Saturday, May 31, 2008

paseo 6: inner child



A neat canvas painted as a cover-up, and a beautiful sign outside one of the studios.

Friday, May 30, 2008

paseo 5: cello boy


We were walking along, savoring the brief stretch of shaded path, and saw this lovely cello. We stopped to lounge against the wall not far from it, to drink water, people watch, stay out of the sizzling sun for a few minutes. It wasn't too long before a boy came along to play the cello, adding a nice atmosphere to the area.


He played really well. By the end of his first song, he had quite a few dollars collected. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

paseo 4 - yeehaw


The cowboy stereotype always drives me crazy about Oklahoma. It's not that there aren't any around, but it's not quite as all-consuming as many people assume, I think. I did tech support years ago, and people from both coasts would act surprised at my location - because I don't have a slow drawl, and also because... I don't know, Oklahoma has businesses and not just dirt and farms? ;) Still, walking along, how could I resist snapping a photo of this boy in his crazy little outfit? Just doing my part in carrying on the image, right? :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

paseo 3: looking cool


I love the colorful buildings in the Paseo area. This one is a pottery studio / gallery. I saw this man, a mesh of styles with a ball cap and ear piercings, standing outside it. Interestingly, his shirt says "Austin" - I don't know if he's from there, or if he'd rather be there, or if he simply likes the idea of a place that strives to keep itself "weird". ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

paseo 2: gallery reflections


A.K.A Gallery window, hints of their paintings showing through, reflecting activities of the art festival and its visitors.

Monday, May 26, 2008

paseo art festival


Today, we went to the annual art festival at the Paseo District, a little stretch of creative culture in OKC. It was way too toasty to be in the sun, but we still enjoyed the beauty and energy of the art, galleries, people, Spanish architecture. This week, I'll post photos from our stroll. :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

fair trade beauty


The Health Food Center, in SW OKC, has a section of fair trade items. This is a purse purchased there; it is made in Nepal from pieces of silk. In the autumn, there is also a fair trade market, with cultural awareness activities, called World Fest. It is sponsored by World Neighbors, a charity with headquarters here locally. It's nice to see little ripples of awareness.

More info about fair trade:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

another rose


Will Roger's Park, in NW OKC, has a rose garden filled with red, pink, yellow, peach, orange, white. In its center is a water fountain with a statue of two people in a lover's embrace. Sometimes, people reserve the rose area for weddings; other times, geese claim it and chase people away; and other times, it is just a peaceful stroll upon gravel, beside a pond, among flowers and friendly faces. This photo was taken last month.

Friday, May 23, 2008

acai sky


My husband made us some acai green tea, and placed the bags on a paper towel. The next morning, I awoke to find this beautiful staining effect. It reminded me of the rich colors Oklahoma skies often hold.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

tangle of lines


Lines and zig-zags from a downtown parking area. Somehow this photo reminds me of the bars in elementary school playgrounds from my childhood. I'd hang upside down, hair streaming below me, completely content, my head only a few inches from cement. Some kids would spin super-fast on them. I don't think it's allowed anymore (and I do understand why... but it sure was fun!).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008



I've always loved dandelions, their fuzzy magic and freedom. Mom has never been impressed with us blowing them over her lawn, even when I tell her that they're adding calcium and nutrients to her soil. ;) Much of my backyard is cemented, but we have a good patch of grass at the back and along the side of the house. We have large dandelions, strawberries, and all sorts of "weeds" that are actually wild herbs. It gives the kids something to explore, and adds nature to our lives. Plus, I like how it looks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

dirty hands


Going with yesterday's theme, a photo of my daughter in March, in the middle of outside play with dirt covering her hands, collecting pebbles.


... We need for the earth to sing
Through our pores and eyes...
- Hafiz

Monday, May 19, 2008

nature saturation


My son was quite delighted to find ladybugs lounging in our yard this weekend. Me too - not only are they rather cute, they're also useful to the yard, and they're a symbol for positive luck, protection, and wishes coming to realization.

I'm currently reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. I find the topic very fascinating, though also acknowledge that the need for its publication rather absurd and startling.

My childhood was certainly filled with running after lightening bugs at twilight, tunneling through tall grasses surrounding a neighborhood creek, hanging out on my branch in the front yard tree, creating imaginary worlds in the backyard for hours with friends, lemon-aid stands on warm summer mornings. (And, I wasn't even what people would call a tomboy, though I did rip my favorite dress climbing a fence! :o)

My own children have a natural connection and reverence for nature. Surely all kids are born with it, and it only needs some basic nurturing? We started journeying out into the sunlight and breeze at young ages, letting them feel the textures of the world, taste the air, explore. Now, my son (age 5) would never in a million years want to stay inside (for tv or anything else) over the opportunity to go outside - run, collect pieces of nature, pretend walnut shells are frogs or freshly hatched chicks, make a bowl of potatoes out of rain water, dirt, and leafs, discover a patch of snails, blow dandelions, plant seeds, zoom on his bike while sunlight collects in his hair, walk through gardens or the nature center, pretend the arches of junipers are homes, feel worms and protect them from the too much light, make buildings from sticks. My daughter (nearly 2) is developing the same delight for the simplicity and joy that come from that state of being, the suspension of everything else, expansion of self, connection to the whole wide world. It's solace, but it is also incredible joy and delight.

For no reason
I start skipping like a child

for no reason
I turn into a leaf
That is carried so high
I kiss the Sun's mouth
And dissolve
- Hafiz

Sunday, May 18, 2008

about OKC

Messing with my one-per-day format this weekend to answer Brooklyn's question, and for anyone else interested.

Sometimes OKC makes me feel like this:


And, sometimes this:


Oklahoma City it truly a "mixed bag" - a lot depends on what you make of it (and what it is an individual wants in the first place).

OKC has low cost of living, well below the national average. (This is often paired with lower pay, but maybe that wouldn't apply with a company relocating.) Real estate and land are especially reasonable (cheap even) compared to other places. Many houses here are actually appreciating, a trend opposite that of many places. There is a sales tax (near 9%) on everything, including food, and also annual income tax.

Commute time is a lot lower than many places - it's not impossible to get from one side of the city to the other in a reasonable amount of time. Cars are more of a necessity than a luxury here though. Public transportation consists of slow buses. There aren't bike lanes. It was voted the worst of 500 cities for walking (based on numbers of parks, people who walk to work, practicality, etc). It is very spread out, but also has a stigma against walking to places. When attempting to walk (unless at a park with a specific walking path), one either gets looks of pity (you don't have a car?) or honks / stares / hollers (gee, tasteful!).

Oklahoma is a predominantly "red" state; it goes Republican for national elections (though Democrat for some local) - all the candidates boast "family values" and "conservative" when campaigning here. There is a a predominantly narrow world view among the average people. My husband has commented that even at work, the pro-republican, anti-gay comments are surprisingly open. And, he even walked into work one day to spot signs, in honor of someone's retirement, about killing deer. (We're vegetarian, whoops. Management did remove them promptly though...) It reminds me of an incident that happened quite a few years ago when I was in school and working retail. The other worker looked at me and expressed extreme distaste for lesbians, eying two women walking in the building, and said she could spot them from a mile away. She had "Jesus loves you" buttons all over her shirt. (The Very Funny part of this is that I was interested in primarily females at the time. I guess her Radar was a little "off" after all. Stereotypes, anyone?)

There are at least pockets of people who are progressive in mind / spirit, open-minded, creative, and not fundamentalist Christian. If you are not conservative, then finding your personal niche can make it seem much more like "home", I think. There are still groups that meet with the focus of peace and tolerance / acceptance, groups for gay support and pride day, independent art studios that do innovative shows (though, the Individual Artists of Oklahoma charges to get into its annual Biting the Apple because they have trouble getting corporate sponsors during the year since place don't want to be (gasp) associated with an erotic art exhibit...) There is a UU church (which tends to have programs for various beliefs, and has a program specifically for gay acceptance) and Buddhist temples (and, actually, a mosque and hindu temple too), among the numerous churches. There is an art district, yoga studios, nice museums, theaters, various clubs and music venues.

The downtown area has gone through a revitalization, particularly an area called 'Bricktown' with a canal and river walk area. It looks a lot better, but on a recent walk, it seemed to mainly be a couple of clubs and average restaurants. There is also a Midtown revitalization effort happening, which is spawning potentially a second artsy area, and more availability of housing close to the city's center.

Neighborhoods are more sprawl than independent culture. One could be another could be another could be another, except one might be closer to Walmart (which we have several of, thank you very much :( ) or have bigger houses or be in better schools.

The city isn't that attractive when just driving through. (My mil from New Zealand always finds the abundance of trees appealing, but a lot of the city is just flat with mass retailers). However, there are quite pretty places to go at various locations throughout the city - lakes, nature center, gardens, zoo, etc. And, a drive outside of OKC leads to many enjoyable, pretty state parks. We have multiple eco-regions, ranging from open farmland to forests with small waterfalls to rolling hills to desert.

The weather is a play of extremes. In winter, we have mild stretches mixed with frigid wind and mixed precip; lots of ups-and-downs. We tend to get ice a lot more than fluffy snow, last year breaking a record with damage, causing electricity to be out for us a whopping 10 days (near the center of the city). The autumn is beautiful with all the rich colors; the spring is pretty, but usually with some tornado scares, and most homes don't have underground shelter. (However, central OKC rarely gets harsh direct hits. South, the suburb of Moore, is a completely different story...) Summer is very hot with mid 90s to 100+ very common. We have beautiful thunderstorms and gorgeous skies.

People like their sports. There is huge competition between the state unis. The voters extended a penny sales tax to lure the Sonics here. This makes people animated, and the news was all over it. Added culture, added revenue. I'm not a sports fan. But then again, I'm also not a frequent visitor of 'Toby Keith's I Love This Bar And Grill' so my ideal is different than some people's.

Oklahoma is rough on allergies / sinuses, and we were officially voted one of the top 20 worst places in the USA for it.

I saw on your blog that you had a concern for racial harmony. There is a range of various cultural festivals throughout the year. There are events that promote appreciate for world cultures (and social integrity), like Worldfest, a fair trade event. In the autumn, we attended an annual cultural dance event that was fantastic called 'Dances of Passion'. There are restaurants to represent many cultures. The population is quite diverse. There is still some division - there is an Asian district, an area of the city that is mostly in Spanish, and a whole section of the city that is primarily African-american. I think deep acceptance depends on who you're interacting with, and partially the socio-economic backgrounds. Most people are at least okay on the surface, but I can't really analyze what buried issues each segment of society holds or doesn't hold. Growing up, I always had friends of multiple races without tension. Inter-racial couples openly show affection in public, but if they get grief over it, I don't personally know it. In my extended family, which holds its share of backwards-types, I would say there is some racism, but more repressed than openly expressed. So again, OKC has a large population so you'll likely discover a mix. Maybe talking to people of similar family dynamics who have experienced things first-hand can lend better understanding. (I reconnected with an old friend who is in a Caucasian / African relationship, if you'd like me to ask.)

People, in general, tend to be more openly friendly than reserved. (That doesn't mean it's always sincere, but sometimes it is.) If you break down, need help, or want to chat to someone in line, people are there. If you want to ignore someone or be rude, usually someone will be there to meet that challenge too (grin).

Some links (though, in no way extensive):
Travel Oklahoma:
The Peace House:
Paseo Art District:
Wed on Western:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma:

fresh food


When I was a kid, I thought eggs were just white. My children know that they are also various shades of brown, and even green, with yolks that look like a thick afternoon sun. This is a batch of local eggs from a farm that treats the animals with respect - better for the creatures, better for us.

Oklahoma doesn't have the fresh daily markets some places are accustomed to. But, we do have weekly farmer's markets with friendly people, and a monthly food coop (with a passionate president) that has products from farmers, individuals, artists, etc around the state (website here).

Saturday, May 17, 2008



This glimpse of Oklahoma City is straight from my living room, an art piece created and given to me by my sister. Still, it seems appropriate as we transition from season to season. Butterflies are, of course, a symbol of transformation, joy, and soaking in the light. I know summer doesn't officially arrive until the solstice later in June, but we have 90s in our forecast this week. That heat draped across the body certainly feels like summer. And, summer always started mentally and emotionally for me at the end of the school year, which was often the final days of May (and is even now for many local schools).


"I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human." - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Friday, May 16, 2008

kissing at the water's surface


This photo was taken last weekend at the downtown Myriad Botanical Gardens. These fish often come near the surface, especially in mild to warm weather, and come up for the lure of snacks. They are huge carp (I think?) that always look like a swirling sunset reflected onto the rippling water. In this photo, they're both after the same piece of bread, so they look like they're kissing.



When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the night sky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,

Like this.

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God’s fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.

Like this.


If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

Like this. Like this.

- Rumi

Thursday, May 15, 2008

a rose is a rose


I guess it wouldn't be an accurate representation of spring around here without sharing some flower photos. :) Roses started to bloom in April; this photo was taken at the downtown Myriad Botanical Gardens last weekend.


Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. - Richard B Sheridan

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Lake Hefner, 7/2007

May is our #1 month for severe storms (ie. tornadoes and such). I don't have any pretty, up-close photos of recent storms. But, I thought it'd be appropriate to share one of a gorgeous rainstorm during this stretch. This photo was taken in July 2007 at Lake Hefner in north Oklahoma City, as the front was moving over the area. The contrast between (+ blurring of) clouds, sky, rain, and water ripples was stunning to see.


from "The Rain" by Robert Creeley

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

influx of water


A ledge of splattering water to keep the pond from being stagnant at the downtown Myriad Botanical Gardens. Something about the sound of flowing water, in any of its forms, makes the world feel a little bit more entrenched in calm, a little more connected.

I drink stream water and the air
becomes clearer and everything I do.
I become a waterwheel,
turning and tasting you, as long
as water moves.
- Rumi

Monday, May 12, 2008

a mother's day wish


Yesterday, we pulled into pulled into a parking lot, stepped out of the car to get movies. Awaiting on the ground, a bundle of flowers, a mother's day bouquet from the universe.


by ee cummings

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never (...)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

carnality ball and other events


Photo: spread from a local weekly paper, Oklahoman Gazette. This highlights some events this week. The best, I think, was the fundraiser by Rampage Artists called "The Carnality Ball" - an exhibit of gorgeous and sexy art, music, dance.

Friday, May 9, 2008



This photo was taken in March. It's a redbud, our state tree, which colors the landscape purple, pink, deep rose, especially in early spring.


"beneath the redbud" by ananda.tashie

through the blush
of blossom and breeze

through tangle
of spring and transition

through the kiss
of separation

through the breath
of return

i find you there, again,
and discover your hand
while the petals take root
in our hair.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

rain, rain


Oklahoma City starts being teased by 80s in April, with a high frequency of them in May. By summer, 90s and 100+ temps settle into the air here for suffocating heat. Lately, we've had our share of sunshine and thick warmth. However, for two nights, we had heavy pouring rain, a dance of pitter-patter, whooshes, and gentle rumbles. Yesterday, it rained all day - so soothing. In the afternoon, tornado sirens did their eery song while heavy wind and small tornadoes moved through the city. Still, the change was a nice break from constant sun.

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.
- Langston Hughes