Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dog Days

Makayla Ready to Travel
I know that it is not the summertime when I look forward to the Dog Days, but even as the winter approaches and the total amount of sunlight drops towards its solstice low of 9 hours and 24 minutes, some days are devoted to dogs.

Today, for instance, Makayla has a check-up and dental appointment. She gets her teeth cleaned once per year.  It is funny that I, too, have an appointment this afternoon for a dental cleaning. 

So this morning I will drop her off at the vet and pick her up this afternoon. She hates being dropped off. She exhibits real signs of separation anxiety.

But I know she will be fine and that when the afternoon arrives and I can pick her up, she will be very ready to see me.

And her breath will smell good, too.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Where to Spend it All

My email inbox has become crammed with ads and offers. I cannot believe the rate at which new opportunities to make purchases are thrust at me. 

I can scarcely keep up with the influx and I am beginning to miss some of the more important items that I usually read.

I am drowning in junk mail seeking to have me purchase all sorts of needless item during this season.

And the sales: 30% off! How can I possibly resist? 

If I bought every exciting offer, I would soon be out of money.

How did so many retailers get my email address? 

In retrospect, I don't know which is a worse blight, the political ads of the now completed election season, or the seasonal advertisements clogging my inbox?

I am becoming very adept at using my delete key!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Musings - November 28, 2016

1. Today is the last Monday in November 2016. Next week on Monday we will be five days into December with the end of 2016 knocking at the door.

2. I wonder where Cuba will find itself in the post-Fidel Castro era?

3. According to a new study, my dog is a lot smarter than I give her credit for. And I just wish she would remember to stick around when I am working around the house.
Leaves Blown into My Yard

4. There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect. -- Ronald Reagan, 1985.

5. The wind storms of the past week filled my yard up with leaves. They are gone now, but it was the third time that I had removed the leaves from the yard.

6. And writing of leaves, I think they look a lot better on the trees than in my yard.

7. My washing machine is not working, again. Patrick and I determined the cause and the machine is about to receive its last repair before it will be replaced.

8. Is it possible to survive Cyber-Monday? I made it through small Business Saturday and Black Friday. 

9. I wonder what new electronics I desire?

10. Chris and I are already beginning to plan our summer vacation. We just don't know to where.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Decorations Abounding

2016 Edition of the Doan Christmas Tree
The turkeys are safely stored until next November. It was a sad repacking them as I really enjoy looking at them. They make me smile.

Christmas is arriving in the form of decorations. 

Riordin Helping Decorate
Chris and I spent yesterday, except for two emergency trips to Lowe's, decorating. And, sadly, we still are not finished. 

We made some mulled wine from a kit that we had purchased a couple of years ago and enjoyed decorating our way through the day. It definitely helped as we overcome the obstacles to completing our task.

Fortunately, we decided to erect only one tree this year. Why, fortunately? Well, it turns out that half of the lights on the pre-lit tree are burned out. I'm not sure it is repairable. So we went to the tree which requires string lights only to discover that we had reallocated the white lights formerly used on that tree for another decorating project. It is always something. So we bought new lights and found that one set was defective and that we needed five strands, not the four we had purchased. Back to Lowe's. 

Louis and Rirodin Under the Tree
Along the way we had some additional help from Riordin. He loved checking our the decorations and the boxes. We always have to ensure that he is not trapped in one of them before we put them away.

As soon as everything was cleaned up, both cats decided to claim the space under the tree. It really isn't complete yet because my Polar Express train isn't set up. We were just too tired from almost 10 hours of decorating to deal with some of the smaller details. 

So the house is nearly ready for the next holiday. This is the third monthly transformation, the first is Halloween at the beginning of October, the second is Thanksgiving and the season of the turkey at the beginning of November, and the third is Christmas which is the first weekend after Thanksgiving!

Of course, remember, I began the Christmas decorations on Veteran's Day and then did the Snow Village last weekend. 

Well, we are ready for the sprint to the New Year!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Axis & Allies 2016

Axis & Allies Being Played
The family tradition was revived again yesterday. While the women of the family braved the crowds of the Black Friday shopping melee, the guys gathered around a dining room table and replayed World War II using one of the versions of the game Axis & Allies. 

There are a different versions of the game and we own and have played most of them. Black Friday is our once per year "guy day" spent trying to recreate history. 

This year we had a new player which was exciting because it reminded all of us how complex the game was the first time we played. Although we played for 8 hours, the game was called a draw because evening activities were about to begin. I fully believe that the Allies would be the eventual winners.

It is a Black Friday tradition! It brings the guys in the family together while the women face the crowds and the stores. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

Today has a colorful name: "Black Friday." It has a long tradition as well. And it is not a sinister as it sounds on the surface.

I remember when I was in high school working in a clothing store in Ithaca, NY, that Black Friday was an exciting time as the shoppers seemingly appeared from no where to spend gobs of money preparing for the Christmas holiday. And the sprint to December 25th began in earnest.

But now, there are other days added in for excitement. There is Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The Sunday after Thanksgiving seems to have escaped a naming convention. 

One of the local cities in my area has Midnight Madness scheduled for the first Friday in December! Another named shopping excursion. Even though they suffered a terrible flood earlier in the year, Midnight Madness is scheduled in Ellicott City for December 2nd.

With all of these days coming it is hard to conceive that we could possibly retain our money and our fortunes.

But the lines between the days are becoming blurred.

I have been receiving Black Friday ads and specials for almost two weeks now. And Cyber-Monday has been running for almost the same amount of time. Ugh!

Well, it is officially the holidays! The year is ending, the days are getting shorter and we need something to do after day--why not shop?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Messages for 2016

Happy Thanksgiving. 

I cannot believe the holiday has arrived so quickly. It seems like I was enjoying the summer just yesterday. But, alas, not.

The weather in Maryland is still bearable. It was 24 degrees yesterday morning, but the region has escaped the snow that places like Central New York and the Mid-West have been besieged with.

As my thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, I felt a desire to see what our leaders, past, future, and present said about the holiday. 

President Ronald Reagan
During 1986, President Ronald Reagan made the following remarks about Thanksgiving:

Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakeable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow. Both as individuals and as a people, we join with the Psalmist in song and praise: “Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.”
One of the most inspiring portrayals of American history is that of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That moving image personifies and testifies to our Founders’ dependence upon Divine Providence during the darkest hours of our Revolutionary struggle. It was then-when our mettle as a Nation was tested most severely—that the Sovereign and Judge of nations heard our plea and came to our assistance in the form of aid from France. Thereupon General Washington immediately called for a special day of thanksgiving among his troops.
Read more:

President-elect Donald Trump
Just yesterday, President-elect Trump made the following statement about Thanksgiving:

“We are very blessed to call this nation our home,” said Trump. “And that is what America is: it is our home. It’s where we raise our families, care for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and live out our dreams.”
He continued: “It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve.”
“In declaring this national holiday, President Lincoln called upon Americans to speak with ‘one voice and one heart,'” Trump said. “That’s just what we have to do.”


President Obama shared the following thoughts about Thanksgiving:
President Barak Obama
“Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities — just as the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag did centuries ago — let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.”


At the urgings of three Presidents, I believe we should give thanks and remember our heritage and history as a nation. 

Enjoy your day as you celebrate with family and friends if you are so fortunate. Wherever you are, at home or abroad, take some time to reflect and give thanks for the blessings that you have.

May you find peace and joy as you remember the blessings of your life and the joy that friends and family provide. God bless the USA!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Waiting for Results--Still

Amazingly, on the eve of Thanksgiving, all of the votes in our recent national election have not been tallied and finalized. Michigan, it seems, cannot get the job done and the 16 Electoral College votes there are still, as of this morning, undecided. 

From 270 to Win
The latest news is that the Secretary of State (Michigan) plans to release the voting tallies at the end of the month and most pollsters will call the state at that time. 

In this world of super fast computers, I find it amazing that the results can take so long to tally. Even in Third World countries the votes are tallied faster. 

Not that it will change the outcome, but I am amazed that it takes 22 days to get the votes counted so that a decision can be made. I'm glad that the outcome of the election is not hanging on those 16 votes. It could have been.

At least we can enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow knowing who the 45th President will be and continue to watch the sideshow that have become the selection of the cabinet and key positions.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday has arrived again. 

It is the day of the week that I struggle with the most. 

Trapped in between Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday almost seems not to have an identity of its own. When there is a Monday holiday, I often refer to Tuesday as the real Monday of the week.

Truthfully, Tuesday is not Monday and that is a blessing all of its own. 

Of course, getting through today means we are at Wednesday and this week that is the Eve of Thanksgiving. So, I guess, in some weird transformation, Tuesday is the Wednesday of this week!

Maybe Tuesday isn't so bad after all.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Musings - November 21, 2016

1. Thanksgiving is Thursday! Yay for Turkey!

2. An incredible weather change occurred over the weekend going from a high Saturday of 73 degrees to about 45 degrees on Sunday. Brrr.

Snow Village 2016
3. It was Snow Village weekend. The 2016 edition is up and lighted  and ready to usher in the holidays. 

4. It is amazing that we begin putting up decorations well in advance of the coming season.

5. "America is strong, stronger than the critics think. But then, for more than 200 years, when you've added things up that's the answer you've come up with. There is a power in America that has always seemed to surprise the critics and to carry our nation through, even when we in Washington stumbled. It's a power that comes not from government, but from towns and farms, from neighborhoods, schools, and churches all over America. It's the might and wisdom of a free people in a free land." --Ronald Reagan
Remarks to Local Business Leaders at a White House Briefing on Deficit Reduction, November 30, 1987

Riordin in a Bag of Snow Village Snow
6. On this date in 1620, the Pilgrims reached America. If you think about it, what a dismal time to try and start off with almost nothing in a new land. 

7. Cats are interesting creatures. Riordin likes to get into things and we have to be careful to ensure he gets out.

8. Can you believe that Black Friday sales have already begun?

9. There is nothing new about fake news--disinformation has always been around.

10. Take it slow and keep your wits about you as the week progresses.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November Golf

I managed to get out to a golf course yesterday.

Compass Pointe
November 19, 2016
It was a beautiful morning and the temperature was in the big 60's by the time we finished our round. 

I do not expect to be able to play a round of golf wearing only a short sleeve shirt during November--but by the ninth hole yesterday, that is exactly what happened. Although I started the round with a jacket, it was off and I was enjoying  the bright sunshine at the turn. 

Compass Pointe
November 19, 2016
We played at Compass Pointe, where we have played before, but yesterday we were on the South and West courses which we had not played. It was a spectacular autumn day with a crystal clear sky and golden sunlight.  The golden and rust autumn leaves remain on many of the trees and provided stunning sights as we progressed along the course. The course is challenging and fun. The greens were very hard--the pins were in very difficult positions. 

It was just good to be outside on such a beautiful day.  And playing golf was even better.

Too soon, the cold and wintery weather will be here and I will be looking forward to Spring golf trips and pool opening day. But, for now I was able to extend the Autumn by one more day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Around the Fire

It was an amazing evening.

Happy Hour with George and Sue
November 18, 2016
Happy hour around the fire table, outside during late November. It really doesn't get much better. 

The temperature topped out at 67 degrees yesterday, which is warm, and we were able to enjoy friends and a couple great wines together outside before coming inside for dinner.

That doesn't happen often during November, especially late November when parts of the country are being covered by a blizzard. 

It was very nice not to be wearing a coat and still be warm enough to enjoy the experience.

Did I mention that we also enjoyed some great wines from one of our favorite vineyards in Virginia? That would be Keswick? We enjoyed the 2009 Consensus and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve. 

Great wines, great friends and a great time. What could be better?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 18, 2016

Season of the Turkey

Guarding the Fireplace
It is the Season of the Turkey, the short about four week span between Halloween and Black Friday.

I have been neglecting my turkeys this year. They are on display, but with the election and the weekend trip to California, I just haven to been in the turkey mood.

And now Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  The Season of the Turkey will be over and the headlong rush to Christmas will begin.

My favorite turkey guards the fireplace to ensure that the guy in red does not make an early visit. This turkey was actually one of the first in my collection and I still remember the day at the flea market in Center Township, PA, when I found and came home with this turkey. It has been very durable and spends eleven months every year in the attic waiting for the Season of the Turkey when it becomes the centerpiece of the display.

Door Topper
The door topper is a turkey project that I made, with the help of Chris. It was one of the first projects that I did on my Shopsmith. 

I enjoy putting the turkey door topper over the entrance to the house over the protestations of my family because it sets the tone for the season. 

As I approach the last weekend of the Season of the Turkey, the impending season will begin to push into the living space. This weekend is Snow Village weekend, when the village is unpacked and comes to life yet again. 

But, the turkeys will be watching from their safe vantage points as the transition to another season begins and their time in the spotlight begins to wane.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mountain-man Look

I am noticing it everywhere.

Mountain Man
The youth of America, at least some of them, seem to think the mountain-man look is appealing.

It seems that everywhere I venture, I see the thuggish, hairy, bearded look lurking.

Lots of youth are adopting the look. It is unkept. 

I do not see the allure.

It must be a testosterone thing. Growing all of that hair and beard. But, they don't keep it neat. 

Many sports stars seem to be adopting the look as well--but that doesn't make it the correct thing to do. And of course there is the impact of Duck Dynasty. 

I suppose if these youth were living in rural areas and chopping wood daily for heat, the look would be appropriate, but as this area is definitely urban and civilized, they should adopt a more dignified look. 

For me, it just doesn't work

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Self-absorbed Living

I have the pleasure of driving in dense traffic on most days. OK, it really isn't a pleasure, it is a chore. And it certainly isn't fun.

I have noticed a trend over the past few years that does not bode well for the future--drivers have forgotten how to use turn signals.

The failure to signal planned activity on the roads while traveling at 60 mph or faster is not just an oversight, it represents a self-absorbed living and places others on the highway at risk. It represents a loss of civility. I find myself more and more trying to anticipate what other drivers are planning based upon small changes in their lane positioning. 

There are other examples of self-absorbed driving. The individuals who drive on the shoulders to get ahead of traffic jams and those who aggressively weave across multiple lanes of traffic driving like they were filming a great movie chase scene. These are additional examples where self-absorbed driving puts others arg risk, needlessly.

Aggressive and self-absorbed driving may be symptomatic of where our society is headed. Lack of consideration for others is not only apparent on the highways. It shows up in other places as well. Simple areas, like holding doors open for the person following through an entrance or exit. Seeing that the person behind in line has only one item and allowing them to go in front.

We are losing sense of community and are becoming a society of individuals without ties to the people around us who are also trying to make it through the day. 

We are all in life together, let's try to approach it as a team sport and work together.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Election Reflections

Michigan still has not been officially decided in the electoral college vote whether for Trump or Clinton. New Hampshire was finally decided for Clinton.

It almost seems anti-climatic at this point.

It is hard to believe that the election happened a week ago, it had become an all consuming event in the 18 months leading up to November 8th.

Projected Election Results from Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
I am encouraged to see that the President-elect is moderating his stand on some of his campaign statements. It gives me a little confidence that reality will soon set in as the process of transitioning power between the administrations continues. 

There is a huge difference between being a candidate and the President-elect and I believe that reality is beginning to set in for the winning side.

The news media is painting an inaccurate picture of the election results. Clinton did not, and has not, win the popular vote, she had the most votes but not a majority. It is incredible, but I could not find the actual results on line for all the candidates, but I found a projected results chart. There were at least four candidates and none of them had more than 50 percent of the vote. 

Because no one had more than 50 percent of the vote, no one won the popular vote. I believe that it is a fine but important point and the general news media is skewing public opinion about the results.

I still am amazed that the election was a week ago and we still can't get over it.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Musings - November 14, 2016

1. November is fast slipping away. The month is half over tomorrow.

Thanksgiving Cactus
2.  Our Thanksgiving cactus thinks the month is farther along acting as if the holiday has already arrived.

3. It is refreshing to be in the post-election environment. The news media is actually having to report real news. 

4. Sunset tonight in Baltimore occurs at 4:52 PM. Wait, that is not tonight, it is this afternoon!

5. I went outside and looked at the super Moon last evening. I couldn't see the cape (super heroes have capes, right?) and it didn't seem so super. But, it was bright.

Point Mugu State Park, California
November 7, 2016
6. During our drive from Lompoc to Los Angeles last week, we made a quick stop at Point Mugu State Park and snapped some spectacular images. 

7. "There is no more striking symbol of democracy than the picture of a citizen casting a ballot, electing a leader,  choosing his or her own destiny." Ronald Reagan 1982.

8. What a wild day in the NFL. The Saints saw the potential game-winning extra point after touchdown turn into two points for the Broncos. And how about them Cowboys winning one of the most thrilling finishes that I have seen in a long time?

9. The world's saddest polar bear is being rehoused in China according to the New York Times. 

10. On this date in 1969 the Apollo 12 mission to the moon lifted off and the United States went to the moon for the second time during the year. If only we still had the capability to put humans on the moon today.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First Killing Freeze

Frost on my Lighter Amid the Christmas Lights
This morning the temperature was 28 degrees as I rolled out of bed and there was no doubt--the first killing freeze of the season had happened last night.

Heavy frost was everywhere as the sun rose. I suppose this will bring our lengthy and colorful autumn to an end and the trees will rapidly lose their remaining leaves becoming bare trunks and branches prepared to stand against winter's coming onslaught.

Frost on my Windshield
The frost painted rooflines of the houses were a testament to the frigid temperatures. I was glad that I did not have to head off to work this morning because the frost on my windshield was so thick.

I suppose the frosty scene was fitting as I had put the Christmas lights into their place on Friday while the temperature during the day was still in the 60's.

While not complete, the exterior of the house is ready for the on-rushing Christmas season and the colder temperatures that come with it. The interior, however, is still devoted to the season of the turkey! It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than two short weeks away and then the sprint to the end of the year takes off.

As I watch the frost begin to melt in the strengthening sun of the day, I see the leaves that I need to move from the yard and a host of other pre-winter projects that need to be completed.

It is going be another beautiful autumn day filled with sunshine and temperatures in the 60's. 

I am going to enjoy the day while I can.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Chris on Pismo Beach, California
November 6, 2016
Chris and I love beaches. Ocean beaches are preferred, but we can find peace and serenity on almost any beach.

This past summer we did not have many opportunities to relax on beaches. We did make the quick trip to the Bahamas during late-March and early-April which included all-to-brief beach time in both Florida and the Bahamas, but until last week that was pretty much the extent of our time in the sand.

Chris at Gavitoa State Park Beach, CA
November 5, 2016
Last week during our get away to California, we made it a point to be on a beach for part of every day except for our travel day back to Maryland. We enjoy the sound of the waves and I believe we are both more centered when we look out at the vastness of the ocean. 

We take a lot of images at the beach, mostly of the waves and the water. Only rarely do we catch each other in an image and I was able to get a couple good shots of Chris during our trip. The Gavitoa State Park Beach was interesting because of the train trestle. A passenger train traversed the trestle while we were there, but I was too slow with my camera. 

Seagull at Pismo Beach Pier, CA
I wasn't too slow, however, to capture a seagull as it prepared to fly away while we visited the Pismo Beach Pier.

Capturing wildlife on the beach is always fun. 

The Pismo Beach Pier was especially enjoyable as we spied, in addition to the seagulls, whale spouts in the distance and otters feeding just off the pier. I had never seen ocean otters before and I initially thought they were harbor seals. Silly me, harbor seals don't lay on their backs in the water and eat! Duh!

I know that I probably should be writing about the recent election or discussing the impending Thanksgiving holiday (which is less than two weeks away) but, beaches are far more interesting at this point.

There is plenty of time to write about politics and holidays. I spend far too little time looking out at the ocean and contemplating the vastness of the universe.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ashtrays in Aircraft

I have taken two trips recently where I flew in an venerable Boeing 737 for too many hours. 

Ashtray in the 737 Facility Door
On both of the trips, that would be two roundtrips, I had occasion to use the restroom. 

I noticed something very strange during these trips. There is an ashtray in the door of the restroom. 

Smoking has not been allowed on US aircraft in 16 years. Yet, they still have an ashtray in the restroom door? 

That seems very strange to me. How difficult would it be to remove the ashtray? Why is it still there?

I guess it is one of those design items that they just can do away with. But certainly the restroom doors could be replaced.

I suppose the ashtray in the aircraft door is like an appendix, it does nothing except cause trouble.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Los Angeles, CA, November 2016

Out the Hotel Window
Los Angeles, CA
November 7, 2016
The last evening of our get away trip, Chris and I spent in Los Angeles at one of the hotels near the airport.

The view out the hotel window was a lot better than the view out the hotel in Lompoc. At least we could see something other than bushes.

Out the Hotel Window
Los Angeles, CA
November 8, 2016
I took two images, one at night as we arrived at the room and the other in the morning so that I could see what was actually out there. 

The liquor store was prominent! Maybe the lighted sign was a clue.

Beyond the warehouse, however the view was far more interesting. It was going to be a beautiful day on Tuesday--but, I was to be trapped on an airplane for the better part of the day.

That is how some days are--especially travel days. I had to return to Maryland and the short vacation had to end.

The views I see out the hotel windows as I travel continue to change and amaze!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We the People have Spoken

President-elect Trump
I woke up to a different America today. I admit that I had a pretty good idea what I was going to find when I finally went to bed after 11 PM last night.

In accordance with the Founding Father's plan for America, the people have spoken. Whether I agree with them or not is immaterial, "We the People" have decreed that there is going to be a new direction for our President and likely our country for the next four years beginning in January.

I think there are parallels between the British vote to exit the European Union (BREXIT) and the election of our new President. People are fed up with the way things are going and want something different, even if they do not fully understand the magnitude of the change for which they voted.

It is important to note that none of the four candidates for president (yes, there were four) achieved a majority of the popular vote--yet, because of the genius of the Electoral College, we have a President-elect and not a run off! People who call for getting rid of the Electoral College miss the importance and stability in our election process that the college provides. 

I was watching CNN on TV and following the New York Times election coverage on my laptop last evening. It became clear to me that the pundits and polls were wrong again. The sense that the election was going to be over early, was clearly not to be. 

I think we need to "tighten our seat belts and ensure that our tray tables and seat backs are in their full upright position." It is going to be a wild ride for a bit.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sunsets of California

Sunset on Ventura Beach
November 4, 2016
During our short trip to the Left Coast, Chris and I have experienced some spectacular sunsets. There is something inspiring about the sun setting across the ocean. Watching the bright orb in the sky descend into the sea and the finely tendrils bathing the world in gold and then red hues. Sometimes, I find it interesting to put my back to the sun and see how the world is resounding to the sunset. 

Sunset on Pismo Beach Pier
November 6, 2016
I also look around to see what other things are in the sky. I found the moon the other evening, hanging there also watching the sunset. 

Sunset on Santa Monica Pier
November 7, 2016
But we experienced three different beach sunsets and enjoyed them all. It is amazing how cold it gets after the sun sets. 

I was always amazed at how many other people also come out to watch the sunset. 

The clouds make each one different. Last evening the sun went behind a cloud bank before actually setting and it muted the event a bit. But the sunset was still spectacular. 

What a great way to end the day, enjoying the colors of the sunset.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Los Angeles, CA

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday Musings - November 7, 2016

At the Edge of the Reagan Library and Museum
1. Tomorrow is Election Day. I hope the winner can unite this fractured country.

Sunset, Pismo Beach, CA
November 6, 2016
2. One of the strangest signs that I have seen in a while was at the Reagan Library. I stood there for a while looking for a rattlesnake, but alas, one did not want to come out and play.

3. We have been enjoying sunsets on our trip to California, usually, from a beach somewhere. Last evening we enjoyed the early sunset from the pier on Pismo Beach.

4. "The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave." Ronald Reagan 1986.

5. While visiting wineries in the Paso Robles area, we happened upon a covered bridge. It was very quaint! The winery was enjoyable, too.

Covered Bridge at
Halter Ranch Vineyard
6. I wonder what news will be reported once the election is over? Is the world still out there somewhere?

7. I have noticed that the exit ramps from California roads, especially US 101, are not a well identified and marked as back in Maryland. 

8. Tomorrow is election day. If you haven't yet, get out an vote. Make your voice heard.

9. Veteran's Day is on Friday this week. Hug a Vet and thank them for their service.

10. One of the hardest things to find while on a trip is decent coffee.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Lompoc, CA

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Lompoc, CA, November

Out My Hotel Window
Lompoc, CA
November, 2016
Sometimes, left to my own devices, I don't choose a hotel room for a view. Such is the case of our room in Lompoc on this trip. 

I wanted easy access and no stairs for dragging wine bottles into the room. After all, we are visiting wineries and planning to bring at least a case of wine back to Maryland with us in our trusty wine carrier. For that convenience,  little did I realize, I was be rewarded with a view of bushes outside my room. I almost feel as if I am underground. In addition, the window is extremely dirty and diffuses the light.

Sunset near Ventura, CA
November 4, 2016
I am disappointed, of course, because I would prefer to enjoy stunning vistas and spectacular sunsets, similar to what Chris and I experienced during our drive from Los Angeles to Lompoc on Friday.

Practicality overshadowed beauty on this trip. 

But we are having a great time and visited some great wineries while viewing some stunning scenery yesterday.

Today is another day and although the scene outside my hotel window won't change much, the scenery along my journey promises to be different.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Lompoc, CA
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