Friday, July 20, 2018

I'm Heading to Work, Why?

I had a moment yesterday.

The Sky from the Instrument Console in Cat
July 19, 2018
I was in Cat, my Jaguar convertible, with the top down heading to work on I-95 after playing racquetball at the club. It was early, about 7:01 AM, and the day was beautiful. The sky was crystal clear, the humidity was low, the temperatures were cool. It was going to be an idyllic July day.

And I was heading to work and spend the day in a building with no windows!

Traffic was slow and so I snapped a selfie of the sky and the top of my windshield so that I could remember the day and the moment.

In Bob's perfect world I would be on a beach somewhere enjoying the sounds of the ocean lapping against the sand and watching the pelicans formation fly along the beach in search of breakfast. It is July and that is what I normally do for most of the month of July--but not, sadly, this year. We are waiting to vacation until late-August.

Why do I feel that I am missing valuable beach time?

I'm not really missing any beach time, but the blue sky was calling to me yesterday as the traffic was creeping along I-95.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Broken Glass

Broken Sliding Door Glass
Sometimes I wonder what happens around the house while I am away at work.
Broken Sliding Door Glass form the Outside

Last evening, I came home after a challenging day to face broken sliding door glass!

Yup, Broken, completely. 

Chris was home most of the day.

She was watching two of the grandsons and a friend. 

How do these things happen? Inquiring minds want to know.

Victims of circumstance? The inner pane is intact and the outer pane is totally fractured but not, as of yet, displaced. Chris taped it to provide some additional support until the broken glass can be repaired or the door itself replaced.

Ugh! Summer fun?

I think not.

Now I am looking for a glass replacement/repair establishment. If it is not one thing, it is another.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Pick Up Stix

I remember playing a game, during my youth, called Pick up Stix

Yes, the name was intriguingly misspelled! 

I remember that, although I wasn't sure until I found the image on the internet to confirm it. 

I remember the cardboard tube that held the sticks used in the game and how the challenge was finding and retrieving sticks that had been put down in a bundle without moving any other stick.

It was a simple game in theory, but hard to complete.

Spaghetti on the Floor
Last evening, I had the opportunity to play the game for real. Chris and I were making a new dish with pasta and I was in charge of cooking the spaghetti. I had no problem getting the water boiling, but during the intervening time before adding the spaghetti I was helping Chris prepare the remainder of the dish. 

I forgot that the box of spaghetti was already open and picked up the closed end to open it, whereupon all of the spaghetti fell out and onto the floor.

The scene was funny in its simplicity and mess on the floor. 

Chris was not amused, but, hey, it happens. Fortunately we had an unopened box of spaghetti in the pantry and so there was no need for an emergency run to the store for more.

I find it is almost more fun to laugh at myself than to laugh with someone else. 

And I was immediately reminded of the game Pick up Stix. 

In the end, the pasta dish was awesome, even after the short delay to clean the kitchen floor.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Break

It is mid-July and we have arrived at MLB's All-Star Break!

The big game is tonight and it likely will be the last game that Manny Machado plays wearing Orioles colors. A trade to Philadelphia seems almost certain within the next few hours.

The Orioles have managed to crawl out of the cellar. They are no longer the worst team in baseball, by virtue of their recent 4-4 homestead they have become the second worst team in baseball by .005 percentage points. 

It is possible, but not likely, that the  Orioles (28-69, .289) will win 30 games before accumulating 70 losses. They remain on track to lose 115 games this season and it will likely get worse as the fire sale gets underway. 

The Orioles are chasing the 1962 Mets (40-120, .250) for the most losses in baseball's modern era (since 1900). The worst team of all time are the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134, .130). I think that record is safe.

It is sad that this season, which began with so much promise and a win has devolved into wondering if the O's will set a modern era record for the most losses and trying to divine which three or four starters may return next season. 

I'm not sure I want to learn the names of another all new lineup. The abysmally poor season has sapped my interest in baseball.

Can I get a refund on my partial-plan season tickets?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Musings - July 16, 2018

Geese on Hole 1 at Eisenhower
July 15, 2018
1. Unbelievably, July is half over already. It seems like the month started just yesterday.
Radio Flyer over Piney Orchard
July 14, 2018

2. Yesterday was a beautiful golf morning. I played my best round of the year. I also enjoyed the wildlife on the golf course as well.

3. I flew Radio Flyer in Nicole's neighborhood on Friday and obtained some very nice images of the houses. I enjoy flying in different neighborhoods, but I am mapping out a more complicated path for Radio Flyer in my own area.

4. Found an interesting lizard Odenton the other day. It apparently is an Eastern Fence Lizard--I was impressed, I had not seen a real lizard in the area before.

5. Congrats to the French for winning the World Cup! And on the day after Bastille Day! What a great French weekend. Vive la France and drink some French wine to celebrate.

Eastern Fence Lizard
July 14, 2018
Finnegan with a Flower
6. In other sports news, the Orioles, mystically, took a series from the Texas Rangers over the weekend winning two of the three games. That lowered their expected losses for the season from 117 to 115!

7. It is time for baseball's All Star break! At least the O's won't lose the next three days.

8. Sometimes animals do the cutest things. Finnegan and Makayla sat in a flower bed the other evening. It created some unique images.

9. Planning a cruise with 8 other people is a lot like herding cats.

10. On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico. (from

11. When all is lost, ask the I.R.S. - they'll find something. Douglas Horton 


Just Sitting Down With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead - The New York Times

France caps a frenetic and fabulous World Cup by blazing past Croatia for the title - The Washington Post

China's economy slows just as the trade fight begins - CNN

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"There can be no freedom without order, and there is no order without virtue...Yet how often this simple truth, the importance of this belief in basic values, is overlooked in a society of high technology and mass communication and bewildering, everyday events."
Remarks at the Centennial Meeting of the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus in Hartford, Connecticut, August 3, 1982

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Another Perfect Pool Day

Lucas Backstroke
July 14, 2018
The weather continues to be unbelievably awesome and each new day brings another pool opportunity. 

Yesterday revolved around pool time.

Lucas Freestyle
July 14, 2018
In the morning it was off to another swim meet with Lucas swimming. It was fun to watch his competitive spirit in the pool. He swims freestyle and backstroke. He also swam as the anchor for the relay team.

It was an early and fun morning.

The afternoon revolved around lounging on a floatie in the pool enjoying the relatively low humidity and the sunshine.

It was a perfect July Saturday. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Waiting for the Sunrise

Sunlight in the Tree Tops
July 14, 2018
I took some time this morning to wait and watch the day break over the land. It was dawn of my second favorite foreign holiday--Bastille Day!

I was quiet and I was trying to sleep on the couch because I just could not stay in bed any longer--but, I was still tired and sleepy.

Evening Beginning to Fall
Annapolis, MD
July 13, 2018
I enjoy the early morning summertime sunrises. We have had a string of great weather days that almost make up for the foul weather experienced earlier this year.

The sky was clear as light began to creep over the trees in my backyard. 

And then, suddenly, it was daylight and the sound of departing aircraft from BWI filled the air as the day began in earnest.

So I made a cup of coffee and thought about last evening as, from the streets of Annapolis with friends, I watched the day pass. 

Annapolis Harbor
July 13, 2018
It was a quite a week and, frankly, I was happy that it was over. It was appropriate that the workweek ended with a Friday the 13th! It was almost as if the week had been scripted like that from the beginning of the year.

But this morning's dawn holds the promise of a new day and a weekend full of activity with family and friends.

Saturday has dawned and it is time to get moving and greet the day head-on.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 13, 2018

At Least

I learned a new combination of words yesterday that have a complicated and far more difficult connotation than I realized.

"At least . . . "

The words have two definitions, one is clearly mathematical and the other is for use in a life setting:

if nothing else (used to add a positive comment about a generally negative situation).

"the options aren't complete, but at least they're a start"

At lease can be used by well-meaning people who just do not understand a situation to try to make people feel better. But it falls well short. 


My cat ran away.
At least you have two dogs.

My car is broken.
At least you can have it fixed.

My roof is leaking.
At least you have a house.

I have (insert some disease or sickness)
At least it is treatable.

I saw a short video by Dr Brene Brown in a leadership class yesterday about the difference between empathy and sympathy and the use of the words "at least" really resonated with me. If you have a few minutes, watch the whole video, but if you are in a hurry, fast forward to 1:55.

I realized that using the words "at least" minimize the problem and the feelings of the person with the problem. They do not help and they may harm. 

The image I added to the blog highlights the problem. When I fail, I don't want to be reminded that I tried, and failed. I want someone to understand where I am. Maybe just a hug and a reassurance that I am not alone. 

I read another blog on the sympathy and empathy. I found it short and interesting.

What’s The Difference Between Empathy And Sympathy, And Why Has Sympathy Got Such A Bad Name?

I am going to try not to use the words "at least" except when referring to mathematical situations in the future. I realize that "at least" does not convey my true intent when someone brings a problem or concern to my attention.

At least it is Friday.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Summer Lillies in the Garden
It is truly summertime!

The weather has been fantastic with clear skies and warm but not oppressive temperatures and humidity lately. I am sure that the hot weather will soon return, but for now I revel in the cool, 70 degree, mornings and warmer afternoons.
Patrick's Puppy Rex (or is it Pudge?)
 Taking and Afternoon Nap

I have been enjoying driving Cat, my Jaguar, now that it has returned from being repaired. I may actually have to work some to get 5,000 miles on it this year. At least it is giving my truck a respite from the daily traffic grind, or the rhythm of the cars.

The summer flowers are abounding in the gardens and even dogs find a reason to nap in the afternoon on the back deck while the world continues around them.

I am also enjoying the abundance of fireflies that are sparkling in the trees during the early evening hours.

It is the best time of the year! 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Flying and Family

The Cul de Sac at the End of Rainbow
July 10, 2018
I took Radio Flyer out for a quick afternoon flight yesterday. It was nothing special, but I am continuing to work on my map navigation skills. I flew my drone away from me over the trees and up the street and brought it back using the map for navigation and also putting it into the sport mode where it flies very fast. 

Chris and Finnegan on the Driveway
As I was ending my flight, I spied Chris and Finnegan returning from a walk. My battery was getting too low to actually fly close to them, but I did snap a quick image for posterity as I was landing. 

It is not a spectacular image. I had actually flown along the street earlier in an attempt to find them on the walk, but apparently the trees obscured them.

Later that same evening, Chris and I joined with Jeremy, Julie, Patrick, and Tina at Jeremy's house for an impromptu gathering. There were also some dogs involved as well. It was fun to meet together on a Tuesday evening and share the news of the day. What else are we going to do on a beautiful summer evening? 

I was honored by the love shown by my entire family, even those who were not available for the impromptu gathering. 

And now it is Wednesday. Another day full of challenges and opportunities!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Rhythm of the Cars

I-95 at MD-175 Looking South
July 9, 2018 about 5:25 PM
Last evening, while driving home it occurred to me that I am a victim of the rhythm of the cars. I was driving on a bridge over Interstate 95 and I saw traffic totally jammed in both directions. At the time, I was crawling along in the ram to enter the I-95 traffic, but was at a complete stop.

I snapped a quick image from the overpass to remind myself of the insane nature of the 5PM traffic on one of the busiest stretches of highway in the nation. 

And I am subjected to the traffic every day.

Even though I do not always travel on I-95, the traffic spills over onto other highways. I take the Parkway (MD-295) most days and I listen to the traffic report to determine the confusion into which I will be subjecting myself as I sojourn from home to work or work to home.

I am no longer surprised to see traffic at a total stop at the end of the on-ramp.

It is the rhythm of the traffic.

I do notice that traffic is not snarled when I head out at 5:30 AM to play golf on a Sunday morning. It is a very pleasant drive on an early Sunday morning without the traffic clogging the highways. 

I am truly part of the rhythm of the highway.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Musings - July 9, 2018

1. The first week of July has already passed, and then some. The weeks are flying by.

Construction Site at Tanyard Cove
Radio Flyer Bird's Eye View
July 6, 2018
2. Some home improvement/maintenance projects can consume a lot of time. I replaced two basement windows this past weekend that took up most of my free time. I did, however, get a new tool that I needed for part of the job.
My Push Golf Cart in Action

3. Construction sites can be fun places to fly above with Radio Flyer. This one is at Tanyard Cove and it shows town houses in very early stages of construction. 

4. Chris and I were able to get out golfing on Friday. It was our first time out together since we visited Florida during April. I was able to use my push cart for the first time since I bought it last year. It was much nicer than the ones provided by the golf courses.
Chris on the Course
July 6, 2018

5. Cruise trip excursion planning is underway for our August family cruise through the Caribbean. I am looking forward to a shark dive!

A Side View of the Construction Site at Tanyard Cove
From Radio Flyer
July 6, 2018
6. I was fortunate to be able to play a round of golf on two recent occasions. Friday I played with Chris at Willow Springs and yesterday I played at Eisenhower. It was very cool, in the 50's when I teed off.

7. I realized that Chris and I usually vacation during early July, but this year we will be heading out later. It has been interesting to be around during early-July.

8. Why does it seem that two house projects appear for every one completed?

9. As the World Cup draws to a conclusion, I have to confess that I am cheering for Belgium to win it all. I have very fond memories of traveling around Belgium when I was stationed in Germany and Brussels is my favorite European city!


Thai Cave Rescue Live Updates: More Boys Are on Their Way Out - The New York Times

1 dead after helicopter crashes into Virginia home - CNN

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"Not all of us are called upon in our daily professions to face danger and hardship. But each of us has the same responsibility as the hero to live our lives with honor and dedication, to give a hundred percent to the tasks before us, and to know that every day our efforts are building the edifice of freedom and powering the engines of human progress."

Remarks to Students and Faculty at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, February 7, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Luke Swims

I don't write much about Lucas. He is the youngest of the grandsons and he is a truly great kid. I actually see a lot of him. He loves being in the pool and has learned to swim pretty well.

Yesterday morning, Chris and I attended one of Lucas's swimming meets. He has gone from learning to swim in our backyard pool to being a member on a local team.

Jeremy reports that he is pretty good. He had won all of his races to date, for his age group, except the one that I filmed yesterday. He came in second in that race but was disqualified for grabbing the lane marker and potentially using it for an advantage. 

He needs to work a bit on his backstroke. He needs to keep it between the lines. But, he does swim very well. 

I am very proud of his accomplishments.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Going out in a Blaze of Glory

Radio Flyer Captures the Beginning of the Sunset
July 6, 2018
As the Sun Sets in Tanyard Cove
Radio Flyer
July 6, 2018
Yesterday was a busy day and it was a great day. It began on a local golf course, with Chris and ended as our friends said good-by after an evening of conversation, food, and of course wine.

I took a lot of images of the day's activities and flew Radio Flyer twice at Tanyard Cove in Glen Burnie around Fran and Mary's new house. 

It was fun flying around an active construction site where houses are in all stages of being built. And I will definitely write about that later.

July 6, 2018 Sunset from Route 100 Near BWI
The highlight of the day, however, was the stunning sunset which I captured from its very beginning until completion. 
July 6 2018 Sunset As the Colors Deepen

It was fortuitous that I was not driving because the most breathtaking views of the sunset were from the the road during the drive home.

The sky was ablaze with color and everyone in the vehicle commented on the beauty of the sunset. It has been stiflingly hot and the sunset carried the promise of more moderate temperatures, like those we are experiencing this morning. 

Sunset from the Road on Route 100 Maryland
July 6, 2018
I admit that I probably took too many images of the sunset. It was just that unique. 

Trees Silhouetted by the Sunset
July 6, 2018 
The beauty caught my eye and I was in a position to just enjoy the artist's work in the sky at the end of the day. And it was a beautiful ending. Most of the day was cloudy and damp with occasional rain showers to ensure the humidity remained at uncomfortably high levels. 

The sunset, however, provided the much needed  exclamation point that ushered the day away with the promise of a new tomorrow. 

Chris and I do not get to enjoy many sunsets like the one last evening. Aside from the infrequent occurrence, our house is located in a low spot surrounded by trees and we do not get to enjoy the expansive vistas that we experienced last evening. 

I am glad that I have the memory and the evidence of a colorful sunset which sent the day out in a blaze of glory.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 6, 2018

5 Day Weekend

A Full Pool from Radio Flyer
July 5, 2018
I am enjoying the middle part of a five-day weekend. With the holiday on Wednesday, it seemed natural to take leave for Thursday and Friday and effectively create a five-day weekend.

Boys Having Fun
July 5, 2018
That of course follows the four-day weekend that I created last week, meaning that I will have worked two days during an eleven day stretch! I call that a great mid-summer holiday. It was needed since our vacation is not until late August.

Yesterday was another hot pool day. 

We had some extra boys around to enjoy the water and it was a wild day. 

I flew Radio Flyer to capture the scene of six boys filling the pool with fun and sounds.

I also put together a short of Ethan taking shots at the basketball hoop in the yard on earlier in the week. I used Radio Flyer to get the video. 

It has been a busy and fun time around the house. 

On tap for the future? Golf! Definitely some golf this morning and again, hopefully, on Sunday. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The End of the Party Week

Champagne from Chris's Retirement Party
Happy July 5th--the day after when we begin to get it all back together after the day and night before. We have enjoyed a two party week. 

The two celebrations, Chris's retirement party and Independence Day, seemed to blend into each other. It was made even more special because Mom and Dad were here visiting.

Boys in the Pool on Independence Day
Sadly, I have to return them home today--but, the visit has been nice with all of the activities.

Yesterday ended with a bang as the neighborhood was filled with the sights and sounds of fireworks. Our neighborhood has some very committed people who truly desire to make the 4th of July memorable. 

John Adams, our second President, wrote about Independence Day:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more

Patrick's DJI Mavik Drone
And our neighborhood definitely believes in illuminations!

Patrick caught some images on his drone, and hopefully I will be able to share them in the future.

I am hoping the rest of the month is a bit quieter! We do not have anymore parties planned right now. Two in a week are quite enough. It sure has been hot. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Let Freedom Ring

Happy Independence Day! It is the 4th of July and time to celebrate. 

I know that my family is planning to celebrate the 4th and observe the 242nd anniversary of the founding of our country.

The weather looks to be hot, but a bit cooler than yesterday. 

Quotes for the 4th:

“We will stand by the right, we will stand by the true, we will live, we will die for the red, white, and blue.” - unknown

“We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something—for liberty and freedom and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.” - Ronald Reagan

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country." - Benjamin Franklin

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." - Harry S. Truman

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” - Statue of Liberty

About fireworks on the 4th:
From Time Magazine:

After all, John Adams did say he hoped the anniversary of independence would be marked for years to come by “guns” and “bonfires” and “illuminations.” Because the first July 4 fireworks display happened in the middle of the Revolutionary War, some historians believe they were supposed to be a “morale booster.” The celebrations at the time would have also included the firing of cannons and guns, adding to the explosive nature of the festivities. With the war’s end and increasing concern for public safety, those firearms were eventually phased out of the celebrations and replaced almost entirely by the fireworks, which were often given the official stamp of approval in the hope of drawing citizens to public celebrations instead of more dangerous private firework shows.

Have a Happy 4th.

Be safe. Don't drink and drive!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Let the Celebrations Begin

Independence Day is upon us. Tomorrow we will celebrate the 242nd anniversary of the founding of the country. I hope I did the math correctly.

My how the country has changed.

Maytronics Dolphin Sigma
Pool Cleaner at Work
I look forward to the celebrations tomorrow. Last year I experienced Independence Day on a cruise ship sailing the Caribbean. It was different and exciting. The festivities were engaging and the day at sea was truly memorable.

This year, however, both Chris and I are looking forward to being home for the 4th to celebrate with family and friends. 

I hope the day is full of excitement. I will be blessed to celebrate the day, once again, with Mom and Dad. I expect that most all of the family will gather for a picnic around the pool. 

I recently acquired a new automatic cleaner which is doing a fantastic job helping me to maintain the pool. It is easy to use and the new cleaning system will help ensure that this year's celebration takes place in crystal clear water.

The weather is supposed to be fantastic as well.

Bring on the 4th!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Musings - July 2, 2018

1. Happy July! June is over and we have slid into the second half of the year. 

Late Afternoon Looking up the Drive
Radio Flyer
July 1, 2018
2. I spent over four hours watching a baseball tournament yesterday in the almost intolerable heat. I was amazed that to boys played a well as they did. Sadly, in tournaments only one team can advance and our guys came up one-run short in their semifinal game.

3. I was able to get Radio Flyer up for a few brief flights over the weekend. Nothing spectacular but it was good to be i the air again.

4. With July's arrival, the retirement party season is completed! Now it is onto retirement for Chris.

5. There is nothing better than falling into the pool on a hot July day to cool off.

6. The mid-week break for Independence Day should be interesting and fun. It is rare to have a holiday on a Wednesday.

7. Ice. Who forgot to bring the ice? I was amazed at how much ice gets used at a party.


As Bolton Says North Korea Could Disarm in a Year, Reality Lags Promises - The New York Times

A bad week for Democrats gives rise to a big problem: Outrage could become an obstacle in midterms - The Washington Post

Chicken of the trees: Eating Florida's iguanas - The Orlando Sentinel

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

"You know, the story, as I say, will continue. Every time we place our hand over our heart and pledge allegiance to the flag, we'll be reminded that our most precious inheritance is freedom and that history has bestowed on our nation the unique responsibility for its protection."

Remarks at a Flag Day Ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, June 14, 1985

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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