Monday, August 8, 2022

Monday Musings - August 8, 2022


1. The second Monday of August has arrived. It is hard to believe that it has already arrived and that there are just 21 Mondays remaining in the year.

2. Moving became very real this past week. We watched many of our furniture departed on trailers and in trucks over the weekend. No amount of money can replace the sense of loss that we are feeling, despite the excitement of the future in Florida.

The Morning After the Storm
August 5, 2022
Elkridge, MD

3. Thursday and Friday evenings represented the worst two-day storm stretch of the summer. I had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning leaves and debris from the pool after the storms and ensuring the chemical mix was correct. I was glad that we got a break Saturday and Sunday. 

4. With most of the weekend consumed by the Estate Sale, we did not get out to so much. Friday night, however, during Happy Hour we experienced a thunder storm at a restaurant where there was one crack of thunder which was very close to our building. It was one of those see the flash, hear the crack lightning strikes.

5. I noticed this morning that sunrise is happening after 6 AM. Yesterday was the first day since May 5th that we has less than 14 hours of sunlight. The daily sunlight maxed out at 14 hours 56 minutes from June 18-24. 

6. For those of us in Maryland, it appears that Route 100 has become the Maryland State raceway. I amazed at how fast some drivers are speeding and weaving in and out of traffic.

7. Selling autos privately is fraught with danger. I have been contacted by no less than 20 scammers. The answer seems to be When I tell them that the financial transaction will be handled by, they leave me alone.

8. Today in History. In an evening televised address on August 8, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House

“By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Senate Passes Climate, Healthcare and Tax Bill - The Wall Street Journal

Russia Provokes High Anxiety in a Strategic Sliver of Europe - The Wall Street Journal

China’s Military Exercises Showcase Modern Fighting Force Preparing for Possible War - The Wall Street Journal

More than 6,300 US flights delayed on Sunday - CNN

More human remains discovered in Lake Mead's receding waters - CNN

The market read the Federal Reserve all wrong - CNN

China announces fresh military drills around Taiwan - Reuters

Oil bounces as China, U.S. data ease recession concerns - Reuters

Hong Kong eases COVID quarantine rules for incoming travellers - Reuters

The Webb telescope is astonishing. But the universe is even more so. - The Washington Post

Rocket attacks at Zaporizhzhia power plant raise fears of ‘nuclear catastrophe’ - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Downsizing - The Estate Sale

 Estate Sale Day 1 is complete. 


Living Room without a Sofa
Elkridge, MD
August 6, 2022
Suddenly there is no place to sit in either our living room or our family room in the basement. Both couches and their associated chair or love seat were sold. I guess I didn't think that one out very well.

My leather recliner is also sold, but not picked up yet, as is the rug in the picture. The coffee table, which I made, is going to Florida as is the table on the right side. 

The house is getting that empty sound as our treasures are re-homed. It is kind of funny to be using fold-up chairs as the main seating in the living room. 

Uh, how many more weeks are we expecting to be living here? 

This is a lot different from previous moves where we packed our belongings and took them with us. This time the downsizing is very serious and most of the larger belongings are leaving before we do. 

Day 2 of the Estate Sale is today. It was supposed to be a single day sale, but our turn-pout was kind of light and so we decided to add a second day with advertisements going our on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. There is still a lot of stuff to sell, including both tables and their associated chairs, bedroom  furniture, and most all of our art prints.

So much to do and so little time.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, August 5, 2022

Downsizing - As the Dog Barks

Finnegan is a bundle of energy. 

Finnegan at Halloween
Elkridge, MD
October 31, 2021
He is an excellent watch dog and is always aware of what is happening around the house. 

And that, is the problem--he alerts on everything. He has a shrill, ear-piercing bark that does not stop even when people arrive at the house. It is, at the very least, annoying. I have noticed it more lately as we have had many people coming and going as we downsize. 

But Finn has a soft and gentle side. He loves to curl up in a lap and sleep or to lay in a sunbeam during the morning hours when the sun comes through the window before we lower the shades to keep the house cool.

Finnegan is a gamer and allows himself to be thoroughly humiliated at Halloween. Somehow the costume was too cute. 

When visitors arrive, however, his energy overflows and he runs circles around them, non-stop. It is amazing that he has escaped being stepped-on and hurt.

The joys of downsizing and moving. Finnegan is ever and extra vigilant. And loud.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Houses and Homes

Houses are meant to become homes.

Truck Loaded with Belongings
Glen Burnie, MD
August 3, 2022
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon and evening helping Jen and Patrick transition from their old house to their new home. It was hot and the work was hard, but they were well organized and we were able to get the final items, including the most massive bed that I have ever seen, out and reinstalled.

Mind you, this was only the stuff they had been living with for the past 80-some days. Most of their furniture and belongings are in storage waiting for the real move-in day next week when the movers will relocate everything in their storage units, yes plural, to the home.

Empty Porches and Yard
Glen Burnie, MD
August 3, 2022
But, back to my original thought. Houses are meant to become homes. Yes, there is a difference. I can see it in my own house as we begin the process of changing it from a home to a house. Homes have character and are a reflection of the occupants. Houses are a blank slate providing the raw materials and space to become a home. 

I have been watching the construction of Jen and Patrick's new house for the past months and have been lucky to see the hole in the ground become a house. And last evening the transition from house to home began.

Conversely, at the old house it was clear that transition from home to house was complete. It was sad, but I know that house will soon undergo the transition back to being a home.

My house is preparing for a similar transition with a lot of work yet ahead.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

A Good Omen

Gaggle of Geese
Glen Burnie, MD
August 1, 2022

 Monday afternoon, Chris and I attended the final walkthrough at Jen and Patrick's new house in Tanyard Shores. 

It was a lot of fun to check out the house and help them identify the little things that still need to be corrected before settlement--which is scheduled for today at high noon. It was a much needed break from downsizing--which is ramping up as more and more stuff heads out to door to new homes. We are conducting an estate sale on Saturday--things should begin to be real empty around here.

Today, however, the fun begins at Jen and Patrick's as my truck provides the muscle to move belongings from one place to another. There is so much to do while concurrently Chris and I are still struggling to reduce the furnishings in our own home. 

While I was at the new house, I spied a gaggle of geese in the wild area. The area is visible from the house I take that as a good omen that there will be joy and happiness into the future. 

And so, the fun continues!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Orioles Dog

 Sadly, the Orioles managed to trade one of my favorite players yesterday, Trey Mancini. 

Makayla, Orioles Fan
Elkridge, MD
August 1, 2022
Baseball is a business, I need to remember that. The Orioles are building for next year and the future beyond that and Trey is 30 years old and that means he is coming to the twilight years of his baseball career. I am happy that he was traded to a contender--although the Astros are a bit of a pariah in baseball because of the sign stealing scandal of a few years ago in which they might have stolen a World Series away from the Dodgers. But, in good news, this may be a late-season "rental" as Trey is a Free Agent and the Orioles may resign him for next year! It would be really cool if the Astros manage to win the Series and Trey gets a ring, returns to the Orioles, and then leads the team to the playoffs or even more! Oops, I'm dreaming again. 

Nonetheless, Makayla and I remain Orioles fans. Makayla even rocked her hat yesterday! I thin she was smiling as I took the picture of her. She likes the straw hat because it protects her ears from the sun and now that she has been shaved, she needs a bit more protection. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, August 1, 2022

Monday Musings - August 1, 2022


1. Welcome to August 2022. It happened overnight and today is the first of five August Mondays. There are 22 Mondays remaining in the year. We are on the downslide. 

2. With the passing of my favorite month of the year, it is time to begin planning for the dark season while still enjoying the fading light as the next month's vernal equinox approaches.

Sunflowers in PA
North of Scranton on I-81
July 31, 2022

3. Driving to and from Central New York this weekend, I noticed the flowers at the rest areas. The summer flowers were visually stimulating and provided a brief relief from the highway stretching out in front of me with traffic consisting of a lot of trucks.

4. Sadness at the passing of Nichelle Nichols, Lt Uhura (Star Trek). She helped to change the face of television and our country.

5. The green hills of Upstate New York make driving a pleasure. Around every corner and turn there is more natural beauty to enjoy when driving during the Summer and Autumn. I do not enjoy the drive during the Winter, however. 

6. For those who live in Maryland, I have renamed Route 100 as the Maryland Racetrack. I am continually amazed at how fast some drive. I believe I have been passed by people speeding over 100 MPH on the 55 MPH road.

7. Today in History. On August 1, 1943, 177 B-24 bombers take off from an Allied base in Libya, bound for the oil-producing city Ploiești, Romania, nicknamed “Hitler’s gas station.” The daring raid, known as Operation Tidal Wave, resulted in five men being awarded the Medal of Honor—three of them posthumously—but failed to strike the fatal blow its planners had intended.

Operation Tidal Wave began ominously, with an overloaded bomber crashing shortly after takeoff and another plunging into the Adriatic Sea. 167 of the original 177 bombers made it to Ploiești, whose oil fields and refineries provided the Germans with over 8.5 million tons of oil per year. Whereas most Allied bombing in World War II was carried out from a high altitude, the bombers that raided Ploiești flew exceptionally low in order to evade the Germans’ radar. The bombers lost the element of surprise, however, when one group veered off on the wrong direction, forcing the others to break radio silence in order to direct them back on course. This unplanned adjustment also led to the bombers approaching from the south, where the Nazis had concentrated their anti-aircraft batteries.

Pelosi expected to visit Taiwan, Taiwanese and US officials say - CNN

Northern California wildfire exploded in size over the weekend - CNN

Democrats' climate and health initiative back on the table this week - CNN

First Ukraine Grain Shipment Departs Since Invasion - The Wall Street Journal

People Start Buying More Essentials at Dollar Stores - The Wall Street Journal

Europe’s Energy Crisis Threatens to Slow Green Transition - The Wall Street Journal

Inflation spurs U.S. consumers to spend more on credit cards - Reuters

As Pelosi begins Asia tour, China warns against visiting Taiwan - Reuters

U.S. considers crackdown on memory chip makers in China - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Tournament

Elm Tree Golf Course 18th Green
Cortland, NY
July 30, 2022

 The Troy Whittemore Annual Golf Tournament played on Saturday. It was held at a different golf course than in previous years, this one in Cortland, NY. The course was fun and challenging. I would like to say that the team I was on won the tournament, but in fact we worked hard to finish at par.

It was a beautiful upstate New York day. Although the temperature was in the 80s, it seemed much cooler. The course is very open and I did not lose a ball, which is rare for me. The team played well together. We did great on the par 5 holes, there were three and we birdied two and eagled one. The par 3s were tough and we made bogey on two of those and par on the other two. We actually wished there was another par 5.   

Hole 3 
Troy Whittemore Golf Tournament
July 30, 2022

Chris and I sponsored a hole and had a nice sign on the hole.

Next year the team will do better and we may even have two teams in the competition. 

—Bob Doan, Cortland, NY.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Taking a Break

 Downsizing and packing has become the primary reason for my existence, it seems. I was happy that yesterday we decided to take a break. 

Timbers at Troy
From their Website

I actually played nine holes of golf, just to see how the game would be tomorrow at the tournament. I should hold my own and contribute positively to the team.

I knew it was time to head home when torrential rains started just as I finished the 9th hole about 7:30 PM. I was considering playing a couple more holes, but the rain convinced me otherwise. 

I got drenched anyway getting my clubs into the truck and returning the cart. 

Tomorrow we are playing the Elm Tree Golf Course in Cortland, NY. I have never played the course before and it should be exciting. I usually do terrible on courses that I have never played, but it is for a good cause, the Troy Whittemore Scholarship Fund!

Today, then, is a travel day. Off for Central New York and a much needed continuing break from packing, downsizing, and house selling! Who knew retirement could be so exhausting?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Downsizing - Dog Days

 Aside from being in the middle of the dog days, today is a dog day.

Makayla in Front of the Door
Elkridge, MD
July 28, 2022

Makayla is going to the groomer. We are getting her shaved. I actually do not like to get her shaved, but hew skin has become so sensitive that it is hard to keep her brushed. She looks more like a mop right now than a Keeshond. She is also serving as our dog welcome mat. That is she lies in front of the door most of the day and doesn't even move when we pass by her.

As the downsizing continues, we realized yesterday that we have completed most of the packing prep and and are down to mostly things that we need to keep out until we depart. The Pod arrives in two weeks and that is when everything, including the items already boxed, will get loaded and ready for transfer to Florida. 

Florida seems like a dream now. I have been away so long. It has been cooler there than here. And I miss sitting on the beach for Happy Hour.

This weekend will be different. We are heading to New York for Annual Troy Whittemore Memorial Golf Tournament! At least there will be a change of scenery and I will get to play some golf, or rather the course will get to frustrate me.

And the Dog Days of Summer continue.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Orioles Magic in July

 I have to write about the Orioles because something really exciting happened last evening--the Orioles are no longer in last place in the division. The Red Sox claimed that wit their loss and the Orioles win. 

The Orioles continue to play solid baseball and are winning the close games. For instance last evening the O's came from behind with 3 runs in the 8th inning to defeat the Rays, 5-3. 

And it is a team effort with different guys leading the team every night. 

Trey Mancini
Sadly, one of the guys which has been leading the resurgence of the Orioles, Trey Mancini, is rumored to be on the trading block. He is mired in an 0-22 slump which has seen his batting average fall to .266, but his WAR is still 1.6--which is not shabby but well below his 9.7 career WAR. He is THE clubhouse leader and I believe his loss would hurt the Orioles overall. But then, I thought keeping Chris Davis was a good idea--until it wasn't.

For now, the O's are fun to watch and root for. They are actually winning games. But beware--August is at hand the and Orioles slumps begin in August as the long baseball season begins to take its toll on the players. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Downsizing - That Empty Sound

 It has begun. 

The Emptying Wine Room
Elkridge, MD
July 26, 2022

As I walked into the house yesterday I noticed the empty sound had begun in some of the rooms where the carpets and furniture have been removed or reduced. 

It is eerie and weird. 

I think maybe that the downsizing is getting serious. A bit too serious.

The empty sound is only the beginning because we still have a lot of furniture yet to remove and items to pack.

Amazon was not helpful yesterday. We needed more newsprint for wrapping and we went to Lowes in the morning to get some, but they didn't have any. So, I ordered from Amazon with a delivery time of 1-5PM. Then it changed to 2-6PM. The newsprint arrived about 8PM. Not very helpful--but the wrapping and packing will continue today. 

Another day of wash, rinse, repeat.. 

On the exciting news note, the movement into new homes begins today when Cory and Julianne settle on their new townhome. This comes a week before Patrick and Jen settle. And then hopefully, by the end of August we will settle on our home. It is definitely an exciting time with many moves coming during the next few weeks.

And the empty sound in the house will only get more noticeable.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, July 25, 2022

Monday Musings - July 25, 2022


1. The final Monday of the month of July has arrived. My favorite month of the year will soon be complete and it is all a downhill slide into darkness from here. There are 23 Mondays remaining to celebrate during 2022. 

2. Yesterday afternoon during the 3 o'clock hour it was reportedly 97 degrees. Hot! And where was I? By and in the pool which had cooled a degree overnight to 89 degrees. It actually felt very good. 

My Empty Wine Rack
Elkridge, MD
July 24, 2022

3. What is sadder than an empty wine rack? Probably nothing. I boxed up my wine collection yesterday as we cleaned closets in preparation for the move. The wine rack is on the cut line. We are unsure whether it moves to Florida or is sold.

4. The heat has been stifling. I noted, however that it was 8-10 degrees cooler in Jupiter, Florida every day of the current heat wave! Just saying.

5. We are off to the annual golf tournament for my nephew's scholarship fund this coming weekend. Due to COVID concerns, it is being played for the first time in two years. I wonder if it is cooler in Central New York?

6. What is the plan for the day? More of the same.

7. Today in History. On July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

Before giving birth to Louise, Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In November 1977, she underwent the then-experimental IVF procedure. A mature egg was removed from one of her ovaries and combined in a laboratory dish with her husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The embryo then was implanted into her uterus a few days later. Her IVF doctors, British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards, had begun their pioneering collaboration a decade earlier. 

Investors Bet Fed Will Need to Cut Rates Next Year - The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Middle Class Is Getting Squeezed in 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Challenges to Gun Laws Take Off, After High Court Ruling - The Wall Street Journal

Trump's damage to US politics is already tainting the 2024 elections - CNN

Russia and Turkey will use naval forces to escort vessels carrying Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea - CNN

Myanmar junta executes leading democracy activists - CNN

The Ukrainian nationalists standing in Russia’s way on eastern front - Reuters

Oil rises in volatile trade, Fed hike weighs - Reuters

Migrants increasingly die crossing into U.S. from Mexico - Reuters

Claim that sex ed ‘grooms’ kids jolted Nebraska politics a year before it swept nation - The Washington Post

‘The stakes could not be higher’: Kansas abortion vote set for Aug. 2 - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 24, 2022

It is all in a Saturday

 I felt the loss of the youth baseball season yesterday. I missed the usual Saturday doubleheader in the heat and had time to accomplish an assortment of tasks and projects around the homestead. 

Jen and Patrick's New Home
Glen Burnie, MD
July 23, 2022

The heat was pervasive! When Chris and I were finally able to fall into the pool about 5PM, the air temperature was 97 and the pool water was 90 degrees. I cannot remember the last time that the pool reached 90 degrees without the aid of the heater. Chris and I enjoyed the warm water which quickly evaporated from our skin making us feel cool. It was very refreshing after a day of working in the heat.

I started the day on the mower! Yup, the lawn needed mowing and I was on the tractor by 8:30 while temperatures were still in the low 80s. 

Disassembled and Empty Bar
Elkridge, MD
July 23, 2022

I transitioned from the mower to disassembling the bar. I was able to remove the top to make it easier to move. Patrick and Jen arrived somewhat later and the four of us loaded the bar and all of the stools, except one, into the truck to transition to their storage room. The bar will remain there until the 13th when the movers will install it in Patrick and Jen's new house.

After the bar was safely in the storage room, we went to their new house to check things out. Although we were not able to enter the house, we could see that it is in near-ready to move in condition. We spent time meeting a neighbor couple and hearing their tale of settlement and move-in--and they were moving in as we were talking. They were the first one to move in on there street. 

The evening was quiet and now we are preparing for a busy Sunday. We are going back through the house and beginning the final packing process. Totally emptying closets and cupboards in preparation for the arrival of the Pod in two weeks.

So much to do and so little time, it seems.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Downsizing - A Last Hurrah

George, Sue, and Chris at the Bar
Elkridge, MD
July 22, 2022

We enjoyed our Friday evening happy hour with friends last evening.

We hosted at our home and enjoyed a great evening--but it was tinged with a hard reality

Today our bar will depart and begin its journey to a new home. It is not going far and will stay in the family as it will eventually grace Patrick's new home. 

Although we have had the bar just less that four years--it has become a focal point for happy hours and parties. I enjoy sitting behind it and ensuring guests have what they need in terms of drinks and the bar is a great place for discussions. The first gathering around the bar was a party we held when I completed radiation therapy for prostate cancer! It was a great way to inaugurate the bar as well as the remodeled basement entertainment area. 

As a counterpoint, last evening was the last time the bar will host discussions in this house.  

It has been a great run! And the bar is going to a good home where it will be in the center of many more parties and meetings!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 22, 2022

Summer Heat

 Yesterday was on of the hottest days of the summer. And I worked outside most of the day. 

I started early. 

Old Caliper and Bracket in a Box
Elkridge, MD
July 21, 2022
First, I replaced the broken antenna on my Jaguar. That was harder than it needed to be because the pliers kept slipping off the slots in the nut which holds the antenna onto the car. Other than that it was easy.

Following that, it was another trip to the dump to get rid of more downsized items. And I needed to make rim in the garage to do a brake job for Chris's Highlander. 

So, in the heat of the afternoon, in a small space I was able to clear in the garage, I did brakes on the Highlander. Who knew that the core charge for old calipers is $45 each? I need to turn them in today.

It went well and now, in addition to new tires, the car has new brakes. One of the rotors got warped and I replaced the calipers, rotors, and pads. Yay me!

Hopefully that will solve the problem.

Did I mention the lawn needs mowing? That is today's project in the heat!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Downsizing - Garage Stress

 I have garage stress.

The Mess in the Garage
Elkridge, MD
July 21, 2022

I pride myself of being able to actually store vehicles in my garage out of the weather. When we went to Florida to begin the year we actually placed both vehicles that remained behind in the garage for safe storage. MY Jaguar has been displaced from the garage for the first time and has been related to the driveway.

Downsizing has repurposed my garage as a storage unit and a sorting station. There is precious little room to move. I keep tripping over my bicycle which I am not riding very much.

Yesterday, I made a run to the local landfill and recycling center with a truckload of stuff and it appears that I will be doing the same today. Last evening, Jeremy went through six containers of stuff we had been storing for him and took two away, leaving the remainder for landfill. The sorting may have paid off for him as he believes that among his baseball card collection he found one worth over $1,200. I guess I don't get to collect storage fees for the 20 years they have been in the attic. 

Yes, I have a lot of work to do, but the good news is that the attic is empty, except for holiday decorations.

I believe the end is in sight, but it is not pretty.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Downsizing Drama--Storage Media


We are under a month to go on the downsizing and subsequent relocation to Florida. There is not panic, a little consternation, but we are keeping it in check. 

The latest issues revolve around old storage media such as VHS tapes and CDs. 

Do we keep or discard?

The CDs are marked for donation, we finally decided. Actually we do not have many CD players left in the house. The best on is in my Jaguar--a six-CD changer! My truck does not even have a CD player, it is too new. 

The CDs, therefore, are not a problem--the VHS tapes are. We have a mix of tapes which contain family videos and another group which are of TV shows tapes and sent to us while we were living in Germany. As we went to check the contents of the tapes we discovered that our VHS player was not working. It may have been 15 or more years since it was actually used and someone left a tape in it which would not eject. 

What to do?

I checked Amazon--new VHS players are unreasonably expensive, but Chris had the answer: Goodwill. She picked up a very nice player for $12. 

We are working through the tapes and keeping only the ones with family vids on them. It is fun to work back through the past and see the places and people we visited. It is sad because I realized that we videoed many activities and have never actually watched the tapes, until now. 

Downsizing fun!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Early End to Summer?

Black Walnuts on the Ground
Elkridge, MD
July 17, 2022

 The Summer is progressing faster than I would like. 

I feel Summer fading into August where it will then end in September. There are signs that there summer may be ending early.

One sign is the black walnuts falling on my lawn. I was outside and heard a couple falling from the tree the other day. I was happy not to be under the tree as they hit the ground. They made a significant sound.

I think the black walnuts are falling early this year. I don't remember them falling during July. The online references indicate that the nuts fall during September and October. They make a mess when I mow as they shoot out from the blades. I keep the tractor pointed at the trees so as not to do any damage. 

Who knew that black walnuts are worth about $20 per hundred pounds? Hulled, of course. 

Maybe I should pick them up?

Nah, they are more fun to mow!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Monday Musings - July 18, 2022


1. Monday has arrived again. Today is the 3rd Monday of July. There is only 1 Monday remaining in the month and 23 in the year. Better get out there and enjoy the summer. It is slipping away quickly.

Riordin Claiming the Pillow
Elkridge, MD
July 16, 2022

2. No. This is my pillow. That is how I felt as Riordin was guarding a blue pillow on the sofa the other day. It was almost as if he was saying, "Don't even think about it."

3. There is something about cars and repairs/maintenance. I am replacing tires on two of my vehicles this week and also replacing brakes on one of them. Amazing how things get stacked up.

4. It is the middle of the summer and vacations are in full swing. I am glad that I had the opportunity to enjoy a week in Sint Maarten because the rest of the summer is going to be a lot of work as we complete the sale of the house and move to Florida.

5. Just a follow-up. I am still selling many things on Facebook Marketplace and have become adept, I believe, as recognizing scammers. It is sad that so many people are trying to get something for nothing. I have even had a scammer try to separate my from my Jaguar and have me pay them for the experience. 

6. Today in History. On July 18, 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who first took office in 1933 as America’s 32nd president, is nominated for an unprecedented third term. Roosevelt, a Democrat, would eventually be elected to a record four terms in office, the only U.S. president to serve more than two terms.

READ MORE: How FDR Served Four Terms as U.S. President 

Roosevelt was born January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, and went on to serve as a New York state senator from 1911 to 1913, assistant secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920 and governor of New York from 1929 to 1932. In 1932, he defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover to be elected president for the first time. During his first term, Roosevelt enacted his New Deal social programs, which were aimed at lifting America out of the Great Depression. In 1936, he won his second term in office by defeating Kansas governor Alf Landon in a landslide.

Europe Fears Economic Fallout if Russian Gas Outage Drags On - The Wall Street Journal

Boeing Closes In on Making New Dreamliner Deliveries - The Wall Street Journal

Ukraine military says several Russian attempts to advance in Donetsk were repelled - CNN

What's this new variant BA.5, and is it worse than Omicron? - CNN

Heat wave sets Britain on course for its hottest day on record - Reuters

Russians buying cheaper food items as incomes fall, says leading retailer - Reuters

Ghana confirms its first outbreak of highly infectious Marburg virus - Reuters

Gunman kills 3 at Indiana mall; armed bystander kills shooter, police say - The Washington Post

Beach trips can be costly to the environment. Here’s how to reduce your impact. - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Standing in Line

 The past couple days have seen me return to brick and mortar stores to do some shopping.

It has not been an enjoyable experience.

The stores, while open, seem to miss an important point about retail sales. In order to get return business, the checkout process needs to be stress free and smooth. Think about it, the stores are trading their merchandise for my money. There are many other places to spend my money and even purchase the very same items. 

Why do I have to stand in line?

My sample size is three stores over two days with, sadly, similar results. 

In all three stores I was in line for over 5 minutes and approaching 10 minutes. I was next in line in two of them, but the cashier struggled with the person checking out. My beef? There were other employees in the store, why didn't they open another register. And by the time I was able to check-out, there was a true line behind me in all three establishments. 

Stores have got to do better or the competition will win.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, July 16, 2022

On the Walk


Red Spotted Purple Butterfly
Elkridge, MD
July 15, 2022

Chris and I walk almost every morning. The principle purpose is to get Finnegan ready for the day, but the secondary purpose is to ensure that we get at least 30 minutes of continuous motion.

The route is not usually exciting, but it has its moments. 

For instance, yesterday a Red Spotted Purple butterfly was flying around a tree we walk past. I don't see many of these. When I checked the field guide, I initially confused it with a female Black Swallowtail, but as I checked closer I realized that it was not a swallowtail at all. I was lucky that the butterfly actually posed for a picture!

This route takes us past four condemned townhomes that were destroyed by fire on July 1st. They are boarded up and we have not seen must activity, yet. It is believed that a propane grill started the fire which spread to the adjoining units. It was very sad. We saw the activity as we returned home from Sint Maarten at about 1:30 AM on July 2nd. 

I guess it is all in the neighborhood.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 15, 2022

10 Straight

A 10-game winning streak has not happened for the Orioles since a 13-game streak during the 1999 campaign. 

All of the teams in the AL East are OVER .500.

American League East Standings
As of Play on July 14, 2022

That has happened before, but not very often. More importantly, despite the Yankees being the untouchable team of the season, the O's are just 1.5 games out of the Wild Card position. They actually gained a half-game last night because both Boston and Toronto lost.

The Orioles are on a road trip and head into the Trop (Tropicana Field) tonight to face the Rays.

The O's no longer are tied for the longest win streak in baseball as the Mariners played last night and extended their streak to 11 games, but so what, the O's have played themselves into contention and now begin a stretch, broken up by the All Star Game, of 10 games--7 against the Rays and 3 against the Yankees! It is time to see what this team is really made of!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Happy Bastille Day 2022!

Fort St. Louis
St. Martin
June 30, 2022

My second favorite foreign holiday has arrived and I look forward to the images of fireworks being launched in Paris tonight!

Happy Bastille Day!

And to think I was in France (well, St. Martin) just two weeks ago. I did enjoy seeing the tri-color flying on the French side of the island, all the more knowing that it is France.

Flags at Orient Bay Beach
St Martin
June 28, 2022

I do not know why I like Bastille Day so much, but the thought of a holiday associated with a prison breakout intrigues me. 

Through history, the French have either been for us or against us, but never wishy-washy about America. Of course it was their assistance at Yorktown which made the cause of the Revolution a reality as Cornwallis surrendered. 

Well, it is a French holiday and we should celebrate with them. 

Vive la France!

Oh yes, and Happy Friday Eve!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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