Sunday, December 16, 2018

Remembering Other Times

Torrey, NY on Senaca Lake
October 4, 2018
December is passing day-by-day and as we are now past mid-month, the end of both the month and the year are in sight.

Bully Hill Winery
October 3, 20218
On top of the December darkness, it has rained non-stop for the past 36 hours. The forecast is for continued rain well into the afternoon today.

To escape the gloom of the sunless dawn, I downloaded some of the images from our early October wine tasting trip to Upstate New York.

The images reminded me of warmer times, although not necessarily dryer times. It rained during that trip. 

Senaca Lake near Torrey, NY
October 3, 2018
Despite the occasional rain, I was able to get Radio Flyer airborne for some nice images. Flying over Senaca Lake was a new experience. It was fun, but I was also nervous because I knew that if there was an emergency and I couldn't get Radio Flyer back to short, it would be lost. 

Fortunately, there was no emergency, although the winds aloft did cause me to shorten my flight a bit and recover the drone. 

Remembering past trips helps me to escape the dreary days. December will be over soon and the new year will be full of warmer and drier days to enjoy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reflections of the Lights

The rain has returned and dominates the weekend forecast. Ugh!

Christmas Lights Reflected on the Deck
December 14, 2018
We are expected to see temperatures in the 50's today, but the rain will preclude outdoor activities. I have so many outdoors projects that need to be accomplished, including cutting the trees we had felled and trimming the grasses around the pool.

Not this weekend.

But, even in the most disagreeable weather it is possible to find some beauty. 

Last evening as the rain fell, the Christmas lights illuminated the gloomy evening with their joyous light. I discovered some beauty on our back deck in their reflections in the rain.

The reflections added much needed light to the season and brightened my mood, just a bit.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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
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