Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween and the Zombie Apocalypse

Lucas: The Piñata must Die!
Coincident with the end of October, is one of those American observances--Halloween. The History Channel has a good exposé on the origins of Halloween. 

This paragraph from the History Channel article defines the context for the holiday as it evolved in America. 

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

Ethan in Costume
Tonight is that night that the "distinctly American version of Halloween," and the harvest celebration gets into full swing with the annual Trick or Treating which brings kids to the doors of many homes and parents follow along behind to keep them safe. 

I am not a huge fan of Halloween--but, I have come to appreciate the social exchange that occurs in many neighborhoods as neighbors meet, perhaps for the only time each year, on their doorsteps and neighborhoods are drawn together. 

Nicole, the Hostess in Costume
Last evening, I attended a Halloween party which embodies the good characteristics of the observance. Family and neighborhood friends got together, not so much to observe Halloween, but as a pretext to get together and enjoy some time away from the stresses of life. 

Tonight, I will wander a neighborhood following behind the grandchildren and their friends as we visit the holes of their neighbors. Along the way we will bee up with other neighbors that we know from years past and marvel as the growth of the kids i na year. We may exchange some punch or other adult beverage, and we will enjoy the youthful enthusiasm of the evening.

That is bad, how? I think some overly moralistic and self-anointed keepers of tradition need to get over themselves.

I do have a thought! What if the Zombie Apocalypse happened on Halloween? Would we know until it was too late? I don't want to get into a discussion of Zombies--according to the definition, they are fictional characters and they are best left that way.

They are fictional, right?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 30, 2015

Autumn Light

Driving home yesterday afternoon after a quick round of golf, and before the ending of Daylight Saving Time causes these infrequent afternoon delights to end, I noticed the clouds in the sky highlighting the autumn leaves of the trees.

Plugged Ball in the Side of a Bunker
October 29, 2015
Timbers at Troy
It was an idyllic afternoon. 

I was able to play 11 holes of golf in less than two hours after working a whole day and enjoy the weather. 

I did encounter some interesting shots on the golf course which tested both my skills and patience, like the plugged ball in the side of a bunker on the par 3, 5th. I was able to get it out in two strokes and salvaged a double bogey on the hole.

It was a beautiful afternoon made even more so by the reflection of the setting sun off the clouds highlighting the golden and red leaves of the autumnal trees.

I definitely noticed the fast approaching darkness as the light began to disappear at about 5:30 PM. It was too bad that darkness was so quickly falling, because I was able to make par on both the 10th and 11th holes. This was a great way to end probably my last mid-week golf outing until Daylight Saving Time returns during March.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Another debate and another loss for the American people. 

The line of Republican hopefuls were struggling to be heard and yet, when they were heard, they all sounded the same. 

I seemed like a group of angry men and women. 

Angry that they could not control the format or the questions. And if they didn't like a question they either ignored it or complained that their question was harder.

One of the funniest moments was when a particularly contentious issue was being discussed and the candidates inquired what the rules were for allowing follow-on comments. They did not like the answer--moderator discretion. It was humorous.

The NY Times provides a summary of each candidates' performance in How They Did: A Breakdown of the Republican Debate on CNBC. Reading the article is a lot more interesting that watching the so called debate. I have to agree, the CNBC moderators did not and could not moderate the event. 

In my mind, the big losers were Jeb Bush and Rand Paul. They failed to clearly get their messages out and at times appeared petty. 

There was no big winner, but Marco Rubio was clear and focused. 

Donald Trump and Ben Carson were too busy trying not to lose that  they almost failed to make an appearance. 

The rest of the crowd were lost in the noise and confusion of the evening.

What I heard--everyone has a tax plan! Everyone has a reason for trying to sound different.--but they all are beginning to sound alike and the same. 

All I heard was more whining and less substance.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For All the Pigs in Iowa

I read a fascinating fact in the Washington Post yesterday. According to Senator Grassley, the senior U.S. Senator from Iowa, "one out of every three pigs in the U.S. lives in Iowa!" Yes, the story was about lifting the pork ban in Federal Prisons, but the factoid was interesting nonetheless.

Is it just a weird coincidence that the Presidential Olympics is currently playing out in Iowa in advance of the caucasus? Most of the candidates are spending time in Iowa and, perhaps, the will of the hog farmers is being heard in the reversal of the Federal Prison ban on pork and pork products?

Pork on a plate
I'm not sure what to do with this information. I am not sure I can even figure out why is it significant?

I wonder if the recently forged budget deal has anything to do with Iowa and the hog farmers?

Just saying.

Well, if the government is funded through September 2017 and we don't have to worry about shutdowns and furloughs, is that a bad thing?

And maybe is it all because one in three U.S. pigs live in Iowa?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Return of the Dark Season

Many people have noticed that I hesitate to call the season that officially begins during December, in the Northern Hemisphere, by its given name. I actually have a reason. By calling it the Dark Season, I can more closely align the actual season when Daylight Saving Time ends with the calendar. 

This year on Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends and the Dark Season begins. That is the coming Sunday. By the way, did you notice that Daylight Saving Time is singular and not plural?

During the dark season, all hope of getting out of work on time and getting in a few holes of golf evaporates. One week from today, the sun will set in Elkridge, MD, at 5:04 PM and it will be dark by 5:32 PM--effectively ending outside activities.

Preparations for the dark season are in full gear! There are grasses to cut around the pool area and windows to replace. There are leaves to be raked and lawns to be prepped for the coming season. The loss of the evenings means that I will be spending more time inside--wishing that I was outside.

And with the darkness, the cold arrives! 

With the loss of thermal warming from our good friend Sol, the temperatures drop and the warm rains of summer turn into the frigid blizzards of December!

Face it--the dark season is not my favorite.

Last evening I was outside at 6 PM, in daylight, hitting golf balls into my net. Next week, I won't even be able to see my net at that time.

The dark is coming!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Musings - October 26, 2015

New Entrance Light
1. I was beginning the process of installing a new light yesterday when Chris noticed it was dark in the room and turned on the light. Unfortunately she turned on the light that I was removing! I wonder if she had more nefarious motives?

2. Here is a question, why do NFL teams needing for a first down on a 4th and 8 yards to go throw a 5 yard pass and think that is somehow going to be successful?

3. The World Series is finally beginning. It is the Royals against the Mets. I am cheering for the Mets since the Royals eliminated the Orioles last year.

4. The weather this past week was mild and enjoyable. The leaves are falling off the trees in droves. I cleared them from my lawn on Wednesday and it looked as if I had done nothing by Thursday evening.

Statement on the Side of a Case of Wine
5. At a friends house for dinner the other evening, I noticed an interesting phrase printed on the side of a case of wine. It read, "Caution: You're about to have a lot more friends." 

6. I was reading an advertisement from the New York Times and was amazed to discover that modern homes burn faster, much faster, than older homes. That just doesn't make sense to me.

7. I have never caught a baseball while sitting in a stadium. Apparently, there is a science to catching baseballs in the stands as detailed in the article How to Catch a Baseball in the Stands. Who knew?

8. I was amazed at how much work I was able to get done around the house by just staying home and working yesterday. What a concept! My biggest projects of the season is still out there: cutting the grasses around the pool and replacing two more basement windows. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Spectacular Saturday

It was a busy and enjoyable Saturday that started early and finished late.

I am amazed how many things we can cram into a day that, while related, require travel and preparation.

GORC 80 Lb. Wildcats
October 24, 2015
First up was the last regular season game for the GORC Wildcats 80lb. football team! Go Cats. Unfortunately Jax's team suffered a crushing defeat at the early morning game. It was cold on the field as the sun was rising over the trees in Crofton, MD, and that did not help the play of the Wildcats.

Look at how long the shadows are in the image. Yes, it was that early, especially considering that the sun went behind the clouds for the rest of the day about 9:30 AM. Did I mention cold? It was pretty cold, too!

Jeremy Walking to the Green
Eisenhower Golf Course
October 24, 2015
From the gridiron to the golf course was the next part of my day! Yes, somehow I tried to squeeze in 18 holes of golf. I wasn't entirely successful because the groups in front of us were playing slow and I had to leave after 4 hours and 10 minutes and 15 holes for my evening dinner engagement.  Jeremy and I were teamed up against the Haslup brothers and although we were tied at the turn, the match got away from us and we were too many holes behind when Jeremy and I had to leave. We will get them, next time!

It was a beautiful autumn day, a bit overcast, as the image shows, but a nice day for a round of golf. I wish we could have played better, but it was good to get out and play. The course was in good shape and made for great competition.

After dinner in Baltimore
The evening included a dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Baltimore. The Syracuse phenomenal restaurant has made it to Baltimore! And it was great barbecue. We were out with Jeremy and Nicole to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary! hat an awesome evening in Baltimore enjoying great company. 

What a busy day. But what great memories. 

I wonder what is in store for today?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cancer Awareness of the Month

October is breast cancer awareness month. Sadly, though, I wonder if other cancers are forgotten about and under researched as a result of the explosion of awareness for this one aggressive form of cancer?

I have been seeing sports teams wearing pink all month and while I appreciate the emphasis, I would prefer to see other cancer colors represented more widely.

My awareness to other forms of cancer was increased when I was talking with a neighbor who just had a radical surgery as part of their battle against this insidious invader.

Orchid for Testicular Cancer Awareness
As it turns out, breast cancer is not unique by having an awareness month. Almost every month is designated for awareness of other specific cancers. 

Who Knew?

April, for instance, is testicular cancer awareness month and orchid is its color. Most people don't know that.

Emerald for Liver Cancer Awareness
October we know is for breast cancer and its color is pink, but did you know that October is also liver cancer awareness month and its color is emerald?

Check out the full list here!

Cancer sucks! I just want to be sure that all forms of cancer are receiving the research necessary to defeat them.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bad-Boy or the Socialist?


Sometimes they tell me what I need to know in a brutally truthful manner. 

I have been watching the Presidential Olympics and am concerned that the final two frontrunners may require a choice between a "bad-boy" businessman who is making it a campaign issue to be politically incorrect or a self-admitted and labeled democratic socialist!

Wow! I'm feeling on the outside of the inner workings of the political system. 

Does Trump ever smile?

Is there no joy?

I am surely hoping that there is a moderate hidden in there somewhere. Someone other than the current front runners.  

I do not think we need bigger government to solve our problems. I think that is what has caused many of our problems, people are looking for the federal government to resolve issue that should be handled at the state or local level. That means bigger government and higher taxes. All of the candidates seem to be trying to impose their personal view of the world upon everyone living in the U.S.

The bad-boy or the socialist? Surely there has to be another option!

Why yes, it appears there is--a former Secretary of State and First Lady who is, in my mind, a flawed choice. She never smiles either.

And then there is the world renown doctor who has some isolationist ideas and has made a few politically incorrect statements of his own while trying, apparently, to be more "Trump-like."

There are a couple of former governors who are rapidly falling off the pace because their messages are fuzzy. 

Fortunately, the is still a year until the election and we will be able to watch the candidates under the microscopic inspection of the news media.

Maybe something good can still happen for the country.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Supersonic Week

I cannot believe how quickly the week is rocketing by. It seems like just yesterday I was driving home from a relaxing and enjoyable weekend of wine tasting in the Finger Lakes region.

Every day and evening the week has been chocked full of activity. And today is Thursday, already.

Where is the week careening off to?

Who is in charge?

I remember a saying from years ago: "stop the world I want to get off." It seems appropriate.

This morning I am charging off to play racquetball, leaving just enough time to get to work and then as soon as I get home Chris and I have another full evening planned.  At least we did get to enjoy a glass of wine around the fire pit last evening.

The daily recipe seems to be constant activity, sleep, repeat.

I see Sunday on the horizon! Maybe a change is coming!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Return of Star Wars

Yes, I stayed up a late Monday night to watch the new Star Wars trailer. The trailer has over 25 million views, as of this morning, on You Tube.

No, I haven't purchased my opening day tickets, yet.

I can see, by the article in the New York Times this morning titled 
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Is a Hit at the Presale Box Office that I am one of millions of fans of the Star Wars series and that the upcoming release os on track to become the biggest opening movie of all time and possibly ever, well at least until the next movie in the series is released. 

The movie is slated for a December 18th release and it may well provide a much needed temporary distraction from a governmental shutdown of galactic proportions. 

The inaugural Star Wars film was released on May 25, 1977, and it was an unheralded film in advance of its release. But once audiences grasped the magnitude of the struggle between good and evil as brought to life by the "Force" and the realistic nature of the characters an "empire," so to speak, was created. In an unusual twist, at its release the original Star Wars film was simply titled, Star Wars. Subsequently, as the juggernaut grew, it was renamed Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope!

Yes, I am excited. It has been 38 years since I walked into a movie theater in Denver, Colorado, yes I remember where I first saw the movie, to view Star Wars. I remember I missed the opening sequence because the popcorn line was incredibly long. I had no idea that evening that my entire family, including children and grandchildren, would be caught up in the Force and the magical story that is Star Wars.

May the Force be with you!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

William Seward House, Auburn, NY

Statue in the Garden of Seward House
Auburn, NY
During a lull from sampling Finger Lakes region wines, we headed to Auburn, NY, to visit the Seward House

Seward, as in William H. Seward, is a name most often associated with the purchase of Alaska from the Russians, but as an able and apt Secretary of State for President's Lincoln and Johnson, he represents so much more.

The house appears frozen in time. The furnishings are nearly complete and the staff of the house were knowledgeable. The one-hour tour went more than an hour and a half, mostly due to my questions and push for more depth and detail in the stories and anecdotes. 

It is one of the few museums where pictures are allowed and encouraged. Turns out that I didn't take many images because I was fascinated with looking at everything in the house. The homestead was converted to a museum before everything could be sold off and therefore everything has a story. The current exhibit regarding the assassination of Lincoln along with the attempted assassination of Seward is excellent and helps to historically align Seward's life and times.

I highly recommend a visit to the Seward house for a fun afternoon of history and connecting the pieces of history together.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Musings - October 19, 2015

Snow on the pines along Route 15 in PA
October 18, 2015
1. Snow! For real! I experienced snow in Central NY and Pennsylvania yesterday. Ugh. Winter is too close.

2. The Ravens effectively ended their season with a loss yesterday. A 1-5 record is going to be almost impossible to overcome, unless they decide to go on an 10 game winning streak.

October Fire in the Fireplace
3. One of the joys of a weekend away is discovering new things that were there all along.

4. I didn't play golf this weekend, but I saw a lot of empty golf courses in Upstate NY.

5. The results of my weekend confirmed that New York vineyards continue to improve and develop their wines. The whites are among the best in the country for Rieslings and there are other varietals coming close behind.

Boat Lift in the Early Morning Light
6. Sometimes I run across scenes that are just beautiful. I'm glad that I always have a camera to capture them.

7. Impatient and aggressive drivers are a distinct problem on the highways.

8. Why are some people so willing to give away civil rights that they personally don't appreciate?

9. I have discovered a new style of leadership--leadership by confusion.

10. Transparency is something that we at the same time desire and despise. We want others to be transparent while we work to conceal our own lives and interests.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Along the Lake

Sunrise Seneca Lake
October 18, 2015
Spending four too short days in a cabin on a lakeshore provided me with the opportunity to watch the changes as the world wakes and how it affects the beauty of the world that I am watching.

This morning, for instance, I am watching the sunrise behind the hills as the world wakes. The colors are building as the dawn creeps closer and I can see autos driving along the roads across the lake from me.

Sunrise Seneca Lake
October 16, 2015
It is quiet, more quiet than I am used to back home. And it is cold this morning, 31 degrees here, but I am sure it is much colder up the hills away from the stabilizing microclimate that the lake provides. There is a frost! The leaves are turning to greet the rushing end of autumn.

Soon the trees will be naked and stark in preparation for the harvest celebrations and the winter ahead.

Geese over Seneca Lake
October 17, 2015
But just yesterday, I stood on the dock and watched a flock of geese fly overhead. Their squeaking and honking filled my heart with excitement as they gathered together in flight and headed off to find food in preparation for their trek south for the winter.

The lake was calm and the sky clear blue as I stood there. I wished, as I always do, that I could experience flight the way that they do. Together in a flock working together against the elements not even aware of the laws of flight working to keep them in the air. They are just free and flying.

I admit, I have seen the lake slate gray and cold as well, although I did not take an image of it. It was a foreboding sight.

I have appreciated this long weekend because I have reconnected with the scenic beauty of upstate New York and enjoyed one last visit before the harshness of the dark season begins. 

-- Bob Doan, writing from Dundee, NY

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Pause to See the Beauty

Watkins Glen
I can joke about the gorges of Ithaca and Watkins Glen principally because I grew up here and only recently realized how special they are. I remember the saying "Ithaca is gorges." It is of course a play on words--but true nonetheless.

Last year, I was amazed at the waterfalls along the Columbia River in Oregon. I remember their magnificence and beauty. But right here, in my old backyard are also some of those same wonders of the world.

Watkins Glen up the Trail
Yesterday, I was privileged to visit two of those spectacular creations of nature: Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls

Have I been there before? You bet. Did I remember the magnificence of the water rushing over the falls? No.

I admit, I am pretty focused on wine tasting and gathering material for my wine blog, but it is good to take some time to appreciate the natural beauty around me. Especially during the autumn when the colorful leaves about and provide a once-per-year view of the world.

Hiking just a short way into the Glen (as in Watkins Glen) took me into a place that I rarely visit anymore in the deep woods of a rushing New York stream and the life around it.

Taughannock Falls form the Overlook
October 16, 2015
Similarly, as the group I am traveling with visited Taughannock Falls, I remembered not only standing in the very spot on other occasions in my life, but also hiking the trail in the gorge below to the falls. 

Taughannock Falls framed in Autumn
Framed in the autumnal foliage  I am sure that I had forgotten the beauty and the power of the place. 

A stunning reminder of the beauty that resides just around the corner, if only I take a moment to pause and consider it.

Something to consider. 

Pausing on the path of life to enjoy the scenery.

-- Bob Doan, writing form Dundee, NY

Friday, October 16, 2015

Waking up on Seneca Lake

Route 15 in Pennsylvania
October 15, 2015
I am enjoying the second day of a weekend get away to upstate New York with friends to enjoy wine and the scenery as the autumn slips away into the dark period.

Yesterday was mostly a travel day, but we did manage to visit three Finger Lakes wineries to sample some of the wares and found some very nice wines. The weather was idyllic--a crisp and clear autumn day, for the trip. It was a beautiful day for travel.

View of Seneca Lake from Route 14
October 15, 2015
Of course part of the trip encompasses research for my wine blog, the time with friends and enjoying the scenic beauty of the region is  an equally good reason for a few days away. I admit, left to my own devices I would probably visit as many wineries as possible and miss the gorges and beauty of the region. I am told that balance is what is important.

Chris on the Dock of the Beach House
As day two dawns along the shores of Seneca Lake, the clouds are a bit thick and the high temperature is expected to be in the low 50s for the day. We will be heading off to Cayuga Lake to visit a few wineries there as well as visit some of the natural wonders.

For now, I am enjoying the scene of the lake outside the windows of the beach house as the dawn breaks. There is a fox checking out the the beach hoping for a duck for breakfast. 

I hope he finds something other than duck.

And the day is upon me.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Dundee, NY

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It Could Happen . . .

Although the line, "It could happen" was from a movie titled Angels in the Outfield, it seems that another movie, Back to the Future II is having a greater impact on predicting the outcome the current MLB playoffs. 

In Back to the Future II, the main character travels into the future to the year 2015 where the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. 

Sounds crazy, except that the Cubs are playing in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) right now and the winner gets a spot in the World Series. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. The last time they played in a World Series was 1945.

I guess, therefore, I am cheering on the Cubbies! Especially since the Orioles didn't make the grade this year.

It is time for the Cubs to win again. They are the ultimate underdog!

Let's go Cubs!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tuesday Night Lights

I had a rare opportunity to enjoy youth football under the lights last evening as the GORC Wildcats played a make-up night game. 

GORC Wildcats
80 lb Central Team
October 13, 2015
The 80-pound Central team, with Jackson playing both ways, offense, defense, and on the kick-off team made their under the lights debut at 7:45 PM on a beautiful October evening in front of tens of adoring fans, mostly parents hoping to get them home to bed before it got too late. 

That, sadly, was not to be the case as the game which started early went into double overtime before the conclusion. Who even know that there was overtime in youth football? What happened to the days of ending in a tie and having to live with the realization that the other team was just as good, on this night! I remember my high school football days and the only non-win during my entire high school career, was a 6-6 tie (my high school football team went 36-0-1 for my four years). Of all of our high school games, that is the one game I definitely remember.

But, the game did not play out that way. GORC took a 12-6 lead at the half after falling behind 0-6, and then played a sloppy second half where the offense was totally inept and the defense, although giving up a lone score, saved the day by stopping the other team twice inside of the red zone. 

Their red zone defensive prowess would serve the team well as the game went into overtime. Overtime is a college-like possession affair. Each team gets alternating possession of the ball from the 10 yard-line. The defense shone for the Wildcats. They stopped the visitors on the first possession, but they, likewise were stymied on their attempt to get into the end zone. Alternating for the second possession, the Wildcats scored on their second play and turned the game over to the defense to preserve. The visitors came up inches (and I mean inches) short on 4th down and GORC won 18-12.

And the time was 9:15 PM, well after most of the players' bedtime. At least the coach gave them today off from practice to recover.

But it was a badly needed and hard fought win! 

Tuesday night under the lights.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

When the Majority thinks they are the Minority

Last week, I read an article about human networking, people and voting. The article titled, A quick puzzle to tell whether you know what people are thinking, was published in the Washington Post on October 9, 2015.

The puzzle that introduces the article is interesting and innocuously complex. The details behind the analysis are even more complex, but they apparently show how a minority can affect the voting of a majority because the majority thinks they are in the minority. It phenomenon even has a name, the "majority illusion," as it is called by network researcher Kristina Lerman

One paragraph from the article I thought summarized the underlying science behind majority illusions. "A person with a large audience spreads his or her opinions much more widely than the average person does. By definition, he or she has many more connections, which means more people are on the receiving end of the opinion. This gives a celebrity’s opinion outsize influence, affecting the local perspectives of many."

A very interesting concept which I believe we have seen occur during elections in this country. I think it also explains why so many organizations intent on changing public opinion use well known celebrities as spokespersons.

The article suggests that understanding the majority illusion has implications understanding important social issues like fighting HIV in Africa, understanding the role of the mass media, and fighting alcohol abuse on college campuses. 

Food for though on a Tuesday morning.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Musings - October 12, 2015

1. Happy Columbus Day! Really?

Renditions Golf Course
Davidsonville, MD
2. I have played two rounds (36 holes) of golf during the past two days, instead of getting better, I got worse! Golf can be frustrating.

3. Sundays during this time of year are reserved for birthdays! We celebrated two more yesterday.

Jeremy Finishing a Drive in the Morning Light
Renditions Golf Course
Davidsonville, MD
4. Watching the day dawn from a golf course is an incredible experience. 

5. I realized the other day that the idea of a republican party is just that, in reality the republican party if many smaller factions who are trying to think big.

A Near Perfect Cheesecake
6. I made a cheesecake for Chris' birthday celebration! No cracks! Yay!

7. Did you ever wonder--when someone says they will pray for you if they really do?

8. Football season is off to a rather poor start. The Ravens are 1-4.

9. Federal holidays are great because there is no mail delivery.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Football from the Sidelines

Jax Taking a Knee at Halftime
Being a typical October Saturday, I spend part of my day on the sidelines at the GORC Wildcats football game. 

Sadly the homecoming game turned into a 13-6 loss with some critical late penalties and confusion in the lines, but the game was fun not watch and Jax made some great plays and moves. 

What I noticed, however, was that the hardest working people on the team sideline was not the players or the coaches. It was the team Moms. The Moms are responsible for almost everything, except play calling. They soothe hurts and injuries, they ensure the players remain well hydrated. They are the busiest people on the sidelines. 

Nicole Racing to the Sidelines
Nicole is one of the team moms paired with Shannon. I thought the image I took of her racing back to the sidelines after a timeout on the field late during the game says it all. She is running and the players are, well, standing around!

Ethan with a Snow cone Tongue
Way to go team mom!

And very color coordinated, too!

And why is she running? She gets to get back to the sidelines to face Ethan who was busy sampling every kind of snow cone available!

It was a beautiful autumn day for a game and some memories.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Autumn Color

Autumn Arriving in
Ellicott City, MD
I noticed it for the first time last evening. A storm was brewing behind the trees and I noticed that they were beginning to show golden color rather than the cool green of summer.

The growing storm behind the trees was especially dark and helped to highlight the autumn colors.

Today is going to a classic autumn day with temperatures in the low 60's and sunshine to help highlight the changing leaves across the countryside. 

I would be happy to have them stay green, but I see the color beginning to arrive in the trees surrounding my yard. I know that the dark season is rapidly approaching and with it the cold, rain, snow, and generally foul weather.

But first, at least, I will enjoy the changing leaves as I bid good-bye to the last vestiges of the summer past.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 9, 2015

Unplanned Day Off

I had an unplanned day off yesterday!

Wow! What a gift! I was able to catch up on a multitude of small projects around the house, including having the driveway people return to examine the situation.

It is really incredible how many small things need to be accomplished.

Decorated Fireplace
It was a beautiful day and I was thankfully able to enjoy that as well instead of being stuck in the closet which is my office--truly a small room without windows.

One of the different things I accomplished was to measure the fireplace so that it can be converted to propane. That was more difficult that i thought and I wound up with quite a drawing and a series of measurements. I only hope I got the right ones!

I was even able to play a round of golf! And I was part of the last group off the course as night fell. I could almost see my ball to make the putt on the 18th hole--but I got it in. That was the exclamation point on a nearly perfect day.

Back to life today, but the memory of yesterday lingers.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Driveway Woes

Good Looking Driveway

The process of rehabilitating my driveway has taken a detour.

You may remember that we had the potholes fixed a few weeks ago, and that process came out great. It is really nice not to have our drive look like a beat-up back road in some rural county.
Rough Area
Still Wet

But then we went one step further--we decided to have the driveway sealed to help stem the deterioration and restore it.

Cue the rains!

Another Rough Area

The sealing was supposed to happen last week, but a week of rains intervened and delayed the process. The rains, it seemed, soaked into the ground and have delayed the sealant from properly drying in some places. This means--no driving on the driveway, going on to four days now.

For the three homes that share the drive, this means that 7 vehicles are displaced! Aside from having to walk the length of the drive, the cul de sac is jam packed with vehicles.

Hopefully the drive will be functioning soon--before the rains tomorrow night. 

I hope we didn't break something that didn't need to be fixed.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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