Family: March 2009 Archives

Snow fun whatsoever

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I haven't uploaded our March 28 snow day photos yet, but Don Danz has posted photos of his snowman construction effort with his boys, which was followed by a snowball fight. A follow-up entry shows what happens to a snowman in Oklahoma in March when you forget to give him a magic silk hat.

Meanwhile, way out in western Oklahoma, Sarah the Brit Gal has pictures of the considerably greater amount of snow that was dumped on them: First the blizzard in progress Friday afternoon, the snow as of midnight, what 25 inches of snow looks like, the yard and the road to town, a snow ice cream recipe, and Sunday's dig out and thaw in 72 degree weather. Sarah writes, "England you have no idea what bad snow is - OMG!"

MORE: David Schuttler has some great photos and video of the snow in Tulsa.

I hate to go so long without posting, but I'm worn out. Yesterday was a great day of family fun, but between carrying a three-year-old up a snowy hill a dozen times, shoveling the driveway to get the van up the hill and into the garage, making snowmen last night, repairing snowmen this morning (undoing the damage caused by unknown vandals), shoveling the driveway to get the sedan down the the hill -- I'm exhausted and achy and still have a column to finish and two big assignments at work. So you're not getting anything new from me tonight.

I would like to call your attention to the most recent issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly. In addition to my column (about the need for legislation in Oklahoma to deter SLAPP lawsuits), you'll find the second installment of Natasha Ball's wonderful new weekly column on money-saving ideas. (You may know her as Tasha Does Tulsa. Here's a link to Natasha Ball's complete UTW archive.)

The cover this week -- done in the style of an old-west "wanted" poster, with a sepia-tone photo of 3rd Street between Kenosha and Lansing that looks a hundred years old -- is one of my favorites to date. The cover story by Mike Easterling will bring you up-to-date on the East Village or East End -- the downtown area east of Elgin and north of Home Depot. Despite many city-driven plans for the area -- including the 1997 Tulsa Project plan that would have wiped it all out for a soccer stadium -- progress so far has been the result of individual dreams and private funding:

And yet, as [Micha] Alexander noted earlier, the neighborhood he built mostly from scratch, and without any public assistance, has gone all but unrecognized. The irony of that isn't lost on him, but he doesn't dwell on that lack of attention.

"Everything we're planning on doing here, we're planning on doing with private funds," he said, noting that willingness to risk his own money without outside help isn't something a lot of developers share.

"A lot of people put their hands out, expecting something to be done for them," he said.

Alexander did apply for Vision 2025 funding several years ago, but his bid was rejected. "They said it was not in the right location, it was too modern and people wouldn't buy it," he said. Alexander now believes that's just as well, since the organic nature of his neighborhood's rebirth has allowed him to proceed according to his own vision, without any interference.

"If I was to go ask for this or ask for that, there are certain parameters I'd have to follow," he said. "The way we're doing it, our limit is nothing more than what we decide to do. I like that."

Last but far from least: You'll want to pick up this week's UTW to get a copy of the 2009 Spring Thing, an 80-page, full-color "essential guide to spring and summer" in Tulsa. I've got two new pieces in the book: A look at the city's political landscape and a guide to six great neighborhoods on Route 66: Red Fork, Riverview, Tracy Park, Kendall-Whittier, White City, and Tower Heights. (I could have easily written about a half-dozen more, but I had a word limit.) If you're e-inclined, you can download a PDF of Spring Thing 2009 here.

Since I started writing for Urban Tulsa Weekly, I've had a few photos and graphics published in the paper -- Lady Belvedere, the Statehood Centennial parade in Guthrie, PLANiTULSA workshops, along with some I took to illustrate one of my columns.

But today for the first time I got to see one of my photos in a hardbound book. It's a picture of Monkey Island at Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, Kansas, and it's in a brand new coffee table book called Amazing and Unusual USA by Jeff Bahr. Bahr is co-author of Weird Virginia and a contributor to several other books in the Weird series.

I took the picture in 2007. My youngest son, then about 18 months old, and I stopped in Independence on the way north to Lawrence for my uncle's 50th birthday party. I have happy memories of the park and zoo from my childhood, and I thought my little one would enjoy looking around at the animals and the playground. We might even get to ride the train.

My wife and older two weren't able to come along, and they had the nice camera, so I took a bunch of pictures with a Kodak DX7440 which had an automatic lens cover that needed an occasional nudge with a fingernail to open all the way. Most of the pictures were of my son at various nursery-rhyme-themes spots in Kiddy Land, but I took a few documentary-type shots, too, of the park and vintage playground equipment. Nothing too artistic (although this one was quite nice, I thought) but well-framed with context.

I posted the photos as a set on Flickr, and duly added descriptions, tags, and geocoding.

A little over a year later, last September, I received an e-mail from Publications International asking for permission to use the Monkey Island photo.

Today we got a box in the mail, and it was my contributor's copy of the book! I understand that it will be available to the public next month.

Amazing and Unusual USA is 320 pages, attractively laid out with large images next to informative and often humorous text, organized by region. It features many of the "World's Largest" statues from around the country. Oklahoma is represented with four photos: Ed Galloway's World's Largest Concrete Totem Pole in Foyil, Tulsa's Golden Driller, Hugh Davis's Blue Whale in Catoosa, and a couple of guys wrestling an enormous catfish at the Okie Catfish Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley. I have a number of books about weird Americana and roadside attractions on my shelf, but I've only heard of perhaps a third of the odd attractions in the book. The kids enjoyed paging through the book and had to be shooed away when it was time for bed.

The fact that my photo is in this book is not a tribute to my photographic skills but to the power of Web 2.0. Because I had uploaded the photo and tagged it in several meaningful ways, it could be found by someone looking for just the right image of the Birthplace of Miss Able.

Tulsa's Santa David Bates is attending the 2009 Celebrate Santa convention in Gatlinburg, Tenn., this week, and he's posting daily updates on his website.

This afternoon is the big event: The Holly and Shamrock Parade, with of hundreds of Santa Clauses, plus Mrs. Clauses, elves, and reindeer, in honor of St. Patrick.

Stop by for the latest scoop from Santa Central, temporarily relocated to the Smoky Mountains.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Family category from March 2009.

Family: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Family: April 2009 is the next archive.

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