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

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Winter Arrives

Shoppers at Wegman's Preparing for the Storm
January 12, 2019
The Baltimore-Washington region has been dodging the storms of Winter for some time now, but the area is finally taking a direct hit.

There are 5 or more inches of snow on the ground with more falling. 

Evening January 12, 2019
As the Storm Begins

I wish I was in Florida right now watching this on the news rather than living it in person. Experiencing snowstorms virtually is much preferred to actually living through them.

Think about it--I have to spend hours shoveling the driveway and in the end all of the snow will melt away. It is wasted energy. But if I don't shovel the snow will melt to ice before it finally goes away. 

Finnegan in the Snow
Chris and I prepared for the storm yesterday, as did thousands of our new best friends from around the region, by hitting the stores and stocking up on supplies. We shopped at Wegman's for food. Although the real reason we went to Wegman's was to get guacamole for the football games, we came out other essential storm supplies. Sadly, the Cowboy's did not take the game seriously, although the Chief's won their game earlier in the day.
Snow on the Deck Before Dawn
January 13, 2019

The snow fell overnight and it fell in a great amount. As I write this it is still snowing and I am beginning to think about breakfast and heading out to shovel.

While we were preparing for the storm we were dreaming of being somewhere warm. I believe that every snowstorm cements our decision to head south as soon as I retire. I can scarcely believe that I am thinking doubt retirement, but it seems that as more and more of the people that I know retire, it becomes more real for me.

Well, as with every snowstorm in the region, most everything is closed. Chris and I have to attend a birthday party for our youngest grandson later in the day that I expect will occur, but other than that, we are not likely to venture out until much later in the day. It is not that we are afraid to drive in the snow, no, we are afraid of the other crazy drivers on the road who either are paralyzed by the driving conditions or ho think that because they have a 4-wheel drive vehicle that they can drive as if the roads were clear.

And now that it is dawn, I can clearly see that the snow continues to fall stacking up into piles on the ground.

It is time to get moving and clear the mess.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sunrise There's a Fire in the Sky

Sunrise from LifeTime Fitness, Columbia, MD
January 11, 2019
Yesterday morning, I was leaving the club where I play, or rather I attempt to play, racquetball about 6:40 AM. I was treated to a stunning sunrise building on the horizon. I caused me to grab my cell phone and snap an image. Later as I was driving to work the sunrise became even more stunning, but as I was driving I could not get an image of it to share. 

I was excited, and I know most people do not get too excited about such things. But I was excited about the sunrise at 6:40 AM because t means the dark season is departing and the daylight is returning. We have gained 13 more minutes of daylight since the solstice. The amount if daylight is rapidly increasing, during the next seven days we will gain another ten minutes of daylight. Yay! I note that in Jupiter, Florida, they have already an hour more of daylight per day than Baltimore does! Something about a change in latitude.

And of course, the mixture of the warmth of Florida coupled with the sunrise reminded me of the song Knee Deep by the Zac Brown Band. The refrain contain the magical sunrise words:

Wishin' I was
Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky, breeze and it don't seem fair
The only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

A warm thought for a cold, January Baltimore morning where 3-5 inches of snow is expected. I might change the words of the song some:

Hating that I'm
Knee deep in the snow out here
Got the gray sky wind and it don't seem fair
The only worry that I have
Will I freeze right in this spot
Sunrise, and it weren't even seen
But snow keeps falling
And so not to to be mean
But I think I'm gonna need a change of scenery

or something

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cold Day

Yesterday was a cold day. Too cold for me, but just right for January. Today is colder. This morning the temperature is 23 degrees outside my window. What a change from the 50s of three days ago. 

I don't like it much when the cold weather actually arrives.

Added to the cold, there is 4-6 inches of snow in the forecast for the weekend. I need to find the snow shovels. I think they are in the shed. With the other stuff I don't use often. 

With the weather looking bad, the weekend project will be devoted to decorating the basement, it has been a bit of a blank canvas since the remodel project was completed. It is hard to say, but the weather will certainly determine the weekend activity.

Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bleeding Heart Liberal

I was called something yesterday that I never thought that I would hear: 

Bleeding heart liberal. 

Wow! It is amazing how three words can be used to define a person. I think they were meant to convey a negative connotation.

Being called a bleeding heart liberal still amazes me and I frankly don't know how to respond, but here is how I am feeling. 

First, I'm honored that I something that I wrote regarding current events in America struck a chord with someone and generated a response.

Second. I'm a bit scared that a label was used in place of engaging in a rational discussion and to ultimately agree, as I do, that we each are entitled to our opinions, especially after careful consideration and investigation. I served 21 years in the Air Force and continue to work as a Federal employee to guarantee each American that precious right to an opinion.

Third, I am happy that my obvious and overt support for definite conservatives such as Ronald Reagan, George Patton, George HW Bush, and George W Bush, to name a few, has not overshadowed my ability to keep an open mind on issues and evaluate them on their merits. I didn't realize that there issue I was writing a liberal vs conservative issue to begin with.

I found an interesting quote that is more applicable today than I originally realized:

“If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”  - Ronald Reagan, 1975. Checked at

The thought is even more interesting and potentially applicable today since fascism is generally defined as extreme right-wing philosophy.

So, if my opinion on one issue makes me a bleeding heart liberal, maybe that is not a bad thing--so I will own it.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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