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Jul 27 2013

Chicken Fajitas


Mary made chicken fajitas for dinner tonight. They were delicious!!!

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Jul 24 2013

Tulsa Derecho Storm


I was at work well before sunrise this morning and was able to capture this dramatic sunrise no doubt an after effect of the severe storm Tulsa had last night. The storm has been classified as a "derecho" event because of the breadth and intensity of its straight line winds (winds in excess of 58 mph over an area more that 250 miles wide). Tulsa International Airport recorded it highest ever wind speed of 76 miles per hour. One trained weather spotter in Tulsa recorded a 91 mph wind speed. Lightning-caused fires near us at the Union 8th Grade Center and the DoubleTree Hotel. At its peak, over 100,000 homes were without power. Our power was out but only for a little while. 1400 linemen came in from 10 states to help restore the power. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 35 Oklahoma counties including Tulsa County.


The storm relocated our neighbor's trampoline to our backyard.


One of our trees suffered some minor damage losing a 10 foot branch. The brown patch at the bottom is a birds' next which had three very young baby birds. Later, we would lose a similar branch from our other backyard maple tree no doubt damaged in this storm.

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We had the most amazing marinated chicken and beef shish kabobs for dinner tonight.


Mary did all the work putting them together. All I did was grill them the Weber. They were delicious!

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Jul 20 2013

Our New Puppy - Amber


Today we brought home our new puppy, a mostly yellow lab rescue pup, that we have named Amber. She fell asleep in her carrier on the way home.


Amber finds comfort napping between my feet and the couch.


Amber in her new cage.


Little puppies need lots of sleep.


Amber taking in her new backyard.


The boys and their new puppy, or is it...Amber and her new boys.


Amber has already picked out a favorite sleeping place under our family room coffee table. No doubt, she feels safe under there but at the rate she's going to grow, she won't be sleeping under there for long. Welcome home little Amber...something tells me things aren't going to be the same around here.

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We've been looking for a puppy all summer going to the the Humane Society of Tulsa and/or PetSmart every weekend and scouring the internet. Mary found a litter of puppies that Zoi's Animal Rescue in Claremore rescued and there are two yellow labs still available for adoption. The boys and Mama are anxiously waiting for their arrival so we can check them out.


I'm holding Snow White on the left and Rapunzel on the right. We have to pick one of these two amazing puppies. Talk about a Sophie's Choice.


Drew and Rapunzel exchange inquisitive looks.


Rapunzel wondering what will be her fate.


It was an incredibly difficult decision but Rapunzel's pink nose and white spot on her head made her appear to have slightly more personality. We have to wait another week to take her home and make her officially ours but she is our new puppy!

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We all celebrated Will's seventh birthday tonight and, unusually for us, on the actual day of his birthday! Aunt Donelda came into town just for the occasion along with Miss Sue. Ma and Pa were present as well as Aunt Catherine and Uncle David. It was a full house.

Mary did another wonderful job on the Danz family traditional number cake. Will picked out chocolate cake with chocolate icing.


Will proudly displaying his number seven birthday cake and the birthday hat he made all by himself.


Blowing out his birthday candles.


Will paired up his chocolate/chocolate cake with some chocolate mint ice cream (also the favorite of his father and his Grandfather Danz). Mama's cake and ice cream rated two thumbs up!


Will opening a GI Joe Kre-O construction set.


There's not much better than Lego and Star Wars combined in this DVD of The Empire Strikes Out.


One of the boy's latest fascinations is Skylanders and Will got some more characters to add to the boys' collection.


One of the biggest hits of the night was a bow and arrow set. After the unwrapping was done, Will made a beeline for the backyard to try out his best impression of William Tell. Thanks everyone for helping make Will's seventh birthday extra special.

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Jul 12 2013

Grilled Chicken


Grilling up some marinaded chicken for Will's family birthday party tonight.


A plate full of grilled chicken at the center of a well stocked table. It doesn't get any better than this!

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After our visit to the farm, we took a second to pose with our cousin and Mayor of Goltry, Oklahoma, Doug Buller.


Aunt Donelda and me with Mayor Buller in front of our grandparents' old, but still running strong, 1970s Ford LTD.


Thanks to the federal government's economic stimulus spending, Goltry got a brand new water tower.


The view down Main Street of Goltry, Oklahoma. As of the 2000 census the town had a population of 268 which dropped to 249 by the 2010 census.

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This photo of my grandfather and me is one of my favorites. With Donelda in town for Will's birthday, we took the opportunity today to visit family in Goltry that we hadn't seen in a while. We dropped by the farm to pick up a gate my grandfather made (subject of a future post) and took the opportunity to recreate the photo.


Me, Drew, Will and Landon. Same building in the background, just the garage doors have been replaced...along with the passage of more than 40 years.


A more scenic view of the farm as a background.


Aunt Donelda joined in. All of my grandparents' progeny.

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Ma and Pa celebrated their 45th Wedding Anniversary today. In a rare occurrence, all of their children and grandchildren were present to help celebrate the day. As Pa said during some remarks he made, nothing is more important than family. We enjoyed a great meal at Ti Amo Ristorante Italiano followed by a delicious cake from Ludger's Bavarian Cakery.


Ma and Pa with their oldest daughter, Mary and her family...me and the boys.


All of the family; 5 kids, 9 grandchildren and one of Ma and Pa's closest family friends. Happy anniversary Ma and Pa! See you all again in five years for the big one.


The butter cream cake that fed everyone with just the right amount left over.

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Mama wasn't feeling well this evening so the boys and I headed off to see fireworks by ourselves. We got to River Parks on the west side of the river just north of the 21st Street bridge with a clear line of sight to the fireworks about an hour before the show was to begin. The boys killed time by playing cards and eating the snacks Mama had packed for them.


There was a hot air balloon giving short tethered rides to people which we just might have to take advantage of next year.


Now, if all these photos look just like regular old fireworks photos like last year's or three years ago, then I have completely failed. However, if they look a little more like flowers or just kind of neat, then it was worth the extra effort.


The photos are just in the order I took them but, already, this is one of my favorites. It is an example of changing the focus from sharp to blurry while the shutter was open. The focus blur technique creates the effect of a dandelion which I think turned out pretty well in this one.


This one is rather unique from the rest. Not sure if it was a single or double burst, but the result is pretty neat.


This one looks like a sea anemone to me. It is an example of going from blurred to sharp focus.


Another blur to sharp. I think this one has some camera shake in it caused by my unsteadily working the camera's focus ring.


This one could have used a longer exposure, or I just started it too late, or it could have been blurred more in the beginning, or a hand full of other things. Focus blurring fireworks is way more difficult than I though it would be.


Another dandelion.


I like how these two look so three-dimensional.


This heart shaped firework turned out pretty well.


A dandelion show the problem getting a firework all by itself. As most of the pictures show, even if you are lucky enough to get one firework blurred just right (which this one isn't), the likelihood of having some other firework overlapping in a distracting way is pretty high.


A good example of a photo being just slightly off. This would have been much better if I had sharpened slower so that more of the firework was blurred.


This one had potential.


I though these two side by side were interesting but, again, could have been blurred more. Come to think of it, a lot of the shots could have been blurred more. I think I was seeking more blur in the viewfinder than appeared in the final result...which I can't explain.


I like how the center of the "flower" looks on this one.


This firework was huge and way off my camera's frame.


Another one of my favorites. This one has a nice stem and great center. The flashing firework created a neat dotted pattern.


A couple together. This one looks much better larger.


The colors on this one are nice but, again, it exceeded the frame.


If you can't see a petunia, then you just have no imagination.


Another great stem and a pretty good flower.


Two more flowers with stems...just about got a full bouquet.


Maybe I've been looking at these pics for too long, but I swear those green leaves look like real dracaena leaves.


A double white flower, fern, anemone...whatever...just don't say firework.


Two dandelions blowing in the wind.


Finally, last but not least, the most colorful firework of the night. Might have to try focus blurring again next year. I hopped around a lot on my camera settings but mostly stayed around ISO 100, f11 for 2.5 seconds.

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Jul 4 2013

4th of July Parade


Today our neighborhood had its annual 4th of July parade followed by drinks and frozen pops at the neighborhood park. With the help of Mama, the boys decorated their bike and scooters. Landon did a great job keeping up with his big brothers.


Will can ride his bike but still prefers his good ol' scooter.


Drew proudly riding by on his bike. Hmmm...might be time to raise the seat and handle bars a little.


The local fire department was kind enough to lead our parade again. Before the start, the boys posed beside the fire truck with their preferred methods of locomotion.


The neighborhood parade on its way.


Drew, Will and Landon making their way together along the parade.


The kids on their bikes and scooters were all ahead of the adults as they followed the fire truck on the parade.


Taking a break at the end of the parade before digging into the frozen pops.

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