Showing posts with label 2013 Images. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013 Images. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today? Tomorrow? December?

Last Winter
I have to admit--I have been a little low lately thinking about the impending end to summer and the on set of the dark days.

These thoughts have been keeping me from enjoying the final days of summer and the resurgence of the warmth that has mostly been lacking.

I saw a weather report for this summer that indicated that while the normal number of days with temperatures 90 degrees or more to this date on average are 22, this summer there have been only 10 and none since July 23rd. 

Bring on the summer. I need to be in the moment and not thinking about the rotten, cold, dark, snowy weather that is looming on the horizon.

Jax on a Floatie
Last evening, I was on a floatie in the pool! Yes the pool. Enjoying the warmth of the afternoon thinking how great it was that summer was still in control of the weather. 

Today and tomorrow I will enjoy the summer. I will enjoy each day for what it is and when December comes, all too soon, I will smile as I face the snow and cold and think about July and fireworks, heat, and the pool. It is all a big circle.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Storms and Days

Storm over the Atlantic 2013
The hot days of July have turned into days of storms and more storms. Some ferocious storms have passed through the area bringing with them rain, but high winds which have been damaging trees and subsequently power lines in the area.

As the dog days deepen, the All Star Break has arrived to remind me that summer is passing. I notice that summer flies by almost effortlessly, while winter lingers indefinitely overstaying its welcome with every additional day. 
4th of July Fireworks

I must slow down to enjoy the day and savor its coming and subsequent passing.

They pass so quickly that unless I take time to notice them, July will quickly become August and then September and then summer will have come and then gone.

Each day needs to be savored and enjoyed like a fine wine. Each event deserves to be recorded and remembered not for future posterity, but to remind me later, during the cold days of the dark time, that there was a summer and that it was grand. Because, during the dark times, I forget the warm, sultry days of July when the sweat rolled off my forehead and I savored the hot, stinging rays of the sun beating on my back.

Slow down July. Your passing will come too soon. Allow me to linger here a few more minutes to enjoy my favorite month of the year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Holiday Traffic - Jammed Highways

Thursday Traffic in advance of the
Independence Day Weekend
Two downsides of a holiday weekend are first that it ends, and second the traffic.

I had my own traffic experience on Thursday afternoon while making my way home. It was 45 minutes of thrills on the highway traveling at the speed of a rider on horseback.

Frustrating cannot begin to describe my feelings. 

There are good reasons not to travel during the holidays: overcrowded highways and jammed airports are but two.

But, there are great reasons to suffer through along with other travelers, for instance to visit with family and friends, to celebrate together, and to get away.
On the Beach during July 2013

This year is the first in many years that I will not be making a trek to my favorite Florida beaches. Usually, Chris and I depart for Florida around the Independence Day holiday. Some years we are even in Florida to celebrate the holiday. 

While my head understands that a new and different adventure is planned checking out the wineries of the Willamette Valley, my heart longs to be on the beach, in the sun, smelling the warm ocean breeze and taking hour-long snorkeling adventures along the shoreline.

It is July. I find it funny that the crush of holiday traffic makes me think of travel and vacations. 

Drive safely if you are driving today. Enjoy vacation time, if you are away. And dream of where you are going on vacation, if you're not there yet!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day Thoughts

Fireworks over the Magic Kingdom during July 2013
Happy Independence Day! 

Here are some random thoughts this morning as I sit here thinking about getting outside and cleaning up after last evenings storms.

1. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  The summer heat and swimming and of course the fireworks make this a real bang. 
Louis Zamperini

2. I was saddened to learn of the passing of Louis Zamperini on Wednesday. He was a true hero and and example of the power of forgiveness. I read the biography written about him by Laura Hillenbrand titled Unbroken, and found his journey to be an example for all of us. My recommendation is for everyone to read the book about his life.

3. Why do we play patriotic music only on the 4th of July? Patriotic music needs to be played on other occasions as well because it helps me remember why this country is still the greatest on the planet.

4. Do the kids attending school today learn the words to patriotic songs like My Country Tis of Thee?

5. The erosion of personal privacy is one of the great issues that needs to be addressed. The recent ruling by the Supreme Court about searched of cellphones requiring a warrant  should not have been necessary. It should have been evident!

Enjoy the holiday.

Be safe!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sun-day is Anyday

The phone rang on my desk at work yesterday, I knew who it was because my wife's cell number was prominently displayed above the keypad. 

She, I knew, was on her way to work and I wondered of there was a problem.

I would soon find out that there was, in fact, a crisis. A big crisis--a sun crisis.

She declared over the phone--"I have decided it is Sunday!" 

I replied, "great, but it is only Friday."

"No," she came back, "it's sun-day and I don't want to go to work. Do you want to play hooky?"

From the Square Grouper, Jupiter, Florida
I realized at this point, she meant that after a week of rain and gloom, the sun was shining and we needed to celebrate its return. Sadly, I was already at my appointed place of employment and while the idea of celebrating the sun and the blue skies sounded enticing, I probably could not get away from my closet-like office to celebrate the return of the sun and mild temperatures.

As I look out the window this morning, the gray, overcast skies have returned complete with scattered showers. I wish that I had declared a sun-day and taken yesterday off. I remember sitting along the banks of the river in Jupiter, Florida, last July enjoying the sun and warmth looking out towards the ocean. It was such a great time and a great scene.

I need a sun-day even if it isn't Sunday!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, January 24, 2014

Out the Hotel Window - Denver, January 2014

Pre-dawn on January 23, 2014
Denver, CO
The forces of nature smote me!

I wrote a couple of days ago about how I was enjoying 60 degree temperatures and snapping images of Pikes Peak while in Colorado while friends and family in the East were suffering through a massive snow storm.  

I woke up in Denver, Colorado, yesterday morning to single digit temperatures, the thermometer in the car actually recorded -1 during the drive to work, and snow! Yup, snow.
Just After Dawn, January 23, 2014
Denver, CO

The scene out my hotel window reminded me of the scene I imaged while in Alaska during February of last year. AND, it was warmer in Alaska when I took the image.

What a terrible thing to do to a guy. Provide enticing warm temperatures one day followed by below zero and snow two days later.
Anchorage, February 2013

I went back into my blog from February and found the Anchorage image. 

It is scary how similar the scenes look!

Snow covered cars and parking lots. The difference of curse is that the snow in Denver will be gone today as the temperatures are supposed to creep close to 60 again. Conversely, I'm not sure the snow ever melted in Anchorage--just kidding.

So, I am duly chastised by the forces of nature for writing the inflammatory blog entry about my warm weather while my family and friends were suffering in the cold and snow. 

-- Bob Doan, back home in Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Interesting Images of 2013

So there are a few more images that I want to share from 2013. 

Opening day for the Jax's T-Ball team that I had the pleasure of coaching along with Mike. They learned a lot and so did I. I was reminded that it is not so much the winning that matters, but the growth associated with the effort.

The Tigers on Opening Day--It was Cold!
Sand castles on the beach in Jupiter during July. It reminds me of warm/hot summer days and ocean surf and warm breezes blowing in off the water. Time spent with grandsons on the beach? Priceless.

The Sand Castle to Beat all Sand Castles
One of the last views I ever had of our car after the accident in PA. Up against the jersey barrier, drivable but not repairable. The car did its job, to kept us safe. If you look at the driver's side you can see Chris trapped and waiting. She was magnificent in keeping us safe. We still, even six months later, miss that heroic machine.

The Lexus Last Drive

One of the most awesome sights and sounds I have experienced. A real B-17 in flight above me. I never thought that I would ever hear one for real and yet, there it was!

B-17 Over Camden Yards
Saving a leatherback turtle hatchling on the beach in Florida. We are officially recognized turtle rescuers. Leatherbacks are hard to rescue according to the turtle center where we took this little survivor. They are treated differently because of their prehistoric senses which will not allow them to calm down in captivity. While other hatchlings can be calmed and rehabilitated, leatherback hatchlings must be taken out to deep water as soon as they can.

Leatherback Hatchling
One of the greatest places to spend a Friday evening, on the Annapolis waterfront! The food isn't fantastic, but the view is stunning! There is always something happening.
Annapolis from Pussers
My last snorkeling excursion of 2013 before leaving Jupiter. The water was calm and the fishes were abundant. I am snorkeling in about five feet of water and there they all are--looking at me looking at them.

Snorkeling at Carlin Park, Jupiter, FL0
Across from the Jupiter lighthouse. I snap this image from the Square Grouper every year and I never grow tired of it. The Square Grouper is one of my favorite watering holes. The view of the rivers of Jupiter is fantastic and the place is relaxing after a busy day of snorkeling and beach wandering. 

The Jupiter Lighthouse form the Square Grouper
Palm before the storm. There is something about a palm tree against a gray and stormy sky that is beautiful. Maybe it is different because palms are usually imaged in front of a brilliant blue sky. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Musings -- December 30, 2013 Images of the Year

Continuing my review of personal images of 2013, Monday Musings is devoted to some of my favorites of the year. 

1. Riordin, need I say more? He loves to lay in the space between my arm and body because it is warm. Usually when I am trying to use my laptop.
Riordin in my Arm

2. Ever wonder what it looks like to finish a marathon? Remember, the first guy who did it in history, Pheidippides, dropped dead after delivering the important message of joy. Here are Jeremy and Mike nearing the finish line after 26 miles through Baltimore.

Jeremy and Mike nearing the Baltimore Marathon Finish Line

3. OK, so it is my favorite sports mascot, but I did get to see a lot of the Orioles Bird this year and he almost always makes me smile.

Opening Day with the Orioles Bird

4. Ethan was having some fun while we were waiting for lunch at an Ocean City restaurant during our Memorial Weekend get away.

Ethan getting it on
5. Birthdays are more fun at Dave & Busters. Lucas graciously invited us out to enjoy his birthday and walked away with a giant dragon.

Lucas and Poppop Leaving Dave & Buster's

6. The horseshoe crab rescuer. Ethan returned this crab to the ocean and we think he made it out alive! There were three big crabs on the Ocean City, MD, beach that day. One was a goner already and two may have been rescued.

Ethan with a Horseshoe Crab
7. You know what I found out while fishing off the Florida coast? I've never caught anything this big! And, I didn't know how to pose it for a picture. One of my friends asked if I was trying to play this snook like an air guitar. Maybe I was.

Me with a Snook, Catch and Release!
8. Although she is pretty quiet about it, Chris does not like fans who root for the team which will remain nameless coming into our ballpark.

Chris wearing a Yankees go home shirt
9. Ethan getting some air while jumping off the dunes on the beach in Florida. A wild afternoon of fun jumping down the relatively steep slope.

Ethan Airborne
10. Jackson getting through the Christmas Eve church service. I remember when I was a kid--just a few short decades ago, the Christmas Eve church service seemed to last forever. It was standing between me and Christmas morning. We went to church during the evening, at 7pm I think, so when the service was over it was home to enjoy a few niceties and then off to bed to wait for the sounds of bells and hooves on the rooftop. I never remember hearing the bells and hooves though.

Jax Sleeping through the Message
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Reflections

What a year it has been.

It seemed, to me, to go screaming by faster and faster with each passing day. As of this morning I have created 391 blog posts documenting the year and my thoughts on what is happening. I know there are but a few more and the year will be a wrap. 

The year surged and lagged from day to day. There were highlights, like Opening Day for the Orioles when there was so much promise for the young baseball season. And, there were lows, like totaling our Lexus on a trip to Ithaca, which, thankfully, saw only minor cuts and bruises.  And there were birthdays--everyone had one! Only one!

There was the obligatory trip to Florida for sun, heat, and snorkeling. There were trips to wineries in FL, NY, PA, MD, and of course VA. 

There were house projects, new roof, staining the deck, wood floors in two bedrooms upstairs, and pool maintenance--the usual stuff. 

I mourned the loss of friends and family who passed too suddenly and unexpectedly during the year and they reminded me that every day is a gift and should be treated as such.

I rejoiced at the births and new beginnings and new homes for both of my sons and their families. I rooted for Jeremy and Mike as they crossed the finish line in Frederick's half in May and then Baltimore's full in October marathon. I cheered for my grandsons as they played sports. I cheered on my wife and daughter as they participated in running events as well. And I rejoiced with Patrick as he started a master's program.

I felt bad about cutting down my beloved but diseased plum trees and I was astonished at seeing and hearing a B-17 fly overhead.

I kinda hate doing lists like these, because I always forget something important--like a wedding or a trip or something. Sure, I took business trips this year--but none really anywhere exotic, if there is anywhere still exotic. Is Alaska in February exotic? OK, maybe Tahiti would be exotic. If only I could figure out a way to get there on a business trip. 

All of that written, I also survived the government shutdown and furlough! A definite low point in American history.

It has been a wild and furious year. I have been surrounded by family and friends and we have surged through the rough waters and paddled the then calm seas together. 

I wonder what 2014 will have to offer?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Christmas Tree on the Christmas Tree
And it has arrived! The day before the day. Christmas Eve. 

The ornaments are on the tree. The presents are bought and, mostly, wrapped, although I still need to wrap a few which are well hidden. I hope I can remember where they are hidden. Although, I am waiting for UPS to deliver the last gift of Christmas! They already delayed it once. 

The day is fairly well mapped out. Brunch a 9, church at 3:30, dinner at 5:30, crashing totally burned out at 9:30 and then waking early on Christmas morning to discover Santa's treasures and heading out by 6 to open gifts with with dinner at 2, and gift opening sandwiched in there somewhere along with smoking some meat for dinner.

Why is it so busy and preplanned? It is so tightly scheduled that is almost takes all of the fun out of the day for which planning has been underway since before Thanksgiving. 

I hope that you have a couple of great days. Despite all of the preplanning and scheduling, I intend to have a lot of fun while also finding some time to relax and enjoy being with family and friends. In the middle of all of the activity, don't forget the reason for the season. You can read about it in two short verses in Galatians 4:4-5.

AND, say Merry Christmas to someone you don't know. It will make them smile a lot more than Happy Holidays!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Musings - December 23, 2013

1. Counting today, there are two shopping days left until Christmas. 
Louis in Charge

2. Cats can be strange. Louis thought he owned my chair the other morning. I felt bad about moving him. But I moved him anyway after taking this awesome picture.

3. I heard the following at an official function the other day from a very senior military officer: "May the blessings of our Lord be with you this season and always." Wow! That was so awesome to hear.

4. Did I write that tomorrow is Christmas Eve?

5. Since when did it become legal to decide not to pay debts just because they get too expensive? I'm watching the games being played with the military retirement system in Washington right now. 

6. Happy Christmas, wherever you are. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cookies, A Christmas Tradition

On a cold Sunday afternoon, when most of the football teams we care about weren't playing, it turned into an impromptu Christmas cookie baking and decorating day.

Cookie baking and decorating day is a family holiday tradition, however, the day is becoming parts of many days as the cookie production line seems to be operating more often this year than usual.

I love the cookies, but I need to be mindful of how many I enjoy. I'm not sure I could play enough racquetball to maintain my weight if I consumed as many of the delicious cookies as I desired. I also get enjoyment watching others as they debate the relative merits of one, or two, or sometimes three cookies. 

It is, after all the holiday season. That time of year when we make a lot of decisions that have repercussions well into the next year.

Eat, enjoy, relax. It is just a few cookies.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Concert -- It's Elementary

Ethan and his cello
It was a strange feeling last evening to be returning to an elementary school for a holiday concert. It had been, get this, decades since I last experienced the joy, the terror, the not nearly enough parking in a cramped cafeteria converted to an auditorium listening to motivated students demonstrating their newly discovered instrumental skills playing holiday music. And better yet, this was a joint band and orchestra concert.

Ethan was our star. He was one of two cellists in the beginning orchestra! How awesome is that? I'm a band person myself and I  played the trumpet (not very well) for a number of years until football got in the way. 

It was fun to see all of the children take their places with their instruments and begin searching the assembled masses for their families. They are too young to care about not being seeing trying to see and be seen.

The music was enthusiastic. I loved the introduction to one of the band pieces: "This piece is difficult because it uses all six of the notes we know how to play."  How cute is that?

Ethan on the cello! Enjoy it and remember when we were all younger and maybe, just maybe, we were sitting there terrified and proud!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Considering Olives

Olives. Mmmm.

I love olives and olive oil and many things related to olives. I have a hard time staying away from the olives once that are open and on the table in preparation for dinner. During Thanksgiving this year, I rediscovered that most of my family also shares the love of olives--we consumed five containers of olives--green and black; stuffed and whole with the pit.

It was during the final preparations for Thanksgiving dinner, however, that Ethan demonstrated a new use for olives. He discovered that they fit perfectly on the ends of his fingers.

While they probably are no longer useful as a supplemental food source for anyone, except Ethan, after this experience it certainly was creative. RECOMMENDATION: Do not try this at your table!

Maybe he can become a new super hero-- Olive Man!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

As the Storm Continues

The falling snow has begun to subside leaving the trees and structures covered with the pure white cold stuff. 

It is cold and wet. We had a snowman in the yard, but Lucas returned it to its original state.

The snow is now covering almost everything.

I really could use some blue sky.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Scary Snowman Down the Street

On a street in my neighborhood there is a very disturbing and scary two story tall snowman. It is supposed to be a Christmas decoration. The snowman is something out of a Tim Burton nightmare movie. Pictures do not do justice to this fear instilling snowman. It's big, it is mean, and it is definitely not a happy Christmas decoration.

I really don't know why this thing is lighted.

December 10, 2013 As the Snow Falls
Meanwhile, I'm sitting here watching another storm blow into the region. The good news is that I don't have to go to work today because of the weather. The bad news is that I will have to do all of today's work tomorrow. But, at least I don't have to risk life and limb on the highways. 

The storm is just beginning and already the snow is sticking to the trees which just shook off the weekend snow. 

A respite from the holiday frenzy.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Musings - December 9, 2013

Heavenly Bamboo Berries in the Snow
1. 15 Shopping days remain until Christmas.

2. The first real snow of the season fell yesterday. I'd like to say it was pretty, but it wasn't. It was cold, wet and I had to shovel the drive.

3. Football can be an incredibly exciting game. Five touchdowns during the final two minutes and five seconds of the Ravens game yesterday is proof positive. Wow! What a ride. I almost fell off.

4. The school closings are happening today due to the weather. While it is frustrating, it is also good that the schools are committed to safety.

5. Riordin seems to have a routine where he runs around the house. I guess it is his morning workout.

6. The fire in the fireplace all day yesterday was a very nice touch. It made the living room a toasty place to relax and watch the stressful football games. 

7. The most dangerous part of driving in bad weather is the other driver.

8. And for my family in Texas--on this date in 1835, the Texan Army captured San Antonio

9. Maryland is taxing rain! The Rain Tax showed up in my December tax bill. It is real!

10. Spring is close. My Orioles Partial Plan Season Ticket renewal came in the mail over the weekend!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Unintended Torture Device: Automatic Cat Feeder

Gus and the Automatic Feeder
I'm sure the title has your interest at least this far. It really isn't all that nefarious. I almost thought it funny. 

I was introduced to a really cool invention, designed to help our feline friends (in some cases they are more children than friends) who tend towards obesity living in our plush and opulent surroundings lose weight. It is an automatic feeder with metered and timed food delivery. 

Gus is one of my son's cats and he tends towards the heavy side. This really cool feeder was designed to help him find his inner and thinner cat. I was near the device one evening as it was about to meter out Gus's portion. His antics were hilarious as he waited for his portion to drop. Nothing in the world, I am convinced, could separate Gus from the feeder at feeding time. 

Why it is a torture device? Well, the device has no feelings, obviously, and so poor Gus in his enthusiasm does everything he can to get the food to drop earlier--to no avail. Gus is truly tortured while waiting for the food to arrive. He knows the food is in there, but he cannot get to it.

But the automatic feeder is good for Gus as he strives to become the leaner cat of his youth.

Great idea, unintended consequences.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kennedy Krieger Institute Festival of Trees Review

At the Festival of Trees
Sunday, we bundled up and headed off to the annual Kennedy Kreiger Institute Festival of Trees. It had been over ten years since we went to the festival and I was amazed at how it has grown from a Christmas Tree focused event into a major commercial undertaking where viewing the trees is almost secondary to the sales and activities. I was not fully prepared for the blatant commercialization that confronted me after paying my $13 admission charge to enter the event, now held in the Cow Palace at the State Fair Grounds. 
The Gambler's Christmas Tree

Yes there were Christmas trees--and perhaps there were a lot of them clustered around the gigantic Cow Palace for me to enjoy. And I did. There were come very unique trees that delighted my imagination and the imaginations of my grandsons who accompanied me. But, the event is huge and almost unruly and out of control. 
Oriole Ornament made from Crab Shell

There were numerous vendors selling every variety of item imaginable and it seemed that they were the real reason for the season. The Christmas trees were clumped into manageable sections, but their glitter and creativity was overshadowed by the glitz and activity surrounding them.
Accompanying Decoration

As it was the third day of the event, most of the trees were sold, not that I would buy one. I found most of the trees on display to be sparsely decorated and lacking depth. There were a few outstanding one, but only a very few. 

The City of Baltimore Tree

I found the accompanying decorations around one tree to be very interesting. I was taken away to my personal beach by it. However, the thought of going to Tijuana for Christmas is not appealing in any way. 

The highlight of the event for me was the model railroad display which was huge. I could have sat and watched the trains for hours even though they just go around on the track. They were fun to watch and took me back to my childhood.

RECOMMENDATION: Sadly, I cannot recommend this event in the future. It has lost focus, becoming another overly commercialized Christmas-themed venture by a well meaning not-for-profit institute. The $13 adult admission and $7 child admission seems high. There is a lot to do once inside and many places and ways to spend money, but to call it a Festival of Trees is really stretching the point--a lot.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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