Showing posts with label 2016 Images. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016 Images. Show all posts

Friday, February 17, 2017

Presidents' Day Weekend

It is time to celebrate the men (so far, yes, they are all men) who have served our country by being elected President!

Portrait of George Washington in the White House
So is it President's Day, celebrating only George Washington, or is it Presidents' Day celebrating all of them?

Turns out that depending upon the state, both may be correct.

Of course, two of the greatest have birthdays during this time of year--Washington and Lincoln. But of the now 45 Presidents, which one or ones are your favorites and why? Did you ever wonder?

Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Some interesting facts about the Presidents can be found at the website containing Fun Facts about the Presidents

Presidential Facts:

Four presidents were born during February including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Harrison and Ronald Reagan.

I cannot find any portrait of George Washington smiling. He is always so serious.

Calvin Coolidge was the only President born on the 4th of July. 

Three Presidents have died on the 4th of July: Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe. Adams and Jefferson both died in 1826 while Monroe lived until 1831. 

Truly great Presidents give us words of wisdom to live by. George Washington set the tone with his Farewell Address, which to this day is read on his birthday in the Senate. 

Ronald Reagan made the following observation:

"We live in perilous times, my fellow Americans, but also times of great hope and opportunity. The future is up to us."
Radio Address to the Nation on Drug Abuse and Aid to the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance, February 6, 1988

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Almost Members of the Family

Riordin at Christmas
I was going through the Christmas images and I found one that made me smile all over again. I published it in my November 27th blog, but I like the image so much that it made think about how the animals in my house are more than just pets or animals, but rather they are members of the family.

During the Christmas decorating process Riordin, one of our cats, wanted to participate in the process and he got into the middle of nearly everything happening. 

Some cats, and dogs, are like that. They become almost all members of the family and they want to be involved in everything. It does get a bit tiring. 

Makayla, for instance, wants to join me on every trip I take outside the home. She does understand in some way, that she is not going to work with me in the morning, but every other journey is up for discussion. And she makes her desires known. The winter is a good time because I can run to the store and leave her in the car, unlike the hot days of summer. She has been making more short trips with me lately.

Riordin is part of everything we do. Seriously! When friends come to visit we have to lock him up or he finds a way to become the centerpiece of the conversation. While his ubiquitous presence is fine when Chris and I are home alone, it can be a bit much when friends or family are around.

Louis, the other cat, likes to reserve more cat-like activities for himself. He is around but not in the center of the action. He seems to understand that he is a cat and I'm not.

I love my pets and admit that I have enabled their behavior. But, for the majority of the time when Chris and I are the only ones home, it works.

They are not just pets, but they are members of the family. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Chris with Everything Ready
Christmas Eve Brunch 2016
It was dark outside. Christmas Eve had given way for Christmas Day. The brunch from the day before was a memory.

Even though there were no children in the house and no reason to be up until well after dawn, we were awake to enjoy the arrival of Christmas Day. 

Cooking Bacon on the Griddle
Brunch on Christmas Eve 2016
The tree was brightly lit and the Snow Village beamed its light across the darkened room and the house was quiet.

The TVs were off, the only thing we could find to watch was a 1939 movie titled Return of the Cisco Kid. Seriously! It was too quiet around the house and the only noise was the whining of the dog.

The presents were piled around the tree in anticipation of the noise and excitement that would follow during the day. 

It was a quiet time for reflection on the season.

Dawn on Christmas Day is still 50 minutes away, but the sky should begin filling with color soon. 

I can imagine the shepherds sitting in their fields two millennia ago being startled by light in the darkness.

May you find joy today and through the whole year.

Merry Christmas

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dog Days

Makayla Ready to Travel
I know that it is not the summertime when I look forward to the Dog Days, but even as the winter approaches and the total amount of sunlight drops towards its solstice low of 9 hours and 24 minutes, some days are devoted to dogs.

Today, for instance, Makayla has a check-up and dental appointment. She gets her teeth cleaned once per year.  It is funny that I, too, have an appointment this afternoon for a dental cleaning. 

So this morning I will drop her off at the vet and pick her up this afternoon. She hates being dropped off. She exhibits real signs of separation anxiety.

But I know she will be fine and that when the afternoon arrives and I can pick her up, she will be very ready to see me.

And her breath will smell good, too.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Decorations Abounding

2016 Edition of the Doan Christmas Tree
The turkeys are safely stored until next November. It was a sad repacking them as I really enjoy looking at them. They make me smile.

Christmas is arriving in the form of decorations. 

Riordin Helping Decorate
Chris and I spent yesterday, except for two emergency trips to Lowe's, decorating. And, sadly, we still are not finished. 

We made some mulled wine from a kit that we had purchased a couple of years ago and enjoyed decorating our way through the day. It definitely helped as we overcome the obstacles to completing our task.

Fortunately, we decided to erect only one tree this year. Why, fortunately? Well, it turns out that half of the lights on the pre-lit tree are burned out. I'm not sure it is repairable. So we went to the tree which requires string lights only to discover that we had reallocated the white lights formerly used on that tree for another decorating project. It is always something. So we bought new lights and found that one set was defective and that we needed five strands, not the four we had purchased. Back to Lowe's. 

Louis and Rirodin Under the Tree
Along the way we had some additional help from Riordin. He loved checking our the decorations and the boxes. We always have to ensure that he is not trapped in one of them before we put them away.

As soon as everything was cleaned up, both cats decided to claim the space under the tree. It really isn't complete yet because my Polar Express train isn't set up. We were just too tired from almost 10 hours of decorating to deal with some of the smaller details. 

So the house is nearly ready for the next holiday. This is the third monthly transformation, the first is Halloween at the beginning of October, the second is Thanksgiving and the season of the turkey at the beginning of November, and the third is Christmas which is the first weekend after Thanksgiving!

Of course, remember, I began the Christmas decorations on Veteran's Day and then did the Snow Village last weekend. 

Well, we are ready for the sprint to the New Year!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Around the Fire

It was an amazing evening.

Happy Hour with George and Sue
November 18, 2016
Happy hour around the fire table, outside during late November. It really doesn't get much better. 

The temperature topped out at 67 degrees yesterday, which is warm, and we were able to enjoy friends and a couple great wines together outside before coming inside for dinner.

That doesn't happen often during November, especially late November when parts of the country are being covered by a blizzard. 

It was very nice not to be wearing a coat and still be warm enough to enjoy the experience.

Did I mention that we also enjoyed some great wines from one of our favorite vineyards in Virginia? That would be Keswick? We enjoyed the 2009 Consensus and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve. 

Great wines, great friends and a great time. What could be better?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sunsets of California

Sunset on Ventura Beach
November 4, 2016
During our short trip to the Left Coast, Chris and I have experienced some spectacular sunsets. There is something inspiring about the sun setting across the ocean. Watching the bright orb in the sky descend into the sea and the finely tendrils bathing the world in gold and then red hues. Sometimes, I find it interesting to put my back to the sun and see how the world is resounding to the sunset. 

Sunset on Pismo Beach Pier
November 6, 2016
I also look around to see what other things are in the sky. I found the moon the other evening, hanging there also watching the sunset. 

Sunset on Santa Monica Pier
November 7, 2016
But we experienced three different beach sunsets and enjoyed them all. It is amazing how cold it gets after the sun sets. 

I was always amazed at how many other people also come out to watch the sunset. 

The clouds make each one different. Last evening the sun went behind a cloud bank before actually setting and it muted the event a bit. But the sunset was still spectacular. 

What a great way to end the day, enjoying the colors of the sunset.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Las Vegas Images

New York, New York Resort at Night
I had my trusty iPhone with me to document my weekend celebration in Las Vegas and I managed to take some interesting images.

Everything in Vegas seems to be larger than life. The resorts apparently duel to be the most spectacular or outlandish. I stayed in the Excalibur, which is a castle, but New York, New York looks like a miniature version the Big Apple all crushed together. 

TPC Las Vegas
I was very impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding TPC Las Vegas where I played a very enjoyable round of golf. Getting out of the city and away form the casinos and the crowds was a highlight of the trip. Getting to smack the little white ball around the course was an added benefit. It was the first time I had played a desert course and I admit to hitting a couple of balls into the canyons guarding some of the holes.

As I was walking through my resort, I happened upon a gift shop that just screamed Las Vegas--and I had to take an image of the sign. It was just a classic! I actually did not even go into the shop, but I enjoyed the lights of the sign. There were, of course, many more signs in Vegas, but it is a city that never seems to sleep, although at 6AM I could tell that it was slumbering.

Out my Hotel Window
October 24, 2016
My final image is from yesterday morning after a rare rainstorm passed through and made the sunrise special. The sunlight reflecting off the airport runways was especially interesting and the illumination of the hotel down the way made for a visually stimulating shot--and yes, it was right outside my hotel window! I was amazed at how the scene outside my window changed with the rising of the sun and the passing of the day. 

In retrospect it was a great trip and I have to confess that I did gamble. I won $5 while betting $2, so I was ahead for the trip, I guess. I am not a gambler, but I had to play at least one slot machine and I actually played two.

I did find that many of the cliches are true. But there is wholesome fun to be enjoyed, even in Sin City.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Evening Falls and the Deer Play

Whitetail Playing
Photo by Chris

Evening arrives about two minutes earlier every day and so it has become easier to be positioned around the fire pit to enjoy the darkness as it envelops the region. 

The cold temperatures, in the 40s and 50s, have made the daily string of sunrises and sunsets stunningly spectacular. I enjoy the early rays of the sunrise on my way to work and the sunsets sitting around the fire pit chatting with Chris or friends recounting the activities of the day.
Two Deer on the Edge of the Yard
Photo by Chris

Last evening was especially enjoyable as two groups of deer decided to join the evening festivities. There was a small herd of five which played in the yard near us, even with the fire going. They seemed unconcerned about Makayla, who I was holding because she wanted to run and play with them. 

It was enjoyable watching them venture into the yard and then seeing the youngest of the group actually run and jump in the open space. The senior doe of the group kept a close eye on us as we sat an talked and they eventually moved along. Shortly after that, a group of two, presumably a doe and Falene, from earlier in the year, happened by for a visit. 

Watching the deer in the yard reminded me that we share the area with other wildlife. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Life with Dogs

Makayla after a Hard Day of Work
I love my dog. I can't imagine not having a dog and sharing life with a dog. (I wonder if that double negative makes sense?)

My dog, Makayla, like all of my dogs since I've been an adult, is a full fledged member of the family. Sometimes maybe too full-fledged. She makes her needs known and even forces me to get some exercise as I walk her around the neighborhood. 

Chewbacca -- Waiting Patiently
I wish I could take her with me to more places when I am out shopping or dining. She is calm and well mannered. I would enjoy taking her to restaurants where she would wait for the morsels from my plate that I enjoy sharing with her when I eat at home. She has become and expert at eating spaghetti and corn-on-the-cob. Whenever I get to the last corner of a sandwich or piece of bread, I share it with her. 

I read an article titled The Speakeasy Underworld of the Dog Bar in the New York Times this morning. The article describes how more restrictive laws are forcing establishments to exclude dogs from inside areas while at the same time allowing more dogs at outdoor tables. The article describes the reporters undercover work "sniffing" out bars which defy the health code and allow dogs with their owners.  I applaud those establishments.

I remember traveling Europe and seeing dogs more freely allowed in eating establishments. 

I believe well mannered dogs should be freely allowed to accompany their owners in all establishments. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Heralding Autumn's Arrival

Chris Preparing to Help Place the Cover
Although autumn does not officially arrive until later this week on September 22--or Thursday, it arrived at my house yesterday. 

The pool was closed yesterday for the season and that marks the beginning of autumn for me. Why did I close the pool early this year when I normally keep it open until the last week of September or the first week of October? The dry heat caused me to close early.

Pool Ready for the Dark Season
It does seem a bit strange that dry heat would cause me to close early, but the arid conditions have caused many of the trees to start dropping their leaves--many of them still green and I could not keep up with the maintenance on the pool. My pool is a collecting point for leaves.

I always gauge closing the pool with the numbers of leaves falling to the ground. I mowed the lawn yesterday not because the grass was long, but to remove the leaves from the yard. Its sad that summer is ending so abruptly. I had hoped for a smooth slide into autumn.

While it was sad to place the cover and say another long good-bye to summer, I hate to admit that it was time. Pool season has effectively ended with morning temperatures in 60's the water temperature is getting to cold to be enjoyable. 

On a good note, we moved the fire pit into the yard to begin to enjoy the autumn evenings on a more personal basis! 

That is a lot like trying to find a silver lining in a black storm cloud.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flying into the Sunset

Chris and I went out on a date night last evening to Annapolis. We decided to enjoy dinner at Cooper's Hawk Wine Bar and Restaurant which recently opened. 

Flying into the Sunset
We chose to sit outside to enjoy the evening. It was a beautiful late summer evening. One of those times when the heat and humidity of the summer begins to give way to the dryer cooler evenings of the autumn.

Cropped Version of Image
Dinner was great but the transition from day to night was occurring as we ate and I had a ring-side seat to observe evening arrive. 

The restaurant is near the approach patten for BWI airport and every few minutes another plane would fly into view. I could not hear them as they were still a good distance away, but the clouds made it appear the the planes were flying into the sunset. 

I imagined, for a moment, my own travels returning home at sunset and flying the same route. I wondered how many people looked at the jet that I was on and thought similarly.

The scene provided a canvass of reality which stimulated our conversation during a pleasant dinner for two. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, August 26, 2016

Falene Wanders By

Falene in the Garden
June 2016
The fawn that I photographed sleeping in our flower garden earlier in the year wandered through the edge of the yard yesterday. 

Falene and Mother
25 August 2016
My how she has grown--but remains under the watchful eye of her mother.

They were not particularly concerned about my presence, in fact, the doe made a gesture that I interpreted as almost wanting to come to me for food. We have not been feeding the wild animals. But, they understand that our yard is relatively safe space. Makayla is very good about not chasing the deer, although she was the one who alerted me to their presence in the yard yesterday. 

It is fun to watch the small, seemingly helpless fawn grow into a deer. Life continues. Even in our relatively small community. 

I hope we have a mild winter.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stalking the Elusive Hummingbird

I find hummingbirds to be fascinating. They are so quick at everything that it is hard to get an image of them. Chris and I have been unable to consistently attract them at our house.

I sat in my parents back deck this morning trying to get a good image of a hummingbird at the feeder. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. They seemed to know when I looked away and then swooped I. To feed. By the time I took the image, the hummingbird was gone.

I did manage this one image of a hummingbird trying to decide whether to feed. I wouldn't call it spectacular, but it was the only one that I managed to obtain during over 30 minutes.

It was a beautiful and clear morning. Hopefully it foretells another fantastic day.

The hummingbird stalker was mildly successful.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Danby, NY

Friday, August 19, 2016

As the Mist Rises

Driving through northern Pennsylvania last evening as the sun was setting Chris and I saw the fog, or was it a mist, rising from the low areas. It had just rained to quench the parched and hot earth. I could almost smell the wet earth in the scene.

It was pretty. The clouds, the setting sun, the hills, and the mist created a visually stimulating sight. It was more beautiful to me because I have been living in flat areas. I do enjoy the beauty of the scene.

It was a beautiful evening. One to remember and fun to observe as I was driving. I still enjoy the sunrise more, however.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Danby, NY

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friday Golf

From the 12th Tee
Timbers at Troy
July 22, 2016
I had the opportunity to play in a tournament yesterday and I decided to take leave and enjoy a day on the golf course.

It was scheduled to be a very hot day--and the weather report was correct. 

It was a beautiful day for golf and likewise a great day not to be in the office.

Looking from the White to Blue Tees
12th Hole
Timbers at Troy
I have become convinced that taking days off to do fun things is an important part of the life balance experience. 

It was a great day and our team played exceptionally well together coming in 2nd in the tournament! That was a definite treat. The team played well enough to provide options for almost every shot on each hole and that allowed someone to step forward and make the best shot for the team.

It was a great Friday and a great was to spend a day outside of the office.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, July 15, 2016

Out the Hotel Window - Lompoc, CA, July 2016

Out the Hotel Window Left
July 15, 2016
Lompoc, CA
As the trip comes to an end and I am in a different hotel, I looked out the window of my room and was greeted with a less than spectacular view.

Sometimes, hotel don't consider the view that guests will have out their windows.

In this case it is garbage and back alleys. 

Out the Hotel Window Right
July 15, 2016
Lompoc, CA
Thank goodness for curtains. 

The hotel itself is very nice to look at and a great place to stay, it is just that the back lot leaves a lot to be desired. 

I understand why the curtains are closed. Although the garbage truck did wake me during my first night here, the room is generally quiet. 

It is really amazing the different views that I have experienced out my hotel window on this trip. 

The weather has been the big story. It is 55 degrees as I wake up on this July morning with an expected high in Lompoc of 68 degrees. I am looking forward to getting back to the 90's of Maryland and being in my pool. The hotel has a beautiful pool area, it is just that the air temperature is so cold I would never consider getting into it. 

The real reason to come here, however, is for the wines! More about that in the future.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Lompoc, CA

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lights in the Sky

Near Lompoc, CA
July 13, 2016
Driving along the coast near Lompoc, California, yesterday, we saw a huge fog bank, also called the marine layer, that seemed to be eating up the world.

It was picture worthy. 

The resulting image was even more interesting that the fog ball which looks like something right out of the movie Independence Day

What was most interesting was the bright objects in the upper left corner of the image. We did not see them with our eyes--but they are definitely there on the image.

Brings back memories of the mid-1960's and the UFO investigations.

Is Roswell, NM, anywhere near here?

-- Bob Doan, writing from Lompoc, CA

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Santa Monica Alive

Santa Monica Pier from the Bluffs
I am traveling again. 

Last evening I had dinner in Santa Monica, one of those places that I have seen so much about in the movies.

It exists and is every bit as diverse as I had been led to believe.

Entrance to Santa Monica Pier
I walked the bluffs above the Pacific Coast Highway and then down onto the iconic Santa Monica pier all while watching the sun set behind the mountains. 

It was a stunning sight as the mountains were silhouetted against the setting sun and I was not the only person with a camera trying to get the perfect shot of the activities. I was amazed at how wide the beach appeared. It was huge. Completely different from the narrow Florida beaches that I love. 

Looking out at the Mountains
 with the Pacific Coast Highway in View
The pier and the walking promenade in Santa Monica city center were alive with throngs of people--even on a Monday night. It was an exciting sight. 

Looking at Santa Monica from the Pier
The setting sun cast a hue across the area that reminded me of the Sundown Celebration in Key West. 

It was definitely a celebration. 

I enjoyed the constant reminders of life and excitement. 

All in all it was an exceptionally long travel day, but it ended is a way that I could not have imagined.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sports Day Saturday

My Saturdays are often devoted to sporting activities--usually for the grandsons.

Manny Machado Gnome at Home
Yesterday was a different Saturday.

I played golf in the morning and attended a long Orioles game in the afternoon.

I spent five hours golfing (including travel) and five hours at the orioles game (including travel). 

10 hours of sports related activities.

My Fitbit recorded over 20,000 steps--and I didn't even try!

Some Fans Dressed as Gnomes
The golf game was a bit ragged yesterday. I am a much better player in the afternoon it seems. It was a great day on the course, until the sun decided to come out with a vengeance and it just got incredibly hot! One of the highlights of the round was a goose honking vociferously at Jeremy after he hit a ball too close to it. The goose was indignant! We just laughed.

The Orioles late-afternoon game was fun! It was Manny Machado garden gnome day. Everyone attending the game got a gnome. Fortunately, our seats were in the shade given the 4:05 PM start. It was a hot, slow baseball game that officially took 3 hours and 14 minutes to play in the hear. Over 43,000 fans were in attendance to see the Orioles grind out a 3-2 win! And it was a grind.

I love Saturdays like this one! 

--Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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