Friday, October 19, 2018

Wine in the Finger Lakes

Sunrise October 4, 2018
Senaca Lake in Torrey, NY
Chris and I scooted off to the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY for a quick get away and to sample some local wines during the early part of October. We had hoped to enjoy the colors of the autumn leaves, but the change had not yet begun. 

The Symbol of Heron Hill Winery
We were treated to some spectacular sunrises, some great white wines, all while enjoying a beautiful house on the shores of Senaca Lake in the town of Torrey, New York. 

The days went by quickly and during the time we were there we visited 13 wineries and sampled an untold number of wines. The white wines were, as expected, very nice and all had a fantastic price point. We were able to obtain a couple bottles of the New York Governor's Cup winning wine for $17.99 from Keuka Springs Vineyard. It was their 2017 Gewurtztraminer. 

While enjoying the wines was certainly a highlight of the visit, the stunning sunrises and and views over Senaca Lake were really the highlight of the trip. 

I enjoyed the sound of the gentle waves hitting the shore and Chris and I slept with the window open to let the sound of the waves provide a peaceful night's rest.

Radio Flyer took to the skies on a couple of occasions to document the sights we were seeing. 

It was a quick trip, but relaxing and enjoyable. 

I highly recommend a repeat visit, next year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Night Out

Elkridge Furnace Inn
Elkridge, MD
Dinner at the Elkridge Furnace Inn
October 16, 2018
Birthdays provide a great reason to change things up and head off for a nice dinner at a restaurant that we don't usually visit.

Chris and I did just that to celebrate both of our recent birthdays the other evening and enjoyed a great dinner at the Elkridge Furnace Inn

The Inn is located very close to our home, yet we do not often head there for dinner. We actually should dine there more often because we had a great dinner with superior service and an enjoyable time. 

It was very nice to get out, alone, and have a chance to talk and celebrate each other. The restaurant provided us with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to start off the evening celebration and our waiter offered to take the image of the two of us beginning our evening out. 

It was a great evening out and we returned home to enjoy some of the cheesecake that I had made for Chris's birthday celebration.

Mmmm. cheesecake!

It was great evening out at a local restaurant.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Russian launch to ISS
October 11, 2018
I have experienced the thrill of watching, in person, the countdown of launches into space. They are far better than watching on television, but the effect is similar.

In person, I have walked out to a beach or stopped on a causeway with a radio near to hear the NASA announcers as they talk about the time remaining to launch. The excitement builds and then t=we hear the final seconds 10..9..8..7..6..5.. all the way to zero and the engines light and the vehicle lifts off the pad and begins its journey into space.

It is thrilling!

Hopes and dreams ride with the ascending vehicle.

My Closed Pool
There are other countdowns that I employ.

How many days until my next vacation or cruise. I have an app on my phone that lets me know how many days remain. It is a countdown. The time always seems so far away--and then it is here.

Some people have the annual Christmas countdown of shopping days left until the big day! One always seems to scream by at almost light speed. But I remember as it kid it was incredibly slow. The days remains until Christmas 2018 are 69 meaning there are 68 shopping days remaining.

I have countdown for the number of days remaining until I open my pool for the next summer season. Currently it is 202. Ugh!

I am currently near the beginning of another countdown. They always seem to go slow at the beginning. I have completed 6 days and have 38 remaining. Mine is based on weekdays with Thanksgiving and Black Friday not included. December 11th will mark the completion and hopefully success!

Countdowns help me achieve goals! I cannot climb a mountain except one step at a time and I cannot reach a goal except one day at a time.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October's Revenge

Evening Falls
October 15, 2018
I reflected back on the beginning of October and I recall 80 degree days and warm temperatures. 

Things have significantly changed.

Yesterday was cool and gray. Very gray. Like the economy and the stock market.

We are facing another day where the high is going to top out at 60 and the low tonight will be in the 40s. Similarly, the stock market will likely drop again. 

Brrr. Winter is on the way both in terms of the season and the economy.

It has been very cold lately with stocks dropping like a rock. 

That is the fallacy of forcing people to fund their retirement plans through investments instead of pensions. When the market bottoms out, retirement funds evaporate.

In our current situation, the meaningless trade war is really reducing the value of investments. 

Hopefully, change will arrive soon. I long for the warmth of the sun and the rising tide of the markets.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday Musings - October 15, 2018

1. We have arrived at the middle of October. Amazing how quickly it seemed to appeared. I felt like it took forever to make it to July and now we are facing the end of October.

2. It is birthday season for the family. We have two this week!

3. Chris and I were working outside yesterday and settling in to put a dent in the downed tree project--and then the rains began. Again.

4. Two days in a row the high temperature has failed to achieve even 60 degrees. Today managed to make it to 55 degrees!

5. Weekend family NFL Team report. It was a good weekend for the family teams.

  Ravens (4-2) defeated Titans 21-0
  Steelers (3-2-1) defeated Bengals 28-21
  Cowboys (3-3) defeated Jaguars 40-7
  Redskins (3-2) defeated Panthers 23-17

Sunrise on MD Route 175
October 12, 2018
6. I wore one of my Orioles hoodies yesterday and was reminded that it was football season. I had to remind the individual that baseball was still being played by four teams as the World Series looms and that the Orioles were intently watching the playoffs from the warmth of their own living rooms.

7. I snapped an interesting image the other morning headed home from playing racquetball. It was the sunrise. It is getting light later and darker earlier. It is very noticeable.

8. Is it un-American not to pay taxes? I wish some of our leaders felt the same way.

9. Today in History. Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris on this day in 1917.


Saudi Arabia says will retaliate against any sanctions over Khashoggi case - Reuters
North Korea leader sincere, must be rewarded for move to abandon nuclear weapons: South Korean president - Reuters

Sears, the Original Everything Store, Files for Bankruptcy - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Now Arriving -- Autumn

Looking towards the Tee Box
13th Hole
Patuxent Greens
October 13, 2018
It was a cold day and I began it on a golf course yesterday. The round was played under cold and wet conditions.

Plugged Golf Ball
13th Hole
Patuxent Greens
October 13, 2018
It was cold in another way as I also learned that the course on which I was playing is going to be plowed under at the end of the year to become another residential development blight upon the world. I will be sorry to lose this course as it is relatively close and easy to visit.

The rain and cold have been rough on the course; it was in terrible condition and it was not a lot of fun to play. To say that it was a struggle would be an understatement. The course was covered with mud and water. Sometimes the ball would go "ker-plunk" when it hit the course and create a shower of water. The course is clearly not being maintained as it preparing for shutdown at the end of the year.

The cold complicated the remainder of the day as well. The temperature never got above 57 degrees and it started in the 40s. 

Fire in the Pit
October 13, 2018
Lights in the Wine Glass
October 13, 2018
The good news, however, was that Chris and I were able to enjoy the fire pit during the evening without being besieged by mosquitos. 

We enjoyed some wine and the fire for a few hours talking about plans for the basement makeover and next year's vacation. It was enjoyable and the fire was warm, hot even, and drove off the cold as it settled for the evening. 

As it was only 44 degrees this morning, it appears that another cold day is on tap. I have a few outdoors projects to accomplish and the cold weather will definitely make them a bit more challenging.

Autumn has suddenly arrived. We have gone from highs in the 80's to highs in the 50's in about 48 hours!

Ready or not, here come the dark days.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Life by the Numbers

I woke up this morning, to the sound of the rain potentially drowning out my planned golf outing, and began to think about, for some odd reason, the numbers that have been important in my life. 

It is weird how some numbers have been prevalent in different aspects of my life.

Take 49, for instance. It was my Boy Scout Troop number and my high school varsity football number. I still like 49 as a number and often choose it when I need a number between 1 and a hundred.

And then there is 19. It is the number of of my relationship and marriage with Chris. We were born 19 days apart--yes, in the same year. We found out that our parents were married 19 days apart--in the same year. We were 19 when we got married and our first son was born on the 19th day of the month. Definitely something going on  there.

These are both interestingly significant numbers from the coincidences that are the fabric of our lives. 

Of course there are other numbers which all have various meanings: 26, 3, 31, 11, 15, and 21, for instance.

The number 21 is interesting in that we were both 21 years old when our first child was born and I served 21 years in the Air Force. I was also 21 when I graduated form college Wow!

A number with some special meaning right now in my life is 44 because something very significant be completed when the the week day countdown from 44 reaches 0. My time with 44 will, hopefully, end on December 11th. I am currently 4 down and 40 to go in the count. Thanksgiving and Black Friday are not included, BTW.

Numbers are how I mark events and I am still amazed, even as I write this about how certain numbers have special meaning in my life.

I just noticed that this is my 3833nd blog post! Now there is a number for you!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 12, 2018

Here Comes the Rain Again

The rain returned yesterday afternoon. 

Traffic was snarled and slow. The drive home was interminable.

Baltimore Inner Harbor on a Rainy Day
The sky was gray, again. It seem to be the permanent color lately.

I couldn't even take out the recycling because of the rain last evening.

The dogs did not want to go outside to do their business last evening.

And what is coming? 

Cold! Temperatures in the 40s. It is a cool 59 degrees this morning.

The weekend is going to be highs in the 60s and low in the 40s. Golf tomorrow will be cold. At least we are playing close and early. 

I'm expecting to significantly reduce the wood pile during the afternoon. Maybe there will be a nice fire in the pit to celebrate an autumnal evening.

If it doesn't rain. Again!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Stock Market Down

It is really scary when the stock market has a terrible day!

I think I notice this more because I am older and I hate seeing the value of my investments, saved mostly for retirement, drop like a rock. I believe it is because I am getting closer to retirement and really need the return on the money that I have been saving.

It doesn't look any better for today. Here is a headline from the Washington Post:

Markets across Asia open down sharply, following Wall Street tumble

I have read there are many forces at play, but chiefly, I think it may be due to the developing trade war between China and the U.S.

Of course, the raise in the Fed interest rate may have something to do with it as well.

The real problem is that the decades-long shift from retirement pensions to making people invest in the stock market leaves us all much more exposed to the whims of government leaders and the Fed. 

As more Americans become dependent upon their savings and investments for retirement health, the federal government is going to have to moderate its rhetoric and consider the consequences of both speech and actions.

Surely there has to be a better way!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

End is in Sight

Sadly, the end of the summer-like weather, that I have been writing about, is in sight for the region.

Cooler temperatures, including lows in the 40s will be arriving before the end of the week.

Friday night it will be cold! The low is anticipated to be 47 degrees, a huge change from this morning's 70 degrees which feels like 79 according to the weather reporters. 

And I am expecting to golf on Saturday morning! It will be cold.

End of Summer Look of the Yard
October 9, 2018
At least it will feel like an autumn day and I will be able to get a lot of the wood cut up that will become firewood for the winter.

It is sad to see the warmer weather end. I have ben enjoying the warmth and clinging onto the last vestiges of summer. Chris and I invited Jeremy and Julie over last evening to sit around the fire pit and chat. Even thought it was warm enough to be comfortable in shorts and sandals, the fire was nice and they helped us to celebrate the end of phase 2 of the project.

The yard, however, has that end of the summer look. The grass is getting thin form the incessant rain followed by blasting heat. It has not worn well and wet will have to do some work on the lawn to help it return to the full green look that we enjoy. I can see where the rain water has washed away most of the younger grass strands. Perhaps some overseeing will help.

It seems as if there is always something more to do!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What did you do on Columbus Day?

I had a holiday and a day off from work. It was the completion of my seven-day weekend!

Columbus Day is a Federal holiday and I was able to enjoy a day with reasonably good weather.

Well mostly enjoy. I did waste most of the morning at a doctor's office. I'm shopping for a new doctor! I think I may have found one. Unfortunately I didn't get to see him until 40 minutes after my scheduled 10:20 appointment. As the appointment was in Baltimore, it ate up most of the morning.

After lunch, however, Chris and I hit the links for a quick 9 holes of golf. It was good to get out again and swing the sticks and smack around the little white ball. The course was very wet--the area still has not dried out from the soaking rains. But, we walked and enjoyed playing the course.

Work still needed to be done around the house. So when we got home about 4 PM, I mowed the lawn and put down the winter fertilizer. By 6 PM, it was time for a shower, Happy Hour, and a stunningly good turkey dinner!

It was a day of different activities. 

Great activities to end the holiday weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday Musings - October 8, 2018

1. The second Monday of October has arrived. We are enjoying warm days in the 80's and no rain. I wish the mosquitos would go away, however.

2. Happy Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day depending on your point of view.

3. The recent Brett Kavanaugh partisan confirmation hearings have demonstrated that the United States is becoming a tribal society. The polarized I am afraid of where this is all heading.

4. Family Football Results:
    Ravens (3-2) lost to Browns 9-12 in overtime
    Steelers (2-2-1) defeated Falcons 41-17
    Cowboys (2-3) lost to Texans 16-19 in overtime
    Redskins (2-1) are at the Saints on the Monday Night game

5. The NHL is back. The fastest game on ice. The Penguins are off to a 2-1 start including a thrilling win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.

6. Why does the traffic always seem to be the worst in the direction that I am traveling?

7. The early-October get away was much needed and enjoyed. And we restocked our white wines for the coming winter season.

8. Today in History. On this day in 1871, flames spark in the Chicago barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, igniting a two-day blaze that kills between 200 and 300 people, destroys 17,450 buildings, leaves 100,000 homeless and causes an estimated $200 million (in 1871 dollars; $3 billion in 2007 dollars) in damages. Legend has it that a cow kicked over a lantern in the O’Leary barn and started the fire, but other theories hold that humans or even a comet may have been responsible for the event that left four square miles of the Windy City, including its business district, in ruins. Dry weather and an abundance of wooden buildings, streets and sidewalks made Chicago vulnerable to fire. The city averaged two fires per day in 1870; there were 20 fires throughout Chicago the week before the Great Fire of 1871.


Bitter partisan battle wounded Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court he’s joined - The Washington Post
Disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could complicate U.S.-Saudi relations - The Washington Post

Pompeo says North Korea ready to let inspectors into missile, nuclear sites - Reuters

Ronald Reagan's Tomb
Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, California
November 4, 2016

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph,. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.

  --  Speech at the Dedication of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, November 4, 1991 (Inscription on Reagan's Tomb)

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fire Pit Part 2

Lighted Fire Pit Phase 2 Complete
October 6, 2018
After playing a disappointing round of golf yesterday morning, I spent much of the rest of the afternoon completing phase 2 of the fire pit project.

Rex Checking out the Flame
October 6, 2018
Phase 2 began with the installation of posts to hold strands of lights. It also meant installing an outdoor electric outlet using the line formerly providing light to the now gone horseshoe pits.

Yesterday Chris and I completed phase 2, we installed the lights onto the poles. They look great. We were excited about sitting around anther fire, but since we are dog-sitting we chose to relax around the  propane fire pit on the pool deck. It was very exciting as Rex, Patrick's dog, chose to check out the flame. He was not injured in the incident.

And now, on to phase 3, creating a pad around the fire pit to finish off the project. This will be considerably more work, but I expect to get it completed in a few weeks. 

Autumn has not yet fully arrived in the region. We are enjoying 80 degree days and 60 degree nights. We should have many more weeks to use the pit and with all of the wood available from the felled trees, we have plenty of fuel available.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Fire Pit

Fire Pit
October 5, 2018
I am working on finishing the wood burning fire pit that was started last year. It has been in the yard now and used during the Spring and Autumn to create toasty warmth while still enjoying the outdoors. 
Fire in the Pit
October 5, 2018

Last evening, Chris and I sat around a roaring fire enjoying the heat while beginning to reduce the size of the piles of wood from the Ash trees that were recently felled.

It was a great fire on a great evening. 

Although one is barely visible on the right side of the image, there are now four posts outlining the boundaries of the area that will comprise the new and improved permanent setting for the fire pit. In the darker image, the lights wrapping the post are visible as small points of light.

Today, I hope to get the lights installed. We have purchased outdoor lights to suspend from the posts to further illuminate the area. 

Chris has a vision and I am working to bring that vision to reality. 

I hope the fire pit will become a regular gathering place during the seasons when the pool is closed.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 5, 2018

Seven-Day Weekend

What do you get when you combine a four day get-away with a three-day holiday weekend? 

Dawn Arrives
October 5, 2018
A seven-day weekend of course.

It seems strange to think about it, but getting seven days off for the price of four vacation days is not a bad deal, especially when my annual summer vacation was only one and not the usual two weeks long.

Looking at the seven days in discrete sections makes the time off even more appealing. I have loosely broken it into four days away leaving three days for projects and golf.

Grape Press in Operation
October 4, 2018
Yes, I have a tee time for tomorrow. I am playing a lot less golf this year than last through no fault of my own. The weather has been horrid, but I expect to be playing golf into December this year if the snow holds off.

I can't even believe I just wrote that word in an October blog post.

I am sitting here watching the sunrise again. IT is far different this morning. The sky is clear and there are fewer clouds to make it a interesting as yesterday, but the whole horizon is involved in celebrating the dawning of another day. 

A Tilted Shack on a Beach
From Radio Flyer
October 4, 2018
Yesterday was fun as we checked out some wineries and enjoyed watching tons of grapes being poured into a press to extract the juice which is then musk and will eventually become wine. It is easy to forget that wine production is agriculture until seeing the process up close and personal.

We leave later this morning to return to the crushing pace of life at home. The week ahead, after the Columbus Holiday, weekend holds some new beginnings. Having had my birthday just a week and a half ago, I am hoping that my 64th year is a lot better than my 63rd. Remember, we celebrate birthdays at the end of the year and so we are always working on the next one-up year until we have our birthday and then we start all over again.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Watching the Sunrise

Chris and I are on a early-October, last fling of the summer, get-away.

Sunrise over the Lake
October 4, 2018
I did something this morning that I have not been able to do in a long time. I was able to sit on the end of a dock and watch the sunrise over the lake.

It was a bit chilly, but watching the world transition from dark to light is one of the things that I enjoy the most. And sitting in the very edge of a dock over the water with a 180degree view of the sky, and the clouds as the sun begins to light the sky from below the horizon is stunning, especially when there are some clouds to reflect the first rays downward.

The Sun Rises for Another Day
October 4, 2018
The deepest colors are earlier in the dawn, but as time progresses, the sky becomes alive as more of the clouds begin to reflect the light onto the still dark surface.

I love the way that the colors reflect on the waves sending the light directly to my eyes.

It is amazing how quickly the sun pops up over the horizon once it begins, but the anticipation of waiting almost an hour for it to rise is well worth the effort.

I got a bit chilly. I saw the birds wake and begin flying over the lake and squawking at each other to find the perfect place to land.

Another day is at hand.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fostering Puppies

Hazel the Foster Puppy on Nicole's Lap
September 30, 2018
Nicole and her family are engaged in a new endeavor--forstering puppies.

They have received two puppies of mixed breed to watch until they can be adopted. The puppies are cute, very cute. I was able to spend some time with the puppies on Sunday and I can confirm, they are well mannered and very adorable.

While they are sisters and they have the same faces, they are very different. One has long legs, like a normal dog and the other has short legs more like a long-haired dachshund. 

The problem is that everyone will get attached to them and then they will be adopted, which is the ultimate plan.

But, in the meantime, they are cute and everyone is enjoying the joys of having a puppy without the idea that they are going to become lazy dogs.

If you are interested in adopting a puppy, contact the Canine Humane Network in Highland, Maryland. Ask to adopt Heart or Hazel.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


October mornings are different.

The sun is climbing into the sky later and setting earlier. It is really noticeable.

Last evening I had to race the sun to get the lawn mowed. I know some places already have completed their last mowing of the season, but I expect to mow into November. It is reassuring that the last vestige of summertime lingers on.

With the pool closed, I have been able to apply time to other house projects. Four posts have been installed around the fire pit. They will soon become light posts as we hang string lights from them to illuminate the fire pit and begin to turn it into an outdoor party area. We actually have electricity near the fire pit, a leftover from the days when there were lights for the horseshoe pits. 

With the leaves beginning to fall, I am already imagining cool Autumn evenings sitting around the warm fire with a glass of wine. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge ,MD

Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday Musings - October 1, 2018

1. October has arrived. September is just a memory. Where did September go? Is it really October? Happy New Year to my friends who work for the Federal Government!

Hibiscus at Night
September 29, 2018
2. I did not get to play golf this weekend, but Chris and I completed a few more projects around the house. 

3. There is something beautiful about an early-Autumn hibiscus bloom imaged at night with a flash! It is a reminder of summer and the bright sun.

4. I was so busy with projects this weekend that I did not get to fly Radio Flyer and record the beautiful weather.

5. Sadly, my prediction that the Orioles would lose 115 games came true. The final record for the 2018 lost season was 47-115, .290. The team secures the 15th spot on the worst MLB records of all time during the modern era. Thank goodness the losing is over and the rebuilding can commence.

6. Family NFL weekend results:

Redskins (2-1) had a bye and did not play
Cowboys (2-2) defeated Lions 26-24
Ravens (3-1) defeated Steelers 26-14
Steelers (1-2-1) lost to Ravens 14-26

7. Who can really believe what we, as a nation, endured on Thursday and Friday with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Cronyism and partisanship were definitely on display for the world to see.

8. Today in History. On this day in 1890, an act of Congress creates Yosemite National Park, home of such natural wonders as Half Dome and the giant sequoia trees. Environmental trailblazer John Muir (1838-1914) and his colleagues campaigned for the congressional action, which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison and paved the way for generations of hikers, campers and nature lovers, along with countless “Don’t Feed the Bears” signs.


FBI interviews Kavanaugh accuser Deborah Ramirez as part of its narrow scope - CNN
In Trump win, Canada, U.S. deal saves NAFTA as trilateral pact - Reuters

Don’t be fooled: Working Americans are worse off under Trump - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

When our children turn the pages of our lives, I hope they'll see that we had a vision to pass forward a nation nearly perfect as we could, where there's decency, tolerance, generosity, honesty, courage, common sense, fairness, and piety. This is my vision and I'm grateful to God for blessing me with a good life and a long one. But when I pack up my bag in Washington, don't expect me to be happy to hear all this talk about the twilight of my life.
    -- Republican National Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 15, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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