Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Winter Sky

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It’s been cold here and I’ve been cooped up. Sunday morning I went for a walk around Lafortune Park, a 3 mile trek around a combination golf course, library, playground, tennis complex, and little league ballparks. One of those huge rambling urban parks that I tend to love. I’ve been around it hundreds of times over the years and of course I took my camera and I took this photo just focusing on the water and not paying attention to the sky. I was pretty happy with the result. I got a pretty good walk in also.

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Skywatch Friday – Town and Country Skies

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Downtown Tulsa

Monday I went to my first session as a Reading Partners tutor and I think it went pretty well. The first grader is smart, well mannered, lively and has a great sense of humor.

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Pepsi Lake

I read a story and then we went on a scavenger hunt and then I helped them with a book report. It took only about 45 minutes all told and I think we both had a good time.

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96% Waning Gibbous Wolf Moon

It was a great way to start the day.

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Skywatch Friday – Happy New Year 2020

Up until a few years ago I went running every week, regardless of weather, after work on the Arkansas River trails. The only thing that stopped me was thunder and lightning. I have all sorts of cold weather gear to where I could run relatively comfortably down to the single digits if I had to do so. Since the tread on my knees has gotten a little thin as one doctor told me, I have cut my running way back. More cycling, more yoga and aquatics classes. But still I like to get out and run every now and then and participate in a race.

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I got out of the car, and saw this and took the closest path to the waters edge. That’s way there are trees in the way. I love the glow on the water.

Last week, the temperature wasn’t so bad so I went to the river to run and the sunset was just waiting for me. Actually I hurried because we skywatchers know that the sunset waits for no one.

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I moved upriver to a clearer vantage point.

There is nothing like a great sunset. They are so hopeful and I am looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a mixed year (aren’t they all?). Our son started college, Heather and I got to be empty nesters for a little bit and took a couple of great trips to the Teton Mountains and southeast Oklahoma. It was nice. The year ended with my brother coming down with viral encephalitis. My wife, my sister, and her husband and I dealt with that the last couple of months and will continue to deal with that for some time.

December 2019
This is looking north, upgriver after the color faded from the sunset.

So for 2020, our son heads back to college in a few days. My brother will be moving out of skilled nursing into long term care or assisted living as he continues his recovery, and life will go on as it always has.

So keep your friends and family close, be thankful for what you have, and help each other out. I wish all of you a Healthy and Happy 2020.

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Skywatch Friday – Favorites Edition

Hey, like a lot of people I have had a lot going on lately and have not taken as many photos as I would like so this week I am dredging of photos, taken in Decembers past from the archives . I hope that you don’t mind.

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Some of my wife’s family have a ranch in Western Oklahoma and they occasionally send me photos of the cows they have. I love it when they do that. So here are a few of their Angus breed cows under an Oklahoma sky.

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And here is the sky in our neighborhood in Tulsa. Kind of fun to take a sky photo in my pajamas from the front porch.

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And a shot from the office building where I work. I get lots of such pics between late October and March.

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This is from the River West Amphitheater on the west bank of the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. You can’t see this sight any longer as the River Parks Authority completely redid the area and got rid of the floating stage.

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This is on the west bank of the Arkansas River.

So I hope that you didn’t mind me punting this year, from deep in the archives.

I hope that all of you who celebrate it, had a very Merry Christmas. I know that our family did.

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Skywatch Friday – Visions of the Wolf River

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During my recent stay in the Memphis area I went on a walk along the Wolf River. I loved the scene above even though it is kind of ordinary. I think I loved it for the possibilities.

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I fired up my Topaz Glow app. It is always good for looking at possibility. This is the “Dizzy” filter back off a lot. It kind of gives an otherworldly feel. Something that makes me think something is not right.

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So I fired up some other filters, This is a full on 100% Neon Sign filter. Something is definitely not right here but I love it.

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A Thankful Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 2019 is going to be a little different. I’ve been blessed my whole life that Thanksgiving has always been special. Sometimes it has been with lots of people and happy noises and other times quiet. In recent years it has been on the smaller side of things.

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These two, the world’s greatest MIL and my wife get all the food going. Except I smoke the chicken, turkey, ribs or whatever. That’s a hard job. The hardest part is to not drink so much beer that you forget what you are doing.

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And Logan, the brains of the bunch, or so he says.

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This lady, my partner in life. The one who keeps me going. Heather is the uber networker. She knows everybody, if she doesn’t know the right person, she knows who to call. She can gather information and resources like nobody’s business.

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This year, brother Bob has fallen ill. Runner of 26 marathons and numerous lesser distances and probably the toughest person I know, by far, has a serious illness where he can’t walk a foot without support. I think he is going to be okay but it is going to take some time. My sister and I are trying to figure it out all out. Bob has been a part of our Thanksgiving for years. He loves good food and we are the place for that.

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So this year Bob and I are having a branch Thanksgiving at his hospital in Memphis. Don’t feel sorry for me, yes I will miss everybody but I am thankful that I have my brother. I am thankful for all the hospitals, nurses, nurses aides, cleaning people, food service techs, and doctors who have a part in getting him to where he is now. Many of those people will be working on Thanksgiving, away from their families, ministering to people like my brother. He’s had a lot of tough therapy and despite his losses and despite the hard therapy, he never complains, he just takes it as it comes.

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I am also thankful for his co-workers and friends. Bob is now a Navy civilian employee and most of his coworkers are ex-military as well. There is a fierce loyalty and concern there that I don’t think lifelong civilians can really know.

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And my sister, Ellen, fellow blogger, retired IT executive, seasonal Yellowstone Park Ranger, and all around great person who always seems to know what to do. She spent three weeks with Bob and left a few days ago to get some R&R and spend some with her family.

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So yes, Thanksgiving will be a little different this year but I think that I have more to be thankful for than ever.

I hope you and your families have a great Thanksgiving. Lets remember those who have to work or otherwise cannot spend their days with family.

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Skywatch Friday – Skies of Hope

We have a little hope. After a rocky period, we have a glimmer of hope for our brother Bob. He’s responding to therapy and so we are headed the right way. He’s a long distance runner with a bunch of marathons under his belt and he knows what hard work is.

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The last week or so, our sister Ellen has been with brother Bob at the rehab hospital. that was after a week with her at the first hospital while the medical staff tried to figure out what was wrong with our brother. She and I quizzed doctors and nurses, googled the info they gave us like crazy, waited long hours for the specialists to show up on their rounds.

Just keep us in your thoughts and prayers is all I ask.

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Skywatch Friday – Hiking the Grand Tetons National Park to Taggert and Bradley Lakes

I am doing the hiking posts backwards of our trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks earlier in October. Our first hike was actually to Taggert and Bradley Lakes of the Grand Tetons National Park. We have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and with our son away in college and doing well we had our opportunity so off we flew to Jackson, Wyoming.

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My bride Heather

Our first morning, right after breakfast, we packed our stuff up and went to see the National Park office just inside Jackson. I had a list of places we wanted to see and the person we talked to knew all about them and gave us all sorts of information that came in handy. My first pro-tip and Heather and I have done this a log is always stop at the Ranger Station, Visitor Center, or whatever and talk to a ranger. They have always been very helpful.

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Pro tip number two is don’t act like a know it all. My sister actually took me on a hike to Taggert Lake last year but I didn’t say anything because I have found that doing that tends to shut the person up you are talking to and when I didn’t want to happen. It’s hard to learn anything while your mouth is moving. Yes sure, did I hear some repetitive stuff, yes I did (mainly because my sister had done a lot of research.)

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I asked the Ranger if bear spray was recommended, and as expected I heard an emphatic yes. We talked about renting it and she gave us directions to a place within walking distance of where we were. So after talking with her, we packed up the maps and other info she gave us, walked over and got our bear spray and headed off to the trailhead.

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And off we went. Lots less people than what I remember and we were pretty excited. Our heads were on a swivel though looking and listening for bears.

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And what a great hike it was. Through quaking aspen groves turning golden and along Taggert Creek. Creeks up in the mountains make music as they flow and they have their own great aroma. And above it all were the majestic Tetons. I have never tired of looking at them.

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We eventually got to Taggert Lake and like last year I was just floored with how crystal clear, calm, and beautiful it is

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The Ranger had suggested that if we felt like it (we are obviously low altitude flatlanders I guess) to go over the ridge to Bradley Lake. So off we went. And getting over the ridge was exhausting. They say the Tetons are still growing. While I think the ridge was growing about fifty feet a minute as we went up. We eventually got up and over and went down to the lake. Another beautiful lake, oh hum. How many beautiful lakes can a National Park have?

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Spectacular views of the mountains.

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And then we hiked out. We were on the shady side of the slope so it was still snowy from earlier in the week.

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Every once in a while on the way out I would stop and take a photo of the mountains behind us.

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It always seems that the hike back to the trailhead seems a lot further than the hike in. We were tired and a little thirsty and hungry. We packed in a water and snacks. That is pro tip three. Always take water and snacks with you, especially if you are low altitude flatlanders like us.

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We passed some Park Service stables and corrals. We were interested in horseback riding opportunities but they are none this late in the season.

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The first day was the best weather day of our trip. It got steadily colder as the week went on but hey we knew that we would run into that but we still had some great adventures and I haven’t told them all to you yet.

Five and a half miles and three hours and one great day.

Have you ever visited the Grand Tetons National Park?

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Skywatch Friday – Little Dixie Skies

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This past weekend my wife and I ventured down to southeast Oklahoma to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Southeast Oklahoma is quite mountainous and woodsy, think Arkansas. In Oklahoma it is called “Little Dixie” because it is so different in a lot of ways from the rest of Oklahoma which is mainly western in nature. Think Arkansas

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Our first day we went hiking, just a nice short 3.3 mile route and it kicked our rear ends. Part of the issue was it was almost 100F and had a lot of vertical, about 800 feet overall. But you know, we would walk for a while and rest for a while and pretty soon it was over. And we were tired at the end of the day.

After the first 200 yards, we did not see anybody. I guess most people were smarter than we were.

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We stopped at this tree for a break. I’ve read a lot about “Native American Guide Trees” online where people claim that Native Americans shaped trees like this as guides to routes and water and other things. I am very skeptical as I see very little original information plus it seems like a very labor intensive way to transmit information. But my my mind is still open to the possibility.

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So yep, the hike was a little hard for us but we were happy to be doing it.

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Heather is always ready for anything.

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I loved the look of the light filtering through the leaves.

She had some fun with me. I love geocaching, she not so much but she is good at it. We were looking for one and she found it when I could not and she taunted me a little bit. That’s all right!! I guess I’ll keep her. After 30 years we have learned a lot about each other.

Later on in the week, she had to bail me out twice during a rough spot I had during a kayaking expedition we were on. I kept running into rocks and turning over so she came up and rode my kayak down through the rapids while I walked down on the bank. I wish I had photos but I ruined my camera when it took one too many dunks. She’s bailed me out a bunch of times during our 30 years we’ve been together.

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Skywatch Friday – Thunderhead

We took our son to college earlier this week and on the way back we found this big huge cloud squatting over Tulsa. As big and scary as it was, there was only a little lightning and thunder and it moved on.

Just a couple hours earlier, our son was beaming just before we left him. We took him to a college that has a program for young people like him on the Autism Spectrum who want to get a degree. So we moved him in and we and he got oriented on what is going on and then it came time for goodbyes and he was ready. We were to, kind of, we noticed that we didn’t pack tissues in the car for the trip back home. He has almost 50 hours of college hours with a solid B average from a community college here in Tulsa so we know he can do the academics. He just needs help navigating things socially and we think he can get where he is enrolled.

I am thankful that there are more and more programs to help youngsters with various issues get an education and learn how to live independently.

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