Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Focus on Christmas

The final week has arrived before Christmas Day bursts forth o the scene. I am sure there are many people looking forward to it being over, but Christmas Day is only the beginning.

Chris and I are in the middle of deciding upon menus for our Christmas Eve brunch and Christmas Day dinner.

I know that the excitement is growing for the kids and many adults alike as Christmas draws closer. It is part of the season. 

It is funny, however, Chris and I are already in the middle of returns. It seems that while ordering on Amazon is easy, sometimes it is not easy to ensure I get the right item. I guess I am particularly poor at ensuring that I select the correct colors and combinations. Oh well, what is a little extra for shipping?

So, what do you want this year? Or, is your joy in giving? 

For Christmas this year, as a Federal employee, Santa is bringing me a year without a pay raise and a leadership so embroiled in conflict that they are failing to lead the country by playing brinkmanship and planning for a partial government shutdown  And, at no extra cost, Santa is bringing us a stock market that is crashing and sucking our retirement accounts down the drain. 

I'm not just a little bit disturbed about what is happening in Washington.

But, I need to focus on Christmas--the season and the reason.

There is joy.

I will live in the joy!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Musings - December 17, 2018

1. Christmas Eve is one short week away. New Years Eve is just two short weeks away. Get ready and let the celebrations begin.

2. The dreary skies of the past few days are especially disheartening.

3. I was able to watch some of the exchange between Nancy Pelosi and the President the other day. While I am not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, the political cartoon that I found sums up the exchange pretty well.

4. It is sad that closing the federal government has become an accepted political approach to problem solving. Funny thing is, the Republicans control the government right now. They are fighting amongst themselves.

5. Family NFL Weekend Results

  -- Ravens (8-6) defeated Buccaneers 20-12
  -- Cowboys (8-6) lost to Colts 0-23
  -- Redskins (7-7) defeated Jaguars 16-13
  -- Steelers (8-5-1) defeated Patriots 17-10

6. I ventured out into the shopping arena surrounded by throngs of my new best friends on Saturday. It truly was a scene of chaos and commotion. Shopping on line while sipping a beverage with my feet propped up is far more pleasant.

7. There is a comet on tap for the Christmas season. Although it was brightest over the weekend, we were socked-in by clouds in the Baltimore region. Find the comet by reading the article about the Christmas comet. And then hope for clear skies.

8. I heard an interesting comparison regarding the periods in human development. There was the Stone Age, then the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Space Age, and now the Plastic Age. We are polluting the oceans with plastic.

9. Today in History, 1903. Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.


As the Trumps Dodged Taxes, Their Tenants Paid a Price - The New York Times

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep - The Washington Post

Should we be able to indict a sitting president? Consider Spiro Agnew. - The Washington Post

Canada is looking for a way out of big Saudi arms deal, says PM - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Freedom is not created by government, nor is it a gift from those in political power. It is, in fact, secured, more than anything else, by those limitations I mentioned that are placed on those in government. It is absence of the government censor in our newspapers and broadcast stations and universities. It is the lack of fear by those who gather in religious services. It is the absence of official abuse of those who speak up against the policies of their government.
         -- Remarks Announcing America's Economic Bill of Rights, July 3, 1987, 10:06 a.m. at an Independence Day celebration at the Jefferson Memorial.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Remembering Other Times

Torrey, NY on Senaca Lake
October 4, 2018
December is passing day-by-day and as we are now past mid-month, the end of both the month and the year are in sight.

Bully Hill Winery
October 3, 20218
On top of the December darkness, it has rained non-stop for the past 36 hours. The forecast is for continued rain well into the afternoon today.

To escape the gloom of the sunless dawn, I downloaded some of the images from our early October wine tasting trip to Upstate New York.

The images reminded me of warmer times, although not necessarily dryer times. It rained during that trip. 

Senaca Lake near Torrey, NY
October 3, 2018
Despite the occasional rain, I was able to get Radio Flyer airborne for some nice images. Flying over Senaca Lake was a new experience. It was fun, but I was also nervous because I knew that if there was an emergency and I couldn't get Radio Flyer back to short, it would be lost. 

Fortunately, there was no emergency, although the winds aloft did cause me to shorten my flight a bit and recover the drone. 

Remembering past trips helps me to escape the dreary days. December will be over soon and the new year will be full of warmer and drier days to enjoy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reflections of the Lights

The rain has returned and dominates the weekend forecast. Ugh!

Christmas Lights Reflected on the Deck
December 14, 2018
We are expected to see temperatures in the 50's today, but the rain will preclude outdoor activities. I have so many outdoors projects that need to be accomplished, including cutting the trees we had felled and trimming the grasses around the pool.

Not this weekend.

But, even in the most disagreeable weather it is possible to find some beauty. 

Last evening as the rain fell, the Christmas lights illuminated the gloomy evening with their joyous light. I discovered some beauty on our back deck in their reflections in the rain.

The reflections added much needed light to the season and brightened my mood, just a bit.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 14, 2018

Taking to the Sky

Sunset Over the Neighborhood
December 13, 2018
For many reasons Radio Flyer, my DJI Spark UAS, has not been airborne since our get-away trip to New York during early October. 

Some of the reasons include the almost constant rain, the basement remodel project, the early onset of darkness since the time change, and the pace of life which has been incredibly busy with the arrival of the holiday season. 

Christmas Decorations on the House
December 13, 2018
Last evening around sunset, I made a point of getting Radio Flyer airborne, even if only for a short nine minute flight. It was good to get the controls back into my hands and my drone into the air. 
Wreath at the Peak

I was amazed at how many small things I had forgotten about flying the drone--mostly getting everything ready on the ground. But, they all came together and I had a successful flight checking out the Christmas lights on the house. I was able to do a close-up inspection of the wreath at the peak and determine that I will likely need to change the batteries for its lights during the next nice day, whenever that happens. 

As an added benefit of the flight, I also downloaded some videos and stills from the October trip to the Finger Lakes from the memory card onboard the drone.  

It was a short flight, but I was happy to slip the surly bonds of Earth, even if only for a few minutes and through the lens of Radio Flyer. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Truth or Dare

It dawned on me yesterday that our senior-most leaders are playing a game of truth or dare. Except, they are not telling the truth, ever, it seems.

As I watch the news clips of how the truth evolves over time to meet the circumstances, I wonder how today's youth can possibly ever sort reality from fiction.

It is appalling, really, how the truth is bent and distorted. 

The only good news in all of this is that the truth is finally coming to light through the ongoing investigations and that those who have lost their grip on truth are going to be spending time in prison or paying huge fines.

It is not enough, but it is a start.

I am appalled that a retired general and a respected lawyer have both bent the truth so blatantly. 

Maybe the truth will be uncovered in the end, I hope so.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Most Magnificent Birthday Cake

Unicorn Cake - The Mane
December 11, 2018
Last evening we celebrated Nicole's birthday. It is one of those major birthday's and we had a gathering at Lure's in Crownsville to start the evening. The food there was awesome as always.

After that it was back to the house for presents and cake.

What a cake it was. I have never seen such a fantastic cake--it was a unicorn.

We had a great time reconnecting with friends and enjoying the celebration.

But, the cake was truly spectacular--and it tasted good, too!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I Rang the Bell

Ringing the Bell
December 10, 2018
Three times I rang the bell. 

There is a tradition that at the completion of a round of radiation treatment or chemo therapy, patients ring a bell three times to signify the end of the treatment and the transition into the rest of their lives.

I, accompanied by my dearest family and the fantastic staff and technicians at the University of Maryland Central Maryland Radiation Oncology Center, rang the bell yesterday to signify completion of my prostate cancer treatment regimen. The staff at the center made my daily visits as enjoyable as they possibly could be and I want ot send them a huge thank-you. At the beginning, 63 days earlier, I wondered how I could possibly get through 44 daily treatments. It was their great attitudes and the support and prayers of my family and friends that made it possible.

Completed Daily Treatment Schedule
This morning, I am still overwhelmed by the out-pouring of love shown to me. 

Yes, we threw a party last evening in celebration and even celebrated long distance with friends trapped in the snow of Central Virginia. 

There was wine and Cava, food and noise, and love.

Thank you to all. But a big thank you to Chris--she shouldered the biggest part of the burden of getting me through the daily grind. Her cheerful can do, one day at a time attitude helped my to check off each day of my now completed daily treatment plan. And because of adding in a Sunday in November, I actually finished one day early! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 10, 2018

Monday Musings - December 10, 2018

1. It is mid-December. There are just two weeks until Christmas Eve! It is hard to believe that the holiday is arriving so quickly.

2. Today I go for the last of my 44 prostate cancer treatments! I am excited. It has become a part of my life and I will miss seeing the team at the treatment center every day. The 63 day journey has been far easier and passed more quickly than I imagined that it would.

3. It seems that our President has a poor sense of people, because he cannot seem to retain a staff. When someone leaves he usually has something bad to say about them. Well, if they are so bad, why did he hire them for the position?

4. We finally decorated our second Christmas tree this weekend. I can say that the Christmas decorations are all up and that the basement remodel project is complete!

5. Family Football results. It was a rough weekend for most of the family teams with three of them losing.

  Ravens (7-6) lost to Chiefs 24-27
  Redskins lost (6-7) Giants 16-40
  Steelers (7-5-1) lost to Raiders 21-24
  Cowboys (8-5) defeated Eagles 29-23

6. There are still leaves that need raking from my yard and the grasses around the pool need to be cut and removed. I certainly hope there is a near 50 degree day coming where I ca get these critical things accomplished. 

7. I am thankful that the big snowstorm missed us yesterday. 

8. Today in History, 1901. The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.


Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret - The New York Times

Wall St. Faces Stomach-Churning Swings as Economic Uncertainty Grows - The New York Times

Macron prepares response to 'yellow vest' protesters as Paris cleans up - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will. At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God's help, we've never lost our way.

   -- Address to there Nation About Christmas and the Situation in Poland, December 23, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Another Cold Sunday

I attended a Holiday Party last evening. It was a fantastic event and definitely brought holiday cheer into the dark days of December. A big thank-you to Jim and Shannon for hosting! 

One of the highlights of the evening was chatting with a golf pro. I have not swung a golf club at a little white ball in over a month and I am missing walking the courses. It has been cold or rainy, or both. Not good golf weather. So, chatting with another golfer for a few minutes provided a momentary relief from the season and the weather. 

I am already looking forward to our planned March Spring Training Trip! Hopefully this year we will have warm weather and a lot of sun. And golf and baseball! And more golf.

So for this cold Sunday I am thankful that the big storm hitting the east is south (yes, you read that right) of us! I just do not need snow or more snow, or any snow!

I may set up my net and hit some golf balls today just because! Because I have not swung a club since early November. And it was cold and rainy on that last outing of the season.

So for most of another cold Sunday I will be devoted to getting things ready for the Christmas season and watching football on TV. I do have the opportunity to attend a youth basketball game later today. But, I'd rather be on a golf course somewhere warm playing in a bright sun.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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