Skywatch Friday – Fall is Falling

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My wife’s cousin’s wife, Cheri Lou took this photo at the ranch in western Oklahoma. I love the rolling hills, grassy rangelands, and the big skies out there. The people are great also.

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Where we live in northeastern Oklahoma is more forest land and a lot wetter. Son Logan and I went on a little jaunt at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. Lots of wildlife in Oxley. Lots of water also and it is right underneath the main approaches to our local airport and is right next to the police gun range so it can get kind of noisy but I love it.

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There are several sizeable lakes and ponds and it is known as a good birding site. I love birds but I don’t have the patience to put in the work.

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Here you go, any photoblogger worth his salt has the obligatory first red leaf of Autumn. I think this might be my first red leaf ever.

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This gave me a start! Don’t worry, it is a rubber snake placed near a geocache. At least I think it was near a geocache. I looked for it and didn’t find it. I lifted a rock and found me a real snake. Just a tiny little garter snake but I decided, enough is enough.

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Saturday I had some time so I went looking for some urban caches in Tulsa. Found one near the Saba Grotto. I think it has some relation to the Masons. There were a few instagram pics with Saba Grotto. it looks like a big man cave. They have a pretty active facebook page and they seem to have all sorts of benefits and events. Who would have thought? Stuff like that intrigues me. People don’t seem to join clubs any longer. They belong to “affinity groups” where they do people who have similar interests but is a lot looser. Anyway, one reason I love geocaching is that I find new places and learn new things.

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Another cache I found was on a freeway interchange. Talk about hiding something in plain sight. Lots of cars whizzing by while I figured out where the cache was.

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I am still training for the Tulsa Run 15K the last weekend of this month. Last week I ran 9 miles after work and I actually felt pretty good. Cooler weather and a hydration vest works wonders. I had already signed up for the race and went ahead and signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. This weekend I am running 11 miles on Sunday morning. At least that is my plan. Check back later. Plans change.

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A side benefit is running is the opportunity to take photographs. A great deal of my running (and a great deal of my photos) are along the Arkansas River. Tulsa really is a beautiful town. Of course I love the gritty west side of Tulsa where all the industry and refineries are.

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In the Fall the skies get a lot more interesting. This is a sunset photo looking east with my back to the sun.

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I’ll finish up with a selfie with a combuster at a waste treatment plant on the river. I was halfway on my nine mile run and I was really happy with how good I felt. Cooler weather, a hydration vest, and Metallica on the earbuds works wonders. That is about as big a smile as you will ever get out of me.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Finally Finished Reading the Bible!

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Nine years ago, I decided that I would read the Bible clear through. I thought I could do it in a year reading three or four chapters a day. Instead it has taken me about nine. If I had averaged one chapter a day I could have read the 1189 chapters in a little over three years so you can see I fell off the pace a little bit. I kept coming back to it though.

I skipped around quite a bit alternating the Old Testament with the New.

It was interesting. I read all the parts of the Bible that maybe are considered “filler” for one reason or another. All the dietary laws for instance. All the genealogy for another. I don’t have any big spiritual insights for reading it all. But the book does have great power. I can sense that. Somehow, it all hangs together and tells a story of a living God who acted in history to make great things happen.

My favorite books, Genesis in the Old Testament. The beginning and the subsequent stories are wonderful. Man keeps messing up and God keeps forgiving and blessing us. Sorry I am not a biblical literalist. The universe is several billion years old, and I believe in natural selection, and evolution and all the rest.  The important thing is that God put us here and we are his people. Whether it took him a day or nine billion years matters not a whit to me. People who agitate otherwise are just pursuing, wittingly or unwittingly,  the Wedge Strategy, designed to gather political power.

My favorite book of the New Testament is the Gospel of John. So mysterious. I love the questions more than answers. I have always distrusted people that had have all the answers. I want to hear good questions. That is where you learn things.

My favorite Bible Story, that is a no-brainer. Chapter 37 of Ezekiel, the Valley of Dry Bones story. Where Ezekiel in a dream like state has a vision of dry bones coming together and getting covered by tendons, flesh, and skin and coming alive. I love it. I see and hear all these bones snapping and crackling together and coming to life. It has been my favorite story most of my life.

Strange stories? The Bible has a bunch of them. Talking Donkeys, bears killing children for mocking a bald man,  and check out Genesis  6:1-4 about the Sons of God marrying the “Daughters of Men.” Uhh, you ever hear a sermon on that?

Anyhow, I am glad that I did it, and although it took me quite a while to get it done, it did involve lots and lots of reading. I can’t say that I made any great spiritual insights. In my opinion, an important part of Bible Study is discussion and focus. Reading it the way I did, one loses a lot of context. So I doubt I will do it again. I think I will look around for Bible Studies or Bible reading programs where I can get some more background, discussion, and context on what I am reading.

But hey, if you want to give it try, you might want to sign up at Operation Read Bible

ABC Wednesday – N is for …

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Lots of possibilities for N’s. How about a natural gas well!! Above is my son next to a wellhead in Western Oklahoma. A Colony Wash Shale well if you must know. And yes it was fracked. And because of that all the babies in Oklahoma are now born stark naked. Just ask Logan, he was born naked and was so embarrassed. I hope that hasn’t spread to where you live now. We have to stop them  frackers!! I was talking to a guy from California a while back and he was telling me how evil hydrocarbons are and how bad pipelines are and how we need to “disinvest” from all that. I asked him if he had a car. He told me he didn’t use hydrocarbons. His car was electric he told me all proud and everything. I let it go. I learned a long time ago to never argue with idiots. (And yes, I believe in human caused climate change, and that we need to reduce carbon emissions.)

Is being near the well dangerous you ask? I tell you what is dangerous. See that grate that my son is standing on. Take the grate off and climb down into the vault to check it out. Watch out for the slithery things that rattle. Those are dangerous. Stay out of that vault and you are safe. Just don’t mess with anything. Please!!

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N is for New Orleans. Always.

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N is for night time running. It always takes a little getting used to. Keep your wits about you is my advice.

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N is for neon. Who doesn’t love Neon lights.

I am linking with ABC Wednesday

Skywatch Friday – Boston Avenue Church

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Monday night I was working out at my gym downtown and when I left to go home I captured this scene. I took a bunc of shots of it and spent some time “messing” with them with various filters. The above uses good old Snapseed, the free and very powerful and easy to use app from Google. The building is the Boston Avenue Methodist Church in downtown Tulsa. Designed by Bruce Goff and built in the late 1920’s. It used to be our home church and I will tell you that it is even more beautiful on the inside than the outside.

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What I started out taking pictures of was the pink clouds. It was spectacular.

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And this is from last week from my office looking toward our Library. We got soaked all day.

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I took this homey pic of a scene across from my office building. I loved the glow of the lights and the reflections. And I really ramped up the HDR on this.  I love using filters. I find that I don’t have the time to edit photos with my editing software any more.

We are having a couple cool days now but it is going to be back to the 80’s the day after tomorrow. What is the deal!!

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And how about a kitten picture. This is Lizzie. She has taken over the house and is about as cute as cute can get.

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This is Ginger and Logan. They are not so cute any more.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

2017 Tulsa Zoo Run 10K Race – Our World Tuesday

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Nice healthy double chin there!!

Saturday I ventured to Tulsa’s beautiful Mohawk Park to run in the Tulsa Zoo Run 10K. They also had a fun run and a 5K going on. I am increasing my mileage right now getting ready for the Tulsa Run 15K at the end of the month and I have my sights set on the Route 66 Half Marathon coming up in November.

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The Zoo run benefits the Tulsa Zoo and has a bunch of sponsors.

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It was kind of rainy and cloudy Saturday morning and the sun broke through just before the race started so we didn’t have to start in the rain. Mohawk is nice because it there are no hills so it easy to run hard.

We took off, I started as always toward the back and it took me about 30 seconds or so to get to the start line. The race kind of kicked my butt a little bit. I ran the whole way and I was under a lot of stress. The Kilometers seemed all kinds of spread out but I got into a rhythm after a while. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready for the race to end when it did.!!

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This is a good race. The course was well marked and there was enough room for everybody. The first two loops just had one water stop and they had run out of water by the time I came around the second loop but they had two or three more water stops on the last couple miles to the finish line, so no complaint there.

At the finish they had medals. I don’t give a flip about medals but lots of people expect them, and they had them. They had lots of water and they had a plethora of food options from many of the sponsors. So that was good. No beer, but they had good coffee, which is a good tradeoff. They had lots and lots of stuff for the kids like facepainting and games. And of course you finish in the zoo so you get that for free!! I don’t know about you but I love zoos and Tulsa’s is great.

Plus the tshirts are nice and they had plenty of them. The only thing was the race timing. They published no results at the venue. They just said to check online. Well it has been over 24 hours and all I know is what my time was (and I knew that when I pushed the button on my watch when I finished.) No age group information or anything else. So I don’t know if that is due to what the Zoo wanted or the limitations of the timing company but this is totally unacceptable. This is the first race I have ever been to  where they didn’t at least print out the results and tape them up.  Sorry if I am stepping on toes, but that is the way I see it. So with no race results, there was no awards ceremony so I didn’t find out who the old guys were that buzzed past me nor the young kids who lapped me during the loops. Not having an awards ceremony is a gap.

So, race experience, course, preparation, water, food, tshirt, and fun? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check!! Timing, half a check. It is a great race, and I’ll be back. Hopefully they will square way the timing issues. If not, I’ll still be back!

A race like this doesn’t get done without a lot of work by a lot of people. Thank you to the Zoo and their staff, the many sponsors, the army of volunteers who helped with parking, the water stops, all the food, and managing the course, the Tulsa Police Department, and anybody else associated with the race, including my fellow participants who made it fun.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday!

Skywatch Friday – Oklahoma City Walk

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My last post was about a wedding we went to, this is about the day after.

I wake up earlier than everybody else and sure I drink coffee and read the paper but I like to get outside and I didn’t feel like running so I went geocaching.

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A simple type geocache is a skirtlifter. Located on the skirt on a parking lot light. There were two close to our hotel so off I went to find them.

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The caches have little paper logs that you sign to prove that you were there and also a separate web page that you “log” to show the world that you found it. Check out geocaching.com for more info.

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Some of the containers are pretty small. Plus under one of the caches I spotted a black widow spider.

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Who would of thought that high rise apartments in Oklahoma City would be around enough to need renovation.

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You are saying, “Hey this a Skywatch post, where is the sky?” Right here, behind this architectual gem. I don’t know whether this is mid century modern or Googie or what but I think it is beautiful. It is also empty, but seems well cared for. I love those arches with the cables. I am thinking this used to be a bank.

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This is the back side of what I think is a bank. I don’t know about you, but I really think they should install more lighting. Eleven lights is just not enough.

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And this building is a special place. This is Founders Tower and there is a restaurant at the top that rotates and that is where Heather and I had our first date back in the 80’s. It was called the Eagles Nest then and now it is called 3sixty restaurant and bar. We had a great time. Or at least I did.

It is also and office building. The oil and gas industry at a certain level is almost a barter economy. You have geologists, landmen, and reservoir engineers who will work for an interest in a well rather than cash. Lots of those guys used to have offices here.  That was back in the day when you could drill a vertical Redfork well in the Anadarko basin for “only” $1.5 million. Nobody does that any more. Now to drill and frack a horizontal Woodford Shale, or STACK, or SCOOP or other shale well is going to cost you $10 million. I have had customers with a straight face tell me about “pilot projects”  with seventy such wells.

The technology invoved used to be almost generic but now the players keep their secrets very closely held. I am out of the game a little bit now but I wonder how the barter economy has survived. As Alan Jackson says, “the big money has come to town” or something like that.

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And then back to the hotel. Notice the pedestrian friendly streets in Oklahoma City. I’ve always loved Oklahoma City for its pioneering boom and bust attitude.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Emily and Libby get Hitched

This past weekend we ventured to Oklahoma City with the world’s greatest MIL, Nana, to attend the wedding of our sweet friends and family, Libby and Emily above. No they didn’t get married in a swimming pool!! This is from earlier.

It was a classy affair. Instead of a guest book they had this thing. You signed a little wooden heart and put it in a slot at the top. Being the classy guy I am, I not only signed it, I went ahead and put a Dallas Cowboys star next to my name. Not that they are Cowboys fans, but they should be!!! Right!!?? I don’t see my name. Some Eagles fan probably took it out.

The wedding party was very attractive. I stole this pic from Cheri Lou’s facebook.  She is probably going to sue me for doing that. So I need you to contribute to my legal defense fund. Just send me your credit card number including that four digit supernumber that unlocks all sorts of good things and your billing address. I anticipate ongoing needs so dont’ be cheap with me.

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And this is a Yogi original photo. I mean what is up with this group of people, they are ll over the place. Look at them. That is Sweetie on the left, then Nana, then Cheri Lou, and behind her is her husband, Sweetie’s cousin, Joe, and the kid in the back is Logan. Quite a group wouldn’t you say, and the bar isn’t even open. This is my photo but Cheri Lou is probably going to sue over this picture as well. So double up on the legal defense fund. And Sweetie is going to dump me so I need an extra donation for that also.  And you will never guess it from this photo, but  The BAR WAS NOT EVEN OPEN yet!! Yep, they are all stone cold sober.

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And here is me with the kid and Heather aka Sweetie. Doesn’t she have a sweet smile?

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And here is Nana and bored grandson.

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And here is the cake, You can tell the bar still isn’t open.

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Things are looking up though. Heather and I found a shuffleboard table. We do shuffleboard!! We courted playing shuffleboard. That is our thing. We also found a cooler. At least I did.

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More selfies, you can tell the bar isn’t open yet!!

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After the ceremony, the bar opened!! And Sweetie danced. She loves line dancing. I can’t do it.

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Logan wouldn’t dance with his Mom, (this is awkward he said). But he cut a rug with his Aunt Cheri Lou.

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And next thing I knew, Heather is leading the Conga line. Why not?

Yep, Emily and Libby got hitched and it was a heck of a party.

Dean Koontz – The Silent Corner

I am mad at myself after reading “The Silent Corner” because I have always shied away from reading Dean Koontz because I thought he was not a very good author. Was I ever wrong. He is very skilled and in this book puts together a very good suspenseful novel.

The star of the book is Jane Hawk, a top notch FBI agent whose husband, for no good reason, commits suicide after leaving a chilling suicide letter.  jane starts checking into things and finds out that all sorts of people are committing suicide and there are other disturbing trends also so she starts checking into things more closely and that makes certain highly placed people angry. Very angry so she has to go into hiding, and get off the web.

She has to deal with a shadowy cabal of ruthless Silicon Valley executives, rogue FBI agents and all sorts of good stuff.

This is a very good thriller and proves that one can write a very good book where everybody keeps their clothes on and the writing is not cheesy.

I give this book five star out of five.

Skywatch Friday

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Its late September and that means that I am spending a lot of time every week on the River Parks trails along the Arkansas River training for the Tulsa Run 15K that occurs in late October. This is the perfect time to run where we still have daylight savings time and the weather is beginning to cool. Last night I ran eight miles and it went splendidly.  I have decided that I am going to sign up for the Route 66 Half Marathon which runs in November.

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And the skies are a lot more colorful this time of year. I took this in the street in front of my home.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Tulsa’s 2017 Corndog Challenge 5K Race – Our World Tuesday

Friday night, on a whim, I decided to run the Corndog Challenge 5K at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. How could I resist, you HAD to drink a mimosa, eat an apple dumpling, and a chicken and waffle during the race. I mean it was MANDATORY!!! How could I resist? For those that could resist that had the Corndog Classic 5K run at the same time on the same course, and at the same cost.

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So I ventured out to the Fairgrounds early to pick up my packet and all that.

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I noticed that TATUR Racing was timing the race. Now there are lots of good timing outfits out there, but TATUR is the best as far as I am concerned. Brian Hoover and his crew always do a great job and go above and beyond in order to make sure that the races are great. They not only time races they produce events also.

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Waiting for the race to start I checked out the Golden Driller. Tulsa has the Driller and the gigantic praying hands (some say healing hands) at Oral Roberts University. Maybe somebody should have a Praying Hands 5K? The ORU campus is big enough and hilly enough that there could be an interesting course.

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I looked at the bounce houses they had set up and wondered what the heck. Boys on left, girls on right? Any boy went to the prince house is smart. That is where all the girls are going to be. You have to think outside the box is my motto.

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And of course being a corndog race they had a corndog stand. I love the visuals of fair food but don’t like the food. Except of course corndogs. I have one per year. This year I am having two, one at this race, and one at the fair.

So anyways they got everybody together at the start line and gave the instructions and we sang the national anthem. Nobody took a knee, and then the gun sounded and off we went.

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As advertised we looped around the fairgrounds and at some point we had the apple dumpling served to us, and then the mimosa’s (above photo) and finally the mini version of chicken and waffle. I could handle all of it but it was kind of hot and humid and I was huffing and puffing and I had to work at getting the chicken and waffle down, but I did it. It was toward the end and the course along with the heat and humidity had pretty much kicked my butt.

And I finished, vertically, with dignity. I finished fourth out of six in my age group.

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I gulped down some water, and then drank more water, and then drank the complimentary adult malted beverage, and then ate a corn dog. It was kind of rich so I only ate about two thirds of it.

I was kind of doubtful that they could put a 5K race at the fairgrounds but what do I know!! They did it, and it was fun and challenging.

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And a nice t shirt. It wasn’t this wrinkled when they gave it to me. I forgot to take a picture of it yesterday so today I dug it out of the laundry and took a photo of it. Full disclosure is my middle name!! Me and Donald Trump Junior are alike that way.

So I give the race 5 stars out of five. Great course, great timing, fun, entertainment, well organized, lots of volunteers, food, beverages, and a shirt. Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. I think everybody had a great time. Plus did I tell you that we all got a free ticket to the State Fair that is happening later this month. Yep, we did.

Thank you to the organizers who put on the race, the volunteers who worked like dogs behind the scenes to make sure everything was perfect, and the army of volunteers who showed up the day of the race to hand out the food and drink, and water on the course and cheer everybody on, and kudos to the runners who showed up. The proceeds from the race are going to the Tulsa Area United Way and Food for Kids. Also, thank you to the sponsors of the race. A lot of work by a lot of people go into these races and I appreciate them all.

I’ll be back again next year!!

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday