Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving in OKC

I got to have Thanksgiving with my family in Oklahoma City.  Byron and his family just moved into a new home in Tuttle, and graciously invited us all to his house.
Fried turkey.  Looks ready to me.

This was the finger foods before the dinner.

Carving the fried turkey and the smoked turkey.  No traditional baked turkey for us.

I believe we had 23 sitting down for dinner.  I am truly blessed with such a wonderful family.

Of course, after all that food, it was rest, naps and football.  (actually, it was preparing for the shopping later that evening)

When nothing else was happening, it was Trivial Pursuit.

And an arm wrestling challenge.

Riley built her gingerbread train.

And later had her cousins to help her finish decorating.

I guess we had too much turkey on Thanksgiving, because there were no leftover dinners for this group.  Friday evening it was chili and cajun bean soup, Saturday it was wings.

On Friday I took my four grandkids to the Oklahoma Science Museum. 

But before we left, Colin found he could earn a little cash by racking all those leaves.

Caitlin was showing me her new birthday scooter.

At the museum, one of the favorite places it the water pits.  They are supposed to be learning how water flows and how dams work, but I think they just like getting wet.

And the large bubble wand is fun too.

Rachel, Kenzi and Caitlin in the big, green tractor.

I think Colin is impressed with the moving dinosaur.

That is won large cockroach he is holding.

Kenzi had to hold it too.

What can I say.  Don't I just have the greatest family!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My visits while in Derby

When I realized I was going to be in Kansas in October, I started making plans to attend the Nascar race at Kansas City Speedway.  Joyce had never been to a Nascar race, so she joined me.
It was a little chilly and cloudy, but turned out to be a really nice day for the race.

Waiting for race time to start and wandering around the exhibits.

And it's off to the races.  This race had its first wreck in the first turn after it started.  And it went downhill from there.  All the wrecks did make for an exciting race, but instead of a 2-3 hour race, it was almost 5 hours long and it was getting dark before they finished.  I think there were a record setting 21 yellow flags in this race.

One weekend I headed over to Tahlequah, OK, to visit Aaron, Holly and the grandkids.  As soon as I arrived they took me out to the 40 acres they are buying.  It has to be close enough to town for Holly to get to the hospital in 15 or 20 minutes, yet it is far enough out, it really is in the country.  And with 40 acres, when they build, they can build in the middle of their property and be totally invisible from any road.  It was a nice mix of woods, low valley with blackberry bushes, a creek and flat meadow for building.  No pictures as it was dusk when we arrived.

Adrion wants to play the Marimba, but first has to learn to play the snare drum.

His Marimba.  

Dad tries his hand at Adrion's Marimba.

The new owners of their rental home took out the pool, but now they have room for the trampoline.  I'm just glad no one was home to take pictures of me making a fool of myself on this thing.  But it was fun.

Aaron, Holly, Adrion and Gavin.

My last day there we headed to Tulsa to the zoo.  Gavin enjoys the petting zoo.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Unexpected Stay in Wichita

For those that have wondered why I haven't been blogging, it's because I haven't been doing a lot of traveling lately.  Instead, I've spent the last two months in Derby, KS, a suburb of Wichita.  Catching up a little, some things changed for me this summer and I decided to head back to Kansas and take a seasonal, part-time job with Amazon in Coffeyville.  I stopped on my way in Wichita to visit some friends.  while I was there the heart problems I have been dealing with for the past year caused me to end up in the ER (for the second time in 10 days), so I decided maybe I ought to stay and check things out further.  Well, after wearing a heart monitor and seeing several specialists, I went in for a heart ablation on Nov 5.  It wasn't as successful as they would have liked, but with my medication, it does seem to keep my tachycardia under control.  Since I have been here for an extended period of time, I did find things to keep me busy.  Here are a few of the pictures of what I have been doing here in Wichita.

I found the Wichita Swing Dance Society (WSDS) has Sunday evening dances.  They dance to music from the big band era and there is a lot of lindy hop as well as east coast swing dancing.  And surprising, its mostly the younger crowd.

The local recreation centers have dances almost every night of the week and have a live band, mostly country and oldies.

But they did have a fun Halloween dance.

I was even runner up in the costume contest.

Harry Ree's Dance Studio also has a Sunday evening dance.  I didn't dress up for this one, but there were a lot who did.
Caretodance.org has dance lessons on Monday evening and they did sponsor a dance at the local Moose Lodge on Saturday evenings, until the Moose Lodge closed its doors for good.

Derby even had snow back on Oct 18.  That should have been a forewarning of what was to come.
Rose Hill, a small bedroom community nearby, has this great display of metal art.

And this is where I have been parked for the last two months.  Joe and Connie have this large circle drive with a 30 amp elec.  Fancy gets to visit with their cats on a daily basis, and she gets a large back yard to run in.  She's going to miss it when we leave.

My time is drawing to a close here.  I have one more follow up doctor appt in a couple of weeks, then I am out of here.  It has been cold, cold, cold here.  Down in the single digits at night and not forecast to be above freezing for the next week.  Thank goodness Winnebago's claim to have heated basements is true.  No frozen pipes.  But my furnace did go out last week and I had to have a circuit board replaced.  It's been nice, but I'm ready to hit the road again.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

From Aurora, CO, to Pratt, KS

I'm still trying to get caught up on my blogging.  This is from way back in September.  I took the back roads from Aurora on my way to Pratt.  Why Pratt?  I was meeting a friend there before heading to Wichita.

This petrified building was once a gas station, built in 1932. It claims to be the oldest building on the planet because it was built entirely of petrified wood over 175 million years old.  In 1962 it became a tire shop, but now looks deserted.

Most people have heard of the Arkansas River.  In Colorado it is popular for rafting, kayaking and canoeing and down in Oklahoma it is a commercial waterway since it runs into the Mississippi River, but here in Kansas, it has almost dried up.  I passed over the river three times in a stretch of about 100 miles and there was little or no water.  I was told later it is because of the water being diverted in Colorado for farming.  

M.T. Liggett, creater of this metal folk art, won the Eight Wonders of Kansas Art Award.  You can see his sculptures outside of Mullinville, KS, on Hwy 400.

More of his artwork.

It stretches for a good 1/4 mile down the highway.

Once I arrived at Pratt, I did some exploring of the area.  Nearby is a fish hatchery with a wildlife museum.  The wildlife museum (no live animals) had some great stuffed animals and information, but the highlight of the day was visiting with members of the Kansas Hawking Club.

This beautiful bird just sat on his post, aware of everything going on around.

This hawk still has his head covering on.  It usually isn't a good idea to put two hawks close together.  They eventually did remove her hood and placed her on a post, but the two hawks got to squawking and she got hooded again.   They were beautiful birds.
Nearby was a pond for the fish hatchery and there was a kids fishing derby going on.  As we were wandering about we were offered a lunch of Elk or Bison burgers.  I took the Elk burger.  Yum.

I also traveled over to the town of Greensburg, KS.  Most people remember it was in the news a few years back when it was almost completely destroyed by a tornado.  But it is also known for its Big Well.

Since I have gone into the well numerous times with my kids, I chose not to this time, but the well is an impressive site.  It was built in 1888 and is considered to be an engineering marvel of its time.  Completely hand dug, it is 109 feet deep and 32 feet in diameter.  There are stairs and you can walk down to the bottom if you choose.

In May of 2007, a tornado destroyed 95% of this town.  As you drive through you notice all the buildings are new, which is very unusual for most Kansas towns.  Downtown there was one older building and on the outskirts of town was a grain elevator which was not destroyed.  Eleven people in the town of Greensburg were killed and over 60 injured.  During this outbreak of tornado's there were a total of 123 in the central Kansas area, but only the tornado which hit Greensburg was confirmed as an EF5, the highest rating listed.