Tuesday, November 30, 2021

No Need to Hurry

 I think the retailers just realized something--if Black Friday sales are spread over multiple days people will not spend more money, they will just spend what they had planned to spend spread across the increased shopping period. 

Hmmm. Makes sense.

It is the last day of November and the shopping season is in full swing. I spent time last evening searching for and purchasing the perfect Christmas gifts. It seems harder this season. People are not as forthcoming with lists from which to choose the perfect gift. 

Well, there are 24 more days until it all needs to be done. No need to hurry. Why should I stress myself out about supply chain problems and distribution issues. Add to that not enough employees and the new COVID variant. it should make for a great holiday!

Still--why add undue stress worrying about such things. Maybe it has all become too complicated. 

Well, I am sure it has become too complicated. 

Let's just work through it one day at a time. I am pretty sure Christmas will arrive right on schedule regardless of our individual stress level. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Musings - November 29, 2021


1. Wow. It is the last Monday of November and that means there are just 4 Mondays remaining in the year. There are 26 shopping days until Christmas.

The Family Room Decorations
Elkridge, MD
November 29, 2021
2. The house has been transformed for the Christmas season. The tree is up and the decorations have been freed from their storage boxes. The fireplace is ready for a Winter fire to warm our hearts and bodies.

3. Family NFL Update

    Dallas (7-4) lost to Raiders (6-5), 33-36

    Ravens (8-3) defeated Browns (6-6), 16-10

    Steelers (5-5-1) lost to Bengals (7-4), 10-41

    Washington (4-6) hosts Seahawks (3-7), tonight

4. The colder weather has kept me inside for much of my four-day holiday weekend. 

5. Does anyone have any idea how many Christmas/Holiday movies there are? I know there are a lot!

6. What is up with people who have their holiday shopping already completed? What happened to the joy of going to the stores during the season to find exciting gifts for our loved ones? I know that I do not do it much anymore, it is far easier to sit in front of my computer while watching a sappy holiday movie and complete my shopping.

7. Guess what? There is a new mutation of COVID-19. It is called Omicron! Isn't that great. Where did it come from? The unvaccinated people of the world.

8. Today in History. November 29, 1947. Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

How Omicron Variant Rattled the World in One Week - The Wall Street Journal

Nissan to Spend $17.6 Billion on Battery-Powered Vehicles Over Five Years - The Wall Street Journal

Iran’s Nuclear Advances Weigh on Renewed Talks - The Wall Street Journal

As China Speeds Up Nuclear Arms Race, the U.S. Wants to Talk - The New York Times

University Scientists Warn of Backlash From U.S. Hunt for Chinese Spies - The New York Times

Man Survives Flight From Guatemala to Miami in Plane’s Landing Gear - The New York Times

Taiwan says China military trying to wear it out, but it can respond - Reuters

First suspected case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Switzerland - Reuters

Earthquake hits remote northern Peru, 75 homes destroyed, no deaths reported - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Outlaws and Doctors

Photo by Patrick Doan

 My family, which came to America during 1629, has a checkered history. Yesterday my son Patrick visited the grave of a long dead Revolutionary War relative and it reopened a chapter in our family's history that we probably should forget, but it is incredibly interesting and at times confusing. 

The site of Levi Doan's resting place, along with his cousin Abraham, is just outside of a Quaker Cemetery near Doylestown, PA. They were part of the Doan Gang, a group of five brothers and one cousin who supported the British during the Revolution by spying on the American forces and stealing horses to support the Redcoats. But they were very complicated. The stories make them sound like a cross between Robin Hood and common thieves. 

The following story, from the referenced history of the gang, shows how the Doan's were more than common thieves and murderers:

A young mother whose husband was with Washington at Valley Forge could not obtain a travelling pass from the British in order to buy food for her children. Despite repeated petitions to the British leaders, the pass was not forthcoming. Spurned on by the cries of her hungry children, she finally set out for the mills along a series of back roads that would keep her from the sight of the British sentinels. The woman was so exhausted from hunger and the long journey that she was near death the following day when she endeavored to return home. Burdened by her sack of flour, she struggled along the road, periodically dragging her cargo through the woods to skirt the British guards along the way. Suddenly she was stopped by a man. She immediately assumed from previous descriptions that he was one of the Doans. She told him of her husband at Valley Forge and her hungry children and the stranger, Moses Doan, gave her his purse with all the money he had in it. He then warned her of another sentinel just ahead on the road and disappeared before she could thank him. She pressed on and was almost home when a British guard challenged her and demanded a pass. When she could not produce it, he demanded her sack of flour which the woman, weak from her journey, gave up meekly. At that moment Moses Doan appeared from the woods. She knew it was Moses by his clothing but his demeanor was quite different from the man she had met only minutes before. He shambled over to the soldier like an old man and asked that he return the woman's flour, even offering twice its value in gold. When the guard refused and then threatened to arrest Moses, he seized him by the throat and told the woman to grab her flour and run. As soon as she was safely away, Moses drew a pistol and shot the guard in the head. Instantly, the alarm went up from the guard house and along the line of pickets. Moses escaped into the woods where he found his horse and rode for the safety of the river. Before he was to finally escape he would shoot another guard and kill a British officer who was in the lead barge pursuing him across the Delaware. Having failed to capture him, the British soldiers later attributed his escape to supernatural reasons which served to further escalate the legend of Moses Doan.

Sometimes as we search for family history, we find more than really want to know. I was encouraged, however, since the Doan's who settled in Buck's County, PA, were from Israel's side of the family. My branch is from his brother Daniel who became a respected Doctor in the Barnstable, Massachusetts, area near where the family came to America. Daniel married Constance (Hopkins) Snow whose mother, Constance Hopkins, came to America aboard the Mayflower. Yes, they were both named Constance.

So wet are not all outlaws! Just a few of us!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 27, 2021

History was Validated

Axis and Allies 1942 Edition
Odenton, MD
November 26, 2021

 The annual family Axis and Allies game was conducted yesterday complete with adult beverages and Thanksgiving Day leftovers. We gathered to validate or change history with respect to the outcome of World War II.

History was validated. The Allies overcame serious coordinated Axis campaign that saw the Italians conquer Africa, the Japanese achieve naval superiority, for a while, in the Pacific, and the Germans pay a bloody price for the same real estate on multiple occasions both on the Eastern and Western Fronts. In the end the Allies economic power overcame the Axis campaign and the world was saved from authoritarian and repressive rule once again.  

There were some hard lessons learned. The Japanese Alaska Campaign was an abysmal failure. It separated the fleet and ultimately cost Japan its superiority in the Pacific while also slowing the Japanese Siberian Campaign to defeat the Soviet Union and save Germany. Leaving China to China was a good approach, but I didn't commit to it early enough. And transports, transports, transports are the key to victory along with a destroyer or two.

The highlight of the game this year was participation by all of the grandsons, at least for a while. But when the game averages one hour per round--it gets a bit long.

Our holiday would not be complete without the recreating World War II--and so, after 8 hours of play when the final surrender occurred, everyone knew that it had been a very close game and the Axis had probably come too close to winning.

We will try again next year!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Day After the Feast

e football games provided a great sidelight to the day, but being with with family was the definite highlight of Thanksgiving. 

Turkey Day was a huge success from my perspective. I enjoyed time with each member of the collected family and the meal was festive and sumptuous. I even threw a football in the yard after the meal to work off some of the calories.

I am now enjoying the second day of a four-day weekend. It is the second four-day weekend of the month, the first being over Veterans Day. 

The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday to some, but for our family today is when the annual Axis and Allies competition occurs as we attempt to preserve or change the course of World War II. The game will begin about 8:30 am and continue until the early evening. Hopefully, by the end it will become clear whether the Allies have preserved the course of history of the Axis powers have mustered enough power to change the outcome of the war. 

Day 2 of the holiday weekend is at hand and the game is almost afoot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 25, 2021

We're Back

 Sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and I am getting a great sense of We Are Back!

Tom Turkey Starts the 2021 Parade in NYC

I love the 95 on his hat--definitely sets this Tom apart from the others. This is the 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And of course my favorite float?

Grogu in the Macy's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

Look out everyone--we are defeating COVID and are coming back stronger than before!

Yay, us! U.S.!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Happy Thanksgiving - 2021

Today is a festive and uniquely American holiday. It is a time when we pause, if even for a moment, to give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. 

To celebrate the day I spent some time looking for thoughts about giving thanks and blessings and to help set the mood for the day.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

—Oprah Winfrey

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess." 

– Max Lucado

“I’m too grateful to be hateful. I am too blessed to be stressed.” 

– El DeBarge

“Let me always, count my blessings. To be thankful for my family and friends.” 

- Catherine Pulsifer

“Men are slower to recognize blessings than evils.”

― Titus Livius

“Be grateful in your own hearts. That suffices. Thanksgiving has wings, and flies to its right destination.”

—Victor Hugo

Happy Thanksgiving. I pray the day finds you well.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Gather around the fireplace

Fireplace with Turkeys
Elkridge, MD
November 23, 2021
The late-autumn cold has forced us into the house from outside around our fire pit. The presence of a warm fire in the fireplace provides a spot for Chris and I to relax, communicate and catch up on the day's activities. Last evening the fireplace was already burning and providing warmth to the room, as I arrived home. We found our chairs and talked about the activities of the day. 

I had stopped for gas on my way home and I was still cold from the experience. Although the temperature was about 41 degrees it felt much colder. Too cold. 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and with it the arrival of the Christmas season. And the darkest days of the year. The temperatures will continue to spiral downward and the first snow of the season should not be too far behind. The fireplace will take the place of cool evenings as we warm ourselves with a glass of wine and begin to think about the events yet to come in the days and months ahead. 

A warm fire, a glass of wine, and great conversation--I can't really think of a better way to spend an evening.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Checking the Eyes

 I had my annual eye appointment yesterday. First, let me confess that it has been almost a year and a half since I had my last appointment. And my last appointment was significant in that I determined that I wanted to switch from glasses to contacts. Which I successfully accomplished.

COVID forced me to consider contacts because I was tired of having my glasses fog over when I put my facial covering on and transitioned from warm places to cold, like outside on a warm day into an air conditioned store. The condensation was incredibly annoying. 

Having contacts has been incredibly freeing and I joked with my eye doctor yesterday about whether I had my youthful 20/15 vision back. He laughed and reminded me that contacts are a delicate balance between distance and close-up. I knew that. 

So at the end of the appointment--I am amazed at how lengthy eye appointments can be and all of the really complicated pieces of equipment that get put in front of my eyes. I do not like the part, however, when without contacts or glasses they ask me to read something. I couldn't, even though with contacts I read the smallest writing. 

Well, I have some different strength contacts to try today. I am glad I have a back-up of my current prescription at work in case I can't see the computer screen. I will see how it all goes. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Musings - November 22, 2021


1. The fourth Monday of November has arrived. This is the last Monday before the official start of the Christmas Shopping Season. Santa Claus arrives to take the throne during the Macy's thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday. There are but five Mondays remaining in the year.

2. It was a cold an chilly weekend and yet I still managed to get some yard work done in anticipation of the stormy weather to come.

3. Family NFL Results. It was a mixed weekend with two winners and two losers.

    Ravens (7-3) defeated Bears (3-7) 16-13

    Washington (4-6) defeated Panthers (5-6) 27-21

    Cowboys (7-3) lost to Chiefs (7-4) 9-19

    Steelers (5-4-1) lost to Chargers (6-4) 37-41

Final Colors of Autumn
from Radio Flyer
ELkridge, MD
November 20, 2021
4. The final stages of the Autumn colors are playing out in my back yard. Most trees are already bare and ready for the Winter, but leaves still cling to some of the trees providing a last bit of enjoyment before the gray branches and trunks become the prominent colors of the forest.

5. The stress of another COVID holiday is approaching. Our family is fully vaccinated and many are additionally boosted, but contact with those who do not accept the advice of medical professionals, rather preferring to confer medical knowledge upon themselves obtained from such authoritative sources as Facebook and Fox News, causes concern and angst. 

6. I clearly remember where I was on this day during 1963. It was a very strange ending to a day which began normally. I was in 3rd Grade at Danby Elementary School. We said the pledge and began a what we believed would be a normal day which would end with a country in mourning and Lyndon Johnson as President. 

7. Today in History. November 22, 1963. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.

How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy - The New York Times

Two Fox News Contributors Quit in Protest of Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 Special - The New York Times

Austria Enters Lockdown Amid Growing Resistance - The New York Times

Global Supply-Chain Problems Show Signs of Easing - The Wall Street Journal

Advanced Maneuver in China Missile Test Shows New Military Capability - The Wall Street Journal

Truckers Steer Clear of 24-Hour Operations at Southern California Ports - The Wall Street Journal

Xi tells Southeast Asian leaders China does not seek 'hegemony'- Reuters

China downgrades diplomatic ties with Lithuania over Taiwan - Reuters

Third night of rioting erupts over Dutch COVID-19 rules - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Quick Flight on an Autumn Day


Guiding Radio Flyer in the Yard
Elkridge, MD
November 20, 2021

The Pool and Pool House
Elkridge, MD
November 20, 2021
I realized that I hadn't flown Radio Flyer, my drone, in quite a while. I took it outside yesterday, before I cleared the pool deck and the yard of the leaves, to record some of the images of the Autumn. It was fun flying Radio Flyer for 9 minutes around the property. I got some good images to record the way things are and I was at the controls of my drone again. It is amazing how long it takes to feel comfortable flying the drone after a long layoff.

The last flight was on April 4th and it also lasted for about 9 minutes and achieved the same stunning maximum altitude of a whopping 66 feet. 

I guess I have not been anywhere where the drone would be very useful in recording. 

One thing I noticed was the arrangement of the lawn chairs behind the pool house. They were in an interesting pattern as a result of having the propane tanks removed. The propane company no longer could reach them with their new equipment--the hose was not long enough and the pool heater was beyond end of life, so we had the tanks removed. We had salvaged the pool heater a couple weeks ago. Frankly, we had not used the pool heater in over two years. With the towering ash trees gone, the pool not gets plenty of direct sunlight to be enjoyable all season long. 

I can see the leaves in the pool deck and also in the yard. They aren ow all gone. I spent the rest of the day moving the leaves back into the wooded area from where they came.

The new pool cover looks really as it protects the pool. Hopefully opening will be really easy next year. 

The yards, the pool, and the the pool house are ready for the worst that winter can throw at them. The next time I expect to see the grass this green is in March--when the first cutting will need to be made. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Recalling the Memories


Turf Valley Towne Square
Ellicott City, MD
November 19, 2021

I joined friends for Happy Hour last evening in Turf Valley at the Towne Square. 

It was cold! I cannot believe how the temperatures are cooling off so quickly from where we were just two weeks ago. 

While walking to the establishment to meet my friends, I walked past an open area that is clearly decorated for the holidays, complete with a Menorah. The square had a nostalgic looking fireplace and seating to enjoy the evening outside. The scene evoked many memories of fires, food, friends and good times. I do so enjoy sitting around a hot fire sipping wine with friends.

Frankly, at that moment, it was too cold to even think about enjoying sitting around the fireplace--but it made for a nice picture. I suspect that I will be seeing many similar scenes as retailers try to coax me to remember the nostalgic good times of seasons past. That is not a bad thing. But were those seasons I remember really better or is it just the way I recall them?

Maybe I'm over thinking it.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 19, 2021

Revenge and Retribution

 I watched this week as our Congressional leaders engaged in unhealthy tactics and make threats against the future that clearly demonstrated how far they collectively have fallen from a standard which could in any way be considered civil.

Maybe they all need to get back out into the real world, yes there is life outside of the Capitol, and reacquaint themselves with what it takes to be successful in business and life. 

And to be clear--I am not focusing on one side of the aisle. There is plenty of virulence to go around.

The Washington Post reported on the situation surrounding the Paul Gosar censure vote as follows:

As we wrote after Wednesday’s vote, the situation also led to the latest entry in the GOP leadership’s growing efforts to combat such things by threatening retribution — even to exploit the supposed new standards by stretching them further. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) spoke at length on the House floor likening the situation to controversial comments by certain House Democrats and suggested that Republicans, once in the majority, could also strip them of their powerful posts.

“A new standard will continue to be applied in the future,” he concluded.

While the House Minority Leader may think he is galvanizing his political base, worlds like these cannot be tolerated and are simply appalling--especially considering the circumstances surrounding the censure vote. 

The Washington Post article continues a few paragraphs later  writing:

While Democrats often sought to portray Gosar’s actions as deliberate incitement and even a threat, there is no question that careless rhetoric and allusions to even figurative violence can influence the decisions of people who would resort to actual violence. We have seen where that can potentially lead, regardless of whether specific and repeated suggestive comments about violence by a politician like Donald Trump lead to people taking up arms.

There is an election on the horizon and I believe there needs to be some serious housecleaning--on both sides!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Do You Remember the Cicadas?

Brood X Cicada
Elkridge, MD
May 28, 2021

I was reviewing my collection of images from this year and ran across one of a 17-year Brood X cicada.

They were noisy visitors to the region for over a month. In my yard it often sounded like a jet engine humming as they sang their mating songs. 

For over a month they assaulted our ears and were everywhere. It was difficult to be outdoors as their singing was so loud.

But then they were gone. Their bodies strewn over the landscape and the leaves where the females laid their eggs of the next generation were brown for much of the summer as a reminder--but now with the arrival of late-Autumn, they and any visible sign of the bugs have vanished. 

I guess I miss them. They were such an event and such a force in the region with their swarming and noisy mating. In 17 years, when they again emerge, people will be trying to remember 2021 and the last time the bugs made an appearance. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Banquet

Ethan Receiving his Personal Record Medal
Arundel High School
November, 16, 2021
Last evening Chris and I were honored to attend the Arundel High School Cross country End of the Year Banquet. 

It was really good to see all of the runners gathered together in a relaxed atmosphere. Although I had only attended two races this year, I could see that the runners, boys and girls, had blended into a true team. 

The coach did a great job talking about each one of the team members and describing their strengths and contributions to the team. The evening took me back of the football banquets I attended when I played high school football, however, with so many boys on the team the comments were not nearly so personal except for those who made the largest contributions. Last evening each member if the team, from freshman to senior, was recognized for their contributions and growth during the year. 

And at the end of the evening, Ethan received a tee-shirt from his other grandmother that really summed up the bond that cross country runners share. I found the saying on-line and put an image of a sweatshirt with the saying on it for all to enjoy.

Cross country truly is tough.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Thanksgiving Cactus - 2021


Thanksgiving Cactus in Bloom
Elkridge, MD
November 16, 2021
The Thanksgiving cactus is in full bloom in advance of the holiday. 

I enjoy the cactus because it brings bright color into the season just as the leaves are falling from the trees in bushels. 

The cactus began to bloom almost as soon as we brought it into the house for the winter. It had been residing on the porch in a perfect location growing all year. And now, the blooms are fully opened and ready for the holiday. 

Next up, we will have to get a few poinsettias for the upcoming Christmas season as we think about Christmasfying the house next weekend.

For now, the cactus is front and center displaying the joy of the harvest season.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monday Musings - November 15, 2021


1. The third Monday of November has arrived and the weather has turned colder and more seasonal. There are six Mondays remaining in the year. 

2. Our January cruise is becoming a reality. Embarkation day is creeping closer and is just seven weeks away. 

3. Family NFL Results

    Ravens (6-3) lose to Dolphins (3-7) 10-22

    Steelers (5-3-1) tie Lions (2-5-1) 16-16

    Cowboys (7-2) crush Falcons (4-5) 43-3

    Washington (3-6) defeats Buccaneers (6-3) 29-19

Our Turkey Flag
Elkridge, MD

4. The season of the turkey continues. There are but 10 days remaining until Thanksgiving!

5. With the weather turning colder any hope I had of getting in a few rounds of golf seem to be evaporating. There is something not fun about golfing in 40 degree temperatures. Surely Florida cannot be far off.

6. I was amazed at the weekend traffic. It seemed as if everyone was out and moving about. 

7. Today in History. On November 15, 1867, the first stock ticker is unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.

The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.

What Does Inflation Mean for American Businesses? For Some, Bigger Profits - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Cases Rise in North and West, Halting Delta’s Fall - The Wall Street Journal

How a 12-Year-Old From New Jersey Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster Ever - The Wall Street Journal

Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again?Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again? - The New York Times

Crunch at Ports May Mean Crisis for American Farms - The New York Times

His Reasons for Opposing Trump Were Biblical. Now a Top Christian Editor Is Out. - The New York Times

Biden to tell Xi that China must play by the rules - senior U.S. official - Reuters

China fights biggest Delta outbreak as cases grow in city of Dalian - Reuters

Florida lawmakers to meet in special session over vaccine mandates - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 14, 2021

State Cross Country Finals - Not for the Weak

Ethan 1 km from the Finish
Hereford, MD
November 13, 2021
 I must confess, although Ethan has run cross country for the past two years, I never really appreciated the sport until yesterday.

Yesterday was the State of Maryland Finals for Cross Country. It was quite an event with hundreds of harriers from across the state gathered at one high school for the finals. It was a sight to see.

What was more impressive were the throngs of fans, mostly parents and grand parents who made their way to the competition and braved the cold rain and temperatures to cheer their competitors. It was weather that makes the stoutest of heart faint considering the runners were wearing only shorts and running shirts. They made me cold looking at them in the mud and the cold rain. And when I say cold, my watch indicated the temperature was 43 degrees. 

The rain was unrelenting for the entire run. The mud was becoming a problem on the course and for the spectators watching the event. The boys did a great job running. Ethan runs for Arundel High and they are the team in green in the middle of the start. The Arundel High team placed 10th overall and Ethan was 4th on the team.

Braving the rain and the cold--what a day, what a race, and I have a new appreciation for the sport.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Another Autumn Image to Remember


Late Autumn Colors from my Porch
Elkridge, MD
November 13, 2021
Looking up at the trees as I put the dogs out this morning I was greeted by one of those picture perfect moments that reminds me that although the dark season is coming, I do enjoy the Autumn colors. 

And the colors were spectacular in their late-Autumn fullness made more so by the brilliant clear sky and the rising sun. 

I called Chris over to see the beauty and she casually remarked that they have been this beautiful for over a week now, but I have been going work in the dark and to distracted to notice them in the afternoon light. This morning, however, I stopped and enjoyed the leaves and the brightness. I can see the branches are getting bare and I know that the leaves will soon be decomposing in piles upon the earth to renew and refresh the soil. But for now, I am enjoying them as they cling to the branches for a few more days.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, November 12, 2021

November Rose


Rose in the Yard
Elkridge, MD
November 11, 2021
Chris and I were putting up the outdoor Christmas lights--something we try to get accomplished every Veterans Day, and spied a few lonely rose blossoms remaining in the garden. They seemed out of place for November as roses are not normally associated with late-Autumn.

The roses were a late season gift for the us to enjoy before the dark days fully arrive. They were starkly brilliant against the already browning grasses of the yard which are rapidly preparing for the cold and snow which is yet to come. 

And yet, by putting up Christmas lights we were preparing to light up our small portion of the world with cheer as the shortest days of the year prepare to descend upon us. Today is is raining and we are both happy that we completed the lights yesterday as the roof will be slippery today. We do not actually power on the lights until the official start of the Christmas season--Black Friday, but they are ready.

And all of this because a few lonely roses were blooming in our garden.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day 2021


Thank you to all Veterans for your service.

It is a full time job watching over this nation. 

Did you know there are over sixteen million living veterans who have served in at least one war? Over two million of those veterans are women and nearly ten million of all veterans are over the age of 65. Can you imagine being a part of a group of men and women who are ready to defend our country from war? To be willing to leave family, friends, and comforts to keep us safe? It is only fitting we would have a special day to honor them. (Crosswalk.com)

From A Proclamation on Veterans Day, 2021

For generations, millions of Americans have answered the call to serve — taking the sacred oath to defend and preserve our Nation’s ideals of liberty and democracy.  These patriots represent the best of us.  On Veterans Day, we honor their service, dedication, and valor and are forever grateful for their sacrifice. 

Our Nation has only one truly sacred obligation:  to properly prepare and equip our service members when we send them into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they return home.  For our 19 million veterans, that means ensuring that they have access to the support and resources for a future of security, opportunity, and dignity.  This is even more important as we continue to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Veterans--we are ever on guard to protect America and although many of us do not wear our uniforms anymore, we still embody the mentality that puts service above self. America needs more of that.

Thank you for your service!

God bless America!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Autumn Fading

Sunset occurred before 5 PM last evening here in the Baltimore region. We are within minutes of having less than 10 hours of sunshine per day. We actually cross that threshold on November 16th.

It was totally dark by there time Chris and I gathered our Happy Hour fixings up from around the fire and made our way into the house to cook dinner. 

We had enjoyed a walk before sunset and I noticed that Autumn is coming to an end. The leaves are falling form the trees and the bare branches are now plainly evident in most places. Soon the leaves will have been gathered into piles and disposed of from the yards and we will be ready for the cold part of the dark season. The snow will not be far behind.

I do, however, enjoy seeing the rays of the not-quite-yet-set-sun highlight the tops of the trees. The colors are stunning and make my soul soar. 

I am, however, looking forward to seeing the palm tree which sits just off my drive at my Florida condo. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Wine Tasting Disaster

Wine Tasting in Small Plastic Cups
Chris and I decided to visit a few local wineries and vineyards to enjoy the fruit of the vine and see how the wines are progressing. We ended up visiting two wineries that we had last visited a few years ago and one winery that we had never visited. 

I was disappointed in the quality of the tastings. And of course the wines suffered as well from poor presentation.

In my mind, winemakers should ensure that their wines are presented in the best possible manner for people to enjoy and hopefully purchase. 

All three of the wineries visited were doing tastings by the flight. Which, in my mind is the worst way to do a tasting. There is little interaction with the staff and almost no knowledge transfer regarding the estate and the wines. 

At one winery Chris and I tasted 12 wines--but they were served in small plastic glasses--single serving glasses not much larger than communion cups. It is impossible to enjoy the intricacies of wine in small plastic cups which provide no space for the bouquet to develop. At least when I had decided that I wanted to taste a couple of the wines in glass, the tasting room manager accommodated me.

At another winery we were seated outside, under alleged heaters on a cold November day, to taste wines in flights of four. At least they were serves in glass--although not wine glasses. And since the day was cold the wines definitely did not overheat. The reds may have been a bit cool. As the cold November wind blew, we definitely did not enjoy the wines in the same manner that could be done in a warm tasting room with knowledgeable staff to help us understand the vintages and processing. 

The final winery's tasting was probably the most egregious. The wine tasting was $20 for three wines. They were served in wine glasses and were a sufficient pour--but the server poured the wines, placed them in front of us and went back to her computer and continued shopping on Amazon. So much for as personalized tasting experience. We did not even get a written description of the wines. Did I mention that there was only one other two-some in the tasting room? Well, at least we were in the tasting room.

Based upon our experience we likely will never return to any of the three wineries. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monday Musings - November 8, 2021


1. Wow, it is already the second Monday of November 2021. Time is certainly flying by. There are just 7 Mondays remaining in the year.

2. Veterans Day is this week on Thursday, the 11th. Thank you for your service to all of America's veterans!

3. Family Monday Morning NFL Report.

    Steelers (4-3) play da Bears (3-5) tonight on MNF

    Ravens (6-2) defeated Vikings (3-5), 34-31 OT

    Cowboys (6-2) lost to Broncos (5-4), 16-30

   Washington (2-6) mercifully was on a bye.

4. There are two divisions in the NFL where every team has a winning record: AFC West and AFC North. That seems strange to me.

View from Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard
Westminster, MD
November 7, 2021
5. It was a beautiful Sunday and Chris and I went out to discover some new wineries within an hour of the house. We went to two wineries we had visited a few years ago and stopped at the Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard for lunch. They were serving outside with heaters but the cold wind made the experience less than optimal, although, the wine did not overheat.

6. Chris and I remarked that we have been enjoying some stunning sunsets the past few days. Sadly, however, yesterday's sunset came an hour earlier than the day before signaling the beginning of the dark season.

7. Today in History. On November 8, 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) becomes the first person to observe X-rays, a significant scientific advancement that would ultimately benefit a variety of fields, most of all medicine, by making the invisible visible. 

Röntgen's discovery occurred accidentally in his Wurzburg, Germany, lab, where he was testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass when he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He dubbed the rays that caused this glow X-rays because of their unknown nature.

To Steer China’s Future, Xi Is Rewriting Its PastTo Steer China’s Future, Xi Is Rewriting Its Past - The New York Times

Antarctica Was Once a Land of Fire and Not Ice - The New York Times

SoftBank Reports $3.5 Billion Loss on China Crackdown - The Wall Street Journal

Natural-Gas Exports Lift Prices for American Utilities - The Wall Street Journal

Court Halts Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers - The Wall Street Journal

Rebels Advance Toward Capital As Ethiopia Moves Deeper Into War - The Wall Street Journal

China builds mockups of U.S. Navy ships in area used for missile target practice - Reuters

'Really, really exciting': travellers head to United States as entry ban liftedThe Great Reboot  - Reuters

Indian capital's dangerous air ruins return to school as pandemic curbs eased - Reuters

Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a 
positive attitude.

Lou Holtz

Former Football Player

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Enjoying the Turkey

Homage to the Turkey
Elkridge, MD
November 6, 2021
The last vestiges of Halloween were removed yesterday and the Season of the Turkey replaced them. 

I enjoy the Thanksgiving season because it is so short and well defined being crammed in between Halloween and the ever lengthening Christmas season. But, the start and end points for the Thanksgiving season are well defined. The season begins on November 1st after the Halloween and Day of the Dead Celebrations and ends promptly with the arrival of Santa Claus during the Macy's thanksgiving Day Parade. 

OK--maybe it doesn't end until after the NFL football trifecta on Thanksgiving Day, but retailers are already trying to extend Black Friday. How can there be Black Friday sales already when Black Friday is still about three weeks away? 

Enjoy the Turkey and the Thanksgiving season. Christmas will be here soon enough.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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