Skywatch Friday – Another Storm Blows Through

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Looking northwest after the storm

A few days ago we had a fast moving storm with threatened tornado and possible hail come through. (You could say that about any day in May here in Oklahoma it seems.)

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Looking straight west.

So we sheltered in place and watched the TV news and yes we had some very heavy, brief downpours, no hail though, no tornadoes, thank goodness and then we emerged from our houses and the air was a little breezy and cool so I launched my drone. Not too high though, it senses windspeed and alarms if it might get away from me, so I lowered the altitude and and snapped a few photographs and a short video.

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Looking northeast across the green belt.

This is the back side of the storm as it moved on further east in Oklahoma and on into Arkansas.

A short panorama of the western sky.

Anyway, chalk up another spring storm we survived.

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And here is a shot of a near full moon. I amplified the detail on the moon and added a penciling type texture to the space around the moon to provide a sense of depth.

How are things where you are? Oklahoma is loosening up the restrictions a little and it seems that many of us are abandoning the guidelines and engaging in risky behavior. I just hope that we don’t have a second wave of infection.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

LaCoronaVida #5 – Things are Getting Squirrely

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I was on the patio this morning and this fat little toad of a squirrel was eating all the bird food. It has three siblings and they are very active except when the neighborhood hawk is nosing around then they stay where they are flattened to a branch or a ground until long after Mr. Hawk leaves the area.

With this pandemic thing raging Heather has really amped up her green thumb working hard on both her and her mother’s garden. So for Mother’s Day from Logan and I, I picked out this fountain, ordered it online and picked it up early this morning and had it all assembled up and going by the time she work up. I guess some could say I spoiled her surprise and I would say that I just changed the timing of it. Nothing like the sounds of water in a garden is what I say. I like the contactless curbside pickup at Lowe’s. You order it, they tell you when it is ready, you drive to the store and phone them that I am there and they bring it out and put it in the back. Nice and safe for everybody.

I am going to start running again so I went to the running store and got some new kicks. Arahi’s by Hoka. I googled “Arahi” and the only thing that pops up are these shoes. It sounds like it should mean something somewhere, besides shoes I mean. I liked what the store was doing. Only one customer at a time inside and me and the lady who helped me were wearing masks.

The local grocery store by contrast was bad. The staff had masks and plexiglass shields. I would guestimate only 10% of the customers were wearing a mask and physical distancing was inadequate in many areas. I guess that many of my fellow Okies have lost their will to live.

I got summoned to MIL’s house. She had a smoke alarm out and so you know the first thing is figuring out which one of the ones she had are out. That took a little bit. I only had two batteries otherwise I would have changed them all. She is going to get some more batteries and then I’ll change the rest of them.

I hope that everybody is staying safe.

LaCorona Vida #4

I’m still #WFH (“Working From Home”) in twitter/instagram speak. Mostly retirement paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. My home office is a mess. I’m going to have to get some file storage that works.

Other than that getting lots of reading done. I read “American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh & the Oklahoma City Bombing” by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck. What a story told from McVeigh’s point of view. From war hero to bum. Killed 168 people because he was mad about government overreach. He didn’t care about the innocent people. Collateral damage as far as he was concerned.

So the wife has been gardening and I’ve helped her here and there. And I’ve been flying my drone when the wind allows. It’s fun and easy.

As you can tell I am not a very smooth pilot. Fortunately the drone stays still while I am trying to figure out what to do.

And we are eating lots of ice cream. Rose Rock is a store based close to downtown Tulsa. They hand make their ice cream and they deliver!! Life can’t be too bad if you are eating ice cream is what I say.

Here’s my latest Covid-19 Update for Oklahoma. Deaths are not declining, new cases are going up, hospitalizations are going down. What’s it all mean? You tell me.

Stay cool and safe folks!!

Our World – Hiking Oxley Nature Center

Sunday afternooon, after Heather and I headed for Oxley Nature Center in north Tulsa for a little hiking. We were wanting something kind of flat with little rocks.

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We’ve had a lot of rain in Tulsa this year and Oxley is kind of low, it is very low in fact. They have lots of swampy areas like above.

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Oxley has a lot of color, green. Lots and lots of green with not much other colors. We found this bloom. I am having trouble IDing it. The number one ID on iNaturalist is “Multiflora rose” which is an invasive species. What do you think?

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We found these butterflies as well. We think we are two of them and that they are Silvery Checkerspots. Sorry for the butterfly porn.

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I like this shot, it doesn’t make me look so fat.

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And here is Heather in on of Oxley’s tree tunnels. We ended up tramping a little over three and a half miles. I think we went over almost all the trails that were not muddy. We had a good time.

Come check out the fun at Our World Tuesday!

LaCorona Vida #3

Another day or two in the brave new world we are in. What a mess! I read that White Supremacists are using this to recruit new members. Great…

Meanwhile life goes on. I am still working from home and also trying to coordinate the last details on finances and health care for when I retire at the end of the month.

We met with one of Logan’s doctors. We didn’t want to zoom it so we went live. I hate the precautions but hey they are necessary, so we do them. Lots of people are abandoning them.

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We started to go on a hike at nearby Lake Bixhoma. We saw these donkeys but abandoned the hike when we saw lots of poison ivy. PI is the gift that keeps on giving!! So we only got 1.3 miles in, better than nothing.

Heather and I are mad about these Keens shoes. They are comfortable and cool. We are spending a lot of time outside in them and we each have three pairs.

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At least Oklahoma still has great skies.

LaCorona Vida #2

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So today’s LaCoronaVida is about Ginger our rescue wiener dog mix. She’s 14 years old and you know things get a little touchy at that age with dogs. She’s been having trouble for a while with her rear legs and this morning she could hardly move them. As she got woke up things got better but still. So Heather called the Vet and we got an appointment at 4:30 this afternoon.

So we had all day to think about it. I mowed the yard and Heather did some gardening and we ran a couple errands but our hearts were not in it.

At about 11, the State of Oklahoma released the last 24 hours data on our Covid-19 situation. New cases and deaths have been plateaued for weeks and hospitalizations are trending down. Okay, lets open her up and let her rip. Golf Courses, and stores opened up here today. We are still isolating cuz that is how we roll.

So finally the day passed and we scooped up Ginger and went to the Vet. Vet thinks she needs acupuncture and gave us a referral. I felt like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I mean Ginger is a pain in the ass but we love her. And we know that its just a matter of time with her. In the meantime, she bright and alert and loves to eat. So we’ll check out acupuncture for the old lady.

Now that I got you cheered up how about a drone video from my new toy. I put the drone over Heather’s head and sent it up as high as it would go. It is limited because we are in the flight path of one of the runways. It’s still pretty high.

So it was another day of LaCorona Vida. Running errands with our masks on and curb delivery. Less and less people are wearing face masks. So I guess we are getting used to this.

Skywatch Friday – Spring Storm Coming Through

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This past Tuesday we knew we were having a storm blow through. Usually no big deal to Okies but this was supposed to be bad. The running and bicycling groups on facebook were cancelling their runs and rides and when that happens you know its bad. I went walking around Lafortune Park at noon and the clouds were already building.

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As an aside, they were getting ready to open up the golf course again on May 1. I don’t golf any longer and I didn’t understand why they closed. They are opening up, only one person per cart unless you are in the same household. No pulling the flag on putts and they have removed the rakes for the sand traps.

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Sorry, back on focus. Later that afternoon the winds got wild and woolly. We put the dog crates in our “safe space.” We lost our satellite tv reception but I have a digital antenna for the tv I use as a computer monitor in my office so we were able to monitor the weather. No tornadoes locally but there were tornado alerts.

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And afterwards we saw one of the biggest displays of mammatus clouds I have ever seen. Usually they are subtle, nothing subtle about these. Everybody in town was posting the clouds on facebook and instagram.

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I was able to fly my drone a little bit as the winds died down. Early on, it almost got away from me but I was able to bring it back. I have a mavic mini and it weighs only 249 grams so you have to be careful, especially when you are a rookie pilot.

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Later we had a partial rainbow. Here is the northern segment, looking northeast from our house.

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And the southern segment looking to the southeast. Storms can be kind of scary and we came out of this one okay and the air was cool and fresh. We’ll be having these all spring and summer I suspect.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join in!

LaCorona Vida #1

Our family has been isolated since the middle of March. Our son is here with us since his college closed their campus and went totally online. The gyms where Heather works shut down and my work sent me home with my high tech laptop and low tech job all about the same time.

You know something, it hasn’t been bad. We are blessed we know, lots of our friends are out of a job or on furlough and they still have mortgage and car payments to make. So I count our blessings but not too loudly. Logan has been doing his classes online, Heather has been taking exercise classes online. I haven’t done that, yet. I am missing yoga and so I guess that I’ll take my first online yoga class soon.

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I’ve done numerous laps of the 3 mile Lafortune Park trail. We used to take Rascal the Pomeranian with us but no more. The weather was a little warm and humid and I had to call Heather at about the two mile mark to come rescue us. Rascal was gasping for breath and me helping him wasn’t helping him so Heather came and scooped him up into the air conditioned car with the AC on full blast on him and took him home to cool off. He’s fine but he is done with Lafortune Park this year.

I’ve learned to love curbside pickup. I show my ID when requested and they never question it.

Like many people I have been tracking the stats on the Coronavirus. I have been using the seven day trailing average just like the State of Oklahoma does and unlike them I don’t see a big reduction that our governor used to open the State up. I get it though, when do we come out of isolation? Our economy needs to get going again but at what cost? Here in Oklahoma, I can tell you, as a fact, that many oil producers cannot find anybody to buy their oil. Why? Because demand has plummeted, and storage is full. Many producers are telling their pumpers to flow the wells until the lease tanks are full and then shut them in. Pretty wild.

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You couple all that with my retirement coming up June 1 and this makes for exciting times. I will probably retire without going to the office. I’ll have to to retrieve my crap that I accumulated over time, personal items like photographs and such. Usually one gets a little reception in a conference room for a couple hours. I have been dreading it because I thought nobody would show up, so now I don’t have to worry about it. I might have been surprised though cuz both HR and my Leader have asked me if it was okay if they gave out my contact data because people have been wanting it. Probably bill collectors, right? No, not right, so that made me feel good.

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The big tall tower is a demethanizer and the three little towers are molecular sieves. Plant to extract ethane, propane, butane, and gasoline out of natural gas. I love this stuff. The truck in the lower middle of the photo is an Xray truck to check welding quality. Except they use Gamma Rays instead of Xrays cuz xrays don’t penetrate metal.

I started out in the energy business 43 years ago. I wanted a month off after graduation but no, my employer, Mobil Oil Corporation, had a bunch of new people and they wanted them all in the office in Houston on a certain date to get them processed all at once so that left me just a week or so. I got to see my mother cry at our house in Albuquerque as I pulled out one morning headed to Texas to help America solve her energy problems.

I can’t complain though, again I was blessed. I was always able to shape my jobs to something that worked for me. I’ve had 45 bosses in my 43 years and I think 43 of them have really looked out for me. Seriously, do you know anybody else with luck like that? In the energy business???

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So anyway, leaving the energy biz as matter of factually as I got into it suits me fine. This work at home has given me a glimpse of what retirement might look like and I think it will work. I find that I actually enjoy my wife and son’s company.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in my life. I am looking forward to continuing to tutor first and second graders in reading, helping environmental organizations, and spending time with Heather, and reading, lots and lots of reading, geocaching, hiking, bicycling, maybe starting running again, and traveling.

I’m a lucky guy.

Our World – Muskogee’s Honor Heights Park

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Saturday the family was a little restless and we wanted to do something outside so we loaded up into the car rode down the turnpike to Muskogee, Oklahoma, about 40 minutes away to check out their Honor Heights Park.

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Honor Heights is known for the Azalea Festival, which we missed by a couple weeks but there were still some blooms. My blog friends over the years have taught me to be appreciative of all the phases of blooms.

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They did have all sorts of other plants to look at it including some beautiful lily’s like these.

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We found a bunch of water lily’s alongside a small stream going through the property.

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Heather and I really liked this Norway Maple. I had never heard of such a tree before and it is really striking.

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This guy just wanted us to go home.

Somehow, Logan agreed to be a butterfly. He’s a big guy but he’s a butterfly now.

The Park had a lot of people but it is big at 132 acres and people stayed pretty well spread out. Most everything was open but the gift shop and playgrounds were closed due to the Covid-19 crisis. It wasn’t hard to physically distance ourselves from others.

We ran into a former teacher of Logan’s and her family, so we caught up, from about 15 feet away. It’s amazing to me how teachers remember their students.

So a good time was had by all. We gave Honor Heights Park five stars out of five. We’ll be back!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

Skywatch Friday – Scanning the Skies

Sunset about a week ago

How is everybody doing with their social isolation. Here in Oklahoma the Governor, despite the advice from the medical community, has decided to start opening businesses starting tomorrow (Friday, April 24). So we’ll see what happens. Our family will continue with the social isolation until we deem it safe as we do have extended family members in town that are at risk.

Sunrise that same morning

In the meantime I have my cameras including my new drone to keep me occupied. It turns out that although it is capable of some fancy aerial maneuvers I use it mainly like a periscope. I find myself in the morning and the evening looking at the sky and if I see something interesting I launch it. I still am using what I call the “training wheels” the propeller guards which add quite a bit of weight and lower the performance but I can still get it up to about 125 meters which is I can barely see it when it is up there. So get it up there and turn it this and that to see what is going on with the sky. Nothing to get in the way then.

Evening sky after a Thunderstorm

I am kind of an incrementalist, plus the thing is kind of expensive, so I will gradually let it fly higher and a little bit further as time goes on. I don’t think I’ll ever let it out of my sight.

And I am still experimenting with it. Here is a grain elevator near where we live. So just did an elevator eyes so to speak with the drone. Going from street level up and then back down. I edited the video on my Iphone. Imovie is a great app that is simple to use.

And then, this has nothing to do with skies but I love watching videos of the Irish dancers. How do you get your legs to move that fast is what I want to know.

I wish everybody a great week ahead and I hope everybody and their friends and family are staying safe.

Skywatch Friday