Saturday, May 31, 2014

What Does the Fox Say?

Although there is a popular song that purports to know the answer to the question posed in the title of this blog, from personal experience the other night I know what the fox really says. 

I saw the fox walk through my yard the other day--and it looked a lot like the one in the image. Not pretty and fluffy, but ragged and worn. That concerned my, but not alarmingly so until the other night when it returned to my neighborhood and made a terrible racket--at 3AM. 

It woke Makayla--who had to bark to let everyone in the house know that something was afoot in the yard.

Sadly, it was just an insult added to the injury.

The fox had already awakened me.

I laid there--contemplating my next action. Should I
get up and yell at the fox? 
try to sleep, despite the noise? 
ignore it and eventually it will go away?

So many questions in my mind at 3 AM.

What does the fox say?

"I'm gonna bark in your yard and wake your dog who is gonna bark at me and wake you up just so you know I'm here!"

At least that's what the fox in my yard says at 3 AM.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 30, 2014

The World Wars - History Channel

Who am I to cast aspersions on the History Channel for one of their mini-series?

OK, I'm a nobody, but I'm gonna make a judgement here.

I watched all three evenings of  The World Wars mini-series and I question the historical accuracy of the effort.

First, I liked it--it was well produced and had the glitz to connect with today's viewing public.

But, I question many of the historical "facts" presented.

Did Patton and McArthur ever really meet on the battlefield during WW1? History says they actually did meet, but Patton was shortly after during the US campaign during WW1 and the war ended while he was recovering rather than he and McArthur being the heroes that overthrew the tyranny of the Germans and single-handedly won WW1. The images of Patton riding a tank into battle like some calvary trooper almost akin to Custer were just a bit too much to be believed.

I felt the series had a distinctly US slant and was not a balanced representation of the efforts of the allies during the two wars.  I saw no mention of Field Marshal Montgomery, precious little about Eisenhower, and no mention of George Marshall.

The series indicated that the Sicily Campaign during WW2 was almost all Patton--when in fact Eisenhower had overall command and Patton was only one force moving through Sicily with British General Montgomery commanding the other.

And the historical inaccuracies go on and on. It seemed every time a four engine bomber was pictured--regardless of which side the bomber was assigned to, it was a B-17. I love the B-17, but it was not active in the European theater during 1940. 

Overall, I thought the series perpetuated the myths that have persisted for so many years. Myths like that the US forces won WW1. Likewise, it was an allied effort that won WW2--not a sole US effort as the series would suggest. They say the victors write history, but in this case the revisionist history is almost too much to bear.

Another writer also agrees with my view of the mini-series and points out more historical inaccuracies in rant against the mini-series

I was, therefore, disappointed by the historical interpretations presented by the mini-series.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dentistry--Now and Then

Yesterday, I was on the wrong side of my dentist's office and had the opportunity to experience modern dentistry. 

My dentist's office is divided: periodic cleanings and care on one side with the other dedicated to surgery and reconstruction. I realized that I prefer to be on the cleaning side and not the repair side. But, alas, yesterday was devoted to some dental surgery. 

I hate having people probing around in my mouth. Let me just get that out right up front. 

I would not go for routine cleanings and care, if I thought I could get away with it--and in fact I think I went three years without going in for cleanings. I was lucky that I didn't develop any huge problems as a result of that hiatus. But, I have been back on the twice a year schedule for a couple of years now. 

As I was sitting in the chair bantering with the dentist and the assistant yesterday, I was reminded of how far dentistry has come during my lifetime. 

I remembered one vivid, traumatic experience when I was in the dentist chair and the dentist was giving me shots to numb my mouth before filling a cavity. It hurt! A lot! I was in high school and was a football player then. I remember grabbing the dentists arm as he came at my mouth for the fifth very painful numbing shot and asking if this was really necessary. He was shocked, but affirmed that it was necessary. In reflecting, it felt like I was living the scene from the movie "Little Shop of Horrors." The dentist was playing the part of the sadist perfectly, but I was not playing the part of the masochist very well at all.

Roll forward to yesterday. No pain. I was numbed to receive the numbing shots. The surgery went without pain or discomfort. Yes, I was rigidly nervous expecting a tinge of pain--but thankfully, none came. Three hours later, the numbness was gone and so far there has not been any pain.

Yay for painless dentistry.

No, I still do not want to visit the surgery side of the dentist's office ever again. 

But, my fears have been eased a bit. I still hate shots--especially in the mouth!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rain, Pool, Air Conditioning

Yesterday was the first official 90 degree day of the year. As the weatherman said, the temperature hit 90 degrees for a few minutes and then the thunderstorms descended and the temperature dropped rapidly.

We even turned the air conditioning on to cool the upper level of the house a bit. Temperatures approaching 90 are just a bit too hot for the upper floor of the house.

Still, I was able to enjoy the pool for a few precious minutes during the afternoon before the storms arrived.

It was awesome to be in the cool-feeling pool water on a hot, summer-like day.

It was a foretaste of the fun which lies ahead.

And I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun. It will be as much fun as I can make it.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekend Memories--Memorial Weekend 2014

Chewbacca Filling in an Empty Spot for Dinner
Ugh. It is over. 

As I floated in the pool yesterday, I thought about how sad it was that the weekend had to end. It had been a fantastic weekend.

We did our big celebration party on Sunday to allow the everyone the opportunity to recoup and get ready to resume the workweek grind today. But the party on Sunday was awesome. The pool was fabulous, the food fantastic, and the fun was non-stop.
Dinner before the Smoker

Holding the party a day early allowed us to relax and enjoy the Monday holiday even a bit more. No stress, no fuss, no bother and lots of leftovers.

Sunday was all in. The ribs in the smoker, the salads, the games. Playing with the waterproof video camera in the pool.

Isn't that the way that holidays are supposed to be?

And the day after the celebration is for relaxing and contemplating the very holiday just experienced. The family gathered and it was fun and good.

Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of the summer season. Everywhere, it seems, graduations are in full swing, fortunately we do not have anyone graduating.

And so now, we begin the long slide into summer and my all too short favorite season. The pool is ready an warm--I got it up to 80 degrees. 

Let the good times roll.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Musings - May 26, 2014 Memorial Day

1. It is Memorial Day, Take a moment and remember the men and women who died while serving our country.

2. Enough wine is a little more than anyone gets.

3. Why does the fun have to end? I guess if the fun didn't end we wouldn't know we were having fun.

4. Why does Makayla, my Keeshond, need to go out three times every morning? To get another cookie, I bet.

5. Sunshine, warm temperatures, pool--just add children for fun!

6. Drive save, stay aware, be happy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Weekend

Let the summertime begin!

Armed with idyllic weather, a pool that is ready for fun, and a holiday weekend it is time to celebrate! 

The pool, although empty in this picture, will soon be full of activity and fun. The heater is on bringing the water up to an acceptable adult temperature. Kids, it seems, can have fun in the coldest water. In my view, just add propane (in the form of a heater) and transform the cold water into enjoyable Caribbean temperature water.

We have been working hard to get the house and yard ready for today. Tree stumps have been removed, sod laid because grass seed is just too slow, and pool repairs effected. There is still so much more to accomplish--but this weekend, hopefully, we will be able to overlook the "still need to do" and enjoy the "already been done."

Bring on the weekend, the baseball, the pool time, and most importantly, the fun!

May you have an enjoyable holiday weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Home from the Past

A long, long time ago and in a very different time of our lives we lived in a small house on a street in Aurora, Colorado. We were there for 18 months during the late 1980's in between Air Force assignments to Omaha, Nebraska, and San Angelo, Texas. 

I stopped by that house during my recent sojourn to Denver, yes on the same day as the incredible hailstorm. I wanted to get a picture of the house and recall some of the memories. 

I remember installing the garage door opener. I wonder if that original opener is still functioning. I watched playoff baseball with Jeremy-- including the end of the 16 inning thrilling win by the New York Mets over the Houston Astros on Chris's birthday. That threw a kink into the celebration. The afternoon game went almost 5 hours.

There was also an incident where one of the glass panels by the entry door broke due to a flying object from inside the house. We replaced both panels and it appears that they remain intact to this very day.

And then there was the ill-fated Halloween where shortly after visiting the first house, in the darkness, Chris fell and had to retire from the festivities and I was left guiding two young trick or treaters around the neighborhood while she returned to the house with the youngest goblin.

Looking out of the windows in the living room, the right side of the house as we look at it, there was a spectacular view of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and were able to watch the ever changing weather patterns. Some of the more spectacular lightening storms are still etched into my memory. We took the mountain view almost for granted and have never lived any where with so stunning a view since.

There were trips to the mountains on the weekends and visits from family. It was a busy, but short time in our lives. And it seems so long ago.

Here's to the memories, may the good times never be forgotten.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 23, 2014

Even When the Bull Wins, it Still Loses

I read an interesting article, complete with graphic images, about a bullfight in Madrid, Spain in which three matadors were gored facing the first two bulls in the annual bullfighting festival. The article titles, Bulls take down bullfighters but still lose in Spain, was published by CNN.

I am not a fan of bullfighting, but it is a tradition in some parts of the world.

I was encouraged by the beginning of the story:

Madrid (CNN) -- Chalk one up for the first two bulls at Spain's top annual bullfighting festival.

Between them, they gored or bashed three bullfighters, putting them out of action, and forcing authorities to suspend a bullfight at the San Isidro Festival in Madrid for the first time in 35 years, said a spokesman for Las Ventas bullring, who by custom is not identified.

The bad news was that by tradition the bulls must die--and they did. The good news was that there were not enough matadors to finish the six bull card for the day, "and the four bulls that didn't fight were returned to their ranches, safe and sound."

Some days it is hard to tell the winners from the losers. 

In the end, I guess the bulls won the day--4-3.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Surviving the Storm

I have survived a lot of bad storms during my life.

Thunder, snow, torrential rains, hurricanes. But I have never felt as helpless as I did yesterday while sitting in my trusty rental vehicle hiding out during the most ferocious hail storm, accompanied by tornado warnings, that I have ever experienced. 

I was not afraid, but I was concerned for my fellow drivers on the highways. 
Tracks in the hailstones leading out of the gas station

I took this video of the incessant hail storm--but itr kept falling and falling. Fortunately I was in a gas station under the awning and so my vehicle did not get pummeled too badly. 

It seemed there was no end to the storm. I was amazed at its ferocity.

OK, I'm gonna ask this question just this once: people like living here, why?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More from the eye of the storm

Yes. I took a picture of a hail stone next to a quarter. Unbelievable storm complete with tornado warning and lots of confused and dazed drivers.

- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, Co

Eye of the storm

In the aftermath of the nearly 40 minute hail storm in Denver, the roads were covered and barely passable. It was the most ferocious hail storm I have ever witnessed.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, Co

Out the Hotel Window - Denver, CO May 2014

Denver in the Distance, May 2014
Different month, different window and a vastly different view, that is what I found as I from my hotel near the Denver airport.

I saw the mountains and the skyline of the great metropolis of Denver in the distance. They were calling to me--off in the not so distance.
After the Storm

It was hazy and cloudy. A deluge occurred yesterday afternoon which left the still barren field draining water as quickly as it could and for hours after the storm. The amount of water that fell from the sky was amazing.
Morning Clouds Hide the Mountains

And this very morning, the mountains are completely hidden from view by the clouds.  

The views outside of my window for this trip were certainly different and they changed--almost by the hour.

This morning, I can still see the standing water in the field which is a reminder of yesterday's torrential storm.

I hope the weather today is better.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Denver, Colorado

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Let there be Light

Scientists, and most especially physicists, seem to harbor dreams of being God. Many seem to want to figure out how God created the universe.   

That suggestion is even how the article in the Los Angeles Times begins:

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Then a trio of physicists said, “We have a simple idea for turning that light into matter” – and they may set off a race to demonstrate an idea first proposed 80 years ago.

Actually, the idea was not first proposed 80 years ago, God did it when He created the everything that is. God went one better--He even created the light.

Sure, the idea of creating matter (and anti-matter) from light is exciting, but its been done. Understanding how it is done is very interesting, but I not sure spending millions of dollars to built the unique facility to conduct the experiment is the best use of limited funds for basic scientific research.

The article describes the next step to confirm the idea that matter can be created from light.

The experiment the physicists describe requires the construction of a new type of subatomic particle collider. But they insist this would be much less complicated than, say, building the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where physicists confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson.

In terms of bang for the buck, I'm not sure. But, it is interesting.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Musings - May 19, 2014

1. Overheard at an office gathering: Everyone brings joy to this office, some bring it when they come and others when they leave.

2. I find it amazing that the temperatures were in the 80's when I opened my pool, but they have been only in the high 60's to low 70's since.

3. The idea of "pay it forward" did not start with the movie by the same name. 

4. Heard this in church yesterday: Grace received is grace expressed.

5. It takes a lot of work to get the outside of the house ready for the summer season. I wonder if it would take that much time if there were no winter?

6. The lilacs are blooming!

7. I saw this sign, and thought it was so true.

8. Speaking of retirement, I'm thinking, Florida--but everyone knows that.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"And they're off . . . "

California Chrome Winning the Preakness
I watch two horse races per year--The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness. I usually lose interest after The Preakness because the possibility of a Triple Crown winner has ended.

Not so this year.

California Chrome has my interest and the possibility of finally crowning a Triple Crown winner rests on his broad shoulders.

The story is not just of the horse, but of the owners as well. Their story is recounted in a New York Times article. They are hard working people not part of the usual elitist horse racing owners crowd. The story of one of the owners, Carolyn Coburn, really demonstrates that these are horse lovers, not just horse owners and racers. 
Racing for the finish at the Preakness

In the article, Carolyn gives some insight as to how these owners view their horse:

“We were walking with Chrome at the Derby, bringing him out to the paddock, and Steve [one of the owners] stepped aside,” Carolyn said. “He didn’t say, ‘Make him win.’ He said, ‘Keep him safe.’ ”

I am beginning to believe California Chrome may be the horse to claim the Triple Crown. I remember when Secretariat won, it was an exciting time, he won after 25 years without a Triple Crown winner. It has been 36 years since the last Triple Crown winner (Affirmed)--and perhaps this horse of the people can write a new chapter of history. 

This year, I will be watching The Belmont Stakes--and cheering for California Chrome and his owners to claim the elusive Triple Crown.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flowers, Summer, and Sun

As the Springtime progresses, I have been enjoying the progression of flowers in my yard. From the crocus and daffodils, to the tulips and azaleas each all-to-short period has brought enjoyment to the continual progression of the season as the distance from winter increases and the expected summertime approaches.

Memorial Day is coming in just over a week and with it the unofficial beginning of the summer season. Graduations, the end of school, and vacations highlight the beginning of the season of enjoyment and sunshine.

I can almost smell the fresh ocean water crashing onto a hot, sunny beach.

I was reminded about all of this as I parked my truck next to me ornamental honeysuckle yesterday and noticed that is was in full bloom. This springtime must be very good for it because it is blooming stronger than it has in many years. 

It is a lot of fun to watch the progression of the springtime with the flowers and the leaves.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jonathan Livingston Sea Bat?

Sitting on the deck last evening watching the approaching severe storms, I noticed a couple of bats flying high above us enjoying the stiff breeze.

They were dancing on the breeze and reminded me of the sappy 1970's Neil Diamond composed score for the movie Jonathan Livingston Seagull based upon a book by Richard Bach about a renegade seagull who flies for enjoyment and strives to push the boundaries of flight while finding perfection. 

Why do I remember all of this?

The song that reminded be of the bats last evening was Be

The lyrics go as follows:


On a painted sky
Where the clouds are hung
For the poet's eye
You may find him
If you may find him
On a distant shore
By the wings of dreams
Through an open door
You may know him
If you may

As a page that aches for a word
Which speaks on a theme that is timeless
While the Sun God will make for your day
As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way

And we dance
To a whispered voice
Overheard by the soul
Undertook by the heart
And you may know it
If you may know it

While the sand
Would become the stone
Which begat the spark
Turned to living bone
Holy, holy
Sanctus, sanctus

As a page that aches for a word
Which speaks on a theme that is timeless
While the Sun God will make for your day
As a song in search of a voice that is silent
And the one God will make for your way

I don't know why three bats dancing on the winds in the sky reminded me of a sappy seagull and some questionable 70's music, but they did.

I could imagine the seagull dancing on the wind.

Along a warm and sunny beach somewhere, above where I am sitting with a cold drink in my hand.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 15, 2014

First Critter of the Year

My pool has been open for less than a week, and already the first critter visitor has graced its waters. 

Yes, as I got home yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by a small snake in the corner of the pool.

I am not one of those crazy people who believe that the only good snake is a dead snake. I like snakes philosophically, but I also do not like to pick them up with my hands. I just don't trust them.

Rescued Northern Brown Snake
This was a small snake, maybe a foot long, that apparently got excited about the warm concrete around the pool and went a bit too far and becomes trapped in the still too cold water. It was curled up on a step just at the water line. Still in the water, but also very active.

I believe it was a Northern Brown Snake, but I'm no snake expert.

How do you get a small snake out of a pool?

Encourage it to swim and then corral it with the net and evacuate it to solid ground. 

I successfully accomplished this task and hope never to see this snake in my pool again. I always worry about sticking my hand into  one of the skimmers without fully checking for critters and finding one there. 

I am expecting other critters to visit the pool soon--usually frogs. Sometimes frogs of biblical proportions.

I rescue what I can.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pools, Winter and Repairs

The Scene Last Evening before I Cleaned up
The winter was especially tough on my pool and the supporting infrastructure.

I have broken water pipes in the pool house, which means that the sink had to come out and I am digging around n the wall finding the source of the leaks. As it turned out, the soldering failed on two joints. Of course I didn't find the second one until I had the first one repaired. That is the way it always seems to go.

The second leak is tougher. I may have to do a lot of cutting and soldering to fix it.

And then I have a  bad O ring on the distributor atop my pool filter! So it is leaking liberally, at times. I am getting one on order so that I can rebuild it. It is only 21 years old, so I believe it has more than accomplished it mission. If I can get away with a little backyard rebuild, then I will be lucky.

Look in the pool image and you will notice missing tiles. They are at the bottom of the still too green water. Yup, the winter caused an excessive number of tiles to pop off--it was so cold that moisture behind the tiles expanded and caused them to pop off. End result? Big mess.

The joys of owning an aged pool. Every season is a few more hours of care to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Riordin Poses

Sometimes, when I am just fooling around I take the greatest images.

That happened last evening as we were sitting on the back deck, enjoying the evening and reflecting on the hassles of the day.

The heat of the day had not yet dissipated and I was enjoying the smells of the forest and the residual heat on the air. Riordin jumped up next to me on the deck and sat, posed, for long enough for me to snap a picture. 
Riordin Posing

And I got it, twice. Remember, this is the cat who came back after being lost for six days. We had another scare on Sunday--he was gone for three hours, until the mower started and he came running home. Note to self--start the mower when he goes missing.

He should be in commercials.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Musings - May 12, 2014

1. Mother's Day 2014 is over. I hope you remember your Mother for the rest of the year.

2. I made an interesting statement yesterday about my wife, Chris, when speaking to the family--"she is a mother to us all!"

3. Amazingly, the pool is open although not ready for swimming. The winter was not kind to it and it will need a few repairs to start the season. It looks a lot better in the picture than it is in person.

4. I went to an amazing baseball game Saturday evening--the Orioles won after a 55 minute rain delay to over come a one run deficit in the bottom of the ninth. Winning in the tenth was awesome.

5. It can be very hard to get out of bed on Monday mornings.

6. The month of May is rocketing by--the leaves are nearly full on the trees and now that the pool is open, the outdoor fun is only just beginning.

7. The Orioles almost pulled off back-to-back sweeps, but came up short yesterday.

8. Why is the door always open on my pool house? 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014 Addendum

Mom and me
Here it is--straight from the archives a photo of me and my Mom from 50 years ago.

The date reads Jul 64.

I was 8 years old almost 9.

I believe the image was taken in Danby, NY,  at the house where I grew up from 1959 until I went away to college. 

Amazing what can be found on Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Mother's Day 2014

Mom and Me
It is Mother's Day. 

While I cannot spend the day with my Mom, I have already talked with her through the magic of the telephone and wished her a great day. 

She is going to have a great day with my brother and his family--and I am happy about that, sometimes I think I monopolize her time. 

Mom always demonstrates a caring and selfless attitude. She is the driving force behind keeping our family together.

Thanks Mom for your unconditional love and support, not just for me but for the whole family. 

Enjoy your day--you've more than earned it.

Love ya!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stump Today, Gone Tomorrow

Invariably, it seems, we lose trees in the yard due to storms or disease. Last year we lost my plum trees due to disease. I was very sad about the loss--but dutifully removed the trees from the yard--except for the stumps.

The stumps were significant. Not something easily removed with hand tools.

We had tried the epsom salt idea by drilling holes and hopefully speeding the natural decay of the stump--but it wasn't fast enough.

Enter, the stump grinder.

An awesome 25hp machine designed to do one thing--replace the stun with a hole.

I have used the grinder before. I love using "heavy" equipment in my yard to make difficult projects disappear.

This experience was no different. In a very short time two significant stumps were removed and in their places were holes to be filled in with the wood and dirt removed. 

And what nice holes they are!

No more stumps!

Refill and plant grass for a nice obstruction free yard. I won't have to worry about the boys tripping over the stumps are they race through the yard anymore.

On to the next project. I think a chipper may be involved!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 9, 2014

Here Come the Hostas

My hosta garden is up and growing.

I have to check every morning to determine if the deer have discovered my small garden of paradise. 

My hostas are growing and thriving in a shadowed part of the yard. Unfortunately, the deer also know of their existence. It is only a matter of time until my hosta garden becomes a dinner plate for the small herd of deer that occupy the wild area next to my house. 

Many other plants and flowers adorning my gardens will soon also, likely, become food for the wild animals. Last year spied a woodchuck which took a liking to my gardens and that is in addition to the rabbits which also feast upon my plants.

I spent a lot of money on plants that will become wild animal fodder.

But they look good for now.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hockey--Baseball? A seasonal contradiction?

The hockey playoffs are in full swing and I am cheering widely for the Pittsburgh Penguins who are currently battling the New York Rangers on the road to the Stanley Cup. The games are close and every goal could be the winning one.

The baseball season is in full swing and the Baltimore Orioles are currently in Florida playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes in Florida. It is early in the season with just 31 games played of a 162 games season and so far the optimism I had in the team has seemed justified. They are in first place in the division and scrapping for every win.

I am watching sports of opposite seasons. The boys of winter (hockey) and the boys of summer (baseball) are playing strong. One season, hockey, is nearing its end and trying to crown the season's champion; while baseball is just getting into full swing in anticipation of the hot, sweaty days of summer. 

I was switching the channels back and forth last evening--from ice rink to grassy field and it dawned upon me how full of contradictions I am. I waited all winter for spring to come, yet now, when I should be relishing the warmer weather, which I am, I am still fascinated by a game played upon a cold and frozen surface.

Sports. It brings out the best of all seasons.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dogs, Everywhere are Dogs

Sometimes it seems that animals just appear from nowhere. That is happening with my family lately.

Mike with Anna--formerly MJR Angie
Over the weekend, Nicole, my daughter, and her family adopted a rescue greyhound. Wow. What a shocker. What a great dog. I was able to watch her racing history--five short races, and from knowing her I understand why she was not a good racing greyhound. She raced as MJR Angie. She was just happy to be on the track running. I had to laugh as she raced--she is such a gentle spirit and it comes through in her racing. The story of how she adopted, yup I wrote she adopted, my daughter's family is great. I guess people were watching the dog with Nicole and the boys.

Last evening, I met another potential addition to the extended family--a three month old great dane puppy! What a cutie--they are test driving the pup--which could top out near 200 pounds! At only three months old, he already made a loud thud on the floor when he walled. I didn't get a picture of him--but he was a beautiful dog--not yet as large as the pony he will soon become.

I'm sure we will find out how the test drive went. He is a puppy!

More to follow, I am sure. And maybe even some pictures.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cinco de Mayo 2014

The two of the biggest party days of May have passed. I survived!
Cinco de Mayo Celebration on the Counter

The first was Sunday--May 4th. The classic Star Wars holiday of May the 4th be with you!

The second, and more famous, holiday was Cinco de Mayo--which as everyone knows is my favorite foreign holiday. A good reason for a party and to celebrate the victory of the Mexicans over the French during 1861.

It is a good time to gather friends and enjoy Mexican food and drink. 

OK, maybe the drink. Where did I leave my margarita? Nowhere, I drank it!

It was great fun.  There are other celebrations during May. May 1st is an international holiday, May Day. Then there is Memorial Day coming near the end of the month. There are a two holidays associated with the end of WW2 in Europe: V-E Day on May 8th and Victory Day on May 9th.

Cinco de Mayo is over for another year--now it is on to Bastille Day!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Musings - May 5, 2014

1. Happy Cinco de Mayo, my favorite foreign holiday.

2. You realize that it is too late to rescue your glasses, which fell off, when you hear the tires of the car crunch something.

3. The best part about being a boy is pushing the limits--and the consequences are that you usually get hurt.

4. Sunny days are nice.
Flowers waiting to be planted for the season ahead

5. Green leaves are the best.

6. The pool is still not open. It has been too cold anyway.

7. Maybe the weather is getting warmer. We planted a lot of flowers this weekend.

8. I enjoyed mowing the lawn again this weekend. I must be crazy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday, Sunday, Sun

And in an incredible turn of events--the sun is shining. It is the weekend, and even better, it is Sunday!

The color of the day is? Green!

After a fantastic Saturday, punctuated by a passing shower but mostly sun and temperatures which exceeded the expected high by four degrees and cresting at 72 degrees, today is expected to be even better! Yay.

Yesterday we moved a cubic yard of mulch into one of the gardens, aided by Jeremy, and cleaned debris out the other gardens while also getting the lawn mowed.

And the leaves are almost fully on the trees restoring the privacy to my yard that I love and enjoy.

The pool is still closed--but I believe that I will begin the opening process during the week. That involves reconnecting the plumbing and the motor for the pump. 

I can feel summer at the doorstep.

On tap for today? More of the same and maybe a passing sunburn!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sun-day is Anyday

The phone rang on my desk at work yesterday, I knew who it was because my wife's cell number was prominently displayed above the keypad. 

She, I knew, was on her way to work and I wondered of there was a problem.

I would soon find out that there was, in fact, a crisis. A big crisis--a sun crisis.

She declared over the phone--"I have decided it is Sunday!" 

I replied, "great, but it is only Friday."

"No," she came back, "it's sun-day and I don't want to go to work. Do you want to play hooky?"

From the Square Grouper, Jupiter, Florida
I realized at this point, she meant that after a week of rain and gloom, the sun was shining and we needed to celebrate its return. Sadly, I was already at my appointed place of employment and while the idea of celebrating the sun and the blue skies sounded enticing, I probably could not get away from my closet-like office to celebrate the return of the sun and mild temperatures.

As I look out the window this morning, the gray, overcast skies have returned complete with scattered showers. I wish that I had declared a sun-day and taken yesterday off. I remember sitting along the banks of the river in Jupiter, Florida, last July enjoying the sun and warmth looking out towards the ocean. It was such a great time and a great scene.

I need a sun-day even if it isn't Sunday!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Doan Gang and the Death Penalty

The news from Oklahoma highlights some valid concerns about the execution policy of the United States. A botched execution and the difficulty in procuring the correct drugs to kill a person while inflicting no pain should cause us to revaluate the necessity for executions in the U.S.

But, as I was reading the comprehensive history of executions in the U.S. since 1608, I looked for, and found, the names of two of my relatives executed for guerrilla warfare in Pennsylvania. Hanged during 1788 in Pennsylvania; family history records that Benjamin Franklin himself signed the order for the execution of Levi and Abraham Doan. The document I found did not specifically state that Franklin signed the order, but suggested that he was the President of the court during the period. He had pardoned another of my relatives during 1787 after his 1784 conviction. Legend also has it that an order was signed in Bucks County, PA to shoot any Doan on sight as they were a gang of outlaws.

Interestingly, Levi and Abraham were the only two men to be executed during the Revolutionary period without a trial as reported in Embattled Bench. That, of course, raises a whole new set of questions about due process but as the Constitution did not go into effect until 1789, the protections that it and the Bill of Rights provide were not yet fully implemented.

As reported by the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, 15,732 men and women have been executed in the United States.  That seems like a lot of people to me. The state with the least number of executions in Wisconsin with 1 and the state with the most is surprisingly Virginia with 1,277.

Considering that the US and its predecessor states have been executing people since 1608, one would think that as a society we would have the process down and not be subject to the kind of failures reported in the lead story about the Oklahoma botched execution. 

Maybe we should reevaluate the need to execute people, especially if we can't get it right. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 1, 2014

And the Rains Came Down

Lonely Tulip in my Garden
It rained yesterday. All day. I know the old saying about April showers bringing May flowers, but yesterday's rain was excessive.

The streams turned into rivers. My yard became waterlogged. 

Someone said that trillions of gallons of water was falling from the sky across the eastern part of the country. I guess we won't have a water shortage this summer.

The Orioles game was rained out for the second night in a row and there will be a doubleheader today. But it is supposed to rain again this evening! Ugh!

I had a dental cleaning yesterday and I could hear the rain hitting the building and the windows over the sounds of the dental equipment being used to polish my teeth.

The roads were covered with water and to make matters worse, a road collapsed in a Baltimore neighborhood that swallowed up  a few cars. 

And still the rains came down.

At one point I asked someone where I had left my ark, and they responded did I mean parked my ark? I said, no, berthed or tied up my ark. 

By the way, what's a cubit? It is equivalent to the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. 

I have no idea what I am going to face on my morning commute--there are certainly roads and bridges washed out or unsafe. I probable should watch the news for a recap.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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