Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Again

The end of the workweek is upon us. Here comes the weekend.

I sometimes call it Aloha Friday and today I will be wearing a new Aloha-type shirt that Chris gave me for Father's Day. It is bright.

The First Evening of Summer
June 21, 2018
Today is also the first full day of summer. I feel robbed of the solstice since we had a fairly heavy cloud cover and I could not celebrate the first sunset of Summer 2018.

Even without a brilliant sunset to record from altitude, I flew Radio Flyer to document the end of the first evening of summer. I wish the images were better, but I had an inflight emergency that I successfully dealt with and saved my drone from loss or destruction. 

Radio Flyer in the Yard during the Winter
The battery lost charge suddenly and I had to make and emergency landing. Fortunately, I found a suitable location that allowed me to successfully recover Radio Flyer. I learned a lot about emergency procedures, but most of all I learned that the screen I use to control the drone becomes clogged with all sorts of warnings that hinder the ability to identify a safe landing location.

In other news . . . 

The Orioles continued losing and remain on pace to lost 115 games this season. The only question I have is whether I should round up or down when dealing with the fractional part of the losses? Is 115.397 really 116 losses? On the good side, they have won 2 of their last 4 games and are playing .500 baseball this week, so far.

Despite the Radio Flyer emergency and the O's loss, I am excited about the beginning of summer. It is, after all, my favorite season of the year.

Bring on the heat, the sun, the sand, and the fun! And palm trees, cue the palm trees!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime Begins

Finnegan Staring at Something
The best season of the year begins today. Summer arrives, or for some of you has already arrived!


The Hydrangea that Ate Elkridge
Pools, fun, golf, travel, and hot sultry days floating in the pool.

Of course last evening it was raining, again! Ugh. 

Finnegan is excited about summer. He was on the back of the outdoor sofa looking for its arrival the other evening. At least he was staring out at something. 

The hydrangeas in the front yard are growing out of control. The deer have not managed to consume the blooms yet.

The rain is keeping everything very green, which is fine with me. The fire risk for the 4th of July is likely to be very low. That is good for the local fireworks displays.

On the baseball front, the Orioles have won two of their last three games. They posted victories on Sunday and last night, they lost on Tuesday and are now posting a 21-51 record. They remain poised to lose 115 games.

Happy summertime. Break out the beach umbrellas!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Last Day

Watermelon Margarita
Retirement is sweet. 

Well, so says Chris.

Yesterday, after 23 years of getting every school day to greet, encourage, and teach students, was the last day. Through tears and cheers, Chris walked out of Lime Kiln Middle School and into retirement after the last bell rang. 

Evening Happy Hour
The first thing she did after leaving school was go to lunch with her friends where, in addition to food, she enjoyed a pretty awesome looking watermelon margarita.

And then she came home. Later in the evening we enjoyed a special happy hour together. Throughout the evening, I was pleased by the number of people who called her to wish her many years of joy as she begins the new chapter in her life. 
Chris on the Beach

It was a day of celebration, fun, parties, and some sadness as the reality of retirement became very real. Hopefully the friends and relationships of 20 plus years will remain strong well into the future.

I am so proud of her!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Floatie in the Afternoon

Chris with Finnegan in the Pool
June 18, 2018
Chris and I celebrated a truly summer-like day yesterday by enjoying cool drinks while floating around in the pool.

It was a great way to enjoy her last evening before retirement.  It was sunny and hot and the water of the pool provided cool and refreshing relief.

We had the chance to catch up on vacation planning and begin the process of transitioning from Chris being a full-time employed person into retirement. 

I am very excited for her. 

Maybe a bit envious.

There are so many opportunities that are available to her and she wants to experience everyone of them. I know late August will be a difficult time for her when the teachers begin to return to school and for the first time in 23 years she is not headed off to join them. 

But for now, it is time to party and celebrate a hugely successful career.

I know today will be filled with tears of both joy and sadness. But, I hope to be there when she gets home to welcome her into retirement and encourage her by reminding her that the plans she has for the future outweigh the opportunities that she was facing had she stayed for even another year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Musings - June 18. 2018

Compass Pointe South Course Hole #2
6:23 AM June 17, 2018
1. Wow! Summer officially begins this week! We have finally arrived on the doorstep of the best season of the year.

2. The Orioles finally won their 20th game yesterday. They are 20-50. They are on pace to lose 116 games.

Mary and Chris on The Docks at Tanyard Cove
on Curtis Creek
June 16, 2018
3. I had a very enjoyable Father's Day. It started with an early Tee time on Compass Pointe and ended with a day long celebration with the entire family at the house. 

4. Summer vacation begins this week for Howard County. It is Chris's last summer vacation as she retires from the county when school is over on Tuesday.

5. We went and visited Fran and Mary at their new house and strolled along the docks with them on Saturday evening before having a scrumptious dinner on their back deck. 

6. I love the long days of June. It is light shortly past 5AM and stays light until almost 9PM. Officially, we are getting 14 hours and 56 minutes of daylight as we move towards the solstice. Summer begins at 6:07 AM EDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018! 

7. I finally saw some fireflies the other evening after the rains abated.

8. It was weird yesterday; we had to water the lawn since it had not rained in almost a week and the grass was beginning to turn brown.


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Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

State of the Union address, Feb. 6, 1985

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Did He Really Say That?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
It is Father's Day and my thoughts on this issue seem appropriate. 

Sometimes our leaders amazes me, in not a good way.

I opened my copy of Time Magazine yesterday (yes, I still get Time every week in my mailbox) and there on page 6 was a picture of the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a quote attributed to him printed in red above he image: "If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them."


That is a statement that makes absolutely no sense to a rational person. 

The very reason immigrints bring their children with them is because they do not want to be separated from them! They are all seeking better living conditions and opportunities? Duh!

The U.S. Attorney General does not apparently understand the motivation of parents to seek better conditions for their children.

If this were not America, it might be funny, but incredible travesties are being conducted and the prime enforcer of the laws of our land is supporting the injustice. 

Sessions quotes the Bible to support this action. I believe he is misguided.

The Washington Post reports that a Senator was refused entry into holding areas where children removed from their parents are being held and there are reports that the children are held in converted stores by people who may not have the experience in helping children who have been traumatically ripped away from their families. 

I must be missing something here.

Happy Father's Day, and fathers, let's unite to stop the forced break-up of families.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 16, 2018

End of Year/Retirement #3

The party season continued around the pool last evening as some of the staff from Lime Kiln Middle School gathered to celebrate the end of another school year along with Chris' retirement.

End of Year Party Just Beginning
June 15, 2018
We have held the end of the year party at the house for many years now and I look forward to rubbing shoulders with Chris' co-workers. This year has been especially tough as Chris was moved to a different team and had to learn new curriculum and make new friends in the school. But she did!

The Fire Pit is Lighted as the Day turns to Night
The Party from Above as the Day Ends
She was sitting here this morning with me reflecting upon the night and made the incredibly profound statement, "Well, another chapter is done." Wow. I hope I can keep it together like that when my time comes. There are two half-days remaining and a 22 year career will be complete. 

I launched Radio Flyer on two occasions to help document the event. I did forget to take snap shots of the party goers, I was kinda busy partying.

Most importantly, however, Chris had fun. It was a great evening and some party goers remained until the wee-hours of the morning arrived. 

Or so I am told. I was in bed before then. 

Thank you to all who came and partook of the last Lime Kiln Middle School party to be held around the pool AND to also wish Chris "calm seas and fair winds" as she sails off into retirement. 

And a big thank-you to Patrick and Tina who took care of ensuring that the party-goers were properly lubricated with libations. You were a huge help!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 15, 2018

Orioles--As the Season is Lost

The Orioles (19-48 .284) season is a loss, that has become clear. True fans, like myself are waiting for the "fire sale" to begin as the good players on the team are traded to obtain the players to reconstruct the team and hopefully get back into contention. 

It is hard to be a fan of the worst team in baseball. And it is not just their record--they are at or near the bottom in many of the categories that define play in Major League Baseball. I wonder sometimes if our AAA League team in Norfolk (34-29 .540) might not be better.

Doing the math, the Orioles are on track to finish with 46 wins and 116 losses. The biggest question right now is will they get 20 wins before they have 50 losses? 

Only because the 1899 Cleveland Spiders lost 134 games, I do not feel that the record for the most losses in a baseball season is within reach; however, in the modern era the 1962 Mets finished 40-120 .250, and clearly, especially once the good players on the team are traded, that record is within reach. The 2003 Detroit Tigers came close at 43-119 .265. I am beginning to believe that the team could finish as poorly as 40-122 (.246).

I attended the game the other night and the stadium was empty. The reported attendance was 15,934 and there were only that many people there because there were probably 10,000 Red Sox fans in the crowd.

I am not sure when the ultimate disassembly of the team is going to occur, but I do hope that the quality players on the team find new homes on contenders. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Retirement Party #2

Chris at the Retirement Function
Howard County recognized its retirees last evening in a gathering that was both classy and fun.
The Retirement Function

The retirees from across the county gathered in a local hall to hear words of encouragement from the superintendent and celebrate their careers.

Chris Getting a Likeness Drawn
It was a lot of fun. The munchies were heavy and sufficed for dinner and the connections between the retirees were amazing. I was honored to be there to see all of the people that Chris knew from her years working in the county.

I knew many of the other people retiring and that made the evening all that much more enjoyable. The county brought in artists and photographers as well as providing live piano music during the evening. I was impressed by the words of the superintendent to the retirees. 

Congratulations to Chris.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Watching the Polo Match

The Stable and Pitch at King Family Vineyards
from Radio Flyer's Vantage Point
June 10, 2018
I had a new experience this weekend when I attended a polo match. The match was held at King Family Vineyard on Sunday afternoon. It was a sight to see. The ponies and the riders charging along the pitch hitting the ball. There is a whole language associated with polo.

It was fun to watch the ponies run and to see the teams score. I could tell that it takes a lot of skill.

I have to admit, it was breathtaking to see the ponies and riders charging directly at me. It made me wonder if they were really under control. While I do not fully understand the intricacies of the rules, it was a basic game of hit the ball through the goal--complicated by the fact that the players were riding ponies at full gallop!

I did learn that a chukka is a period in polo. Although the rules call for six chukkas in a match, I am pretty sure there were only four in the ones played on Sunday.

It was a fantastic day at the vineyard and we sampled some truly special wines while we were watching the ponies compete. 

Polo Ponies on the Pitch
We were lucky that we left during the second match and were on the road before the torrential rains set in late in the afternoon. Getting out of the vineyard in the narrow road was probably a nightmare.

Departing when we chose was a good call.

And now I have experienced polo firsthand and I understand the attraction, of course, having a vineyard serving wine constantly while watching the match is not a bad thing either! The two go together very well: polo and wine.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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