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

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Midnight Madness - Ellicott City

Main Street Ellicott City
December 7, 2018
Ellicott City is alive! 

Last evening, Ellicott City celebrated its 40th Annual Midnight Madness. 

The annual event occurs on the first Friday night of December and Chris and I have attended many of them during the past years.

What was amazing is that the businesses conducted the Midnight Madness this year after the devastating flood during May. The city is rising from the ruins. Many of the businesses and storefronts remain closed, but many others were open. It was a festive time and the shops that were open were doing great business.

It was a cold December night, but the Christmas cheer served in many of the businesses on this special night helped keep our spirits warm. We enjoyed walking the nostalgic streets, listening to carolers, sharing the joys of the season with other shoppers and the merchants.

Walking the Main Street, Ellicott City at night reminded me of my childhood in Ithaca shopping for Christmas presents up and down State Street in Ithaca, back when cars used to be able to drive through the main business area. 

Christmas is alive, at least in Ellicott City.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 7, 2018

Remodel Project Complete, Mostly

After a final push last night to install the lights over the counter and paint the final areas where we have been mudding--the basement remodel project is complete. There are no more dangling wires or open areas that need attention. 


It has achieved the 99 percent complete point where just come clean up remains and I still need to install the utility sink in the laundry room. I don't know why the sink is still uninstalled, it is not that difficult. Chris and I have been discussing reinstalling the existing sink or purchasing another one. 

We did determine that we need a dimmer switch for the new lights over the counter and cabinets. The lights we bought are very bright--too bright. Fortunately, they are dimmable. Yay, we got lucky. 

What this means is that finally the second Christmas Tree can be erected to complete decorating the house. And, a by-product of that will be that Chris's car will once again be garaged. We have been staging materials and decorations from the garage. 

So, except for some really minor things, it is finished, finally.

Just in time for a party!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tribute to a Father

Chris and I watched the State funeral for President Bush yesterday.

We watched the television coverage for the hours that it was on beginning with  the Capitol departure, where we paid our respects, through to where the family departed on Special Airlift Mission 41 from Andrews Joint Base.

What did I take away? 

I was reminded of the history of the man. From a young Naval aviator during the Second World War, to Congress, to The CIA, Reagan's Vice President and then the 41st President of the United States. 

I listened to the speakers who told about his life and our times. Their words were recounted a life of joy and sorrows about a man who was genuine.

Alan Simpson said:

The most decent and honorable person I ever met was my friend, George Bush.

He never lost his sense of humor. Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life. That's what humor is. He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: hatred corrodes the container it's carried in.

John Meacham said:

George Herbert Walker Bush was America's last great soldier-statesman, a 20th century founding father. He governed with virtues that most closely resemble those of Washington and of Adams, of TR and of FDR, of Truman and of Eisenhower, of men who believed in causes larger than themselves. Six-foot-two, handsome, dominant in person, President Bush spoke with those big strong hands, making fists to underscore points.

But, most importantly, I learned that the 41st President was a committed father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a friend. He had honor and integrity. He was humble. 

His son, George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States said this about his father:

In his Inaugural Address, the 41st president of the United States said this: “We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it. What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?”
Well, Dad—we’re going remember you for exactly that and so much more.
And we’re going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So, through our tears, let us see the blessings of knowing and loving you—a great and noble man, and the best father a son or daughter could have.

The character of a man defines him.

But through all of the words and tears what really moved me was that George H.W. Bush was a family man. He put his family first--and what a family he and Barbara developed. 

It was a great tribute to a father, who just happened to be President.

I hope that when I dross the threshold to change my permanent residence that I will be remembered for the family that Chris and I have and not what I have done, but how I have accomplished the things in my life.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Saying Good-bye to a President

The Capitol with the Lines to Honor a President
December 4, 2018
Chris and I sojourned into D.C. last evening to pay our respects to the late President George H.W. Bush. We were joined by thousands of other Americans who stood in line for hours to spend a few minutes in the Rotunda of the Capitol, the Cathedral of Freedom and Liberty, honoring the memory of the 41st President of these United States.

When we finally made it into the Rotunda with the flag draped casket, no one hurried us on or out. The crowd was respectful and well behaved. No pictures were allowed. We stood there, in the grand hall surrounded by the paintings of the founding of the Republic, to honor the memory of one of a select few men elected to lead this nation. 

The Remembrance Card for President Bush
(Front and Back)
And lead us he did. Through the difficult war with Iraq by building a multinational coalition such as the world had never seen. But even more, we were there to honor his grace and service to the nation. Qualities that need to be restored in and revered by all who would lead this nation.

It was a cold night. Very cold. Chris and I departed the house shortly after 4 PM to head off to the Greenbelt Metro Station and then to ride the rails into the city. We arrived in line outside the Capitol about 5:45. We stood in line, in the cold, for about two and a half hours until we were finally inside the Capitol building and then about another half hour inside, in the warmth, until we were finally in the Rotunda. It was after 9 PM when we were outside again and headed home after signing the remembrance books. 

The lines of people waiting to spend a few minutes in solemn remembrance had grown incredibly behind us. We estimated that those arriving in line when were leaving would have a five hour wait, in the cold. It was gratifying to see the numbers of people, like us, who were willing to take a few hours out of their busy holiday schedules to remember and honor the memory of a President and a very special man who meant so much to his family, friends, and this country.

It was almost 10:30 PM by the time we arrived back home. We had been gone over six hours.

Was it worth it? Yes. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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