Sunday, May 31, 2015

Baseball, Mulch and Floors

It was a normal Saturday, as weekends go.
Mike Talking to the Pirates after the Game

The baseball game began promptly at 9AM under a hot sun on a field in Odenton. The GORC Pirates gathered to play a game and what a game they played. The team has been struggling offensively, much like the Orioles, but had a breakout day at the plate and in the field. The final score was 28-11, with Jackson getting some critical hits early. The game was truly won during the 6th and final inning when the 5-run scoring cap is removed. Jackson and the Pirates scored 14 times. It was pretty awesome. When the home team came up for the bottom of the inning, I was afraid that it would be a slug-fest for them as well, but the defense stiffened and allowed only one base runner before sealing the victory with the third out.

Chris and Tina Laying New Floor
Then, of course it was onto projects! The lawn needed to be mowed and two yards of mulch needed to be installed in the gardens. Of course, it was getting be the middle of the day and the hot sun shone down mercilessly as we labored. It never ceases to amaze me as to how mulch can restore a garden.

After a short visit to the pool to cool off and then a nap, we received a call from Patrick and Tina wondering if we could help them with a flooring project. And so, at about 5PM we headed off to assist in laying flooring. 

Admiring the New Floor
They had done a great job preparing the room and we hoped them bring the new floor home. After some measurements to determine the squareness of the room, we laid the first row and the fun began. 

The next few hours passed quickly and before we knew it, it was 9PM, the floor was done and we were setting down to eat! What al on day. It began on a baseball field and ended on a new floor. 

Wow! I wonder what today will bring. I believe I will be starting the day on a golf course at Timbers at Troy. But from there? Anything can happen!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Roses in the Garden

Roses in the Garden
As the flowers continue to bloom in my gardens, I am reminded of how much I enjoy the colors, scents, and sights of the late-spring as we slide into summer.

Each day as I open the door in the morning to let Makayla out, I am greeted by new scents lingering in the humid air. The warmth that greets me when I step outside is still a surprise, I remember the frigid blasts that greeted me for almost six months and I revel in the damp coolness of the morning.

It is important to notice the day. It would become too easy to get into a car in the garage, drive in air conditioned comfort to my place of employment, and then traverse the parking lot into work every day without taking notice of the beauty that greets me everywhere along the way.

Maybe that is why I am excited about golfing, because I get outside and traverse nature on the course. The course changes every time it is played because of the weather. And I notice those changes across the seasons.

Standing on the porch in the morning, hearing the birds and taking a moment to enjoy and observe the day reminds me that the world if far larger than my myopic view. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 29, 2015

Honeysuckle Smells Sweet

It is honeysuckle season in Maryland.

The sweet smell of the small but prolific flower is everywhere. I have been driving around in my convertible with the top down enjoying the constant sweet smell in the air.

It is almost intoxicating. 

And I have been enjoying the deep green foliage which has replaced the barren winter landscape.

Perhaps it is the memory of the dead and barren winter view that has me appreciating the green and fragrant landscape more this year.

But the honeysuckle is truly everywhere. Roll the window down and enjoy it because it will be gone soon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fixing the Broken Appliances

LG Washer Motor Stator
As Jeremy and I were leaving Eisenhower Golf Course on Sunday morning, I received a call from Chris announcing me that she was going shopping and that the dishwasher and washing machine had broken while I was golfing.


It was a long drive home, knowing that I was facing the challenge of either calling repair people to the tune pf about $800 or facing replacing two major appliances to the tune of about $1400. Ugh.

I was able to troubleshoot and fix the dishwasher in about 30 minutes. Fortunately, the Whirlpool Dishwasher is fairly obvious when something fans and I was abler to get the malfunctioning door switch working again.

The washing machine, however, took some intense troubleshooting and internet work. I wound up ordering a part, the motor stator, and then installing it to fix the washer--yesterday. And it worked!

Total cost of the repairs? $130

Estimated savings--$670.

It is a good week!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Agony of Defeat

I watched the Orioles lose again, in person.

Sitting in my seat in the ballpark, the problems of the Orioles are painfully obvious.

Right field!

The Orioles need a right fielder and they need to put hits together and not depend upon the homer to score runs.

It was painful to watch the right fielder last evening. It is truly right field by committee this season with the departure of our long-time and gold glove right fielder. The Orioles lost the game 4-1 last evening and I believe three of the runs can be directly attributed to right field play.

On the bright side, the Orioles threw two runners out at the plate during the game--but those came from left field, on a great relay, and the pitcher.

As I was watching the game last evening, I realized that our club, while only 2 games out of first in the AL East, is not fully energized and not playing solid baseball. The defense, with the exception of right field, is solid and the starting pitching is getting the job done. The relievers need to step up and the offense is abysmal. 

The team needs to step it up or they are going to be a disappointment.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reflections of the Memorial Day Gathering

Ready for the Day
The Memorial Day holiday is behind us now and the summer season of 2015 is underway.

High school graduations are underway and the end of another school year is in sight. The teachers I know are very excited about the end of another school year. 

Party Favorite
Yesterday was a family picnic and pool party day. At one point we had a margarita emergency and I made a fast dash to the store for more supplies--I was rewarded by seeing a bright yellow Ferrari! 

Ferrari in the Parking Lot
Lucas in the Pool
The day was a classic holiday of food, fun and games. I think the water balloon games created by Nicole Doan were a highlight--something new and fun and cool and wet all at the same time--well until I got surprised by a balloon in the face, but that is a story for another time.

The Orioles even managed a hard fought victory to bring happiness to the table. 

The youngest member of the family took a nap in a floatie in a Thor costume. He was pretty comfortable lounging in the warm water foe a few minutes enjoying some solitude after a busy day. 

And then it was back into the fracas to enjoy spending more time with the family as we celebrated being together.

Holidays are for family. I'm glad we can gather together for the day and take a timeout from the frenetic pace of life. Today it is back to work, but we have the memories of another family day to keep us going until the next time we can gather.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Musings - May 25, 2015

1. Happy Memorial Day.

Louis Napping--well almost
2. Sitting outside the morning with my coffee, I was able to hear the flapping wings of the birds racing by me in between the series of jets taking off from BWI.

3. I set a personal best on the golf course yesterday. I'm still awful. But, I am at the threshold of having a real handicap, however.

Francis' Retirement Party with Selfie Stick
4. The Orioles are happy to be out of Miami. Losing 2 of 3 games to one of the worst teams in baseball is not a good way to for AL East Division Champions to mount a defense of their title.

5. Cats are weird. Louis likes to sleep on his back. 

6. How do you keep a bunch of adults happy at a retirement party? Break out a selfie stick and let them play with it.

7. Ready, set, summer!

8. Where are you going on your summer vacation? You better have it planned.

9. Break out the pool and let the party begin!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nostalgia and The Monkees

I took a trip down memory lane, early yesterday morning as we visited Patrick's house to examine their vintage stereo system, a recent acquisition.

Patrick and Tina had asked us to bring over some vinyl records that we had in a closet to check out the stereo system. These were records--yes, really 33 and a third stereo records made of vinyl for the distant decades of the 60's and 70's. A veritable time machine.

The old console stereo was much as I remember. An AM/FM tuner and a mechanical turntable. The total programmable memory of the entire system is exactly zero!

I demonstrated to Patrick how to hang a vinyl record on the spindle and explained how the mechanical system should work--and it did! Rummaging through the box of ancient records we chose the 1972 Ithaca High School Choirs in which both Chris and I performed, and listened to the complete 17 minutes of the Song of Democracy. I am glad that high schools don't perform that music anymore--because it brought back great memories of working to memorize music and perform in front of crowds of bored parents.

The real treats in the box of vinyl records were a Jim Morrison and The Doors album and a couple of Monkees albums. It was nostalgic to see the record turning on the table with the stylus making music come alive. I made the video when a Monkees tune was turning.

It was a long was from the digital music we listen to today with storage in the cloud and tunes appearing as if by magic on demand--if we have an internet connection.

--Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Weekend 2015

They call Memorial Day Weekend the unofficial start to summer. Of course by now you know that I have already proclaimed a number of days to be the unofficial start to summer. These days include:

MLB Opening Day
Pool Opening Day
Cinco de Mayo
And any day where the temperature gets above 80 degrees.

Face it, I love summer!

For all of the excitement of Memorial Day and the weekend parked strategically at the end of May brings, the real meaning of the day is often lost in my revelry. 

I offer the following paragraph, lifted from Wikipedia, regarding Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.[1] The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May,[2] originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.[3] By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Take a moment during this weekend to remember those who have died in service to our country and to preserve our freedoms and our lifestyle. Their sacrifice is too often lost in the frenetic pace that has become our lives.

If you want to know more, I urge you to read the Memorial Day article from 2014, The Oath of the Soldier, which is a speech given on May 25, 2014. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 22, 2015

Snatching Defeat form the Jaws of Victory--but then Winning

A famous 1960's phrase about sports was the ability of a team to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Great teams could stage come-from-behind wins when the game appeared all but over. 

Steve Pearce hits Grand Slam
May 21, 2015
The tale of this season's Orioles, so far, has been just the opposite.

Yesterday's game--which saw two rain delays totaling 2 hours and 17 minutes, got off to a great start with an Orioles grand slam by Steve Pearce in the first inning. From there the Orioles proceed to spend the next 7 innings losing the lead and falling into a tie game which appeared headed for an extra innings loss.

That was the snatching defeat from the jaws of victory part.

But the Orioles persisted. 

On this day, the offense managed to create a timely run in the eighth inning and the closer successfully closed out the game for a win--but it was way too exciting and should not have required heroics to finally win the game and manufacture a much need run to gain a series win.

The Orioles are still two games below .500 ball and need to find pitching and hitting consistency along with reliable defense to begin to move ahead of the other contenders for the AL East crown.

It was a win--of that I'm happy, especially after being at the park for the uninspiring loss the night before. Hopefully, yesterday's win will inspire the team to begin playing better.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Plague Spreads

Palymra, Syria
The news from the middle east this morning is particularly grim as the forces of ISIL/ISIS have captured a second city in about a week. The New York Times reports the capture in an article titled 
ISIS Fighters Seize Control of Syrian City of Palmyra, and Ancient Ruins.
With the fall of Palmyra, Syria, the world is bracing for the destruction of antiquities which document the history of modern civilizations which have preceded us and which no longer exist. The Greeks, the Romans, the Persians to name three. 

My concern, however, is for the people who live there. The press reports that executions are common when ISIS/ISIL capture a city. And not just a few, but hundreds of people are murdered when the plague on the region sweeps through a city. 

The reports from Ramadi were especially grim after the city's capture. A CNN report contained the following description.

"On the first day that ISIS took over the city, they executed a 3-year-old girl whose father was fighting against ISIS. And he later died in battle," he [the Anbar Government Spokesman] told CNN.

ISIS has a grim track record of ruthlessly slaughtering opponents it captures.

"Anybody who supported the government will probably be executed within the next 24 hours," said Baer. "Their families will be driven out. It will be a bloodbath over the next couple of days. All the soldiers who were captured will be executed."

While I agree that the loss of historical antiquities is tragic, the murders of uncountable numbers of people is criminal and should be the lead story. We have become desensitized to the immorality of the slaughter of people in the wake of ISIS/ISIL occupations.

Let's focus upon the human costs first and worry about the antiquities secondly. 

People suffer and feel pain. Antiquities make no sound. We need to hear the cries of the innocents and the prisoners as they are brutally murdered. These are the crimes to which we should respond.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Concert

I can tell that the end of another school year is fast approaching. The lasts are beginning to out number the firsts.
Waugh Chapel Elementary Spring Concert
Ethan with Cello

Last evening, I attended the Waugh Chapel Elementary School Spring Concert. It was Ethan's evening to shine and to demonstrate how his cello prowess has improved during the course of another school year. 

Especially with stringed instruments it is easy to follow the progression from disconnected noises to music as a child learns to play. 

I attended the concert which was another well planned event at the school. Elementary schools generally have limited parking and limited seating capacity for the throngs of people who want to attend the concerts. Years ago, the band and the strings performed during the same show--a catastrophe for both seating and parking. Now they wisely separate the performances by about a half hour which allows the string parents and students to clear the seats and making lot in time for the band parents and students to arrive. It is a much more pleasant experience.

Waugh Chapel Elementary Strings performing Rustic Dance by M. Williams.

The advanced strings performed five pieces and I recorded four--suffering a equipment malfunction during the fifth, and of course that would be the one in which Ethan and his cello carried the lead for a long time. 

Waugh Chapel Elementary Strings performing Honor and Glory by S. Newbolt

Waugh Chapel Elementary Strings performing Minuet from the Royal Fireworks by G.F. Handel arranged by J. Capenegro.

Waugh Chapel Elementary Strings performing Let if Go by B. May arranged by P. Lavender.

All of them are available on my You Tube channel. 

Good job to all of the young musicians. Enjoy the show.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Massage to Driving Range

I guess I am under the influence of golf!

Yesterday I had a much needed massage after work, but took my clubs with every intention of hitting the driving range at Timbers on my way home. I'm still slicing my tee shots too much.

The massage was awesome, as usual.

To celebrate, I stopped at the driving range on my way home and I did finally hit a few straight shots--but I can't for the life of me figure out why. I can't repeat success. 

When I see the pros hit drives of 300 plus yards, my paltry 175 yard drives are very frustrating even though punctuated by an occasional 220 yard drive. I knowI have the capability to do better, I just can't figure out how.

I enjoyed playing in a golf tournament last Friday because we had a guy on the team who could hit 290 plus yard drives--it really changes the game when I have a reasonable change for a birdie or even an eagle, and the team made a few finishing the round at a respectable 2 under par--we really should have done better but got off to a slow start.

I'm a mediocre golfer and the Orioles are playing mediocre baseball. I don't like the similarity.

The Orioles were off last evening getting a much needed rest after a stretch of less than stellar baseball. They need to hit the switch from mediocrity to excellence soon.

Me? I just need to work harder.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Musings - May 18, 2015

1. The Orioles finally won a game this season when scoring less than four runs. What a weird statistic. 
Louis by the Pool

2. Cats are weird. Even though they allegedly do not like water, Louis loves to sit right on the edge of the pool.

Riordin with a Lacrosse Ball
3. Riordin, our other cat, thought playing with a lacrosse ball was fun. 

4. Warm weekends are enjoyable--so far we have been doing fairly well running on only one of our our conditioning systems because it still gets cool at night. I hope the new system gets installed this week.

5. People seem to have forgotten that the war against ISIL/ISIS continues in Iraq. The fall of the city of Ramadi highlights how tenuous the situation remains. 

6. What is the best way to keep three rambunctious boys busy for an afternoon? Just add water--in the form of a pool.

7. The verdict is in--the Boston Bomber received a recommendation for the death penalty on six of the convictions against him.

8. The trains are supposed to begin running again between Philadelphia and New York city after the accident last week.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hot, Sultry Saturday

Lilac Bush Blooms
Yesterday was one of those summer-like Saturdays that just beg for outdoors activities.

It was cool in the morning, but rapidly heats up and blossoms into one of those low 80 degree days that just make me want to be outside--and I was. The day ended on a bit of a sour note with the obligatory thunderstorms that kept me from attending the Orioles game and rather sitting at home on the back porch watching the rain and storms cross the landscape. 

The Orioles lost 6-1 and so it is a good thing I didn't go to the game to add further disappointment to a season that is mediocre at best, also far.

Window Boxes in a row
But aside from Jax's morning baseball game and Ethan's lunchtime lacrosse game--it was a day for outdoors activities, mowing and gardening. 

Our young lilac tree burst into blossom with a spectacular display of fragrant blooms. 
Window Box with Geraniums and Fuchsia

Chris spent much of the day creating the window boxes which adorn the deck and provide that much needed splash of color. The deck is one of the few areas of our house that actually gets enough sunlight to grow sun loving plants, everywhere else we must plant more shade loving and they tend to be a bit more subdued that the sun loving geraniums and petunias. 

I am still, every morning and all day, amazed by the green that surrounds me in my yard. I am so blessed to be enveloped by trees and shrubs that bring the green which also brings privacy and respite from the sounds of the region around me. It is truly a little piece of paradise.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Trains, the Other Transportation

In the aftermath of the horrific Amtrak accident in Philadelphia it has become clear to me that America is not committed to affordable public transportation and that our love affair with the internal combustion engine and the automobile governs how we think and act.

Trains are efficient. Unlike flying, I don't have to get to the station two hours in advance of a 30 minute train trip between major cities that might take two hours to drive. 

The accident in Philadelphia is highlighting how fragile our rail service remains. The entire Northeast Corridor should not be shut down for days following the accident--yet is has been. Where are the alternate rails? There apparently are too many single points of failure in the system. 

Part of the solution begins in Congress. Amtrak is underfunded! Congress need to take responsibility for moving America from roads and highways and onto the rails making this form of transportation more acceptable. 

Here is the calculus that I use. When I am planning a trip to New York City--it takes three hours by train and three hours by bus. The train is $77 and the bus is about $17. You make the choice. And than is the problem. The train should be faster for the added expense. There are faster trains, but the price doubles. The bus is cheaper than driving! The trains is about double the cost of driving--go figure.

Trains need to be competitive, fast, safe, and available! We need to change the way we think about travel to make trains a viable and important option.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 15, 2015

Driving into the Sunrise

Stoneybrook Golf Course at Dawn
Bradenton, Fl
March 22, 2015
I almost enjoy going to work during this time of year because the sun is rising across the land and I can enjoy my favorite time of the day--dawn.

I noticed the jets landing at BWI Airport yesterday as I drove to work. They were flying into the rising sun which was casting its golden hues across the scenery. 

I find going to work during this time of year to be much more preferable than traveling to work during hours of darkness.

I enjoy the sunrise, and even though I can't take a picture of it as it rises--because I am driving, I remember the scene with the long shadows chasing darkness from the landscape. 

Some of the best images are captures during the morning while the air is clean and crisp. And it has been crisp--yesterday dawn broke with the thermometer at 47 degrees. It is warmer this morning at 52 degrees. 

I remember standing on a Florida golf course at dawn on morning just two months ago--the fog was lifting from the world as the sun rose to warm the land. The scene was beautiful. There is something serene about being the first group of the day hitting out of the tee box and into a fog wondering if any of the balls will be found again. They were and the day dawned beautiful.

I enjoy every new dawn and the promise that the day ahead brings.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 14, 2015

As the Ice Cream Falls

Last evening was one of those perfect mid-week evenings. Chris and I both made it home early enough to beat the heavy traffic and head to Annapolis for a tasting at a local wine wine store followed by roaming around the city and some dinner at the Red Red Wine Bar.

One of our favorite wineries, Fess Parker, from St Olivos,  California, was conducting a tasting at the Mills Fine Wine & Spirits and that is what caused us to sojourn to Annpapolis for the second time in two weeks. 

Coming to the completion of a perfect evening, a bit cool, but nice; we decided to get an ice cream cone as the perfect topper on the evening before heading home. 

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
on the Sidewalk
We should have known that it would not end well when it took three tries to actually find an ice cream store that didn't smell bad. The first two that we tried both had off odors of heavy chemicals cleaners and it was just not conducive to selecting and then eating ice cream. 

The third store, Kilwin's,  had a nice sweet smell and seemed fine. We selected our ice cream and walked outside to enjoy the evening and stroll back to our parked car when tragedy struck.

As Chris went to enjoy the first lick of her cone, the top fell off onto the street--not ten steps outside theater. Visions of small screaming children immediately came to mind--but, being an adult Chris handled it admirably. She returned to the store for a replacement leaving me to guard the fallen ice cream so that no one accidentally stepped into the pile and potentially injured themselves. 

We tried to find a dog to clean up the mess, to no avail. A small bird happened by briefly--but was not really interested. When Chris returned with her replacement scoop, I used some napkins and removed the fallen scoop to a nearby trash can, ending the crisis.

I chuckled to myself remembering the old adage about not crying over spilled milk--and thought it was good we didn't cry over fallen ice cream.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Looking Ahead to the Summer

Here it is, the middle part of May 2015 already. Wow, it seems that just a few short days ago I was complaining about cold weather and immoderate temperatures that were destroying the excitement of the new year.
Manufactured during 1991
Expired Heat Pump

And now, the year is almost half over. Summertime is upon us and the vacation season is almost here.

We are busy, too.

As part of our summertime fun, we get to replace one of our heat pumps! Admittedly, coming in at 24 years old and being part of the original equipment of the house, it has served us very well. There just never seems to be a good time to replace a major system household system.

At least the failure of the system to provide cold air was discovered before the real heat of the summer arrived. We have a few days respite from the heat and humidity to complete the installation without extreme discomfort and panic.

Hopefully, the replacement system will be installed and functional before the Memorial Day holiday and we will then be able to cruise into summer and focus upon vacations and not worrying about the much anticipated oppressive. 

Why is it that there is always something more that needs to be done?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Back in the Win Column

It was a doubly good night for my baseball teams last evening.
9-8 victory celebration
Post Game Celebration
May 11, 2015

In an amazing display of batting prowess, the GORC Pirates, Jax's baseball team and the one that I help coach, managed to eke out a one-run victory. That was amazing given the lack of hitting that has plagued the team lately. 

I was happy because each boy on the team contributed to the win both with their bats and with solid plays in the field. And it was a come from behind victory at that, as the team was down by four runs at one point.

My other baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, also played a great game and overcame the Toronto Blue Jays to secure a victory in their first game at home with fans since before the Baltimore unrest. They also got just their second win in seven games against the Blue Jays to get back in the win column after two especially disappointing series against the the teams from the Big Apple.

Playing for the first time ever--or at least in a very long time, wearing home jerseys emblazoned with the Baltimore city name instead of the traditional Orioles, the O's showed that they are truly the pride of our region and a team with class. 

Two teams, two games, great night! Gotta love baseball!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Musings - May 11, 2015

1. The Orioles are not in a good place right now. They have lost 5 of the last 6 games. I'm glad they are leaving New York City and coming back home to Baltimore. They are at the bottom of the division, 5.5 games out of first with 133 games left to play. No panic!

2. Did you call your Mother yesterday? If you forgot, call her today.

3. Who knew golf could be so exciting. The finish of The Players Championship yesterday was riveting--down to the 6 foot putt that finally won it for Rickie Fowler.
Lucas, Jackson and Ethan
Mothers Day Family Pool Party

4. Sunday was a great day. Sitting around the pool, swimming in the pool, and being with family made the day great.

5. The pachysandra is planted!

6. The NFL really has a conundrum: what to do with Tom Brady? Not only did he fail to admit complicity in Deflate-gate, but as a pro quarterback he surely knew the balls were under inflated. 

7. Turns out that coffee may actually be good for you and an important part of a healthy diet--the unadulterated straight from the pot variety without the sweetness and additives. Bring me another cup, please.

8. Ready for the week ahead? Neither am I. When does my vacation start?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekend Recovery

Sometimes, I feel that I need a weekend to recover from the weekend.
Mary, Sue and Chris in the Wine Room
at the Engagement Party

Weekends are so busy that come Monday morning, as I am dragging myself back to work, I begin to wonder if it is more relaxing to go to work than to survive a weekend.

Yesterday was a good case study. 

6:00 AM - Depart for and play 9 holes of golf (there wasn't time for a full round)
9:40 AM - Depart for and watch a lacrosse game
1:15 PM - Depart for baseball picture day
3:00 PM - Coach a baseball game
6:00 PM - Arrive at an engagement part that started at 5:30 PM
10:00 PM - Fall into bed at the end of a full day

Chris at the party

So when did the lawn get mowed or the pachysandra planted that was donated to help cover the shaded bare spots? I was smart and mowed the lawn Friday evening! The pachysandra, however, is waiting to be installed in its new home.

There is always something more that needs to be done!

Maybe the pachysandra will be planted today. After brunch, after shopping, after spending time in the pool which I heated all night to get it up to temperature!

Happy Mother's Day--btw. I get to do the cooking, too!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 9, 2015


I have two very different cats.
Louis Asleep Outside

One sleeps. The extent of Louis' physical activity is getting up to find food or to change sleeping locations. 

He often asked to go outside to sleep in one of the lounge chairs under the deck. I'm not sure he realizes how much he sleeps--but it is a lot. The only time he comes around is in the morning to get some cookies and food. But he is pretty when he sleeps. His disposition in not all that inviting. He is a loner and does not like to be held.
Riordin on the Pool Deck

Rirordin, on the other hand, is a people cat. He is more of a dog than my dog. He is active and around. He likes to sleep, but on or with people. And he plays. He runs with reckless abandon through the house to stay in shape. 

When he goes outside he has to be watched because he figured out how to climb the fence. 

Riordin is a cat who is definitely not happy with the status quo--he wants to be part of everything and greet every person. He even enjoys some of the family dogs that come to visit.

Two cats--two different personalities, one house.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 8, 2015

First Pool Party of the Year

KJ, Chris, and Patrick
The first pool party of the year was a success. It was not a large affair, but it was huge in its impact. Patrick and Tina joined KJ, Chris and me around the pool and then the fire table for a relaxing evening to for dinner and to celebrate just being together.

Patrick and Tina regaled us with stories of their just completed bike trip from Pittsburgh to Cumberland along the Great Allegheny Passage. The images of the trip and the short movies provided by their GoPro added laughter to the evening. Who knew that a biking trip could be fraught with so many perils and humorous events? The stunning vistas imaged from the bridges along the trail and the incredible mud of the one tunnel highlighted the discussion of the evening along with the stories of sleeping in the cold and finding refuge in a hostel for one of the nights along their journey.

As the evening fell we continued to enjoy being together telling tales. Sadly, it will be a long time before we all can gather around the pool again, but the memories of laughter and fun will sustain us.

Pool season has arrived and with it, outdoor living.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Annapolis in the Evening

Annapolis Docks
Just because it was a beautiful evening, and that KJ had never visited Annapolis, we headed off to the State Capital last evening to enjoy the sights and some dinner.

We waited until after 6PM to depart and that meant the traffic was not too bad. The trip, which used to seem like a long one, has over the years become familiar. Upon arriving, we wandered through the old town area along the docks enjoying the sights and stores--most of which were closed because it was a Wednesday evening. 
May 6, 2015
KJ and Chris in Annapolis
May 6, 2015

The city was alive. The usual bustle of the midshipmen from the Naval Academy added to the ambiance of the crowds, their white uniforms glistening in the waning light of the day. 

Even though the skies were not clear blue, the evening was generally warm with a cool breeze from the water. There is something enjoyable about getting near the water and Chris and I exchanged our usual joke about wanting a boat. 
Annapolis, MD
Main Street as Sunset
Annapolis, MD

As evening turned into night the colors of the city accentuated and the taillights of the cars could be seen driving up Main Street into the cloud covered sunset. The water, the historic buildings and the cars created a scene that I had to record.

All of the walking around the city made us hungry and we decided to enjoy dinner along the docks at Pusser's Caribbean Grille. Sitting along the docks enjoying dinner at sunset--what could be better? 
Curried Scallop Sautee
Pusser's, Annapolis
My dinner was a sight to behold and equally as good to enjoy. I do appreciate dinner served with a bit of panache.

It placed the exclamation point onto the end of a long day in a most perfect manner. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Needing a Baseball Fix

May 5, 2015
Nationals Park
May, 5, 2015
Needing to get to a live baseball game, I hadn't been to one in over a month since Orioles Opening Day, I headed off to Washington last evening to a Nationals game with my nephew KJ who is visiting from Colorado. I have had to miss one and reschedule another of my Orioles season plan ticketed games. 

It was very different heading off to a baseball park to a game in which I wasn't rabbit about one of the teams. I had been to Nationals Park before--but when the Orioles were playing. This time it was different--I was cheering for the home team--and it wasn't the Orioles who were managing to lose to the Mets in New York.

Many of the fan songs are the same--I did the obligatory rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the Seventh Inning Stretch. The Seventh inning Stretch has quite a history and some believe that the idea of stretching during the middle of the seventh inning may have begun in Washington, DC, although the tradition may have already been in place and just observe by President Taft. 
The Presidents

Speaking of Presidents--I met a few last evening. Yes, I met George, Tom, Abe, and Ted. They were standing in a row when I went to find ice cream.

They were, I must say, larger than life in person. And the Geico Gecko was even there.

The game was close and exciting. The home team was behind by a run entering the bottom of the ninth inning and got two men on base with the opportunity to tie theme or take the lead--but, alas, the Nationals failed to plate a run and the game ended in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. 


Nationals Park is a great venue. The variety of food is great and the fans were nice. 

I did have a problem deciding what to wear because it is very poor style to show up at a game wearing the colors of a team that isn't playing and so I had to leave all of my Orioles team clothing and accessories home. 

The drive to the metro station at rush hour is a prime reason I don't go to more Nationals games. Also, getting home after midnight and then getting up to get ready for work at 5AM puts me in an extreme sleep depravation situation. 

All in all--great evening, good fun and if the home team had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, it would have been perfect!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

And the Games go On

View of the GORC Pirates Bench
Although the Baltimore Orioles did not play baseball last evening, the GORC Pirates took the field for their third game in five days! It is a tough and demanding schedule--no practices to work on fundamentals, just game after game. 

It has been a string of tough games. Thursday the game was shortened because of lightening, Saturday the team dropped a close 3-2 game when the opposing team scored two critical runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Last evening was a long, almost two-hour affair played in bright sunlight that resulted in a demoralizing loss by more than 10 runs. Ugh!
Me working with the Infielders 

The boys get a break and we finally get a practice on Thursday. There is so much to work on the hard part will be selecting the truly important fundamentals that need to be addressed. For instance, base running. Last evenings game saw our team victimized by a double-play on a pop-fly that could easily have been a triple play except we already had one out. In reality it should have been an infield fly rule situation. And then there was the ground ball home run! 

This is where baseball is played and skills are learned--in the trenches! I love the dust of the infield and the short outfield.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Musings - May 4, 2015

1. May the fourth be with you! Smile, it is Star Wars Day!

2. My favorite foreign holiday is tomorrow--Cinco de Mayo! It is interesting that both of my favorite foreign holidays involve the French.

3. And so summer begins! The pool is open--bring on Memorial Day. 

4. Seven of the next ten days are projected to have high temperatures above 80 degrees! Yay!

5. Responsible dog owners know to pick up the poop. I read an article about excessive dog poop on a mountain near Aspen, Colorado, where dog owners are not cleaning up after their pets. It is call Smuggler's Mountain

6. The curfew is lifted in Baltimore! That doesn't mean that life has returned to normal. 

7. As the home team in an away stadium this weekend the Orioles took two out of three from Tampa! They head to New York to relive the excitement of the 1969 World Series beginning tomorrow against the Mets. I hope Baltimore wins this time.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Surprise--The Pools is Open

The Pool is Open
This is a late day edition of my blog because I didn't get one done earlier. 

When I woke up this morning, opening the pool was not in the plan for the day. 

I did expect to play a round of golf and spend the afternoon doing projects around the house.

When I returned home after playing a good, for me, round of golf, the temperature was heading for 80 degrees and the view in the house was that today was the day to open the pool. 

Ugh! Really? But it was still before noon and there was plenty of time to get the project completed--and so we began. With incredible enthusiasm the cover was removed and the real work began.

The reward for a long hot day's work? Burgers on the grill.

The pool was actually in pretty good shape and the entire attitude in the house is that summer has actually begun!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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