Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Different Anniversary

It has been one year since I rang the bell three times signifying the end of my prostate cancer treatments. 

I documented the end of my cancer treatment in my blog titled I Rang the Bell. Over the past year I have thought less and less about cancer every day. I wear a blue bracelet to remind me of what is behind me and to force me to look ahead to the future. 

I remember the celebration we held to mark the bell ringing. Many of my family and friends were there and I felt their love and support. I continue to feel their love and support.

At the conclusion of this first year post-treatment, all of the signs are positive. In some ways, my quality of life now is better than it was before the treatment! And for that I am very happy.

And now, year two begins!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday Musings - December 9, 2019

1. It is the 49th Monday of 2019 and the year is coming to a rapid close. Christmas is just over two weeks away and the New Year just a week behind that.

2. Traveling by car for a weekend trip to Upstate NY saw me spend 15 hours driving during a 50 hour period! Wow!

3. Family NFL Report;

    Ravens defeat Bills 24-17
    Steelers defeat Cardinals 23-17
    Cowboys lose to Bears 24-31
    Redskins lose to Packers 15-20

Deer in the Field
Near Hunt, NY
December, 7, 2019
4. I was amazed at the number of deer that could gather in one place. I saw 15 deer together. It was a sight to see all of them together in the field. I also noticed how dark their coloring had become, helping them to blend into the forest better. 

5. I have had my mandatory initial exposure to snow for this winter. I hope that is all of the snow I have to experience.

6. I suppose that rain is more desirable than snow!

7. It was interesting viewing the exterior Christmas decorations while driving through Central and Western New York. I felt that few homes were decorated for the holidays than in the past.

8. Today in History. On December 9, 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.
Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighboring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country’s inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia’s civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.


With the White House absent, the impeachment process has devolved into a partisan brawl. - The New York Times

North Korea Turns Up Pressure on the United States for Concessions - The New York Times

Protesters Killed and Cleric’s House Bombed in Deepening Iraqi Chaos - The New York Times

Hong Kong sees biggest protests since democrats' election boost - Reuters

Thousands form human chain in Brussels in climate change demo - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Right now we need both realism and idealism. Millions of our neighbors are without work. It is up to us to see they aren't without hope. This is a task for all of us. And may I say, Americans have rallied to this cause, proving once again that we are the most generous people on Earth.

Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 25, 1983 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Day’s Ending

Sunset Over the Snow
Hunt, NY
December 7, 2019
Well I bookended yesterday with a sunrise image and now a sunset image. Taken somewhere near Hunt, NY, on our way back to Ithaca after spending the afternoon with Mom and Dad, Chris and I were treated to this spectacular scene at the beginning of the two-hour drive.

As you all know, I do not fully appreciate snow and cold. The temperature when I took this image, according to the car thermometer, was about 20 degrees. During the drive the temperature dipped as low as 14. Fortunately, there is not much traffic in the wilds of Upstate New York. In fact, during the drive I would expect that the high beam headlights were on for all but about 10 minutes of the trip. And we needed them, it was dark and often eerie along the highways lined by leafless trees ready for the winter.

It was a great visit with Mom and Dad. My sister treated us to a spectacular dinner and warm conversation ensued all day. I resolved that I need to visit regularly and so I was particularly mindful of the route as we drove back to Ithaca.

Driving through the Finger Lakes region is an experience. The lakes and hills provide ever-changing vistas to enjoy while driving. It is a lot different than driving through flat areas, like Texas, where the scenery never changes during hours of driving.

It is important to see the beauty in every place. I do love sunrises the most and am sitting watching the world come alive as I write this, being treated to a spectacular sunrise.

Enjoy the day. I am facing a five and a half hour drive back to Baltimore, but will enjoy the scenery along the way. And I will celebrate crossing the snow-line somewhere around Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Sunrise Over a Snowy Scene

Looking Out Over the Sunrise
Ithaca, NY
December, 7, 2019
It is cold. Too cold this morning at 28 degrees in Ithaca as I looked out over the snowy landscape into the predawn sky.

The trip from Baltimore yesterday was uneventful and the roads clear. We ran into snow for the last hour, but fortunately the temperatures were above freezing and there was no accumulation on the road. I was reminded how surreal is can be to drive at night with snow being highlighted in the headlights in a mesmerizing manner with white spears slicing through the air towards me.

The headlights of the oncoming cars on the two-lane roads was blinding, especially aggravated because dirt accumulated on the windshield at an alarming rate from the splash as vehicles passed in the oncoming lane. I wondered if I would run out of cleaner fluid trying to keep the windshield clean. But I didn't. Thankfully.

Today, Chris and I will take to the highways again as we head to the Rochester area to visit my parents. It will likely be a picturesque trip past the snowy fields and forests along some of the Finger Lakes.

Well, it is December in Upstate New York. I guess this is what is to be expected.

— Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Friday, December 6, 2019

What You Missed This Week - December 6, 2019

It has been another turbulent week for the United States as we continue to be completely inwardly focused upon the impeachment proceedings and the dysfunction within our government. The world, however, has continued to turn and there are a lot of things happening around the world that require our attention and understanding. Sadly, however, the news media remains focused upon the sensational internal strife while missing the real news around the world. 

Uber says it received over 3,000 reports of sexual assault in U.S. in 2018

Transport chaos as strike against Macron reforms enters day two

Hong Kong police chief calls for peace ahead of weekend protest march

Russia, Turkey working on new S-400 missile contract: Interfax

WHO decries 'collective failure' as measles kills 140,000

North Korea to launch medical tourism, targeting visitors from China

Fears grow about Sydney after Australia fires merge into giant blaze

Tennessee executes man convicted of 1991 murder of ex-girlfriend

Moscow ‘cyberthief’ wanted for stealing millions from Britons

Putin eyes up old Soviet neighbour in new power grab

US and North Korea exchange insults

Woman set alight on way to court by gang she accused of raping her

 NASA credits Indian engineer for finding first crash piece of Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander

 China most likely to become sole global superpower by mid-21st Century: Romney

Google accused by U.S. labour group of illegally firing workers to stifle unionism

629 Pakistanis sold as brides in ChinaThe Hindu

Have a good weekend and keep searching for the news--it is out there!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Holiday Unsung Heroes

Holidays are successful because of preparation. 

Preparing the Potatoes for Thanksgiving
Elkridge, MD
November 28, 2019
Think about the amount of time it takes to put together a Thanksgiving meal--Chris was cooking for two days in advance of the meal and we weren't the hosts! She made pies (4), squash, mashed potatoes, and stuffing for 20 people. 

That is the definition of an unsung hero. A real holiday warrior! She did all of that out of the love in her heart for others. She did not even get to enjoy the squash at the dinner, although we enjoyed it for a couple of days after the feast. 

Christmas is another of those holidays where the unsung heroes make it happen. While Santa seems to get the credit, we know there always seems to be at least one person who did the bulk of the shopping--for food and gifts, and ensured that everyone is happy and filled with goodies on the holiday. 

Don't forget to say thanks to the unsung heroes during the holidays. 


-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jumbling December

Already a busy month filled with shopping, parties, travel, and end of the year reports it seems that the our leaders have determined to mix it up even more with a looming budget showdown and of course the impeachment proceedings.

So I opened the 300 page impeachment report and began reading. I did not finish it--I am sure the news media will cover the salient points and that I will find time to continue wandering through the massive document. I was, however, caught by some of the quotes from the founding fathers that were included in the preface which I found important because they are frighteningly true and portent a potential significant change for the country if allowed to come true. 

I urge people to read the preface and be reminded of the thoughts of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. 

I was going to extract a few of the quotes, but due to the .pdf format, I was stymied. 

I did find one by Franklin very interesting. 

As Benjamin Franklin was departing the Constitutional Convention, he was asked "What have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?" He responded simply, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

And that is the real problem here. We are losing sight of the vision of the founding fathers for the Republic and are slipping into another form of government which is more authoritarian. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cold Blast

I walked out of the building after work last evening and was greeted by a wet, damp slap in the face that chilled my entire body.

Wow. It seems like just two weeks ago I was enjoying 80 degree days; wearing shorts and flip flops. Wait, it was only two weeks ago. 

Winter has arrived and is supplanting Autumn. The leaves have fallen from the trees and now the cold and frigid weather has arrived to snuff out any lingering thoughts of warmer days. 

They're gone.

We have to face the darkness and the cold of the next three months. Perhaps March will arrive and rescue us from the trials and tribulations of the Winter which has begun to arrive early for too much of the country. 

And so I take another sip of the dark, red, full-bodied Syrah that I chose for this evening and enjoy the lingering warmth it provides as it slowly slides from my mouth into my stomach. The flavors remind me of summer. 

I turn into the frigid north wind, taking it straight on saying to it that I will not submit to the darkness that it brings. 

I got cold, but continued trudging toward my truck.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday Musings - December 2, 2019

1. It is the first Monday in December and the 48th Monday of 2019. There are 23 days until Christmas.

2. Welcome to the Christmas Season. This season is six days shorter than last year's season.

Elkridge, MD
November 30, 2019
3. Squirrels like eating birdseed from our window boxes. It can be annoying as they chase away the birds. 
Elkridge, MD
November 30, 2019

4. The season of the turkey is over. Over the weekend we replaced all of the turkeys with snowmen and Santas. 

5. It rained yesterday. All day.

6. Family NFL Results
    - Ravens defeat 49ers 20-17
    - Steelers defeat Browns 20-13
    - Cowboys lost to Bills 15-26
    - Redskins defeat Panthers 29-21

7. I am glad that I was not traveling this past weekend for the holiday. It do not appear to be a pleasant travel experience anywhere in the country. 

8. Now that the Christmas decorations are in place, what is next? Oh yes, the shopping.

9. Today in History. On December 2, 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.
An energy-trading company based in Houston, Texas, Enron was formed in 1985 as the merger of two gas companies, Houston Natural Gas and Internorth. Under chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay, Enron rose as high as number seven on Fortune magazine’s list of the top 500 U.S. companies. In 2000, the company employed 21,000 people and posted revenue of $111 billion. Over the next year, however, Enron’s stock price began a dramatic slide, dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by closing on November 30, 2001.


With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 YearsWith Brutal Crackdown - The New York Times

Warming Waters, Moving Fish: How Climate Change Is Reshaping Iceland - The New York Times

Hong Kong police fire tear gas as thousands take to the streets in fresh protests - Reuters

At least 14 killed in attack on Burkina Faso church - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week

We Americans are slow to anger. We always seek peaceful avenues before resorting to the use of force -- and we did. We tried quiet diplomacy, public condemnation, economic sanctions, and demonstrations of military force. None succeeded. Despite our repeated warnings, Qadhafi continued his reckless policy of intimidation, his relentless pursuit of terror. He counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong. I warned that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills. I meant it. I said that we would act with others, if possible, and alone if necessary to ensure that terrorists have no sanctuary anywhere. Tonight, we have.

 - Address to the Nation on the United States Air Strike Against Libya April 14, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Decorating for the Holiday

2019 Christmas Tree
Elkridge, MD
November 30, 2019
It is the holiday season and that means time to decorate.

Riordin in the Wreath
Elkridge, MD
November 30, 2019
I was struck on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, by the scene at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when Santa and his sleigh were parked under the entrance to Macy's which was adorned by a colorful turkey. It was, in one image, the two seasons colorfully jammed together: Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could almost hear someone somewhere screaming at the top of their voice: "Shoppers, start your engines!"

Here at home, yesterday was decoration day. The boxes were moved from the attic and staged to disgorge their contents and thereby Christmasfy the house. 

Riordin got into the spirit of the day by checking out the wreath that was to be installed over the fireplace. He thought it was a big toy. He did no damage other wreath but it sure was fun to watch him explore the possibilities. 

It was a busy and fun day with Chris preparing for the arrival of the Christmas season. I am glad, that at lease we do not begin installing Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, unlike the commercial world where they arrive after Halloween. 

Happy Christmas!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
My Zimbio
Top Stories