Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wind, surf, and birds

Little Blue Heron
Intercostal Waterway, Jupiter Island, Florida
January 22, 2019
Square Grouper, Jupiter, Florida
January 21, 2019
What a boring title for the blog this morning. I couldn't think of a better one, so I am going to go with it, for now.

While the weather has been breezy and cool, Chris and Have been throughly enjoying our mid-January (now possibly late-January) get away from the cold vacation.

I wish I could report that we have been playing golf every day, we haven't. Or that we have been on the beach all day every day, we haven't; but we are enjoying Florida as a place the snow hasn't covered. This morning's temperature was 72 degrees, but yet, because of the strong winds, it felt cool as we walked Finnegan around the neighborhood. 

But, we have been enjoying the birds of the shore along the beaches and waterways. 

Jupiter Island, Jupiter, Florida
January 20, 2019
Atlantic Ocean from Jupiter Island
January 22, 2019
The ocean has been very rough, it has an awesome beauty about it as the waves crash onto the beach. It is the Atlantic Ocean after all. 

The skies and the surf are beautiful.

They provide a rugged view of the solitary beach.

I am already beginning to feel the stress of the impending end of the vacation, although I am not sure what there is to do that I have not done? I have had my toes in the ocean and felt the warm sun on my face. I have been walking, despite the plantar fasciitis that I am struggling with in my right foot. 

We will see what today will bring to our South Florida adventure.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Tequesta, Florida 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

At the Beach

Finnegan and Chris
Juno Dog Beach
January 21, 2019
Me on Juno Dog Beach
Jupiter, Florida
January 21, 2019
It was a beautiful mid-January day near the ocean. While for much of the country that would mean a frigid experience, it was only a breezy and cool day in south Florida. 

I spent part of January 21st on the beach enjoying the sun and the surf. Granted, we did not spend the entire day on the beach as we often do during the summer, but we were on the beach and it was fantastic. The sun was shining, the sky was blue with broken clouds and the ocean was rough and beautiful. As an added benefit, even though it was a holiday, the beach was not crowded. 

We decided to go to the Juno Dog Beach so that Finnegan could have his first encounter with the ocean. It went very well. He loved the beach and sniffed at all of the piles of sea weed that were drying in the sun. He was timid around the water rolling up onto the sand, but overall it was a positive experience.

More importantly, however, I was on the beach. Granted, I did not have a cold drink in my hand, it was after all a bit too cool for that, but I was not standing in snow or suffering through single digit temperatures. 

It was all-in-all a great day. Today's high in Jupiter is expected to be about 76 degrees. Tomorrow's high is expected to be 79 degrees! Bring on the heat, too soon I will be back in the cold.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Tequesta, Florida

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Musings - January 21, 2019

1. It is the third Monday of January and the month is really flying by as is the new year.

Palm Trees in Jupiter, Florida
January 20, 201 9
2. I was appalled at the poor refereeing during the NFL Championship games yesterday. There were too many missed or inappropriately made calls which, in my mind, changed the course of both games. It almost seemed as if the fix was in. The NFL must do something to reduce the impact that referees have on the game in critical situations.

Jupiter Sound, Jupiter, Florida
January 20, 2019
3. Today we remember the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated during 1968.  Despite all of the efforts in our country since then to ensure civil rights for everyone, I have come to believe that America is more divided now than at any time in its past and we still are unwilling to ensure equal rights for everyone.

4.  Arriving in Florida was provided a great respite form the cold of Baltimore. Yesterday's activities included walking outside without a coat, sitting at a restaurant alongside the intercostal having a relaxing drink, and seeing a movie before watching the NFL championship games. It was a great way to start a get-away-from-winter vacation.
Blue Pointe Bar and Grille
Jupiter Sound, Jupiter, Florida
January 20, 2019

5. The cold weather followed us from Baltimore. It was 45 degrees here this morning as I walked Finnegan! But the sun was shining and we are hopeful of getting about 70 degrees today.

6. Flying was not as bad as I expected. The TSA agents were great and we appreciated that they were still on duty even though they are not getting paid, allowing us to head off on our mid-winter vacation.

7. I do enjoy seeing bright sunshine and clear blue skies in the morning. What is that bright orb in the sky?

8. Today in History. On this day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter grants an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.


Moscow Skyscraper Talks Continued Through ‘the Day I Won,’ Trump Is Said to Acknowledge - The New York Times

Iran satellite launch fails after U.S. warning - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders. – Ronald Reagan

-- Bob Doan, writing from Tequesta, Florida

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Out of the Cold

Finnegan Saying Good-bye to Baltimore
January 19, 2019
OK, I just have to say it, I love Florida!

There, I got it out of my system. 

Finnegan in his Travel Kennel
January 19, 2019
Chris and I and Finnegan departed the snow-covered and cold Baltimore area yesterday for Florida. Yes, we are getting out of the region just before the next big storm.  

Finnegan was the hit of the day with so many people enjoying his antics as he was waiting to fly wearing his Aloha shirt. He was an extremely good dog in the airport and on the plane. 

We were a bit concerned about lines at the airport and arrived earlier than usual, but there were no lines because we took an afternoon flight. Since we made it through the check-in process so smoothly, we were able to spend some time at my favorite airport wine bar, Vino Volo. Nothing better than relaxing once on the other side of security with a glass of wine and a cheese plate. Perhaps the most impressive thing was that Vino Volo asked us if we wished to make a donation which would got to provide meals to the TSA and other airport federal workers who were not getting paid. We readily agreed. 

Even though our flight was delayed about 40 minutes, it was a good travel day. And I am in Florida. I walked Finnegan this morning without a coat! It was 70 degrees and felt fantastic. 

Good morning from Florida! Yes, it is raining, but it is a warm rain!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Tequesta, Florida

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Another Weekend, Another Holiday

Here I am again at the start of another three-day weekend. The string of holidays that began with Veterans Day in November is quickly coming to an end. 

Monday's celebration of  Martin Luther King means that it will be a month until the next holiday--President's Day on February 18th. And then the holiday drought begins and lasts until Memorial Day at the end of May. 

I wonder if we have it wrong and we should have all of these holidays placed during the summer months instead of the late-Autumn and Winter months? It certainly is hard to hit the golf course when the temperatures are in the low teens as they are expected for Monday's holiday. 

But wait! I am, hopefully, not going to be here to enjoy the frigid arctic blast. I am hopeful of being under a palm tree in Florida!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 18, 2019

Continuing Abomination

Many federal workers have become pawns in a struggle that has not apparent end and in which neither side desires an end apparently. 

To make it worse, it seems that ur leaders have lost sight of the human toll being caused by their inability to govern the nation. 

A New York Times article, Washington as Unruly Sandbox: Squabbles, Antics and Tantrums, lays out some of what is happening in Washington. 

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Washington these days resembles nothing so much as an unruly sandbox. As the shutdown drags on, septuagenarian politicians are squabbling like 7-year-olds, House freshmen staged a boisterous protest march to the empty office of the Senate majority leader and the president’s lawyer went spectacularly off the rails in a television interview. There did not seem to be an adult in sight.

and then, later in the article
For the president, the most comforting moment of this turbulent week may have come on Monday, when he welcomed the Clemson University football team, winners of the college football championship, to the White House for a meal of burgers and fish sandwiches from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King.

The image of fast food under the twinkling candelabra of the State Dining Room — which Mr. Trump said was a necessity, given the lack of White House staff because of the shutdown — gave rise to a thousand snarky tweets and jokes on late-night television.

“I thought it was a joke,” said one Clemson athlete, overheard in a video shared on Twitter.

It is, in my humble opinion, appalling.

Someone needs to find some middle ground and get the government moving again. If this is and example of the Art of the Deal, it isn't working.

Let's get people paid and back to work and then let the kids in the sandbox start throwing sand.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Winter Maintenance

Lowering the Pool Water Level
January 14, 2019
One of the aspects of pools that is often not considered by prospective owners is maintenance. 

Most people understand that maintenance is required during the summertime when the pool is open and in use. Maintenance can consume a significant amount of time and money for the chemicals to keep the pool clear and bright.

Pool maintenance continues during the summer whether the pool is being heavily used or not. As was the case last year, the rains limited the use of my pool, but they actually increased the maintenance requirements.

Well, pool maintenance does not stop during the winter. My pool has a mesh cover and that means that water continues to enter the pool with every rain and snow storm. We realized, after the most recent snowstorm that the rains since October when we closed the pool has caused the water level to rise too much. We try to keep the water level below the ceramic tile border during the winter to prevent freeze damage to the tiles.

On Monday, after the storm, I had to clear a corner off the pool to open it up to get my auxiliary pump  active and lower the pool about four inches. The whole process took over an hour, but I was successful in lowering the water level about three inches below the tiles. When we close the pool, I usually lower the water about a foot below the tiles, it is amazing to see how much rain we had during the Autumn and early Winter.

I just wish I lived somewhere that we could actually use the pool during the winter. I wonder if I could put a big cover over it like the local YMCA does to their outdoor pool?

A pool owner's job is never done!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Viewing the Snow from Above

Looking Up the Driveway
January 14, 2019
Radio Flyer made its first flight of 2019 on Monday afternoon. It was a short 4 minute flight with a maximum altitude of 79 feet. 
Looking at the House Covered by Snow
January 14, 2019

The purpose of the flight was to document the snow fall around the house and to get my drone out for its first flight of the year.

While the flight was a short flight, I chose to fly near sunset so that I could get some nice images of the area. 

I liked the way that the relatively light snow was hanging on the juniper trees. They had that wintery, fluffy, snow-covered look like so many of the trees in my Snow Village scene. It was nice that the wind had not blown the snow off the branches yet and that the snow was not so heavy that the branches broke under the weight.
Above the Neighborhood
January 14, 2019

Sunset in January
January 14, 2019
I did get one really nice image of the sunset with an airplane in the distance. I happened to be looking in the right direction as the aircraft was climbing out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI). We were pretty lucky during the storm in that since the worst of it occurred during the night, not too may flights were canceled. That is always good for the air travelers. 

I need to get Radio Flyer off the ground a bit more, I miss flying.

The images captured are a good reminder of the day and the storm.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Just Add Keeshond

Makayla in the Snow
I am not a big fan of snow, everyone who knows me is aware of this fact.

Makayla Makes a Snow Angel
Yesterday, during the snow day, I was reminded that one member of my family loves the snow. 

Makayla loves snow. When we were shoveling on Sunday, she was content to lay in a snow pile and watch the activity, but yesterday her love of snow came out. She loves to dig and burrow into the snow. She did this on many occasions during the day. 

It was fun to watch her. And the amazing thing is that because she has two coats, the snow did not melt on her, it just shook off. She loves to make Keeshond snow angels. 

We took an enjoyable walk during the early evening as the sun was setting. Makayla stopped a number of times along the route to leave her unique mark in the snow. I am glad that someone in my family loves snow. 

When the yard is covered with snow and looks pristine, just add Keeshond to give it that used look. But I need to be prepared to laugh a lot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Musings - January 14, 2019

1. It is the second Monday of January and winter arrived with cold and snow. It had to happen, I guess.

Tufted Titmouse
January 13. 2018
2. Shoveling snow is not a fun task, but it goes a lot easier when there are many hands doing the job.

3. The birds really appreciated the birdseed that Chris put out for them in the snow. Here is a Tufted Titmouse enjoying the feast. I found the heavy snow on the junipers to be a pretty background.

4. Just when we thought the snow was over, it started again and the roads were very slippery last evening.

5. The thought of heading to Florida for some warmth is going to keep me going through the week ahead.

6. I played laser tag for the first time ever yesterday at Lucas' Birthday Party. I had a great time. I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I had fun.

7. Seven inches of snow! That is how much the storm dropped on my house during the past two days. I shoveled twice. The last time, about 9PM last evening, was just as the storm was abating and the driveway is clear this morning. 

8. The NFL playoffs got interesting. During the Wildcard Weekend, three of the four visiting teams won. During the Divisional Playoff Weekend, all of the home teams won. How interesting.

9. Today in History. The theologian, musician, philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer is born on this day in 1875 in Upper-Alsace, Germany (now Haut-Rhin, France).


Miami Airport to Close Terminal as Gov Shutdown Continues - The New York Times

Life, Death and Insulin - The Washington Post

Sears bankruptcy raises old questions about cost of going broke - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

In closing let me thank you, the American people for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your President. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.
 -- Letter to the American People about being Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, November, 5, 1994

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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