Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tulsa’s HollyFrontier Refinery

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I’ve always loved oil refineries. As a young kid, it seemed like big important things were going on with big towers and huge tanks and all sorts of pipes and lots of electric power lines. Ironically, I have a chemical engineering degree and have only spent a few hours inside a refinery. Oh well, I’ve done other things.

This is one of two refineries that HollyFrontier operates in Tulsa. I used Topaz Glow to add a little drama to the scene.

The refineries are located on the west side of Tulsa along with a power plant, a trash to energy steam plant, a bunch of trucking outfits, and oilfield manufacturing companies. All this industrial stuff is the original financing of the all the nice part of Tulsa. The art deco office towers, museums, and all the rest. I’ve always found the dichotomy fascinating.

New Building in Town

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As my knee is getting stronger I am back to walking around downtown like I used to only not quite as far. Tuesday I strolled to the east side and checked out the progress on a new building. I swear they have been building this thing for a long time.20180109-114250-3

I kind of like its modern design with steel beams, lots of glass, balconies, and geometric theme. It is some sort of technology company I think and it looks almost ready to move in. Sorry for the dull pics. It was very overcast.

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I posted this photo on Instagram. It is the “Urban” filter on the Prisma app. I love prisma. Maybe I love it too much.

What have you been up to lately?

Merry Christmas 2017

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Miss Lizzie the kitten has taken my spot. Nothing like a sleeping kitten.

It’s Christmas Eve and things are kind of slowing down a little bit. The shopping is basically done for both the gifts and cooking. We are going to have time to enjoy each other’s company.

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Abbie and her goofy grin.

My brother joined us yesterday. He had a grueling drive through some driving rain and he was exhausted when he got here.

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Ginger is a little sweetie. She gets cold in the winter. I think she wants us to move to Scotsdale or maybe a warm beach somewhere. Heather bought her this bed for the living room and a fleece throw. She can roll herself up in the throw like a burrito.

Son Logan has been working the 3 pm to 8 pm shift for several nights at the grocery store. He was also tired. He went to bed early. He has a few days off over the holidays which is great. He needs the rest. In the midst of all this he finished his finals. The boy who hates math made a B in his pre-calculus class. He is done with his math requirement. He didn’t get my math genes but he got his singing genes from his mother’s side.

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We spent some time with Heather’s mother yesterday and will be going back today. She has three trees up for Christmas. I love this in particular. It is a country theme and has a wood stove that has been in her family a long time. It is not connected and that is okay, it just sits there looking great.

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We had a little bit of snow yesterday and it was cold enough and overcast enough it persisted all day. Something about snow is calming.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!

“Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach  by Jennifer Egan is quite a read. It is a novel set in the middle 1930’s through mid World War II about a girl Anna and her family who live in New York City. The book starts out a little quietly but builds to quite a story featuring Irish and Italian mobsters and associated treachery, learning how to be come a navy diver, U Boat attacks, double lives, hopelessness and redemption. The book is about how complex people are and we don’t really fully understand others. I loved it and recommend it highly.

 

Skywatch Friday Eclipse Madness in Totality – 2017

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I got to see the Eclipse in Totality in Idaho Falls, Idaho. My dad’s assisted living center had a viewing organized for the residents, staff, and guests. My sister had already bought me a pair of glasses.

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They brought out a bunch of chairs and provided refreshments and snacks. They had a narrator also telling us what was going on.

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So I got out there kind of late. The sun seemed as bright as ever but you would tell that the temperature was lowering and a breeze was picking up. Also, as the eclipse progressed, it didn’t seem to get that much darker until the very end but we could hear the crickets start chirping and the birds started singing. Right before totality it started getting notably darker.

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It got pretty dark but there was light on the horizon for 360 degrees around us. The narrator told us that we could take our glasses off and look directly at the eclipse. I didn’t bring my good camera, just my cell phone.

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When we took off our glasses off, everybody gasped. I have not seen any photographs yet that gives the experience justice.

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It was like living, breathing physics and astronomy and was a little overwhelming. I can understand a little more why people spent such vast sums of money coming from all over to experience.

The next total eclipse coming to the USA is on April 8, 2024 and is nipping the very southeastern corner of Oklahoma. The above is a NASA map of the route of totality. I’m going to do my best to experience it again.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

“My Struggle: Book One” by Karl Ove Knausgaard

I heard somebody talking about a series of autobiographical novels by a Norwegian Author and was fascinated by the concept. I mean, what is an autobiographical novel anyway? I have a feeling that many autobiographies are somewhat novels but I don’t want to get side tracked down that rabbit hole. So anyway I read about the the books.

The books are six in number published in Norwegian from 2009 to 2011. The books are called “My Struggle” and numbered one through six and were written by Karl Ove Knausgaard and reveal his private life, thoughts, and dreams. He names family members and gets into all sorts of private matters. This has resulted in turmoil with his family members and amazingly he did not anticipate the response from the people close to him.

I just finished Book One and found it fascinating. There really is not plot or anything and the whole book is about the struggle he had dealing with his father. He describes in detail his actions, his thoughts and responses to what is going on around him and for some reason I find it gripping and read it very quickly. He turns his life inside out with all the contradictions, and self defeating thoughts and actions and inconsistencies. It is almost like reading about oneself. (Or at least myself). It has been said that reading the book is like opening up somebody else’s diary and finding your secrets in it.

So, I am looking forward to reading the other five. Only three so far have been translated into English but I am sure that it is just a matter of time.

InSpired Sunday – Idaho Falls LDS Temple

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One of my favorite sights in Idaho Falls is the LDS Idaho Falls Temple on the Snake River. It is a beautiful building situated on the river. It has clean, classic lines and is visible from a long ways up and down the river.

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It is capped with a fiberglass, gold gilded sculpture of the Mormon Prophet Moroni blowing his trumpet.

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The build was dedicated in 1945 and was just the eight temple dedicated by the church. They have been on quite a building program since. They are not open to non-Mormons in good standing but I was fortunate enough to tour the Oklahoma City Temple prior to its dedication in 2000. I was very impressed with the quality of construction and sumptuousness of materials used in the building and furnishings. Check out this web site for more information about the Idaho Falls Temple and Mormon temples in general. For information about why Mormon’s build temples and their importance to their religion, check this official LDS web site.

I personally am not a Mormon, I am a Christian, but I respect their right to exercise their religion in the way they choose and in these contentious times I really like the idea of a sacred space where the issues of the day are set aside for the spiritual and eternal things in life. No matter what religion one is.

I’m linking with InSPIREd Sunday

Eight Miles on Turkey Mountain

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During the daylight savings time part of the year I run on Turkey Mountain at least once a week. I hadn’t been on the mountain for two weeks for various reasons so Wednesday night I was ready. I was very fortunate the weather was cool, in the high 80;s and it felt great. I wanted to do seven miles.

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There is a powerline right of way that runs north/south the length of the park and the trail is called powerline also. I used to hate it because I loved the feeling of getting lost in the trees on the other trails but I have come to love powerline. It is up and down and very challenging.

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At a crossroads on the northwest side of the mountain is this dryer. It has been there a long time. There is an unofficial trail on the northwest side called the “Pink Trail” it is so convoluted that I have never been to follow it. I am wondering how this appliance ended up here. It is a long ways from the nearest road.

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Turkey Mountain is roughly two miles long and a mile wide so if you want to do a lot of miles and not loop on yourself constantly you have to plan your route. I did a three miles loop on the east side of the park and about a two mile loop on the west side and then hopped over to east side again to get on another trail. I dropped down to yet another trail via this narrow, steep drop between the rocks. The thing is when I first started exploring Turkey Mountain years ago I tried all the trails and then as time went by I narrowed down to a lot smaller set. It is kind of fun to go rediscover old trails. Also you don’t have crazy bicyclists running you down on trails like this.

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There is something about a trail in the woods that I cannot resist.

So I was looking for seven but got eight due to some miscalculation and finished right at dark. Suited me fine. I am looking forward to my 23rd Tulsa Run 15K in October and i would like to run another half marathon in November. So I need to start ramping up my miles. It is not all training though. My running is a form of meditation for me. I get totally lost and live only in the present. In the woods the only thing I worry about is falling on my face and snakes.

What do you do to get away from it all.

Skywatch Friday – Here, There, and Everywhere

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I had a little time in west Tulsa this afternoon so I snuck over to Route66 Village and took a photo of the Frisco 4500 steam powered locomotive on display there. I love the locomotive not only because of it being there at Route 66 Village but because me and and a couple of coworkers found it during a geocaching outing during lunch years ago. We found it out in the middle of nowhere in north Tulsa so I think we were in the know before it was cool. It is a huge engine. Those wheels that it has are each taller than I am. It is truly a monument to early 20th century technology.

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I had been gone from by beloved Turkey Mountain for two weeks and last night got to run on it for eight miles. I love running and knowing that nobody knows where the heck I am. I am fully cognizant that this can really truly bite me in the butt under the right (wrong) circumstances.

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I am a bad blogger. I am the only active blogger still hosting Skywatch Friday. Last week I got hte Skywatch Friday post up so my fellow Skywatchers could link to it but I didn’t get my own post up. Me an my family traveled to Idaho Falls, Idaho to visit my Dad. He is in a very nice assisted living facility but lately has had some difficulties. Sorry, I wasn’t into a blog post. As primitive as my posts are, I still have to be into doing them or they are not going to happen and when I am stressed I can rarely write a post. I can report that things are looking better now.

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One of the beautiful things about Idaho Falls is the Mormon Temple right on the Snake River. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. I am not LDS but I have to tell you that they do their temples right. I have been thinking that when I retire I would like to travel the country and photograph the various Mormon temples because the ones I have seen have been architectural masterpieces. One of them, the temple in Oklahoma City, I toured years ago right after it was constructed but before it was dedicated. The exterior and interior of the temple was sumptuous. Nothing but the best went into its construction and furnishings.

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The Idaho Falls temple just got through with a two year renovation and they got a refinished statue at the top. It is the Angel Moroni blowing his horn to the east.  It is fiberglass and has a new gold fill finish that should last 20 years. Speaking of Idaho Falls, it is in the prime viewing area for upcoming solar eclipse. If you were staying there, check your hotel reservations. Apparently some hotels are cancelling their reservations because they can make more money rebooking the rooms  to somebody else. Good old American Capitalism at work.

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Idaho Falls has a great green belt along their frontage of the Snake River. My wife Heather found some decorated rocks on the greenbelt. I just love stuff like this. People doing things for other people to find and appreciate.She spotted several rocks. I have yet to find my first. How about you? Have you found any decorated locks yet?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Shadow Shot Sunday – Shadows in the Heat

It has been hot here in Tulsa lately. Hot and steamy, just like a good movie (sorry couldn’t resisist). So I’ve been seeking out the shadows.

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Friday was my day off so I went running in the early morning. I captured a leafy shadow selfie.

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I like to walk a little bit downtown at lunch. I found myself this short, twisty turny path, with a bench. For some reason I never see any homeless people sitting in it. Everybody talks about how the economy is improving but it seems to me that the homeless population is exploding. Lots of businesses have taken out benches because so many homeless people sit on them all day. Of course with less benches, the people are now just squatting down on sidewalks. They are not threatening people and I feel for them.

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I love these purple flowers in the shade downtown.

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This is a repaired section of fence in our back yard. The two posts shown got rotted out. You can see their previous remains in the lower right hand corner. Years ago I used to help put posts in for my Dad on our acreage in Eagar, Arizona and then several years later, as summer help, in the oilfields of Texas’ Permian Basin I put in lots of posts for my employer. Fast forward forty years later when my neighbor and I were discussing this and I was thinking I’m going to have to do this. He said, “You know Alan, I am not much into manual labor any more.” Music to my ears. I found a contractor to do it and you know something it three of them two hours to dig the two posts out. It cost a pretty but it was hard work. I contributed to the effort you know. Yes I did, I took photos and passed out bottles of ice cold water. Nearly wore me out.

This is from my new personal weather station in my back yard. You can see, temperatures close to 100 every day an hardly any wind.

How about you? How are you beating the heat? Those of you in the southern hemisphere tell me how you are staying warm.

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday