by admin

Back to KC!


Isn’t this why we run?

Because we are always running.

Running around doing or saying or something.

But it is only when we are truly running that we get that zen moment of the true freedom of

  • being on foot,
  • covering ground,
  • and returning to “place” that never is the same.

I have returned to Kansas City after 30 years of living away and I am doing just this, every day in every way. Friends, family, childhood places and spaces, re-visiting a history of mine and of the City Beautiful of Kansas City.

Above tells a story of my journey, but I am here to discuss my training program for Hospital Hill. Well, it was 28 years of running with, at best, a dog along the Cimarron River on the XIT Ranch in southwest Kansas. So my peer group was few, but I did fair pretty well in the local races such as

The Dodge City Marathon which,

as Participant of One,

I Won. Get the isolated picture?

So now while enjoying urban life and the KC CoffeeShop Scene at Eddy delaHunt’s, I ran into Dr. Tom Pierce from whom I request all kinds of tips since my return to town. He handles just about anything with higher than average street knowledge of KC history and cultural geography, running groups, training tips, Westwood Hills homes, and where to find a person of male persuasion with whom I might  go to dinner (no longer a point of focus)… (BTW, his recommendation for me was The Linda Hall Library).

And in ’12, despite the fact that I’d run an average of about 12 miles a month, he said of Hospital Hill three weeks before the race,

“mind over matter, you’ve been doing yoga, you’ll be fine.”

So here’s the pathetic picture of me struggling in at the final stretch. My goal was to break two hours, which I did not. I think maybe 2:05 or 2:07. But, he did give me tips on how to pace myself throughout the race.

Why did I only look up the date of this race 3 weeks ago and think I could do it? Thanks alot, Tom.

So, my approach in counting down the weeks leading up to hospital hill as a guest blogger, are to pass along both his instructions and my own thoughts as I worked my way along the course through streets of my past. I’m an architect and preservationist, with a heavy dose of ADHD when I’m not in hyper focus.

So, I will share a little bit

of history and place

along with Tom’s words

on body chemistry and pace.

Tom is both a Dr. and Chemist, I believe.

Here is one of his best and first tips:

Hold yourself upright. First, middle, last,

regardless of how you feel. Military carriage.

It’s somewhat similar to what my cousin Gretchen told me at the start of my race of the last two years when encountering friends, family, foes?, fear and complicated factum.

“Hold your head up high.”

I think it’s a pretty good approach to running,

and an excellent approach to life.

Goal: Paint Happy. Medium: oils. Destination: Tucson.

by admin

I was seeking my next art instructor on upcoming journeys southwest and was reviewing the type of medium that I wanted to explore. And, in doing so I realized that my mother, Ginny Graves, really had a pretty good idea about how she had worked with people, specifically, children people in exploring first their creativity in drawing as a mode of expression. That is, instead of describing things in words, she would instruct to draw a picture. And, then, “tell me about your picture.”

So, the early tools were crayons, pencils, markers, and used line as expression.

Next came paint. 

As with everyone, I started both with pre-school art classes at the Nelson and in grade school with those powdered tempera artista paints. I can still smell that smell, because I always thought it smelled a little bit like, for want of a better word, barf. Well, I think that’s what it was, but maybe it was just that shaved sawdust like stuff they sprinkled over it when a person got sick all over their food tray in the lunchroom (me. I’ll never forget it and how everyone  recoiled in horror, tripping over the lunchroom bench to get away with disdainful “eeeyyeeewwwwhoooaaahhhyuuuuuckkkk!”). By the time I helped my mom with her classes at Corinth library, they were pre-mixed in little plastic squeeze bottles so the mixing we had to do at Cedar Roe Branch of the Johnson County librairies was a thing of the past.

This was my finest work from that painting period. It is a picture of me at the Prairie Village Art Fair where I won first prize.

First Prize, Prairie Village Art Fair. Topsy’s by Paula Adams.


And, I pretty much stuck with this style and used it in books for French classes I taught in my mid-20s, shower invitatations, Christmas cards and maps. It’s basically just a bit of embellishment on the stick figure, and it’s worked pretty well for me on many occasions. As long as I can draw a circle and lines, I pretty well had the figurative part covered as far as I was concerned and moved on into the details which are what I really liked. All the little patterns, squiggles, repeats, and organization of whatever the topic might be. Achieving order in organizing detail, that’s what it was all about. In thinking of all of these things, I may have to do a blog post showcasing this fine body of line d’oeuvres. 

I really don’t remember any other painting or drawing classes that I took in public school education. I’m sure I had some in grade school, but I mostly have remnants of that with clay objects. All of my drawing really came from home and from “work” when I was called upon to be the guinea pig for an upcoming workshop she was teaching, article she was writing, or book for which she needed an illustration. I loved this job, and if I could have someone put me to work like this right now, giving me some framework, supplies, task and a purpose I would feel I’d died and gone to heaven. It’s my job now, and I’m only just now realizing how wonderful it was to be gainfully employed with a sense of purpose while growing up.

I had my second formal painting class after I had Lace. The first was when I had worked with oils in a sort of “academic” class that my mother had found for me with a private teacher on Johnson Drive when I was in high school.  She had a real bunny, and I modeled a Durer like rabbit, painted a cezanne-like-but-rounder Granny Apple Still life in oils, and learned some basics on making things look “real”, that is “realistic” by using line, shadow, and light sources. We worked dark to light, as I did in later classes, with the white being the “high” spots from which light reflected and applied last to bounce off the rounded apple forms.

Because I had studied art history, this kind of learning of structure behind form, technique, and use of light and shadow was really important to me to be exposed to; to me, it was “old school”. My mother had worked on the “creativity” part in providing the best atmosphere for “play” throughout my grade school and Jr. high years. She put me and others around artists doing art through visiting their workshops. I am very glad that she did this part first, because the technique and skill of the craft is a lot of work and can be both intimidating and limiting. Regardless of any opinion of whether  or not it’s mandatory to get the “Beaux Arts” training, it was something that I needed for my own self-confidence. The basic KU drawing classes ABS 101 and 102 built upon this ability to use line, with of course the favorite monday class “Nudes of All Shapes and Sizes and Ages of KU Drama Majors Needing Extra Income.”

When I first  learned to paint in oils, I think I only did about ten paintings. I’m fond of them. The choice of using oils, for me, was often a time factor in projects that were sandwiched in-between degrees and jobs and driving of kids both in daily country commutes and intra-state then for our cross-country secondary education for the Adams. That is, finding blocks of time, studio setup and takedown, portability and the drying time necessary with oils later became a challenge. So, as teaching, architecture school, work, cowboy cooking and family life changed, so did the medium to acrylics when I finally had a minute to return to paint one spring and crank out the  “Dead Dog’s Portrait Gallery” Series.

These are the three “types” of oil paintings I did in class with Steve Heckmann at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas.

  • “landscape” of sorts that was a painting of Monet’s gardens at Giverny. I visited their with my Grandmother in summer 1980.
  • a still life of artichokes from a picture in a French market that same summer.
  • the last was the first of a series of pug portraits, one for my parents, my sister, and finally one of my own two dogs.

The last oil I did was that of Lace with our black pug Mei Rose on a kilim stool which I showed in a blog post this year before Christmas entitled “what is real?” So, I had classified myself as the bourgeois painter of middle class subject matter in theme.

So, back to my pursuit of a mentor-painter-teacher. After learning I could not paint with Stephen Kilborn (watercolors) in Taos, I found a woman in Tucson who I knew would fit the bill when I saw her work. I sent her my history, my portfolio, my mini life story and waited for a response.

And, it was exactly the conversation I dreamed of having when she called. My pictures had said a thousand words, my story gave all the depth of family history in arts and angst. She embraced me and invited me to come and join her regular classes when I was in town. I am very grateful and so pleased she took me in, to get back into the classic oil medium and put brush in my hand. She applauded the academic efforts while acknowledging both my timidity and need for a nudge from the nest to express.

Though this painting was done in acrylic, which forces a different speed with quick drying times, it best expresses what I think will be my challenge and task in the upcoming month at this class. That is, to be free and paint happy.

Trey portrait with Trey in shadow looking on. by Paula Graves Adams.

It doesn’t mean it has to be perfect  or done. That is the beauty of oil which can be re-worked.

And I would now be able to return to my mother’s original encouragement to express.

I’d earned the right to clothe my canvas in the elegant fabric of oils, but this time with folly.

And I like that, it’s like life.
The layers on the canvas tell a story of underlying structure;
a plan that grows and changes over time.
Each layer adds depth, unfolding an evolving idea while gaining the patina of age.


All we want for Christmas…to feel Love and Gratitude.

by admin

For Christmas this year I pretty much decided that I needed to be sure that I had a great day. I can’t really ever remembering particularly wanting the Heidi Doll. And that turtle Troll was probably something absolutely impossible to satisfy that my cre[aaazy, man!]ative mind had made up.

In this same way, no one really wanted to eat all those cookies or peanut butter balls, there was no family gathering at my house I needed to orchestrate, and I was around no one in particular who had any Christmas needs. Even my neighbor whose father had died was super super busy organizing stuff and planning a trip to Mexico, so we waved today while running to respective outings armed with food as I did have a two events with minor cooking responsibilities. So, I realized it should be a celebration and opportunity to have these few days to keep it simple and focus on what Christmas meant to me.

And I’ll tell you, it is a LOT less work. It makes me finally realize that term my father so often used about “make work”, though in different contexts than women. And, I do think is often what we (women) to do ourselves, at least if my yoga teachers had anything to share about their family Thanksgivings… I think we need to start competing on who can do less :). Much of what we do likely misses the point if we are expecting anything in return and when I started to simplify, I realized it wasn’t really missed much, if any. Green wreaths with cherries were pretty enough in my picture. Now, the prime rib …that’s something entirely different….

So, I started early to plan how I would spend this weekend, tomorrow and Tues, being free of any (moi??!!) past resentments, pre-conceptions, and time & money consuming last minute tasks. These had been likely only an attempt to try to control the happiness of others on Christmas Day while often neglecting my own needs. With all of this thought, I realized that the only thing that mattered with those primary relationships in life with whom I’d spent so much time  was one special gift.

Jack said it perfectly in this note which came with this golden gift. The gift is very beautiful, well-crafted and made with loving hands so here is a picture of that first.

Lamb, Mary, Baby Jesus, Joseph, Cow. by Jack Adams, 3rd Grade. Meade Grade School.

I love the way Jack forms clay, I’ll have to do another of his KU Basketball player.

But, it didn’t really even matter if he had given a gift or not, because his words just by themselves remind me of what this holiday is all about, Christ’s birthday. That is, Christmas is about the gift of Love. And, the idea aka the Faith in Christianity, is that the parent, God, had a son that was an embodiment of his love. And, Mary was the one who had the privilege of being his mother for the short time he was on this earth. Here is his note:

“This Gift Shows the true meaning of Christmas. The Gift of Love! Merry Christmas Mom and Dad. I love you!” Jack Adams, 3rd grade 1999-2000.

This  wonderful person who gave, spoke, spread his gifts given to him by God his Creator was Jesus. You know? A really good kid. Took what he was given in terms of his abilities, and saw the positive. He spread it in the way that he was able, to others, learning to somehow speak in such a way that his message from God spoke to very many people. In the real world that we live in, you can imagine how he  was somewhat of a threat to power structures. So he was killed.

That is, a person’s faith that God’s love is really what matters the most in getting through life and each day, was an idea that some in power felt needed to be put down. This is because fear is a very powerful force in governing others.  While it was an entirely different time, in some ways it’s just the same.  Fears, within ourselves in the fairly comfortable middle class reality of being fed and clothed, fears that society can evoke, fear we may let others evoke with theirs that ignites something also within us, and mostly within ourselves if we let it grip us. Fear of poverty, fear of indecision, fear of being alone, fear of self, fear of loss of self-control, fear of not being able to control. Whatever it is that pits one against another, and most often those two arewithin ourselves. Divide and conquer, right?

So God had a plan. If we can forgive ourselves for being human, we can always begin again by feeling love and gratitude.

God’s intentions came to us by way of a story told to a woman that saw Jesus after his image reappeared, but his body had disappeared. His spirit was still alive and he came back to tell what had happened.

I believe this happens to all of us in many ways with people that have come into our lives that are important. They come back in our dreams and in our thoughts. And if anyone else’s experiences are like mine, they are always positive. All gratitude.

Perhaps it’s easier to remember than it was to ever experience in real life. But, I do think at least focusing on the feeling of thanks makes everything about both giving and accepting love easier. It’s only then that I can see what I brought to that relationship and equally how well I treated and thought of myself within that relationship. It’s a mixed bag of responsibility, self-forgiveness, love and gratitude.

It’s only then that I can bring that to another on the holidays as there were so many things that I enjoyed. But this time doing it with more love, more understanding, more forgiveness both of self and of another for not fulfilling any “want” or “need” that I have or had neglected to give first to myself.

Got it, Paula? That is, first remember that I am a Child of God as Paul Rock’s pebble reminded me a few Sundays ago. Then, to feel thanks.

And to know that so often when I am alone, that I have the very best companion.

It’s a time to enter the quiet

that often can get lost

with all the hubbub,

 it should be cherished.

What is real?

by admin

I’m so glad my mother put sunblock on this painting of me.

This post is kind of about personplace, thingpet, and art.

So is this painting.

Lacy Amelia Adams and Rosie on kilim footstool.

Lately, I am really trying to simplify and understand in (my) life, what really matters with all this “stuff”, changing context, people that converge & separate, and how the constant of art all fits into the picture. 

So here goes…

First, a little bit about the “THING” in this image, which is the footstool covered with a kilim rug. It is one of the 9 pieces of furniture that I have purchased in my adulthood, not counting flea market finds. My house is mostly made up of furniture of my mother’s and Grandmother’s. There was little that I could, needed, or wanted to buy in southwest Kansas in general. Not to add, nor to buy almost anyplace that was better constructed or of more interesting design than anything I’d have by way of these two women of impeccable taste.

Plus, of course, I’m sentimental, and taking these objects from other “PLACES” in Kansas where my mother, Grandmother, and before that her mother had lived are one of the big things that made the ranch “PLACE” home before I knew it intimately.

I bought this kilim stool in the “PLACE” which was Santa Fe in my 20s on a trip with Gina and my mom. It was from a man, Stephen Miller, who also helped me to purchase a dhurrie to match a (Rainbow Decorator) Smith & Co. loveseat I’d spotted the summer before I was married. This also had received “stamp of approval” from Bobbi Smith who worked for Jack Rees Interiors, a prominent KC decorator with ‘a clientele who collected.’ I’d interned with her at Jack Rees, the summer of 1980. She was a close friend of my Grandmother Millie. 

Coincidentally, she had also picked out some upholstery for John Adams Grandmother Jessie. So, she also knew the rancher’s wife budget & priorities :), at least in the department of home interiors. Do not take this as disparaging. It’s often far more expensive to upholster quality items that will never be made “like they used to” than it is to buy new. I live by the same in much of my philosophy on domestic interiors. Do less, do it well, less often. It’s kind of an environmental thing akin to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It also might be called being a bit “Scotch” at times, while “French” and “German” at others.

Stephen Miller’s Oriental Rugs was located catty corner from Pasqual’s and across from Doodlets, depending upon what you consume when you’re in SF. I discovered in a recent conversation with a salesperson in a rug store on Canyon Road, that this store’s (Santa Kilim) owner had been associated with Stephen, moved to Guadalupe (where I bought a kilim kabul rug chair), and is now on Canyon Road. The owner even remember acquiring the rugs and his series of upholstered chairs using them.

I had this kilim stool in my living room at both the East and West Ranch Headquarters on the Cimarron River, my two “home” ‘s  for the last 28 years. It is now in my home in Kansas City in Hyde Park, looks “smash” as Bobbi Smith would say. 

But, back to the idea of what I was thinking about when I came across this picture I’d taken of Lacy touching her face within the painting… “what is real?” That is, in a material world, what is it that connects us to place, person, things, even pets? And in seeing this, it inspired the post because it somehow was also connected to my personal ventures in “art” to find meaning, often un-consciously and under wrap.

I’m not going to talk about the person(s) because that’s person(all). We all have these persons and I’d imagine we all have similar feelings when we feel gratitude for having shared time and place with them.

Same goes for pets, it seems there are many out there these days who are having no issues in experiencing their feelings about their dogs 🙂 or expressing them. But, I will put in this picture of Rosie. It is a fake. That is, her Black Pug Ancestress pictured in the oil is the late Mei Rose, whose death preceded this photo by about 18 years when a speeding UPS truck brought about her early demise*. Anyway, Rosie cooperated in this photo setup. And I guess this means this second photo of the post is the realization of a new series of ‘family portrait photo genre’ entitled “what is real?”

note re UPS: [In his defense, I’m sure they lose quite a bit of money on their rural customers. He later asked me, “what happened to that little black pug of yours?” but I said nothing]

“Portrait of Rosie Adams questioning ‘what is real’ in sniffing ‘Lacy Adams pictured with black pug’ Portrait.”

So, here brings in art. I had this portrait of Lacy sitting by my (father’s former) drafting table which has now moved from its location in the bay window at the XIT Ranch to the bay window of The Illinois, 1 North. It is an oil that I had done, after I’d mastered dogs and artichokes.

As an art history major and also having grown up in the Education Wing at the Nelson, I had always been fascinated with the Early American and English Portraiture. The subject matter I’m referencing is that of children or a child, often dressed as a small adult, placed and painted in the context of “the house on the hill” or within a domestic interior. I also admired the later painter, John Singer Sargent, and his ability to incorporate person in place. But, BTW, Sargent was one whose work totally intimidated and blocked from painting.

So, the “primitive itinerant painter” version of the painting type pictured below was a little more approachable relative to my skillset. You’ll recognize the genre from Balis’s painting below that hangs at the Nelson of George and Emma Eastman at the ol’ homeplace. I realize this does not exactly represent the simple folk nor the humblest paintings which I was emulating, but I wanted you to get the “type” at the high end. That is, I think these are the Kodak kids in their “best available painter for the Kodak $$” moment. But you can see what I mean about the naïf nature of the painting with their big doll heads and stick-like bodies. It was do’able.

George and Emma Eastman by Calvin Balis. 1850

It’s really a mixed bag of feelings I have when I look at these paintings, because I often think, “Poor little Mr. Master with this noose of a plantation already around his starched collar… and the little mistress, well adorned with her bracelet, lacy pants, and festooned sunhat.”  Isn’t that jaded, with both sentiments sweet and savory? But, I also see that these children are growing up in this beautiful place, and they are often with a pet or something in their hands that you know gave them pleasure. And, the pride and love that the parents felt in having this executed, commemorating their children’s presence in a special place of meaning at a given age.

In all honesty, when I did this painting of Lacy, I don’t think I thought much about the fact that it is the parents that dress up their toy, arrange it in the portrait setup, and then document it for their own memory and point in time. As so many parents did before me and as we will forever do with the children we raise, I just did it.

I was pretty insecure about my ability to master features, though I actually think I did a pretty good job with Lacy’s face. I had sketched her before. So, I decided that since I lived in the country that I was the Itinerant Painter. I pretty much have to pretend when I launch into any creative endeavor.

Itinerant painter was the term for the artist-by-trade who traveled around, outside of the city, to landowners and others in the country who would perhaps not otherwise have traveled to the city to have their children painted. This was, of course, before the common existence of cameras to capture family “snapshots” at given key points along the timeline of their lives.

So, I don’t know how I exactly composed the room interior in the painting, except that the Guy Chaddock loveseat mentioned above was upholstered in a this cerulean blue color. I am sure that the checkerboard came from…

  • floorgrounds on Mary Engelbreit cards,
  • a photograph of a stained wood checkboard floor I kept in my files that I’d have loved to achieve on the old ranch wood floors,
  • numerous other Flemish interiors such as Vermeer’s self-portrait where he is painting in his studio.
  • PS  Note above what I said about imagination? See how I am just now noticing that I had subconsciously made reference to both Sargent (kilim stool and his rug in Daughters of Edward D. Boit) and Vermeer? Ego check.

Plus, the checkerboard went great with Lace’s outfit in the painting. Lacy’s portrait clothing ensemble, BTW, was given to her by her Grandmother GG. It says, “Spot the Dog” on her shirt. So, I have to put in that picture.

[I guess I forgot about “la mode” when I was pondering above on “person“, “place“, “thing“, “a pet” and “art”. How could I??]

GG, Jade Snow Wong (pug), Lacy Adams pictured by studio, 5328 W. 67th Street, Prairie Village, Kansas.

But, to answer my ponderings above…

For me, art can encapsulate persons, places, things (and pets!). It somehow helps me to feel all of it that perhaps I rushed past at the time in all of the excitement.








experience again…

It captures all the emotions that so easily just escape into energy, often misplaced, and puts it in one spot that gives some release to the maker.

…maybe to others, but I don’t feel that it really ever starts with that.

Rosie and My Shadow….

by admin

I am now permanently settled in Hyde Park in Kansas City. It is very urban in my new neighborhood, at least as far as that definition goes west of the Mississippi. And of course, it’s all relative as I’ve been living for 28 years on a place where my next closest landowner was 8 miles away and a trek to another cowboy house was a city block.

And, I have been pondering as to whether or not I think Rosie has adjusted to urban living.

I have identified some defects of character that she perhaps needs to work on.  It’s not that these haven’t improved since Rosie and I moved to Wichita in February 11, at least she knows herself better.  But they still, and will likely always need, daily work.


  • For one thing, she always starts out barking at the boy dogs, but usually it’s just because they are the ones most likely to be curious about her. I think it must be her scrappy demeanor. And, ss her mother’s friend Ellen said, “it’s because they bark about their work…business and politics…it’s so much more interesting.” But, familiar gal pals are important, and it does take a while to attract the gender that she is really seeking and needing.

In fact, here’s a picture from Rosie at Starbucks at Central and Rock (Wichita) after she finally got the attention she wanted and was holding court.

Rosie and ladies at Starbucks in Wichita with little boy dog neglected at right.

I even felt kind of sorry for the little boy dog beside the table. Once she’d found her ladies, he was ignored not only by Rosie, but by all the other missies who might have otherwise found him quite adorable.

  • And, Rosie has also had two run-ins with pairs of dogs. I am not sure if they really count because the encounters were also with their owners and there maybe have been other issues….

a) One was in Santa Fe at Vargas Mall where I waswith a friend who was mailing some stuff to Ebay. These canines were big black labs. The owner, a calm organic transplant to New Mexico, was not happy all and shrank back in terror. The barking so reverberated in the mall that my friend around the corner at the UPS store came out to see about the ruckus.

I’m sure they were likely way more evolved than she, living in the Land of Enchantment and everything. And…she does have a bit of a Napoleon Complex.

b) This 2nd catfight was with the somewhat-but-not-enough-non-speaking younger 3rd European wife of my neighbor in Wichita. She doesn’t speak English, but actually quite mirror’d her one dog in behavior in both lack of respose and reaction as Rosie did her usual (friendly?) barking. Frankly, her husband told me later that his one dog was very aggressive and the other a sweetheart. He said it happens all the time, and that Rosie probably got the hostile scent, scent’sing two against one (the owner and fiesty dog).

  • She also doesn’t always respect others right to clean grass space. And, I have heard that at Jansen Place in Hyde Park that there is a $500 fee if one doesn’t tend to their pup’s pQQps.  Luckily, I’m on the other side of Gilham and somewhat in the Hood so maybe she can occasionally get away with leaving a little fertilizer. There certainly is plenty of other fertilizer on 39th Street, so I’m not that worried about it.
  • She actually got into quite an impressive fight with the pug next door, Cujo.A very beautiful girl was there one day in the front yard with Cujo. She told me that Cujo had been her pug, and was claimed by the houseowners because they (four guys) had christened her Cujo. I think this would explain why the female dog has a male name. That is, I think it should actually be Cuja.So, she is often over there to visit her girl.So Rosie and I were walking by and Rosie and Cujo encountered each other as Crystal and I spoke. Snarling and growling, we proceeded to chat turning only because at one point, the two lady pugs had each other’s ruff by the neck. We were totally fascinated and watched as they wrestled each other to the grass. I think blood might have almost been drawn.

    We both just sat, like good mothers, and let them work it out themselves until we realized that someone was going to fight to win. With that, I pulled Rosie back and we both smiled at each other, very impressed with our girls street savvy and ferocity.

So, while I do think we all must work on our issues, I have also thought about the encounters when Rosie has been put on the defensive, as she was in the first episodes. I feel like in dogville, it should be like that 70s book…that is, “Me and my Dog are OK, You and Your Dog are OK.”  Not all animals were raised with grassy, green sprinklered lawns to protect and received pet shrink care and acupuncture.

a final note:

Rosie did say she would work on her end but advises me to remember, “What you think of me and my dog is none of my business.” That is, it is only a reflection of her, NOT ME, so who cares? Is this really true?

And another tidbit of wisdom from her. In a kind way she suggested that when I am overly worrying about her, that

  • perhaps I should redirect my focus on my own program, being that the only person I can control is myself.

She is a wise one.


Mama’s Got a Squeeze Chute…

by admin


Mama’s got a Squeeze Chute she wears around her chest, and when Daddy comes home never gets no rest…

…in and out and in and out and in and out again…

…”Cause she’s playin’ all night,
and the music’s alright….”

…Well the kids don’t eat
and the dog can’t sleep.
There’s no escape from the music
in the whole damn street…

She goes, squeeze me, come on and squeeze me

Come on and tease me like you do
I’m so in love with you…

-Pete Townshend.



Why the website? Chapter One. Branding.

by admin


Why the website?

A woman from a Topeka design firm that once filmed John for an ad described it in saying, “you needed a presence.” She was familiar with rural systems, and she knew where I was coming from.

On a dark day I might say it this way,

“I just might die out here and no one will ever even know I existed!” 

**note: many women with photo albums who take the pictures feel this way. I’m confident I’d never be in mine if it were not for my mother, and now my sister and daughter taking photos, though Jack’s now good for a few.

A city slicka’ lak mahself bein’ or-rig-on-alee from kan-sa sidday mahgt jes add,

“I just might die of boredom out here if I don’t find my next project.”

So my personal first “real” website designer Shawn took all my pages of what is called “cartooning”, the menus and my numerous page layout attempting urban cowgirl architect edginess, my at-that-time completely wrong words, and he visually twanged it up a bit. He said,

“I get it, Paula. Edgy, urban, slick cowboy design-architect thing, but no one wants to go ‘back at the ranch’ for that. Everything that you have brought in and laid out is like a scrapbook, a journal.  See it as that.”  He did not even know me, my web way albums, my French sketchbook, architecture school. Poor Guy, he didn’t know what he was in for, nor did Tracy when he quoted that bargain price of $1200.00 over the phone.

And, at the end of a day I am a classicist, old school, whether it is in Paris or on the Plains. And aren’t Levis actually ‘de Nimes’?  It’s only as simple or complex as we want it to be at the moment….So, I came full circle and I know he is brilliant. 

So, the quest for

  • the next client (Steve Revare…any churches you need to adaptively re-use…?),
  • the next historic building along a Kansas highway (Citysearch…Susan Ford…KDOT…, you there?)
  • the next “egg money” as my mother from Hays termed the income that rural women around Hays, Kansas earned in town to get some spending money that was their own and not their husbands which is what I did. My contributions to family were more in the way of driving, cooking, sweat equity with house maintenance, and in choosing an unorthodox lifestyle, not something that floated the boat. The beef was the reason for being out there. 

the website

it was pretty simple. Or, at least as simple as we all are different but the same.

We thought the fact that it could serve as as an interim XIT Ranch History website was also handy. Yes, we. Trust me when I say it takes longer to write a Master’s Thesis than it takes to write anything with Cowboy Owner-Editor breathing down your neck. I can remember an evening of several hours and numerous bourbons shared by all re-writing two sentences when I damn near walked out on the job.

But we both were pleased with the result. That is, I knew what ‘NO’ meant and it was permitted, paid for, and given time to do well by both clients who did give it their joint efforts. For that I am grateful.

  • For me, an attempt to whittle down the story of a hundred year history of kin and kinder kin. Editing the reasons the reasons why any person, white man or Indian, could survive and thrive on this harsh and beautiful landscape  to two.


One father-to-sons-to-children-to sons-to children relationship to pieces of land surrounding the house where we lived.

The fact that it could be a multi-function item for me is just one of those efficient wife attempts to get the whole dog and pony in one place. For example….

  • Flipping steaks on Memorial Day to promote Stew Leonard’s Naked Beef for US Premium Beef and distracted with personal questions, flip out a card.
  • Inviting friends for a weekend or even those in town for dinner for the first time, flip out a card.
  • Sending that link to the paleons in Boulder and Barcelona for their annual dig on the ranch,

“Paõlo, s’il vous plaît, envoyez-vous ce link à Sophie in Paris?”, ‘I so cherished la soirée a l’XIT avec tous. La challenge de parler en français quand préparant le dîner pour vingt-six personnes étaient justement ce que je l’aime.’

  • Someone admired my necklace in a Wichita store and offered me a $125 (this happened), I would just say, “take this one. and if you’d like another, here’s a card.”

So, the website was putting it all in one place for the buck spent on what I felt was a pretty nice little paintin’.

That being said…

I understood it wouldn’t  really work in a functional sense in terms of generating design income, didn’t want e-commerce nor would I be generating inventory to sell. As with so much on the internet and with social media, it would be more of a marketing tool to “show the whole dog and pony”.

But on the other hand, it would not require expensive and unnecessary re-designs of site. I’d asked around about that. Rumor had it that Ree’s last bells and whistles were a +$30,000.00 tab. Gotta sell a lotta cookbooks to pay that tab and I hadn’t even figured out my big moneymaker to sell yet.

I’m a historian, a dedicated fact gatherer to the level that can best be done given the project, one who documents place and time and a story teller.

And like a good book that’s hard to put down, if it’s my life’s story then I can’t just go back in there and re-arrange it all the time, it had to have a start based on my perspective at that time and then just go one.  It’s called “historical continuity” in the trade…unfortunately I need to hold my cards closer,

but who really cares enough to read much these days anyway…my path in life was to learn, unlearn, and re-learn again.”

-quote: Reverend Paul Rock,2nd Presbyterian Church, 55th & Oak, 8:15 am, 26 Aug 12 in the context of “21st c. literacy.”

So, that’s the long story about the why the website.

I’d lived out there for 28 years, a third more than I’d spent in Kansas City or with my parents.

I needed a Brand. 




Irish Cow Punch(er) lines. Eddy’s too funny.

by admin

Eddy made a funny.

Mike had been in and out and somehow there came a discussion of an upcoming Polkafest or some Polish Festival.

Lacy Adams, Paula Adams, Eddy de la Hunt at O'Dowd's.

Enjoying my newest dance moves of late, my comment was that The Polka was not a very sexy form of dance.

Eddy’s remark was, “it is if yahr a fahrmehr!”

[here, I’ll translate for you. In Irish, he said, “it is if your a farmer.”]

“They forgit wich cattel ther hand’lin’!”