Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

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The red in the flags above are just to satisfy the Ruby Tuesday requirement of having something red in the photo. The real reason for this post is the building itself. Recently another blogger, Tulsa Gal posted a banner photo similar to the one below. Click to enlarge and enjoy the detail.

The photo reminded me of one of my favorite buildings in Tulsa, the Fairgrounds Pavilion. I grew up in Tulsa and lived most of my life within a mile of this building.

This grand old lady was built in 1931 with a budget of $800,000. A $500,000 bond issue provided the bulk of the funding. Today, you couldn't buy the terra cotta on this building for $800,000 dollars. In fact, I don't believe you could purchase the terra cotta at the main entrance for $800,000! The Pavilion building has hosted Elvis Presley in 1957, the Ice Capades for many, many years as a part of the Tulsa State Fair, Pro Wrestling, and Tractor Pulls. It fell into disrepair in the early 70's. After a several pitiful attempts to "update" the facility, someone finally took the bull by the horns, and did a proper renovation of this architectural jewel. Below is a detail of the terra cotta panels above the windows. There are three themes. The ram, as shown, a horse, and a bull.

Each corner of the building featured an entry shown below. Personally, I find the arch and the terra cotta decoration just stunning! Again, take a look at the terra cotta panel that is at the top of the building, above the arch.

The ram's head corner details at the main entry just might be the most spectacular detail of all.

The interior of the building has always been very utilitarian. After all, it has to be flexible enough to handle a wide variety of events. Currently the seating configurations range from about 4,800 -5,800 depending on the event and whether or not floor seating is involved. Still, I love the honesty and integrity of the original, exposed structure.

Those involved in this renovation should be very proud of what they have accomplished and Tulsans should be very thankful for those who made this project happen. This is a wonderful building and deserves to serve the community another eighty years.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friday Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago I was headed to Tulsa to see my dad. It had been raining all night and most of the day. As I left Springdale, Arkansas on Highway 412, the rain had stopped. By the time I got on the toll road west of Siloam Springs, the clouds were breaking up and a sunset was in progress. Here are a few photos taken between Siloam Springs and Chouteau, OK.

Okay, enough with the drive-by photography. It's time for this week's installment of an inspirational song. One group that I saw for the first time was the Collingsworth Family. While the entire family is talented and sing great harmony, it is the mother, Kim that is an incredible pianist. Here is a sample of her work. Enjoy. If you really want to hear something special, go to YouTube, type Collingsworth Family and select How Great Thou Art. The embedding tag has been removed or I would have shown it to you here. It is something special. Have a great week-end everyone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Goodbye Ol' Paint

After 29 years of faithful service, I said goodbye to an old friend tonight. I dismantled my manual drafting table and prepared to put it into storage. I bought the table a couple of years after I graduated from Architecture school at the University of Oklahoma. A contractor friend of mine got a deal on several of these tables and asked me if I wanted one. I jumped on it. Over the years, it has helped produce dozens of house plans, a few churches, and even a funeral home. Our daughter has done her homework on it, and the grandcrew have colored their pictures as well. I don't really do house plans anymore, and the ones that I do get involved with are generated on my computer. I know that I'm "old school", but there is something magic about producing the drawings for a building from the end of a pencil onto a clean sheet of paper. There is a connection to the materials, finishes and details that just cannot be recreated by the computer. Yes, the computer generates photo-realistic 3D renderings, and automates multiple tasks now, but it just all seems a bit sterile.
I'm going to miss that table, but we need the space for other furniture, since my dad will soon be moving in with us. It leaves a hole, that I designed for it, in the corner of the spare bedroom/office, that will soon be filled with an antique wardrobe. The wardrobe is much more attractive, and it's been in the family for 40 years, but it's not my drafting table. Oh well, life goes on. Maybe I'll sneak down to the storage unit some week-end and reassemble the table down there. Then I can visit it from time to time. Hmmm....maybe not.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

This big hearted pony was outside of our hotel in Louisville, KY.
I took this during our vacation at the National Quartet Convention in mid-September.

Monday, October 19, 2009

We DID go to Louisville!

As some of you may remember, we were going to Louisville in September to the National Quartet Convention for Southern Gospel Music. Well, we did go, we had a great time. It was just interrupted by life. You'll have to scroll down several posts to find the details. Anyway, while we were there, I took the opportunity to go downtown to the Louisville Slugger factory. Here are a few photos of the morning.Ya gotta admit, this is cool!

Out side of the building there are a number of these bronze markers. This is a replica of the bat made for Pete Browning. The Pete Browning model Louisville Slugger was the first bat made by the company.Just past the lobby you will find this wall that has the signatures of every major league player that has ever been under contract to Louisville Slugger.

Here are three of my all-time favorites.
Beyond this wall is every model bat that Louisville Slugger has ever made. I didn't have the time to take the full tour. I think I'll do that next year.

I bought the grandson his very own, personalized Louisville Slugger. I'll give it to him for Christmas. Maybe, someday, he'll make to the the big leagues and use this in his first at bat in "The Show". That would mean that his name would be on that wall with all of the other greats. Hey, a grandpa can dream can't he?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Friday Thoughts

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Tuesday I flew out of Northwest Arkansas to Knoxville, TN. I got a rental car and drove to Franklin, NC. That is about a two hour drive through the Smokey Mountains. You take hightway 129 South out of Knoxville to Highway 28 South. Highway 28 South will take you all the way to Franklin, NC. The leaves are just now beginning to change in the Smokies. In another couple of weeks the scenery will be spectacular. It was a winding, twisting, hair-pin turning drive, but it was full of great scenery. I could have stopped a hundred times and taken a thousand photos, but I had to get to Franklin on business. It was an cloudy, overcast day, so there isn't much sky to admire, but I'm sure there are days when it is breathtaking. Anyway, here are a few more of the sights along the way.

Okay, so now what to we do for an inspirational song? Somehow, "Go Tell It On The Mountain" seems appropriate. Here are two versions, one pure gospel, and one up-tempo country, for your listening and viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

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I haven't done a Ruby Tuesday in a few weeks/months. If you want to know why, just scroll down to a couple of my previous posts. Life happens. Anyway, back to Ruby Tuesday. This photo has special significance to me. First of all, it is the origin of my blog/cyber nickname, DrillerAA. The Tulsa Drillers are a AA minor league baseball team, currently affiliated with the Colorado Rockies organization. I grew up in Tulsa and I will always consider it my hometown. The sign tells you that the Drillers are moving to a new stadium in Downtown Tulsa. As a young intern architect, I did the working drawings for the stadium that the Drillers are leaving behind. That was in 1981. Time flies when you're having fun. Maybe I'll get to see them play in their new facility some day. Happy Ruby Tuesday everyone.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Looking At The Sky Friday

I actually took this image while driving home from work. I just pointed the camera in the general direction of the clouds and pulled the trigger. I would not suggest that anyone copy my driving habits on this day...or any other day. Click on the image to enlarge. Click on the badge to view other participants.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

People Get Ready

It's funny how life has a way of changing your perspective. Six months ago I was cruising the web, watching American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and making light hearted comments about the contestants. Today, none of that seems terribly important.
Each day that I get to see my father, I am reminded of just how precious life is, and how important family is and how trivial are most of the things that we tend to fill our lives with these days. I have moments when I fear that my father will not be with us for Christmas. I have other days when I think he may be here for some time yet. The doctors haven't told us what to expect just yet. There are still few more tests to run before we know the whole story, and maybe not even then. In the mean time, I have found peace in these facts.
My father is ready to step into eternity. I was three years old when Dad accepted Christ as his savior. My father has out lived all seven of his siblings. He is the last of his generation. He has outlived all of his friends. He is the last of the golden age of railroading. He has out lived his bride, the love of his life. Mom stepped into eternity six years ago. He is ready to meet her again.
What ever happens from this day forward it is my prayer that God is honored and glorified. I pray that the decisions that we make as a family honor the Lord. I pray that the way that we handle the days ahead glorify the presence of God in our lives. I pray that the love we show toward one another and to everyone that we come into contact with, in these coming days, will be a reflection of the love of Christ that is within us. When it is all said and done, I pray that we can say, "It Is Well With My Soul".

Saturday, October 3, 2009


There is some good news, but first here is the background.
Dad has been diagnosed with a Stage 2, low grade, non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He began radiation treatments this past Monday. He has been going through two treatments per day. The results have been good. The tumor has been reduced and it is hopeful he will be going home this week.
Phase two will involve chemotherapy and will probably start in three or four weeks. This will involve one treatment every three weeks for four or six treatments. There is a very good chance this will put the cancer into remission! Even better news, dad has agreed to come and live with us during these treatments. Since these will take five or six months, we are very hopeful that dad will see the benefits of living with us and he will stay. At this point the only other option would be a nursing home and I know that he knows, our house is a much better option. There is more love, support and assistance waiting for him at our home than he could ever hope to receive in long term care facility. He will get to experience much more of the great grandcrew and they will get to know more about the "Greatest Generation". There is joy in the camp because this is indeed answered prayer. Thank Lord for again revealing Your perfect will and allowing this family to grow together.
There are challenges and difficult decisions still ahead. We will rejoice in the victories and we will weep over the setbacks, but we will do it as a family!
Thank each of you for your kind expressions of hope, encouragement, and offer of prayer support. Our family is thankful for your support. I feel better now and I may actually be able to return to blogging soon.