Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime Begins


Finnegan Staring at Something
The best season of the year begins today. Summer arrives, or for some of you has already arrived!

Yes!

The Hydrangea that Ate Elkridge
Pools, fun, golf, travel, and hot sultry days floating in the pool.

Of course last evening it was raining, again! Ugh. 

Finnegan is excited about summer. He was on the back of the outdoor sofa looking for its arrival the other evening. At least he was staring out at something. 

The hydrangeas in the front yard are growing out of control. The deer have not managed to consume the blooms yet.

The rain is keeping everything very green, which is fine with me. The fire risk for the 4th of July is likely to be very low. That is good for the local fireworks displays.

On the baseball front, the Orioles have won two of their last three games. They posted victories on Sunday and last night, they lost on Tuesday and are now posting a 21-51 record. They remain poised to lose 115 games.

Happy summertime. Break out the beach umbrellas!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Last Day



Watermelon Margarita
Retirement is sweet. 

Well, so says Chris.

Yesterday, after 23 years of getting every school day to greet, encourage, and teach students, was the last day. Through tears and cheers, Chris walked out of Lime Kiln Middle School and into retirement after the last bell rang. 


Evening Happy Hour
The first thing she did after leaving school was go to lunch with her friends where, in addition to food, she enjoyed a pretty awesome looking watermelon margarita.


And then she came home. Later in the evening we enjoyed a special happy hour together. Throughout the evening, I was pleased by the number of people who called her to wish her many years of joy as she begins the new chapter in her life. 
Chris on the Beach

It was a day of celebration, fun, parties, and some sadness as the reality of retirement became very real. Hopefully the friends and relationships of 20 plus years will remain strong well into the future.

I am so proud of her!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Floatie in the Afternoon


Chris with Finnegan in the Pool
June 18, 2018
Chris and I celebrated a truly summer-like day yesterday by enjoying cool drinks while floating around in the pool.

It was a great way to enjoy her last evening before retirement.  It was sunny and hot and the water of the pool provided cool and refreshing relief.

We had the chance to catch up on vacation planning and begin the process of transitioning from Chris being a full-time employed person into retirement. 

I am very excited for her. 

Maybe a bit envious.

There are so many opportunities that are available to her and she wants to experience everyone of them. I know late August will be a difficult time for her when the teachers begin to return to school and for the first time in 23 years she is not headed off to join them. 

But for now, it is time to party and celebrate a hugely successful career.

I know today will be filled with tears of both joy and sadness. But, I hope to be there when she gets home to welcome her into retirement and encourage her by reminding her that the plans she has for the future outweigh the opportunities that she was facing had she stayed for even another year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Musings - June 18. 2018




Compass Pointe South Course Hole #2
6:23 AM June 17, 2018
1. Wow! Summer officially begins this week! We have finally arrived on the doorstep of the best season of the year.

2. The Orioles finally won their 20th game yesterday. They are 20-50. They are on pace to lose 116 games.

Mary and Chris on The Docks at Tanyard Cove
on Curtis Creek
June 16, 2018
3. I had a very enjoyable Father's Day. It started with an early Tee time on Compass Pointe and ended with a day long celebration with the entire family at the house. 

4. Summer vacation begins this week for Howard County. It is Chris's last summer vacation as she retires from the county when school is over on Tuesday.

5. We went and visited Fran and Mary at their new house and strolled along the docks with them on Saturday evening before having a scrumptious dinner on their back deck. 

6. I love the long days of June. It is light shortly past 5AM and stays light until almost 9PM. Officially, we are getting 14 hours and 56 minutes of daylight as we move towards the solstice. Summer begins at 6:07 AM EDT on Thursday, June 21, 2018! 

7. I finally saw some fireflies the other evening after the rains abated.

8. It was weird yesterday; we had to water the lawn since it had not rained in almost a week and the grass was beginning to turn brown.


Headlines

Leading Republicans Join Democrats in Pushing Trump to Halt Family Separations - The New York Times

Saudi women on the front line of change
Saudi women on the front line of change

Walmart shopper accused of making more than 1,000 fake returns - CNNSaudi women on the front line of change

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

State of the Union address, Feb. 6, 1985


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Did He Really Say That?


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
It is Father's Day and my thoughts on this issue seem appropriate. 

Sometimes our leaders amazes me, in not a good way.

I opened my copy of Time Magazine yesterday (yes, I still get Time every week in my mailbox) and there on page 6 was a picture of the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a quote attributed to him printed in red above he image: "If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them."

Huh?

That is a statement that makes absolutely no sense to a rational person. 


The very reason immigrints bring their children with them is because they do not want to be separated from them! They are all seeking better living conditions and opportunities? Duh!


The U.S. Attorney General does not apparently understand the motivation of parents to seek better conditions for their children.

If this were not America, it might be funny, but incredible travesties are being conducted and the prime enforcer of the laws of our land is supporting the injustice. 

Sessions quotes the Bible to support this action. I believe he is misguided.


The Washington Post reports that a Senator was refused entry into holding areas where children removed from their parents are being held and there are reports that the children are held in converted stores by people who may not have the experience in helping children who have been traumatically ripped away from their families. 

I must be missing something here.

Happy Father's Day, and fathers, let's unite to stop the forced break-up of families.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 16, 2018

End of Year/Retirement #3


The party season continued around the pool last evening as some of the staff from Lime Kiln Middle School gathered to celebrate the end of another school year along with Chris' retirement.


End of Year Party Just Beginning
June 15, 2018
We have held the end of the year party at the house for many years now and I look forward to rubbing shoulders with Chris' co-workers. This year has been especially tough as Chris was moved to a different team and had to learn new curriculum and make new friends in the school. But she did!


The Fire Pit is Lighted as the Day turns to Night
The Party from Above as the Day Ends
She was sitting here this morning with me reflecting upon the night and made the incredibly profound statement, "Well, another chapter is done." Wow. I hope I can keep it together like that when my time comes. There are two half-days remaining and a 22 year career will be complete. 

I launched Radio Flyer on two occasions to help document the event. I did forget to take snap shots of the party goers, I was kinda busy partying.

Most importantly, however, Chris had fun. It was a great evening and some party goers remained until the wee-hours of the morning arrived. 

Or so I am told. I was in bed before then. 

Thank you to all who came and partook of the last Lime Kiln Middle School party to be held around the pool AND to also wish Chris "calm seas and fair winds" as she sails off into retirement. 

And a big thank-you to Patrick and Tina who took care of ensuring that the party-goers were properly lubricated with libations. You were a huge help!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 15, 2018

Orioles--As the Season is Lost


The Orioles (19-48 .284) season is a loss, that has become clear. True fans, like myself are waiting for the "fire sale" to begin as the good players on the team are traded to obtain the players to reconstruct the team and hopefully get back into contention. 

It is hard to be a fan of the worst team in baseball. And it is not just their record--they are at or near the bottom in many of the categories that define play in Major League Baseball. I wonder sometimes if our AAA League team in Norfolk (34-29 .540) might not be better.

Doing the math, the Orioles are on track to finish with 46 wins and 116 losses. The biggest question right now is will they get 20 wins before they have 50 losses? 

Only because the 1899 Cleveland Spiders lost 134 games, I do not feel that the record for the most losses in a baseball season is within reach; however, in the modern era the 1962 Mets finished 40-120 .250, and clearly, especially once the good players on the team are traded, that record is within reach. The 2003 Detroit Tigers came close at 43-119 .265. I am beginning to believe that the team could finish as poorly as 40-122 (.246).

I attended the game the other night and the stadium was empty. The reported attendance was 15,934 and there were only that many people there because there were probably 10,000 Red Sox fans in the crowd.

I am not sure when the ultimate disassembly of the team is going to occur, but I do hope that the quality players on the team find new homes on contenders. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Retirement Party #2


Chris at the Retirement Function
Howard County recognized its retirees last evening in a gathering that was both classy and fun.
The Retirement Function

The retirees from across the county gathered in a local hall to hear words of encouragement from the superintendent and celebrate their careers.


Chris Getting a Likeness Drawn
It was a lot of fun. The munchies were heavy and sufficed for dinner and the connections between the retirees were amazing. I was honored to be there to see all of the people that Chris knew from her years working in the county.

I knew many of the other people retiring and that made the evening all that much more enjoyable. The county brought in artists and photographers as well as providing live piano music during the evening. I was impressed by the words of the superintendent to the retirees. 

Congratulations to Chris.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Watching the Polo Match




The Stable and Pitch at King Family Vineyards
from Radio Flyer's Vantage Point
June 10, 2018
I had a new experience this weekend when I attended a polo match. The match was held at King Family Vineyard on Sunday afternoon. It was a sight to see. The ponies and the riders charging along the pitch hitting the ball. There is a whole language associated with polo.

It was fun to watch the ponies run and to see the teams score. I could tell that it takes a lot of skill.

I have to admit, it was breathtaking to see the ponies and riders charging directly at me. It made me wonder if they were really under control. While I do not fully understand the intricacies of the rules, it was a basic game of hit the ball through the goal--complicated by the fact that the players were riding ponies at full gallop!

I did learn that a chukka is a period in polo. Although the rules call for six chukkas in a match, I am pretty sure there were only four in the ones played on Sunday.


It was a fantastic day at the vineyard and we sampled some truly special wines while we were watching the ponies compete. 

Polo Ponies on the Pitch
We were lucky that we left during the second match and were on the road before the torrential rains set in late in the afternoon. Getting out of the vineyard in the narrow road was probably a nightmare.

Departing when we chose was a good call.

And now I have experienced polo firsthand and I understand the attraction, of course, having a vineyard serving wine constantly while watching the match is not a bad thing either! The two go together very well: polo and wine.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Friends and Wine




The View from a Knights Gambit Winery
June 9, 2018
Chris and I enjoyed a fantastic weekend in Charlottesville with friends. The views of the mountains reminded me of my boyhood home in the dairy country of upstate New York.
Vines at Pollak
June 9, 2018

Touring a couple different wineries and enjoying a polo match were the icing on the cake of spending time with friends reconnecting. 

Chris and I love to get out in the vineyards and see the grapes growing. There is something almost magical about how the small green grape clusters of June will become wine in a bottle within a few months or years, depending upon the variety and the fermentation process. It is, at its core, farming. The weather and the soil all contribute to place their unique stamp upon each vintage. 

Grape Clusters at Pollak
June 9, 2018

Wine begins in the soil with the vines, but the stars of the show are the clusters of grapes. The winemaker orchestrates the symphony and manages the outside influences to create their personal interpretation of a wine. I have been to vineyards where the winemaker's version of a particular grape and mine do not agree--and that is definitely OK. There are thousands of wines because it is an individual preference. There is a wine for everyone.

Touring wineries and sampling the fruit of the vine is always better with friends. I hope we get to head out again soon and discover many more new and favorite wineries.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Musings - June 11, 2018

Sunset Earlysville, VA
June 10, 2018
1. It is awesome to get a weekend away with friends. It helps to get out of the routine and into something different while reconnecting and enjoying common pursuits.

2. It promises to be an exciting week with the President meeting with the leader of North Korea. Maybe they can see fit to finally end the longest war in American history.

3. I'm writing this week's edition of Monday Musings on my cell phone and so it will not have all of my usual features.

4. The image this morning is from Earlysville, VA, of the sunset over the mountains last evening.

5. I went to my first polo match yesterday. There is something breathtaking about watching 10 horses at full gallop headed straight for you and hoping they stay on the pitch.

6. Radio Flyer was airborne a number of times this weekend, but the image downloading didn't work as well as normal. I was disappointed. I have to go onto the card to pull the images.

7. At 19-45, the Orioles are on track to win 48 games this season. That means they will lose 114. Not a team record that they should be aiming for.

8. I took today off so I could enjoy the a summertime three-day weekend. And now it is raining. The story of the year so far is cool temperatures and rain.

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat. - Ronald Reagan

— Bob Doan, writing from Earlysville, VA

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weekend with friends

Out for a Walk as Viewed by Radio Flyer
June 10, 2018
Chris and I are spending the weekend in the Charlottesville area with friends. The weather has been fantastic, so far, and today we are at King Family Vineyards for a polo match.

What could be better than drinking wine and watching horses play? It has been an exciting past few days with the Stanley Cup being won by the Capitals, the Warriors sweep, and a triple crown winner. Wow.

Even though the weather threatens, we are ready for the horses to run on the pitch.

And drink some wine.

— Bob Doan, writing from Roseland Farm, VA

Saturday, June 9, 2018

It is Finished


The GORC Dodgers after a game this season
The season ended last evening for the GORC Dodgers with a crushing playoff loss. The boys played hard, but came up short against the juggernaut Cardinals who get to play for the league championship today. Congrats to them and here's hoping they win the championship. They were definitely the better team last evening.

I was pleased with the gritty play of the Dodgers, even when they got behind early, again. The boys stayed in the game because in baseball, it is not over until the final out. 


Mike and Me with our All Stars
I could tell that the guys were really committed to giving it their all, but we just came up short on a couple of tough plays. Jax came back from taking a nasty pitch off his hip and was able to pitch an impressive inning of baseball. That is real determination.  

On the highlight reel, however, there was a fantastic play which caught the baserunner at third napping for an out which was a definite high point of the game. What made it even better was that it was a play we had practiced and it earned the team ice cream at the end of year party. 

It was a great season and I am still in shock that after three months of "all baseball all the time" that it is over. I have been living and breathing baseball almost to the exclusion of other things in my non-work life. It was fun to coach with Mike again and watch each of the boys develop as baseball players. I thin this year was fun because we began to run and call plays from the bench and not just watch the boys react to the baseball.

I guess I can now focus on yard work and house projects can begin without distraction.

It was a great season. I miss it already.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Friday, June 8, 2018

Playoff Game #2


Jax Finishing a Pitch
June 6, 2018
Tonight is playoff game #2 for the GORC Dodgers. Earlier in the week they earned the right to play another game by pulling off a stunning comeback win over the Orioles, 10-9, to earn a spot in the semifinals. 


Me Coaching 3rd and Sending a Runner Home
I was late getting to the game against the Orioles because I had been attending Chris' retirement party. When I arrived, the team was down 8-0 in the third inning. But that is when the boys began to turn it around. The pitching solidified with Jax taking the mound and the bats began getting runs back one-at-a-time. The defense also woke up and one of the game's highlights was a picture-perfect pickle-drill run down of a runner attempting to come home from third base.

Jax had a great night. He pitched 2 innings, struck out 5 and allowed only 1 run. His batting line was similarly impressive. At the plate he was 3-3 with a double and 3 RBIs.


Discussing Strategy with Jack Schaecher at 3rd Base
Post Game Meeting
We Have At Least One More Game
Baseball is a great game, especially when the pitching and the batting come together and create the magic that propels a team deeper into the playoffs. 

Tonight's game is no small task. The team is playing the Cardinals who are 12-1-1 (yes there can be ties in our league). We lost 14-4 the only time we played them, but that was after an almost two-week layoff due to the rains. 

What is on the line? Tonight's winner advances  to the league championship game tomorrow. 

No matter the outcome of tonight's game, it has been a fun season and I can see the baseball improvement in each player on the team. 

Most of all, it has been fun! And baseball should be fun!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Significant Life Event - Retirement


Chris at
Her Retirement party
Yesterday was a day about one of those significant life events.
Chris Speaking at Her Retirement Party

I attended the first of four retirement parties for Chris who is retiring as a special educator after 22 years. It is amazing that she was able to put together a whole multi-decade career while I was doing the Air Force officer thing moving the family across the world.

I was happy for the nice words that were said about her long and fruitful career, but most importantly, I was impressed by the love that her bosses and co-workers showed for her. Some people came to the party who work at other schools or have already retired, just to celebrate Chris and her career.

It was a very nice party and it is great that she is going out on top. I am very excited for her and a bit jealous. But this is not about me, it is about Chris and the long lasting contributions she has made as an educator.

I'm just waiting for someone to stick a microphone in her face and ask her what she is going to do next. I'm afraid it will be something like, "I'm going to Disney World!" Well, that's not far from the truth, she is going on a cruise later this summer.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cool and Clear


A Beautiful Day for Flying
June 5, 2018
After the rains and gray of the past weeks, the crisp clear skies of the mornings have been enjoyable.

Me and Sara Watching Radio Flyer
June 5, 2018
It was a bit cool this morning as I took the dogs out, but the clear sky after the overnight rains was encouraging.

I was able to get Radio Flyer up yesterday for a short 12 minute flight. IT had been over a week since its last flight mostly due to the bad weather. I was encouraged at the amount of green surrounding our house, despite the loss of many ash trees.

My neighbor, Sara, came over to see Radio Flyer and what I was doing and she seemed very impressed with its ability. I took a picture of us, but for some reason I am almost always looking down at my controls when the image is actually taken. I need to work on that. Yesterday's flight was really intended to check out the wind conditions. I could see the wind blowing the trees and I wanted to get an estimate of whether he winds were above the suggested threshold. Turns out they were not as I never received a high wind warning, good to know.

According to my flight logs, Radio Flyer has 60 flights totaling 8 hours and 44 minutes of flying time. Not too bad! I am looking forward to taking it on my weekend trip to Charlottesville to get some nice images of different territory. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Longer Days of June


As the days draw deeper into the newly minted month of June, I am noticing the longer available daylight. Sadly, just as the temperatures start to get hot, the days begin to shorten after the solstice.


Morning Breaking
June 4, 2018
Last evening, Chris and i were out last 8:45 PM and there remained some available light to brighten the outdoors activities. It is a far cry from the days of winter when darkness descends at 4:30 PM, it seems.

The dawn is breaking clear and true this morning as well. There is not a cloud visible, which is a very rare thing lately. The day should be fantastic, but the forecast provides for afternoon thunderstorms! Too bad have to go to work.


Coach Mike and I with our All Stars
Matthes, Jax, Preston, and Martin
The rains truly have subsided and the ground is beginning to dry. I flushed out the gutter system around our deck last night. It had become clogged. Flushing it is no easy task as I have to lift a couple of boards to remove the collected debris and then get a hose to encourage the remaining lighter collection of leaves and twigs to make their way down the drain to the ground.

Tonight is the GORC Dodgers final practice. The playoffs begin tomorrow and hopefully the team cam make a good run. I hope the thunderstorms do not interfere with practice. The team needs to get ready.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 4, 2018

Monday Musings - June 4, 2018



1. It is the first Monday of June and the temperature this morning was 53 degrees. Definitely not pool activity weather.


Jacob and Jax with Finn in the Dugout
May 31, 2018
2. Two of the Orioles  four-game series with the Yankees were rained out during the past couple of days. That is how rainy the weather has been. 

3. The most exciting thing Chris and I did yesterday was try to determine when there would be a break in the torrential rains to dash out for dog food.


Me and Matthew at Third Base
May 31, 2018
4. The arrival of June has brought with it the impending beginning of the summer vacation season.

5. Sometimes definitely non-baseball related things happen in the dugout during GORC Dodgers games. 

6. I have really enjoyed coaching third base during the GORC Dodgers games this season.

7. Due to the weather and my schedule, Radio Flyer has not flown in over a week. I almost got it airborne Saturday afternoon, but didn't quite get it out before the storms arrived.

8. As the dawn breaks this morning, the rains have stopped. I called Noah and advised him to stand down in his ark construction project. Maybe we won't need it after all. 

9. Where are our nation's leaders hiding?


Headlines

New Hampshire Police Charged and Arrested a Man for Criticizing Them on the Internet - The Slate

China increasingly challenges American dominance of science - The Washington Post

Mourning America: What my father, Ronald Reagan, would say today - The Washington Post


Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week


"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. 

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness."

October 24, 1964
Los Angeles , CA

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday Rain-out


Yes, it is Sunday.

Dead and Dying Ash Trees
The Former Canopy Behind My House
June 3, 2018
I was supposed to tee-off this morning with the boys for a Sunday round of golf, but, due to the pervasive rains, we canceled our outing. 

It would have been too wet to enjoy.

So I get to enjoy watching the rain from the warmth and dryness of my living room.

It is very wet outside. I probably won't be able to mow the lawn.

In other news, we received the diagnosis on our dead and dying trees yesterday. The Emerald Ash Borer killed them. It is sad that the beautiful ash trees are going the way go the American Elms. I wish the local government had done a better job advising home owners of treatment options for the trees before the borers arrived, it is possible that I could have saved them. As it is now, it is going to cost a small fortune to have the trees removed. 

And in the "always one-more-thing" department, my automatic pool cleaner expired. It lasted a long time, maybe 15 years, but replacements are not inexpensive. 

Always one more thing!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The All-Star


Jax Walking back to the Mound
GORC All Star Game
June 1, 2018
Last evening the GORC Under 10 Intramural Baseball League held its All-Star game and four Dodgers, including Jackson, made the team. Representing the National League, they competed against boys from American League teams in a generally well played game.

The American League lost 15-9, but that score was not the important part of the game. Watching the best players from each of the teams play together was rewarding for me. The boys are beginning to understand some of the important points of the game. Some really great lays were made int the field, including catching some well hit deep balls--which is partly why the American League lost, they had some deep well hit balls that were caught and that prevented runs from scoring and ended innings with the bases loaded. 

Jax was awesome at the plate. He reached base every time that he was up and was involved in a number of plays in the field. He also pitched a strong inning.

With the All-Star game complete, there is one regular season game remaining for the GORC Dodgers and then onto next week's playoffs.

Summertime is coming!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


Friday, June 1, 2018

June Arrives and Hopes Soar


Happy June.

May is gone. The NHL and NBA are playing their finals. Baseball is getting into mid-season. The Orioles were rained out last night, but there is still a lot, maybe too much, season left to enjoy or suffer through depending upon the team involved.

The Belmont Stakes are next weekend.Maybe there will be another Triple Crown winner! Justify will race for the opportunity.

Summer starts on June 21st. Officially, that is. 

School ends. Graduations are everywhere. Fun stuff and parties are found in almost every neighborhood.

June is starting off with thunderstorms and rain. I still feel as if I have been relocated to Seattle. It rains almost every day.

Hopefully the weather will clear soon and we can get on with the summertime activities.

Well, it is time to get the summer parties planned and rolling along. Soon the local strawberries will be ripening and the cherries will be falling to the ground. Don't forget the fireflies! 


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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