Saturday, January 31, 2009


Mmm. There's nothing quite like a big pack of onion rings and a cherry limeade from Sonic Drive-In on a Friday afternoon.

If you get to Sonic during Happy Hour (between 2-4 p.m.), all drinks and slushes are half-price.

The thought of having paid just $.75 for a medium cherry limeade made it taste even better.That is, until I realized the ticket total and was all, "SIGH, they overcharged us!" and pushed the little red button on the menu board, all prepared to correct someone.

Then I noticed:
And drove away before the high schooler operating the menu board got a chance to school me on how to tell time.

Ever since, I've been trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm "one of those people" who pushes the red button at Sonic to nab a chance to start the weekend by barking at someone when, in fact, I am a knuckle-head supreme.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Is the BOK Center Everything We Thought (or was told) It Would Be?

Maybe it's because I haven't been out of my house for five days. Or, it could be because I ate beans for breakfast. Either way, I feel like connecting with you folks today.

Now that the BOK Center has been open for awhile, I wonder about its impact on the community thus far.

Have you been to an event at the BOK Center? Was it everything you thought it would be? If so, why? If not, why not? What has the BOK Center done for Tulsa's "cool" factor, if anything?

Has the BOK Center improved the quality of life in the Tulsa area?

Discuss. See you in the comments.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Okie Blog Award Noms to Put on RSS

I'm still burrowed in here at the house, thanks to the snow and ice. Not that today is different from most days, since I tend to be a burrower no matter what's going on outside, but still.

As a result, I've had some time to really comb through the 2008 Okie Blog Award nominees, and I want to let you TDT readers know about a few blogs I really like but have somehow flown under my radar - until now.

Oh, the mommy blogs. Because I need (a lot of) reassurance that I'm not crazy and that I'm not doing everything absolutely, totally, completely, 100-percent wrong.
Rocks in My Dryer, nom'd for best overall blog, best family blog and best writing blog. Duh.
A Piece of My Mind, nom'd for best writing. I love crunchy hippie chick moms. 
Blithe Revival, for best family blog. Great writing.
moms are for everyone, for best family blog. Lots of new baby love happening in this woman's house. Ah, those are some great days. Plus, I love that the bloggers at moms are for everyone and Blithe Revival are buds. Maybe one day my blogger buddies (here, here and here) and I will be pitted against each other in what would promise to be a grandiose battle to the death for an Okie Blog Award. Heh. 

There are a few left-wing blogs in Oklahoma. They exist! And, surprise, they're way decent.
Okie Funk, nom'd for best overall blog and best political blog (I wonder what would happen in a dueling blog match between my favorite hometown blogger Michael Bates at, also nom'd for best overall blog and best political blog, and Kurt Hochenauer. It'd be fun to watch, anyway.) and Peace Arena. Also, Alternative Tulsa and Blue Oklahoma. Maybe one day a bleeding heart Tulsan with a laptop and an equally encyclopedic knowledge of this city and its people will take MB to task. Someday? Maybe? No? Okay.  

Redneck Diva, nom'd for best humor blog. I get this woman. Is that bad?
Irritated Tulsan, nom'd for best humor blog and best unusual blog. I love the Photoshoppy goodness happening on this blog. Check out the top 20 posts, but not at work, unless you work someplace that's cool with you laughing your hind-end off and not acting like an android all day long

Other faves.
IROK Radio, nom'd for best audio blog. IROK is the handiwork of the folks behind the always-awesome Dfest, Tulsa's landmark music festival. Lend thine ear.
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, for best overall blog and best looking blog. Do not visit this site unless you want to be sucked into the all-consuming vortex that is the world of Ree Drummond. At first she was just rich, but now she's rich and famous. A huge Osage county cattle ranch and a catchy blog will do that for ya.
Two-Headed Blog, for best commentary. I love the concept of the two-headed blog, and the little two-headed-type person on the masthead makes me laugh. And, there was a great post about the Price Tower Arts Center posted there recently. I dig. 

Rather than leave the house only to trudge around in the snow, give these blogs a read today. Local blogs are kinda like farmers markets and public transportation - the more they're patronized, the better they get. And that's good for all of us.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ten Things to Do During an Oklahoma Ice Storm

It's Ice Storm 2009, so I thought some of you out there might need a few ideas on how to spend the next couple of days, which threaten to be a bore from h-e-double hockey sticks.

1. Go to work against all good advice. Travel the treacherous roads home for lunch. Mid-way through your grilled cheese sandwich, notice your car has slid from the driveway out into the middle of the very busy street on which you live, looking very innocent and lost and wanting. Not that that has actually ever happened, because it has. 

2. If the power goes out, make plans to spend the night at the office. Bring Family Guy box sets and a tent.

3. Go to Wal-Mart. Buy canned soup, frozen pizza, oatmeal, kitty litter, sidewalk salt and ice scrapers - that is, if there is still an inventory of these items. Get trampled by a crowd scared witless of being stranded or without power for a few days. Or, just hang out, especially if the power is out at your place. I recommend the spontaneous Guitar Hero tourneys in electronics.

4. Drive like this guy:

"If you don't know how to drive in bad weather, then keep your butt at home. YOU ARE THE REASON ACCIDENTS HAPPEN! Snow, rain, and ice are one thing, but dodging idiot drivers that don't know how to drive in it and are going way too slow is almost impossible. I'll give you a hint the gas pedal is on the right side and you push on it with your foot. Roads were not made to go 5 mph on. Learn how to drive or don't drive at all. That's why we have public transportation. It's for idiots that don't know how to drive."

From an actual Myspace bulletin. No, seriously. These people exist. Worse, they share the roads on which our kids travel in school buses. God help us all.

5. Thinking it'll be all sexy, sleep next to the fireplace. Wake up with the mother of all headaches and stumble around for awhile, unable to process any thought. Call 911 immediately, because you have carbon monoxide poisoning.

I'm not making fun of carbon monoxide poisoning; I mean, I don't really mean to. It's the silent killer, and it could happen completely without your knowing. If you have a detector, give it a test tonight before you turn in. If not, follow these precautions.

6. Don't bathe for three days. Better, use wet wipes.

Wait. I just went three days without bathing, and I got started on that before I even heard this ice storm was coming. But hey, don't get all mad - I didn't come up with the benefits of being a work-at-home mom. Did you know that if you routinely go 2-3 days without washing your hair, it stops getting greasy? Fun fact. Hire me!

7. Burrow in that friend from work's apartment with some of their friends and also some of their friends, because that apartment is the only dwelling within a 15-mile radius with electricity. Inadvertently poison everyone with a giant vat of chicken chili that sat in a non-functioning refrigerator for longer than you thought. Then don't feel as bad about it because those friends of your friends are probably the worst people ever, and there's nothing wrong with giving these types of people a little stinky chicken.

8. Anticipate the yard work, which in some cases will keep everyone in a large family occupied until August.

See the dented hood on that classic, irreplaceable car? It was smashed by a snapped tree limb during the 2007 ice storm. See the piles of limbs and twigs? And the forest of split trees and downed limbs over yonder?

It all has to be cleaned up for the springtime yard party season, and that's reason enough to encourage your kids to get jobs in Tulsa. Find ways in which to scare your junior-in-college offspring out of the bright lights of Houston or Dallas - mention the crime rates or pollution or something. You'll need those bodies for moving tree limbs after these winter ice storms. The closer the little birds live to the nest, the easier they are to con into performing manual labor while you "delegate."

Don't say I never offered up a way to stop Tulsa's brain drain.We need more people to stay here who don't write things like "over yonder." And we do love our springtime yard parties.

9. Compare stories from last year's ice storm with other victims. Endlessly. Everywhere you go. At every turn. Did I say endlessly? Endlessly.

10. Ask unwitting souls what they do for fun during an Oklahoma ice storm. Aaron has this theory about what most people do when it's icy and the power fails, but he hasn't gotten around to charting 2008 births to see if there was a surge in late summer and thus proving his hunch. I prefer to hop on Facebook and Twitter than to theorize.

"Amuse myself with the overreaction of the general public."
"Clean the house! Yep, it's actually fun for me since I don't have time to do it too often."
"Light a fire, pour some wine and blast the stereo (while saying prayers over and over that the huge birch tree in my backyard doesn't fall on the house)."
"I sit and shiver in the dark for 13 days."
"Curl up in bed under as many covers as possible with all my animals (and fiance) and read and sip hot tea or other beverages."

Hm. I think I prefer to trick myself into thinking there might be substance to my husband's theory. It's certainly more exciting than picturing all of you shivering and house cleaning. Not that you don't look good doing it. I'm just sayin'.

Yet another thing to do on your break from battening down the hatches is to check to see if the events for the next couple of days on the TDT calendar are still on. Do it before you brave the roads, not on your iPhone en route. Okay? Be safe, and stay warm. And sexy.

UPDATE//Another ice storm post. The photos are pretty much unbelievable. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This Just in From Cherry Street Farmers Market

At about this time of year, I begin to long for those succulent, juicy, home-grown peaches for which this part of the country is famous. I can't help myself. The weather has been gray and cold for months. The thought of how the juices drip down my chin when I bite into a soft, ripe peach gets me through the days when the wind chaps my cheeks and the thought of having to bundle up in scarves and boots for one more day makes me whine like a baby in a bookstore.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who daydreams about fresh (I mean, really fresh) produce during the last leg of winter.

From the Cherry Street Farmers Market newsletter, dated yesterday:

The winter weather moving in this weekend may make farmers' market season seem a long time away, but the Cherry Street Farmers' Market vendors are thinking spring, spring, spring!...

Our market is participating, along with many other organizations, in a first annual "Local Foods Week" June 15-21, sponsored by Buy Fresh Buy Local Oklahoma...

We hope to see each and every one of you at our first market. Here are the opening dates - mark your calendars now:

Saturday Market
15th and Peoria
Opens second Saturday in April
Closes first Saturday in October
7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Opening day: April 11

Wednesday Market
41st and Peoria
Opens first Wednesday in May
Closes third Wednesday in October
8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Opening day: May 6

The events advertised in this first Cherry Street Farmers Market e-mail of the year - including a local food forum later this month, a Tulsa County OSU-Extension Canning Class next month and a market gardening class at the OSU-Extension - will be posted on the TDT calendar in the sidebar.

Have a look and pick an activity or two. Everything we do to support Tulsa's farmers markets enriches them and helps them to grow in this really yummy and healthful version of the old adage, "What comes around, goes around."

Second photo from

Free Fun: Green Country Home & Garden Show

My favorite thing about the Green Country Home & Garden Show is the price of parking and admission: $0. 

I'm not a big home fixer-upper type, and when I think about gardening, I can only lament my inability to grow even the most user-friendly plants and herbs. A free home and garden show is perfect for someone like me with a low comprehension of all that is pretty dwellings and "outdoor living spaces," as well as for anyone with a tight home improvement budget (read: every homeowner who has managed to stay in a home - who cares if the lights are off and the air is a bit chilly?). 

The 2009 show got its start yesterday afternoon and opened for the weekend at 9 this morning. The 6,000-square-foot Exchange Center at Expo Square, at 4145 E. 21st St., is filled with more than 100 exhibitors displaying and demonstrating the newest and hottest services for home improvement and repair, remodeling, gardening, landscaping, lawn care, home insulation and energy conservation, home security, home furnishings and more. Look also for coupons and giveaways throughout the event, including a drawing for a $5,000 Lowe's gift card. 

Festival hours are today, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and tomorrow 11 a.m.-5 p.m. See a list of the 2009 exhibitors here. Event information from Tulsa's own

Thursday, January 22, 2009

DIY and Indie Gifting, 1st Birthday Edition

Know what gives me cold sweats? The prospect of waking up one day to realize we haven't saved a penny for our son's college education.
Thanks to this piggy bank Aaron and I have spent three weekend afternoons at Purple Glaze painting and perfecting and casting fertility spells over, we worry no more. 

Figuratively speaking, that is. This little guy doesn't even take quarters.

 But, I'm pretty sure he's the cutest college savings plan ever.

This piggy bank, made by his father and me with love and striving for a hard-working, frugally minded child, is a gift for our not-so-baby man for his first birthday. May he never bust it open to buy dirty magazines or cigarettes or...or...ugh, I'm ready to stop thinking about this. 

We were hardly done birthday shopping for the evening, so we headed downtown to:

Dwelling Spaces, our shrine of all that is local and handmade and just plain cool stuff. It's no secret that Dwelling Spaces, at 119 S. Detroit downtown, ranks in the upper echelon of hip Tulsa retailers. Even so, and somehow, it was Aaron's first time in. 

I love to just be in this store. The lighting and all the colors give me that happy, I-want-to-buy-everything-in-this-ever-loving-place feeling. 

For all you dudes and dudettes who need a little help with Valentine's Day gifting, Dwelling Spaces has made it easy. Just visit the table of red and pink stuff at the front of the store. 

While we wanted to blow a couple of Benjamins on some of the Okie Grown and Alessi stuff (total stock 20 percent off right now!) we saw on this table, we settled on Ice Bat, the doll from the Uglydoll collection we've been meaning to snag for our little one for quite some time now.
Think he likes it? Maybe just a little. He's been dragging Ice Bat (In Baby Man language: "AAAYYYEEEE!") all over the house since we got home with it. 

See, we're in this bad habit of trying to be in the good habit of shopping early for his presents and then buying everything so early that we can't wait until whatever holiday we're supposed to be stashing for to give them to him. Such is what happened with Ice Bat.

I wish someone would go to Dwelling Spaces and buy this early as a Valentine's Day present for me and then not be able to wait to give it to me, like, right now: 

Not that this is a hint for a certain someone or anything. Did I mention it's 20 percent off? I did? Okay. Just making sure. 

While at Dwelling Spaces, I also managed to procure my first-ever I Heart Tulsa shirt. I know! How the heck have I gotten by without one? Rather than bother ourselves with that little quandary, let's ask, "Why hasn't anyone gifted me one?" Punks. 

Oh, I know you love me. If you didn't, then why would this blog have been nominated again this year for an Okie Blog Award? TDT is in the Best Culture Blog category again (we won it last year), as is my other blog, My Life As Told By Food, which I started just before Christmas. 

We here at TDT and MLaTbF know you have a choice when you're looking to distract yourself at work, home and in the car (shout out to the RSS subscribers on iPhone!), so thanks to all for choosing to distracting yourselves with these blogs. Congratulations to every Okie blogger out there nominated for an award this year! 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Events in Tulsa

As I sit here watching the MLK Jr. Day parade in Greenwood on KTUL Channel 8, I'm already thinking about the inauguration tomorrow. 

For those who will be watching from Tulsa, here is a list of local inauguration events and watch parties: 
If you don't see your favorite event listed here, please leave details in the comments. I'll update this post until go-time tomorrow. Televised ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Tulsa time. 

Happy MLK Day!

Does anyone else feel particularly energized this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? We do. What historic two days lie ahead for us. 

Sadly, we can't make it to kick things off at the MLK parade through the Greenwood district this morning. Thankfully, KTUL Channel 8 will be broadcasting it on the tele-tube. Tune in or set the DVR for 10 a.m. Yes, you can! 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When I Need to Be Around Millions of Books

I crawled out of bed yesterday only to throw myself into planning our 11-month-old's birthday party (any suggestions for a fun, low-cost venue would be oh-so-appreciated) while whirring away on my new exercise bike while also perusing the most recent annual Southern Living compilation of "best" recipes. 

It's never good for me to flit through bad photos of gooey casseroles and mushy pasta renditions of West Side Story before 10 a.m. That I was sweating and out of breath at the same time was the perfect recipe for one of those headaches that starts between the eyes and, within half an hour, stiffens the back of the neck into hard little knots. 

I managed to bathe and get dressed anyway. Then, there was knocking at my door. 

When I'm in a good mood and don't have a splitting headache, I think drop-in visits are the rudest thing ever. I mean, they make me whiney like a four-year-old. They make me feel like nothing good is ever going to happen to me again. When I don't feel well and could swear the house smells like a church potluck dinner, the way I feel about drop-in visits is, um, worse. 

At the door was my friend from my office days, who was scheduled to spend the day at my house with another friend of ours today. Not yesterday. Or, so I thought. The e-mail flurry we used to try to coordinate the visit happened during maybe five other e-mail flurries coordinating five other meetings, interviews and get-togethers. I got my wires crossed. 

Since I screwed up and thus deprived myself of delivering my (favorite) stern speech on how drop-in visits are uncouth and presumptuous, I ordered out for a full spread from Kolam Innovative Indian Cuisine. After a plate-full of samosas, spring rolls, basmati rice, Kolam Signature Chicken Curry, Tikka Masala and Tandoori Chicken, the world was a beautiful place again. And, my headache was gone. I think the food at Kolam maybe has magical powers of healing and happiness. 

After lunch and a chilly trip to the park, my friends departed. What a weird, yet-wonderful, day. How better to cap it off than to extend that same theme into the evening with a trip to Gardner's Used Books and Music

That place, just south of the B.A. Expressway on Mingo, is the weird-yet-wonderful capital of the universe. 

The store boasts a collection of nearly two million gently used books, all shelved by category and sprawling about a half-acre. The two photos above are of just one shelf in the literature section and the section of books on local topics, respectively. 

Want paperbacks? Head to Gardner's, where you can stock up for next to nothing. 

Calling all comic books fans. And fans of CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray and a variety of collectibles, including dolls and bells. 

Yes, bells. Thousands of them. 

And, there's a coffee shop, Espresso by the Book. There's my husband and baby boy picking up the latest copy of Urban Tulsa Weekly

Just when you're coddling your coffee and you think you've seen all there is to see, this opens up from a dark corner in the coffee shop:
The gateway to a heaven of obscure and often hilarious books. 

This is the section of books on food and cooking, where I found titles such as "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Vol. 5," copyright 1966, and "Whirlpool's Micro Menus Cookbook," copyright sometime during the days when microwaves the size of my conventional oven were going to save us all from the treachery of the kitchen. 

I love children's books. I promise I'll never write one, though. The children's book section at Gardner's proves the world needs not more by anyone still living. The best ones were written (and illustrated) when my parents were kids. But, that's just one blogger's opinion. 

Even so, our little one found a late model he just had to have. So, he threw his first public fit in the floor of the children's book section.  

He won. We lost. Forever. 

Hours at Gardner's are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby's First Snow Day

It's snowing in Green Country this morning. I'm not sure if it's the first snow this winter, but it's the first one since our little man has been old enough to notice something is...


Just wait until March, little man. You ain't seen a real Oklahoma snow yet.

Not that Oklahomans know much about snow, but we'll claim what we can get.

There's no need to pull out the chains yet, folks. Have a good one anyway!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Am "Methanol-Starved"

"When more than 10,000 spectators walk out the door on the fourth and final night, they are so amazed at what they have seen that they cannot wait to return." That's just one of the curious things I learned on the 23rd Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals Web site, the clearinghouse for the event that opens today at The QuikTrip Center in Expo Square. 

Before we go any further, it's time for one of my infamous confessions. Until last year, I had no idea what the heck this event was all about. No one ever said, "It's like go-cart racing - the dudes from my old unit have to go every year," as my husband so eloquently and finally explained. See, I get that. 

"...these Nationals are known simply as the Chili Bowl: racing's winter answer to football's Super Bowl." 

"The Chili Bowl's key ingredient is the clay which once covered the adjacent fairgrounds. Without sun or wind to harm it, the indoor garden (roughly a quarter-mile circle) is heavily saturated so that the boldest dirt track artists of our time can truly shine."

"...thousands and thousands of methanol-starved fans are ready to call Tulsa, and the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway in particular, home for a few days." 

All of that, not so much. Not that I don't trust that this event is a complete blow-out, even though I am totally out of touch when it comes to racing and, well, sports in general (sorry). After all, how could an armory-full of methanol-starved infantry guys be wrong? 

I have to admit, I'd get pretty riled up seeing 293 Sprint Cars, Midgets, Late Models, Modifieds and Drag Racers racing each other on a quarter-mile clay track at the same time

They do all race at the same time, right, guys? I mean, right? 

Qualifying races start this evening at 7:20 p.m. with the Chili Bowl Race of Champions at 9:30. It all ends Saturday, Jan. 17, with the Chili Bowl Championship feature events. The event also includes a 20,000-square-foot trade show, which is open each day free of charge. Check the Chili Bowl Web site for times. 

Be sure to check in at as the week progresses for nightly race results. Also be sure to take pity on me and my heretofore methanol-free existence. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jack Frank Keeps It Real

Last night, rather than collapse into bed and fall asleep on the way down, Aaron and I watched the newest show by Jack Frank, Tulsa Deco. 

Rather than bore you with a minute-by-minute rundown of what you've probably already seen of it on local TV, I'd rather list my favorite moments. 

  1. I loved the shots of the praying hands that are part of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church building at 13th and Boston. I didn't know they were there, and I definitely didn't know there were 66 of them. I also didn't know the tower of the church was full of workable office space. You can bet I'll be doing double-takes all over downtown for the next several months.
  2. All the snippets of commentary about the Tulsans of the Art Deco era, who built buildings not because they needed space, "but because they liked to see buildings go up." I love hearing about these people who were "dripping with oil money" and how their buildings were "a record of their aspirations and achievements." You know, back when most buildings were built to last long enough to do that sort of thing. 
  3. Every time I return to look again at Art Deco architecture, I'm amazed all over again at the level of detail in the design, especially in office building lobbies. I was glad Frank found an architect who made a specific point about that. Also, so many details featured in the video were new to me. I'm looking for chances to see in person the ones I've missed.
  4. To hear the Philcade had 28 retail stores on its ground floor during the Art Deco era and that downtown Tulsa was considered a huge shopping draw during that time was encouraging and daunting at the same time. I was happy to see Steven Howard of KoKoa Chocolatier was featured in the film. I only wish Mary Beth Babcock's new Dwelling Spaces mini-boutique had opened a little sooner and could have been featured, too.
  5. The collection of clips of people Frank talked to about the connection between the BOK Center and Tulsa's Art Deco structures were, um, interesting. Several were plainly reaching, saying that the name-brand building brought attention to Tulsa's body of architecture as a whole and that the oil barons would be proud of such an architectural marvel. You mean, the same oil barons who built buildings just to see them go up? Who, as someone in the film said, were always trying to prove to the world that they weren't just a bunch of Okies? An architect at the end of the segment said, "As a sculpture, it [the BOK Center] certainly moves your eyes, and it's very exciting - as are our art deco buildings. So, there is a connection." That was the best guess I heard. I suppose we'll keep trying to convince ourselves there's a connection for as long as we're still trying to convince the world we're not just a bunch of Okies.  
Pretty much every time anyone eluded to the notion that modern buildings aren't built to the same standard of quality or craftsmanship as were older buildings, Aaron would loudly "UH-HUH" or "HMM" or "SEE?!!!" 

The quality of modern buildings is an especially sore subject for him right now. He has spent his entire winter break from school calking drafts in our half-century-old house while mumbling nasty things about industrialization and urban sprawl and its impact on the quality of structures and that we should just pack up and move right now. But, when a woman who had lived in Westhope came on-screen last night and talked about how Frank Lloyd Wright couldn't build a flat roof and that the roof leaked badly in the house, Aaron didn't utter a peep. I guess it's harder to complain when you live in a drafty, mid-priced house that looks exactly like the one three doors down when you know a Frank Lloyd Wright house that had wet floors and watermarks on the ceilings. 

Accessibility is what I liked most about Jack Frank's Art Deco show. Sometimes architecture may seem easier to appreciate than, say, a painting or an abstract photo because it's art we can literally walk through  - it's experiential. But, it's not always that easy. An onlooker stands back from a painting or a photo and experiences it at once, within the confines of a frame. With architecture, that's not possible. A building wraps around whoever enters it, eliminating that ability to stand back to sense and evaluate the piece as we might with images that hang on a wall. 

See? It gets heady. Frank keeps it real. 

The video is available for purchase online at, at Steve's Sundry, Bank of Oklahoma branches, Walgreens and Quiktrip. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Winds, They Are A-Changin'

Today was the perfect day to go to the park.

The temperatures were mild and clouds kept the sun from glaring down on my little boy's head, which, as you could surmise from the many photos of him that I post here, is a second-degree sunburn waiting to happen. Though the parking lot is heinous thanks to construction, the LaFortune Park playgrounds (more than half a dozen on the west side of the park) at 51st and Yale are the best picks for play dates in that weird not-quite-Midtown, not-quite-South-or-East-Tulsa zone.

As I write this, though, the winds are changing - howling, actually. The high temperature tomorrow should be in the upper 30s.

No play time at the park tomorrow for our little man. Don't worry, he'll recover.

While the weather won't be good for swings and sandboxes, it will be perfect for fluffy, hearty, piping-hot pizza.

If you haven't had a chance to get downtown and give Joe Momma's a try, make a point to do it this weekend while it's chilly and your innards need warmin'.

I'm sorry I said innards. Really, my Papa is the only man cool and Oklahoma enough to use that word.

When you get settled in at the uber-urban digs of Joe Momma's (112 S. Elgin), make sure to try the Bacon Cheeseburger pizza. It completely disarms the question, "If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, would it be pizza or cheeseburgers?" Joe Momma's has created a world in which we don't have to choose.

That I don't ever have to worry again about making that choice deserves the cheesiest thumbs-up I can muster.

Happy weekend, friends! Make sure to get your own photo taken in the big, gold throne at Joe Momma's soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Sordid Past in Sketching

I started college as an architecture major. I've always had a sweet spot for buildings, and I decided as a middle schooler that I wanted to be the mastermind behind at least a few of some really great ones. And, I came from an architecturally inspiring city. Sounds like a recipe for a future architect, right?

Well. Once I got into the studio, I quickly realized I'd have absolutely no time for writing. In fact, I had little time for sleeping, eating and, unfortunately, bathing, let alone writing. Even though in the end I elected to graduate with a degree in American Studies, I still harbor a love of all that is the built environment. I'm grateful I live in an area where I can still gawk at wonderful structures without having to travel far at all.

While I was still a zombified architecture student, my first sketching assignment required I pick three structures from my hometown to pair with three structures on campus and present them on some ever-loving, God-forsaken Strathmore board, which soaks up pencil lead like a devil-sponge and cannot be erased. It has to be very carefully shaved off with an Exacto knife, and if your professor notices what you've done, you can bet you just lost a letter grade.

Sorry. Flashbacks.

This house is in old Sand Springs on the north side of the river. Rumor has it that a husband built it for his wife who, shortly after the house was complete, passed away. I'm not sure who owns the house now, but I would love to learn more about it and its history. In my opinion, it's the most beautiful house west of downtown.

Of course, I had to draw this... night. I was fearless in college. I was also a good sketcher, apparently, because I got the highest grade in the class on the assignment, whcih was nice since it was pretty much the only assignment I got during architecture school on which I made a grade higher than 79 percent.

Even so, I still make a sketch from time to time, especially when I'm downtown and see things like this:

It's images like these that make my fingers itch. Then I start longing for the bright, chilly mornings spent in that architecture studio, working alongside some incredibly talented friends and exercising my creativity and cutting off the tip of my left index finger and splaying blood all over the parts of my final project I'd already built in Strathmore board.

Then I remember that architecture school is for people who eat nails for fun.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned

As a fifth-generation Tulsan and a wannabe cheeseburger aficionado, I have a confession to make. 

Before today, I had never eaten a Claud's burger. 

The photo above is the (entire) dining room at Claud's today at about 1 p.m., where customers dined on $2 burgers and crispy fries, all made fresh to-order, right before their blessed eyes. 

I don't think the dining room at Claud's, which has seating for just 12, ever looks much different than it does above. I've never driven by and seen the place any way but packed. 

Sure, I'd heard of Claud's. I'd heard Midtowners talk about their cravings for the burgers, and I'd heard lots of Brookside shoppers begging on their cell phones with friends staged at Claud's for a milkshake. Somehow, though I have lived in this city for more than 25 years and have driven by or heard about Claud's probably hundreds of times, I have arrived seriously late to this party. 

Better late than never, as I always say. 

Tardiness never tasted so good...and juicy and fresh and like it could save my very soul. 

To seal the deal, here's the ultimate proof that a Claud's burger lives up to the raves of the burger proficient in T-Town: take-out orders are written on the bag. 

Don't ask why this validates a burger joint, because I don't know. It's just one of those constants of the universe. My lunch today, which I will probably dream about tonight, only added to the pile of proof for this theory.  

After I was pulled kicking and screaming from the little green-and-white burger stand at 3834 S. Peoria, I ended up sniffing through the coffee selection at Mecca Coffee Company. 

And proceeded to purchase several obscure cooking gadgets that I hadn't been able to find anywhere else in town. Behold: 

My husband and baby boy stand guard at the gate of my happiness and the source of why I have to spend so much of my time running around the block huffing and puffing, burning calories like a madwoman. 

Then we mosied over the Purple Glaze, a new favorite hangout of ours. Given the times, we thought our little man could use one of these:

Is it gender programming that we painted the piggy bank blue? Does the piggy bank look as if it got hold of one of those everlasting gobstoppers with the blueberry pie at the end? Or does the piggy bank just look really surprised and I'm overthinking all of this? 

Answer: all of the above. Sorry. 

We're not very good at cruising Brookside without stopping in at Lundeby's, even if it is past a certain someone's nap time. 

After Christmas brought an onslaught of walker trucks - four (!) - and toys, books and puzzles, we hit the market for some type of storage solution so our little guy doesn't mistake our den for the game room at Incredible Pizza. 

We didn't find anything like that at Lundeby's today, but don't think we made it out of there empty-handed. 

Or straight-faced. Actually, straight-faced really hasn't been part of our state of being since our baby boy came along. 


Want some fresh, earthy, texture-rich bread with that mush? 

Great Harvest Bread Co., in Tulsa at the Farm Shopping Center on the southeast corner of the 51st and Sheridan intersection, would be a great place to start that search. We stopped by there today and ended up with two loaves of a bread called Dakota, which is chock-full of seeds and nuts. Also try the Cheddar Garlic, and don't forget to add the jalapenos. It's what any self-respecting Tulsan would do.  

After a full and unusual winter day of mild weather and temperatures in the mid-seventies, we'll be back to hovering at freezing tomorrow. From what we saw in the outdoor patios lining Brookside and Utica Square, a lot of you got to get out, de-thaw, and enjoy the day as much as we did. 
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