Monday, January 31, 2022

Monday Musings - January 31, 2022


1. Welcome to the last Monday of January 2022. There are 47 Mondays remaining in the year and today is also the last day of January. February begins tomorrow. The New Year is no longer new. 

2. The Super Bowl competitors are set. The game between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals will occur on February 13th. The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl, but have appeared in two, the last being 1989. The Rams, as St Louis or Los Angeles, have appeared in four Super Bowls, losing three and winning in 2000 as St Louis with Kurt Warner as quarterback. The current LA version of the Rams lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2018--which was their most recent appearance.

3. Driving in Florida is much like being involved in a road race. Drivers speed and swerve everywhere without regard for speed limits and traffic. I have seen some really crazy things happening at high speeds on the Turnpike and Interstate. Wow! No wonder the insurance rates are so high.

4. War and rumors of war. The situation between Russia and the West over Ukraine is dangerous and I do not understand what Putin's goal is in moving to the brink of war.

5. Even though the temperature here was in the 30's on Saturday, the high for this coming Friday is expected to be 80! 

6. I bought a new TV yesterday to replace a decades old one. I was amazed at how easy set-up has become. I remember the old days when it took hours to get a new TV set-up and ready for action. This happened in minutes. The hardest part was inputting the WiFi password. 

7. Today in History. On January 31, 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announces his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.

Five months earlier, the United States had lost its nuclear supremacy when the Soviet Union successfully detonated an atomic bomb at their test site in Kazakhstan. Then, several weeks after that, British and U.S. intelligence came to the staggering conclusion that German-born Klaus Fuchs, a top-ranking scientist in the U.S. nuclear program, was a spy for the Soviet Union. These two events, and the fact that the Soviets now knew everything that the Americans did about how to build a hydrogen bomb, led Truman to approve massive funding for the superpower race to complete the world’s first “superbomb,” as he described it in his public announcement on January 31.

Rents are up 40 percent in some cities, forcing millions to move - The Washington Post

Ukraine leader’s message is don’t panic. That’s making the West antsy. - The Washington Post

Fed grapples with how to raise interest rates without hurting the economy - The Washington Post

Hillsong pastor steps down to fight charge of concealing his father’s alleged child sexual abuse - The Washington Post

Stock Futures Waver on Final Day of Tumultuous Month - The Wall Street Journal

Russia to Face U.S. in Rare U.N. Security Council Debate - The Wall Street Journal

Omicron Pushes World Toward Accepting Covid as Fact of Life - The Wall Street Journal

Britain warns Russia of sanctions on oligarchs if Ukraine is invaded - Reuters

Rising geopolitical tension and demand send oil price outlook soaring - Reuters

North Korea fires longest range missile since 2017 - CNN

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Reflection on a Month

Sign at the Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
One month ago today I walked out of my former place of employment for the last time and began my journey into the land of retirement. I miss all of my former coworkers and friends and hope they are well.

Since my retirement, it has been a wild month. Flying to Florida on my last work day, time in Houston, and then back to Maryland just long enough to close the house and return to Florida before the Blizzard of 2022. 

I have visited with a lot of my family and said good-byes to friends. Amazingly, Chris and I have enjoyed multiple days around fire pits even during January and in Maryland--before the storms. And I have been to a flamingo center to enjoy my favorite birds. 

It was at the Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary that I came across perhaps the most the most important piece of advice for dealing with retirement. I took an image of the sign. What does the sign mean to me? Don't sit around waiting for life to come to me because the only thing that comes without asking is poop, and I really don't want to clean that up.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

A Top 10 Happy Hour

Carlin Park Beach
Jupiter, FL
January 28, 2022
Happy Hour at the beach last night was one of the most unique adventures that I have lately enjoyed.

The evening almost did not happen because the temperature was cool and the winds were blowing. Both Chris and I believed that it would be too windy and cold to enjoy time on the beach watching the waves.

We were wrong. 

At almost the last minute we decided to meet friends at the beach for Happy Hour--an early one about 3:30 PM. Why early? Because I'm retired and I can!

It turned into an incredibly enjoyable event. 

The weather was milder on the beach than anticipated because the bright sun kept us warm despite the constant breeze. But that was not the best part. First off, the waves were magnificent. They were curling and breaking just offshore like waves we have seen in California and Hawaii. And there were surfers enjoying the rough seas despite the red flag warnings posted on the lifeguard stands. 

As a reminder of how rough the water was, one of the surfers was smashed onto the shore by a wave. He shook the collision with the beach off, but his surfboard was not so lucky as it was broken in half.

Friday Evening Beach Wedding
Carlin Park Beach
Jupiter, FL
January 28, 2022
But wait, there's more!

As if the activity of the waves and surfers were not enough, a wedding occurred behind us complete with music, vows, attendants, and witnesses. It was an intimate affair and we were fortunate to be able to enjoy the activity. 

I thought the wedding set-up was well done and thought out. We had met the three-year old ring-bearer in the parking lot as he was throwing a fit because he had to wear a bowtie. He later departed, mid-ceremony, to chase a seagull and had to be shepherded back by his mother.

We enjoyed watching the activity and celebrated with the invited guests when the couple was pronounced married. 

This Happy Hour was high up there on the list of top 10 Happy Hours!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, January 28, 2022

Different Every Day

Walking Along the Beach at Ocean's Edge
Jupiter Island, Florida
January 27, 2022
Yesterday had a perfect beginning and ending to a day. Temperatures were in the high 60's during the morning and high 70's at sunset--and the beach is where the daylight portion of the day began and ended.

The sunset was not spectacular over the intracoastal waterway, but it was fun to watch the developing colors--muted though they were by the clouds. 

The morning beach walk was especially interesting. I was surprised at how the color of the ocean changed during the morning walk. It was gray and uninviting when we began, but resolved into beautiful blue as the clouds cleared and Chris and I walked along Jupiter Island Beach. 

Ending the Morning Beach Walk
Jupiter Island, Florida
January 27, 2022
That is what makes walking along the beach so interesting and exciting--it is different every day. There are new things to find, scenes to enjoy, and even the heights of the waves and their sounds crashing onto the beach are different. Yesterday was classic in that sense. The beginning of the walk saw gray clouds and green and gray water, but the conclusion of the walk was under a bright sky with blue water. All of the transformation happened while we were walking. It made the walk unique--not like walking the same path through the neighborhood day after day.

The day marked my first visit to the beach since returning to Florida on Sunday. The days have been either too cold or rainy to make a beach walk enjoyable--but yesterday's walk was truly special watching the ocean transform before my eyes. 

Today? Who knows, but one thing I do know is that it will be different.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Friday Eve Again

Sign Along I-95
Fayetteville, NC
January 23, 2022
Happy Friday-eve. I am approaching the end of my first month of retirement. Chris and I still have not hit our retirement stride yet--but that is to be expected since we started the new year planning to be on a cruise and then spending a week in Houston before returning to Maryland to close the house there and relocate to Florida becoming "snow birds." We had a very busy first three weeks of retirement planned and it felt like a vacation. I confess, it still feels like a vacation.

I like the thought of being away from the freezing temperatures that I experienced during the week I was in Maryland. It will be cold here this weekend, in the 30s as a reminder of what I'm missing, but today will see temperatures in the high 70's. 

Even with the cold expected here this weekend, I am happy that I do not expect to see signs along the highway indicating that there are icy spots as I saw on Sunday while driving past Fayetteville, North Carolina. And the cold will be temporary for two days and then back to shirt-sleeve weather.

I have to confess, I have not yet been to the beach. We have been busy in the condo and the weather has not been either warm or dry enough for a morning beach walk. Hopefully, today that will change. 

The whole concept of Friday-eve has certainly changed during the past four weeks of retirement. I don't see it as a means to get through Friday and then to the weekend. Someone told me that everyday is a weekend when retired--and that is mostly true. I have noticed that. I do not like shopping on the weekend because it is better early on a weekday. We sojourned to Costco the other day and it was not nearly as bad as trying to shop there in a weened.

For those who still need the greeting Happy Friday-eve to smile and think on the impending work break--I wish you the best.  

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Settling In

Flamingo Room w/Riordin on the Bed
Tequesta, FL
January 24, 2022
The process of converting our condo into a full-time residence from a vacation home is more extensive than I had believed possible. It turns out that the small things that we lived with have now become important issues since I am retired and have nothing else to do but work on projects. 

There is also the fear of over-stuffing the condo--which has less storage space than our Maryland home--even though we are not nearly close to maxing out the capacity. But, Chris and I are cognizant of the "collection syndrome" and working hard avoiding gathering "things" just because. One way we are doing this is by evaluating the function of each item being considered for inclusion in the home--be it decoration, furniture, kitchen ware or whatever.  

One thing we have done is to theme each of the bedrooms. Using a theme helps in deciding whether a particular item has a place in the house. Currently the three bedrooms are the Flamingo, Turtle, and Pelican rooms. As one might suspect, my favorite room is the Flamingo room and the recent additions to this room are the large freestanding Flamingo statue in the corner of the room (which we brought with us from Maryland) and the three-piece art over the bed. The stairs at the foot of the bed? They are for Finnegan, our Yorkie. 

It is all part of the process of settling into the condo and living here for more than one or two weeks at a time. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Cold Followed Me


Christmas Gift Wine Glass
Two weeks ago, when I was last in Florida, the daily highs were in the high 70s and low 80s. It was idyllic. Yesterday the high managed chilly 62 degrees with a cold 40 degree start to the day. Who turned off the heat? At least it was not 16 degrees as it had been when I departed Maryland on Sunday.

But, the temperatures were OK because by the afternoon I was outside in just a shirt enjoying the day. I confess, I did not make it to the beach as Chris and I were busy transitioning the condo from a vacation home to one more suited for long-term living. Today I get to tackle the garage.

During the evening we enjoyed a quiet Happy Hour and Chris was able to use one of her Christmas gifts--a Beach Life wine glass. While we were not actually on a beach, but sitting on our patio, it was a time to relax and enjoy the sun leaving the sky and reflecting on a productive day. 

I might be getting used to retirement, although I still have this nagging concern in the back of my mind that the vacation is going to end.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Arrival - Not Monday Musings

We arrived in Tequesta last evening after a 14 hour 27 minute uneventful trip. We departed Elkridge about 3 AM and had the roads almost entirely to ourselves until about 11 AM when traffic began to build. I used a new weather forecasting trip tool called Drive Weather and it perfectly predicted the conditions except at the very end when the expected overcast conditions turned into a light misting situation. I was mostly concerned about snow and ice in the Carolinas and the roads there were dry and clear!

I definitely recommend Drive Weather for long-distance travel. I paid for the yearly subscription which enabled me to look at the weather more than two-days ahead and find the best window to make the drive from Maryland to Florida between the expected storms. The app is pretty simple to use, but it gives a wealth of information. The screen at the left shows generally overcast for the projected trip leaving at 2AM Tuesday the 25th. No precipitation until Georgia when the rains begin and get heavy around Jacksonville. For my actual trip, for which I failed to take an image, we had blue/clear skies for the trip except the last hour when the skies became overcast as predicted. There are many other features including temperature, wind conditions, and a radar projection. The screen also zooms in and out and has a pretty good map when zoomed in. 

It is good to be here for the long-haul. We have been planning this for so long and even the 42 degree temperatures that greeted me this morning when I let the dogs out did not dampen my spirits. It is January, after all and the high temperature will be in the 60's. 

The truck was emptied as we watched Tampa lost its playoff game and I have to admit we were too tired to see the Bills-Chiefs game to the end. 

Where is Monday Musings? Taking the week off. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Escape to the Land of the Palms

North Carolina
January 23, 2022

 We escaped Maryland under the cover of darkness this morning and are at this moment preparing to cross into South Carolina.  Chris and I, accompanied by two dogs and a very unhappy cat are making good time. 

There has been snow along the highway, but no ice.  It was very eerie driving through DC with no cars on the road in many places except us.  Driving through Virginia I was often using high beams to find the road which in places was not well marked. Even now, on this Sunday morning, the roads are pleasantly empty of traffic.

We are almost 6 hours into a 14 hour trip. Well, with the animals along it will likely be a bit longer with the required bio-breaks. 

There was some concern that the high in Jupiter today was supposed to be only 66, but that is 50 degrees warmer than when we left and even now at almost 9 AM just leaving North Carolina it is only 24 degrees outside of the car. Sixty-six sounds balmy.

Hey, there is South of the Border.

Goodbye North Carolina.  

And the exodus continues.

— Bob Doan, writing from I-95 in South Carolina

Saturday, January 22, 2022

How Do You Spell Relief?


I thought it was one of the more creative commercials when I was a kid, the voice from the television was asking asking the viewing audience how to spell relief and then substituting the spelling for the product.

It is similar to the phrase we use today: in the dictionary with the definition of "pick a word" is a picture of ___. 

Well this morning when, for the fifth day in a row, I let the dog out and was slapped in the face by the arctic blast of frozen air I realized that I spell relief: F-L-O-R-I-D-A.

Yesterday, I also came to the understanding, as I was laying under Chris's car putting air in the spare so that the check tire light would go out, that when I finally do escape to the south that I probably will have enjoyed the coldest stretch of the Maryland 2021-2022 Winter season--it can't be worse than this period has been, right?

Yesterday the high never reached above freezing. It is hard to believe that three days ago we were sitting around the fire pit in the evening during as brief respite. The lawn even thawed, briefly.

Relief. That is what we need.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Oysters, Beer, and Cold

 A surprise phone call last evening from Patrick had Chris and me rushing out of the house to meet at a local watering hole for some great conversation and food.

I like surprises like that.

When we arrived there was a beer on the table for me and a glass of wine ready for Chris along with six oysters to get the evening started. 

I love oysters I the half-shell. I do not get to enjoy them often and over the course of the evening the six grew into another dozen oysters while Chris enjoyed some wings and fries. 

The weather, however, is another story. Temperatures bottomed out this morning around 15 degrees. I think converting the temperature to Celsius more aptly represents how it feels: -9C,  or in a word, COLD! I really do not need this weather. At least we are not getting the ice that is plaguing the Carolinas and delaying my departure for Florida. On the upside, the departure delay gives me more time to enjoy family and friends before enjoying my new found retirement and heading south. My golf clubs are ready to see some Florida action!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 20, 2022

January Fire Pit Evening


Fire Starting in the Pit
Elkridge, MD
January 19, 2022
Amazingly, after a week of freezing temperatures, it rose to 52 degrees yesterday.

That meant an evening around the fire pit with neighbors to celebrate a mid-Winter break from the cold. It was a gathering to connect after being isolated by COVID and the weather for almost the past month.

The conversation never lagged as the sun set and darkness fell. We enjoyed wine and light munchies connecting and updating the activities of the past few weeks. The respite from the frigid weather was  much needed as we prepare for another winter's blast today. 

I am closely watching the travel weather and I even found a travel weather application to help me plan my escape from Maryland after or in-between the storms that are ravaging the country. 

But the idea of sitting around a roaring fire in Maryland on a January evening with friends, while it may seem strange, was truly great. We need to be aware of the  possibilities that present themselves to us. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Not Everything on the Beach is Friendly


Portuguese man o' war
Jupiter Island Beach, Jupiter, FL
January 5, 2022
Life lessons come from beaches. 

Take for instance the morning beach walk to improve my cardio--a good thing. But, hidden among the sargassum one morning was a Portuguese man o' war--definitely not a good thing to blindly stumble upon while walking barefoot on the beach. 

There are, likewise, many things lurking in the world which can cause pain if we are not careful and observant. Take for instance yesterday, I was reviewing the monthly statements and found erroneous charges. One from a closed account, one from something that I didn't even know about, and then one from a company that apparently likes to slide in an annual membership hidden in the fine print when groceries are delivered--which we took advantage on once in Florida. These charges were lurking in the statements like a Portuguese man o' war hiding in the sargassum. Perhaps one sting will just hurt, but over time they become a larger problem.

Lesson? Like the sargassum on a beach--you need to dig through things it carefully to ensure nothing harmful is hiding. Not everything on the beach is friendly!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Holiday Again


White Christmas Celebration
Elkridge, MD
January 16, 2022
I crawled out of bed this morning at 6:30 AM. Coming to consciousness I realized that this was the first workday since I retired that I have been in Maryland and therefore would normally been up at 5 AM to go to work. So I guess it is real, this retirement gig. But, I want to reflect upon the weekend Christmas celebration do-over. 

As I wrote previously, the family celebrated Christmas on Sunday since we could not gather on the actual holiday due to COVID concerns. It was good to have the entire family together for the first time in months to enjoy some holiday cheer and to exchange gifts--in person.

Riordin Enjoying the Fireplace
Elkridge, MD
January 16, 2022
The winter weather held off until the afternoon, but we were treated to a White Christmas with snow falling and covering the lawns and streets. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace and we had allowed the Christmas decorations to remain until the family completed it celebration. Alexa even treated us to Christmas music as gifts were exchanged. 

What did we learn from the experience? Holidays are for family and the actual date is less important than the gathering. 

The tree and decorations are now down and put away for another season, but the memories of Christmas 2021, completed during 2022, remain.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday Musings - January 17, 2021


1. The third Monday of January 2022 has arrived. It is cold and snowy. There are 49 Mondays remaining in the year. 

2. Baseball Spring Training tickets are on sale. It makes me wish of warmer days, bright sun, and the crack of the bat.

3. Family NFL Scores. Only two family teams made it to the playoffs and they suffered defeat during the the Wild Card round.

    Cowboys lost to 49ers, 17-23

    Steelers were crushed by Chiefs, 21-42

The House Ready for the Christmas Do-over
Elkridge, MD
January 16, 2022
4. The Christmas do-over was a lot of fun. The original Christmas gathering was postponed due to positive COVID tests. The family gathered yesterday to complete Christmas and, in a turn of good fortune, it became a White Christmas. While the originally planned dinner was not offered, the decorations remained on the tree and the Christmas spirit was present. And then the football games began.

5. I would like to say that I am enjoying the snow and cold, but the truth is that I am NOT enjoying any of it. And it appears that a developing N'oreaster may delay my return to warmer weather. Time will tell.

6. It is Martin Luther King Day. It is a Federal holiday as is observed by most schools as well, unlike some other holidays like President's Day. There are 11 Federal holidays and 8 of them occur during the 6 month period from September through February. 

7. Today in History. On January 17, 1950, 11 men steal more than $2 million ($29 million today) from the Brink's Armored Car depot in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the perfect crime—almost—as the culprits weren’t caught until January 1956, just days before the statute of limitations for the theft expired.

The robbery’s mastermind was Anthony “Fats” Pino, a career criminal who recruited a group of 10 other men to stake out the depot for 18 months to figure out when it held the most money. Pino’s men then managed to steal plans for the depot’s alarm system, returning them before anyone noticed they were gone.

Omicron fallout, tough labor talks likely to rattle supply chains and fuel inflation - The Washington Post

How the Tonga volcano generated a shock wave around the world - The Washington Post

A messy winter storm is charging up the East Coast - The Washington Post

To Sway Unvaccinated, New Tactics Are Tried at Funeral Homes, on Radio Shows - The Wall Street Journal

Team USA Advises Athletes Heading to Beijing Olympics to Leave Their Phones at Home - The Wall Street Journal

Truckers Fret Over Pending Covid-19 Rules at U.S.-Canada Border - The Wall Street Journal

China's birth rate drops to record low in 2021 - Reuters

U.S. FAA clears 45% of commercial plane fleet after 5G deployed - Reuters

N.Korea fires two ballistic missiles from Pyongyang airport, S.Korea says - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, January 16, 2022

12 Degrees


Between the Cloud Decks at Sunset
Somewhere over West Virginia
Taken by Chris
January 15, 2022
12 degrees was the temperature this morning when I awakened in Elkridge.

I came back to 12 degrees?

Why on earth would I do that?

Wait, I did it because it was the travel plan.

Fortunately, yesterday's flight from Houston was uneventful. We had expected turbulence as we flew above the storm that is coming later today to our region, but the ride was generally smooth. It was fascinating to watch the clouds below us change as we traversed the levels of the storm.

Descending into Baltimore, as we flew in between the layers of clouds, we were able to enjoy the sunset behind the aircraft and watch the reflection off the cloud tops of the lower level. It was something that I have not enjoyed many times before. Chris snapped a great image. 

And we are back--for a short while in the frigid temperatures of the mid-Atlantic Region. 

Today is Christmas! We had delayed it due to positive COVID tests in the family and our travel schedule.

There definitely will not be any outdoor football today, unlike many Christmases past.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Different Friday Happy Hour


The Boys Watching a Video
Cinco Ranch, TX
January 14, 2022
It almost escaped me that yesterday was Friday--but it was! 

The family gathered for Happy Hour and a meal. The day concluded with some quality time around a fire pit. The family, as it gathers, is a fun mix of children and adults. 

Friday was generally uneventful as I spent most of the day with Dad. I enjoyed his company, one-on-one; it is something we do not get to do often. It was very different having an entire afternoon with him. We watched a few movies, but most importantly just spent time together. 

I enjoyed watching the kids interact after the family had gathered. There were 5 of them, 2 girls and 3 boys. They spent time together as a group, other times split off into gender specific groups and at some times in family groups or alone. I enjoyed dinner with almost all of them as they cycled through the table at which I was dining. 

It is clear to me that I am still getting used to the retirement gig. Today is a travel day and we head back to Maryland. I am not looking forward to the cold weather there. Were it not for our pets which we need to retrieve, we would head back to the warmth of Florida. But Chris and I will be back in Maryland, hopefully, by the end of the day weather permitting with good memories of our visit to Texas and looking ahead to our Florida return.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Weston Lakes, TX

Friday, January 14, 2022

Messina Hof - Texas Winery & Kitchen


It has been a busy week of travel and visiting with family. 

Last evening we had the opportunity to visit a local winery for dinner. The Messina Hof provided a great dinner menu highlighting Texas wines. We specifically visited the Messina Hof Harvest Green Winery & Kitchen in Richmond, Texas.

I had read that Texas wines were becoming very good and I was not disappointed by the wines we chose with dinner. The GSM was the spectacular wine of the night. Very deep with a great nose. The winemaker describes it as follows: GSM is for the sophisticatedly-curious. Upon first taste, this medium-bodied wine leaves the palate with a blended synergy of rich flavors like blackberry, dark cherry, and plum with a hint of spice. Enjoy this hearty blend with savory meats like pork or lamb complemented with blends of herbs and peppery spices. The wine has an excellent price point of $25.

I also enjoyed the Paulo Tempranillo with my dinner which was an elegantly served and tasteful pork dish called The Cactus & Pig. Duroc pork chop, grilled Texas peach and cactus flower agrodolce with Blushing Angel and smoked potato hash cake and arugula. The Tempranillo is described as: a full-bodied wine with nuances of dark cherry, vanilla, and dried cloves. It is masterfully oak aged giving it a wonderful tannin structure and long, refined finish. It has a price point of $60 and the wine was perfect for the dinner.

The final wine of the evening, which was enjoyed sitting around a fire pit, was the HG Abounding. It was very enjoyable with earthy aromas of rich Texas terroir and flavors of blackberry that reach out from the depths of the glass. Oak aging adds balanced layers of black tea and leather. Its lingering finish, when savored, evokes the lifecycle of the grapevine from soil to press. A great bottle of wine with a $25 price point.

The service at the restaurant was excellent and friendly. The wines and courses were serves promptly and the servers and manager were eager to showcase their wines for non-Texans. And I was very impressed.

A great Texas meal highlighted with Texas wines!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Weston Lakes, TX

Thursday, January 13, 2022

As the Sun Rises


Winter Trees
Weston Lakes, TX
January 13, 2022
The trees of Winter were standing tall this morning as the Sun slowly rose over Texas. The trees had that eerie look that trees possess when silhouetted, yet they were standing tall as the morning light grew stronger. 

It was the start of another day in Texas and I look forward to spending more time with my Dad. He is doing remarkably well and it was very good to see him yesterday.

Traveling to begin the new year has been very different. I have also been keeping one eye on the news and monitoring developments in the areas that I used to work. It has been an exciting time, to say the least.

As the sun rises on a new day and I am in my second state of the new year looking forward to returning Maryland on Saturday to enjoy (or not) a possible winter weather event on Sunday! What a way to spend a three-day weekend. Wait! every weekend is a three-day weekend for me.

Still trying to get used to that concept.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Weston Lakes, TX

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Question of the Day

Baggage Handlers at Work
Jackson, MS
January 11, 2022
I survived the travel day and made it to Hump Day. Not that I am trying to get through the week or anything, but I am clinging to some of the ways I used to identify days of the week. 

Question of the Day:

What do you do when you are a through passenger with over an hour stuck in the aircraft on the ground before continuing the trip?


I experienced this very situation yesterday. I did three things.

1. Watched the baggage handlers load luggage.

2. Wrote my blog.

3. Vowed never to let this happen again!

And then I really explored how this happened. Houston does not seem to be that strange a destination when traveling from West Palm Beach, yet the flights mostly pass through connecting cities and multiple stops. At least on Southwest. I did find one direct flight on another airline. According to Expedia, that is the only nonstop. I guess I may be flying that airline next time.

Travel can be frustrating. I also have to confess, wearing a mask for almost seven hours is not a lot of fun. I wonder how people on trans-Pacific flights survive. The bands of the mask really began to cut into my ears.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Fulshear, TX

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Fly-Away Travel Day

Jupiter Lighthouse at Sunset

 It is a travel day. We are taking what seems like the most circuitous route possible from West Palm Beach to Houston on Southwest. There were no direct flights and so we have visited Atlanta at sunrise and are now trapped on a plane in Jackson, Mississippi, waiting to load and then head off to Houston. Ugh.

It was kinda cool to land in Atlanta at sunrise and see the rising sun kissing the tops of the tall trees. We had departed Palm Beach under the cover of darkness. The blessing has been very empty flights and Chris and I have enjoyed a middle season both legs of the journey thus far. Hopefully we will end the trip three for three in that department. 

I am looking forward to seeing Dad and the Houston part of the family for a couple of days before heading back to frozen Maryland. I am hopeful of keeping the turnaround time in Maryland short. I long to see the Jupiter Lighthouse again and enjoy the shorts, sandals, and tee-shirt weather. I have very much enjoyed starting my retirement in a warm climate.

Despite missing my morning beach walk, the day has been going fairly well. Getting up at 4 AM to catch a 6:25 AM flight was not a lot of fun, but that is how it is sometimes.

Another fly-away day partially complete.

— Bob Doan, writing from Jackson, MS

Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday Musings - January 10, 2022


1. Give a big greeting to the second Monday of January 2022. There are 50 more Mondays, or chances to get it right remaining this year.

Squadron of Pelicans
Jupiter Island Beach, Florida
January 9, 2020
2. Sitting on the beach last evening for happy hour, I was treated to a very large squadron of pelicans flying overhead. They were amazing in the way they maintained their spacing and formation.  

3. Family Sports Report


      Ravens (8-9) lose to Steelers (9-7-1), 13-16

      Cowboys (12-5) defeat Eagles (9-8), 51-26

      Washington (7-10) defeat Giants (4-13), 22-7


      Penguins (20-9-5) lose to Stars (17-12-2), 2-3

4. I enjoyed a drive to the Port of Miami yesterday to retrieve family members from the cruise which I was unable to enjoy. The drive gave me some perspective on how long of a drive it actually is to get to Miami!

5. I am shocked by the amount of misinformation regarding COVID. vaccines, and COVID testing. Apparently people want to intentionally harm other people by providing bad information.

6. Busy week ahead. More traveling and then finally back to Maryland. It is hard to believe that I have started the year in Florida and will be leaving for a bit but will return to enjoy my first long-term residence since I was in college.

7. Today in History. On January 10, 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser was discovered at a depth of over 1,000 feet, flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. Following the discovery, petroleum, which until that time had been used in the U.S. primarily as a lubricant and in kerosene for lamps, would become the main fuel source for new inventions such as cars and airplanes; coal-powered forms of transportation including ships and trains would also convert to the liquid fuel.

Ahead of talks, U.S. again warns Putin of ‘massive consequences’ if Russia invades Ukraine - The Washington Post

Threat of omicron keeps China walled off, as the country’s scientists search for better vaccines - The Washington Post

As Afghanistan’s harsh winter sets in, many are forced to choose between food and warmth - The Washington Post

Hospitals Cut Beds as Nurses Call In Sick With Covid-19 - The Wall Street Journal

Are Musk’s Starlink Satellites Overcrowding Space? Why China, Rivals Say So - The Wall Street Journal

Taliban Detain Prominent Critic, Intensifying Crackdown on Dissent - The Wall Street Journal

Tennis star Djokovic wins court battle to stay in Australia - Reuters

Putin claims victory in defending Kazakhstan from revolt - Reuters

Israel not bound by any nuclear deal with Iran, Bennett says - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, January 9, 2022

What is a Weekend?


I have had many people tell me that once retired, weekends are hard to distinguish from weekdays.

That may be true, but as I have just experienced my first true retired weekend I noticed one thing that sets it apart from weekdays: local activities. Yesterday, for instance, Chris and I found two artisan gatherings to visit and enjoy. These are weekend occurrences and I realized that I need to do a better job scouring the internet for local weekend activities. 

I have to admit, I am looking forward to playing golf during the week--which may also be a big difference from when I used to have to golf on weekends. Hopefully, before the end of January Chris and I will be on the golf course again smacking the little white, or brightly colored, balls around to either increase or decrease our frustration. 

And so, weekends still exist--just differently. At least that is my observation from week one of retirement.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, January 8, 2022

A Flamboyance

A Flamboyance of Flamingos
A surprise arrived yesterday inside of a small package left by the UPS driver.

Upon opening the package I was surprised and excited as I discovered that it contained a flamboyance of flamingos! All jumbled together.

Single Flamingo Light
They were flamingo lights to adorn the patio of our condo.

It is amazing how something like these can make me smile. Now I just need to find the perfect spot for the flamboyance to occupy. I have them temporarily installed along a wall on the patio.

It took about five minutes to get them untangled and strung out. 

But it was worth it. They are cute. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, January 7, 2022

Day 4 - Maybe it is Real


Day 4 - Retirement
Jupiter Beach, Florida
January 6, 2022
Retirement Day 4 started like most days--I wrote a blog, enjoyed breakfast, checked the weather back in Maryland and was happy not to be there. There is way too much snow and cold.

I am still adjusting to the idea that I don't have to go to work when my vacation is over--wait, I'm not on vacation. I am sure that the permanence of my situation will hit me when I get back to Maryland in just over a week. 

I do miss work, or at least the thought of work. I miss the people I worked with and from reading the news I have a sense of what they are dealing with. I remember that when I retired from the Air Force a couple decades ago that it took me a while to disconnect from the military, I am sure that will be the case again--but I do not want to lose touch with the friends I've made and the people I've worked with these past 20 plus years. 

The great part about yesterday was the couple afternoon hours on the beach. It was cool, only 75 degrees, I think the weather was warmer than that, but the sun shone brightly and made it feel warmer. And then there was the beach and the ocean. The surf was rough and enjoyable to watch. It was very loud, except for short moments when everything fell silent. It was my first afternoon sojourn to the beach, we have been walking the beach in the morning, but until yesterday had not actually taken chairs and a cooler of refreshments to enjoy actual "sun time" on the sand. 

Day 5 is at hand and I have a new ceiling fan to install. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Flamingos to Enjoy


Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022


What is my favorite bird? 



Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
Chris and I found a small piece of paradise called Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary close-by in Fort Lauderdale. 

We spent a relaxing afternoon touring the gardens and enjoying the wildlife most of which roams freely around the grounds. 

The variety of waterbirds and local animals is fun to enjoy as well as seeing multiple tropical plants and trees that we might never enjoy in person. The history of the area is engaging and I found out that originally the farm was planted as an orange grove and the clementine and tangelo were both developed on-site. 

The tour of the original house constructed by the owners, which is now a museum, was very interesting and enjoyable as it is furnished in original and period furniture and accessories. It provides a snapshot of a working farmhouse of the 1930's. I was most impressed with the correspondence from President Eisenhower upon the receipt of a case of oranges for his personal use. 

And the multitude of botanical plantings on the property are not to be ignored. It is not often that I see a real coffee tree with beans and a huge grove of banana plants and I had never driven through a mango grove before. 

Flamingo Gardens
Ft Lauderdale, FL
January 4, 2022
But it was the birds, the huge flock of ibis and the roaming peafowl, that were the stars of the show. The display of flamingos really stole my heart and time and became the subject of a large number of images. 

As might be expected, this spot  is now on my visitor tour list. It is a long-ish drive from Jupiter, about one-hour-and-a-quarter, but definitely worth the time investment. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

My Zimbio
Top Stories