Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Seventeen Months

Here we go again--perhaps it never really ended? 

The presidential election season is running hot and perhaps the candidates will burn themselves out before the actual November 3, 2020 elections arrive.

Here is what happened yesterday:

Trump, at Rally in Florida, Kicks Off His 2020 Re-election Bid - The New York Times

Reading the article, it sounds like more of the same. Here is what the article said about the kickoff. 

President Trump delivered a fierce denunciation of the news media, the political establishment and what he called his radical opponents on Tuesday as he opened his re-election campaign in front of a huge crowd of raucous supporters by evoking the dark messaging and personal grievances that animated his 2016 victory.

It appears that some presidential candidates believe that the road to the White House is paved with hate-mongering, stoking the fires of fear, and blaming others for personal shortfalls. 

In my humble opinion, I think is is time for a different and more coherent and inclusive approach to the presidency. We should celebrate and protect the diversity embodied in the Constitution rather than trying to limit the application of its protected freedoms. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer's Threshold

Summer, the best season of the year is upon us. 

I was out working by the pool and noticed this small butterfly. It was a reminder that summer is upon me.

Already this season the fireflies have been gracing the evening providing their cold light to brighten the evening darkness.

As the evenings have stayed moderate and the pool has warmed, the joy associated being outside has increased. I expect to see more summertime animals to grace my poolside lounging.

Friday will be one of the longest days of the year, in terms of sunlight, 14h 56m 19s. I will enjoy every second of the longest day of the year. 

Bring on the sun and the summer.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Musings - June 17, 2019

Hibiscus Around the Pool
Elkridge, MD
June 16, 2019
1. The second half of the month of June has arrived. Time is speeding along as my favorite season of the year approaches.

2. Summer begins on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 11:54 AM EDT!

3. The summer flowers are blooming and they are adding much needed brightness to the season. Springtime is winding down and I am enjoying the long days of summer.

4. I look out into my backyard and I am greeted with the full, deep green of summer! I love the trees and how they shape the scenery.

5. Floating in the pool yesterday was great fun. It was a beautiful day, despite the dire warnings form the weathermen.

6. Did anyone notice that the Orioles managed to be tied with the Red Sox 3-3 at the end of 9 innings yesterday and then managed to lose the game 8-6 at the end of 10?

7. I still have not played golf in over two months. I am seriously hoping to break the drought next weekend.

Statue of Liberty
From Jersey City, New Jersey
October 2, 2016
8. I hope all of the fathers out there enjoyed our special day yesterday. And today? Well, it is back to work!

9. Today in History. On this day in 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue, which was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland, became known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.


Freed Hong Kong democracy activist joins mass calls for leader to quit - Reuters

Iran say it will reach allowed enriched uranium limit in 10 days - Reuters

Liberals Want Trump Impeached, but Centrist Freshmen May Have the Final Say - The New York Times

In Trump’s trade war with China, L.A. ports are ground zero - LA Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance."

 -- A Time for Choosing, October 27, 1964, Los Angeles, CA

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day - 2019

To all the fathers out there--Happy Father's Day!

Yes, it is our special day. It is a day to remember and celebrate our fathers, the men in our lives who helped to mold us into the men and women that we are today.

I found a poem that sums up the essence of a father and thought I'd share it here.

Silent, Strong Dad

Published: February 2006
He never looks for praises.
He's never one to boast.
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most.
His dreams are seldom spoken.
His wants are very few,
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken, too.
He's there...a firm foundation
Through all our storms of life,
A sturdy hand to hold onto
In times of stress and strife.
A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad.
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.


Dads, enjoy the day.
Sons and daughters, remember your dad.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Paying a Bundle for Cable

Every so often I take a good look at my cable TV bill and wonder, why am I paying so much for so little?

That is the truth. While the cable companies offer a plethora of channels, I usually have difficulty finding anything worth watching and default to sports or old movies. I mean, how many times can one really watch, The Proposal?

Yet, I continue to pay a a high monthly fee for cable services that I mostly don't use. Take for instance the music channels. With the advent of multiple music internet providers who really needs, or uses, the music channels provided by the cable companies? Yet the 30 or so music channels are counted into the total number of channels that I receive.

And then there are the non-HD channels. Who watches those channels? And why do the HD versions and SD versions get counted as two channels--it is really only one offering? 

I am getting perilously close to cutting the cable cord--but I have 15 months remaining on my current contract! Ugh.

I wish we could get to a place where we pay-as-we-go for cable. I think I would save a bundle instead of paying for a bundle.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 14, 2019

Promotion Day 2019

Jax Receiving his Promotion Papers
Waugh Chapel Elementary School
June 13, 2019
Jax on Promotion Day
It is the end of the school-year and yesterday Chris and I attended the 5th grade promotion ceremony for Jackson. We had a lot of fun watching him close-out his elementary school career along side of many of his friends. I think they were all ready to get out of there and to the after school pool party that had been arranged for them at the local facility.

It was a likely my last visit to the elementary school that I have been visiting for the past nine years. I have attended a wide variety of events and activities. There were concerts, awards ceremonies, and promotion ceremonies, and many other reasons to visit the school and revel in the activities of both Ethan and Jax as they progressed through the years

Yesterday, however, was a celebration of Jax and his academic career. And now he is off the the wild land of middle school. It is hard to wrap my mind around the thought.

Congratulations, Jax!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD  

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thursday Thoughts, June 13, 2019

Wow, the item I wrote yesterday about the Orioles generated about as much interest as a broken arm. I guess that is about right since the O's are one of the worst teams in baseball. I have not had an item read by so few people in a very long time. 

Triple Play
I was reminded yesterday about how life can change in a moment. A good friend passed fairly suddenly and I am still very melancholy this morning. While his passing was not unexpected, it was sudden and I had hoped that he would recover from his illness. I will miss him very much and I am still in denial about his passing.

I wondered why I pay so much for cable TV, internet, and phone. I have the "Triple Play!" Well, it is a triple play in my wallet. I am seriously considering completely changing the way that I access television and the internet. 

I think I cannot still wrap my mind  around the idea that the youth baseball season is over, well until the autumn. 

The rains returned overnight. Everything is wet.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Orioles Update for June

I have not written much about the Orioles this season. There, frankly, is not much to write. The team is rebuilding and has settled comfortably at the bottom of the standings for the league. It seems that they can win one game of most series, but fall miserably short of being respectable. 

Sporting a record of 21-45, the Orioles are 20 games out of first in the division and 15 games out of Wild Card contention. The team is tied for last place in MLB with the Kansas City Royals, or put another way, they are tied for 29th place in the standings. 

Last evening, to begin their homestead, they defeated the Toronto Bluejays 4-2. The line score shows the tale of the game.


It was a win, but even-so  the team is now 9-23 at home! 

Chris Davis has taken sole possession of the formerly called "Mendoza-line" which has always been considered a batting average below .200. The line has been redefined as something below that point as Chris Davis is currently batting .164 and still on the team. He finished the 2018 season with a .168 batting average. Unofficially, the Mendoza-line is "often thought of as the offensive threshold below which a player's presence on a Major League Baseball team cannot be justified, regardless of his defensive abilities. The term is used in other contexts when one is so incompetent in one key skill that other skills cannot compensate for that deficiency." (from Wikipedia) Because he is getting $23M per year, he is still suiting up every night when players with lesser salaries would have been long gone. 

I have attended one game so far this season in person and I do not regularly watch the games on television, opting for some movie that I have already seen on Netflix. Usually, I know how both the game and the movie will end.

There are bright sport on the team. John Means, the pitcher last night, has a 6-4 record and as solid 2.60 ERA; but it took him 103 pitches to get out of the 5th inning to qualify for the win last night. 

Jonathan Villar, the shortstop, is exciting and sporting a solid .262 batting average, but he was caught stealing and suffered a put-out (meaning he was on base two times and both opportunities were lost). He has 12 stolen bases for the season may be on track to exceed the 21 he had during 2018. 

The star or the team is, arguably, Trey Mancini, who has 13 home runs and a solid .298 batting average. 

And so, nearing the mid-way point of the season, the team is on track for a 52-110 season, which is marginally better Thant the 47-115 they sported last year. Before the season started I predicted a 105 loss season and since they have almost completed the season meetings with the Yankees (2-10 with 7 games remaining) and completed play against the Twins (0-6 with no games remaining), my prediction may still be in play. That means they are 19-29 .395 against the rest of the league!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Door Flag

Door Flag
Elkridge, MD
June 9, 2019
Chris and I found a new door flag to hang at the entrance of our house. I took this image of it hanging after dark--it really highlights the flag. 

We like having a flag hanging at the entrance to the house to highlight the season. This one helps connect our two homes--here and Florida. Although we cannot simultaneously be in both places, we can remain connected to each. 

Door flags and garden flags add a personal touch to the premises. Some of the flags are used to display adherence to a certain set of beliefs or political preference. For instance, I am seeing rainbows as door flags. Other flags are patriotic and people display the American Flag, but at our house the location of the flag holder is on the wrong side of the door. Yes, there is a correct and incorrect place to display the American FlagThe flag we fly just tries to evoke the sentiment that I'd rather be at the beach. 

Fly your flag proudly, whatever you are trying say.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday Musings - June 10, 2019

1. It has been a two-week hiatus, but Monday Musings is back! Do I hear cheering?

2. Welcome to the second Monday of June. Summer is upon us.
Where I Was Last Monday
Tequesta, Florida
from Radio Flyer
June 4, 2019

3. I have to confess, because I was in Florida last week I did not even realize that it was Monday and forgot to write Monday Musings.

4. It was sobering to watch the President making remarks from Normandy's beaches on the anniversary of D-Day reminding me that it had been 75 years since oppression was repulsed.

5. The youth baseball season is over but not forgotten. We are having a team party next weekend. 

6. The rains have started again. Chris and I got some great outdoors work accomplished during the good weather. Another 8 bags of mulch were placed in the gardens and the pool was spruced up a bit.

7. I am enjoying that it does not get dark until after 8:30 PM. It makes the days last longer.

8. The official start of summer is less than two weeks away! Summer begins on June 21st at 11:54 AM!

9. Reminder--schools are beginning to release for the summer during the next two weeks! Watch out for distracted children and parents.


Hundreds of thousands march in Hong Kong to protest China extradition bill - Reuters

Texas Is Latest State to Pump the Brakes on Red-Light Cameras - The New York Times

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

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.

  -- A Time for Choosing, October 27, 1964, Los Angeles, CA

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 9, 2019

And so the Season Ends

Pre-game Warm-up GORC 12U Wildcats (Haslup)
June 8, 2019
The GORC 12U Wildcats (Haslup) ended their playoff run and their season yesterday with a bone crushing loss. It is the kind of loss that just leaves a bad taste in your mouth because the winning team was not necessarily the better team, they just received too many breaks in the first inning.

Line Score GORC 12U Wildcats (Haslup)
June 8, 2019
The box score tells the tale of the game. The opposition managed 8 runs on 2 hits with 6 walks. Five of GORC's errors (3 fielding and 2 passed balls on 3rd strikes) occurred during the first inning in which it took the equivalent of 8 outs to get out of the inning. Taking away those errors, which all occurred with two-outs and no runs in, the score should have been 3-2. 

Pre-game Team Meeting
GORC 12U Wildcats (Haslup)
June 8 ,2019
Once the defense stiffened, the team managed some great plays, including turning another double play and solid play by the catcher, third basemen and shortstop, but they just were not ready to play at the start of the game. It felt like we had two outs for an hour during the now pivotal first inning. We had some heroic plays as well by players who were injured fielding the ball but still made great plays before succumbing to the pain or the dirt in their eyes. Jax was one of those, on a ball hit back to him while he was the pitcher dirt got into his eyes, but he still made the throw to first for the out. And in another, the centerfielder, Cal, got hit by the ball which took a bad hop but was able to field it and get it to home plate to cut down a runner. 

Despite the heroics and the solid defense, the game ended before the bats could overcome spotting the other team 6 runs during the first inning. 

Although the season is over and the sting of the loss is still fresh and painful, the one thing that I will take away from the season is that the boys are now baseball players and not just playing baseball.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Saturday at Home

Chris, Me, and Finnegan in Front of our Florida Home
Tequesta, Florida
June 4, 2019
I was going to start by writing that I am at home for the first weekend in a while, but then I realized that last Saturday I traveled from one home to the other. It is still weird to try and wrap my mind around that seeming contradiction of traveling away from home to come home. 

I am already looking forward to my return trip to Florida during July to enjoy additional time at our southern residence. 

Chris and Finn Chatting with Neighbors in the Pool
Tequesta, Florida
June 4, 2019
I was able to get Radio Flyer airborne on one occasion during our most recent trip south. It was our last day after all of the work had been done around the house before we decided to pack for our return trip north. The first image from Radio Flyer is of the entrance to our Florida home. The blue car is in the driveway in front of our garage and we are on the walkway to our front door. Did you notice the palm tree in the front of there condo? Yup, I have a palm tree of my own!

Looking to the Atlantic
Tequesta, Florida
June 4, 2019
The neighborhood is a very nice place to relax and everyone seems very nice and friendly. We have met many of the neighbors in our community, especially those with whom we share the building. The pool is across the street, but the entrance is around to the other side from where we live. 

I flew Radio Flyer up to about 200 feet and aimed the camera towards the east to show how close we are to the ocean. The water in the middle of the image is the Intracoastal Waterway and Indian River, the tall buildings are on Jupiter Island and beyond is the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The road in the foreground is US 1. It seems that I enjoy living near US 1 as it drive on it every day in Maryland and now also in Florida. 

The location is perfect and we are able to get to the beach in less than five minutes. We actually clocked it at four minutes one day, of course when the drawbridge is up it takes a few minutes longer.

Dreaming of being home! Wait, I am!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 7, 2019

What do You Do When You Want the World to Go Away?

Finnegan Hiding in the Pillows
Tequesta, Florida
June 5, 2019
A funny thing happened Wednesday morning as Chris and I were making final preparations to return to the Baltimore area on an early morning flight. Finnegan, who is generally a good traveler, suspected something was up and tried to hide from the world and the activity happening around him. 

Chris and I were making preparations to leave including ensuring that the beds were fresh and that the garbage and recycling was properly disposed of so that it would not sit and rot in the garage until our return. There was a great deal of activity happening during a short span of time.

It was early and it was still dark outside. We were up at about 4:30 AM making the final preparations to depart and Finnegan was having nothing of it.  He found a quiet and safe place among the pillows on the bed and curled up to get some peace and quiet. It was really funny because both Chris and I wished that we could do the same. But, of course, we could not hide from the world. 

Sadly, we had to pull him from his warm safe place and force him to face the pre-dawn morning as we made our way to the airport. I don't think he actually woke up until we were through security.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Walking Along the Beach

Our Footprints on the Sand
Carlin Park Beach
Jupiter, Florida
June 4, 2019
The trip to Florida is complete. We arrived safely back to Maryland yesterday and were greeted at the airport by our friends Fran and Mary. Our house was in great shape as we walked through the door and although it was, as it always is, good to be home, it was sad to leave Florida,

We had successfully traveled from home to home in the reverse of our Saturday trip. I found the Uber driver yesterday morning to be a fascinating person to converse with and it made the 25 minute trip to the airport pass quickly. Fortunately traffic was light at 5:30 AM.

I will miss the morning beach walk along the ocean. The water was warm and inviting and while the shells are not as plentiful as other places, there were lots of natural treasures to be found along the beach. I also miss the heavy smell of the damp earth that greeted me in the morning, although it seems to rain as much in Maryland as Florida lately. It is raining right now outside of my window as I write this blog. And silly me, I was thinking the lawn was a bit dry as I mowed yesterday. 

I guess that I have become a true coastal traveler. Racing up and down the East Coast has become a pastime. I have already planned my return Florida engagement and it will be for more than just a few short days. I am amazed at the number of projects that I am completing in my new home. It seems that the number of things to do is endless. But, that is how it is with a home--always something to do to keep things in good repair.

Until I return, I will continue my morning beach walk in my mind until I return. I will pitch my umbrella and beach chair and sit staring at the surf and hear the waves impact the shore. And not to forget the palm trees waving in the breeze! they are there in my memory as well.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Saying Goodbye

Jupiter Lighthouse
June 3, 2019
It is time to say goodbye and head from home to home. It is cool having two places to call home, but sad when it is time to leave the Florida home to head back to the complexity of life in Maryland.

It was a short stay, but Chris and I covered all of the bases and most importantly all of the furniture we had ordered arrived on time yesterday and In good condition.

But we have to leave. Monday night was must drink Monday and we went to our favorite watering hole, The Square Grouper right at the confluence of the rivers in Jupiter.

We will be back soon but at least we are always home whether in Maryland or Florida.

— Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Doig Tired

Finnegan Dog Tired
Tequesta, Florida
June 3, 2019
Yesterday was a busy day. I know that I was exhausted by the time the day was done. Finnegan was also apparently tired as he crashed on the sofa and just watched the activity around him. 

I had to capture his expression as he just watched the activity around him. 

I had to smile--we have been dragging him everywhere, but yesterday we decided to give him a day off and he perked up by the time the day was over. I am sure he will not be too excited about traveling tomorrow.

Travel days are exhausting.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Monday, June 3, 2019

Flat Water and Great Days

Home Sound National Wildlife Refuge Beach, FL
June 2, 2019
As Monday morning dawns and I hear the distant sound of the train whistle, I realize how lucky that I am to be away from the rush of my day-to-day life and in Florida where Chris told me yesterday, as we were walking the beach, I am living the dream. I cannot fully comprehend how fortunate that i am to have the opportunity that currently have to be able to fly two-and-a-half hours from home to home! 

The weather has been almost idyllic in that the mornings are fantastic and then the obligatory afternoon rains come through making the evenings are nice and steamy. Chris and I have been completing a multitude of projects around our Florida home. We are still decorating and looking for that perfect piece of furniture for one room or another. Yesterday we found the perfect carpet for our patio area and it makes the place "pop!"

Even more exciting than the projects and the relaxation, the ocean has been still and inviting. Yesterday at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge the water was still! Flat even. It was war and inviting and we spent time in the water and strolling the beach looking for shells. We saw no less than three crab, big crabs, playing in the surf and I saw sand fleas launching themselves in the water to find new places to spend some time. It is summertime, almost. 

Yesterday was National Cancer Survivor Day and I am both happy and sad to count myself among that group of people. Happy that I am a survivor, but sad that I joined the group in the first place. It is truly a group that no one actively seeks to join. 

Today, more sun, ocean, projects, and relaxation. It is the beginning of the workweek after all. I am hoping to enjoy more flat water. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Walking the Beach

On the Beach
Jupiter, Florida
June 1, 2019
We arrived home, well at our Florida home, about 11:40 AM yesterday and we were on the beach by 1:30 PM! Less than three hours after arrival, doing some unpacking, and getting some supplies we were on my favorite Jupiter beach. 
Carlin Park Beach
Jupiter, Florida
June 2, 2019

It is off season here. The perfect time to enjoy these south Florida beaches. We went to the beach yesterday and there were all of three other couples on a mile long stretch of clear water and gentle waves. 

We repeated our beach experience this morning with a walk along a stretch of beach occupied mostly by fishermen and exercise conscious people. It was awesome. We have promised each other to walk the beach every morning, weather permitting, to enjoy one of the reasons that we have a house in Florida--the ocean. And the beaches are less than 5 minutes away. I waste more time than that getting ready!

Even Finnegan is enjoying the beach time. He loves sniffing at the seaweed baking in the sun. Who knows what could be hiding in there? 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Traveling Again

Chris and Finn at BWI
June 1, 2019
And we are off. Heading to our Florida home for a couple of days. For me I will have completed a tour of six airports in three days. But arriving in West Palm will be the crowning achievement.

Chris and Finn are with me. Yay. Hopefully in a few short hours I will be on a beach enjoying sun, sand, and relaxation. I did not get home last evening until about 13:30pm due to weather delayed flights. That left the packing for this trip entirely to Chris who did a magnificent job balancing everything.

I think I will get a weekend at home next weekend. Maybe.

Rock and roll. Travel again.

— Bob Doan, BWI airport, MD
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