Monday, June 29, 2009

Who Gets the Other Cat?

I’ve been reading a short book this morning, The Girls with Grandmother Faces by Frances Weaver. She writes about making the most of the second half of life. In her chapter called “Sisters,” she writes a little about sibling rivalry among her and her sisters and how they became best friends later in life. I loved this particular story:

The ultimate sibling rivalry/cooperation story, as far as I’m concerned, starred Mary Marn and me. The big interest in our lives focused under our grandmother’s back porch. The cat and her litter of four kittens lived there. Each day we checked to see if their eyes had opened yet. Each one of us had our chosen kitten.

“This was 1934, pre-penicillin days. My appendix ruptured. I was one sick little girl. Dad came home from the hospital realizing he had to prepare his other daughters for any eventuality—in those days, a ruptured appendix was generally fatal. After a tearful discussion of ‘Franny might die . . .’five-year-old Mary wiped her eyes and asked, ‘Who gets the other cat?'

I grew up with two younger brothers and no sisters, but I did raise two daughters. They're four years apart and were never the best of friends as kids. As adults they've discovered a love for each other that makes me extremely happy. However, there were some times . . .! Here's one of them.

The oldest had discovered my IBM Selectric typewriter that I used in my home business, and she did a pretty decent job of learning how to use it. One of the "best" things she did was prepare a very official looking document (at least for a 10-year-old) that "proved" her little sister had been adopted. Since little sister was just learning how to read, you can probably imagine her "concern" about that up-to-then unknown discovery. I'm not sure how long it took for her to figure out the whole thing was a hoax, but the oldest really had her going for a while.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Captain EO - Michael Jackson at Disneyland

There's been so much coverage of Michael Jackson in the few days since his death, I hesitate to add more to the mix. However, I'd like to share one personal remembrance of him.

In 1989, our son was just a baby and his sisters were teenagers. Although MTV was at its best, I remember being so busy most of the time I didn't pay much attention to all the performers and stars. For Christmas that year, we drove from Portland to San Diego to visit my mother whom we hadn't seen for a while. We all went to Disneyland, one of her favorite places, and she insisted we see "Captain EO" with her. That ride/exhibit just blew me away it was so good. She loved it because she's been a dance teacher her whole life and knew extraordinary talent when she saw it. Although Disneyland replaced the exhibit several years later, it was fun to see this extremely talented singer/dancer at his best.

Here's an article about the exhibit and a short clip of "We're Are Here to Change the World." Just click on either the words in red or the picture to the left.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Hot Day With Tom Lehrer

A heat index here of 109 degrees today and for probably the rest of the week makes sticking around inside with the air conditioning blasting almost a necessity for a weather wuss like me. For the winter version of "wussiness," you might check out my blog from Nov. 30, 2008,"Confessions of Southern California Wuss,"

Since we're both transplanted creatures from Southern California now in Oklahoma, my friend Crystal and I have been finding things to do inside. One of those things has been finding videos of lots of "classic" weird songs, such as "Purple People Eater," "They're Coming to Take Me Away," and many more like them. I love them all and can probably remember the words to most of them, or at least a good percentage.

But, this afternoon it struck me alongside the head like a sloppy V-8 commercial: How could I forget the incomparable Tom Lehrer? In fact, I "discovered" him many years ago on Dr. Demento. Here are just a few. Enjoy.

The Elements

National Brotherhood Week

The Vatican Rag

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

We Will All Go Together When We Go

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A test blog

This is a test blog to see if an "Active X Error Box" shows up when I don't embed videos. Several people have let me know they've gotten the box for several days. Since I don't see it on my end, please let me know if it shows up with this blog.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Council Oak Men's Chorale

I've enjoyed many concerts by men's choruses and chorales: San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and now this wonderful group from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Council Oak Men's Chorale. Here's a little about them from their website:

The History of Our Name: The Council Oak Tree

Our name comes from the Creek Council Oak Tree located at 18th & Cheyenne in downtown Tulsa. In 1836 the Lochapoka Creek Indians kindled a ceremonial fire using live coals they had carried from their Alabama homeland over a “trail of tears. ” Of the 630 that began the trip, 161 died. This great Burr Oak tree became the site for Tulsa’s first town hall, first conference room, first church and first court of law. This revered tree still lives and remains a symbol of our early settlers’ strong spirit.

It is in this same spirit of determination in the midst of adversity, of hope for a more inclusive future, and of the promise of new beginnings, that the Vocal Pride Foundation is rooted in the history of the Council Oak.

Mission Statement

The Council Oak Mens Chorale (COMC) is a fellowship of gay and gay affirming men dedicated to musical excellence in the performance of choral literature, providing a source to reach the community showing our pride, unity and support, and presenting a positive image for ourselves.

Brief History of Council Oak Men's Chorale

The chorale was formed in 1997 from a group of 12 singers that came together to provide music for a World AIDS Day memorial service. Founded by Rick Fortner, they had no official name. Their hope was to provide support to the families and friends of those affected by HIV and AIDS. From there, the idea of supporting an ongoing gay men’s chorus in Tulsa took root.

From its modest beginnings, this small group of dedicated singers has grown into an organization that is known throughout the nation for it’s vocal excellence. From a one-time memorial service, performances have grown to include a three-concert season with numerous additional performances making COMC a year-round organization.

COMC performance venues include the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Philbrook’s Festival of Trees, and numerous local churches and community organizations.

Although I could not find any videos of this group's performances, here are a few of the songs they performed this afternoon.

First, "epiphany" from
Altar Boyz. I think it surprised just about everyone, including me, who had never heard it.

A very touching song was "Tell My Father," from
Civil War.

Then there was "Greased Lightning" from Grease.

Finally, "Seasons of Love" from Rent.

I love listening to men's choruses for several reasons. First, they are usually accompanied by an excellent pianist. Today that was extremely talented Glen R. Jones. Second, the director is usually not afraid to help the group tackle difficult and challenging music. And the group's only woman member, Elizabeth Smith Curtis, did that beautifully this afternoon. Third, the close harmony of Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Baritone, and Bass just sounds lush - it's the only word I can think of to describe it. Finally, I fully support gay pride, same-sex marriage, and activism. As a clergy representative of the Unitarian Universalist church in Portland, Oregon, I performed more than 35 wedding ceremonies when Multnomah County authorized same-sex marriage for two months. It was a very powerful experience, and perhaps hearing groups like Council Oak Men's Chorale reminds me strongly of that time.

They will be doing a full version of tonight's short concert, "Not Your Mother's Broadway" this coming weekend in Tulsa. And I have already bought my ticket.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twin Rivers Bluegrass and Zoograss Boys, June 19, 2009

What better place to spend about four hours on a hot, humid day than listening to two wonderful bluegrass bands in an air conditioned performance hall.

I've loved bluegrass music probably forever, or so it seems. There's just something about the instruments, the rhythms, and the overall sense of just plain fun, both shown by the performers as well as the toe tapping and dancing, even in their seats, by the audience.

I think I probably realized this love of banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, and fiddle around 1972 when I saw the movie, "Deliverance," and heard "Dueling Banjos."

I was hooked. I bought cassette tapes of several bluegrass groups and listened over and over and over . . . never tiring of the music. Orange Blossom Special, sometimes called the "Fiddle Player's National Anthem."

Last fall two friends and I parked our RVs at Mayflower County Park in Bishop, CA (Riverside County) for about a week and spent most of our time at the Bluegrass Festival in Bishop. Lots of bands performing on two separate stages, as well as outdoor jam sessions, booths, food, and many people to talk to and enjoy the music with. It was easy to see how easy it would be to get hooked on following the festivals. And today I feel the same way.

Twin Rivers Bluegrass performed for two hours this afternoon. Most of the members live in the Miami (pronounced my-am-uh). They've been together for about a year and get together at Pam's Place (Pam is their bass player) in nearby Seneca, Missouri. Here's a video of them performing. I'm not sure when they changed the name of the band to Twin Rivers from Rising Creek.

Rising Creek Band (with most of the members and same costumes/clothing as Twin Rivers Band today)

To me, the highlight of this band is their fiddle player, 17-year old Jake Simpson. He's been playing violin/fiddle since he was 5 years old and has won numerous competitions since then. He's also got a perfect singing voice and plays other instruments besides the fiddle. This first video shows him playing a classical piece. His father explains the reason at the beginning.

Jake playing classical

Finally, here he is with his excellent bluegrass sense and talent at an Opry performance.

The Zoograss Boys were more laid back and have been playing together for a number of years. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any performance videos. They will be performing their very entertaining versions of bluegrass and old-time music, such as songs from the movie, "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?" at the Skiatook Bluegrass Festival next weekend, June 25-27, 2009 in the city of Skiatook, Oklahoma.

As I said, I love bluegrass!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

OK Mozart Festival - June 18 - The Ad-Libs

I'm loving all the concerts I've been able to attend at the OK Mozart Festival here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the best thing is, I haven't paid a thing. Yes, I could buy tickets for the large evening performances by well-known artists such as violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg or jazz great Chick Corea. All of those concerts would be wonderful. However, the old checkbook is a little short right now, so I decided to take advantage of all the free performances. And I haven't been disappointed. I'll write a separate entry about the Irish band Kilkenny Street that I enjoyed yesterday. However, today I'll concentrate on the singing group, the Ad-Libs, a group of fifteen middle-age and older men and women who thoroughly enjoyed performing for a standing-room only crowd this afternoon.

Because I had to search a little for parking, I got there a few minutes after the group began singing. The place was packed, not only with people sitting in chairs, but some at tables eating lunch and others standing at the back of the room. I actually found a seat in the back, right in front of one of the food tables, so I got smell delicious food throughout the performance. Yes, it made me hungry.

The Ad-Libs are ten women, five men, the conductor, the keyboardist, percussionist, and bass player. All the women were dressed in beautiful, sparkly black dresses and the men in sharp-looking suits. I would guess that the youngest was in his/her mid-fifties. But, how they could sing!

The first song I heard was the 1960s hit, "My Guy/Girl," and I kept visualizing the scene from one of my all-time favorite movies, "Sister Act," starring Whoopi Goldberg. Here's the way the nuns performed the song in that film:

Next, the women sang "Moonglow," by Benny Goodman. Here it is done by the Benny Goodman Quartet.

They followed that with the theme from the longest-running Broadway musical, "Cats."

After that we listened to "Once Upon a Time." Here are the lyrics. I'm sure you'll recognize the words.

Once Upon A Time
Tony Bennett
Words by Lee Adams and Music by Charles Strouse

Did not chart, although it was recorded by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Robert
Goulet, Al Martino, Jim Reeves, Diahann Carroll, Vic Damone, and Bobby Darin
Sung in the Broadway musical "All American" by Ray Bolger and Eileen Herlie

Once upon a time a girl with moonlight in her eyes
Put her hand in mine and said she loved me so
But that was once upon a time, very long ago

Once upon a time we sat beneath a willow tree
Counting all the stars and waiting for the dawn
But that was once upon a time, now the tree is gone

How the breeze ruffled up her hair
How we always laughed as though tomorrow wasn't there
We were young and didn't have a care
Where did it go?

Once upon a time the world was sweeter than we knew
Everything was ours, how happy we were then
But somehow once upon a time never comes again

My very favorite was "Ol Man River," from "Showboat," sung by an African American man with one of the most beautiful bass voices I've ever heard. He got a standing ovation. Here it is done by Al Robeson.

"Singin' in the Rain" was next, and then another rain-themed song that I hadn't heard before and didn't get the name. The men brought out their hats and canes, and the women their white parasols, which they opened and twirled at the end of the song. The percussionist's use of the rain stick, amplified by a mike, was also very effective.

They ended with a patriotic medley by Barry Manilow comprised of "My Country 'tis of Thee" and "Let Freedom Ring," and finally, "God Bless America," which they invited the audience to sing along with them. Here's Kate Smith's version:

I had an extra amount of fun listening to and watching the group because one of the men looked like he could have been the twin brother of a good friend of mine. Same hair, although not quite as white, same style, parted on the same side, a little mussed up. Same height (tall), with the same way of moving, turning his head, and holding his hands in front of him while singing. Yes, my friend used to sing a lot and starred in a number of little theater performances, among them as the lead in "Man of La Mancha. He's still got most of his beautiful tenor voice and I wish he'd sing more often.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OK Mozart 25th Anniversary - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This week marks the 25th Anniversary of OK Mozart (OKM) here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and I've decided to take full advantage of many of the free concert and historical offerings. To begin, here is a history of the festival from the OK Mozart website. Besides the history, the site offers much information about the festival, including a very handy Planner.

The History of OKM

In 1983 Ransom Wilson and the orchestra he founded, Solisti New York, made a performance stop in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The musicians found a charming, cosmopolitan town with a magnificent performing arts building designed by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wilson quickly realized that this unique building held one of the finest concert halls in America. The OK MOZART International Festival was born of this serendipitous discovery, along with the imagination and vision of Wilson and his new-found colleague Nan Buhlinger, a Bartlesville musician, arts administrator and community leader.

In June 1985, the OK MOZART International Festival began with a three-day concert series. In 2005 Ransom Wilson, founding Artistic Director retired, and the name of the resident orchestra changed to Amici New York. Now entering its 25th year, the OK MOZART Festival continues to bring the best and brightest musicians to Bartlesville for nine days of world-class performances.

The Festival features orchestral concerts with the Amici New York Orchestra, which is in residence in Bartlesville for the Festival, chamber music ensembles, and world-renowned guest artists. Included are six concerts in the Community Center's acoustically near-perfect concert hall, an outdoor concert in a natural amphitheater at Woolaroc, an historic ranch and nature preserve; a chamber music series in the new Bartlesville High School Fine Arts Center and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church featuring members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and guest artists.

Originally created to complement the orchestral and chamber concerts, OK MOZART began to present Showcase Festival Events, which featured local artists highlighting what Northeast Oklahoma and Bartlesville had to offer in both an artistic and historical context. As OKM has continued to grow, so have the Showcase Events. Today these presentations have grown to become an important extension of the Festival. They include everything from daytime teas to contemporary music to historical lectures to a special children’s series. With the wide variety the 75-plus Showcase Events have to offer, there is certainly something for everyone!

Throughout the Fetival's growth, state and national media have recognized this major classical music event. During the Festival's fifth season, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority produced a documentary, OK MOZART, which aired on Public Television. Over the years national media attention has produced articles in many publications including Southern Living, Delta Sky, Horizon and Symphony magazines; broadcast series on National Public Radio; and special features on NBC's Sunday Today, ABC's Sunday Evening News, and ESPN's Nation's Business Today. In addition, features have appeared on CNN during several of the Festival's seasons.

In 1989, OK MOZART Festival won the "Governor's Arts Award" given by Oklahoma's State Arts Council, and was named Oklahoma's "Event of the Year" by the Oklahoma State Department of Tourism and Recreation.
In 1997, the Festival swept the Oklahoma Festivals and Events Association media awards in all categories, and that same year OK MOZART won a silver and two gold awards at the International Festivals and Events Association's Pinnacle Awards Competition held in Montreal, Canada.

In 2006 the Oklahoma Governor's Conference on Tourism identified the OK MOZART International Festival as the 2006 Outstanding Event of the Year.

This afternoon I began my OKM experience at the First United Methodist Church, listening to the classical chamber ensemble enhake. According to the program notes, they "are an emerging ensemble comprised of members from South Korea and the United states. Drawing its name from the Seminole (Creek) word for sound or call, enhake is committed to bringing sublime chamber music to its audience with a sincere respect and love for the score. Its distinctive instrumentation (clarinet-cello-violin-piano) allows its musicians the flexibility to perform repetoire from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras to the most captivating contemporary works."

They are going to perform a different composition each day of the festival, beginning today with "Quartet for the End of Time" (Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps pour violon, clarinette en si bemol, violoncelle et piano). This work was composed by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) in a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

1939 September France declares war on Germany; OM called up for military service.
1940 15 June OM captured by German forces in the fall of Verdun.

July OM moved to a prisoner camp in Silesia, Germany (now Poland).
1941 15 January Premier of Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, Stalag VIIIA, Görlitz, Silesia, Germany.

Each performer in the composition had a chance to shine with haunting solos or solos accompanied by the young, outstanding pianist Eun-Hee Park. The clarinet player, Wonkak Kim, was able to coax sounds from his instrument I've never heard before, especially long controlled notes that began almost inaudibly then gradually became louder and full-toned. Jayoung Kim, who played the cello, and M. Brent Williams, violin, at times played in unison, a beautiful sound.

The ensemble, formed at Florida state University in 2007, has won many awards, including the Grand Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition (2009), Bold Medal at the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition (2008). They debuted in Carnegie Hall at the 2008 ICMEC Winner's Concert and have concertized throughout the United States and Costa Rica.

Please explore their website, including samples of many of their performances, including parts of two movements they performed for us this afternoon. Here is the website: enhake Click on "Sound" at the top menu to listen to some extraordinary music.

For something different, tomorrow I'm going to hear the Kilkenny Road Band, a local Irish group.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Friday afternoon I spent time in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, home of the Osage Nation, with one friend; yesterday I drove about 85 miles south to Okmulgee for another friend's housewarming party. What fun!

First, a little information about Okmulgee. The population was 13,022 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Okmulgee County. The town has been the capital of the Creek Nation since the United States Civil War. Okmulgee means boiling or bubbling water in the Creek language. The site was chosen because the Creeks believed that tornadoes would not strike there.

It was a beautiful drive down Highway 75, at least until I discovered that right now, Hwy 75 doesn't go straight through, at least southbound. They're working on the road, doing something. So, I had to find my way back to the highway and with my great sense of direction (LOL!) got to the party a little late. However, no problem. Crystal's front porch welcomed me even before I went inside.

She bought a wonderful old house recently and has been making it very livable. She decided to celebrate with a housewarming party - and what a party it was!

First, let's stay outside for a few minutes and get acquainted with the chickens.

One of them managed to squeeze between the chicken wire and the fence to freedom, at least a short-lived freedom.

I love this side yard. Even though the day was hot and muggy, this shady spot felt nice and cool.

Okay, time to go inside. Remember the old finger game we used to play as children: "Here's the church, here's the steeple. Open the door and see all the people," intermeshing all our fingers and wiggling them. That's what it was like opening the door. Lots of fun people inside, many of them talking about their interest in tropical birds. Here are some of the people.

Patti, Connie, Debbie, Jan, Kristin, Robert, Floyd, Stella

Joy (and she was definitely a joy!)

Thelma and Crystal

Patti, Connie, and Debbie

Stella and Patti.
The kazoo band really didn't get going. Oh, well. The poppers did. Hadn't realized they made such a loud explosion for such little things.

Lonnie and Crystal

Crystal and Robert

The usual suspects, plus me

Jan made the delicious desserts.

Thank you so much, Crystal, for such a wonderful time!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pawhuska, Oklahoma

This afternoon I drove about 25 miles to Pawhuska, Oklahoma so my friend Nikki could show me around her town. Pawhuska is the county seat of Osage County, home of the Osage Nation. We ate a delicious free lunch at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and arranged for a tour of the church a little later. In the meantime, Nikki introduced me to her chickens and her wonderful garden, above Bird Creek. We chased little tiny frogs that had just graduated from the tadpole stage, and I got to meet three cats. A few blocks away is a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects two residential areas on either side of Bird Creek. The bridge reminded me a little of Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia, only a bit smaller. We walked about halfway across and looked down into the water. Three fairly large turtles swam near the edge of the creek, mostly underwater. We drove around more of the town and Nikki pointed out various Osage Nation buildings and businesses, the old high school, and some beautiful houses. We stopped by the pawn shop/quilt store and talked with the owner a bit about the quilting guild meetings this month. Back to the church. Although today began with a thunderstorm with very heavy rain, the afternoon had turned hot and muggy. So, stepping inside the church was a cool treat. I took many pictures of the beautiful stained glass windows. The church is known by many as "The Cathedral of the Osage." Here's a little history of the church and of the windows:

Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
1314 Lynn Avenue Pawhuska, OK 74056

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pawhuska, Oklahoma is known by many as "The Cathedral of the Osage." Perhaps it has been given this title not only because of its large cathedral-like appearance, but also because of its importance in the life and history of the Osage. It was in 1673 that Father Jacques Marquette, the great French missionary and explorer, came unexpectedly upon a band of Osage Indians in what is now the state of Missouri. In the years that followed, many other Jesuit missionaries, known as "black robes," visited the Osage villages, introducing them to the Christian Faith. In 1847, Father John Shoenmakers established a permanent mission and schools for the Osage at what is now St. Paul's, Kansas. Known as the "Apostle to the Osage," Father Shoenmakers worked for some 36 years among the Osage until his death in 1883. By that time the Osage had been moved southward into Indian Territory or what is now Osage County in the State of Oklahoma. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was established in 1887 to serve the Osage Catholics of Pawhuska. The present Gothic-Style brick church is the third church built by the parish. Begun in 1910, it was not completed until 1915. The original plans for the church was to have large stained glass windows, but the First World War delayed those plans. It was not until after the war, or in 1919 that the windows were commissioned. Twenty-two windows made in Munich, Germany adorn the walls of the church today. Two large windows on opposite ends of the transept measure 9 feet across and soar 36 feet high. The north transept window is known as the "Osage Window." It depicts the early missionary Father Shonmakers with a band of Osage in authentic Osage dress. The window on the south transept depics Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards first encounter with the Native Americans. Other windows depict Biblical figures and scenes. The quality and beauty of these windows has been widely praised. Their artistry and detail is truly exceptional. Each year visitors of all faiths visit Immaculate Conception as a historical monument of the Osage, and to view its beautiful windows and interior. Today, Immaculate Conception continues as a living and active parish of 140 families, most of whom are Osage.

Nikki told me that the first Boy Scout Troop in the United States was started in Pawhuska.

Boy Scout Monument The first boy scout troop in America was organized in Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma, in May, 1909, by Reverend John F. Mitchell, a missionary priest from England sent to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, by the Church of England. Rev. Mitchell, who had been associated in scout work with Lord Baden-Powell in England, organized the troop of Boy Scouts under English charter, and equipped them with English uniforms and manuals. A life-sized bronze statue stands as a monument in front of the Osage County Historical Museum to honor Reverend Mitchell and the 19 charter members who were organized under English charter.

Pawhuska's troop had the honor of being Troop No. 1 in the Boys Scouts of America, and has the certificate on exhibit in the Historical Museum in the Scout Room. When the Cherokee Area Council of Boy Scouts was formed in Bartlesville, Pawhuska was numbered Troop 33. This Troop No. 33 is a continuance of the original first Boy Scout troop in America.

We drove through Osage Nation Headquarters, then stopped at a small storefront to buy freshly-made Indian Fry Bread Mix.

What a fun day! Back home in Bartlesville, it's time to walk a few blocks to the Bartlesville Community Center for the opening celebration of the OK Mozart Festival. I'm looking forward to the fireworks when it gets dark.

Here are many more pictures I took today. You don't have to be a member of Facebook to view them, either. Just click on the words "Pawhuska Photos" below.

Pawhuska Photos

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's a rough life sometimes, but someone has to do it.

Busy morning - did some gardening work in the side yard to help some plants that weren't making it in the back. Too much shade there, so perhaps the transplanted squash, peppers, and cucumbers might do better with more sun. The cucumbers look pretty puny, though, so I planted three hills of lemon cucumber seeds just in case. Also stuck some sunflower seeds in the ground by the fence. After running some errands and cooking several types of beans and some rice, all to go into the freezer, I decided the weather was just too good today to waste.

Thus, four pictures.
You don't have to be on Facebook to see them, either. Just click on the words in CAPS below. Or, just look at the pictures without clicking on anything.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden, continued

This blogger seems to be messing up again tonight as it deleted three pictures for some reason.

I do have some pretty decent looking tomato plants. Somehow I planted them in April, right before it started raining almost every day for a month.

Gardens today

This morning I got up really early, at least for a Sunday, put my now fairly long hair into a short ponytail (shades of junior high school!), and pointed the pickup in the direction of Turley. Some of us from A Third Place Community Center were going to put in a new community garden; a few people started around 7 AM. When I got there at 8:30, someone was doing some tilling on the first bed. By around noon, we'd made two different raised beds as well as an experimental plot. We'd also had a short church service while sitting on the straw bales of the first bed.

The Methodist Church up the street gave us the use of an empty field so this morning was the first time we'd done anything with it. There's going to be a short garden tour next weekend, so this one will be included to not only show what the Center is doing around town in their "Let Turley Bloom" project, but also to demonstrate various methods of growing plants.

We constructed the first bed with bales of straw, carefully placing them so that people may reach the center of the plot while sitting on either side.

We did some tilling to loosen the soil a little, then put down newspapers, some mulch, then bags of topsoil and manure. In that one we planted tomatoes.

Bonnie and Ron had made a wooden raised bed framework for the second bed, and we prepared that one the same way as the first, planting a variety of peppers and some cucumbers.

The experimental plot was a last minute idea when Bonnie found some landscape fabric in their pickup truck. We spread newspapers on top of the weed, then the landscape cloth, then mulch, topsoil, and manure. In that area we planted a couple of squash plants.

Besides gardening, Bonnie led us on a short field trip, pointing out various plants, and someone found a small brown snake curled up on a branch. We pushed five shopping carts up the path from below the field, loaded them into a couple of pickup trucks, and took them back to the market.

By 11:030 or so, it was starting to get hot, so Ron led a short church service while we all sat around on the straw bales of the first bed. Who says church has to be held inside a special building!

After a pretty decent lunch at Arby's of chopped salad with grilled chicken and a delicious Jamocha milkshake, I drove back up to Bartlesville and checked out my own garden. With all the rain lately, then hot days, it's doing really well. I was worried because of all the trees, so we'll see how it goes the rest of the summer. I'd like to dig up a spot near the side fence to plant some corn and green beans, so will see how ambitious I am tomorrow. Next door neighbors have a tiller, so I might borrow that. It would be much easier than the shovel method I used on the first garden in back.

Here is a picture of the beginning of the back garden, followed by recent photos of various parts of the yard.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Biplane Expo 2009

Short blog tonight, mostly a link to lots and lots of pictures. Today was very windy, but it was also the last day of the last Biplane Expo in Bartlesville. They've been doing them for 23 years, so I figured it would be a good time to check it out. Many, many wonderful planes. Here's the link to a Photobucket album. You can click on each picture to make it larger or click "Slideshow" to view them that way.

Bi-Plane Expo 2009 Photos

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taking a break

After two months of blogging every day, I'm going to take a short break. Since I moved here in February, things have started getting busier and busier as I've gotten involved in not one but two communities: Bartlesville and Turley, Oklahoma. They're 40 miles apart and I'm usually down in Turley at least twice a week, if not more, volunteering as volunteer coordinator for A Third Place Community Center. I've also been getting more involved with the UU Church here in Bartlesville as well as the community itself. With all this volunteering, I've been putting off replying to email from many good friends around the country and feel bad about just sending them a rather impersonal blog.

So, this month will be a vacation of sorts. I'll write the blog when I've actually got something to say, not just borrowing things from others or grasping at the proverbial straws. In the meantime, I'll still continue to read and comment on the many blogs I follow.

See you later,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Loreena McKennitt's Prologue with some assistance from Rumi...

Okay, this is better. Just got a phone call that helped the mood a lot. And now this from another blog. I love Lorena McKennitt's singing and this is beautiful. Just click on the words below.

Lorena McKennitt's Prologue

No Real Blog Tonight

After two months of blogging each day, tonight I'm feeling kind of out of sorts, not sure why. It's been a good day with Tulsa area ministers' cluster meeting and lunch. However, I've been dragging around all afternoon and will probably just go to bed early. Need to drive down to Turley tomorrow for a volunteer training session, so would like to feel fairly decent for that. I think a lot of this is probably mental - missing people, not hearing from others, and so forth, and it will eventually go away.

So, not sure if this will count as a blog, but at least it's a placeholder.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heroines for June 3 - Favorite Women Mystery Writers

Last night I finished an excellent book by a woman mystery author I hadn't read before, Rett Macpherson. The book, Died in the Wool, is the tenth of her Torie O'Shea mysteries. MacPherson's books, like many series, are best read in order because the characters change over time. For example, in Died in the Wool, Torie has two teenage daughters and a young son, and her mother is married to Colin, once the town sheriff. Since I liked the book so much, this morning I checked out five more in the series, including the first in the series, Family Skeletons. I'm about halfway through that one. Sure enough, Torie's daughters were three and six years old, and there was no son in sight. Colin was the sheriff and Torie's mother lived with her and her family. I'm looking forward to seeing how much the characters change.

I seem to go in spurts with my reading, focusing entirely on non-fiction for a while, then "important" classics, then my favorite light reading such as mysteries with women heroines or talking cats
(Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Joel Grey series). Since I've discovered new favorite writers mainly by word-of-mouth (my mother, Yarntangler, librarian at the Coquille, Oregon library, etc.), I thought it might be fun to share some of those favorite with you today.

Here they are, in no particular order other than as they came out of my brain. I've included websites with information about each author as well as lists of their books. Yes, I know there are many, many more I haven't listed. But, these are my favorites, at least so far. So many books, so little time! Perhaps this short list will introduce you to a new favorite heroine or two. Note: Click on the author's name for more information.

Earlene Fowler (Benni Harper - Quilts)

Susan Wittig Albert (China Bayles - Herbalist)

Sue Grafton (Kinsey Milhone - private investigator)

Mary Higgins Clark

Rett Macpherson (Torie O'Shea - historian, genealogist)

Joan Hess (Claire Molloy - bookstore owner; Arly Hanks - sheriff)

Elizabeth George

Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum - Bounty hunter)

P.D. James

Dian Mott Davidson (Goldy Bear - Caterer)

Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody - Egyptologist)

Nevada Barr (Anna Pigeon - National Park ranger)

Sue Henry (Jessie Arnold - Dogsled racer)