Tag 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.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

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.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

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.

December 2019
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.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Tulsa’s Winterfest

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Today at noon I went for a little stroll in downtown Tulsa over to the Arvest Winterfest area. I guess that might be the city Christmas tree except you know we can’t have city owned Christmas trees.

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They put up a temporary ice rink and have food trucks and hot chocolate. At night. Nobody was around at noon.

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They even have a Zamboni to smooth out the ice.

And a full moon, almost

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Waxing Gibbous 99%.

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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.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come check it out!!

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?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Hiking along String and Leigh Lakes in Grand Teton National Park

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On our final day last week of our Jackson Hole trip we had a relatively early checkout time from our condo and a pretty late in the day flight back to Tulsa.

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So we got up, cleaned out and checked from where we were staying, got breakfast, grabbed our bear spray and headed up north of Jenny Lake for a final hike along String and Leigh Lakes. A hike that a Ranger we had talked to was easy. It was pretty darn cold, and the trail was snowy but off we went.

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It was cold and we were by ourselves but gradually we started seeing more people. Never enough to make it feel crowded. I had read in an online trailguide where somebody had come across a grizzly bear lolling around in the lake near the trailhead.

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So we had an invigorating hike, on alert and cold but gradually we relaxed.

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It helped that the scenery was stunning. Yeah we were away from the big Teton mountains but these were no slouches and the water was crystal clear and blue.

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My glamorous wife, Heather

We allotted enough time to go about 2 miles up the trail and return. You can tell that Heather is pretty happy above.

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We discussed for a minute or two whether that was people across the lake or bears.

Last year I spent a few days with my sister, who was working as a seasonal Ranger at Yellowstone Park at West Yellowstone. She took me on a few hikes in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and it really opened up my eyes to just how beautiful and wild the parks are when you get out of your car and venture down a trail a few miles. So this year Heather and I followed down a couple of the trails Ellen took me on last year and found one ourself. We’ll be back!!

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What a great treasure our National Parks are. October is a great time to visit, if you can. Dress warm is what I say!!

The other thing I say is rent the bear spray, instead of buying it. We rented them for $7 a day, max $28 and then we just took them back when we were done. If you fly in, you can’t fly back out with it and I was worried about how to dispose of it properly if you buy it and you are flying back.

So I am not going to do trip in chronological order. I will do them as I feel led. I am not an organized blogger who has his act together, but I think that you have already figured that out.

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Skywatch Friday – Teton Sunset

Jackson Hole Trip 2019

We are in Jackson, Wyoming this week enjoying a late autumn vacation in the shadow of the Teton Mountains. We were treated to quite the evening show. No filters used, no tricks, just God’s glory and nature putting on a spectacle. I’ll have more photos in future posts. Blogging with an iPad is possible but painful.

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Skywatch Friday – Talking Leaves Tree

Talking Leaves Tree

I visited the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa earlier this week. They have a lot of nice exhibits going on but what really struck my eye was a great big cottonwood tree right outside a giant window that was shimmering in the wind so I made a brief video of it and posted it on social media.

#cottonwood #trees # Flandreau #southdakota #geocaching
Cottonwood in South Dakota

A cousin from South Dakota told me that she thought the Lakota Tribe called the cottonwood, the Tree of Talking Leaves. I have googled a lot and have not been able to confirm that that is true but have found a lot of references that the tribe holds the tree sacred and represents a magical time of hope, healing, and transformation.

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Cottonwoods in Tulsa

I have always liked cottonwood trees but never much thought about them until my cousin’s remark and then I thought, you know I have lived all over the west, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and they all have cottonwood trees. I think they may be a symbol of the west, where the west includes the midwest. I just love seeing and hearing their leaves when the wind is blowing.

Late in life, the Cottonwood is now the Talking Leaves Tree to me as well.

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