Wednesday, March 31, 2021


Here is an interesting twist on the news. Or is it entertainment? Or something more sinister?

An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning reports:

Cable-News Viewership Falls After Trump’s Exit

From the article:

U.S. cable-news viewership fell for all major networks in the first three months of the year, as the country moved past the presidential election and its chaotic aftermath.

Fox News lost 32% of its total prime-time audience compared with the quarter ended Dec. 31, Nielsen data show. CNN and MSNBC had smaller declines of 16% and 7.8%, respectively, though each fell more substantially from highs they hit in January.

I have to admit--I am not watching the news as closely as I did before President Biden was inaugurated. I am not as fearful that some great travesty or policy statement will occur overnight which could create chaos or destroy the stock market. 

I am more confident that a more rational and reasoned approach to governing has arrived. 

Are there problems? Yes. But, they are being addressed. 

Maybe we are moving towards a kindler and gentler time?

I hope so.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Sunrise Surprise


Oo the Ramp to MD 100
Elkridge, MD
March 29, 2021

One of the enjoyable things that results from resetting the clocks for Daylight Saving Time is that I get to experience the sunrise again for a few weeks as I make my daily trek to work. 

The lengthening daylight at both ends of the day has benefits. Some mornings, like yesterday, I get to enjoy a spectacular sunrise adorning the sky and brightening my daily journey. 

I enjoy the sunrise and the dawn of the day. 

The brilliant sunrise reflecting upon the clouds started my new workweek off in a brilliant fashion. 

I could not resist taking a quick image of the scene as it filled my vision. And then I realized how different this March is from just a year ago when everything was shutdown. We are beginning to restore normal despite rising numbers of infections. But the traffic has returned, children are in school, and we are moving forward. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday Musings - March 29, 2021

 1. It is the last Monday of March 2021. It is the lucky 13th Monday of the year and there are 39 Mondays remaining. 

2. The big ship moved and was partially freed, but remains blocking the Suez Canal as this morning begins. 

3. Ferocious rain battered the land yesterday. It was a good day to remain inside and watch movies. 

Opening Day 2018
March 29, 2018

4. I am amazed at how green the grass has become. I know that some places have already begun mowing, and I am a bit envious--but, the lawn care season is nevertheless underway.

5. It is Holy Week. Sunday is Easter.

6. Chris and I enjoyed another Saturday afternoon baseball game. It was good to be outside in the sun enjoying baseball.

7. MLB begins on Thursday. Here in my prediction for the Orioles: 75-87. I did not attend Spring Training this year and so I do not have any special insight into the team. But, I will attend games at Camden Yards, a/k/a OPACY. The last time I attended Opening Day was during the 2018 season and I unfortunately will also miss this year's Opening Day game.

8. Today in History. March 29, 1973, Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct eight-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.

U.S. Not Ready to Lift China Tariffs, Trade Representative Says - The Wall Street Journal

Pandemic Accelerates Retirements, Threatening Economic Growth - The Wall Street Journal

As U.S. vaccination rates trend upward, more people are traveling or planning to. Here’s how to do so safely. - The New York Times

Birx Lashes Trump’s Pandemic Response, Citing Needless Deaths - The New York Times

Former Trump officials offer stark assessment of previous administration’s coronavirus response - The Washington Post

At least four dead in Nashville after powerful storm triggers flash flooding - The Washington Post

Oil slumps as Suez Canal container ship starts to move - Reuters

Backlogs from Suez stranding could take months to clear, Maersk says - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

As I said, America's program for economic recovery is designed not merely to solve an internal problem; it is viewed by my administration as part of an essential effort to restore the confidence of our friends and allies in what we're doing. When we gain control of our inflation, we can once again contribute more helpfully to the health of the world economy. We believe that confidence will rise, interest rates will decline, and investment will increase. As our inflation is reduced, your citizens and other world citizens will have to import less inflation from us.

As we begin to expand our economy once again and as our people begin to keep more control of their own money, we'll be better trading partners. Our growth will help fuel the steady prosperity of our friends. The control we regain over our tax and regulatory structures will have the effect of restoring steady growth in U.S. productivity. Our goods will go into markets not laden down with the drag of regulatory baggage or punitive levies, but with a competitive edge that helps us and those who trade with us.

Address of the President and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada Before a Joint Session of the Parliament in Ottawa
March 11, 1981

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge ,MD

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It is Surely Spring

Lowering the Water in the Pool
March 27, 2021
Elkridge, MD

 The March rains filled my pool nearly to the top. Yesterday I spent some time lowering the water level. 

I was very happy that the water was clear and it looks as if it will be an easy pool opening season. That would be spectacular. My back-up pump worked perfectly and in about an hour I had lowered the water about six inches. I added a bit of chlorine to supplement that which is already in the water and I will be ordering the chemicals necessary for a proper pool opening in about one month from now. I am currently planning for the last weekend in April to open the pool and begin the best season of the year. 

Yesterday was a beautiful weather day overall, in advance of the rains which are already falling this morning. We enjoyed an afternoon baseball game and some wine with a neighbor around the fire pit to cap off the evening. 

I enjoy days like yesterday. Soon, hopefully Saturday's will be filled with visiting wineries and enjoying finding good wines to enjoy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 27, 2021

It is Only One Ship

Credit...Maxar Technologies

As you have likely heard in the news, there is a big ship blocking the Suez Canal. The ship and the canal are half a world away, yet we are beginning to feel the effects of the canal's blockage here in the United States. 

The whole world is feeling the economic effects of this one ship closing the canal. It really is astounding when I think about it that the world economies are so dependent upon a few critical canals and passages around the world. 

I can think of a few others: Straits of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, Panama Canal. There may be more. 

I am not sure that people understand the size of the ship in the canal. From the New York Times article, here is an attempt to help people grasp the magnitude of the problem:

But with the ship stretching about 1,300 feet long — roughly the height of the Empire State Building — and weighing around 200,000 metric tons, by Saturday morning they still had not managed to dislodge the vessel.

Just for comparison, a U.S. aircraft carrier is about 1,000 feet long. 

As the New York Times article further noted, once the ship is cleared from the canal and other ships begin transiting, they all may arrive at destination ports at once causing additional delays in getting offloaded.

It reminds me of the horseshoe nail proverb

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 26, 2021

Showers and Flowers


Narcissus in the Garden
Elkridge, MD
March 25, 2021
Although it remains the month of March, I believe that the April showers have begun a few days early. It has rained off and on for the past three days and while the rain is welcome the ferocity with which it has arrived at some points is daunting. Nevertheless, the yard has greened up nicely and the Springtime flowers are in bloom. The flowers bloom later in my yard than in most others because I have mostly shade. 

It is good to see the trees budding with leaves, the flowers blooming and to hear the peepers during the evening hours. 

Although the temperatures have warmed considerably, the rain has kept me out of the yard for most of the week. I was able to get some yard work done on Monday afternoon and the good news is that I believe that I will begin mowing likely next week! 

Hopefully the rains will abate and the land will begin to dry. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Saving Money Where it Counts

Repaired Oven with Heating Element
And Louis checking it out
Elkridge, MD
March 25 ,2021
I love it when a plan comes together.

Last week, you may recall, one of the heating elements in our large oven broke. Badly. It was a total loss. I ordered a replacement which was delivered, as promised, on Tuesday evening.

Since I don't like to tackle projects after dinner and a glass, or two, of wine I decided to wait until last evening to install the new heating element into the oven. 

Whenever attempting a repair there is always an element of risk. Did I troubleshoot the problem correctly? Will the repair work? Am I missing something?

Last evening I made the repair. Amazingly, it was fairly straightforward, two screws and two clips. The old element was removed and the new one installed in about ten minutes. The hardest part of the repair was reinstalling the oven door. 

After a quick operations check to see if the oven would heat, which it did, I considered the repair complete. A few minutes of work and a $40 heating element saved hundreds of dollars which would be the cost of a new stove. 

My job is done here!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Thinking Differently to Eliminate a Bias


I have come to the realization that how we talk about our fellow American brothers and sisters is affected by personal bias. An unconscious bias that we did not even know existed. And, worse, the bias is often perpetuated by the news media. 

Take, for example, the current violence against Americans of Asian descent. This type pf violence has spiked since the former president, whose name will not be repeated here, labeled Covid-19 the "Chinese Virus"  and also the "Kung Flu" and vehemently blamed China for the pandemic. 

The problem, as I see it, is the way we describe other's ethnicities. When the phrase "Asian American" is used, it places the emphasis on our differences. If the emphasis were place on the commonality first and the difference second, then it is my hope that we might be able to become a more inclusive, rather than exclusive, society. 

So, my proposal is, that when, for some reason it is necessary to identify a race, religion or ethnicity, the order of the terms be changed to focus upon being American first and then the particular race, ethnicity, or religion second. 

Some examples:

Americans of Irish descent. 

Americans who worship Catholic.

Americans of Asian descent.

Americans who are Hispanic.

Americans of Polish descent.

Americans of Arabic descent.

I think it works. I personally am working to evolve my thinking to remember that we are all Americans first. None of us except for the Native Americans have any more claim to being true Americans that others.

We must change the way we fundamentally think about others to help erase unconscious biases.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


Nuthatch on Feeder
Glen Burnie, MD
March 19, 2021
With the return of the Springtime, the birds have become very active. Chris fed the birds around our house faithfully through the Winter and now the area is full if activity as the nesting cycle begins.

Chris and I were at a friends house for Happy Hour and dinner in Friday evening and this nuthatch was very busy on their feeder. I enjoy watching nuthatch's because the climb down trees headfirst and this particular bird had no issues demonstrating that talent on the bird feeder. 

Through the Winter, we were especially blessed by scores of bluejays, cardinals, tufted titmouse, and wrens and sparrows. We are still waiting for the finches and hummingbirds to make their way back. With the return of Spring the numbers and variety of birds has increased dramatically and we have begun counting the number of nests in the trees. It is easier to find the nests before the leaves return to the limbs.

I am enjoying the Springtime as the world wakes and we begin to shake off the year-long pandemic.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 22, 2021

Monday Musings - March 22, 2021

1. Today is the fourth Monday of March and the first Monday of Spring. There is one more Monday in March and the 12th Monday of the year. There are 40 Mondays remaining in 2021.

2. Baseball Saturdays are awesome--even if it is youth baseball. 

Easter Cactus
Elkridge, MD
March 21, 2021
3. I may have to mow the lawn in about two weeks. I put the tractor battery on the charger to be ready. 

4. Our Thanksgiving Cactus has had a change of heart and is now and Easter Cactus. It is in full bloom right now. 

5. Fun evenings around the fire pit have begun to happen almost nightly. And it is a good way to get rid of the sticks and branches which have appeared on her lawn during the winter. 

6. The first golf outing of the year is in the books. Chris and I spent the afternoon whacking at the little white ball enjoying being outside and getting some much needed sunlight. Fortunately we started by playing only nine holes to get into shape. I have three new clubs, one of them a replacement for my driver. To say my game was ragged would be a compliment.

7. Mondays are the beginning of the workweek which stands between me and the weekend.

8. Today in History. In an effort to raise funds to pay off debts and defend the vast new American territories won from the French in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the British government passes the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765. The legislation levied a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, from newspapers and pamphlets to playing cards and dice.

Though the Stamp Act employed a strategy that was a common fundraising vehicle in England, it stirred a storm of protest in the colonies. The colonists had recently been hit with three major taxes: the Sugar Act (1764), which levied new duties on imports of textiles, wines, coffee and sugar; the Currency Act (1764), which caused a major decline in the value of the paper money used by colonists; and the Quartering Act (1765), which required colonists to provide food and lodging to British troops under certain circumstances.

Protests Across U.S. Call for an End to Anti-Asian Violence - The Wall Street Journal

Schools That Have Been Open for Months Offer Lessons - The Wall Street Journal

China Border Rules, Meant to Stop Virus, Disrupt Business and Upend Lives - The New York Times

Evidence in Capitol Attack Most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says - The New York Times

The rioter next door: How the Dallas suburbs spawned domestic extremists - The Washington Post 

Prince Harry remembers Diana’s death in book for children who have lost parents to covid - The Washington Post

European trust in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine plunges, poll shows - Reuters

Russian jets hit gas facilities and civilian areas near Turkish border, witnesses and rebels say - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'' Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children's children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Saturday is Gone

Jax Leading off 3rd Base
Severn, MD
March 20, 2021

It was the First Saturday of Springtime. And what a day it was. 

Another near-normal Saturday is in the books. 

There was shopping and busy-ness during the morning. I even cleared a blockage in a drain. And then baseball to help enjoy the warm sun during the afternoon followed by a great dinner and evening at home with Patrick and Jen.

As the second sunrise of springtime happened this morning, I was again cheered by the blue sky and the golden hues as the sunlight crept down the tall and bare trees. I know that soon the trees will again be green.

The baseball game was very enjoyable even though Jax's team lost. They made it exciting at the end and while Jax's pitching wasn't as effective as last week, he made up for that at the plate where he went 2 for 2 with an RBI and he scored a run.

I am enjoying Saturdays again. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 20, 2021

First Day of Spring 2021


Daffodils in the Yard/
Elkridge, MD
March 19, 2021

The dark season is officially over! It happened at 5:37 AM EDT this morning.

It actually happened on the 17th when we crossed over 12 hours of sunlight per day--but Spring began this morning.

I have felt that we were suffering through Winter's last gasp for the past few days, but now that is over. Chris and I even have a golf Tee Time for tomorrow to celebrate the first full day of Spring.

The signs of the new season are everywhere. The trees are beginning to leaf as many of them are red with the signs of the season springing out.

I am more and more called to be outside, but the cold last week of the winter made that a miserable experience. Although I noted as I walked out of the building that I work in yesterday that the sky was clear and blue. Something which we had not seen in a few days as the first rains of March graced the land. 

But now the new season is off and running! And I will be running along with it.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 19, 2021

Broken Oven Troubleshooting

 The oven broke!

It was a serious catastrophe. It happened Wednesday afternoon as Chris was preparing the St Patrick's Day dinner. She wanted to use both the small and large overs simultaneously. The large oven, however, would not heat above 255 degrees. Which was weird. 

Last evening, as I got home, I began troubleshooting the problem with the lower oven. I went on line and located information for the model number. The stove is a Maytag Gemini which I remember installing years ago when it was new. How many years ago is a good question, because I do not remember. I know that it was more than 5 but less than 15. Or maybe it was 15 years ago. It is amazing how time flies. 

Pieces of the Oven Heating Element
Step 1: Inspect the heating elements for signs of damage. 

OK this was the easiest troubleshooting problem that I have ever had. As I opened the oven and looked at the heating element I could see it lying in pieces on the bottom of the oven. 

Well, that cinched it. A new heating element was ordered. $40 later it will be delivered Tuesday and the bottom oven should be good as new and fully functional for cooking Easter dinner!

Sometimes it is the most obvious things that are the problems.

I am hoping the replacement goes as easily as did the troubleshooting.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 18, 2021

St Patrick's Day 2021

 Yesterday marked the one year point of my personal struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic. It was when everything changed although the signs had been evident about a week prior and the planning for transitioning life into a new paradigm had begun in earnest.

Classic St Patrick's Day Dinner
Elkridge, MD
March 17, 2021
But, all of that aside, last evening Chris and I celebrated the holiday with a classic dinner done jut a bit differently and with fantastic results. We are hopeful that the year ahead will be far better than the one behind.

The dinner was a joy to behold and it was also great to eat. But it was not without problems--the oven decided to inject some unwarranted angst into the preparation by not heating to the desired temperature. I will be fixing the oven during the next couple of days. Apparently the lower heating element is not heating. 

But, the celebration was grand with just Chris and me to enjoy the dinner. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Living without Fear


As more and more Americans become vaccinated, the questions begin to arise: OK, now what?

It is a good feeling to be fully vaccinated, I know that it lessens my chances of becoming infected with COVID-19 and that even if I do contract the virus, its effects will be lessened.

But what does begin vaccinated do for me, otherwise/

The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning which goes over the do's and do nots of being vaccinated. The article is titles:

What You Can and Can’t Do if You’ve Been Vaccinated: Travel, Gatherings, Risk Factors, What You Need to Know

Basically, at this point we who are fully vaccinated are waiting for the rest of the country and the world to catch up. When I last saw statistics, about 12 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. 

Quoting from the article:

Which activities are lower and higher risk, even after vaccination?

Vaccinated individuals can feel comfortable when doing quiet indoor activities where people are generally still required to be masked and distanced, such as visiting an uncrowded museum, says Dr. Sax. Outdoor activities are even safer.

Higher-risk situations include indoor dining, bars, gyms and houses of worship, where people are singing and talking. “We don’t want to push the limits of what the vaccines can do before case numbers drop,” says Dr. Sax. He and his physician wife are both fully vaccinated but won’t dine in restaurants until case numbers and hospitalizations are significantly lower, he says.

So, beware indoor dining, bars, gyms, and church!

But, I'm safer, right?


So when can I resume playing racquetball?  

Soon, I guess.

Get vaccinated so we can get back to living without fear!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Perfect Weekend

 This past weekend was the most normal weekend that I have experienced in quite a while. 

Blooming Crocus
Ellicott City
March 14, 2021
The weekend started on Thursday evening with friends around the fire pit celebrating the warm temperatures. It was a fantastic start to the weekend and marked the first time we had all gathered together in many months. We are all vaccinated and took advantage of our new status to renew in person gatherings.

Then on Friday, Chris and I ventured out to a new place to enjoy a quiet happy hour together. I wrote of this before. It was very nice and a grand way to start the weekend. 

Saturday was a normal Saturday. I felled three trees in the morning, attended a baseball game, and spent the evening with Nicole and Mike and the boys. Wow. We have not done that in a long time.

Sunday was more of the same. Chris and I completed the forms to renew our passports in the morning and went to a winery in the afternoon. And to top it off, it was Pi Day!

Just like that--poof, the weekend was gone.

But it was just like weekends used to be--too much activity crammed into to too few days.

And along the way, I even stopped to see the blooming Springtime flowers!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 15, 2021

Monday Musings - March 15, 2021


1. It is the third Monday of March and it is also the Ides of March! Beware the Ides of March!

2. I was reflecting that is is nice not to have to read Twitter every morning to understand what the lead story on the news would be.

3. If it is March, it is March Madness!

4. Yes, on this date in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated. 

5. What is the definition of a perfect day? Drinking wine with friends at a winery and then sleeping all the way home--it gets no better than that. I didn't actually mean to sleep, it just happened that way since I was not driving. It made the trip go faster!

6. Does anyone else thing ewe are spending too much time on "Tell All" stories? Do I really care about an internal family squabble (even if they are Royals?) or an unruly dog? 

7. Do you feel stimulated this morning? All I know is that I hope this stimulus package actually stimulates the economy. The last one didn't seem to do the trick. Most forget it was a $2.2 Trillion relief act passed by Republicans and fraught with pork during March 2020. 

8. Today in History. On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declares that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminds the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,”Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

Chinese Factories Burn in Myanmar’s Deadliest Weekend of Protests Since Coup - The Wall Street Journal

Year of Living Remotely: When 365 Days Went ‘Poof’ Into the Cloud - The Wall Street Journal

On Mexico’s Border With U.S., Desperation as Migrant Traffic Piles Up - The New York Times

Fauci Says Ending Mask Mandates Is ‘Risky Business - The New York Times

U.S. and Iran warily circle each other over reactivating nuclear deal - The Washington Post

Massive Facebook study on users’ doubt in vaccines finds a small group appears to play a big role in pushing the skepticism - The Washington Post

China will remove capacity limits of entertainment venues in low-risk areas of COVID-19 Reuters

Recovery bets support stocks as Fed comes in focus Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ``We the People.'' ``We the People'' tell the government what to do; it doesn't tell us. ``We the People'' are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ``We the People'' tell the government what it is allowed to do. ``We the People'' are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I've tried to do these past 8 years.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Jax at the Plate

Jax at the Plate
Kinder Farm Park
March 13, 2021
The slow, lurching progress towards normalcy took a big step forward yesterday. I did something that I did not do last Spring and that was to attend a youth baseball game. I was supposed to coach a a team that was planning to attend a tournament in Cooperstown.

COVID canceled the season and the tournament. 

Yesterday, Chris and I attended a youth baseball game during the Springtime! We had been to a few Fall-ball games during September and October, but Spring is when the games get serious.

It was a cool, but beautiful Spring day. I know that spring does not officially begin until next Saturday, but yesterday felt like Spring had already arrived. It was a nice day for a baseball game. Yes, there were face masks and physical distancing--but nonetheless, it was Springtime baseball. 

Life is returning, slowly and cautiously.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Did We Really?

Cured Table & Tap
Columbia, MD
March 12, 2021
Last evening Chris and I were out enjoying there late afternoon. Since we had hosted Happy Hour the previous night, we really didn't have anything to do, which is rare for a Friday evening. 

As we were driving in Columbia we came upon a restaurant and bar that we has heard about, and it being Friday evening, Happy Hour time, and we have both been fully vaccinated we chanced visiting the place. 

The watering hole was Cured Table & Tap. We felt that it is time to begin getting out again in a safe and responsible manner. We enjoyed a glass of wine and a small appetizer as part of our spontaneous Happy Hour celebration. 

We were pleasantly surprised. The bar was carefully enforcing physical distancing and it was a fantastic experience. They had a nice Happy Hour menu and a great selection of wines and what they seem to be known for: Scotch, Whiskey, and Rye!

Did we really just do that? Yup. It was fun and something different.

And we were very careful!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday-eve Happy Hour

What do you get when you add together great weather, good friends, no particular reason to get together, a roaring fire and a bit of wine and food?


Last evening we celebrated Friday Eve by hosting a Happy Hour around the fire pit. It was a great time and a great way to prepare for the weekend. We changed up the routine this week because the weather was going to be so fantastic on Thursday, but not Friday and there were some possible Friday conflicts we were able to avoid. 

My view--it was a great success. 

The food was great--pulled chicken with Cole Slaw,  deviled eggs, and potatoes with a fantastic dessert of cupcakes with fudge topping covered in ice cream and whipped cream. 

We almost didn't need the variety of wines we enjoyed to make it a special evening. No wait! Did I really write that? I mean--the fantastic wines we enjoyed just added to the ambiance of the warm evening around the fire reconnecting after the long, cold, COVID Winter. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Welcome Spring

It has been almost a year since the COVID-19 quarantines began. Everyone is using a slightly different date for their start, but I will be using March 18th. I distinctly remember that I was at work on St Patricks Day and then the weird schedules and quarantines began. We thought it would last a couple weeks.

Now, a year later there is finally hope. Some places are opening--perhaps too soon. 

As I raised the Springtime flag outside our home, I was encouraged by the bright colors that remind me that Spring is close and almost here. I looked as some of they mages that I took last Springtime and noticed that last year the leaves and blossoms seemed to be ahead of where we are now. But that is OK--they will come and the rebirth of the world will be underway for another year. 

And as an added benefit this year, we will have the 17 year cicadas! I remember their noise from the last time that the brood appeared. 

I will enjoy the near 80 degree temperatures today, before the plunge back into the 40s to begin the week--but I know with every passing day the weather will trend warmer and the days longer.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Fire, Friends, Wine


Chris at the Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
March 9, 2020
Spring is only a a short 10 days away. 

Last evening we celebrated the return of warm weather by hosting a fire pit evening for friends in the neighborhood.

The evening was beautiful and most importantly, warm.

The fire in the pit was crackling and hot--it kept the inevitable chill that announced the arrival of nightfall from driving us inside. We enjoyed stories, conversation, and wine around the fire and dreamed of coming out the other side of the pandemic unscathed. There remains a long way to go, but as more and more of our friends and family are vaccinated, we can begin to resume more normal relationships.

Last evening was the beginning of what we hope are many more evenings around a roaring fire reflecting on life and planning for the future. 

Thanks to our friends who joined us last evening. We are looking forward to enjoying more evenings together.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Art on the Windshield

Sunday night there was a heavy frost. 

Ice Crystals on the Windshield
Elkridge, MD
March 8, 2021
The ice laid heavy across the grass and on the cars. It was especially evident on my windshield.

Given that the morning was clear, bright, and cold I could not help but notice the pattern of the ice crystals on my windshield as I crawled up into the driver's seat of my truck. The crystals were intricate and beautiful.

I attempted to capture an image of them before the defroster melted and then evaporated them back into the moist air from whence they came. 

The pattern on the windshield almost looks as if the ice crystals were ornaments prepared to adorn a Christmas tree, although against the bare trees in the background they added depth to the scene.

All of the transient beauty and then, in a moment, they were gone as I hit the sprayer to clear the scene so that I could safely navigate the truck out of the drive.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday Musings - March 8, 2021


1. Well, here it is--the second Monday of five in March. The month is cruising by.

2. Hard to believe, but the weather is getting better. We may even see 70's this week. I wish I was cleared to play golf--but I am only just over three weeks post-surgery and still recovering.

3. Baseball is back. The Orioles are currently a dismal 2-4 in Spring Training games, but at least the sport is being played. 

4. Why are Republicans apparently devoted to limiting the ability of voters to express their preferences?

5. Apparently there is some thawing in the trade war with Europe. The tariffs on wine are being paused. Yay.

6. The blue skies of the past few days have lifted my spirits and Chris and I prepared the pool area yesterday by setting up the tables and chairs. Pool opening day is still two months off--but it will soon be here.

7. I am beginning to dream about traveling again. Maybe I am hoping the COVID pandemic is beginning to abate. 

8. Today in History. March 8, 1917, in Russia, the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia’s use of the Julian calendar) begins when riots and strikes over the scarcity of food erupt in Petrograd. One week later, centuries of czarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of Nicholas II, and Russia took a dramatic step closer toward communist revolution.

Russians Mount Campaign Against Vaccines, U.S. Says - The Wall Street Journal

Xi Jinping’s Eager-to-Please Bureaucrats Snarl His China Plans - The Wall Street Journal

Amid the Rubble of Mosul, Pope Francis Offers a Salve for Iraq’s Wounds - The New York Times

At Least 15 Feared Dead After Blast Hit Military Base in Equatorial Guinea - The New York Times

Biden signs executive order promoting voting rights on 56th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ - The Washington Post

Houthis strike Saudi oil giant’s facilities in the kingdom’s east - The Washington Post

South Korea to boost funding for U.S. troops under new accord: State Department - Reuters

Australia halts defence ties with Myanmar, redirects aid - Reuters

Ronald Reagan Quote for the Week

What is true for families in America is true for America in the family of free nations. History is no captive of some inevitable force. History is made by men and women of vision and courage. Tonight freedom is on the march. The United States is the economic miracle, the model to which the world once again turns. We stand for an idea whose time is now: Only by lifting the weights from the shoulders of all can people truly prosper and can peace among all nations be secure. Teddy Roosevelt said that a nation that does great work lives forever. We have done well, but we cannot stop at the foothills when Everest beckons. It's time for America to be all that we can be.

Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union - February 4, 1986

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Confusing? Yes

Directional signs that make no sense are the bane of my existence. Well, not really, but they do make for freakishly exciting moments when trying to travel along the highways. 

I ran across one the other day that made me just want to stop and take a picture of it--but I was in traffic and could not either stop or grab my cell phone camera. 

But think of it--there you are, in an unfamiliar place cruising at 65 MPH trying to divine the correct path and a series of roadsigns appears. Moving in traffic you have maybe three seconds to read all of the signs and determine the correct path. Good luck.

And then of course there us the all too often sign combination that makes no sense at all. 

Good luck when you run into situations like this. My view is that when it happens and you can't make a decision, just keep going and if you have to turn around and make a do-over, that is better than causing an accident.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

My Zimbio
Top Stories