Thursday, December 2, 2021

Advent Wine Calendar

 With the first day of December Chris and I began to open our Advent Wine Calendar. The countdown to Christmas will now be littered with wine bottles in addition to shopping bags and boxes.

What a great twist on a tradition. Instead of only moving a marker on a calendar or opening a small compartment containing a candy, this adult-themed Advent Calendar provides a sample of a wine for enjoyment during the holidays. 

Chris searched diligently to find the calendar during early November and she was fortunately able to secure one for our Advent enjoyment. 

We sampled the first offering last evening--a Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi. The CabSav was a light body wine with a satisfactory nose but a bit thin in terms of flavor and definitely did not last. As one of my friends would say, it allowed too much light to escape when held up for examination. 

But, the glass we enjoyed set the tone for a great evening out and a great dinner. 

Welcome to the Advent Season. I wonder what the wine will be tonight.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Endings and Beginnings


December 2021 has arrived. It happened overnight when November slipped into history and December arrived with the stroke of midnight.

And the frenzied shopping season will definitely ramp up now. 

As the dark season ramps up, we are down to 9 hours and 36 minutes of sunlight per day. There are about 11 more minutes per day to lose before the solstice and light begins to return.

And so it is interesting that as November has ended, December began, but December is in itself an ending. 

It is that circle of the calendar and the year. 

But as many know, this December is special as when the month ends I will transition from full-time employment into some form of retirement. And warmer weather in Florida at least for the Winter, and Autumn, and maybe Spring.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

No Need to Hurry

 I think the retailers just realized something--if Black Friday sales are spread over multiple days people will not spend more money, they will just spend what they had planned to spend spread across the increased shopping period. 

Hmmm. Makes sense.

It is the last day of November and the shopping season is in full swing. I spent time last evening searching for and purchasing the perfect Christmas gifts. It seems harder this season. People are not as forthcoming with lists from which to choose the perfect gift. 

Well, there are 24 more days until it all needs to be done. No need to hurry. Why should I stress myself out about supply chain problems and distribution issues. Add to that not enough employees and the new COVID variant. it should make for a great holiday!

Still--why add undue stress worrying about such things. Maybe it has all become too complicated. 

Well, I am sure it has become too complicated. 

Let's just work through it one day at a time. I am pretty sure Christmas will arrive right on schedule regardless of our individual stress level. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Musings - November 29, 2021


1. Wow. It is the last Monday of November and that means there are just 4 Mondays remaining in the year. There are 26 shopping days until Christmas.

The Family Room Decorations
Elkridge, MD
November 29, 2021
2. The house has been transformed for the Christmas season. The tree is up and the decorations have been freed from their storage boxes. The fireplace is ready for a Winter fire to warm our hearts and bodies.

3. Family NFL Update

    Dallas (7-4) lost to Raiders (6-5), 33-36

    Ravens (8-3) defeated Browns (6-6), 16-10

    Steelers (5-5-1) lost to Bengals (7-4), 10-41

    Washington (4-6) hosts Seahawks (3-7), tonight

4. The colder weather has kept me inside for much of my four-day holiday weekend. 

5. Does anyone have any idea how many Christmas/Holiday movies there are? I know there are a lot!

6. What is up with people who have their holiday shopping already completed? What happened to the joy of going to the stores during the season to find exciting gifts for our loved ones? I know that I do not do it much anymore, it is far easier to sit in front of my computer while watching a sappy holiday movie and complete my shopping.

7. Guess what? There is a new mutation of COVID-19. It is called Omicron! Isn't that great. Where did it come from? The unvaccinated people of the world.

8. Today in History. November 29, 1947. Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

How Omicron Variant Rattled the World in One Week - The Wall Street Journal

Nissan to Spend $17.6 Billion on Battery-Powered Vehicles Over Five Years - The Wall Street Journal

Iran’s Nuclear Advances Weigh on Renewed Talks - The Wall Street Journal

As China Speeds Up Nuclear Arms Race, the U.S. Wants to Talk - The New York Times

University Scientists Warn of Backlash From U.S. Hunt for Chinese Spies - The New York Times

Man Survives Flight From Guatemala to Miami in Plane’s Landing Gear - The New York Times

Taiwan says China military trying to wear it out, but it can respond - Reuters

First suspected case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Switzerland - Reuters

Earthquake hits remote northern Peru, 75 homes destroyed, no deaths reported - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Outlaws and Doctors

Photo by Patrick Doan

 My family, which came to America during 1629, has a checkered history. Yesterday my son Patrick visited the grave of a long dead Revolutionary War relative and it reopened a chapter in our family's history that we probably should forget, but it is incredibly interesting and at times confusing. 

The site of Levi Doan's resting place, along with his cousin Abraham, is just outside of a Quaker Cemetery near Doylestown, PA. They were part of the Doan Gang, a group of five brothers and one cousin who supported the British during the Revolution by spying on the American forces and stealing horses to support the Redcoats. But they were very complicated. The stories make them sound like a cross between Robin Hood and common thieves. 

The following story, from the referenced history of the gang, shows how the Doan's were more than common thieves and murderers:

A young mother whose husband was with Washington at Valley Forge could not obtain a travelling pass from the British in order to buy food for her children. Despite repeated petitions to the British leaders, the pass was not forthcoming. Spurned on by the cries of her hungry children, she finally set out for the mills along a series of back roads that would keep her from the sight of the British sentinels. The woman was so exhausted from hunger and the long journey that she was near death the following day when she endeavored to return home. Burdened by her sack of flour, she struggled along the road, periodically dragging her cargo through the woods to skirt the British guards along the way. Suddenly she was stopped by a man. She immediately assumed from previous descriptions that he was one of the Doans. She told him of her husband at Valley Forge and her hungry children and the stranger, Moses Doan, gave her his purse with all the money he had in it. He then warned her of another sentinel just ahead on the road and disappeared before she could thank him. She pressed on and was almost home when a British guard challenged her and demanded a pass. When she could not produce it, he demanded her sack of flour which the woman, weak from her journey, gave up meekly. At that moment Moses Doan appeared from the woods. She knew it was Moses by his clothing but his demeanor was quite different from the man she had met only minutes before. He shambled over to the soldier like an old man and asked that he return the woman's flour, even offering twice its value in gold. When the guard refused and then threatened to arrest Moses, he seized him by the throat and told the woman to grab her flour and run. As soon as she was safely away, Moses drew a pistol and shot the guard in the head. Instantly, the alarm went up from the guard house and along the line of pickets. Moses escaped into the woods where he found his horse and rode for the safety of the river. Before he was to finally escape he would shoot another guard and kill a British officer who was in the lead barge pursuing him across the Delaware. Having failed to capture him, the British soldiers later attributed his escape to supernatural reasons which served to further escalate the legend of Moses Doan.

Sometimes as we search for family history, we find more than really want to know. I was encouraged, however, since the Doan's who settled in Buck's County, PA, were from Israel's side of the family. My branch is from his brother Daniel who became a respected Doctor in the Barnstable, Massachusetts, area near where the family came to America. Daniel married Constance (Hopkins) Snow whose mother, Constance Hopkins, came to America aboard the Mayflower. Yes, they were both named Constance.

So wet are not all outlaws! Just a few of us!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 27, 2021

History was Validated

Axis and Allies 1942 Edition
Odenton, MD
November 26, 2021

 The annual family Axis and Allies game was conducted yesterday complete with adult beverages and Thanksgiving Day leftovers. We gathered to validate or change history with respect to the outcome of World War II.

History was validated. The Allies overcame serious coordinated Axis campaign that saw the Italians conquer Africa, the Japanese achieve naval superiority, for a while, in the Pacific, and the Germans pay a bloody price for the same real estate on multiple occasions both on the Eastern and Western Fronts. In the end the Allies economic power overcame the Axis campaign and the world was saved from authoritarian and repressive rule once again.  

There were some hard lessons learned. The Japanese Alaska Campaign was an abysmal failure. It separated the fleet and ultimately cost Japan its superiority in the Pacific while also slowing the Japanese Siberian Campaign to defeat the Soviet Union and save Germany. Leaving China to China was a good approach, but I didn't commit to it early enough. And transports, transports, transports are the key to victory along with a destroyer or two.

The highlight of the game this year was participation by all of the grandsons, at least for a while. But when the game averages one hour per round--it gets a bit long.

Our holiday would not be complete without the recreating World War II--and so, after 8 hours of play when the final surrender occurred, everyone knew that it had been a very close game and the Axis had probably come too close to winning.

We will try again next year!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Day After the Feast

e football games provided a great sidelight to the day, but being with with family was the definite highlight of Thanksgiving. 

Turkey Day was a huge success from my perspective. I enjoyed time with each member of the collected family and the meal was festive and sumptuous. I even threw a football in the yard after the meal to work off some of the calories.

I am now enjoying the second day of a four-day weekend. It is the second four-day weekend of the month, the first being over Veterans Day. 

The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday to some, but for our family today is when the annual Axis and Allies competition occurs as we attempt to preserve or change the course of World War II. The game will begin about 8:30 am and continue until the early evening. Hopefully, by the end it will become clear whether the Allies have preserved the course of history of the Axis powers have mustered enough power to change the outcome of the war. 

Day 2 of the holiday weekend is at hand and the game is almost afoot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 25, 2021

We're Back

 Sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and I am getting a great sense of We Are Back!

Tom Turkey Starts the 2021 Parade in NYC

I love the 95 on his hat--definitely sets this Tom apart from the others. This is the 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And of course my favorite float?

Grogu in the Macy's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

Look out everyone--we are defeating COVID and are coming back stronger than before!

Yay, us! U.S.!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Happy Thanksgiving - 2021

Today is a festive and uniquely American holiday. It is a time when we pause, if even for a moment, to give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. 

To celebrate the day I spent some time looking for thoughts about giving thanks and blessings and to help set the mood for the day.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

—Oprah Winfrey

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess." 

– Max Lucado

“I’m too grateful to be hateful. I am too blessed to be stressed.” 

– El DeBarge

“Let me always, count my blessings. To be thankful for my family and friends.” 

- Catherine Pulsifer

“Men are slower to recognize blessings than evils.”

― Titus Livius

“Be grateful in your own hearts. That suffices. Thanksgiving has wings, and flies to its right destination.”

—Victor Hugo

Happy Thanksgiving. I pray the day finds you well.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Gather around the fireplace

Fireplace with Turkeys
Elkridge, MD
November 23, 2021
The late-autumn cold has forced us into the house from outside around our fire pit. The presence of a warm fire in the fireplace provides a spot for Chris and I to relax, communicate and catch up on the day's activities. Last evening the fireplace was already burning and providing warmth to the room, as I arrived home. We found our chairs and talked about the activities of the day. 

I had stopped for gas on my way home and I was still cold from the experience. Although the temperature was about 41 degrees it felt much colder. Too cold. 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and with it the arrival of the Christmas season. And the darkest days of the year. The temperatures will continue to spiral downward and the first snow of the season should not be too far behind. The fireplace will take the place of cool evenings as we warm ourselves with a glass of wine and begin to think about the events yet to come in the days and months ahead. 

A warm fire, a glass of wine, and great conversation--I can't really think of a better way to spend an evening.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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