Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cheese, Wine, and Rhum

Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store
Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
June 29, 2022


It seems that no matter where we travel we can find a wine event to enjoy. Yesterday was one of those days. We went to the Amsterdam Cheese and Liquor Store for a cheese and wine tasting and followed that up with a rhum tasting event at Topper's Restaurant and Rhum Bar. 

OK, let's get right at it. Is it rum or rhum? I asked that question and the answer I received was that in French it is rhum! Hence, Topper's sells rhum!

Rhum definition: Rhum agricole is the French term for sugarcane juice rum, a style of rum originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands from freshly squeezed sugarcane juice rather than molasses. Rhum is the term that typically distinguishes it in French-speaking locales from the rum made with molasses in other parts of the West Indies.

OK, enough of the school work for the day.

Wait, I also learned about gouda! There is such a thing as Amsterdam Gouda! It is a thing! Who knew?

We tasted 8 different cheeses, all gouda, and they were good-a. Added to the cheese tastings were two cheese dips, who knew that was a thing, a bottle of Cava and a very nice Tempranillo, which I liked so much that I bought a bottle. We enjoyed an hour at the shop and, because it is off-season, we had the shop and shopkeeper to ourselves the entire time. 

Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
June 29, 2022

And then it was time for rhum! A short drive to Topper's and we were set to taste seemingly infinite varieties of rhum. 

Coming to our senses, however, after enjoying a wine and cheese tasting we chose the lower level of the three possible flights, and tasted the six most popular rhums. This place offers to refill bottles if the are returned--for a discount! And, I learned, four of their rhums are available at Total Wines! We bought a coffee flavored rhum that is not available at Total Wine & More and left feeling very fulfilled. 

Another great day on the island engaging in some of our favorite activities. 

Harmony of the Seas
Simpson Bay en-route Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
June 30, 2022

Sadly, this is our last full day in Sint Maarten and we are planning a day in Philipsburg with about 4,000 of our closest friends who just arrived aboard Harmony of the Seas. I watched it sail past just a few minutes ago and took this image. It looks like it is going to be a beautiful day!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Birds and Beaches

Parrots at Parotte-Ville
Sint Maarten
June 28, 2022

It was time to get some wheels and set out on our own around the island paradise. 

There were two stops on the agenda yesterday: Partite Ville, Sint Maarten; and Orient Bay Beach, St Martin. Yes, we went to France yesterday. 

Parotte Ville Bird Sanctuary was an interesting stop. It is one of those places that when just driving and not looking for it, I would never stop. But, that would be a mistake the same as judging a book by its cover. The price of admission is $10 and well worth the time. Once inside the staff was incredibly helpful and the birds were the true stars of the show. Upon admission after a very informative briefing, we each received a cup of bird food and were turned loose inside the enclosed aviary with between 130-140 of our new best friends. And the birds knew what to do. At one point t I had two birds on the feeding cup, one on my hat and one or two others on my shoulders. There are some 27 different species of birds in the aviary and the staff are there to ensure the birds do not become too much a nuisance.

Orient Beach
Saint Martin, France
June 28, 2022
Next was Orient Bay Beach. Perhaps one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean. We arrived there shortly after lunch and remained until after 4 PM. It was a windy day with high surf, and so water activities were somewhat reduced. I did get in the water to enjoy the 6 foot waves, and mistakenly turned my back on the ocean while exiting the water only to get flattened by a huge wave. I broke my own rule of never turning my back to the water and I paid the price. Sand everywhere--including places that I didn't think you could get sand.

Pretty Toes
Orient Bay Beach, St Martin
June 28, 2022
(Photo by Chris)

Orient Bay Beach is a place where there is something for everyone, literally, but it is all separated and you only need to know where to go to enjoy your style of beach life. The destruction of Hurricane Irma, 2017, was more evident everywhere on the French side of the island as we drove to the beach, but most of the establishments along Orient Bay Beach have been restored. We spent the day at the Bikini Club portion of the beach renting chairs ($15) and enjoying drinks and food on the beach along with the sun and sand. The sand is very fine and gets everywhere. Seriously! And the more you fight with it the more places it finds to hide.

A great day! To put the exclamation point on the day we enjoyed some hand-tossed pizzas from a local establishment, Pizza & CO. Some of the best pizza ever! It received high reviews and it earned them by delivering two tasty pizzas. We are close and the pizzas were still hot by the time I walked them back to the place we are staying. 

Who knows what fun will happen today. I think there may be a wine tasting and a rum experience being lined up.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Snorkeling Saint Martin with Captain Bob Speedboat

Creole Rock
Saint Martin North Coast
June 27, 2022


Some days I use the official name of the island, Saint Martin, to designate what Chris and I have been doing when we are doing more of an island thing. 

Yesterday, we journeyed from Sint Maarten into France, Saint Martin, during our snorkeling adventure. Sadly, the tropical storms south of the island affecting Aruba made the seas too rough for us to enjoy the originally planned itinerary, but the day was a full and fantastic day of touring the island from the sea and snorkeling.

We taxied to Philipsburg to board the tour, we were lucky that the cruise ship was not docking until later in the day, and thirteen intrepid snorkelers led by Captain Brett headed out into the waters off Saint Martin for a day for surf, snorkeling, and beach fun. 

It was a six hour trip and we enjoyed four stops, unlimited alcohol and sandwiches for lunch. The small number of people aboard the speedboat made the day enjoyable. Captain Brett did a great of touring us through the island and explaining the sights to help us understand what we were seeing and why. The effects if Hurricane Irma, 2017, are still painfully evident everywhere we looked, but the reconstruction underway is slowly returning the island to its former paradise glory. 

Two videos of the day's activities help show the fun. 

First, some cliff divers, note the sign about not diving from the cliff.

Next two landings and one take-off from Princess Juliana airport as seen off the end of the runway from the sea. 

Can a day get any better than this? 

I think not!

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, St Maarten

Monday, June 27, 2022

Dinner by the Bay

Dinner at Mary's Boon Restaurant
Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
June 26, 2022


After another enjoyable vacation day, which included snorkeling a wreck not far from where we are staying, we enjoyed dinner at a hotel-bar-restaurant along Simpson Bay a short walk from where we are staying. 

The Simpson Bay wreck snorkel was a good dry run for today's 6 hour snorkeling adventure which will take us around St. Martin and visit two close islands in search of fish and scenic beauty under the sea. My take-away was that I need to shave! Water entered my mask unless it was positioned perfectly on my face, due to my couple day beard growth. I am freshly shaved and ready for underwater action today. I did not take my underwater camera yesterday so there are no wreck pictures to share. It was a fun snorkel, but not much of a wreck to image. 

Stray Dog
Mary's Boon Beach Resort and Spa
Simpson Bay, St Maarten 

The remainder of the day was thoroughly relaxing with multiple trips to the local grocery store and a short beach walk. 

We had a lot of fun at dinner and it was a 0.7 mile walk along Simpson Bay Road from the house where we are staying. The airport is right behind Mary's Boon, but as it was evening there were relatively few flights arriving or departing. As sunset was falling we departed the restaurant to arrive back at the house before twilight turned to darkness. 

Another day in paradise concluded sitting on the veranda enjoying adult beverages; talking and dreaming.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Island Paradise Exploring

 A few funny things have happened during and since our arrival to Sint Maarten. 

Deplaning at Princess Juliana Airport
Sint Maarten
June 24, 2022

The first interesting, amusing, weird thing was that the taxi driver from the airport did not have a clue where the address was on the island. She actually asked me if I had a GPS to guide her. Mind you, the house is near, and I mean near, the airport. Just two streets from the runway. I was finally able to get my mapping program to work, but because I did not have internet I could not get directions. Good thing I had done my intelligence preparation of the battlefield and was able to identify the house and direct the driver to the location. We inquired, why the problem? She responded that they are used to dropping people off at hotels and resorts, but not VRBOs. 

The next, or really it was the first interesting happening was deplaning. It has been a while since I deplaned at a small airport without a jetway. Walking down the jetway into the bright sun and ocean breeze was a great experience. It was well orchestrated and busses were readily available for us to make our way to the terminal.  But, I did get this great image of the jet and the deplaning process. 

Me at Western End of Simpson Bay Beach
Sint Maarten
June 25, 2022

Simpson Bay is bounded by a beach that is officially 2.78 miles long and one of the longest beaches on St Martin. At each end there are rocks and cliffs. Chris and I decided to walk to the western end of the beach yesterday. By the time we returned to our starting location, we had walked 2.6 miles, part of the beach walk was along the fence for the airport. Along the walk we collected sea glass and a few shells along with enjoying the sights, which included a fairly large shipwreck on the rocks.

Unnamed Wreck at West end of Simpson Bay
Sint Maarten
June 25, 2022

I have to admit, I was really fascinated by the wreck. I am guessing it broke free from its mooring during the dual hurricanes of a few years ago. I did some basic research and could not come up with a name for or the story behind the wreck. It is in relatively good condition which is what leads me to believe it is recent, probably happening during the dual hurricanes.

Another day is at hand and there is much to do and explore. 

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Good Morning from Simpson Bay

Landing at Princess Juliana Airport
Maho Beach, Sint Maarten
June 24, 2022
After the frustration of waiting in the hour-long line to check-in yesterday, the remainder of our travel day was mercifully uneventful. Even with a short layover time in Atlanta, Chris and I were able to make our way to the connecting flight to Sint Maarten without hurrying and walk right onto the plane once at the gate. Since we are not using any overhead bin space, we do not require priority boarding.

Most importantly, however, we arrived in paradise!

Having been on Maho Beach watching the planes land above us at Princess Juliana Airport five years ago, I made sure to get an image from the the landing perspective. It was cool to see all of the people on the beach watching our plane land. It was a hard image to get as from the air we were only over the beach a very short time.

Sunset Over Simpson Bay
Sint Maarten
June 24, 2022

We cruised through customs and immigration and within about 45 minutes of landing were at the apartment joining-up with Pennie and Scott. What a great week ahead we are planning. More importantly, the beach is across the street and down a short 100 foot path. Boom! The warm waters of Simpson Bay stretching out into the blue Caribbean. The picture of Sunset over Simpson Bay is taken from the balcony of the apartment. We did go swimming just before sunset and I believe the water temperature has to be in the mid 80s. It is only mildly cool when entering. The air temperature was cooler. 

What could be better?

We enjoyed a great dinner sitting next to the water at the Yacht Club. 

The days are planned to be mercifully uneventful and quiet. A break from the pace of life we have been leading. Hopefully, at some point this week we will receive an offer on our house and can move mentally into the final phase of that project. But for now, sun, sand, and spectacular views.

Selfie of the four of us after dinner
Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
June 24, 2022

-- Bob Doan, writing from Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Flying from America Today

 And we are off on a travel adventure, finally. Remember that Chris and I were supposed to go on a cruise right after I retired, but COVID intervened. Today we are winging our way to Saint Martin. Yes, in the Caribbean. 

Jammed Delta International Counter at 5AM
BWI Airport
June 24, 2022

We experienced first-hand the trials and tribulations associated with air travel in America today. Baltimore-Washington International airport was a mess this Friday morning. I have not seen lines like this morning’s in years. We stood in line to check-in for our flight for an hour. I took the picture from the continuation of the check-in line into the hallway.  People missed their flight because of the line. There were two flights connecting to international destinations processing at the same time. Fortunately, we arrived two hours early. It was almost not enough. 

As luck would have it, we made both our flight to Atlanta and the connecting flight to St Maarten with just a few minutes to spare. Squeezing in time to buy a breakfast sandwich and coffee to eat on the first flight. 

The situation is as dire as the media reports. Not enough people to process travelers complicated by the fact that flying internationally requires a hands-on review of travel documents. But, we are away and excited. The house remains available for showings and offers. The animals are enjoying mini-vacations of their own being divided between family and friends.

A week in the Caribbean!

Maybe good things will happen back home  

— Bob Doan, just off the Florida at 36,000 feet

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Real Estate Evacuation Drill

Our realtor uses an automated appointment system to schedule appointments to view the house. It works very well, mostly.

Text of Appointment Message from Yesterday
Elkridge, MD
June 22, 2022

The quirk in the system is that it allows realtors to make appointments with very short notice. Yesterday, we received notice one minute before the appointment. The appointment notification came at 6:44 PM for a 6:45-7:15 PM preview, in the middle of dinner clean-up.

The ensuing activity became a Real Estate Evacuation Drill. Of course, we cannot be in the house when the realtor visits, furthermore, there cannot be any evidence that anyone is actively living in the home and especially no animals. We have three--two dogs and a cat that must be evacuated. 

The notification began race to clean up dinner and load the animals and their associated dishes and litter box into the truck and evacuate. We actually accomplished all of this in 8 minutes. 

After we were loaded in the truck we headed out to spend time away from the house. The really cool thing is that my home security system allows me to monitor the activity. That means I know when people arrive, the door is unlocked, and the motion sensors and door sensors allow me to follow their movement throughout the house. It is pretty cool. I also know when they leave and lock-up so that we can return. 

In the end, the realtor did not show! The activity became a Real Estate Evacuation Drill, and I believe we passed. The upside was that we deployed to the ice cream stand for a hot fudge sundae while the preview was supposed to be happening. 

I' m sure there is more fun to come!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

House Sale vs Impending Vacation

 The house sale process continues and I fear it will complicate our impending departure for a long-planned and much needed vacation.  

Princess Juliana Airport
Sint Maarten
July 5, 2017
Yes, we are headed for Sint Maarten on Friday. To say we are excited is an understatement. This trip has been planned for almost a year and we will be joining my sister Pennie and her husband on the trip, reviving a history of joint vacations with them. The island of Saint Martin hosts two countries, one Dutch and one French. We will likely visit them both during our stay as some of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean are located on the French side of the island. The Dutch side, however, is famous for Princess Juliana airport where the aircraft land right over the beach. Chris and I were there on July 5, 2017 as a stop on a cruise! Five years ago.

Pedro's Orient Beach Bar
Saint Martin
July 5, 2017
The house sale process is frustrating. We have had, as of this writing, 932 views and 48 saves on Zillow. No offers yet! And we are being very accommodating. Yesterday, we received 40 minutes advance notice of a showing. It came as I was in the middle of making my lunchtime sandwich. We packaged up the animals (yes, we have animals) and stray items around the house; making a quick exit. 

A new frustration is that the house seems to be working against us. On Saturday, during the open house, on of the ceiling light globes decided to crash to the floor. I replaced the whole unit. Yesterday, one of the less than two months old LED recessed light bulbs burned out in the kitchen just as we were leaving the house for the showing. I did not have another light an so we installed a light of a different color temperature while we bought the correct temperature light bulb during the showing.

So many things are being juggled. I might turn my phone and computer off next week just to regain some sense of sanity. But, I know that snorkeling in the warm Caribbean water will be fantastic.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Break in the Action : Cranes


A much needed break from the house preparation happened last evening. Along with two other couples, Chris and I experienced Cranes, a restaurant in D.C. specializing in the intersection of Spanish and Japanese cuisine. 

It was a good evening to head into D.C. because of the Federal Holiday the traffic was light. It only took about 45 minutes to arrive at a parking garage and then just a few minutes more to walk to the restaurant.

The restaurant is easy to find and it is very large. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food options provided something for everyone. I noted that the prices have significantly increased since the web menu was posted. This is a One Michelin Star rated restaurant. So be prepared to be wowed and enjoy the experience. 

By the time the three couples departed we had enjoyed a bit of most of the menu. Everything was presented in an eye-appealing and tasteful manner. The flavors from some of the items literally exploded in our mouths and provided a symphony of tastes to enjoy as we savored the offering.

We met Chef Pepe and could immediately understand why this restaurant is a Michelin rated restaurant. He is charming and dedicated. The kitchen runs like a well oiled machine, but everyone looks as if they truly enjoy their work.

A great evening and I recommend visiting and enjoying this restaurant. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 20, 2022

Monday Musings - June 20, 2022


1. Hey there, it is Monday again! It is the 3rd Monday of June and there are only 27 Mondays remaining in the year. 

View from the House at Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten
June 19, 2022
2. Next week, at this time, hopefully, I will be in Sint Maarten enjoying a sunny Caribbean beach. A vacation long in the making. Pennie and Scott are already there enjoying their well-earned time away. Friday, Chris and I arrive to rain on their parade!

3. Happy Juneteenth! Yes, it is a Federal Holiday--don't check your mailbox today--nothing new will be there.

4. Yes, we are back at home. For those wondering, we do not yet have a purchase offer on the house. So, if you were on the fence, now is the time to move in and offer to buy our fantastic homestead!

5. The cool weather of the past two days has been enjoyable, but not conducive for swimming. I'm looking forward to hitting the pool today as things warm back up into the 80s.

6. Today in HistoryOn June 20, 1975, Jaws, a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977’s Star WarsJaws was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category and took home three Oscars, for Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. The film, a breakthrough for director Spielberg, then 27 years old, spawned several sequels.

Small Businesses Fall Behind on Hiring as Inflation Takes a Toll - The Wall Street Journal

Russia Strikes Positions, Residential Areas in Donbas - The Wall Street Journal

Less Russian Gas Puts Europe’s Winter Fuel Supply in Jeopardy - The Wall Street Journal

Shooting near Washington, DC, concert leaves 15-year-old dead, wounds officer and 2 adults, police say - CNN

Juneteenth: What's open, what's closed today - CNN

Election standoff ends in New Mexico county after false fraud claims threw primary certification into question - CNN

Macron seeks to salvage a functioning government after French election shortfall - Reuters

Russians advance, Zelenskiy expects escalation as EU set to welcome Ukraine - Reuters

China says it tested missile-interception system - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day 2022

Happy Father's Day!

To all of the fathers out there--this is your day to celebrate being a dad and all of the joys, and frustrations, that come with that calling. It is not for everyone--and that is OK!

To all of the sons and daughters out there--celebrate your Dad! 

BTW--forget the necktie gift--most Dads don't wear them anymore. 

-- Bob Doan, Laurel, MD

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Chugging into the Weekend

What a week it was. 

Culling the Possessions
Elkridge, MD
June 15, 2022
I almost do not know how to process everything. The week had a wide variety of activity including downsizing and prep work, a trip to the local landfill/recycling center, the house going onto the real estate market, a fantastic Happy Hour with our complete group for the first time in months, and of course the 8th grade dance. Somewhere in there I also jump-started a dead car battery in Annapolis and checked out a water leak in Jeremy's house.


And now it is the weekend and time to relax, right? 

Not so fast grasshopper!

Chris and Jax
Odenton, MD
June 17, 2022
We are currently living with a friend to allow our house to be viewed whenever someone desires and I have the season ending baseball tournament doubleheader today and at least 1 but hopefully 2 or 3 games tomorrow. 

Important programming note: just because the season is ending does not mean that baseball is over! There are at least two more tournaments on the schedule taking us into July. Sometimes I wonder where all of this was when I was a kid.

What about the 8th grade dance? Jax went off to the dance last evening and Chris and I were at his parents house to get a few pictures before the big event! That was sandwiched in between moving into the friend's house and Happy Hour! I love driving at rush hour in Maryland--just saying. BTW--guess who is getting tall?

And I thought retired life would be quiet.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Laurel, MD

Friday, June 17, 2022

The clock is ticking

For those of you following along--it is official. The homestead is on the real estate market and up for sale. The listing is here. An era is closing as we change chapters of our lives. 

6155 Rainbow Drive
Elkridge, MD
June 15, 2022
I have to admit, it has been a bit nostalgic as Chris and I remember all the events that have taken place at our home. The house has hosted graduation, anniversary, retirement, and get-out-of-jail parties. We have also hosted crab feasts (even though neither Chris nor I particularly enjoy blue crabs), church services, end-of-year parties for teachers, end-of-the-season parties for baseball teams and, not to forget, Friday Night Happy Hours!. And then there were just pool parties for the sake of having a party. During 2020 at the height of the COVID-10 pandemic when the public pools were closed, we became the neighborhood pool.

All of those do not even begin to equate to the family gatherings through the over 21 years as our family grew from the nuclear 5+1 when we moved in to the 11 of us that now comprise the basic set when we gather. Granted, there have been some swap-outs and swap-ins--but life happens. Our family, however, is larger than those who are related by blood or marriage. I think my Mom had the best definition of family, everyone is family all we need to do is just open our arms and accept them. We have friends who are more than close--they are family. 

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.”Richard Bach

This statement is more than true.

In distilling the past, I realize that it is gatherings and the sharing of this fantastic home with others that have made our lives here so nearly perfect. Yea, it is hard to say good-bye--but, it is time.

P.S. Don't the hydrangeas in front of the porch look fantastic?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, June 16, 2022

1-2-3-2 Triple Play

 It was a baseball evening for the Severn Seminoles 14U last evening. The Pasadena Eagles were the opponents for the final game before the season ending tournament. 

It was a beautiful evening for baseball. The team has really come together as the season has progressed. They are generally solid in the field, although at the plate there is still some weakness even though I have seen every member of the team crack the bat on the ball.

The game was a close game for all of the scheduled 7 innings. 

As the line score shows, the teams were fairly evenly matched. Being a scrimmage, both coaches decided to use pitchers for only one inning as a tune-up for the weekend tournament. All of the pitchers brought their best stuff for the evening. Although it would seem that the 1st inning was the pivotal inning where Severn won the inning by outscoring Pasadena, the play of the night, and perhaps the season, occurred during the 4th inning. 

To start the 4th, Severn sent its lefty pitcher to the plate to face the Pasadena line-up. It was a rough start as he walked the first three batters. He took the 4th batter of the inning to a 3-1 count before the game changing pitch and play occurred. On what looked like a possible ball 4 to walk in a run, the batter swung and hit a solid drive back to the pitcher (1), he threw to the catcher (2) for the force out at home. The catcher fired a bullet to the 1st baseman (3) getting the out on the batter, but that was where the real magic occurred. The 1st baseman continued the play and fired the ball back to the catcher (2) who tagged out the runner who was trying to score form 2nd base. That friends is a beautiful 1-2-3-2 inning ending triple play--with two outs being made at home plate.

It was a fantastic way to get out of the inning!

And Severn ultimately won the game, 5-4.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Working Harder

I have been retired over five months now. I thought retirement would be a bit more relaxing than it has been these past few weeks.

Getting a house ready for sale is no small task. Trust me! There is always one more thing to do--especially after living in the same house over 21 years. 

Hydrangea Bloom
Elkridge, MD
June 14, 2022
Today is picture day for the real estate listing. Yay!

Chris and I have been busy getting the house into a "Better Homes and Gardens" category of cleanliness and beauty. I think we are at about the 95 percent level. I know of one garden that needs attention--it is not going to get it unless I decide to mow it under!

That written, the hydrangeas are in bloom in front to the house. We planted the Endless Summer variety a few years ago and enjoy their blooms all year. The plants have gotten so bit they have covered the entire garden and I often refer to them as the "hydrangeas that ate Elkridge." We are lucky right now in that we have both purple and pink blooms. It makes them very interesting. The calla lilies are also blooming as we slide into the longest daylight of the year. 

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully by this time next week we will be under contract and preparing to escape to St Maarten for a week of beach and sun. My beach low-level light is definitely illuminated!

Happy Hump Day, btw!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Tuesday, Tuesday

 I was awakened this morning to the rumble of thunder and the flash of lightning. 

Dining Room Nearly Ready
Elkridge, MD
June 14, 2022
I am thankful I completed my outdoors work yesterday while the temperatures were in the 90s and the sun was shining. I even allowed myself some enjoyment by jumping into the pool. The water was a beautiful 81 degrees. 

Tomorrow is picture day! The house, inside and out, needs to look better than it did when we toured it over 21 years ago. And it does!

On the really exciting side, we already have a scheduled showing for Saturday. Yay!

It is both exciting and frightening. 

From a getting ready for photo day standpoint, we are almost there.

BTW, Happy Flag Day! Go wave a flag!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, June 13, 2022

Monday Musings - June 13, 2022


1. Look out! It is the second Monday of June and the month is half-over. Summer begins next week. We are nearing the mid-point of the year with just 28 Mondays remaining in 2022.

Royal Farms
Severn, MD
June 12, 2022
2. I filled my gas tank last evening. I was lucky on two counts. First, my 26 gallon tank was not completely empty. Second, I was able to get gas for $4.75 instead of $5.00. I have not paid this much for a tank of gas since I traveled to England during 1992 with our full-size van.

3. I am confused about the Republican positions on guns and abortion. In one they want to protect the rights of Americans to kill children and in the other they want to take away a woman's right to control her body because they say it kills children. 

Rabbit on the Pool Deck
Elkridge, MD
June 12, 2022
4. We had a visitor on the pool deck yesterday. A small, and I mean small, not very old rabbit was munching on something on the carpet right outside the door. It was very cute and I just had to capture an image of it.

5. I realized this morning that in about two months my signature banner will likely never include Elkridge, MD, in it again. Wow!

6. Despite that I could not find many headlines about it, the Russia invasion of Ukraine continues. 

7. Is anyone else tired of hearing about the animosity between actors? We survived Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial and now we have Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Ugh! There are real problems happening in the world today.

8. Inflation. Why is it so hard to understand that the inflation we are experiencing is directly related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine? The invasion is driving up oil costs which underpin everything in the world economy. Additionally, oil is a global market and so despite the U.S. being a net exporter of oil and gas, the demand in Europe and china is driving up the prices and that means that we, U.S., consumers are paying for the impact of the war from our wallets. To reduce oil costs the Russian invasion must end and Russian oil must begin flowing to Europe and Asia.

9. History TodayOn June 13, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Now considered standard police procedure, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you,” has been heard so many times in television and film dramas that it has become almost cliche.

3 reforms left out of the bipartisan gun deal - CNN

Fiji says Asia's biggest security threat is climate change, not conflict - CNN

Ukrainian forces pushed from Severodonetsk city’s center; NATO chief to Sweden - The Washington Post

Monkeypox dilemma: How to warn gay men about risk without fueling hate - The Washington Post

Amazon calls cops, fires workers in attempts to stop unionization nationwide - The Washington Post

Futures Put S&P 500 on Course to Enter Bear Market - The Wall Street Journal

Without Cheap Russian Energy, Some European Factories Must Close - The Wall Street Journal

Idaho Police Arrest 31 Suspected White Nationalists Near LGBT Pride Event - The Wall Street Journal

Major crypto lender Celsius freezes withdrawals as markets tumble - Reuters

UAE bans 'Lightyear' film screening over supposed content violation - Reuters

Wikipedia fights Russian order to remove Ukraine war information - Reuters

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, June 12, 2022

What to do?

 The downsizing and preparation to tell the homestead continues unabated. 

The Paint
Elkridge, MD
May 12, 2022
We are only doing the minimum necessary to make the place look like it is worth what we are asking. Although we did not have any major painting projects on the plan, yesterday we ran into one of those situations that caused us more than a moment of discussion.

Taking personal pictures and mementos down off the walls we discovered som damage behind on of the images. We did not remember the damage, but it was more than just filling the hole. No problem, some Spackle and damage repaired, right? Not so fast grasshopper! I keep paint from every project so we can effect repairs, but in this case I did not have the proper paint. I had more than a few cans of paint that were close, but no exact match.Frustration began to set in!

What to do? Repaint, of course. This wall, however is not a normal wall. It is in the stairwell meaning it is nearly two stories tall! Yay! But, the wall needed to look good, not just to sell the house for for Chris and I. This was a repair that we would have had to accomplish whether the house was going to be sold or not. 

And so, after a trip to the paint store to get a gallon of paint which matched the wall abutting the stairwell,  we were tackled the wall. It only took a couple of hours, but it was time that we had not planned into our schedule. 

Everything looks great now. 

Did I mention that I hate painting? And I hate it more when I am at the top of a ladder nearly two stories up in a confined stairwell. 

I wonder what fun we will have today?

Oh wait, I have a baseball doubleheader scheduled--except, it is raining throughout the area. I may not be able to escape for five or six hours!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, June 11, 2022

LakeFest Weekend

LakeFest Weekend: Sway
Columbia, MD
June 10, 2022
Columbia Festival of the Arts is presenting a LakeFest Weekend. Chris and I attended the event last evening and enjoyed time sitting along Lake Kittamaqundi listing to music and watching performers. 

There was also a fine arts show included and we toured artisans and explored their creative wares. 

The most creative group we experienced was Sway, three dancers on long poles moving to music. They were not only creative and inspiring but talented and exciting to watch. 

We joined a group of people and made some new acquaintances while experiencing the event. 

The only downside was that the music being presented by the bands was too loud and, frankly, they need a new sound mixer because the vocals were had too much high range and sounded very harsh. We could not hold a conversation during some of the songs and we were not even in front of the stage. I think the noise level may have been above that of a jet engine!

It was an enjoyable evening, however. Relaxing by the lake watching the people and discussing wine and wineries with others. 

The LakeFest continues today and I recommend it as a place to visit and enjoy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, June 10, 2022

Golden Girls - Review


Last evening we took a break from baseball and downsizing. Chris and I escaped to the Hippodrome theater to enjoy Golden Girls!

We last went to the theater while we were wintering in Jupiter, Florida, and saw, Why I Hate Hamlet. I have to admit, I am not a fan of the theater. When I am crammed into the too small seats of the Hippodrome Theater, as I was last evening, I can't help but think that I'd be more comfortable at an Orioles game. At least the theater allowed me to enjoy a glass of wine while seated.

Golden Girls was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Important safety tip--the actors were men doing the parts of the four famous women and they were believable and enjoyable. Second safety tip, the sexual comments and jokes could be considered offensive to some, but may also expand your vocabulary. The show done just like the TV show with two sets: living room and kitchen. All of the action took place in one, or at times both, of the rooms. The audio was clear, I was near the rear of the theater, but could both see and hear without trouble. 

Parking, which can be a problem in Baltimore, was not an issue last evening. I believe it was because the Orioles were out of town. After the show, Chris and I were able to exit the theater, get to the car, and were home within about 30 minutes--and it is a 19 minute drive. 

Great escape and great evening. 

Third safety tip: This show is not suitable for children.

Recommendation: See Golden Girls.

-- Bob Doan, ELkridge, MD

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Sign is Up


Marketing the Homestead
Elkridge, MD
June 8, 2022
The downsizing and house selling became very real yesterday. 

The sign went up!

While the house in not officially on "the market" yet, that day is just over a week away. Until the sign went up it was all fun and games and a bit surreal, but now it is serious. 

We are in our 22nd year of occupancy, having purchased the the home at the end of February 2001. We have lived here longer than anywhere during our entire lives. I don't even think about the address when I write it, it is an integral part of me, seemingly permanently inscribed into my brain. 

I inaugurated this blog during December 2007 and looking back through some of the entries I found documentation of the great times that our family and friends have enjoyed in this house. 

The good times and celebrations will not end; the venue will just change.

Changes. The process that began during December last year continues as Chris and I move forward in retirement. There is still so much to do, but we have done as great deal as well. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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