana Brass' works at volume because I was all alone in a big building all alone.  Other groups that were blasted out loud will follow in the future or I have already talked about.  No clowns, no post-modern jukebox, all old school CD stuff (weird being able to call compact discs 'old school.')

Thursday, March 16, 2023

23075 Update

Patiently Waiting
Alexander Boden - Bonn, Germany
Our beloved feline friend, Anya, is approaching her 20th birthday, which is August 8th. It doesn't look like she's going to make it that far. She weakens daily, refusing to eat anything other than treats. She will also eat, just a tiny bit, of canned food with a gravy or cream base. But other than that, not much at all.

Her loss of kidney function is irreparable, her doc tells me that there's no way to fix that. We give her subcutaneous fluids every other day (100ml, if she'll hold still that long). It's no fun for us or her, but it helps flush some of the toxins from her system that her kidneys are no longer able to get rid of.

She is still kind of active, she'll walk around the upstairs, even jump up on Mama's bed or her own bed. But that's about the extent of it. We wait on her hand and foot and don't mind at all, she has been a valued member of the family for nearly two decades.

For those of you wondering, the average life span of an indoor cat is 12 to 18 years. The lower range being the usual, at least in my experience.

We knew that this day would come, since getting married, The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe have had four cats. Two brothers from Germany and two sisters from here in New England. The Missus Herself has already declared that Anya won't be replaced (as if that was even possible) as she just can't go through this sort of thing again.

I know what she means, I nearly lost my mind when our first cat, Tiger, died. The memories of the loss of his brother Pat, then the loss of Sasha, Anya's sister, still linger. They hurt to this day.

It seems odd, and somewhat unfair if you will, to have so many wonderful years together with a companion animal, only to remember the last few days of their short lives. It hurts, it really does, anyone who doesn't think so has either never gone through it or has some fundamental flaw in their makeup.

I do remember all of the great times we had with our cats, but to have Anya look at me, her eyes begging me to do something to make her better, leaves me feeling both helpless and useless. She's not in a great deal of pain at this time, no more than any really old being feels, but it bothers her and it bothers us, her human caretakers.

I know her time approaches, I know there is no reversing this process, but it hurts, the waiting, it hurts. The look in her eyes, it hurts. While waiting is hard, it's not the hardest part. Knowing that once the time comes, things will change forever. That's the hardest part.

I can hardly bear the thought.

We shall get through this, we shall remember all of the good times we had together, but these last few days of her existence will linger and make me wonder if there was anything I could have done to stop this from happening.

I know there is nothing I can do different, death is part of life. The time will come for us all. But yeah, it hurts.

I live, but I'm not living at the moment. Merely, waiting ...

This too, shall pass.

Be well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Nay, Fewmets!

 Fewmets being the medieval Engrish word for deer poop, well, poop.

Threw my back out sneezing. One sneeze, and it shanked me but good.

Heating pad, massage machine, Vitamin I (ibuprophen) and sitting very still leading to not doing a big posting.

Between that, and potential Great Depression Part Deux, with a bunch of even more leftist socialists in control than when FDR ruled, well, not much in the mood for long exposition.

So you get music.

Firstus, Post Modern Jukebox - a group that does modern music in various forms ancient, like Jazz-ish, 50's Chanteusse, yada yada.  Nice orchestrations, the singers have good pipes and, for the most part, no Puddles Pity Party clowns.

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," in the style of PMJ ft. Kate Davis, of course. Not only does it feature vocalists Haley Reinhart, Morgan James, and Ariana Savalas rocking some Andrews Sisters- style harmonies, but it also features a sweet four hand bass solo by Casey Abrams and Adam Kubota. (from the youtube description.)

And some Alan Parson's Project, from the first album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination."  Just a tad inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, dontchaknow?

The Cask of Amontillado - Alan Parson's Project
One of my favorite Poe stories and a darned sweet sounding but not sweet at all song.

Other than that, Peace Out, hope you all are doing well, and all your monies are safe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Fish Friday, (on a Tuesday)

No, I'm not all messed up from the time change, nor is this an advertisement.  It's just a recap, s
o don't try showing up to my parish hall this Friday.  I ran my church's Lenten fish fry this past Friday, which was a little mixed in the pros and cons department.  Before I get to that I'll give you a little background.  Catholics tend to skip meat on Fridays during lent.  Why?  Well, Friday was the day Jesus was crucified, and the abstention from meat is in memory of him giving up his body (his flesh).  Hence, Fish Fridays.  It's not a sin to forget, or even skip it intentionally, but it is a sacrifice that we try to make to focus us as a form of penance.  It also can help us get a little more into the spirit of the Lenten season which is one about prayer, fasting, and penitential sacrifice ahead of our Lord and savior dying on the cross, and the best part- rising again!

To be perfectly honest, not eating meat on a Friday during Lent is not much of a sacrifice for me.  Yes, I know fish is a meat, but historically, we consider fish more of a plebeian entrée than the flesh from livestock, which was more expensive, eaten only occasionally, and was associated with feasting and rejoicing (Scallops, Lobster, and Chilean Seabass are notable exceptions!) Still doesn't make sense to you?  Dig deeper if you want more.  But as I was saying, me skipping meat is no big deal.  Not that I don't enjoy having something meaty at pretty much every meal, but I really enjoy fish and we are often having seafood or pasta as an entrée.  Fish tacos are close to the top of that "meatless" list, and San Diego definitely does that well.

If you didn't figure it out from that lead photo and missed me mentioning it in past posts, I'm a member of that fine organization, the KofC, and I pretty much head up the group of us at my church.  So when things need to be scheduled, planned, and coordinated, that duty falls to me. It might be "Keeping Christ in Christmas" by selling religious Christmas cards, running the beer garden at our parish school carnival, or during Lent, running the Lenten fish fry.  Some parishes run one every single weekend, but we are a small parish and have an even smaller handful of men who are willing to step up and help, so we just run a single dinner during the season.

I've been doing it for going on 16 years now- going back to when I PCS'd back to SanDog from duty in Tampa Florida.  I took it over from the previous Knight in 2008 who decided he didn't want to be a member anymore.  Always willing to step up, I was asked to help run it and I have been doing it ever since, never able to take a step back.

On the positive side, it was our most successful one to date, at least when it comes to the food.  Everyone that attended thought it was our best effort at making fish, tilapia in this case, and everything was prepared just in time for us to open and everything was still warm when the guests started showing up. We've often struggled with the timing and having people need to wait as we wait for the first or next batch to finish up.  We've baked the fish, grilled it, fried it, and usually gotten mixed reviews in the past.  But this year, we used some Old Bay, then quick fried it in a pan with butter, then finished it off in the oven which made it cook much faster and helped keep the supply going.  Most of our patrons thought it was better than any other attempt.  

It's always a challenge with our ancient kitchen to get the oven right and get the fish cooked through properly on all sides of the pan, in all corners of the oven, or keeping the fryer at the right temperature, and to make sure we have enough ingredients and servings for everyone that shows.  It's also a balancing act to charge enough to make a little money for the church and the council, but not too much to scare anyone away.  Or have too many leftovers which means I overbought and wasted money that could have been profit for us.  We usually do it to benefit one cause or another, sometimes the school, sometimes the maintenance of the church, pro-life efforts or what have you.  This year it was for the repairs to our church bell tower which was discovered recently to be separating from the main structure of the church. Not sure what that maintenance bill is going to run, but my little parish has not recovered after covid and we have a very small collection plate and an even smaller maintenance fund through a second collection which is only once a month.

There are quite a few well-off parishes in the diocese that probably do well with their collections.  The diocesan tax on them probably helps some smaller parishes get by (barely), like mine, as we rarely bring in what it costs to sustain our parish needs.  We are cut to the bare bones though, trying to make ends meet, going down to just one part-time office staff member, more CCD costs shifted to the parents, and plenty of deferred maintenance.  I only explain that to show how much need there is for successful fundraising from any effort.

But anyhoo, I said it was a mix of pros and cons. While the food was delicious and no waiting was required, it rained quite heavily last Friday evening.  That severely dampened the turnout, despite the weeks-long announcements from the pulpit, church bulletin notices, and a couple emails to the parishioners from the church office.  I planned for 80 people which is actually very small compared to a lot of parishes but it's about 10% more than I usually serve, thinking the heavy advertisement would help.  That rain though.  We only served 20 total meals.  I had a small group of men to help, so each of us took home rolls, potatoes, and fish- enough to make us tired of fish for the rest of the season.  Assuming we eat it all of course before the already thawed-out fish needs to be tossed.  Yes, I considered donating to a local foodbank, but most of it was already cooked, and the fish that wasn't, had been sitting out waiting to be cooked.  I couldn't risk donating it to the general public.  

Fortunately we covered our costs.  We charged $15 this year ($10 in years past since the pastor wanted to make it affordable) as we need some funds for that tower.  I spent $268 on supplies so there are a few small bills I can throw towards the tower maintenance.  If only the rain had come some other day, we could have brought in over a grand, especially with beer and wine sales, of which the product was donated at no cost to us.  

Oh well, there's always next year.  However, I announced that someone else has to take the lead next year.  It's pretty stressful for me, buying all the supplies, shopping around to get the lowest prices, coordinated the volunteers, running the kitchen, etc.  I don't sleep well the week of the event, and the preps invade my dreams.  16 years in a row is some dedicated service to the parish if I do say so myself.  We'll see if any other Knight steps up next year, or if another group at the church wants to take it on.   

My last post alluded to me growing tired of my job.  This one has me tired of running a fish dinner.  

Maybe I'm just tired.