A view from the bridge

The oft-delayed “East Meets West” sculpture has finally arrived at Cyrus Avery Plaza, just east of the Arkansas River on Route 66 here in Tulsa. It’s supposed to be something like one and a half times life size and shows Cyrus Avery, the “Father of Route 66,” climbing out of his Model T to help a farmer in a wagon calm his horses, who have spooked at the sight of Avery’s car. In the car, Avery’s wife turns around to check on their daughter, who is trying to hang onto an obviously terrified cat. I like art that tells a story, and this definitely does that.

I walked out onto the pedestrian bridge above the plaza to get some pictures of the guys installing the sculpture this morning:

Here are the wagon and the Model T.
It was a spectacularly crappy morning. A cold front moved through Tulsa, bringing storm clouds with it. Look at those flags in the background!
Check out that enormous crane they’re using to maneuver the pieces of the sculpture into place.
Here’s a better look at the horses. I like how you can see the old Eleventh Street Bridge and the current alignment of Route 66 in the background.
Another view of the road, the bridge, and the plaza.

I’m not convinced this sort of display is the best way to spend money on Route 66 (I’d rather see the money used to relight neon signs and restore historic properties), but it’s definitely eye-catching, and maybe it will pique some people’s interest and get them off the interstate and onto 66.



So we’re throwing a Halloween party at work for all the local kids, and my boss informed me that I would be expected to wear a costume.

I hate wearing costumes.

Ron suggested I just show up in my bee suit, but I’m in charge of the popcorn, and I am pretty sure the health department would shut us down if an inspector walked in and saw me scooping popcorn in my pollen-and-propolis-stained gloves and honey-smeared suit.

This was what I came up with instead:

Janis Joplin costume

Janis Joplin. Or, as I like to call it, “Casual Friday.”





People kept bugging me about it, so I finally joined Pinterest last summer. I don’t really get the appeal. Seems like an awful lot of effort just to bookmark a page. But people keep telling me how great it is, so I get on there every now and then to appease them.

Last month, I pinned a replacement part for my honey extractor.

A couple of weeks ago, I pinned a chainsaw.

Tonight, I pinned Jackie Robinson, Andre DawsonPudge Rodriguez, Old Hoss Radbourn, and the entire starting lineup for the ’84 Cubs.

Judging from all the shoes, sandy beaches, and low-carb dessert recipes I keep seeing on everybody else’s boards, I am pretty sure I am doing it wrong….


Belated Tucumcari report

Yeah, yeah, I know, my trip was two weeks ago, and I’m just now getting around to posting pictures. I’ve been busy — work, belt test, deadlines, more deadlines, hive inspection, meetings, personal training, volunteer work, writing, etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, here are the visuals, minus the ones I took with my cell phone and posted to Instagram. If you want to see those, you’ll have to click here to see my account. But here are my Rebel shots, such as they are:

I did something I’ve never done before: I spent a night at the San Jon Motel. I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, but if you’re a Route 66 enthusiast, you probably ought to do it at least once. San Jon is a strange place at night.
Like I could resist this shot. You know I will never get done photographing this sign. Not if I live to be a thousand.
I was delighted to see the buildings across the street looking prosperous, with all sorts of little businesses in them.
Here’s one of the businesses across from the Swallow. I like the lights in the windows. Also: I shot this at an eighth of a second. Without a tripod. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

As usual, I had a hard time thinking of a good reason to come home. I swear, if it weren’t for Ron and my animals, I would just vanish into the high desert one night and never return. I’d just disappear, living off the land, wandering back to Illinois to visit family now and then, and surfacing along 66 at random times, painting murals and selling photographs and just generally living like Bob Waldmire.

I keep trying to convince Ron that this is a viable retirement plan. So far, he’s not having any of it, but he said no the first 3,784 times I told him we needed a cat, too, so you never know….


A plea for help

OK, so here’s the deal: The Oklahoma Route 66 Association is pretty much flat broke, so I need y’all to do me a favor, if you can afford it:

Send us money.

We do a lot of good work for the road — promoting businesses, helping tourists find their way down 66, publishing our free annual Trip Guide, doing hands-on historic preservation projects, etc., etc., etc. — but we can’t do it without private donations. We don’t get state money. We don’t get funding from bigger organizations. We don’t get much of anything. We operate on a shoestring, but that shoestring has gotten increasingly frayed, and I’m afraid it’s going to snap one of these days.

Every little bit helps. Clean out your couch cushions. Look under the floormats in your car. Dump out the nickels that have been breeding in the bottom of your purse. Swap your $5 venti mocha Frappuccino for a cup of coffee from the break room at the office and send us the difference. Whatever. We’re not picky. We run on a very tight budget, so any amount you can send will make an impact.

Please send your donations to:

Oklahoma Route 66 Association
P.O. Box 446
Chandler, OK 74834

To learn more about the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, visit www.oklahomaroute66.com or call (405) 258-0008.

Oh, and please pass the word to anybody you know who might be interested in helping. Post this link on your Facebook, Tweet it, Pin it, e-mail it, whatever — just get the word out. We need all the help we can get.

Thanks in advance for your support.


Munchkin Tuesday: Strawberry Shortcake

So I was in Tucumcari this weekend, on my way to lunch at Watson’s BBQ with the owners of the Blue Swallow, when I found myself at a barn sale on the edge of town.

I didn’t find anything I wanted to buy at the barn sale, but somewhere in an alternate universe where it is still 1981, my 6-year-old self threw a tantrum when I passed a complete set of Strawberry Shortcake dolls without even bothering to ask how much they were.

I wanted a Strawberry Shortcake doll when I was little, but she was expensive, and Dad objected to the fake strawberry scent of the two-inch-high plastic figurine I got in my Christmas stocking, so I had to settle for a Huckleberry Pie pillow doll instead.

Poop. 😦

American Greetings came up with the original Strawberry Shortcake dolls, which Kenner then manufactured. Apparently the greeting-card-to-toy-to-cartoon trajectory was a thing back then, because I seem to remember the Care Bears and Rainbow Brite following similar paths to fame. These days, Hasbro is making new Strawberry Shortcake dolls, but they look more like what you’d get if that big-headed kid from Deliverance knocked up the Little Mermaid, and apparently Simon Bond invaded Strawberryland at some point, because Custard is nowhere to be seen.

(On a related note, I could probably do a whole Munchkin Tuesday entry on the work of Simon Bond, because I spent a LOT of time giggling over 101 Uses for a Dead Cat when I was a kid. I’m not sure what that says about me.)


P.S.: I’d almost forgotten about this, but in 1983, General Mills made a cereal based on the Strawberry Shortcake franchise. Because I was in second grade and didn’t have any better sense, I set up an inconsolable howl for it until Mom bought me a box. As usual, I was required to eat the entire box. If I remember right, it tasted like Frankenberry mixed with runoff from a Monsanto factory. Ghastly stuff. Here’s the commercial that suckered me into asking for it:

Neil Diamond Impersonator Monday: Craig Canter

“I Am … I Said” and “Play Me” need work, and he’s gonna have to spend a little more time watching concert videos to get the stage moves right, but you’ve gotta give this guy mad props for going beyond the cliches and doing “I’m Alive.” Bonus points for the name. (If you don’t get it, go watch The Jazz Singer again.)

Also, I’m pretty sure the font on the credits is Luna. Snaps for that, too.

who spent the weekend in New Mexico but hasn’t had time to ‘Shop the photos yet