Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Rainy Evening

Rain at Night on the Pool Cover
Elkridge, MD
October 25, 2021
The rain rolled in promptly as expected at 6 PM last evening just as the weather forecasters predicted. 

We need the rain. It has been very dry and the lawn is suffering as well as the trees. It is hard to believe how dry it has been. 

Well, the downside is that the baseball field may be too wet for practice tonight. Especially if it rains most of the day. But the field was like a desert dustbowl that last time we played on it, until the rains came then and turned it into a mud bowl. 

I like to hear the rain as it falls. And it fell last evening, long and hard. The new pool cover holds the water on it before it percolates down. The rain also hits the pool cover like it is a drumhead making a pleasing rhythmic sound. I probably should make a recording of the sound.

We slept with the windows open so we could enjoy the sound of the rain falling. I know I went to sleep very quickly enjoying the calming sound and cool breeze under and additional blanket on the bed. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Musings - October 25, 2021


1. Welcome to the last Monday of October 2021. There are but 9 Mondays remaining in the year. Next Monday is the 1st of November!

2. In one week we will be able to say that Christmas is next month.

Compass Pointe Golf Course
Pasadena, MD
October 22, 2021
3. We get to celebrate four holidays between now and the end of the year (plus one day).

4. Golf on Friday is something I need to spend more time doing. It was a great way to spend a Friday late-morning and afternoon on a beautiful October day..

5. I saw the movie Dune. It was great--but ended abruptly. A sequel is definitely required. 

6. Drivers in Maryland need to:

    -- learn how to drive up hills

    -- Use signals to change lanes

    -- Be less impatient

    -- Develop courtesy

    -- Merge without stopping in the on-ramp

7. Today in History. October 25, 1929. During the Teapot Dome scandal, Albert B. Fall, who served as secretary of the interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, is found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office. Fall was the first individual to be convicted of a crime committed while a presidential cabinet member.

As a member of President Harding’s corruption-ridden cabinet in the early 1920s, Fall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company, who wanted Fall to grant his firm a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills naval oil reserve in California. The site, along with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, had been previously transferred to the Department of the Interior on the urging of Fall, who evidently realized the personal gains he could achieve by leasing the land to private corporations.

Millions of Workers Stay Home to Watch Young Children as Daycares Stay Dark - The Wall Street Journal

Turkey’s Erdogan Threatens to Expel 10 Western Ambassadors, Including U.S. Envoy - The Wall Street Journal

Inside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources ProblemInside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources Problem - New York Times

An Unexpected Pandemic Consequence Frustrates Florida’s Biggest CityAn Unexpected Pandemic Consequence Frustrates Florida’s Biggest City - The New York Times

Americans abroad search for a first vaccine dose as millions at home get their third one - The Washington Post

More frequent outages afflict U.S. power grid as states fail to prepare for climate change - The Washington Post

Melbourne to ease more COVID curbs as 80% vaccination rate nears - Reuters

Dune' Opens to $40 Million at the Box Office. Strong Enough for a Sequel? - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Is there a Simple Repair?

Completed Replacement
Elkridge, MD
October 23, 2021

The Damaged Board Removed
Elkridge, MD
October 23, 2021
It seemed simple enough: remove and replace a board on the deck which had not held up and had become a safety hazard.

OK, Chris put her foot through it on Friday. We used pressure treated lumber when we rebuilt the deck a couple years ago, but it seems that this particular piece may not have been completely treated. I checked all of the other boards in the area for similar deterioration and found none. 

So the project seemed easy, unscrew board, pull it up, measure the replacement and install! Not so fast! The heads of the screws were deteriorated and could not be turned so I had to cut the board on both sides of the support beam and chip the remaining piece out and then use a vice grip to turn each screw out of the beam. I had to do this for place the board crossed a support beam. It was a slog! 

By the time it was done, I was amazed at how many different tools I used. And of course there were two obligatory trips to Lowe's. One for supplies and then another to get the right saw blades to complete the job after I broke the one remaining jig-saw blade that I had. 

I managed to make it an all-day project, but completed it before a late-afternoon downpour drenched everything. 

Another project completed on a Saturday. Next Spring, after the board dries, I will apply the stain and probably stain the entire deck just to freshen everything. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Around the Fire Pit


The Fire at 5 PM
Elkridge, MD
October 22, 2021
And another season around the fire pit begins as the days grow shorter. 

The beginning of a good evening around the pit is, of course, a roaring fire. And I was able to build a great fire that continued to warm the immediate area as nightfall descended and the temperature fell. 

Meeting around a hot fire with friends to recap the week behind and just enjoy being with each other. Of course, a couple bottles of wine help to set the mood. 

It truly was the perfect way to end an idyllic Autumn day. I only spent a few hours at work before heading out to play a round of gold under clear skies, low humidity, and temperatures which just allowed me to be comfortable in a short sleeved shirt. 

As Fridays go--this was one of the best. Of course, not being at work on a beautiful day is always preferred.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 22, 2021

Autumn Evening

Autumn Sun in the Tree Tops
Elkridge, MD
October 21, 2021
Chris and I were outside around the gas fire pit last evening enjoying a glass of wine together for the first time in two weeks. We marked the end of the family emergency which began two weeks ago and was the reason for our sudden/unplanned return from Florida after 38 hours there. 

We were also together again for the first time in about two weeks not facing a family crisis. I could feel Chris's adrenaline level dropping to normal. 

We watched the sun move up the trees and I could detect the signs of autumn in the leaves. Chris relayed that Autumn is in full color in Upstate New York with the reds of the Sugar Maples on display. She had completed the 5 hour drive home from there earlier in the day.

Life will, hopefully, return to normal, at least for a few weeks. Sitting tonight sipping a glass of wine together marked the first normal evening in two weeks. 

Here is to normal! May it last.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Here We Go Again

 Another new variant?

COVID-19 is mutating again! A new, and of course more  contagious variant that could replace the Delta variant has made its appearance in Russia according to a report on Reuters this morning.

Russia reports cases of more contagious COVID-19 variant - reports

Like we actually need another variant in the world. 

According to the report, 

It is possible that the AY.4.2 variant will spread widely, RIA quoted the state consumer watchdog's senior researcher Kamil Khafizov as saying.

That could cause the rate of new COVID-19 cases, already at record highs in Russia, to rise even further.

The new variant could even replace Delta eventually, although the process is likely to be slow, he said.

Like we really need more COVID-19!

Hopefully the vaccines will stand up to this new variant. And of course, it is clear that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Sports Junkies


The excitement of the mid-week has arrived. 

Mike and his now famous "Hump Day" camel have made Wednesday a thing.

It is a busy week in sports with the MLB playoffs underway, NHL Hockey finding its stride for the long season ahead, the NFL in the middle of the season, and the NBA opening its season last night! We are in that small yearly period when all of four of the biggest sports in America are underway.

And do not forget golf! The PGA is playing as well.

Coupled with college football--there is a lot of sports available to become distracted from the realities of life. 

Who will play in and win the World Series? That is the most immediate sports question at hand. Following that, I wonder are the Dallas Cowboys for real at 5-1?

I am not the sports junkie that I used to be, but I follow teams in three of the "Big 4."

So with sports, there are plenty of distractions, not to mention I am still a coach on a Fall Ball baseball team.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Winding Down in the Yard

Freshly Mowed
Elkridge, MD
October 18, 2021
I spent some quality time on my lawn tractor yesterday afternoon. It felt good to be out on the yard mowing and relocating the leaves which are beginning to fall. Since the year is quickly moving to conclusion, it is likely that I will not be mowing the lawn too many more times. But it sure looked beautiful in the Autumn afternoon light. All of the leaves were gone and I could enjoy the grass again. It was like a golf fairway.

Hibiscus on the Pool Deck
Elkridge, MD
October 18, 2021
I noticed that our hibiscus is blooming like mid-summer. It has burst forth in brilliance with its multi-colored flowers and made me smile as I was clearing the pool deck of the leaf accumulation.

The shortened days of Autumn are clearly here. The darkness arrives almost before I am ready and in three short weeks I will be setting the clocks back and preparing for the dark days. The clocks need to get reset because the school kids can barely be seen walking to their bus stops as I depart for work during the morning. 

And yes, it is Tuesday. I am reminded of the outdoors projects still remaining to prepare for the winter season. Hopefully, the first frost is still some weeks away--but it is colder this morning than last. The arrival of 40 degree nights caused my heating system to kick-on overnight. 

Another day and I'm beginning to get in the mindset of playing out the string.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday Musings - October 18, 2021


1. Welcome to the 3rd Monday of the month. There are just 10 Mondays remaining in the year! Don't look now, the year is slipping away.

2. Family NFL results:

   Ravens (5-1) defeat Chargers (4-2), 34-6

   Cowboys (5-1) defeat Patriots (2-4), 35-29

   Washington (2-4) lose to Chiefs (3-3), 13-31

   Steelers (3-3) defeat to Seahawks (2-4), 23-20

3. I have a thought--the use of turn signals while driving in is a direct reflection of a community's consideration of others. 

4. The temperature outside as I woke this morning was 49 degrees. The high today is expected to be only 66 degrees. These are sure signs that Autumn has arrived. 

5. The leaves are beginning to turn and fall from the trees. I suppose that even though the lawn does not need mowing, I will have to get the leaves removed so that I an hold onto the last vestiges of summer just a bit longer.

6. Here is a thought for the day:

 Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.

Bonnie Blair

Speed Skater

7. Today in History. On October 18, 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. Indigenous peoples settled the unforgiving territory thousands of years earlier. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson.

Russia wanted to sell its Alaska territory, which was remote and difficult to defend, to the U.S. rather than risk losing it in battle with a rival such as Great Britain. Negotiations between Seward (1801-1872) and the Russian minister to the U.S., Eduard de Stoeckl, began in March 1867. However, the American public believed the land to be barren and worthless and dubbed the purchase “Seward’s Folly” and “Andrew Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden,” among other derogatory names. Some animosity toward the project may have been a byproduct of President Johnson’s own unpopularity. As the 17th U.S. president, Johnson battled with Radical Republicans in Congress over Reconstruction policies following the Civil War. He was impeached in 1868 and later acquitted by a single vote. Nevertheless, Congress eventually ratified the Alaska deal. 

Global Energy Crisis Shows Strain of Shift to Renewables - The Wall Street Journal

Group of 16 Americans and a Canadian Kidnapped in Haiti - The Wall Street Journal

As Manchin Blocks Climate Plan, His State Can’t Hold Back Floods - The New York Times

Analysis: Is the U.S. in a Cold War With China? - The New York Times

Denver museum to return artifacts to Cambodia - The Washington Post

Fully vaccinated travelers can come to the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say - The Washington Post

Sydney eases more COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations pass key milestone - Reuters

Oil prices climb to highest in years as COVID recovery, power generators stoke demand - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Cold Autumn Rain

 The rain that fell yesterday afternoon was definitely a cold Autumn rain.

How do I know? I was out in it coaching baseball and I was cold and wet as the rain soaked through my shirt.

Although Severn Seminoles 14U managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in both games, we were able to complete the second game despite the rain beginning during the 3rd inning. The rain stopped and we were able to play the 4th inning. 

I mostly dried out and warmed-up by the end of the 4th where the Seminoles a 3-2 lead and were playing up to their potential.  The rain began again during the 5th inning after the opposing team had taken a lead. Unfortunately as the rain fell harder, the play of the team began to get as sloppy as the field. 

In the end we lost. The rain fell harder and the play got sloppier. I was wet and cold. When I finally got to my car and took my hat off it was dripping and created a huge wet spot on the seat. 

It is Autumn after all and we have been having some really warm and great weather. The low 50s temperatures of this morning and the rains were to be expected some weeks ago. 

Today is crisp and clear! Exactly the weather expected after a cold Autumn rain. All that is missing are the brightly colored leaves of Autumn.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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