Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our day in Bartlesville

We spent yesterday in Bartlesville. We left the house around 10:30 am and drove straight to B’ville. We saw the Washington Park Mall on the right as we drove in. The GNC store (registration point for B‘ville volkswalks) is located in the mall. I asked the man at the counter for the walking materials, which he handed to me. I then went to a bench just outside the store and filled out the necessary forms, stamping my books while I was there. (Saves having to return afterwards.) In addition to the Event Book, I stamped my books for American Authors and Literary Landmarks, Riverwalk America, and Railroad Heritage.

Next we went around the corner (inside the mall) to a Subway restaurant and split a $5 footlong Black Forest Ham sandwich. Having registered for the downtown Bartlesville City Walk, we got back into the car and drove to a parking area near the downtown. We started out on the walk, seeing many historic buildings along the way, including the skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, known as Price Tower. We had toured the building before, so we just passed it by today. Across the street was the Civic Center which can hold 1,800 people. This building is the main venue for OkMozart, an annual festival held June which runs for 10 days. I would like to go back to B’ville and take in some concerts. In addition to the ticketed concerts, there are several that are free.

Walking along the streets of B’ville, we came upon the city museum. It is located on the fifth floor of one of the buildings in downtown B’ville. For a city museum, it was quite good. After finishing the walk, we returned to the car, which was parked near the art museum.

We now turned our attention to geocaching. I had pre-loaded the coordinates for five caches in my GPS receiver while in Sand Springs. When I turned on the GPS unit, it said the nearest cache was only a couple hundred feet away. I found it hidden in a wall behind a loose brick. The next cache took us downtown again. It was in a small magnetic container attached to a wrought iron fence. Once again, I signed the log (Orbi Toe is my geocaching name) and placed it back where I found it.

The next cache took us to Memorial Bridge, so named because it lists the names of the area citizens who died in WWI. My GPS indicated that the cache was off north of the bridge, which meant it was down below. Fortunately, there was a path leading down to the riverside (Caney River). We walked down to the path running along the bank of the river to where my GPS indicated the cache was hidden.

We had looked around for about 15 minutes, when I spotted it. It was a micro cache – a green aluminum tube about an inch and a half long, about the thickness of a pencil, perhaps a bit larger. It was clipped to a fence. I unscrewed the tube. Inside was a log which was rolled up. We unrolled the log and signed it. Getting it rolled back to fit inside the tube was another story. Believe me, there was no room to spare. I was starting to think I was going to have to remove one the pages of the log to get it to fit back inside the tube.

Somehow, we got it back inside the tube. Just then I felt something land on my right shoulder. I thought it might be a grasshopper and reached up to brush it off. I asked J if she saw a bug on me. She said a bird had made a deposit on my shoulder. Sure enough, when I looked at my hand I saw remnants of undigested berries. I had been crapped on. Score one for the birds.

It was a good thing I had another shirt with me. I changed when we got back to the car, parked maybe a hundred feet away. We went to Dink’s Bar-Be-Cue not far from the cache. I went to the washroom and scrubbed my hands, returned to the table and ordered a pork barbecue sandwich with okra and potato salad.

We decided to skip the cache out at the airport (west side of town) and went instead to a cache titled “In the shadow of a sphere.” This cache is located at the golf course. There is an observation tower there build out of, what looks like, scrap metal. At the top sits a large metal sphere made of, maybe, rebar. It is, perhaps, a hundred feet high and enclosed in a cage, of sorts.

We looked and looked, but never found the cache. Could it be lost (geocachers use the term “muggled” for caches that are discovered by non-cachers and then plundered)? Perhaps it was there but we did not see it. The coords led me to a single tree just north of the tower. The ground around the tree was newly mown. The tree itself was fairly simple. When I got back home, I activated a feature on the cache page which will send to me any logs added to the cache. So if others fail to find the cache, I should know soon.

Cache results for the day: 3 finds and 1 did not find, which brings my total number of finds to 199. Volkswalking total: 225.

We headed home and made it back in time to watch NOW with David Brancaccio and then Bill Moyers Journal.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Recent events

On Sunday, Gail and I played a piano duet at Church of the Restoration. We played “Rialto Ripples” by George Gershwin. Following the service, I went to the Agora Coffee House for the May meeting of the Tulsa Atheists Meetup. There were about 15 at that meeting. At church, there were about a dozen. Of course, TAM is run by volunteers, but COR has a paid staff of (1) the minister, (2) the pianist, and (3) an office assistant.

The TAM meeting was interesting in that we have a couple of “irons in the fire” at this time. We are seeking to have an “In Reason We Trust” license plate approved. Also, we are working with FFRF to erect a billboard with the words “Imagine No Religion” printed on it.

Today, Gail came over for two hours of piano duet playing. I think every piece we worked on was a ragtime piece. I really enjoy ragtime piano music. I often will listen to ragtime on “You Tube” by just typing the word “ragtime” in the search box. There is plenty of it there.

This afternoon, I went to Randy’s for a HAT board meeting. Results of that meeting will be posted on the Humanist Association of Tulsa blog tomorrow. Following the board meeting, we went over to Marilyn’s house and helped her move a few items of furniture (including two large bookcases). I am going to turn over to Marilyn the freethought library soon. We have four boxes of books (which belong to HAT and TAM) that right now are still in boxes due to my being overrun by books in my house. Some are double shelved.

Later this evening, we went over to Nick’s house while Nick and Jen went out. Putting the kids to bed was no easy task, but eventually Luke (my charge) fell asleep (after I read to him five books). Once he was asleep, I read several articles from the current issue of Church & State magazine.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Single-payer healthcare coverage

I just finished watching my favorite television program, Bill Moyers Journal. Tonight the subject was health insurance. The system I would prefer is called single-payer. What is blocking single-payer? It is the health insurance industry, which is an albtross around the neck of our health care professionals. If we could just bypass the entrenched interests of this industry, an unnecessary middleman, health care could be delivered for much less money than it is at this time.

I will be writing to my representatives in the Congress urging them to consider the single-payer system of health care delivery.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

TIA Panel Discussion

We returned home this afternoon in time to catch the evening news. We had three days of mail in mailbox. We usually have the post office hold our mail when we are away, but this time we just left without going by the post office.

Among the items in the mail was a post card from the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance. It announced a meeting at All Souls Unitarian Church for that Thursday evening. The title of the program was "Sacred Ceremonies/Secular Ceremonies." The panelists were lawyer Greg Bledsoe, Tulsa mayor's assistant Dierdre Dexter, Tulsa school board member Matthew Livingood, All Souls minister Marlin Lavanhar, and lawyer Michael King. The panel was moderated by former Channel 6 news anchor and All Souls member Clayton Vaughn. The event lasted an hour and a half. I saw some of my friends at the event. The discussion was informative. It dealt largely with a ceremony held to dedicate the new BOk building in downtown Tulsa a few months ago.

Gail is supposed to be here in the morning for another practice session. We will be playing the special music at Church of the Restoration on Sunday.

Going home

We might be going home today. We had planned on leaving yesterday, but we found out Mother has an appointment with another doctor today. We took her to one doctor on Tuesday; we took my Dad to a doctor on Wednesday; we take my Mother to another doctor today. We will be going home this afternoon as things stand now.

Once I get home, I will update this blog further.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Volkswalking and geocaching (May 2009)

Both hands of the clock on the wall are now to the right of the 12 at the top. It is now early Sunday morning. J and Ayla are both sleeping in the front bedroom.

I will try to recount events from the past few days. We left Springfield on Thursday morning around 10 am driving west. When we got to Joplin we took the northbound exit on to Rangeline. As soon as we left Joplin we were in Webb City. We drove to the Kum & Go store at the intersection of Madison and a major east-west thoroughfare, whose name I can’t recall at this time. At the Kum & Go store we registered for the 5K walk. We had to then drive to the start point which was about a mile away.

We parked at the Chamber of Commerce building. Our closest geocache, a virtual cache, was right where we were. A virtual cache has no hidden aspects; rather you gather information and send it by e-mail to the cache owner. There were six questions, the answers to which could be found by looking around.

The next nearest cache, according to my GPS receiver, was just a little over a tenth of a mile away. We walked to it using my receiver, which told me the distance to the cache and the direction to walk toward. The receiver has a digital arrow which points toward the cache. This cache is located at the foot of a statue of praying hands. When you get within a tenth of a mile to the cache, the receiver goes from miles to feet. It jumps from .10 miles to 500 and something feet. The closer you get to the cache, the smaller the number of feet remaining to get to the cache. If you are walking away from the cache, you will know because the reading of the distance to the cache will start increasing.

This cache was at the base of the statue inside a gap in the foundation. There were many gaps such as the one I searched in, but since I was so close to zero on my reading, I started searching at that point. It was in the second spot I searched. I carefully climbed down from the statue. I had to traverse a bit of terrain where there were no sidewalks, just bare ground on a slope.

The third cache was at some distance away. Since we were close to the start point of the volkswalk, we began the walk. The walk took us thru the city of Webb City, past some stately old home, and around a rock quarry filled with water. The distance walked was 3.1 miles (or 5K).

I did not realize it at the time, but I got a sunburn while on the walk. The burn is mostly on my neck and the back of my legs. (I was wearing shorts at the time.) When we finished the walk, we headed to the area where the third and final cache for the day was hidden. It was located not far from the Joplin Regional Airport.

The clue for this cache was “I never promised you a rose garden.” When I got to the area where my GPS receiver led me, I noticed some rose bushes. These bushes had some mean-looking thorns on them. I did not want to bloody my hand trying to find a cache, so I peered carefully into the bushes at ground zero. Seeing nothing, I looked around at nearby objects. Eventually, I saw something reflect in some tall grass next to the rose bush. I reached my hand in the grass and came up with a tin canister. I had found the cache! It was my 194th find.

Although there are plenty of caches in the Tulsa area, I like to seek caches when I am away from home. Later on this summer, we are going to visit the Lovelaces (my sister-in-law) near Troy, Missouri. I hope to be able to go to Springfield, Illinois and hunt for caches there. My main reason for wanting to go to Springfield, IL is to see the presidential museum and library recently built for Abraham Lincoln.

Today, we went on another YRE volkswalk. This walk starts at the YMCA near LaFortune Park. As we were finishing up the walk, we spotted Nick, Jen, Ayla, and Luke. They had just registered for the walk. This walk goes thru a residential neighborhood in the area. This walk was number 224 for me. I need only one more walk, and I will have completed the book.

I have viewed lectures 1 and 2 in a series of lectures by Jeanette Norden published by The Teaching Company. The series is titled “Understanding the Brain.” It is fascinating stuff. I checked out the DVDs from the Tulsa Library.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dad is doing much better

It's now Tuesday, May 12. Last Sunday, Gail and I played two duets in the church service at Church of the Restoration. We did pretty well, but at one point we got separated, bumbled along, and then got back together.

Our Monday practice has been postponed to Friday since we were on the road a good deal of Monday.

We took Dad to his new doctor this morning. His new doctor seems more optimistic than his former doctor. Dad just might pull out of this illness. Dad is up walking around, talking to everyone, etc. He has lost several pounds, and is down to somewhere around 170 now. I need to lose some pounds myself.

This afternoon, I took Mother to the bank. Then we went to the car wash and drove Dad's Park Avenue through the wash. After that we went to a nearby KFC and got some chicken and took it home for lunch.

This afternoon, we are going to go to a grocery store and stock up on groceries for my parents.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ayla has a recital

Today was the second Saturday of the month. Usually we have secular singers on this day of the month; however, I canceled secular singers because my granddaughter had a piano recital scheduled this afternoon at 1 pm. Ayla was the youngest of the group.

Following the recital we went to TCC to walk, but we discovered that TCC was closed. Instead we went to the Sand Springs Community Center. When we arrived we soon realized that the walking track was closed for painting. We walked anyway – not on the track, but around the building. We walked for 40 minutes.

Luke and Ayla spent the afternoon at our house. Nick and Jen went out somewhere for dinner.

This evening we watched a movie on DVD. It was “Seven Pounds” starring Will Smith. The character played by Smith makes the ultimate sacrifice. The ending was bittersweet.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A visit to the Jenks' Aquarium

Last evening we went to the Aquarium in Jenks. The purpose for the visit was a dinner that J attends. The dinner was held in the aquarium after it closed. There were a few speeches and a few awards were given. The dinner consisted of chicken, pork roast, green beans, new potatoes, rolls, and dessert of chocolate cake. Tea was served as the beverage.

Following the meal we had the aquarium to ourselves. My favorite displays were the sharks and the beavers. We had Ayla with us. She was well-behaved for the occasion. Luke did not go. We often refer to Luke as Lukie. His mother calls him Lukie-Pooh.

Today Gail came over and we practiced our duets for an hour and a half. We play at Restoration this coming Sunday.

Afterwards, I went to the TCC Fitness Center and walked two miles. It was cool inside on the walking oval. You could feel the humidity once you got outside.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Change of plans

We were going to go to Springfield Wednesday. My father had an appointment with his new doctor for Thursday afternoon. We were going to drive him there. He got a call from the office of his new doctor saying the appointment was being changed to next Tuesday. So we changed plans and stayed here.

We went to TCC and did our usual exercise. Then we came home and went later to Wal-Mart and bought a few things.

Then we had supper and watched the news and then went to bed.

This morning, we piddled around the house. After an afternoon nap, I went to the TCC Fitness Center to walk. I have finished reading the book by David Jeremiah and will return it to the library this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Haircut, etc.

Yesterday I noticed my head was getting a bit shaggy. I went to Roary D’s for a haircut. When I arrived, my son, Nick, was in the chair getting his hair cut. So I followed Nick. Roary said we both get the same kind of haircut.

Later, we went to Stage where we bought two presents for my Mother for Mother’s Day. We got a perfume set and a gown.

Then we went down to Family Dollar where I noticed a keyboard for a child. The size of the keys was smaller than the standard size. Since Luke has a birthday coming up soon, we bought the keyboard for him.

For myself, I bought another shelf to place CDs on. I am up to 223 in the number of CDs in my database, and I have another dozen or so to add to that number.

In the evening, I went to Joe Price’s house for drumming. Only Joe and his wife Lou were there. We played drums for an hour and a half. From there I returned home.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Blood drive

This morning Gail came over and we practices the two duet pieces that we will be playing this Sunday at church. We also played several other ragtime pieces, as well. It was a good practice, but Gail suggested we should have another practice session before Sunday. We are going to try to get together either Friday or Saturday to practice again our two pieces for the service.

This afternoon, I made a trip to the Pratt Library to return some overdue books. I turned in my books and paid my fine. As I was leaving, I noticed the church sign for St. Andrews Lutheran Church across the way. They were having a blood drive. St. Andrews is the location where I used to give blood. I realized I had not made a donation since last fall (then at TCC), so I went inside and donated a unit of blood.

I was going to go walking at TCC, but I was running late from the blood donation. I returned home instead. Later that evening Nick came over and we played the duets I will be playing this Sunday. Nick is an excellent piano player, much better than I. He also played a couple of pieces I had printed from the web site mentioned in the post from yesterday.

It is late, so I will have to put off my explanation for why I lost my belief in God until another day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Music by Joseph F. Lamb

It is now Sunday. This morning I went to church at Church of the Restoration, as is my usual practice on Sunday mornings. Reverend Davis will be taking the summer off starting in June. That is not an unusual practice in the UU denomination. However, in this instance, church finances played a large part in the decision. We will be on our own until September. I have attended this church regularly for almost three years now but have never officially joined. I’m not sure I want to get involved in the politics of this church. I don’t wish to see this church fail, either. I have been a regular financial contributor, but I give only $30 a month. If I become a member, will they expect more?

Rev. Davis’s absence over the summer raises some questions in my mind: Will the disaffected members who walked away return for the summer? What will they do come September?

Next Sunday, Gail and I are on the program. We will provide the special music. We will be playing two ragtime piano duets: “Champagne Rag” by Joseph F. Lamb and “Palm Leaf Rag” by Scott Joplin. The following link will direct you to sheet music by Lamb:

This is copyright free sheet music. I have printed out a couple of songs which I am going to try out after I finish with this posting to my blog. The big three of ragtime music are Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph F. Lamb.

I want to acknowledge receiving an article (via J) from Galen. I read the article but am not yet persuaded to return to the fold. Also, I read the seven possible reasons one might quit believing in a God. Reason number eight was not listed. I will explain it here sometime later. Thanks to both of you for your concern for my "soul."

I expect to finish reading by book by David Jeremiah soon. Then I will start the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who can tell me the location of the Bert Ferguson Park?

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Visit to Silver Dollar City

On Wednesday, we visited Silver Dollar City. All day long it looked as if it might rain, but we received only sprinkles.

There are more parking lots there than the last time I visited SDC. Obviously, the place has expanded. Our main reason for visiting SDC was to see the Chinese Acrobats. We had seen TV commercials featuring them. We got in line around 10:30 for the 11:00 show. When we got near the entrance, someone came out and said the show was filled up. The next show would be at 2:30 pm.

We drifted down to a place where food was being served and looked over the faire. We decided to try the Chicken Speidini at the Italian booth. It tasted great. We are going to try to find the recipe and fix it here. We decided to go back to the Opera House, where the Chinese Acrobats were performing and wait for the next show. On the way there I stopped at a food booth and bought a bowl of berries and cream.

Back at the opera house we had a long wait for the 2:30 show. Anyway, once we got in, we had our choice of seats. The show consisted of five or six acts, each introduced by a short video shown on a screen. The acrobats were quite impressive. They performed flawlessly.

Next we went to the area where the Peruvians were performing. They did singing and dancing. There show was also a half hour long. Once it let out, I bought a small panpipe from the performers.

Dad improves

We are home again. We left for Springfield Tuesday morning and returned to Sand Springs today, Friday afternoon.

My father is doing a lot better. He felt that the medicine he was taking was doing him more harm than good. So he adjusted it downward and began to feel a lot better. Whereas previously he would stay in bed all day with the exception of one hour, now he gets up many more times and stays up longer. Even though he is receiving hospice care, he is not ready to cash in his chips just yet.

One thing he has done for the better is to change doctors. His former doctor just gave up on him, we all feel. He made an appointment with a different doctor for next Thursday.

He asked a hospice nurse if she know what was wrong with him, and she said congestive heart failure. I’m no doctor, but it seems as if the trouble he had when he was in the hospital has cleared up. He is still weak, but he is much improved over the way he was when the ambulance brought him home. He has his appetite back and engages other in conversation.

On Wednesday, we took a trip to Silver Dollar City. I will write about that later. Soon we will be leaving for the Crescent Café, not far from here, for their all-you-can-eat catfish dinner.