Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Grasses are Cut

Grasses Before Cutting
Preparing for the onset of the "dark" season and winter takes a lot of preparation.
Chris Raking
One Side of the Pool is Complete

Yesterday, Chris and I accomplished one annual project that takes a couple of hours, but must be faithfully done every year.

The ornamental grasses surrounding the pool must be cut. They create quite a pile and I take them to the recycling center so that can be composted into mulch.

It is sad the way that the pool area changes from a secluded into a more public area. It is suddenly a very open area.

Grasses Cut and Loaded
We have found, through experience, that cutting the grasses during the autumn is much better than waiting until spring. They tend to get very dry and windblown during the winter and do not pack down well. As it is, I can get the entire cutting into one truck load for the trip to Marriottsville Alpha Ridge Landfill.
My Truck
Yes, It is a Work Truck!

It was an absolutely beautiful day. Cool in the morning but warm afternoon. I chose a good day to take some leave and get work done around the house.

With each passing day we become more and more ready for the winter snows which are not all that far off. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 20, 2017

Crazy Celebration

Jeremy Celebrating
As the birthday season continues, the celebrations seem to get crazier.

Last evening it was a trip to Chevy's at Arundel Mills for a birthday dinner. 
Lucas and Jeremy

My assessment of Chevy's is that the food is not great, but plentiful and the location is definitely accessible. They also make birthday celebrations special. 

Jeremy is a good for these events because he plays along. And danced with the birthday wishes as they were being sung to him. We even got the singing accomplished in between congratulatory phone calls!

Lucas was an intergral part of the fun as well. He added some enthusiasm to the event!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Paying the Bills

Why do I have bills? 

Because I live. 

Some things just seem to come with a price tag: electricity, water, car, phone, internet, a place to live.

We need to pay for what have become the basic necessities of life.

Paying the bills has changed over time. I remember sitting at the table once or twice per month writing out the checks and putting them in envelopes with stamps and mailing them off to their destinations. 

Now it is a computer-driven process for some and others are automatically paid directly from my account. The mail I now receive is an email to confirm receipt of my payment. 

It has been a long time since I have actually written a check to pay a bill. Everything is done by electronically.

I'm not sure if it is easier than it used to be, but it is what it is and using the computer does allow for keeping my accounts balanced. And I don't have to worry about the mail getting lost.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday Chris
Like, Jax and Ethan
Sunday was a birthday celebration.

A big birthday and the grandsons were there to help Chris celebrate here transition into the Social Security eligible crowd.

Yea, it was a big birthday and the grandsons were more than happy to help the celebration get amped up to the highest level. 

The cheesecake was ready and lightly decorated with candles, the vocal chords were warmed up, and the celebration was at the highest level.

Happy birthday filled the room as the assembled family gave the classic song their best rendition. 

The afternoon included cheesecake topped with cherries. It was a perfectly planned birthday celebration with the grandsons singing the enhanced version of Happy Birthday.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What is Momentarily?

We have been experiencing numerous recent power surges and brief outages. As a result of one of these, our many years old printer failed to recover from an inelegant shutdown and had to be replaced.

Image of the Instruction on My New Printer
We found a really good deal on a new printer, one in which Best Buy essentially paid us to buy the new printer. Seriously. It was on sale for half price and we received gift cards for the sale purchase price AND, a 5 percent discount for using our Best Buy card to buy it. One of the salespeople remarked, "No, we're not going out of business anytime soon." 

I'm not sure how that makes good business, but I really appreciated the effective 2 for 1 deal I got for my money. Did I mention that the printer was already marked down to less than half price?

Enough of the back story. 

While setting up the printer, I came across an interesting definition of the word "momentarily."

I always thought that "momentarily" was a short period of time. No more than seconds! But apparently momentarily can be defined as six minutes! No wonder computers and printers run so slowly if momentarily is such a long period. 

I guess the printer company has a new definition of "momentarily."

It suits them. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Musings - October 16, 2017

1. October is more than half over! Where is the time flying?

2. Puppies are hard to train. I had forgotten that.

3. Birthdays make great reasons for family gatherings. 

4. The weather forecasters got it all wrong. It was supposed to be dry this morning. It is raining.

5. Weekend sports report: Winners: Steelers, Redskins, Penguins (Saturday). Losers: Ravens. Did not play: Cowboys.

6. Another week starts with the passing of the weekend. What a cruel cycle of days. I think I need two weekends in a row to change things up!


Iraqi Forces Begin Assault Near Kurdish-Held City of Kirkuk - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"Democracy is made up of specifics -- day-to-day freedoms -- just as tyranny is made up of day-to-day oppressions. Is it sincere to talk about democracy but ignore the specific markers by which we can tell if democracy truly exists? I don't think so."
Address to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, October 7, 1987

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 15, 2017

It was a Gray and Overcast Day . . .

Patuxent Greens Hole 4
October 14, 2017
Almost as compelling as the line, "It was a dark and stormy night . . . " the thought "It was a gray and overcast day . . ." clearly is the opening phrase to a more significant and possibly interesting beginning to a book or a chapter.

Some ideas come to mind, like:

It was a gray and overcast day as we pushed away from the quay and headed off into the angry sea. 

Woodchuck Unfazed by My Presence

It was a gray and overcast day as I stepped outside and headed to my car to begin my daily trek to work navigating the traffic-jammed roads and highways of the Capitol Beltway region of Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

In reality, the sentence is:

It was a gray and overcast day as I stepped onto the tee-box,  looking downrange at the green fairway deciding where I wanted my first drive of the day to land and with a mighty swing of my driver the round began.

It was a great day in the it was cool, but not so cool that I had to wear a coat. And it was easy to follow the flight of the ball against the overcast sky.

I happened upon a woodchuck on the 14th hole. I was amazed how it ignored my presence. I drove within a few feet of it to take its picture. 

The day actually got better with the sun making an appearance during the afternoon. The lawns were mowed and the leaves removed. 

It was a gray an overcast day, but despite the gloom it was a great day filled with a multitude of activities and as darkness fell I was happy with all that had been accomplished.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Making the Cheesecake

Cheesecake Poured int the Pan
It is the family birthday season. My birthday was a few weeks ago and Chris is celebrating the anniversary of her birth this weekend.
Baked and Continuing the Cooling Process

One of the things that Chris and I do for each other is make a special celebratory birthday cake. Mine is a yellow cake with cream cheese frosting and pineapple. 

Chris likes New York style cheesecake made from scratch using a Betty Crocker recipe. The cheese cake is truly a production covering about 4 hours of preparation, baking and cooling before it can be left unattended in the refrigerator. The object is to make a perfect cheesecake without any cracks!

Like the one pictured.

It came out fantastic! A cheesecake ready for the celebration!

And I didn't wait until the last minute!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Final Four is Set

Sometimes I don't know which is the better option. Is it better for a team to consistently make the playoffs, but get eliminated in the first round or to just not make the playoffs at all?

And so goes the stories of the two local baseball teams: the Nationals and the Orioles.

The Orioles failed to make the playoffs and in fact wound up with a losing record for the 2017 campaign.

The Nationals were one of the dominant teams in baseball with a home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs and yet lost, again, in the first round.

Baseball's final four are all deserving teams. Two of them won over 100 games this year: the Dodgers and the Astros.

The defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers will play for the National League Championship and a trip to the World Series.

On the other side, the Houston Astros will host the New York Yankees to start the American League Championship series. 

Prediction: I believe the the Dodgers will face the Astros in the World Series with the Dodgers winning in six games.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Incognito Golfer

Makayla Ready for a Round of Golf
It seems that the arrival of a new puppy into the household is having an unexpected  impact on Makayla. She has come very attached to me. Too attached.

Makayla does not want to be separated from me for any reason. Whenever the puppy, Finnegan, is about Makayla finds a place close to me and parks herself. 

The other morning, as I was preparing to head out for a round of golf she figured out I was leaving and tried to disguise herself as my partner.

The ruse did not work. I knew that I was the only left-handed golfer in the house. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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