Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Viewing the Snow from Above


Looking Up the Driveway
January 14, 2019
Radio Flyer made its first flight of 2019 on Monday afternoon. It was a short 4 minute flight with a maximum altitude of 79 feet. 
Looking at the House Covered by Snow
January 14, 2019

The purpose of the flight was to document the snow fall around the house and to get my drone out for its first flight of the year.

While the flight was a short flight, I chose to fly near sunset so that I could get some nice images of the area. 

I liked the way that the relatively light snow was hanging on the juniper trees. They had that wintery, fluffy, snow-covered look like so many of the trees in my Snow Village scene. It was nice that the wind had not blown the snow off the branches yet and that the snow was not so heavy that the branches broke under the weight.
Above the Neighborhood
January 14, 2019

Sunset in January
January 14, 2019
I did get one really nice image of the sunset with an airplane in the distance. I happened to be looking in the right direction as the aircraft was climbing out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI). We were pretty lucky during the storm in that since the worst of it occurred during the night, not too may flights were canceled. That is always good for the air travelers. 

I need to get Radio Flyer off the ground a bit more, I miss flying.

The images captured are a good reminder of the day and the storm.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Just Add Keeshond


Makayla in the Snow
I am not a big fan of snow, everyone who knows me is aware of this fact.

Makayla Makes a Snow Angel
Yesterday, during the snow day, I was reminded that one member of my family loves the snow. 

Makayla loves snow. When we were shoveling on Sunday, she was content to lay in a snow pile and watch the activity, but yesterday her love of snow came out. She loves to dig and burrow into the snow. She did this on many occasions during the day. 

It was fun to watch her. And the amazing thing is that because she has two coats, the snow did not melt on her, it just shook off. She loves to make Keeshond snow angels. 

We took an enjoyable walk during the early evening as the sun was setting. Makayla stopped a number of times along the route to leave her unique mark in the snow. I am glad that someone in my family loves snow. 

When the yard is covered with snow and looks pristine, just add Keeshond to give it that used look. But I need to be prepared to laugh a lot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Musings - January 14, 2019





1. It is the second Monday of January and winter arrived with cold and snow. It had to happen, I guess.

Tufted Titmouse
January 13. 2018
2. Shoveling snow is not a fun task, but it goes a lot easier when there are many hands doing the job.

3. The birds really appreciated the birdseed that Chris put out for them in the snow. Here is a Tufted Titmouse enjoying the feast. I found the heavy snow on the junipers to be a pretty background.

4. Just when we thought the snow was over, it started again and the roads were very slippery last evening.

5. The thought of heading to Florida for some warmth is going to keep me going through the week ahead.

6. I played laser tag for the first time ever yesterday at Lucas' Birthday Party. I had a great time. I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I had fun.

7. Seven inches of snow! That is how much the storm dropped on my house during the past two days. I shoveled twice. The last time, about 9PM last evening, was just as the storm was abating and the driveway is clear this morning. 

8. The NFL playoffs got interesting. During the Wildcard Weekend, three of the four visiting teams won. During the Divisional Playoff Weekend, all of the home teams won. How interesting.

9. Today in History. The theologian, musician, philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer is born on this day in 1875 in Upper-Alsace, Germany (now Haut-Rhin, France).

Headlines


Miami Airport to Close Terminal as Gov Shutdown Continues - The New York Times


Life, Death and Insulin - The Washington Post

Sears bankruptcy raises old questions about cost of going broke - Reuters


Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

In closing let me thank you, the American people for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your President. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.
 -- Letter to the American People about being Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, November, 5, 1994


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Winter Arrives


Shoppers at Wegman's Preparing for the Storm
January 12, 2019
The Baltimore-Washington region has been dodging the storms of Winter for some time now, but the area is finally taking a direct hit.

There are 5 or more inches of snow on the ground with more falling. 

Ugh!
Evening January 12, 2019
As the Storm Begins

I wish I was in Florida right now watching this on the news rather than living it in person. Experiencing snowstorms virtually is much preferred to actually living through them.

Think about it--I have to spend hours shoveling the driveway and in the end all of the snow will melt away. It is wasted energy. But if I don't shovel the snow will melt to ice before it finally goes away. 

Finnegan in the Snow
Chris and I prepared for the storm yesterday, as did thousands of our new best friends from around the region, by hitting the stores and stocking up on supplies. We shopped at Wegman's for food. Although the real reason we went to Wegman's was to get guacamole for the football games, we came out other essential storm supplies. Sadly, the Cowboy's did not take the game seriously, although the Chief's won their game earlier in the day.
Snow on the Deck Before Dawn
January 13, 2019

The snow fell overnight and it fell in a great amount. As I write this it is still snowing and I am beginning to think about breakfast and heading out to shovel.

While we were preparing for the storm we were dreaming of being somewhere warm. I believe that every snowstorm cements our decision to head south as soon as I retire. I can scarcely believe that I am thinking doubt retirement, but it seems that as more and more of the people that I know retire, it becomes more real for me.

Well, as with every snowstorm in the region, most everything is closed. Chris and I have to attend a birthday party for our youngest grandson later in the day that I expect will occur, but other than that, we are not likely to venture out until much later in the day. It is not that we are afraid to drive in the snow, no, we are afraid of the other crazy drivers on the road who either are paralyzed by the driving conditions or ho think that because they have a 4-wheel drive vehicle that they can drive as if the roads were clear.

And now that it is dawn, I can clearly see that the snow continues to fall stacking up into piles on the ground.

It is time to get moving and clear the mess.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sunrise There's a Fire in the Sky


Sunrise from LifeTime Fitness, Columbia, MD
January 11, 2019
Yesterday morning, I was leaving the club where I play, or rather I attempt to play, racquetball about 6:40 AM. I was treated to a stunning sunrise building on the horizon. I caused me to grab my cell phone and snap an image. Later as I was driving to work the sunrise became even more stunning, but as I was driving I could not get an image of it to share. 

I was excited, and I know most people do not get too excited about such things. But I was excited about the sunrise at 6:40 AM because t means the dark season is departing and the daylight is returning. We have gained 13 more minutes of daylight since the solstice. The amount if daylight is rapidly increasing, during the next seven days we will gain another ten minutes of daylight. Yay! I note that in Jupiter, Florida, they have already an hour more of daylight per day than Baltimore does! Something about a change in latitude.

And of course, the mixture of the warmth of Florida coupled with the sunrise reminded me of the song Knee Deep by the Zac Brown Band. The refrain contain the magical sunrise words:

Wishin' I was
Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky, breeze and it don't seem fair
The only worry in the world
Is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise


A warm thought for a cold, January Baltimore morning where 3-5 inches of snow is expected. I might change the words of the song some:

Hating that I'm
Knee deep in the snow out here
Got the gray sky wind and it don't seem fair
The only worry that I have
Will I freeze right in this spot
Sunrise, and it weren't even seen
But snow keeps falling
And so not to to be mean
But I think I'm gonna need a change of scenery

or something

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 11, 2019

Cold Day


Yesterday was a cold day. Too cold for me, but just right for January. Today is colder. This morning the temperature is 23 degrees outside my window. What a change from the 50s of three days ago. 

I don't like it much when the cold weather actually arrives.

Added to the cold, there is 4-6 inches of snow in the forecast for the weekend. I need to find the snow shovels. I think they are in the shed. With the other stuff I don't use often. 

With the weather looking bad, the weekend project will be devoted to decorating the basement, it has been a bit of a blank canvas since the remodel project was completed. It is hard to say, but the weather will certainly determine the weekend activity.


Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bleeding Heart Liberal


I was called something yesterday that I never thought that I would hear: 


Bleeding heart liberal. 

Wow! It is amazing how three words can be used to define a person. I think they were meant to convey a negative connotation.

Being called a bleeding heart liberal still amazes me and I frankly don't know how to respond, but here is how I am feeling. 

First, I'm honored that I something that I wrote regarding current events in America struck a chord with someone and generated a response.

Second. I'm a bit scared that a label was used in place of engaging in a rational discussion and to ultimately agree, as I do, that we each are entitled to our opinions, especially after careful consideration and investigation. I served 21 years in the Air Force and continue to work as a Federal employee to guarantee each American that precious right to an opinion.

Third, I am happy that my obvious and overt support for definite conservatives such as Ronald Reagan, George Patton, George HW Bush, and George W Bush, to name a few, has not overshadowed my ability to keep an open mind on issues and evaluate them on their merits. I didn't realize that there issue I was writing a liberal vs conservative issue to begin with.

I found an interesting quote that is more applicable today than I originally realized:

“If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”  - Ronald Reagan, 1975. Checked at Snopes.com.

The thought is even more interesting and potentially applicable today since fascism is generally defined as extreme right-wing philosophy.

So, if my opinion on one issue makes me a bleeding heart liberal, maybe that is not a bad thing--so I will own it.


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Tear Down This Wall


I watched the President's remarks last evening and I watched the rebuttal from the Speaker if the House and the Senate Minority Leader. 

Nogales, Texas Wall
The President's address was fraught with untruths and misrepresentations of the truth. The facts can be checked at Fact Check

In listening to the response to the President, I was shocked at the way he liberally misused partial truths and untruths to attempt to justify an embarrassing wall. 

In one instanced he said: In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl. 

When last i checked geography, the wall would be constructed no where near Maryland. I am not sure how the this incident was related to a wall on the southern border. He never asserted that the unaccompanied minors came to America through the area where the wall would be built, or how a wall would have kept them out of the country.

And finally, two years ago, the President was elected and both the House and Senate were controlled by the Republicans. Why didn't the wall get funded then? Why has this waited until he could focus blame on the Democrats rather than realizing that the majority of Americans do not want to fund a wall. There are other ways to ensure border security. 

Americans have been against walls, it was Ronald Reagan who standing at the Berlin Wall uttered the famous words: “Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace–if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe–if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” President Reagan went on to say: “Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.”

Despite what the President saying about walls being built because we love those inside, history paints a different story. They become objects of oppression.

I support the image that Senator Schumer made when he said: The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot wall.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Shutdown continues


As the partial Federal shutdown continues, the dysfunction in Washington becomes more apparent and dangerous. 

Airport Lines Aggravated by Government Shutdown
As the weather turns colder, so does the hope for a speedy end to the battle over a wall for the southern border.

We have fought wars over that southern border and now, it appears, we are fighting a war which threatens the very Republic. Sadly, the situation has devolved into a standoff in which neither side wants to be seen a flinching.

It is a stupid as playing chicken or having a duel. 

Sadly, however, the people paying the price for the insanity are those in our country least able to afford the cost: the poor, the Federal workers, and those who depend upon Federal contracts for their survival. 

The New York Times had an article describing the impact of the shutdown: 
As Government Shutdown Persists, Americans Feel the Bite

The opening paragraph describes the impacts:

WASHINGTON — The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.
President Trump and congressional Democrats have made little progress in negotiations to end a shutdown that has affected about 800,000 federal workers, many of whom will miss their first paycheck this week, and who owe a combined $249 million in monthly mortgage payments, according to the online real estate firm Zillow.
And the situation will only get worse because hidden in the campaign promise that the President is trying to fulfill was a statement that Mexico will pay for the wall. Yet, all I see in my tax dollars headed for the next iteration of the Great Wall of China--except, where are the Mongul Hordes? 
President Trump’s desperate, nonsensical claim that Mexico is paying for the wall - The Washington Post

Border Wall
An excerpt from that article lays out the situation:

Now President Trump faces a similar conundrum: He promised that Mexico would pay for his plan to build a wall along the southern border. But he did not make this promise just once or even two dozen times. From his announcement speech to the election, he declared 212 times that Mexico would pay for the wall, according to the comprehensive record of Trump’s speeches, interviews and tweets maintained by factba.se. That works out to almost every two days during the campaign.
Mexico refuses to pay for the wall, and Trump has engineered a government shutdown to try to force Congress to appropriate the necessary funds. Yet he insists that Mexico is paying for the wall because of a reworking of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that his administration negotiated — though it is not yet ratified by Congress

We don't need a wall, we need a functioning, funded government and leaders with less ego and more compassion.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Musings - January 7, 2018




1. It is the first Monday of January 2019. I can't believe that the first weeks has already passed. Seven days down and 358 to go until we can do the New Years stuff all over again.

2. The Federal Government remains partially shutdown. Sadly. There is no end in sight. Well, until the tax returns are not paid out and then there will definitely be a groundswell against the shutdown.

3. I noticed how dark the neighborhood was last evening as the Christmas lights have been turned off and put away by most of the houses.

4. While I often complain about the weather, I cannot complain about yesterday's 54 degrees and sunny for a January day! Bring it on. 

5. I attended two youth basketball games yesterday and I am happy to report that both Jackson and Ethan were winners. The games were close and exciting.

6. Yesterday would have been a good day for January golf, but, I was busy elsewhere.

7. I am amazed how quickly time passes when I have a lot to do, but drags when I am just waiting for the day to end.

8. Today in History. On this day in 1789, America’s first presidential election is held. Voters cast ballots to choose state electors; only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. As expected, George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on April 30, 1789.


Headlines


2 Americans Said to Have Joined ISIS Caught on the Front Lines in Syria - The New York Times



Trump Has Promised to Bring Jobs Back. His Tariffs Threaten to Send Them Away. - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

The one thing our Founding Fathers could not foresee -- they were farmers, professional men, businessmen giving of their time and effort to an idea that became a country -- was a nation governed by professional politicians who had an interest in getting re-elected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then eagerly looking forward to getting back to the farm.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 6, 2019

De-Christmasification


Last View of the Christmas Tree
January 5, 2019
It happened yesterday. 

The de-Christmasification of the house is complete. Well, lest you wonder, I provided a link to the word Christmasification in the urban dictionary.

Chris and I worked through most of the day to get the Christmas decorations into the boxes and back into their storage places. It was a difficult process given we have many decorations and they were everywhere around the house. 

It took, all told, about six hours form start to finish, remembering of course that we had already taken down the exterior decorations. The decorations are back in the boxes and the boxes are back in the attic. The attic is, of course, above the garage and accesses via rickety steps.

I do so hate lugging the boxes up and down from the attic. 

Gear Case Kit for Stanley
Garage Door Opener
As an added benefit, the garage door opener broke during the process. The gear case failed and so I had to go on line and order a replacement  I have repaired it once before, a few years ago and I am fortunate that I actually have the ability to rebuild the motor. I have been advised that the way my garage door opener is installed cannot be replicated today and it would require a major change to replace the entire unit. Ugh!

Always something it seems.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Nero is Warming Up


People sometimes say things that reveal how they really view the world and the situation at hand--and it can be scary.

Trump Suggests Government Shutdown Could Last for ‘Months or Even Years’ - The New York Times

A sweeping statement such as was made by the president is frightening. Not just personally, but for the sake of the entire nation and all of the people of the world who depend upon the United States. 

The idea that our leaders have devolved to making such threats shows a lack of appreciation for the things that are truly important in America. 

This just shows how bad things really are and how egos are blinding our leaders to what is truly important and good about America. Closing the government for years would be cataclysmic and possibly begin a chain of events form which we might never recover. Not only that, but even a threat such a this is a clear violation of The Constitution because the executive branch and the Congress would be in a situation where they would not longer be meeting the following:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

All of can think of is the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 4, 2019

New congress? Same old Stuff?


It was a momentous day yesterday as Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House for the second time. In fact, men don't do it that often, the last time was six decades ago.

So now we have a Congress divided. But, in reality, the Congress has been divided for two years now. I was encouraged by Ms Pelosi's words provide at least a veil of bipartisanship. Perhaps, the Congress will unite against the Executive and begin to move the country forward on a more moderate course. 

We can only hope that the Congress can begin to forge a more realistic course. 

I must be dreaming. 

The first thing the Congress needs to do is to get the government moving again? End the shutdown!

I'm dreaming, I'm sure. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Moving Forward?


The second day of 2019 dawned and it was much like many of the days left behind in 2018.

It is funny how I think about the passing of years in a linear fashion, with a forward and a back. Why not an up and down like a ladder? I don't know. Perhaps it is because we perceive time linearly and therefor there is a forward and reverse. 

On one hand, each day can be much like the other, yet they follow in a progression. 

Yesterday, for instance, was much like the last few days of 2018. The day was cool, but not cold and overcast all day. The lack of sunshine is becoming standard for the region.

But, for me, this is a three day week. There is a Monday (yesterday), a Wednesday (today), and a Friday (tomorrow). I could get used to this. 

Well, day three is upon me! It is time to get moving and face the joys of the day. My big question for the day is: Will the sun shine?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Day One is Complete


The problem with New Year's Day (NYD) is that I really don't feel like doing much because of the activity from the night before celebrating the arrival of the new year.

Chris and I broke the mold this year and actually accomplished a few things on NYD. 

Given that the day was warm we managed to get the Christmas lights down off the house. I felt that we needed to take advantage of the opportunity that the day presented to us. And, it really is not fun to take the lights down when it is cold and freezing.

Chris also swapped out the Christmas dishes. So we are back on the day-to-day dishes that we will use until Christmastime next year.

2019 is about to become like other years as I head off to work today, for the first day fo the year. Ugh. 

I would like to say the days are getting longer, but today will only be 4m 24s longer than the on the solstice. 

We will see what the day brings. Happy January 2nd.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

And so 2019 Arrives


Sydney Fireworks on NYD
The New Year has arrived! Partying out the old and ringing in the new has happened and I am sitting here in my chair looking out at the first dawn of 2019. A squirrel, oblivious to the change of the year, is scavenging on my deck looking for the peanuts that Chris puts out for the birds.

The first dawn is gray, much like 2018 which is just departed. But it is not raining.

Chris and I in a NYE Selfie
December 31, 2018
I know there are 364 more dawns to experience this year and I know that each one will be different.  

I looked back at my first blog of 2018 and I noted that the temperature outside was 4.5 degrees! Today it is a balmy 55 degrees here at the house.

And so here some thoughts for 2019:

I hope that 2019 is drier than 2018. It should not be too hard since 2018 set a record for the most rainfall EVER in the Baltimore-Washington region. At items I thought I was living in Seattle.

I am hopeful that I will see 2020 dawn from the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean! I had a similar wish on New Year's Day, (NYD) 2014 for the beginning of 2015--it sadly, did not happen.

I believe that my treatments for prostate cancer were successful and that I will receive confirming test results during 2019.

I hope that my family will be healthy and prosperous during 2019! 

From my 2017 NYD blog, I am hoping that the divisions in our country can be repaired and we can begin to move forward. It is terrible that the government is in partial shutdown as we begin the year! But, then, as I reviewed my blogs I note that there have been other NYD where I make similar comments.

In closing this first blog of 2019, I provide the thoughts I wrote  for the dawn of 2010:

I hope and pray that this year is better for you and your family than last year.
That you will receive and recognize blessings beyond your imagination.
That you will find love, companionship, and fulfillment in all you do.
That you will be true to yourself, and to God in your life and your profession and in the decisions that you make every day.
Do not sell or lose your integrity.

May the seas of life be calm for you,
But when the seas are rough, may you be on a big ship firmly in the hand of God
And may you sail on into the future
with hope, and excitement ready for the challenges of the hour, day, week and month as they come knowing that in the end--you are never alone, no matter how lonely you feel and that we have all been there in some form before--so do not isolate yourself from friends and make it a task find a person who used to be a friend--and reconcile with them this year.


Happy New Year!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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