Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We visit the Ozark Folk Center

Last Wednesday we packed up the car and drove over to Harrison, Arkansas.  We spent the evening there and also went out in search of a few geocaches.  We stayed in a motel with a nearby all you can eat Chinese buffet.  We had excellent weather for our drive over to Harrison.  The next day my parents and my cousin Vicki from Houston drove down to Harrison, having spent the previous day in Branson.

The next morning we got back on the road for the short jaunt over to Mountain View.  It is about an hour and a half away from Harrison, but due to the mountains, sometimes you can drive only 40 MPH.

In the fall of this year, both my parents will turn 90 years old.  Dad is still driving.

At the Ozark Folk Center we walked through the crafts area, observing craftspeople plying their trade.  In the evenings, we went to the music performances.  I enjoyed hearing the Ozark mountain music.  I was able to hear three performances while we were there.

The food on the grounds of the state park was good.  The Skillet Restaurant is a full service restaurant from wich you  can observe squirrels cavorting outside the windows.  From the breakfast buffet you can eat your fill of scrambled eggs, sausages, biscuits, fruit, etc.  For lunch, one day we drove up to JoJo's on the banks of the White River, a few miles to the north.  On Sunday, my parents drove back to Springfield, while J and I drove back to Sand Springs, after searching for more geocaches along the way.

I took some pictures which I may post later.

We have plans for a couple more vacation trips later this summer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weight loss

In the last couple of months I have been able to drop about 12 pounds.  What have I done?  One thing I have been doing is for lunch eating fruit, mainly bananas, apples, and grapes.  Some days I will substitute a weight loss shake for a meal.  I am still walking about four days a week.  My total for the year so far is just over 200 miles.  That is dedicated walking where I keep track of my miles.  I also bought a pedometer to see how many steps I take in a day's time.  Today my reading was 10,100 steps, or roughly five miles.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pictures from Owasso

Owasso's Centennial Park is quite large for a city the size of Owasso.  The entire 5 K walk was layed out inside the park.  In the picture at the bottom you can see two disc golf receptacles.   

Music at the Mansion

On Thursday, J and I went to Music at the Mansion at the Tulsa Historical Society building (formerly a mansion) on Peoria Ave.  It is next to Woodward Park.  We heard three pianists play: Don Ryan, music professor at Oral Roberts University, his son Barron Ryan, and a third pianist just 20 years old, whose name I do not recall.  They played a variety of music including classical and ragtime.  That evening we returned to the mansion and heard a lecture about Chet Baker, a jazz musician from Yale, Oklahoma.

On Saturday, I did a volkswalk in Owasso.  The walk took place in Centennial Park (northeast Owasso).  I took a few pictures and will post one or two later.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuttle pictures 3

These pictures were taken at Pops in Arcadia.  Hundreds of bottles line the windows at this restaurant.  The picture below shows the bus we traveled in and the "bottle" in the background.

Tuttle pictures 2

The picture at the top is the side view of the restaurant where we ate.  Below that is a baby kangaroo wearing a diaper.

Tuttle pictures

The colorful drawing in the top picture is found on the outside of the restaurant in Tuttle.  The entire exterior wall is fulled with drawings such as this one.  The bottom picture is of a cockatoo at Tiger Safari.  This bird could mimic English phrases.

More on our trip

After lunch at the Mexican restaurant, we got back on the bus and drove a few miles to Tiger Safari, a privately owned and operated zoo about five miles southeast of Tuttle.  Being a private operation, it lacked the conveniences of a city or state operated zoo.  It was pretty bare-bones.  Walkways were dirt paths.  They had maybe 30 to 40 species of animals there.  It was pretty hit and miss -- lions, tigers, monkeys, and a cockatoo.  We saw some baby tigers born just a few days earlier.  There eyes were not yet open.

Once back on the bus, we headed toward Tulsa.  The bus took the Wellston exit and we went west to Arcadia.  Arcadia is the home of Pops, a store noted for its wide offering in soda beverages.  The giant stylized soda bottle in front has become an Oklahoma icon.  It is best viewed at night when it is illuminated with colored lights.  Google it and you can see what I mean.  I have been there on three occasions, but all three were in the day time.  During the day it appears white.  Also in Arcadia is the Red Round Barn, also on Route 66.  We drove past the barn but did not go inside.  I bought a tee shirt with a drawing of the barn on the back of the shirt.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Day Trip to Tuttle

On Wednesday, we got up early in the morning and met with others behind the Eye Mart on Highway 97.  At 7:30 a.m. we departed Sand Springs for Tuttle, Oklahoma.  Tuttle is just a few miles southwest of OKC.  I had to wonder if the driver of the chartered bus was from Oklahoma since he got up on Highway 412 and drove east toward downtown Tulsa.  When he got to the interdispersal loop, he made his way south, eventually getting on the turnpike for OKC.  (Had he gone south on 97, he could have gotten on the turnpike at Sapulpa, saving time, fuel, and a portion of the turnpike fee.  I overheard one of the passengers tell him about the shortcut, which he took on the return trip.)

The trip was sponsored by the Sand Springs Senior Citizens Center.  I especially enjoyed this trip since I did not have to drive.  I brought my Kindle along with me and worked on puzzles while we rolled down the highway.  My favorite puzzle is called "Every Word: Crossings."  The object of this game is to take the letters (up to 7) which appear at the top of the screen and arrange them in such a way as to make words.  When you guess a word correctly, it appears in the grid portion of the screen.

We made our first stop at the McDonald's near Stroud.  We had breakfast there and was back on the bus by 9:00.  From there we headed toward OKC, swinging around the city on  I-44 which  takes you to Amarillo.  We exited on a road that leads to Tuttle.  Tuttle is about 30 miles southwest of OKC.  This was my first time to be in Tuttle.  Why take a trip to Tuttle?  Tuttle is the home of the Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores operation. 

I must say that Braum's milk tastes much better than other brands of milk.  Part of the reason must be because at Tuttle much of the water is extracted from the milk, making for a richer taste.  We went through the milk processing plant and the bakery.  The operation is largely automated.  While we were watching hamburger buns being packaged, there was a malfunction of some kind, which caused some buns to flip up into the air.  To get the operation running smoothly again, a worker had to trash about two dozen buns.

Braum's has some 10,000 cows.  Each has to be milked twice a day.  They also grow their own feed for the cows.  They sell their products in their own stores.  They make their own cones for the ice cream.  They control about every aspect of the operation.

Photography is not allowed in the plants which we visited, but I took pictures at the Mexican restaurant where we had lunch.  We ate lunch at Nachitos Mexican American Grill in Tuttle.  It has a colorful facade.  I will post some pictures later.  I will continue with the other two stops on the trip later.  They are the Tiger Safari, also in Tuttle, and the Pops restaurant in Arcadia.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The last few days

Last Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration as is my custom.  In the R.E. hour, we continued our discussion of the immigration issue.  The talk at the 11:00 hour was on Mother's Day.  Following the service, I went to Nick's house where we had a birthday party for Luke.  He is now seven years old.  After the party, we went home for the evening.

The next day, Gail came over from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  We worked on Dvorak's Slavonic Dance No. 8 for most of the time.  That will be the selection we will perform at the next Humanist Sunday service.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Poetry group

Tonight J and I went to Poetry Group at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Tulsa.  We read poetry by Conrad Aiken and John Crowe Ransom.  There were seven of us there.  Next month each of us will take a poet featured on some recent commemorative stamps.  I will be talking about and reading poetry by e. e. cummings.

Earlier in the week we went to the Van Trease Performing Arts Center on the southeast campus of Tulsa Community College.  We heard the TCC band and the TCC orchestra play several selections.  We met Gail there and we all sat together.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The day in review

Today was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration.  Today's message was delivered by Larry Roth.  There were about 14 people in attendance.  Gail and I played the special music -- a piano duet by Johann Baptist Vanhal.  After Larry finished his talk, which was titled "The Humanism of Star Trek," I played the theme to "Star Trek" at the piano while the congregation sang the lyrics.

After the service was over, Joy asked me to play for her the following week.  She will be singing "Amazing Grace."  We all went to the fellowship room for a potluck dinner next.

I came back home and checked on my garden.  I have a few tomatoes forming on some of my plants.  So far I have in my garden tomatoes, cucumbers, and bush beans.

Noam Chomsky on the Occupy Movement

Actually, one piece of the media confusion has a basis because there really are two different strands in the occupy movement, both important, but different.

One is policy oriented: what policy goals [do we want.] Regulate the banks, get money out of elections; raise the minimum wage, environmental issues. They're all very important and the Occupy movement made a difference. It shifted not only the discourse but to some extent, action on these issues.

The other part is just creating communities — something extremely important in a country like this, which is very atomized. People don't talk to each other. You're alone with your television set or internet. But you can't have a functioning democracy without what sociologists call “secondary organizations,” places where people can get together, plan, talk and develop ideas. You don't do it alone. The Occupy movement did create spontaneously communities that taught people something: you can be in a supportive community of mutual aid and cooperation and develop your own health system and library and have open space for democratic discussion and participation. Communities like that are really important. And maybe that's what's causing the media confusion…because it's both.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Rev. Robin Meyers speaks

The following talk was posted on Mainstream Baptist blog.  I learned much about early Christian history by listening to this talk  It runs 44 minutes, but Meyers is such a good speaker that he will hold your attention.


Friday, May 04, 2012

A Piano Concert with Commentary

Today was the final Tulsa Town Hall presentation.  We saw and heard pianist John Edward Hasse, a music historian who works for the Smithsoniam Institution.  There were about 1,500 people there to see and hear him today.  We had good seats on the third row.  His lecture covered ragtime, blues and jazz.  Following the lecture, we had lunch in the PAC with many others who attended the concert.  Following the lunch, Hasse answered questions which had been submitted to him previously.