Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hard Good-bye

Ben Roethlisberger Doan
Ben Roethlisberger Doan, faithful friend to my son Jeremy and our entire family passed yesterday after a difficult illness.

He was a true member of the family for the past ten or so years. Even though he was a hard core Steelers fan, I loved Ben. He was part of my "pair o Kees" as I called the two keeshonden in my life when they were together. 

Ben was a great dog! He was well trained, gentle, smart, and a companion. Chris and I had the opportunity to watch him on many occasions and we always enjoyed his company. He was my "Ben-man." I especially enjoyed the way he would bark in the right place when Jeremy sang the "Here We Go Steelers" song. 

The family is mourning the loss, but rejoicing in the memories of a great, one-of-a-kind dog that left a positive impression on everyone who met him!

Sleep well faithful friend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monday Musings for Tuesday - May 30, 2017

Chewie in the Pool
First Swimmer of the Year
1. The holiday weekend is over and it is on to summer. 

2. The pool was open for the holiday and we actually had our first swimmer--Chewie. 

3. It was a good golf weekend. I played two rounds and enjoyed myself.

4. Yesterday was a good sports day. Both of my bird teams, the Orioles and the Penguins, won. The Orioles snapped a six game losing streak and the Penguins won the fist game of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Predators.

5. The celebration, the party, the fun. It was a cool start to the summer.

6. How long does it take to buy four pairs of new footwear? I did it in less than 30 minutes!

7. Is it possible to be too busy on a holiday weekend?

8. I need a new truck. There are way too many options out there.


Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83 - The Washington Post

Syria’s bloodiest battle is yet to come — and 1 million civilians are at risk - The Washington Post

Immigrants Keep an Iowa Meatpacking Town Alive and Growing - The New York Times

Quote for the Week

"It is a great gift God has given each of us -- making us Americans. Who knows why some are so blessed. It's a mystery we cannot fathom but can only adore and be thankful for."

Ronald Reagan 
Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the United States Chamber of Commerce, May 2, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 29, 2017

Are We All in? Or All out?

Great Barrier Reef
Climate change is a fact. Look at the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef and the increasingly devastating storms for proof.

A collection of letters to the editor in the New York Times this morning titled, The Risks of U.S. Inaction on Climate Change, lays out some of the concerns that common people have about the situation. 

The United States is a global leader but our inconsistent approach to climate change threatens the continued existence of the planet. OK, maybe I overstated the case a bit, but our consistent inconsistency is disturbing. 

One letter writer wrote: The United States, as the second largest polluter in the world, after China, must reassert its leadership. 

The U.S. must be all in to save our climate. The idea that we can decide that climate change is a non-issue and withdraw from international agreements is wrong.

The U.S. must be all in and taking the lead to protect the planet. We need to get over the short-term gain thinking that is popular right now.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Weekend

The weekend arrived suddenly. It almost caught me by surprise.

Rose in the Garden
The weekend actually began about noon on Friday and by 12:45 PM I was playing golf. It was fun to be on the course on a Friday afternoon. It almost felt like I was playing hooky from school, except, not!

Saturday began early and ended late. I was on the golf course again before 8AM and the day continued rolling from there. It was awesome. The afternoon was devoted to getting some tasks accomplished around the house. The evening was spent with family. 

Now, I am sitting on my computer watching the dawn  break. The green has fully returned, the pool is open and stable, and the Memorial Day Weekend is not the washout that the weathermen predicted. 

Enjoy the day. I plan to enjoy the entire weekend, what remains of it. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

The unofficial start of the summer season is upon us.

The pool is open, yet I have not been swimming yet. The temperatures have been too cold. I am hoping that 80's show up soon! If they do, I will light the fires of the pool heater and get the summer started.

Until the summer actually shows up and the rains end, I will remain trapped in the house wishing for the heat.

I'm sure it will come soon. 

Regardless, I will enjoy the coming three-day holiday weekend and whether I have a huge picnic or not, I will remember why we celebrate Memorial Day and respect its meaning. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Society Under Attack

The terrorist attack at the concert in Manchester, England, earlier this week is raising many questions about the fabric of society and the motives of a group that would focus an attack on children.

A New York Times op-ed piece titled When Terrorists Target Children, discusses the possible motives for the attack and one thought is particularly chilling: 

"Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies."

Inclusiveness and civility are the intended victims of the attack. 

I was encouraged, while listening to the news last evening, that many performers are keeping to their original concert schedules despite the significantly increased terrorist threat. Protecting the fabric of society, especially when reacting to terrorism is critical. 

The article this morning goes on to write: 

Understanding is critical. The quickest way for open societies to lose the freedoms they enjoy and the Islamic State seeks to destroy would be to whip up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds. 

We must stand strong. The forces of anarchy and hatred want to bring civilization to their level and we must resist. We must protect our freedoms and inclusiveness.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rain Again

It is raining again!

It seems as if it has been raining for a very long time. Everyday is wet.

And cool.

We were treated to some hot temperatures a couple weeks ago, but alas, it has gone away and been replaced with cool, wet weather. 

The good news is that today may be the end of days with highs in the 60's--highs in the 70's and 80's are in the forecast. 

But the rain is going to persist and drown out the Memorial Day weekend, sadly. 

The first, unofficial, weekend of summer is looking as if it will be a washout. 

I guess I will save on propane that will not be warming my pool water.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Around the Fire Pit

Saturday, after a busy day of working on the pool and around the house, Chris and I decided to relax in the yard around our week old fire pit. 

It was a nice evening. The temperature was just cool enough to make the warm fire inviting. 

The relaxing fire and and good time we had just talking made for a time that we didn't want to end. 

Some days are like that. A hard day of work and activity can be topped with a relaxing fire, a glass of wine, and stimulating conversation around a warm inviting fire.

I'm glad we have a retreat in our yard for that kind of activity.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Musings - May 22, 2017

1. The cicadas are coming! The cicadas are here!

2. The movie recording the construction of the Mother's Day fire pit with the help of Patrick, Tina. and Corey is pretty neat. Patrick made the video.

Sand Filter Unit Missing
3. Changing the sand in the pool filtration system was years overdue--and now it is complete. the picture shows the filter unit is missing. It took almost all day. There was water and sand everywhere. Chris and I got it done.

4. It was a cool day on Saturday. Sadly, our baseball game was canceled, again.

5. I played a disappointing round of golf yesterday. I guess I am not playing enough golf. But I still love the game and being on the course. It was only one round.

6. The deer have been leaving our plants alone. I think it is because Chris is using a commercial product which smells like coyote urine to scare them off. It also makes me go inside as well.


Trump Softens Tone on Islam but Calls for Purge of ‘Foot Soldiers of Evil’ - The New York Times

Republicans Watch Their Step in a Slow Retreat From Trump - The New York Times

So, let’s say Trump gets impeached. Then what? - The Washington Post

Quote of the Week

"America will reach its potential only if you and other young people are willing to strive to reach your potential."
Ronald Reagan

Remarks on Greeting the National Spelling Bee Finalists, May 30, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Butterfly and the Bugs

It was a contrast of flying insects yesterday. 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
May 20, 2017
Chris and I were working on the pool and there was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly enjoying some time in the grasses that ring our pool area.

Cicadas on the house
May 20, 2017
The butterfly was just relaxing and every so often would shake its wings, but did not seem to mind my presence in the area. It was a few moments where I could just enjoy watching the butterfly and escape the work. As I was doing some research on the butterfly I was able to determine that this one was a female because of the iridescent blue on the tail.

Alternatively, the cicadas are emerging in full force. Fortunately the day was cool so they were quiet. But they are everywhere and the holes in the soil from where they are emerging are doing a good job aerating my lawn. 

Reports say they are 4 years early. They are smaller than I remember from the last emergence. It is funny to look at the bug and realize that it is 13 years old although only recently in its current form. I don't think of bugs as being old in terms of years. I feel bad for the ones that fly into the pool and drown. But I guess losses are to be expected. They are everywhere and they do not fly with any great precision.

The butterfly and the bugs. Flying insects headed in different directions.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Limping Home

Amid the backdrop of the circus that has become Washington, D.C., and the current administration the Orioles had limped back home after a disastrous road trip that saw them lose 6 of 7 games. All of the losses were by one-run and the Orioles had a lead in nearly each game. 

The pitching could not hold a lead although the batters in many cases gave them multi-run leads.

Orioles Catcher
Wellington Castillo
Last evening was more of the same. The Orioles took an early lead which was squandered and then came back to tie the game 3-3 before winning with a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning after a rain delay. Wellington Castillo hit that two-run homer, which was his second two-tun shot of the game, just before midnight. 

At least the Orioles are back in their winning ways where they have the best home record in baseball. And amazingly, they remain only a half game out of first place in the American League East Division with a 24-16 record. 

Good things can still happen because it is a long season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summer of the Cicada

Cicada Nymph Skin
While we were digging the Mother's Day fire pit, we saw some larvae or nymphs that I misidentified as grubs. I did this because I knew that a cicada emergence was not expected. 

I was wrong and I was right.

I was right because a cicada emergence was not expected. It is four years too early. The next big emergence is not expected until 2021. I was wrong because they were, in fact, cicada nymphs. 

They're back, four years early!

A Baltimore Sun article, As cicadas emerge four years early, scientists wonder if climate change is providing a nudge, answered my question. 

Let the sound of summertime begin. The cicadas are loud--louder than a jet. 

I actually saw a hatched cicada the other day and failed to take a picture of it. But now that I know they are coming as soon as the soil temperature gets a bit warmer, I will be prepared for the emergence.

It sounds like a bad movie title, "The Emergence."

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Worst President

I thought I'd change things up a bit this morning.

With the call in Congress yesterday for impeachment, I did some research into the bottom 10 Presidents in the history of the United States. 

There are a couple of sources and they do not agree.

I found it interesting that Andrew Jackson is on one list in the bottom 10 and made others in the top 10

James Buchanan
Generally recognized as the worst President for failure handle the problems
that led to the Civil War
There is great disparity in the lists. Those prepared by historians and scholars generally have James Buchanan listed as the worst president. The lists prepared by popular vote tend to focus on recent presidents and frequently overlook some of the more historic presidents. 

The CBS list already has our current president listed as the worst. I think that is a bit premature. It is interesting that Trump is already supplanting Buchanan who is almost unanimously recognized as the worst president in the history of the country. 

There remains time for the current president to cement his location in the list--apparently, he can only go up from here. The circus that is The White House needs to settle down for him to relinquish his current ranking as the worst!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Summer is free to begin!
With the Cover Partially Off

Dark and Foreboding Pool
The pool is open and clearing nicely with the help of copious quantities of chlorine. It actually looks pretty good from a standing start.

I was amazed at how much silt was at the bottom from the winter of rain, wind, and some snow.

Hopefully, with temperatures in the 90's during the next couple of days we will be swimming in the pool by the weekend. 

Cover Drying in the Drive
Toad in the Hose Box
It was an all day job, but the weather was perfect. It was almost relaxing to be working outside in the warm weather with the pool. The whole process went very well and there we no major issues.

I did find a new "friend" hiding in the hose box. A fairly large toad stayed in the cool damp shade all day. I admit, I was a bit startled when I noticed that it was camped out in with the hose. It stayed in place all day despite my frequent visits. 

Almost Ready for Action
The Morning After
This morning the pool looks almost good enough to jump into and swim! It is amazing what an overnight can do. 

Bring on summer!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pool Opening Day

It has arrived!


The Pool
Morning May 16, 2017
Pool opening day is here and I have taken the day off to get the summer season into full swing. This is the latest that I have ever opened the pool. But, the weather has been problematic this year.

It is 50 degrees outside and I know that by the end of the day I will be hot and sweaty--but it will feel so good.

I remember that I used to open the pool on the first weekend of April. Then the date began to migrate towards the end of April. This year I planned for the first weekend in May--but two weekends of cold weather have brought me to mid-May with the hopes of seeing the clear water and beginning the pool season.

I have already reconnected the plumbing and installed the pump, so some of the basic work is done. It is a matter of removing the cover and vacuuming the dirt from the winter and adjusting the chemicals. If only it were as easy as I make it sound.

Let the summertime begin! Temperatures are supposed to get into the 90's later this week. Finally. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Musings - May 15, 2017

1. It is the Ides of May! At least it isn't a tax due date like the Ides of April.

2. Finally, we had some idyllic weather for celebrating an observance outside!

3. Chris has another fire pit! This one is a bit more permanent and burns wood. There will be more projects associated with it, of tis I am sure.

Chewbacca at Night
4. Dogs look creepy when imaged at night with a flash camera!

5. I am amazed that some drivers can get from point A to point B. Their basic driving skills seem lacking. Don't stop on the on-ramp and wait for a hole in traffic!

6. There is something invigorating about a blue sky and a bright sunny sunrise!


North Korea’s Kim celebrates test of ‘perfect weapon system’ - The Washington Post

Ransomware’s Aftershocks Feared as U.S. Warns of Complexity - The New York Times

What’s Next for Comey? Probably Not ‘a Normal Job’ - The New York Times

The Age of the MP3 Is Officially Over - Time Magazine

Quote for the Week

"A passage in Proverbs describes the ideal woman, saying: 'Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.'"
Ronald Reagan

Radio Address to the Nation on the Observance of Mother's Day,
May 7, 1983

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

Chris and Mom
Today, I want to pay a special tribute to two of the very special mother's in my life, my Mom and my Wife--two women who have teamed up to make me who I am today. They deftly handed-off responsibility for me a few decades ago and have teamed up ever since to encourage me to do the things I would rather not do, like go to the doctor, to help maintain my health and enthusiasm for life.
Nicole with Ethan and Jax
Niagara Falls 2016

And another mother in my life is my daughter, Nicole, who is a dynamic mom in her own right with two busy boys to keep her moving all the time. 

These are three generations of mom's in my life who all deserve celebration on this special day. Thanks for all that you do!

To all the mom's everywhere--take some time to celebrate this special day, just for you, whether it be breakfast in bed or some simpler acknowledgement, you are truly special.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Flowers of Spring

Irises Along the Street
The appear in many places during the Springtime. Flowers!

Sometimes they can be stunning, such as this group of irises I discovered while walking along the street after the strings concert at Waugh Chapel Elementary School.

I was impressed by the irises and I remembered that we used to have some, but they never prospered like these clearly have done.

I see the flowers of Springtime everywhere, I just need to look for them.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 12, 2017

Golf Fun for the Open

I read an interesting article about a golfer that claimed he was a professional and then played a U.S. Open qualifying round and shot a 127. This was definitely not a Tin Cup experience.

I could do that.


I love golf, but I know that any idea I have of ever playing in the U.S. Open is a pipe dream.

I don't think I would ever try to enter a prestigious event like a U.S. Open qualifier--but, I am impressed that Clifton McDonald played all 18 holes and carded a 127!

I've been there when I started playing golf and I know how hard it is to make good shots on some days!

Some days are great, but most are mediocre. But, like I say, a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day in the office!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cue the End of the School Year Events

Jax in the Back
Last evening was one of the first of the lasts. Waugh Chapel Elementary School held their performing arts concerts and Jackson, known better as a lights out third baseman for the GORC Intramural U10 Pirates, performed as a member of the orchestra on his, if you can believe it, violin!

I was late to the concert, due to traffic and poor planning on my part, but I did enjoy seeing him perform. Tonight we will be on the baseball field and there will be no talk of violins or concerts, but last evening, Jax was front and center, OK--he was in the back row, of the third grade strings section.

Jax with Violin
And so it begins, the series of lasts associated with the impending end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation. I have many fond memories of summertime and roaming the hills around our house in Central New York. And I remember all of the "lasts" associated with the end of the school year. The last game, concert, or test. I guess my favorite last was the last day of school! That is truly the best last of all.

The end of the school year is a time for celebration, and the "lasts" just help to make the most of each opportunity.

Good job last evening Jax!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The White House Circus

What a news day.

FBI Director Comey
The FBI director is fired and the former National Security Advisor's illegal ties to the Russians are uncovered.

What is the real story here?

Former National Security Advisor
The real story is that being a public servant in America today requires a lot of sacrifice and it also requires integrity.

Apparently, some of the public servants appointed by the new administration or hold overs from the previous administration do not have the required level of integrity. 

We are learning so much about those who would lead our country. Not all of it is good.

Why is there so much dirt in D.C.?

It seems as if there is new bad story every day. 

Why do people who should know better try to do things they should not?

It makes no sense.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Monday Night Baseball

It was a great baseball night.

Nationals vs Orioles
May 8, 2017
I was at OPACY to see the Orioles defeat the Nationals. The evening was beautiful as the sun began to sink low on the horizon, but the temperatures were cold. I was dressed in a winter coat to defend off the chill from the too cold wind.

The game got off to a great start with three Orioles homers during the first inning to charge off to a 4-0 lead and then settled into a closely played baseball game which saw the home team hold on for a 6-4 win.

The game ended on a crazy double play which saw a ball hit to first base for the first out and subsequently tagged the runner from third to home on a rundown. 

Baseball even at the professional level can be very interesting at times. 

In other baseball news, as Watched the Orioles defeat the Nationals, I was keeping a close eye on the GORC Intramural U10 Dodgers who shook off the heartbreaking Sunday loss and won their game 17-1. 

It was a great Monday for baseball.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Musings - May 8, 2017

1. Orioles complete a weekend sweep of the White Sox to get back onto their winning ways as the season begins to get serious.

2. Rain and cold can seriously change plans for activities.

3. Pool opening has been rescheduled for May 13th due to the weather. 

4. I completed my weekly lawn mowing in the cool rain, it was not a lot of fun.

5. The GORC Intramural U10 Dodgers played a great game yesterday but fell in a difficult 3-1 loss. 


6. Warning: We are not Ready for the Next Pandemic - Time

7. Emmanuel Macron’s unlikely path to the French presidency - The Washington Post

8. Everything you need to know about trade economics, in 70 words - The Washington Post

9. North Korea Detains Another American, State Agency Says - The New York Times

Quote for the Week

"We live our dreams. We make them come true. Our ideas and energies combine in a dynamic force -- the kind of force that made the developments and breakthroughs and discoveries in this building possible."
Ronald Reagan
Remarks at Dedication Ceremonies for the U.S. Pavilion at the Knoxville International Energy Exposition (World's Fair) in Tennessee, May 1, 1982

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rain and Cold

I am always amazed how the weather can really affect planned activities.

Our new Hibiscus
Yesterday was supposed to be filled with baseball and outdoors fun and because of the rain it turned into a day of helping with a major decking project and then some evening relaxation.

Our new hibiscus bravely bloomed against the dreary conditions, but its lone flower was almost snuffed by the gloom.

The gray overcast rainy yesterday has turned into a bright and sunny but cold today. The temperature this morning was 44 degrees. But the bright sun is shining and the sky is blue!

Hopefully, today's outdoor activities will go off as planned, even though a coat may be required. Tonight is expected to be even colder!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cinco de Mayo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. Those who know me also know that this is my favorite foreign holiday. I have blogged before about the history of Cinco de Mayo

Last evening, however, I gained a new appreciation for the popularity of the holiday. We waited for almost an hour at a local Mexican establishment before deciding to head home for a impromptu celebration.

Our celebration, with friends, was far more sedate but also more enjoyable. My margaritas are a lot better than those being served in the Mexican restaurant. 

The holiday is now a good memory, except for the margarita glasses that would not fit into the dishwasher last night and are still gracing the counter. 

I guess I am ready for the remainder of May. Cue the sun and bring on summer!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, May 5, 2017

Health Care

I wrote too soon.

A few days ago I wrote that the lack of a Republican revision to the Affordable Healthcare Act was one of the great aspects of Trump's first 100 days.

Yesterday, that changed as a flawed bill was passed that stands to disenfranchise some 30 million people from affordable healthcare. 

The Washington Post, in an article titled, Here’s what you need to know about preexisting conditions in the GOP health plan, lays out the impact on people.

This had become a too political issue. Someone needs to advocate for people. The real cost of this issue is found in the homes of real people who will lose their healthcare.

And why?

Because our politicians have forgotten that they serve at the pleasure of the voters who elect them.

I am not sure why our politicians are working to take health care away from people rather than assuring that everyone can have affordable health care. It makes no sense.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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