Thursday, April 30, 2020

April's Passing--What will May Bring?

It will pass quietly tonight, but today is April's last day. It was a tumultuous month. One-third of the year 2020 is history.

Tomorrow begins May and hopefully the worldwide celebrations of May Day and Labour Day will begin to revive the coronavirus-ravaged societies around the world. 

Lilac Preparing to Blossom
Elkridge, MD
April 29, 2020
The headlines remain depressing with the first quarter economic results being released around the world. Despite that, the Dow was up yesterday and there is some optimism beginning to grow that the worst is over.

But then, we read of the food chain being decimated and I wonder, what's next

Charts: Two Months That Tore Apart the Food Chain - The Wall Street Journal

Will the month of May provide any relief?

Well, at least Chris and I found a new game to play during our daily walks--today we made bets on how many times our dogs would stop to do their business. She was walking Finnegan and I had Makayla--I bet 5v stops for Makayla and she bet 5 stops for Finnegan.

I won because Makayla stopped 6 times and Finnegan stopped a whopping 9 times!

The things that we do to keep life under coronavirus interesting. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


My Truck
Elkridge, MD
April 28, 2020

I am coming to understand the difference between miles-per-gallon (MPG) and time-between-fillups (TBF). 

I always used to believe that MPG had a direct impact on TBF. I am finding out, however, as a result of the stay-at-home order, that MPG really does not matter is the vehicle is not driven at all. For instance, my truck has remained stationary for the past five days. The TBF is increasing to the point of weeks--coming up on three weeks again and I have used only a quarter tank of gas. With gas prices so low, I wish I was driving more! I paid $1.65 per gallon for my last fill-up. But wait--I am saving more money by not driving and the MPG really doesn't matter in that case!

Columbine in the Garden
Elkridge, MD
April 28, 2020
Wow, it can get really confusing quickly. 

The coronavirus is affecting every facet of life and causing me to look at many things differently. 

Yesterday, I noticed that the columbine blooms in my garden were finally opening. It was good to see them. I have been watching the plant as it has been getting closer to blooming for sometime. 

It is likely that had this been a normal season and period of time, the blooming of the columbine would have gone almost unnoticed. I would have noted the blooms and continued walking past them. Yesterday, I not only noticed the blooms, but stopped to take an image of them. I appreciated that the blooms arrived, much like the Spring has arrived, undeterred by the coronavirus and the upheaval of our social lives and financial markets. 

So while I am distracting myself by thinking about MPG vs TBF or when MLB will begin, Spring arrived on-time and on-schedule. Fortunately, I have been able to take the time to stop and enjoy its arrival.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Loss of the Season

Coronavirus related losses are mounting; affecting every aspect of life. 

While many of us are mourning the loss of professional sports, the impact on youth and high school sports is even more devastating. Entire seasons have been canceled and opportunities to improve skills through on-field competition are being lost. 

Moonrise over GORC Park
Odenton, MD
March 9. 2020
The GORC 12U baseball team that I was assisting is losing its season and while there are hopes that a season may be reconstituted during June and July, the original April 25 date for restart has come and gone with only rumor and conjecture regarding the future. The pinnacle tournament of the season was to occur in Cooperstown, NY, during late June--but that was an early victim of the coronavirus. 

A month-and-a-half ago on March 9th, the team had its first outdoors practice after working out all winter in an indoors facility. I snapped this image of the moon rising over the field feeling full of hope and excitement as the reality of the upcoming season was finally coming to fruition. The lights were on and we were practicing baseball. I wrote about the optimism of the moment in a post titled, The Moon Rises.   Little did I know as I wrote that blog that it would be the only outdoors practice in which I would participate and that coronavirus would soon cancel almost everything. 

But, it is not a total loss, yet. There is still hope for baseball, despite the daily evidence to the contrary. 

Time will tell--we will adapt and survive.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, April 27, 2020

Monday Musings - April 27, 2020

1. It is the last Monday of April. I was planning to be in Rome today! The year is nearly 1/3 complete! Think about that!

2. Watching a presidential coronavirus news conference is like watching a reality TV show, the only problem is that we are living the reality. How I wish it were a contrived for TV reality. Thankfully, the frequency of the news conferences are being reduced to save us the anguish of trying to separate fact from fantasy. 

3. This morning I was awakened by one of the worst sounds imaginable--a cat puking in the hallway! It is one of the things that when it happens makes me wonder why I have cats.

Riordin in the Kitchen Drawer
Elkridge, MD
April 26, 2020
4. The rain has settled in again, but looking at the forecast, even though there is rain, the temperatures are beginning or moderate and I believe that we have passed our last frost of the season.

5. And writing of cats, yesterday as Chris and I were cleaning the drawers in the kitchen, Riordin decided that we needed help. He crawled into on of the drawers and claimed it as his new residence. Of course, I did not let him linger too long before moving him along and resuming the project. 

6. I am astounded by the news reports of drivers being clocked at speeds well over 100 MPH routinely while the roads are less congested. CNN reports police departments across the country are clocking  drivers traveling in excess of 100 MPH with increasing frequency. I have witnessed some of those drivers on Maryland highways and it is disconcerting how quickly a vehicle traveling that fast approaches. I have been known to have a bit of a lead-foot on open roads, but I employ my cruise control to keep myself from grossly exceeding the posted limits. Remember, Speed Kills!

7. Today in History. On April 27, 4977 B.C., the universe is created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science. Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.
Kepler was born on December 27, 1571, in Weil der Stadt, Germany. As a university student, he studied the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ theories of planetary ordering. Copernicus (1473-1543) believed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system, a theory that contradicted the prevailing view of the era that the sun revolved around the earth.


Kim Jong-un’s Absence and North Korea’s Silence Keep Rumor Mill Churning - The New York Times

Millions of Credit-Card Customers Skip Their Payments - The Wall Street Journal

A New Problem Is Brewing in the Beer Industry: One Million Kegs Are Going Stale - The Wall Street Journal

Social distancing could last for months, White House coronavirus coordinator says - The Washington Post

McConnell’s rejection of federal aid for states risks causing a depression, analysts say - The Washington Post

Shares gain as investors look to lockdown easing - Reuters

President Reagan Quote for the Week

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Walking the Yard to Escape Coronavirus

Azalea in the Rain
Elkridge, MD
April 23, 2020
The rains returned for the weekend. Despite their appearance, we were able to accomplish some outdoors projects yesterday and even enjoy a some time around our fire pit last evening. 

Lily of the Valley
Elkridge, MD
April 25, 2020
As the springtime continues the next round of flowers are blooming--the azaleas and the lily of the valley. 

Walking around my lawn and gardens helps me take my mind off the coronavirus pandemic for a few needed moments. It allows me to clear my mind of the constant din of the news and focus upon something different. I need that. 

The rain, even though I am not a huge fan, brings cleansing and I love the smell of the air after a rain. It is clean and smells of spring and life. 

Because of the coronavirus and the self-isolation, I have been tracking the progression of the springtime  more intently this year. I have noticed the progression of the leaves--from the autumnal-like reds and oranges of bud break to the now fully green leaves. I have watched the progression of the flowers as they mark the phases of the deepening Spring--and serve to provide a continuing source of nourishment for the bees. I have even been happy to see the bats return to the evening sky above my house. 

Each time I notice something new or changed, my mind forgets--just for a moment, about the global struggle in which we are engaged. And I find some peace. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Coronavirus Canceled Vacation

Today is a day when the pandemic becomes real--too real, as it has affected our personal plans in a material and financial manner. 

Villa Near Lucca Italy
Note, it says Temporarily Closed
From Google Maps
Today is the day that Chris and I and five of our friends were supposed to fly to Rome, Italy, to begin a two-week vacation that would ultimately culminate on May 10 with our triumphal return to the US. 
We were leaving on a United Airlines flight departing Newark, NJ, this afternoon and arriving in Rome tomorrow morning. 

We had rented an apartment in Rome for a few days and then we were going to drive to Lucca, in Tuscany where we had a hilltop villa rented for almost two-weeks from which to base our travels through the region. In Rome we were going to do the big sites and also, of course, Vatican City. From Lucca we were going to Pisa, Florence, Sienna, Lucca, and so many other places. We were going to see art, the countryside, wineries, olive groves, the sea coast, and generally immersing ourselves in Italian culture and wine. Did I mention wine? 

Planning for this trip began during August of last year and the only thing we had not finalized were the rental cars. 

Getting refunds for the canceled trip has met with mixed results. 

We used Airbnb for the apartments in Rome. Refunds were a breeze.

We used VRBO for the villa in Lucca. Getting a refund has been a process and they still have not refunded our entire amount. Somehow they continue to keep about 14 percent of what we paid--and the entire villa was paid for in advance as required.

While we were on United Airlines for the flights and they agreed to refund our fare, the travel agency we used, ASAP, has been terrible and continues to sit of our refund. I have called them on multiple occasions and often get put on hold until the line goes dead. When I do get through, the agents promise action that never materializes. I am frustrated beyond belief at this process. 

So what have I learned for the future? I will not use VRBO--ever! And I will make my own travel arrangements with the airlines. As for travel insurance? No. Turns out travel insurance did not cover this event. 

Reschedule? Not yet. I am still evaluating the opportunities and of course, will the virus return next year to mess up future travel plans? Remember, the 1918 Spanish Flu actually lasted until 1920!

So, Chris and I continue ride out the stay-at-home order here in Maryland with only dreams for the lost Italian vacation. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, April 24, 2020

Living in a Failed State?

The Coronavirus revealed America's failures. We Are Living in a Failed State: The coronavirus didn't break America. It revealed what was already broken. And that is how an article in the Atlantic scheduled for publication in the June 2020 edition of the magazine begins. 

I do not know if the Atlantic is considered a liberal or conservative publication, but it should not matter, we have become too preoccupied with the slant of the news. I am more interested in the information presented and does it pass muster.

The article starts with a like a runaway truck going down a long hill and doesn't stop. The author compares the U.S. response to the coronavirus with that of Pakistan and Belarus. 

One paragraph in the article really struck a chord with me in describing our state of unpreparedness:

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.

I highlighted the last line. 

Wow. Read the article--there are many more paragraphs worth reading and quoting to stimulate discussion and educated comment.

From Governor Cuomo's News Conference via You Tube
April 23, 2020
From Governor Cuomo's News Conference via You Tube
April 23, 2020
But, I don't want to focus on the Atlantic article only--because Senator Mitch McConnell has also demonstrated incredible insensitivity by suggesting that cash-strapped states should go bankrupt. I have to agree with Governor Cuomo--states provide essential services such as law enforcement and fire protection among many others, yet the Congress is willing to fund small businesses through record setting bailouts but not assist the states? There is something wrong with that equation. And the insensitive comment about "stopping blue state bailouts." Does Senator McConnell believe that it is OK for democrats to die of COVID-19 to save republicans?

Symptoms of a failed state? 

Sadly, it seems probable. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Scenes from the Quarantine

Finnegan Enjoying Quarantine
Elkridge, MD
April 21, 2020
The mood in the country seems to be one of unease as many want to begin discussions of reopening the country. It is a difficult discussion because ultimately we are trying to weigh restarting the economy against people's lives. In my mind, the question boils down to, how many additional people will die if we reopen too soon?

Dogwood Flowers from my Daily Walk
Elkridge, MD
April 19, 2020
Sadly, I'm not sure some people look at the equation from that perspective. I think they are looking only at the $$$. 

Turning to the quarantine, my pets seem to be enjoying the quarantine a lot more that should be expected. The other day I caught Finnegan sleeping on Chris's lap with his paw in the air. I have to admit that I have not seen a dog sleep like that before. And he seemed comfortable. 

The blooming flowers and trees of the springtime continue to amaze me. There is a dogwood tree along out walking route that is in magnificent bloom and I stopped to enjoy its beauty and take a few images the other day. 

There is still beauty to be found, we just need to look for it and see it when it shows itself to us.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Filling another Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Day

Firepit from Above
Elkridge, MD
April 19, 2020
On Sunday, while I had Radio Flyer flying, I took a couple images just for fun. I gave me something to do on a coronavirus Sunday. I have been fascinated with what is called the "Birdseye" view of things on the ground. It is amazing how different something looks from the air rather than from our normal perspective. I thought this was a very interesting view from about only 35 feel AGL. Radio Flyer was below the trees, yet imaged this unique view of the fire pit. Interestingly, the chairs that usually are around the pit are missing, because it had been rainy and cold since I mowed the week before. 

The Pool
Elkridge, MD
April 19, 2020
The other image that I took was of the pool. The recently replastered pool which is now full of water and fully swimmable, although it is too cold to even consider getting into the water at this point. This image was taken from about 50 feet AGL to get the whole pool in the frame. As an aside, I received an interesting notice from my electric supplier the other day advising me that we were using more electricity during April than is normal and to expect a high bill than in previous years. I quickly determined that the increase is because we have been running the 1 1/2 horsepower pump daily since the end of March when the pool was filled with water. But, the pool, as you can see, is looking great!! I cannot wait for warmer temperatures and summertime parties!

Every day, it seems, I must find new a way to enjoy the day while protecting myself from coronavirus exposure. I know that this is not a dress rehearsal for retirement because I cannot go to the beach! And when I am retired there will be a daily obligatory walk on the beach.

 Important Update from Yesterday: Working during the Coronavirus

No limbs or digits were lost during the making of the video showing Chris splitting wood. For that matter, no limbs or digits were lost by either of us during the entire time we rented the log splitter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Working during Coronavirus

Splitting Wood
Elkridge, MD
April 20, 2020
It was an enjoyable April day. The temperature moderated and it did not rain. 

The Splitter at Work
Elkridge, MD
April 20, 2020
What a great day for some heavy yard work, like splitting logs from ash trees that had been felled and were laying around. They were too big, as they lay, to be used as firewood and another season on the ground would render them worthless for anything other than residences for the flora and fauna that would transform them from wood into soil over the next few years. 

It was also a great day to get heavy work done while practicing social distancing during the coronavirus stay-at-home order. Fortunately, renting construction and construction-related equipment is allowed during the stay-at-home order. 

Chris enjoyed using the splitter. Here is a short video of her splitting the logs. She does a good job. 

After we worked through the pile of logs that we had assembled, I got the chainsaw out and cut many more in an effort to clear some of the mess in the underbrush. 

The ash trees were magnificent and provided a dense canopy, now they will provide enjoyment as we sit around our fire pit during the evenings and enjoy wine with friends, pending of course the end of the stay-at-home orders and relaxing of social distancing.  

I note that the loss of the magnificent ash trees was due to the emerald ash borer which, like coronavirus, was brought to us compliments of China.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday Musings - April 20, 2020

1. Welcome to the last third of April. After a warm start, the weather has turned cold. Too cold. The winemakers of Maryland and Virginia suffered through harvest killing frosts over the weekend.

Eastern Redbud Tree
the Usual View
Elkridge, MD
April 19, 2020
2. Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is still raging and most small businesses remain shuttered. As of this morning there are 759,786 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. which have resulted in 40,683 deaths. Get the current numbers at COVID-19 Map.

Eastern Redbud Tree from Above
Radio Flyer in Action
Elkridge, MD
April 19, 2020
3. I had this really cool idea about flying my drone to get a view of our redbud tree from above. I thought the perspective would be interesting. And, indeed it was an interesting image. I took an image from the side of the tree, the usual view, and one from above--sadly, even though it is the same tree, the color saturation is different. But the effect is interesting. It was fun navigating Radio Flyer, my drone, among the branches of the other trees that tower above the redbud tree in a light wind. 

4. It truly is frustrating that gasoline prices are so low, but I have no where that I need to drive. 

5. The cold weather has made working outside difficult, until yesterday. With temperatures in the 60's it was fun to be outside. I finally completed the brake job on my truck! New pads and rotors for the front. Good for another 55,000 miles!

6. On my daily walk I discovered . . . Walking basically the same route every day, I have begin to really notice the changes of the season and the activity happening in the neighborhood. I recently, over the course of three days, watch a new deck be built on one house. 

7. It is supposed to be in the 60s again today! Yay!

8. Finnegan likes to bark at squirrels! They ignore him, which of course makes him bark more.

9. Today in History. On April 20, 1999, two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, south of Denver. At approximately 11:19 a.m., Dylan Klebold, 18, and Eric Harris, 17, dressed in trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By 11:35 a.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded another 23 people. Shortly after noon, the two teens turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.


Hong Kong Arrests Spark Anger From Movement That Has Left the Streets - The Wall Street Journal

Protests Against Stay-at-Home Orders Grow, Encouraged by Trump - The New York Times

In Pandemic, a Remote Russian Region Orders a Lockdown on Information - The New York Times

South Koreans return to work, crowd parks, malls as social distancing rules ease - Reuters

Deserted Thai beaches lure rare turtles to build most nests in 20 years - Reuters

Top Navy admiral to decide fate of ousted Captain Crozier - OANN

At least 16 people, including gunman, dead in Nova Scotia shooting — Canada’s deadliest in history - The Washington Post

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, April 19, 2020

As the Politicians Rage

I suppose the most important thing to remember about politicians is that we are at fault for electing them.

I remember that I once heard that you can tell a politician is lying because their lips are moving. 

I was fascinated the other day by the exchange between the president the the governor of New York.  

From Crooks and Liars.

The first move from the president:

"Governor Cuomo should spend more time doing and less time complaining. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking. We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn't need or use, gave large numbers of ventilators that you should have had and helped you with testing that you should be doing." 

The response from the governor:

Let's respond to the president. First of all, if he's sitting home watching tv, maybe he should get up and go to work, right? Second, let's keep emotion and politics out of this, and personal ego if we can. Because this is about the people. And it's about our job. And let's try to focus on that. 

The governor continues:

And the number came from a projection from him. Him. See, he should read the reports he issues. The White House Coronavirus Task Force had enormous -- projected in the millions of people. The CDC, which is the president, projected in the millions of people. So the projections were high. They were the president's projections. So for him to say that anyone, "Well, you relied on projections and the projections were wrong," they're YOUR projections, Mr. President. So were we foolish for relying on your projections, Mr. President?

And who loses when exchanges such as these happen?

We do! The sick and dying people lose. 

Exchanges such as these demonstrate that our elected leaders have taken their eyes off the issue and problem and are moving into damage control and finger pointing. 

Our elected officials need to set their political differences and egos aside to solve the crisis. Let the finger pointing happen when it is over and no one really cares.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, April 18, 2020

It Really is Saturday

Elkridge, MD
April 16, 2020
It doesn't just feel like just another Saturday in an unending string of Saturdays--it really is Saturday. The calendar told me so!

The Diving Board and Reflection
Elkridge, MD
April 16. 2020
I could tell that it is really Saturday because it is raining and it always seems to rain on Saturdays. 

But it is Spring and the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing and the governors are trying to figure out how to safely get us all back to something resembling a functioning economy. 

In the meantime, I am getting so bored that I began taking images of the reflection of the diving board in my pool water. I actually took three images and decided that I liked this one the best. 

My Palm Tree in Florida
Tequesta, FL
November 19, 2029
The reflection of the diving board in the pool reminded me of an impressionist painting, perhaps by Monet. The wind was blowing and it took three images to get one that I liked.

I dream of visiting my palm tree in Florida. But, that trip seems further away with each passing day. The discussion about flying with fares being so inexpensive, or driving due to concerns about being crammed onto an airplane for the 2 hour 20 minute each way flight, continue to spark lively discussion. I suspect driving will win because it is the most flexible and we do have a number of things that need relocating to Florida that won't fit into an aircraft. 

But at least we are planning for when we are free to move around the country again. 

When will that be? Ever? 

And it is still early on Saturday. The Today show is on! I already mowed the lawn this week, but it is still raining.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, April 17, 2020

Stimulus--Status Quo--The Usual

The news is full of discussions about the government stimulus payments.

Sadly, the stimulus has become the usual story of the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

When the Stimulus Check in Your Bank Account Isn’t What You Expected

The internet has stories about people rushing to Walmart with their newly received stimulus to buy non-critical items as big screen TVs. How is a TV more important that food or rent?

Wait--people don't need to buy food, they can go to the food banks! And they don't need to pay for rent--they can't be evicted--so of course a new big screen is suddenly an essential item.

OK, that was sarcastic! I guess I am a bit miffed at abuses because my tax dollars are funding the stimulus payments. The federal deficit is exploding--it has become too large to ever imagine paying off. And of course, the bigger problem is that if people are shopping for non-essential items, then they are not practicing social distancing. 

On the other hand, there are also multiple reports of people giving their stimulus checks to local food banks to help those who really need the help! And that is an incredibly laudable use for the stimulus money.

Important safety tip: Receipt of the stimulus payment is NOT permission to ignore social distancing and race to Walmart to buy non-essential items!

For the rest of us? We can be content to know see our tax dollars at work.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Today must be Saturday

Most Americans are rallying around the concept of social distancing and staying home to do our part so that the healthcare system is not overloaded and can tend to those stricken with COVID-19. 

Of course there's a bit of selfishness in the seemingly altruistic approach--we don't want the healthcare system overloaded in case we need it!

Before Coronavirus
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
September 11, 2019
Here are some numbers to show how Americans in general are complying. An article in The Wall Street Journal lays out the impact of the stay-at-home orders on the travel industry. The article, The Devastated Travel Industry, by the Numbers really brought home for me the impact of complying with the stay-at-home orders. Some of the numbers from that article:

Number of TSA passengers screened on April 12: 90,510; same day of the week one year ago: 2.4 million.

Hotel occupancy on Oahu: 7 percent. One year ago: 90.7 percent.

Percent of passengers Delta Airlines is flying on a typical day compared to its normal load: 5 percent.

American Airlines Tail
Phoenix, AZ
September 11, 2019
United Airlines departures from San Francisco daily: 50, the plan was for 300.

United Airlines departures from Newark daily: 16, the plan was for 400. (An April 25th flight upon which I had a ticket to Rome, Italy, is one of those canceled)

61 Year record broken: American Airlines flew its first transcontinental flight, nonstop between New York and Los Angeles, on Jan. 25, 1959. JFK-LAX had remained in American’s schedule ever since, until now. (There were cancellations for storms, 9/11 and other disruptions, but the flights remained in the schedule.) Number of JFK-LAX nonstops in current American schedule: Zero.

The impact is phenomenal. And remember, the cruise ships are not sailing. I don't have numbers for the impact there--but the bottom line is that most Americans, except in Michigan, are staying home. I cannot fathom why the people of Michigan do not get the seriousness of the stay-at-home orders--too soon they likely will need the services of the healthcare system that they overloaded. See Michigan drivers jam capital to protest coronavirus stay-at-home order.

Good for the rest of us. Staying home is hard, but I realized this morning that it is Saturday. And so is tomorrow. And the day after, and probably the day after. Now I wonder, will Monday ever come again?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Keeping Busy on Coronavirus Time

Bleeding Hearts
Elkridge, MD
April 11, 2020
It knew that yesterday was Tuesday, but I forgot. I lost track of time. Everything had devolved into projects that had no time limits.

I was busy and I was at times frustrated.

Red Bud Tree
Elkridge, MD
April 11, 2020
The obligatory things were accomplished--the newly plastered pool was brushed three times, the dog was walked, the garbage made it to the street, and the lawn was mowed for the third time this Spring. 

I attempted to do a brake job on my truck, but was thwarted due to misplaced tools. I wound up putting the tire back on the truck and going to Lowe's for the tools that I needed. I am doing an $850 brake job for $150 in parts that arrived in a next day order and now $50 in new tools. I think that is a good trade off.

But in doing the brake job and going to Lowe's, I lost track of time! I was supposed to have a 5PM Zoom meeting for Happy Hour--but did not get on until 5:30. Weird! I never miss Happy Hour!

It is all part of the new normal. Getting things done and not worrying about the time of day. I am amazed how quickly a day can escape.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Remember How it Used to Be?

Opening Day 2018
Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
March 29, 2018
With the social distancing that I have been practicing, I am wondering if I will ever be comfortable in a crowd at a baseball stadium again?

It is a weird thought.

Or how about being crammed into seats on an airplane? Or even the line to get through security at the airport?

I am incredibly suspicious of others and am diligently keeping my distance. I feel violated if someone encroaches on my personal space which has increased from 18 inches to 6 feet!

Will I ever be able to shake someone's hand again when I meet or say good-bye to them? 

And how about a hug? Will I ever hug again?

I am going to have to be deprogrammed from social distancing to return to normal. 

I wonder when the new normal will go away?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday Musings - April 13, 2020

1. It is the second Monday of April and as the month churns towards the halfway point we remain under a "Stay at Home" Order.

2. Coronavirus and COOVID-19 are the leading news topics from around the world. 

Dogwood Tree
Elkridge, MD
April 12, 2020
3. The dogwood tree in my backyard is in bloom as the springtime deepens. I continue to love the flowers and the colors of the Spring which portends the summer to come.

4. I keep looking at the airline fares trying to plan a trip to my Florida home, but I cannot determine when we will be free to move about the country again. 

5. The rain pounding against my window this morning will keep me from heading outside to enjoy the day. 

6. Thank goodness for Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, Amazon Echo Show and whatever other video communication application that there may be out there, we can be present without actually being together!

7. April showers bring May flowers -- it is really raining today!

8. Be smart--practice social distancing and stay home!

9. I noticed that cruise line fares are at an all-time low point! Perhaps a cruise is in the future.

10. Today in History. On April 13, 1997, 21-year-old Tiger Woods wins the prestigious Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes in Augusta, Georgia. It was Woods’ first victory in one of golf’s four major championships—the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters—and the greatest performance by a professional golfer in more than a century. It also made him the youngest golfer by two years to win the Masters and the first person of Asian or African heritage to win a major.
  (Personal note--I miss golf, all of the golf courses are closed!)


Chinese Citizens Returning From Russia Fuel Coronavirus Spike - The New York Times

50 Years Ago, 3 Astronauts Survived Apollo 13. Could It Happen Again? - The New York Times

Officials worldwide declare Easter Bunny ‘essential worker’ - OANN

Smithfield shutting U.S. pork plant indefinitely, warns of meat shortages during pandemic - Reuters

Record oil output cuts fail to make waves in coronavirus-hit market - Reuters

Thomas Jefferson Quote for the Week
In honor of Thomas Jefferson's birthday, today, I decided to find a quote from him to provide inspiration for the week ahead.

Called upon to undertake the duties of the first Executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge, and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye; when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honour, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation & humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly indeed should I despair, did not the presence of many, whom I here see, remind me, that, in the other high authorities provided by our constitution, I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked, amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.
  -- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 in the Senate chamber

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
My Zimbio
Top Stories