Author Archives: Alan Bates

Skywatch Friday – Thanksgiving 2020


It’s Thanksgiving Day!! What a year it has been for everybody. Global pandemics, political and racial upheaval, a plunging economy. Things have been really weird all year. Personally I dealt with all that plus I retired in June. We and I have lots to be thankful for. I love being retired for one. The political upheaval seems to be resolving itself here in the USA. Hopefully we will make progress on our racial issues as well. That will be a long process rather than an event. Me and my family have our health. You sure can’t take that for granted. The main thing I am grateful for is my brother, Bob’s continuing recovery from his illness.

Wolf River Trail

A little over a year ago he was stricken with viral encephalitis.


This man who has completed about four dozen marathons and over one hundred half marathons lost his ability to even walk. The past year, despite some setbacks he is making progress. He can walk a little ways with a walker now but he is determined that he is going to enter a race again. It won’t be a marathon and he’ll probably walk instead of run but I think he is going to do it.

November 2019

So during his ordeal which included two acute care hospitals, two long term acute care hospital, and a long term care facility I have met some of the army of health care workers in our country.


Everybody from doctors of all types, nurses, nursing aides, speech, physical, respiratory and occupational therapists to the people who clean the rooms, bring the food, and some of the sitters that sat with him early on. They were all awesome going above and beyond expectations to make sure that Bob got great care.

lafortune heroes work here-adjust

Yep, they are all heroes, and right in the middle of Bob’s ordeal the pandemic hit and yet they continued to take care of Bob. My hat goes off to them and am deeply appreciative of what they do.


So this photo is from a couple years ago. Last year Bob and I had our Thanksgiving meal together in a hospital in Memphis. This year, he is in Tulsa but at a Long Term Care facility where they are shut down because of the pandemic so we’ll talk to him today but we won’t be able to share a meal with him. Hopefully, next Thanksgiving he’ll be with us again. He and I talk every day plus I have been able to be with him on some of his doctor’s appointments lately.

feb 2020

My prayer is that you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

Skywatch Friday

Special Addendum – Thanksgiving 2020


So today Logan, Heather, and Nana (the world’s greatest MIL) sat down to eat for Thanksgiving.


A little bit closer look at the food. I smoked the chickens. They were huge! Like small turkeys.


Logan again and Abby the wonderdog


My beautiful bride, Heather.


And Nana, the world’s great MIL.

Our World – Dia De Los Muertos Art Festival 2020

Living Arts of Tulsa has the Day of the Dead Arts Festival every year on November 1 and 2. I had something else going on that day so I missed it that day but the had the ofrenda’s display for a few days afterward so I got a chance to see them but of course missed out on the other festivities.

What I mainly like are the Ofrendas or Altars in memory of departed ones. They might have favorite foods and drinks of the departed.


They also have murals. Most of them were outside so it was hard to get a good photo. This one was inside.


Due to the pandemic, they did not have near as many ofrendas as past years.


Typically there are lots of photographs and bright decorations.


Skulls, marigolds, and religious symbols.


A fellow Dallas Cowboys fan and beer drinker here.


I love the ofrendas and the idea that a couple days of a year you honor your dearly departed.

So if somebody wanted to make an ofrenda for me when I am gone. What would I like on it. My Cowboys hat and a beer would be good. One or more of my cameras, some of my photos. My laptop!! and Iphone. A Chinatown poster. I don’t know. What would you like or do you find the whole idea strange?

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday, come check it out!

I’m also linking with this week. Check them out as well!!

Shadow Shot Sunday – Saint Francis Edition

Our Health Club is part of Saint Francis Hospital here in Tulsa. The hospital has tons and tons of Francis imagery everywhere including going into the gym. I keep wanting to get a photo of him with Dallas Cowboys cap but I don’t want to trample the garden to get to him and my wife works there so I don’t to do any CLMs on her behalf (“Career Limiting Moves”)

Nothing makes better shadows than wrought iron. This example is at Woodward Park.

Oklahoma has lots of cool stories. In my opinion, one of the coolest is of the Five Moons. Five Indian Ballerinas from Oklahoma who achieved international acclaim for their dancing. Read more about them here. Above is Moscelyne Larkin.

So that is my Shadowy doings today. Check out Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Weekend Reflections – Lovelocks on the SkyBridge

Friday I ventured down the turnpikes from Tulsa to Chickasha to pick the kid up at college. He is done for the semester, can you believe it? Seven week semester break until school starts up again. What’s up with that? Anyway, I went through Oklahoma City on the way down and had some time so I stopped at the Skybridge spanning I-40 near downtown. The light was too bright for a decent photo. At least a photo with my humble skills.


LoveLocks have hit Oklahoma. Dozens of them. This one had a couple rings with it. I tried, I couldn’t remove them.


So what’s up with this? Three locks only two of which are interlocked although they are on the same theme. Is the a protocol to these things? How do I translate.


And then this? Hmmm, is it scandalous or just a family with three people. I’ll let you decide.

Linking with Weekend Reflections.

Skywatch – The Gloaming

I was out in the woods on Turkey Mountain the other day when it started getting dark. The sun was going down fast. I love the word “Gloaming.” An old English word with roots back to the Middle Ages. I love how people say “The Gloaming.”

Another word for the same time of day is Eventide. An even older English word from before the 12th century. It has a kind of churchy spiritual aura around it.

Whatever you call the time of day, I love being out in the woods when night comes.

Come check out Skywatch Friday with me and a bunch of other bloggers.

“Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey

Cover Image - Greenlights by Matthew McConaughy

Matthew McConaughey is one cool guy in my opinion. At least he is in the the roles he plays in movies. Kind of a smart alecky, engaging, bright, laid back guy who somehow always gets what he wants and somehow you don’t mind. He’s wrote a memoir and maybe he is that kind of guy.

He talks about the difference between liars and bullshitters. Liars just lie, Bullshitters also tell untruth but you know they are lying and they know that you know, so shame on you if you believe them. And then he says he is a bullshitter.

So I don’t know what is truth and what is bullshit but he spins some great yarns and I think many of them might be true. His dad was in the oilfield supply business in west Texas and then in the late 70’s in east Texas. So I was in east Texas about 30 miles away. I knew a bunch of guys like him. Texas and Oklahoma has always been full of big hearted, generous spirited, hard working guys who loved to have a good time and breaking the rules while loving their mothers and fearing their fathers. That is Matthew. His stories of growing up ring very true to me.

He lived life large and worked hard. He went to the University of Texas and found himself in the almost hippieville there. He started out wanting to be an attorney and then decided he wanted to make films and his Dad gave him his blessing.

My favorite quote from the book is: “I have a lot of proof that the world is a conspiracy to make me happy.” I have to confess, that I believe the same things about me. I have lived a charmed life. Sure I have had a lot of bad things happen to me and the people I love that have made me feel really bad but somehow I stay pretty happy almost all the time. Generally things go my way, not that I could be considered a big success or anything.

Anyway, this book is like his movies. A smooth easy read. Much of it might be true. I recommend Greenlights very highly.

Blast From the Past Tuesday

I have like 76,000 photos in my archives which is a little much I admit. The bad thing is that I have 8000 untagged, mostly auto uploads from my cell phone. So I have been trying to get ahold of that issue. First by tagging all my current photos and second by slowly working backwards in time on the untagged photos and I’ve been making pretty good headway I am back to October 2017 by now. Just for grins I decided to look at my archives from November three years ago, 2017 to see what I could see.


So here is my wife Heather at a chalkboard at an athletic apparel store in Tulsa’s Utica Square. Back then they were sponsoring different type exercise classes out in front of the store before it opened. Among other things, Heather teaches BollyX Dance Fitness, a class based on dances in India’s Bollywood movies. Heather is a fiend for Bollywood movies and is a certified BollyX class teacher.


So here she and her students are at the end doing the BollyX arm crosses. I’ve tried to tell her that that is former Dallas Cowboy Desmond Bryant’s signature move but she doesn’t listen to me. Not that I blame her.


So brother Bob visits us every year for Thanksgiving. Three years ago here he is on a hike with me and Logan on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. Bob got stricken last year with Viral Encephalitis and the former marathon runner is still in physical therapy struggling with a walker. He vows that he will race again and recently things are really beginning to look up for him.


Speaking of running three years ago was the last time I ran the big miles. Here’s the crew I ran with on the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon that year. Do I ever miss races. They are making a slow comeback but the pandemic kind of knocked them in the head.


I miss the crowds in the big races and the signs.


Also three years ago I ran the Turkey N Taturs 25K trail race on Turkey Mountain. These gals had a refreshment stop on the race. If you have not run a trail race you have just been camping out. People try and outdo each other at the rest stops. No just water and gatorade. Nope, fully stocked bars, lots of food options including pancakes cooked on site, cookies, and other snacks including the distance runner favorite, baked potato wedges rolled in salt and straight pickle juice. Fun, fun, fun is what I say.


Speaking of running, when I was still working I ran a lot at night. No way ray for me any longer. I can go run during the day.


Here I am in my element, in the woods, far away from other people. I socially distanced way before the cool people did.

Exploring for a New Trail in the North Woods


Monday morning I decided to go check out the North Woods trails at Oxley Nature Center. I heard there was a new trail and I wanted to go check it out.


I don’t need much of an excuse to go to Oxley, especially what they call the North Woods Unit. Seldom do I see another person.


Usually there are lots of birds and squirrels. This day I saw a bunch of deer running through the woods, too far away to even try taking a photo.


The leaves have pretty much got blown off the trees already so you can see deep into the woods now.


Oxley is kind of low. There is almost always water. It is kind of halfway a swamp.

Hah, I found the new trail. It’s not very long, its kind of a cutoff from one part of the existing trail system to another. That’s okay. I love networked trail systems. It makes for options and I love options.

I soon got to the boardwalk. One of my favorite spots. Something about a boardwalk in the woods looks great to me.

Oxley hasn’t added the trail to their trails maps yet so I am doing it for them. It’s the blue line highlighted in yellow above. I’m a thinking when I start trailrunning again I can do a cool 4 mile route of the new network. I had been reading on social media on the new trail at Oxley but I couldn’t figure out where it was, so now we know.

How is your week going? I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Check it out.

Shadow Shot Sunday – Turkey Mountain and Town Shadows

On Turkey Mountain late one afternoon on a beautiful sunny day.

At the Slide Vale at Tulsa’s Gathering Place early one morning.

Downtown Tulsa. The city is letting restaurants use the parking spaces in front of their businesses to make “parklets” for outside seating. Great idea in these pandemic days.

I’m linking with ShadowShot Sunday