Category Archives: Our World Tuesday

Our World – The USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s WWII Submarine

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Logan and I ventured down to the town of Muskogee, Oklahoma to look at the USS Batfish. A World War II United States Navy Submarine that is on display there. The Batfish has a distinguished war record highlighted by sinking three Japanese submarines in a 76 hour period. You can read about the history of the Batfish and its war record here.

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The thing about submarines is how cramped they are even though they look big on the outside. They are a war machine after all designed to sink other ships and so everything is secondary to that. Above Logan is standing next to the diesel engines that powered the vessel. I know a little bit about those engines. They are Fairbanks Morse engines and they pack a lot of power in a small space. They have two crankshafts and each power cylinder has two pistons. The crankshafts are linked together.

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Above is an illustration of how it works. I know about them because when pollution regulations really started hitting the energy industry in the 1970’s, somebody figured out that you buy these engines  and derated the horsepower , then the the NOx emissions were very low. So a lot of old submarine engines powered natural gas compressors until manufacturers developed the technology to make new engines very low emitters of NOx. The thing I always wondered about was that the Fairbanks Morse engines were notorious for being VERY LOUD. I don’t know how the submariners could stand it.  (Sorry for the digression)

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I don’t think my 6’3″ son should sign up for the submarine service.

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The vessel is packed with dials, gauges, valves, and all sorts of gadgets. The sub is open and there are very few “don’t touch” signs.

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The sleeping areas are very small. These are triple bunks with very little room. They had cots over the torpedoes. They only had enough beds for half the crew. The crew had to share beds. Yuck.

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All the areas had double duty, dining table, game table, conference table.

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Not too many toilets either and they were not that easy to operate.

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The USS Batfish is part of the Muskogee War Memorial Park and they have a nice little museum and other information. Before you visit check out their facebook page to make sure they are open. There is a small admission charge. The place is run by volunteers who really have a passion for the submarine.

How did a submarine come to be placed in Oklahoma The Wikipedia entry for the submarine has the backstory. The submarine was placed on six barges and towed from the Mississippi River to Muskogee on the McLellen Kerr Navigation System, a 445 mile long water way with multiple locks and dams that has made Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa the most inland seaport in the country.

We had a good time and spent a couple of hours and I “found” a virtual geocache placed in the submarine.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Glass by Dale Chihuly at the Crystal Bridges Museum

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This past Sunday the family loaded up and ventured over into Bentonville, Arkansas to see the Dale Chihuly glass art exhibition hosted by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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Chihuly’s art is amazing. Blown glass with all sorts of colors made into all sorts of shapes. Big pieces, little pieces, everything.

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As good as the art is, the presentation is also special. The setting, the lighting, everything is perfect. Not only the glass but the shadows and the reflections are part of the installation.

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All sorts of designs are his hallmark.

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They had some of his paintings on display along with three videos of him in action. His painting technique fascinated me. This isn’t some guy with a beret dabbing at a canvas. He paints directly from the tubes in big bold strokes. He drips paint from buckets, it is all very physical. They had videos of the glass being blown. Big burly guys struggling with the big pieces trying to get the color and shapes right. This is very muscular art.

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The exhibition has two parts “Chihuly in the Gallery”  and “Chihuly in the Forest.” The piece above seemed to hover in mid air and seemed alive as it shimmered in the sun. It reminded me of something from a Stephen King story. This piece contains over a thousand individual pieces.

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The art seemed a part of the forest, the woods and the glass complimenting each other.

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Once a week or so they have a nightime exhibit. I think that would be spectacular.

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I love this boat.

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And these two pieces.

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And not far away were two fawns. That is cool. I don’t know where mom was. They were in a safe spot.

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Afterwards we drifted in the town square of Bentonville to eat and came across Sam Walton’s first store and museum.

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They had an old time soda fountain with ice cream at 99 cents a scoop. Not a bad finish to a great road trip.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

My World – Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Collection at Philbrook Museum

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Friday was my day off and I went to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum to check out the recently opened exhibition of a selection of Cheech Marin’s collection of Chicano Art.  Marin is of course half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Who knew that he had a world famous collection of Chicano Art?

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Tirando Rollo (I Love You) by Gaspar Enriquez

It is amazing. A wide variety of styles of both established and new artists. They were all new to me. I had never seen an exhibition dedicated to Chicano art before.

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If La Virgen Returned by Pablo Andres Cristi

Many of the works are political or religious in nature and they all express strong emotions such as the above work by Cristi reflecting his feeling that the Catholic Church has hurt his people more than helped.

I have not heard the word “Chicano” used very much in decades. Growing up in New Mexico it was a common term and seemed interchangeable with Mexican-American with connotations of cultural pride. I don’t know why I haven’t heard it in Oklahoma especially since there is quite a bit of Hispanic cultural influence here. From my brief survey on the internet the term is still controversial and not everybody considers in a positive light.

I found the art to be remarkable and very good and succeeded maybe in enlarging my world a little bit. The exhibition recently opened and will be a Philbrook until early September. Check the Philbrook link  for deatails.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World – Margaritaville Rest Stop

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Shadow Selfie – Cargo Shorts and All

Saturday afternoon, the kid had a friend visiting. We are long past the time where we need to monitor such visits. Logan and his friend just finished their first year in college and we have known his friend since preschool. So when Heather said something about a bike ride, it was like Sure!!

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I set my camera to take a pic every 20 seconds. It didn’t have much charge.

So I pressured up the tires and loaded up the bikes and off to the River Trails we went. We started at the little Park at Delaware and Riverside. I had found my little GoPro clone and its mount. I had it set to take a photo every twenty seconds.

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Beautiful blue skies to go with the stiff north winds today.

Off we went

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We passed the Swiss Family Robinson marching determinedly along the trail. Their legs are whiter than mine!!

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Near the eagle nesting area.

We passed a few people on these three wheel bikes. Our son never could learn to ride a regular bike. I can see one of these in his future. Don’t tell him!! If it is not a video game he is not interested. I can see one of these in my future!!

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That’s the new Margaritaville casino dead ahead

We got closer to the Creek Nation Casino we took the new trail around the river side of the facility. They did a great job. I hated the two stop lights encountered before. Now one can ride from where we started at about 91st street almost ten miles without crossing a road. Suits me. I don’t like crossing roads or riding on the roads.

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Plus we checked out their bike racks near their tiki bar and pool. What a deal, a bar steps from the trail. Us rugged outdoors people like convenience like that.

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Heather is always way in front of me!!

Then off we went, clear up to 36th street where the the trail is blocked due to the ongoing construction for A Gathering Place. I cannot wait to see what a $350 million dollar park is going to be like. Yep $350 million, privately funded. Check out the link.

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So turned around and headed south and stopped at Margaritaville for a little rest stop. It is actually pretty nice. Great little tiki bar. Decent beer draft beer selection. Now, if they would get some craft beers that would be awesome. I settled for a decent Landshark Lager and Heather had a margarita.

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It is a nice space with all sorts of seating and we enjoyed ourselves.

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This might be a regular stop for us. Especially being only 1.4 miles or so from where we started.

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Here we are. Notice the Fat Tire jersey courtesy of my sister Ellen (Check her out, she is currently posting about her and her husband’s  recent trip to Europe). It would be great if Margaritaville could sell it. And no, there is nothing wrong with my forehead. All the cushioning is gone from my bike helmet so I am going to get another one.

We had one drink and finished the ride. A good time was had by all.

I’m linking with Our Wold Tuesday

The Kid Bows Out and Other Happenings this Weekend

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Last Friday was Logan’s last performance with the Laughing Matter Teen Improv Group at the Clark Youth Theater here in Tulsa. He is aging out of the program. Heather and were trying to figure out how long he has been with the program. We think that it has been about eleven years but we are not sure. What kind of crappy parents are we anyway??

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He’s really enjoyed it and it has been fun watching the other kids grow up also. We are going to miss it. He hasn’t really started looking at what’s available for him now in the community but we’ll keep you posted. He just finished his first year of college and did very well. His mother and I are pleased.

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The kids have really blossomed. Maybe they blossomed too much. They are an independent bunch and I think that is a good thing.

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Saturday morning we did our cat rescue gig at the the Petsmart in Broken Arrow. We have gotten kind of fond of the cats and are happy that they all eventually get adopted.

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There were three new ones Saturday morning. The one above is a male that got caught in a fence and some asshat shot him with a bb gun. He’s a sweetie but he is a little traumatized by his new surroundings. He’ll make somebody a great cat.

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After the cat gig Heather and Logan went home and I went geocaching. I’ll post in detail about it later but I bushwahacked for 0.3 miles through the woods alongside the Verdigris River looking for a geocache. All told I spent two hours  on that gig and didn’t find it. Three ticks found me though! The cache above is one I found later. I guess that I can find them if they are painted pink and have yellow caution tape so that I don’t trip over it. Yep, I love geocaching whether I find them or not.

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We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy II later on. Heather and Logan loved it, and me I was just confused. Still am. We did build a fire in the patio and chill out for a bit afterward though.

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Sunday was a work day at the house. Logan and I mowed the yard. Heather “amended” the soil. I got my chainsaw down and cut down a volunteer tree in the greenbelt behind the fence. We got a lot done, heathen pagans that we have turned into.

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Later on we went to Nana’s house (Nana is the world’s greatest MIL) and grilled burgers and chilled. That’s Nana’s dog Reba above. She is my model for chilling.

And that’s a wrap on the weekend. How was yours?

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

First Bike Ride of the Year

My employer had a few events during Earth Week and one of them was a presention from a couple people from the The Tulsa Hub (check them out, they do lots of good stuff. They are trying to change lives through bicycling) about basic maintenance on bicycles. I’ve had mine for a few years now and have not done anything so I paid attention and even asked a few questions about several things especially, chain maintenance. I’ve had my bike for several years now and have not done anything besides air up the tires since. So I went to the store and bought the degreaser and the chain oil and got some rags and cleaned and oiled both my bike and Heather’s. Last Sunday I decided to go out for a ride. Heather couldn’t go so I went by myself.

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We live within a mile of a part of Tulsa’s extensive bike path system so I rode my bike from the house over there and made my way east to the Liberty Trail in Broken Arrow paralleling the Creek Turnpike Extension. The Liberty Trail passes very close to my MIL’s house and I have walked over to her house about three times so far. It’s about seven miles so it is not a bad walk at all. One of these days Heather and I will ride our bikes to her house.

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I only stopped to rest once on my leg out. I liked this tree and I liked the water fountain. A miscalculation on my part was not enough water. I brought a water bottle but I thought there was more water available along the path than what there turned out to be. I have a hydration pack that holds 1.5 liters. I might bring that, in addition to a bigger water bottle next time I ride this route.

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And here is a shadow selifie of me at the halfway point. Tired and thirsty.

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I did a little more sightseeing on the way back. I stopped to take a photo of the horse. He (I guess it is a he) walked up to me seeming pretty friendly. He let me rub his nose for a little bit.

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Nice horse but I had to go.

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And I saw this little thing out in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea what it is about. There are lots of roadside memorials in Tulsa in memory of people who died in car accidents but they generally have some information about who the person is.

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Stopped near the end to take this photo. I have taken this shot many times but what I liked about this was that the sun was low enough that the reflections actually illuminated the bottom of the bridge.  Yeah, sorry, I like stuff like that.

Anyway, I got home very tired and thirsty. Just shy of 25 miles. Not bad for an old guy who hasn’t ridden since September. Time to rehydrate with a couple craft beers and a gallon or two of water.

I am linking with “Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Half and Half Run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center and Lake Yahola

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For my weekly Wednesday after work run I changed things up a little bit. Instead of going to Turkey Mountain with its rocks, roots, and hills I headed out to the best kept secret trails in Tulsa, the Northwoods trails at Oxley Nature Center and then extend it by running around one of Tulsa’s raw water supply sources, Lake Yahola.

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The Norhwoods trails are not used very much. They don’t even have a parking lot. You just park on the side of the road. I hardly ever see anybody else on them. And there is a chance of seeing deer. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in a long time. The thing about Oxley is that there are very few rocks and no hills. My legs were a little sore and I wanted some distance but I couldn’t face going up and down the hills of Turkey Mountain.

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I did find an old snag that toppled across the trail. A real trail runner would have leaped across it without slowing down. Then there are guys like me who deal with in a different manner.

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There is quite network of trails in the North Woods section but they only add up to 3 miles and they loop around on each other so if you miss a turn it is no big deal.

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So I took the Oxbow lake Trail to get to Lake Yahola.

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And here it is. See the little specs to the left of center on the far shore? That is the high rises of downtown Tulsa just a few miles away.

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I turned to the right and started running on the chat gravel path. I didn’t bring my trail shoes and the gravel was hurting my feet and the grassy part was too soft for really good running. What a cry baby I am!!! I was running into the wind also but I was having the time of my life. I come upon about a dozen fishermen scattered around the lake. There is something peaceful about fishing and watching fishermen.

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About two thirds of the way around the lake I come upon the city water treatment plant. I love infrastructure stuff like this.

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Back close to the main trail at the Oxbow Lakes.

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Fuzzy pic of me with the lake. Do you like my socks?

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Back down to the road. I love how the trees tunnel over the trail. I love running here when there is strong winds because the trees just plain stop the wind and it is neat because you can hear the wind howling through the tops of the trees. I love stuff like that.

Got my run in. Almost six miles at a leisurely pace. Oh well, it is what it is.

I’m linking with “Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Wild Turkey with Rocks Please

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If you like rocks, you will love Turkey Mountain

With daylight savings time in effect I can resume my trail running after work on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. A couple years ago I tried running it at night. Too many trips and falls for me. I have a good headlight but you lose enough of the depth perception to where I was tripping not on the many rocks and roots but just the uneven ground. I wasn’t just stumbling, I was pancaking flat on the ground. I’m too old for that!! So daylight running only on trails for me.

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Somebody laid some of the flatter rocks down like flagstones in this stretch

So I ran twice this week. Once on Wednesday evening after work and again early Saturday afternoon after dropping the kid off at his Improv class.

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Enable Midstream Partners’ high pressure natural gas line. It has probably been there for 60 years or more. There are two other pipelines on the mountain that I know about also about the same age. No problems from any of them. By the way, nowdays, they wouldn’t take the pipeline across the valley above ground like this. The line would be bored under ground about 30 to 40 feet.

It was kind of like seeing an old friend again. Both days the weather was not the best, cool, and a bit rainy but that meant I basically had the place to myself.

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If you look close you can see some ducks who were swimming around before I showed up and then they scrambled.

The ponds (for some reason called lakes) on the mountain are full.

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I love the overlooks on the yellow trail over the Arkansas River.

I injured my right leg somehow early this year. It is okay now. I did a self rehab and it worked based on the treatment I got for my left leg about a year and a half ago. Stretching, rest, lots of walking, patience. So now that my leg is fine, I am slowly building up mileage to help with my conditioning. Getting old is for the birds is what I say.

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I have yet to take a bicycle on Turkey Mountain. I’ve seen some incredible riding and some incredible wrecks.

I intend to be one of those old crusty guys who are still getting after the trails in the 80’s. So I have to take care of myself.

Wednesday night’s run on the upper and lower Yellow Trail along the river.

Saturday’s run from the upper parking lot into the more remote and less visited west side of Turkey Mountain.

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Speaking of Improv, Logan had a show Friday night. This is his last semester as he is aging out of the youth theater. We have been watching him and the other kids for years. Who knows what the future holds for him.

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Saturday morning we did our family volunteer gig at a local Pet supply store on their rescue cat area. We clean out the cages and litter boxes, feed and water them, and play with them. We do it ever two weeks and it is a lot of fun. The critters are starved for attention so I think they appreciate it.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Various

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I don’t really have a theme this week. Is that in itself a theme, having no theme? Bigger minds than mine are going to have to figure that one out. Anyway at lunch one day this week I was wandering around the south edge of downtown Tulsa trying to figure out where to replace a geocache of mine that got hijacked when the tree that it was stuck in got cleaned up. The old timey apartment building above is one of the few buildings left standing. It is marooned all by itself and it look kind of funny, and creepy also. Not as creepy as old guys wandering by and taking pictures of it right.

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Here is an old back alley nearby. Lots of homeless people and wierdos hang out there now. When we moved to town twenty five years ago there were a lot of derelict bars and apartment houses here. Now there is nothing. I did find a place for a new geocache placement. I don’t know what is up with the 2-1/2 pound barbell weights on the lower left hand corner. If you need a couple I can show you right where they are.

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I accidentally shot myself while trying to look at the LED screen of my camera. Remember back in the old days with film. You didn’t have to worry about looking at the screen. Film was so expensive (and continues to be so expensive) that nobody wasted money on selfies. Now it is all just electrons photons and they are still free. That is,  until the Oklahoma legislature figures out a way to tax them. Then no more selfies, right.

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Moving from urban blight to Spring. The redbuds out. I think the Redbud trees are the prettiest thing there is. The buds just don’t last long enough.

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One of  the last sunset pics from the office until next Fall. With Daylight Savings Time, I’m not sticking around until the sun sets.

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With my new role at work I go out to “The Field” a lot in western Oklahoma. This is what the field looks like. I miss the huge wide open skies out west. I work for a natural gas pipeline company. I get a lot of satisfaction out of job helping keeping the lights, heat, and air conditioning on for people.

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And then this weekend, we help Logan take care of the cats up for adoption at one of the local pet stores. They sure are starved for attention and affection. I think they get lonely locked up in there spaces all the time. We let them out and Logan plays with them while Heather and I clean out the cat boxes, clean the spaces, put in fresh food and water.  We do it once or twice a month early Saturday morning before the place opens. All four of our critters were adopted. I’m a big fan of adopting animals.

Anyways that is it this week. I’m linking with Our World Tuesday with this post.

Our World Tuesday – The Daffodils and More at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

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I went out to the Tulsa Botanic Garden and checked out their daffodils. I know that I’ve already posted about daffodils but is it okay if I do two this year? There is a slippery slope factor here for sure because what would stop me from posting three times about these flowers? Anway, they have planted 101,475 bulbs of “Brushstrokes” with art-deco inspired styling. (i am not sure what that means.)

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I didn’t count them all but I believe that are telling the truth. The math nerd in me is trying to figure out how long it took to plant these bulbs. There are 86,400 seconds in a day so maybe one guy worked like crazy and got it done a little more than a day. But then, the engineer side of me is wondering who would be bringing the bulbs to him? How many people would that take, and how many bulbs in a truck load. What I come up with was that it took a bunch of people a lot of time to plant all those bulbs. Pretty impressive calculations huh? Told you that I was a math nerd. Check my work if you must. See what you come up with.

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I’m linking with Our World Tuesday