Sunday, October 31, 2021

Fire Pit World

Chris at the Gas Fire Pit
Elkridge, MD
October, 30, 2021
Chris and I are blessed with a gas fired pit and a wood fired pit. For evenings when we just want to spend some time around a fire, the gas fired pit is perfect--as in last evening. 

Last evening was one of those evenings. We retreated to our pool deck, surrounded by lights to chase away the darkness and enjoyed the warmth of a fire and some good conversation. We ordered a veggie pizza and enjoyed some wine and conversation basking in the glow of the fire. 

We stayed out until by the fire until it was almost time to retire for the evening. A warm fire, a calm night after the storms of Friday, good pizza, and great wine! Of course there was wine involved. What a great way to celebrate the last Saturday of October.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Tale of Two Fridays

Morning After the Storms
Elkridge, MD
October 30, 2021

The yesterday's rains reminded me how differently days can play out.

Last Friday, I went to work for a few hours and then left for a golf outing on a beautiful Autumn day. The skies were generally clear and the weather was warm enough to golf comfortably in a short-sleeved shirt. After golf, I arrived home and prepared a large fire and celebrated happy hour with friends into the night. As Autumn Fridays go, it was perfect!

Yesterday, however, there was no golf. I remained at work for the entire day and the rain made drive home slow and tortuous. The evening was celebrated with friends around a raging fireplace as the rains eventually subsided. And it was cold! Too cold for a short-sleeved shirt without a jacket. Water was everywhere. The roads were a mess.

How different the two days were--even though both were Friday. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 29, 2021


 Today is a washout.

It is supposed to rain all day and into the evening which will effectively rainout the ballgame scheduled for tomorrow because youth fields do not drain. The water puddles and the field becomes a muddy mess. It can take days to dry out. 

If that happens, it appears we will be playing Tuesday night as a make-up.

The youth baseball season is ending, just as the MLB season is ending. Winter is on the horizon--but, at least I will be wintering in Florida and enjoying the sun and sand instead of the clouds and snow! I had heard, however, in contrast to the woolly worm prediction that I posted during August, that the winter in the Mid-Atlantic region is supposed to be mild!

But today--rain!

A cold Autumn rain that portends the Winter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Fall Classic

The final MLB games, there are at most 5 remaining, of the season are being played. The series is ties 1-1 between Atlanta and Houston. Each of the games thus far have been full of offense. I am not believing that there will be a 1-0 or 2-1 final score in the series. These teams can hit!

I wish the Severn Seminoles 14U could hit! The team came up short in a game last evening against Crofton 6-4. And it was close, we had the bases loaded and were poised to tie the game when the final out was recorded on a solid play from the outfield.

The fortunes of the Seminoles are a series of painfully close losses. The boys are in every game, but just fall a few runs short. There are three games remaining on the season and I expect that they may soon break out and get back onto their winning ways. 

And the World Series will be over soon as well--and then it is a baseball hiatus until the Spring, when we get to do it all over again. Hope springs eternal at Spring Training when the teams show up and prepare for the grueling 162 game season. 

On to Atlanta for the next games of the Series!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Fall Ball (yup, baseball)

It was cold last evening--in the 50's. 
Yet, we held baseball practice for the Severn Seminoles 14U, why? Because it is Fall Ball and if it is not raining that means we practice!

The field was a disaster from the torrential rains the night before and so we confined practice to the batting cage. I felt bad for some of the boys because their hands hurt when they hit the ball because the bats were cold. 

Another Example of Fall Ball

The first game of the World Series was played last evening as well and it was a slug fest with 20 hits. I especially likes the statement the lead-off hitter for the Braves made as he hit the first-ever top the First Inning of the Game 1 of the World Series leadoff home run.  I found it hard to believe that no one before. It is also a difficult record to comprehend.  

Sadly, the Astros have now disappointed their faithful fans by losing the last 5-straight home World Series games. My view? At least they are in the World Series--the Orioles, by contrast, have been watching every World Series form their living rooms since 1983!

By the way, I am officially cheering on the Braves in their quest to with the World Series.

Play Ball! Who cares that its is in the 50s and the leaves are falling form the trees?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Rainy Evening

Rain at Night on the Pool Cover
Elkridge, MD
October 25, 2021
The rain rolled in promptly as expected at 6 PM last evening just as the weather forecasters predicted. 

We need the rain. It has been very dry and the lawn is suffering as well as the trees. It is hard to believe how dry it has been. 

Well, the downside is that the baseball field may be too wet for practice tonight. Especially if it rains most of the day. But the field was like a desert dustbowl that last time we played on it, until the rains came then and turned it into a mud bowl. 

I like to hear the rain as it falls. And it fell last evening, long and hard. The new pool cover holds the water on it before it percolates down. The rain also hits the pool cover like it is a drumhead making a pleasing rhythmic sound. I probably should make a recording of the sound.

We slept with the windows open so we could enjoy the sound of the rain falling. I know I went to sleep very quickly enjoying the calming sound and cool breeze under and additional blanket on the bed. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Musings - October 25, 2021


1. Welcome to the last Monday of October 2021. There are but 9 Mondays remaining in the year. Next Monday is the 1st of November!

2. In one week we will be able to say that Christmas is next month.

Compass Pointe Golf Course
Pasadena, MD
October 22, 2021
3. We get to celebrate four holidays between now and the end of the year (plus one day).

4. Golf on Friday is something I need to spend more time doing. It was a great way to spend a Friday late-morning and afternoon on a beautiful October day..

5. I saw the movie Dune. It was great--but ended abruptly. A sequel is definitely required. 

6. Drivers in Maryland need to:

    -- learn how to drive up hills

    -- Use signals to change lanes

    -- Be less impatient

    -- Develop courtesy

    -- Merge without stopping in the on-ramp

7. Today in History. October 25, 1929. During the Teapot Dome scandal, Albert B. Fall, who served as secretary of the interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, is found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office. Fall was the first individual to be convicted of a crime committed while a presidential cabinet member.

As a member of President Harding’s corruption-ridden cabinet in the early 1920s, Fall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company, who wanted Fall to grant his firm a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills naval oil reserve in California. The site, along with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, had been previously transferred to the Department of the Interior on the urging of Fall, who evidently realized the personal gains he could achieve by leasing the land to private corporations.

Millions of Workers Stay Home to Watch Young Children as Daycares Stay Dark - The Wall Street Journal

Turkey’s Erdogan Threatens to Expel 10 Western Ambassadors, Including U.S. Envoy - The Wall Street Journal

Inside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources ProblemInside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources Problem - New York Times

An Unexpected Pandemic Consequence Frustrates Florida’s Biggest CityAn Unexpected Pandemic Consequence Frustrates Florida’s Biggest City - The New York Times

Americans abroad search for a first vaccine dose as millions at home get their third one - The Washington Post

More frequent outages afflict U.S. power grid as states fail to prepare for climate change - The Washington Post

Melbourne to ease more COVID curbs as 80% vaccination rate nears - Reuters

Dune' Opens to $40 Million at the Box Office. Strong Enough for a Sequel? - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Is there a Simple Repair?

Completed Replacement
Elkridge, MD
October 23, 2021

The Damaged Board Removed
Elkridge, MD
October 23, 2021
It seemed simple enough: remove and replace a board on the deck which had not held up and had become a safety hazard.

OK, Chris put her foot through it on Friday. We used pressure treated lumber when we rebuilt the deck a couple years ago, but it seems that this particular piece may not have been completely treated. I checked all of the other boards in the area for similar deterioration and found none. 

So the project seemed easy, unscrew board, pull it up, measure the replacement and install! Not so fast! The heads of the screws were deteriorated and could not be turned so I had to cut the board on both sides of the support beam and chip the remaining piece out and then use a vice grip to turn each screw out of the beam. I had to do this for place the board crossed a support beam. It was a slog! 

By the time it was done, I was amazed at how many different tools I used. And of course there were two obligatory trips to Lowe's. One for supplies and then another to get the right saw blades to complete the job after I broke the one remaining jig-saw blade that I had. 

I managed to make it an all-day project, but completed it before a late-afternoon downpour drenched everything. 

Another project completed on a Saturday. Next Spring, after the board dries, I will apply the stain and probably stain the entire deck just to freshen everything. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Around the Fire Pit


The Fire at 5 PM
Elkridge, MD
October 22, 2021
And another season around the fire pit begins as the days grow shorter. 

The beginning of a good evening around the pit is, of course, a roaring fire. And I was able to build a great fire that continued to warm the immediate area as nightfall descended and the temperature fell. 

Meeting around a hot fire with friends to recap the week behind and just enjoy being with each other. Of course, a couple bottles of wine help to set the mood. 

It truly was the perfect way to end an idyllic Autumn day. I only spent a few hours at work before heading out to play a round of gold under clear skies, low humidity, and temperatures which just allowed me to be comfortable in a short sleeved shirt. 

As Fridays go--this was one of the best. Of course, not being at work on a beautiful day is always preferred.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 22, 2021

Autumn Evening

Autumn Sun in the Tree Tops
Elkridge, MD
October 21, 2021
Chris and I were outside around the gas fire pit last evening enjoying a glass of wine together for the first time in two weeks. We marked the end of the family emergency which began two weeks ago and was the reason for our sudden/unplanned return from Florida after 38 hours there. 

We were also together again for the first time in about two weeks not facing a family crisis. I could feel Chris's adrenaline level dropping to normal. 

We watched the sun move up the trees and I could detect the signs of autumn in the leaves. Chris relayed that Autumn is in full color in Upstate New York with the reds of the Sugar Maples on display. She had completed the 5 hour drive home from there earlier in the day.

Life will, hopefully, return to normal, at least for a few weeks. Sitting tonight sipping a glass of wine together marked the first normal evening in two weeks. 

Here is to normal! May it last.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Here We Go Again

 Another new variant?

COVID-19 is mutating again! A new, and of course more  contagious variant that could replace the Delta variant has made its appearance in Russia according to a report on Reuters this morning.

Russia reports cases of more contagious COVID-19 variant - reports

Like we actually need another variant in the world. 

According to the report, 

It is possible that the AY.4.2 variant will spread widely, RIA quoted the state consumer watchdog's senior researcher Kamil Khafizov as saying.

That could cause the rate of new COVID-19 cases, already at record highs in Russia, to rise even further.

The new variant could even replace Delta eventually, although the process is likely to be slow, he said.

Like we really need more COVID-19!

Hopefully the vaccines will stand up to this new variant. And of course, it is clear that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Sports Junkies


The excitement of the mid-week has arrived. 

Mike and his now famous "Hump Day" camel have made Wednesday a thing.

It is a busy week in sports with the MLB playoffs underway, NHL Hockey finding its stride for the long season ahead, the NFL in the middle of the season, and the NBA opening its season last night! We are in that small yearly period when all of four of the biggest sports in America are underway.

And do not forget golf! The PGA is playing as well.

Coupled with college football--there is a lot of sports available to become distracted from the realities of life. 

Who will play in and win the World Series? That is the most immediate sports question at hand. Following that, I wonder are the Dallas Cowboys for real at 5-1?

I am not the sports junkie that I used to be, but I follow teams in three of the "Big 4."

So with sports, there are plenty of distractions, not to mention I am still a coach on a Fall Ball baseball team.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Winding Down in the Yard

Freshly Mowed
Elkridge, MD
October 18, 2021
I spent some quality time on my lawn tractor yesterday afternoon. It felt good to be out on the yard mowing and relocating the leaves which are beginning to fall. Since the year is quickly moving to conclusion, it is likely that I will not be mowing the lawn too many more times. But it sure looked beautiful in the Autumn afternoon light. All of the leaves were gone and I could enjoy the grass again. It was like a golf fairway.

Hibiscus on the Pool Deck
Elkridge, MD
October 18, 2021
I noticed that our hibiscus is blooming like mid-summer. It has burst forth in brilliance with its multi-colored flowers and made me smile as I was clearing the pool deck of the leaf accumulation.

The shortened days of Autumn are clearly here. The darkness arrives almost before I am ready and in three short weeks I will be setting the clocks back and preparing for the dark days. The clocks need to get reset because the school kids can barely be seen walking to their bus stops as I depart for work during the morning. 

And yes, it is Tuesday. I am reminded of the outdoors projects still remaining to prepare for the winter season. Hopefully, the first frost is still some weeks away--but it is colder this morning than last. The arrival of 40 degree nights caused my heating system to kick-on overnight. 

Another day and I'm beginning to get in the mindset of playing out the string.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday Musings - October 18, 2021


1. Welcome to the 3rd Monday of the month. There are just 10 Mondays remaining in the year! Don't look now, the year is slipping away.

2. Family NFL results:

   Ravens (5-1) defeat Chargers (4-2), 34-6

   Cowboys (5-1) defeat Patriots (2-4), 35-29

   Washington (2-4) lose to Chiefs (3-3), 13-31

   Steelers (3-3) defeat to Seahawks (2-4), 23-20

3. I have a thought--the use of turn signals while driving in is a direct reflection of a community's consideration of others. 

4. The temperature outside as I woke this morning was 49 degrees. The high today is expected to be only 66 degrees. These are sure signs that Autumn has arrived. 

5. The leaves are beginning to turn and fall from the trees. I suppose that even though the lawn does not need mowing, I will have to get the leaves removed so that I an hold onto the last vestiges of summer just a bit longer.

6. Here is a thought for the day:

 Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.

Bonnie Blair

Speed Skater

7. Today in History. On October 18, 1867, the U.S. formally takes possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, or less than two cents an acre. Indigenous peoples settled the unforgiving territory thousands of years earlier. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson.

Russia wanted to sell its Alaska territory, which was remote and difficult to defend, to the U.S. rather than risk losing it in battle with a rival such as Great Britain. Negotiations between Seward (1801-1872) and the Russian minister to the U.S., Eduard de Stoeckl, began in March 1867. However, the American public believed the land to be barren and worthless and dubbed the purchase “Seward’s Folly” and “Andrew Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden,” among other derogatory names. Some animosity toward the project may have been a byproduct of President Johnson’s own unpopularity. As the 17th U.S. president, Johnson battled with Radical Republicans in Congress over Reconstruction policies following the Civil War. He was impeached in 1868 and later acquitted by a single vote. Nevertheless, Congress eventually ratified the Alaska deal. 

Global Energy Crisis Shows Strain of Shift to Renewables - The Wall Street Journal

Group of 16 Americans and a Canadian Kidnapped in Haiti - The Wall Street Journal

As Manchin Blocks Climate Plan, His State Can’t Hold Back Floods - The New York Times

Analysis: Is the U.S. in a Cold War With China? - The New York Times

Denver museum to return artifacts to Cambodia - The Washington Post

Fully vaccinated travelers can come to the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say - The Washington Post

Sydney eases more COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations pass key milestone - Reuters

Oil prices climb to highest in years as COVID recovery, power generators stoke demand - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Cold Autumn Rain

 The rain that fell yesterday afternoon was definitely a cold Autumn rain.

How do I know? I was out in it coaching baseball and I was cold and wet as the rain soaked through my shirt.

Although Severn Seminoles 14U managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in both games, we were able to complete the second game despite the rain beginning during the 3rd inning. The rain stopped and we were able to play the 4th inning. 

I mostly dried out and warmed-up by the end of the 4th where the Seminoles a 3-2 lead and were playing up to their potential.  The rain began again during the 5th inning after the opposing team had taken a lead. Unfortunately as the rain fell harder, the play of the team began to get as sloppy as the field. 

In the end we lost. The rain fell harder and the play got sloppier. I was wet and cold. When I finally got to my car and took my hat off it was dripping and created a huge wet spot on the seat. 

It is Autumn after all and we have been having some really warm and great weather. The low 50s temperatures of this morning and the rains were to be expected some weeks ago. 

Today is crisp and clear! Exactly the weather expected after a cold Autumn rain. All that is missing are the brightly colored leaves of Autumn.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Surging into Saturday

 I made it to the weekend. It was touch and go for a bit, but as I cruised through Friday the reality of the weekend was confirmed. 

I made a scary and stunning realization this morning. While there are 11 Fridays remaining in the year, I will only be working for 7 of them. Two Fridays follow holidays (Veterans Day and Thanksgiving) both of which I am planning to be off, and two more are, themselves, days upon which holidays are being observed: Christmas and New Years. 2021 is shorter than we think! Of the remaining 11 workweeks in the year, two are three-day weeks and two are four-day weeks. So of 55 scheduled work days, I will be working only 49, not counting if I take some time off for travel or, weather permitting, a golf outing next Friday.

Where is the time flying.

Well, if my Saturday is any measure, the time is flying because I am so very busy. Today the Severn Seminoles will, hopefully, return to their winning ways during the scheduled doubleheader. That is the bulk of my Saturday.  And then there is grocery shopping--the cupboards are getting bare so I need to replenish supplies. I have run out of strawberry jam to put on my peanut butter and jam sandwiches! I may be out of bread as well. And milk. And the coffee is getting low. But I have plenty of dog food, cat food, and litter!

A busy weekend to set up for a likely busy week ahead at work.

But--it IS the WEEKEND!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Thursday Night Lights

Severn Seminoles 14U Working Out
Severn, MD
October 14, 2021

 It was Thursday, also known as Friday Eve, and I was out under the lights of the baseball field with the team preparing for the Saturday's doubleheader. I realized that just a two short months ago it would have been daylight at 7:30 PM, but last night the cool evening air had already arrived and the lights were illuminating the field.

I used to enjoy practicing and playing games under the lights. It reminds me of playing high school football in and all of the excitement of a Friday night game. Lately though, it has become apparent that my contact lenses do not work well under the lights at night. I find it hard to see the ball, I remember thinking as a foul ball whizzed by my head.

But the workout last evening was good and the effort should result in some wins on Saturday during the scheduled games. 

At least the games are "day" games!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine

 I wonder about the real reason that the Texas and Florida governors are directing vaccine mandates not be enforced in their states?

Are they thinning the herd?

Are they callous to the suffering that COVID-19 is causing?

Vaccines have become a rallying cry for a vocal minority who have chosen, for some reason, this particular hill upon which to make their stand. I view this hill as being similar to the hill upon which Custer and the 7th Calvary made their stand--and only some of their horses survived.

The arguments do not make sense in the face of staggering numbers. The numbers are so bad that Florida's governor is trying to hide the figures--which we must remember represent people: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

This is not really about the virus--it is about saving lives. And not just the people who become infected with COVID-19--but the other people who need medical care but are finding in some places that the hospitals are appropriate care is unavailable. 

Second and third order effects!

Get vaccinated. The life you save may not be just your own!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Black Walnuts

Black Walnuts on the Ground
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

 It must be a banner year for the Black Walnuts. They are everywhere in my yard and are going to be a real problem when I start my tractor and attempt to mow. 

The side yard has more than a bushel of the noxious nuts lying on the ground. The squirrels are happy and I hope they run off with more of them before I have to deal with removing them or trying to mow over them.  

I remember when we lived in Louisiana and the pecan trees dropped nuts all over the yard and the surrounding park. At least they were edible--although I remember my hands turned green removing the husks from the nuts. We gathered grocery bags full of them. 

While I was outside, I heard the nuts dropping from the trees. I bet they hurt as much as when a coconut falls on one's head. It would be a painful experience. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 12, 2021



Grasses After Cutting
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

Grasses Before Cutting
Elkridge, MD
October 11, 2021

It is that time of year when the ornamental grasses that we use as a privacy screen around our pool need to be trimmed. Originally, I had thought it would be too wet to cut them, but unlike Sunday they dried out by about 10 AM and were ready for cutting.

It is quite a job, cutting the grasses and stacking them in the truck to haul to the recycling center at the landfill. Its takes two trips to get them all removed. All told, with the travel time, it is about a five hour project. And normally it is a two person project, but today, with Chris in New York with her sister, I did it alone. 

OK, I am tired and sore. I wore a short sleeve shirt for the first run, but as I broke out with welts I remembered that I am allergic to the grasses. So a little washing and Benadryl took care of that problem. 

I normally attempt to get the grasses cut on Columbus Day--so since I am not in Florida at least I was able to get a major project completed on-time for another year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Musings - October 11, 2021


1. It is the second Monday of October. Two Mondays remain in the month and only 11 remain in the year 2021. 

2. Happy Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day.

3. I actually was able to get out and play some racquetball yesterday. It was good to be back on the court and I enjoyed taking my pent-up frustrations out on the racquetball. It was my first experience on a three-wall court and I had to learn the modified rules.

4. Family NFL Results:

    Washington (2-3) loses to Saints (3-2), 22-33

    Cowboys (4-1) defeat Giants (1-4), 44-20

    Steelers (2-3) defeat Broncos (3-2), 27-19

    Ravens (3-1) play Colts (1-3) tonight

My Florida Palm Tree
Tequesta, Florida
October 7, 2021
5. We need rain, but I have been trying to perform my seasonal ornamental grass cutting and it just does not work when the grasses are wet! Ugh! But, I don't know why I' m worried about it, I am not even supposed to be here.

6. My palm tree is still standing beside the drive at my Florida home. I took the picture to remind me of what it looks like when I'm not there. I miss it, although parking next to it can be a problem getting the car lined-up so the doors open fully.

7. Enjoy the day--it is the only one we have. 

8. Today in HistoryOn October 11, 2002, former President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, served one term as U.S. president between 1977 and 1981. One of his key achievements as president was mediating the peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter the prize that year for his efforts, along with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, but was prevented from doing so by a technicality—he had not been nominated by the official deadline.

The Massive and Costly Fight Against the Dixie Fire to battle the nearly one-million-acre blaze - The New York Times

U.S. Navy Engineer Charged in Attempt to Sell Nuclear Submarine SecretsU.S. Navy Engineer Charged in Attempt to Sell Nuclear Submarine Secrets - The New York Times

After the Taliban seized their school, Afghanistan’s all-female orchestra tried to flee. Only some escaped. - The Washington Post

In search for covid origins, Hubei caves and wildlife farms draw new scrutiny - The Washington Post

Oil Jumps Above $80, Turbocharged by Supply Shortages - The Wall Street Journal

China’s Property Market Faces a $5 Trillion Reckoning - The Wall Street Journal

Korea's Kim calls for improving people's lives amid 'grim' economy - Reuters

China rust-belt province warns of more shortages in energy crisis - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Winter must be close

Snow Blowers Ready for Winter
Columbia, MD
October 9, 2021
I had to make the obligatory weekend trip to Lowe's yesterday and what did I see? 


Lined up in front of the store where, the lawn mowers and tractors used to be, were snow blowers! Ugh!

Could Winter really be that close? It seems as if we only just said good-bye to Summer and are beginning to enjoy the early Autumn.

But the snow blowers were there, almost it seemed laughing at me since I was supposed to be on a beach in Florida and not frequenting a Lowe's in Columbia. 

I am still trying to get the Autumn chores accomplished. Today I will tackle the ornamental grasses around the pool and load the truck for an early morning drop-off at the recycling center. What a great way to spend a holiday weekend. But, at least I have a new battery for the hedge trimmer and it will make short work of the grasses. 

It seems to be a weekend for battery replacement. The truck battery on Friday and the hedge trimmer battery yesterday.

I just did not need to see snow blowers in October!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, October 9, 2021

I insult to Injury

As if  being back in Maryland after such a short time away was not enough, I had another surprise when I hopped into the truck to retrieve Makayla from my son yesterday. The battery was dead!


I put a trickle charger on it and drove the Jaguar to get the dog. It was a nice enough day to enjoy having the convertible top down and the car needed gas anyway. 

When I came back, the charger indicated that the battery should have been fully charged--but it wasn't. The voltage read just over 9 volts. Something bad had definitely happened. I suspected a bad cell--but the battery was only months old. Then I worried about the electrical system of the truck.

I removed the battery from the truck and returned it to the chain where it was purchased, receipt in hand. The battery had a 48 month warranty and it had been purchased in May 2021. Yup, 5 short months ago! 

The agent at the store was a very concerned when I set the battery on the counter and announced that ti was dead. As he retrieved the testing equipment he said it was probably low on charge and that I might have a short or that some small light that was left turned-on. His optimism about not having to replace the battery under warranty was soon dispelled as the machine very quickly showed the symbol with the words "Replace Battery." He was very nice and we discussed that it was only 5 months old and it was one of their more expensive batteries--running $200 (ok, $199.99 for the purists). He handed me the new battery and said, go on, I'll take care of the warranty paperwork. In the end, it was one of the easiest exchanges that I have done in a long time. 

I have a new battery that has 43 months left on the original warranty. I wish they would restart the warranty date when something is exchanged, but I guess that would actually be getting something for nothing. I'm just glad that I had the receipt.

So after wasting the better part of the afternoon, the truck was again up and running with a new battery. I would say that it was at no cost--but that would not consider the time and gas that it took for me to diagnose, remove/replace, and drive to get the replacement battery.

Nothing is free.

And to think, I could have been on a beach in Florida and not discovered the battery was dead until I was getting into the truck to go to work after returning from vacation! That would have been exciting!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, October 8, 2021

38 Hours

Point of Rocks
Jupiter Beach, Florida
October 7, 2021

 And it was over before it really began. 

Chris and I managed 38 hours in Florida before a family emergency called us back. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But, I understand.

After all, it is my condo in Florida. I will get back there--possibly, next month. 

It did get to walk the beach and enjoy the ocean, briefly.

I completed some small projects around the condo and I managed to begin stocking the wine fridge. So many good things happened during the short time, it was just over too soon.

But now I am supporting Chris as she deals with the emergency.

I have great memories, albeit short and it is a three-day weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Made it


Clouds over the Bahamas
Somewhere over the Western Atlantic
October 6, 2021
I enjoyed my morning coffee on the patio of my Florida condo this morning. 

We made it. The trip from Baltimore to Jupiter was smooth and uneventful. Finnegan seemed to enjoy the plane ride and sat quietly on Chris's lap for the entire trip. 

Southwest had us waiting at the gate after boarding for 25 minutes so they could load connecting baggage. Which was great for the connecting passengers but not so great for those of us strapped in and ready to go. 

I had a window seat for the first time in many flights. I confess that I did enjoy looking outside the plane at the cloud formations. They were especially pretty and the ocean was so smooth that I could see their reflections. The image doesn't show the beauty as my eye saw it because the aircraft window was very dirty. But I still enjoy the memory of the flat Atlantic reflecting the clouds as they floated over the Bahamas. 

Soon, I won't be just visiting my Florida home, it will be my home.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, Florida 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Hump Travel Day

Jupiter Beach
Jupiter, Florida
April 25, 2021
Mid-week travel and an escape to Florida for almost a week, that is the plan for the day.

I will be making my triumphal return to the land of Palm Trees and our condo. Well it may not be a triumphal return except in my own head. It seems as if I have been waiting to get to Florida for a very long time (well, it was April). And yet, very soon it will be my residence.

The travel does provide a way to get away from the pace of life at work, which has been a bit over the top lately. I guess it just goes with the territory. 

And I do look forward to enjoying Happy hour on my favorite beach--maybe tonight? Probably not since we arrive after the happy hour begins. But definitely a walk tomorrow morning. 

I really can't think of a better way to enjoy Indigenous People's Day (a/k/a Columbus Day). Yes, it is a Holiday. WooHoo!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

the Booster

I did it last evening.

I received my COVID-19 vaccine booster. 

Yup, since I'm eligible and it was recommended, due to my advanced age, I am now not only fully vaccinated, but within two weeks I will be fully boosted. 

Chris and I determined that since we are traveling, and much of the travel is to the misguided and poorly led states of Texas and Florida, we needed the extra protection. And we were eligible for the booster. We are also planning on a cruise in January--so additional protection was also desired. 

The person administering the booster shot indicated that since a lot of businesses are requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment, they are seeing a lot of first timers. 

So I will continue to be free to move about the country and the world for that matter. 

Get vaccinated and if eligible, get the booster. The price is right and it is a lot cheaper than getting COVID.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, October 4, 2021

Monday Musings - October 4, 2021


1. October has arrived and today is the first Monday of the month. There are three Mondays remain in October and 12 Mondays remaining in the year. 

2. NFL Family Results:

    Ravens (3-1) defeat Broncos (3-1), 23-7

    Cowboys (3-1) defeat Panthers (3-1), 36-28

    Washington (2-2) defeat Falcons (1-3), 34-30

    Steelers (1-3) lose to Packers (3-1), 27-17

Tournament Image - Jax at the Bat
Pasadena, MD
October 2, 2021
3. The baseball tournament played by the Severn Seminoles 14U ended in an unsatisfactory manner with a sour loss yesterday morning 11-8. Based upon how the three games win the tournament were umpired, I wonder if there is an unconscious bias by umpires against teams with plain uniforms. Just wondering because it seemed every questionable call went against out boys and the others teams were wearing modern and unique uniforms. And some bad calls were not questionable--like giving an opposing batter a 4th strike, confirmed by video after the game, which resulted in a two run single rather than an out.

4. It was a sports filled weekend: three baseball games and I watched 2 and a half NFL football games. In addition I repaired the pull cord on my gas powered blower. It is amazing how simple instructions can be difficult to understand. Maybe I'm getting older or maybe some additional words needed to be added. Fortunately YouTube came to the rescue!

5. The past week was some of the best weather the region has experienced in a long time. Warm, but not hot and humid afternoons with cool evenings. One evening Chris and I even sat around the fire pit for the first time this season. 

6. Today in History. October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union inaugurates the “Space Age” with its launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. The spacecraft, named Sputnik after the Russian word for “satellite,” was launched at 10:29 p.m. Moscow time from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. 

Sputnik had a diameter of 22 inches and weighed 184 pounds and circled Earth once every hour and 36 minutes. Traveling at 18,000 miles an hour, its elliptical orbit had an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 584 miles and a perigee (nearest point) of 143 miles. Visible with binoculars before sunrise or after sunset, Sputnik transmitted radio signals back to Earth strong enough to be picked up by amateur radio operators. Those in the United States with access to such equipment tuned in and listened in awe as the beeping Soviet spacecraft passed over America several times a day. In January 1958, Sputnik’s orbit deteriorated, as expected, and the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere.

Broader Inflation Pressures Begin to Show - The Wall Street Journal

Mortgage Payments Are Getting More and More Unaffordable - The Wall Street Journal

Back on the Bench, the Supreme Court Faces a Blockbuster Term - The New York Times

Democratic Voters See Many Losers in Party Schism, and One Winner: Trump - The New York Times

Crisis - what crisis? British military deployed to solve fuel crisis - Reuters

Swedish 'Mohammad' cartoonist Lars Vilks killed in car crash - Reuters

Biden's new China trade plan echoes Trump's, but assumes Beijing won't change - Reuters

U.S. Navy hit by another international bribery scandal - The Washington Post

Why the arrest of an ex-president may be one crisis too many for Georgia - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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