Saturday, February 28, 2009

Railroad Tracks

I like trains and I like railroad tracks. I like the noise they make and the mystery of where they come from and where they go. When I look at these tracks I wonder what is just around the curve.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring has Sprung

My jonquils along the back fence are in full bloom. These are the King Alfred variety.  I planted these about 3 years ago and they keep spreading.  

The little purple flowers in the grass are Henbit.  They are a nuisance weed, but pretty when they bloom as they are one of the first things to come up in the spring.  They don't like heat and will die back when summer comes then reappear next spring.  In the meantime they get mowed like the rest of the lawn.

This beautiful bushy magnolia is covered with fragrant white flowers. It is a Magnolia Soulangeana, 'Alba Superba'. I looked it up.

Crocus and Jonquils are blooming and early Magnolias and Tulip trees are ablaze. With luck we will avoid another hard freeze and slide into spring. I'm ready!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tulsa's Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel in an oil painting by Pieter Brueghel painted in about 1563.

Tulsa's new "Utica Place" at 21st and Utica which in my mind bears a striking resemblance to Brueghel's painting.

This interesting building is quite new, just finished in the last year. Utica Place is a mixed-use, 10-story tower and covered parking garage combining both office and living space. The upper 4 floors are made up of 12 luxury Penthouse Apartments . This would be a fabulous place to work or live.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Notre Dame Cathedral

A view from the East, looking across the Seine. Using Paint.Net for a soft painted effect. (Click All Photos to Enlarge)

London Bridge

Another photograph from my 2000 trip. Using Paint.Net to give an almost impressionistic look to a foggy view of London's iconic bridge.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Notting Hill Station

Notting Hill Station, London (Click to Enlarge)

I spent a frustrating day getting Susan's car serviced and fitted with new tires so she can drive to St Louis tomorrow to see about her daughter and family. Which is to say that I have no new pictures to share. So I will share an old one. I have been using Paint.Net to work over some photos taken on my last trip to England and France in 2000. I always wanted to do something special with this picture of the Notting Hill Station and I like the look of an ink and wash. What do you think?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blue Dome Station

The Blue Dome was built in 1924 and served as a Gulf Oil Station. This was the first station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air and a car wash. It was also open 24 hours, seven days a week. The station attendant lived upstairs in the dome itself. It is now something of a landmark and an icon for downtown Tulsa. Across the street is the Blue Dome Diner where my son Luke makes the world's finest walnut blueberry pancakes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Paint.Net Capability

Click these to enlarge and see detail.

The original photograph of the lodge at Lake Greenleaf.

Artistic Effect "Oil Painting". Not quite pointillism, but very interesting.

Artistic Effect "Ink Sketch".

Artistic Effect "Pencil Sketch"

Yesterday my friend Micki posted a wonderful photo of people fishing in a lovely neighborhood pond they enjoy. (See it HERE) I remarked that it looked like someting that was painted by a French impressionist. Then I began to wonder if there were some photographic manipulation software that would render a photograph to resemble a painting. It did not take long for me to discover that Paint.Net can do just that. Above are several examples. Give it a try. Get Paint.Net free by clicking HERE

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sarah's Day -- Symphony

Here is the program. We will take Sarah home after the concert. I imagine she has had about all the culture she can handle for one day. I hope she enjoyed it as much as we did.

We took Sarah to a nice Vietnamese Restaurant, the Mekong, then went to the Tulsa Signature Symphony. Pianist Peter Simon was the featured artist. The program included Respighi, Liszt, and St Saens Organ Symphony. The Organ Symphony is one of my favorite pieces. I have a good recording of it but have never heard it performed live. They did a good job.

Sarah's Day -- Philbrook

The extensive collection includes paintings and sculpture from around the world and dating from the ancient to the very modern. It is a great museum and a treasure for Tulsa.

Every time we come here we see new things and enjoy old favorites. I am back to the camera on my iPhone. Cameras are discouraged in the museum but the iPhone is so nondescript that it goes unnoticed.

The central part of the museum was originally the home of oil man Frank Phillips who left the property to the City of Tulsa. It is a beautiful mansion in the Italian Villa style. I have featured it several times before.

The photographs were a retrospective of over 150 years from 1848 to the present day. Many iconic photos by and about famous people. Too much to try and describe here.

After short rest back at our house to let Smokey greet Sarah and get his ears rubbed a bit, we took her to Philbrook Art Museum to see the exhibet on American Photography which is on loan from the Eastman Gallery. Sarah had not visited Philbrook before, so after seeing the photographs we took a quick look at some of the rest of the museum. The building itself is a work of art.

Sarah's Day -- Breakfast

Her French Toast came with birthday candles. What we call french toast is bread soaked in egg then cooked like a pancake.

We took her to breakfast at the Blue Dome Diner where her Uncle Luke fixed her special French Toast. Sue had a nice quiche, and I had my favorite, pancakes with walnuts and fresh blueberries.

Her father, my eldest son Adam and his family, live in the house I grew up in in Wagoner, Oklahoma.

My beautiful granddaughter Sarah was 14 on January 30. Today we belatedly brought her over for a special day with us. We picked her up this morning at her home in Wagoner and brought her to visit us in Tulsa.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lunch at the Korean Garden

Sue had a lunch date with a girl friend so I ate lunch at the Korean Garden. This is Yook Gae Jang, a hot spicy soup with shredded beef and vegetables in a clay pot so hot the soup is served bubbling.

It is served with a selection of side dishes and rice, of course. On the side plate is cucumber kinchi, chop chae, spinach, bean sprouts, stir fried cuttlefish, and a few slices of sushi. I love Korean food. It is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. Very delicious.

Signs of Spring

The maple trees in my front yard are starting to bud out. The weather is warming up and I am ready for the world to turn green.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reasor's Market

They have a great Deli counter with choice meats and cheeses. They even sell little trays of fresh sushi.

Reasor's Market

Sue and I went grocery shopping at Reasor's. It is a nice store with lots of selections. It's a little more expensive than the Walmart but they have some things we really like. They have a really nice selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

I guess when the most exciting thing we do all week is go to the grocery store it must mean we are getting old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Birds at my Feeders

A female Downey Woodpecker.

Female House Sparrow

Female Cardinal

This is the mate to the crazy male who constantly attacks his reflection in my windows. He must love her if he works so hard to keep away any rivals.

Male Cardinal

My new camera puts me much closer to the birds at my feeders. The cardinal is the same crazy one who had been attacking his reflection in my windows for over a year. Silly bird.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


My new Canon Powershot SX10 IS came with some nice software called ZoomBrowser. It provides the ability to stich together adjoining photographs into a panorama. It doesn't do everything but does a nice job of this. It is available for a free download at
Get ZoomBrowser by clicking HERE

While we are talking about software, I find Picasa very useful for straightening crooked photographs, and straighten my adjoining photos before using ZoomBrowser to stitch them.
Get Picasa by clicking HERE

Another free tool which is very useful for working with photographs is Paint.Net. It is a good substitute for PhotoShop.
Get Paint.Net by clicking HERE

Swan Lake

A nice bronze statue of a young man with a swan at the east end of the lake.

Zooming down towards the west end we can see some of the lovely homes which surround the lake. I will revisit this when everything is nice and green and the flowers are blooming.

Looking down the length of the lake from east to west. I have stitched two photos together to allow us to see both the north and south sides of the lake. The lake is considerable longer east to west than north to south.

I love Google, it tells me everything.  Just for fun I went to Google Earth and zoomed in on Swan Lake.  I was standing at the yellow pin, and took my panoramic photo in the direction of the yellow arrow.  That is Swan Lake.

A curving drive circles Swan Lake and provides access to the nice homes on the outside of the drive. Rest areas are provided around the lake with benches for sitting. A fence encircles the lake for safety, and to discourage people from pestering the water fowl.

This interesting little area is not 5 minutes away from our house. Today is grey and rather dreary but I took some pictures to share. It is really beautiful when the plants are green but it is still a nice area. Besides, my new camera came with some clever software that allows me to stitch several photos together in a panorama and I wanted to try that out.

Swan Lake is a historic district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Its borders consist of 15th Street to the North, Utica Street to the East, 21st Street to the South, and Peoria Avenue to the west.

At one time, Spring-fed Orcutt Lake was the watering hole for a ranch belonging to Colonel A. D. Orcutt, a member of Oklahoma's first legislature. In 1908, a group of developers led by Colonel Orcutt's son, Samuel A. Orcutt, purchased 25 acres (100,000 m2) in Orcutt Addition to build a park and an artificial lake. An amusement park, built by the lake in 1910, marked the end of the trolley line. Other park facilities included an enclosed dance pavilion, a swimming pool, and, later, a roller-coaster. There is no trace of any of this today. By 1917, Orcutt Lake Amusement Park had become a residential area and was renamed Swan Lake.

Two-story houses built around the lake from 1919 to the present represent a variety of architectural styles including Spanish, Georgian Revival and various interpretations honoring the swan. The remainder of the neighborhood is similar in scale. The Swan Lake area has more two- and three-story, 1920 to 1930 multi-family apartments and duplexes than any other residential area in Tulsa.

From time to time the lake is populated by swans, although they don't thrive here naturally. At the moment no swans are resident. although a number of ducks and geese have settled here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Breakfast with Alan

We agree on most things and argue about others, but one thing we always agree on is the waffles at BBD, cooked with pecans inside and an assortment of fresh fruit on top. That and a bottomless cup of coffee is a great way to start the day.

My friend Alan called over the weekend and invited me to join him for breakfast this morning at BBD -- that's Brookside By Day for those who are not familiar with midtown Tulsa.

Alan is probably the best friend I have ever had and is like a brother to me. Alan is the kind of friend who knows everything about you and loves you anyway. He is a busy guy and about the only time we can get together to catch up with each other is at breakfast.

Chicago Girls

Here is Calista the birthday girl enjoying her chocolate cake.

Here is Mark and Elena with Moire 4, and Fiona 7.  Calista is 2 and is hidden away in Mark's back pack.

Susan flew up to Chicago to visit her son Mark, daughter-in-law Elena and their 3 girls.  They visited a museum in Milwaukie then came back for a party with a birthday cake for Calista who was 2. Susan emailed these pictures to me last evening and will fly back home to me tonight.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunset Over the River

The sky was pretty last evening. The sun is setting a little later now, about 6:00 PM.  Sunsets are always more dramatic when the light filters through some clouds.  By the time I got to a good spot for taking pictures the sun was very low and it was getting dark.

Although the sun sets behind the Arkansas river only a block or so from my house, I can't really walk over there because of the traffic on Riverside Drive.  I have to drive down to 56th St or up to 31st where I can pull off on the west side.  There are some better places to look west.  I will save that for another time.

Painting Balloons

Susan has flown up to Chicago to visit her son Mark and his 3 girls. Mark and his wife Elena are having a small birthday celebration for their daughter Calista who will be two.  Last night Sue emailed this photo of the girls decorating balloons in preparation for the big event. From left to right are Calista, Moira, and Fiona. They are 2, 4, and 7. Cuties.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bare Trees

Smokey and I drove through Woodward Park this afternoon and saw that the trees were still bare, although the buds are beginning to swell and the grass is starting to turn green again. A bit more warm weather and we will see the signs of spring.

Of course this being Oklahoma we could get a foot of snow next week, but we will keep our fingers crossed.

Sue has flown up to Chicago for a granddaughter's birthday. She will have pictures when she returns. I took her out for Vietnamese food last night and we celebrated Valentine's Day early. She left very early this morning but when I got up I found a card and a box of chocolates in the kitchen for me. In the meantime Smokey will look after me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

The sign on our front door says it all.

Walking Smokey

Smokey's friend is taking him for a walk, or is Smokey taking her for a walk?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tulsa Garden Center, Inside

Lamp tables built into the north wall of the library. Click to enlarge detail. This is all hand work.

A small library on the east next to the great hall. Notice the old gas stove in the fireplace. it has been "modernized".

The great hall on the south end. These are the curved windows seen yesterday from the outside.

The dining room on the north end.

The grand staircase rises to the second floor from the east side of the entry hall.

The entry hall looking south to the great hall. The front doors are on the right.  It is possible to rent the entry and hall for receptions and weddings.  The Garden Center in the spring and summer is a beautiful place for a wedding.

The entry hall looking north to the dining room. The front doors are on the left.

I stopped by the Tulsa Garden Center again this afternoon and went inside. It is a beautiful old mansion with elegant fixtures and marble or hardwood floors.

I have been inside before for a flower show when it was full of tables and lovely plants to admire. Today it was almost empty and I realized that the downstairs is unfurnished except for the dining room and a small library. The upstairs is where all the bedrooms, now offices, are located. There is also a large reference library upstairs which is accessible by an elevator but I didn't take time to go up there. It always takes be a long time to look at a library.