Driving Central b/4 leaving Wichita with nostalgia & severe ADD: retainers, grinding, Collegiate, work, money and food. Wichita, 2003.

by admin

I was driving along Central after dropping off a little manila slip, first payment of $200, and a copy of my insurance card due to a little problem with my right foot engaging with a pedal.  I think this time I am going to blame it on the fact that I’m confident my right leg is a tiny bit shorter than the left. So it’s always reaching out there, harder and stronger striving to match up.

I took a few photos of familiar sites and went to the Nifty Nut House for a few things.I feel, the Nifty Nut House is the nut roasterie par excellence of this region, if not our nation and the world. And they have chocolate, too.

I feel so at home at the Nut House.

So Paula going to the NUT HOUSE to buy dark chocolate dove bites has already made the usual euphoria totally out-of-hand. But that’s another post.

Okay, here’s the story…

My daughter Lacy had great big beautiful white teeth. And, as one will know that is reaching waning years, they can never be too big. Even Lacy as commented on the fact that her front teeth look a little shorter in her adult life.

Lacy went to high school at Wichita Collegiate. I think Wichita Collegiate was built sometime in the early 60s. Charles Koch and many other benefactors made the school possible. It is a good prep school education in a smaller setting than the Wichita Public High Schools. We chose in part due to the quality education, but mostly because Jack and Lacy had to commute 60 miles to school and our family commuted hundreds of miles to ball games as towns are few and far between in southwest Kansas. We never saw each other. It was their time to focus on school. But back to Wichita Collegiate, it draws great students from many parts of the City.

Jan Davis, Principal.

At the time Jan Davis came out of retirement from serving most of her lifetime in the Wichita Public School system (superintendent?) to be the headmaster. And we’re not talking Shawnee Mission, not that there aren’t similar issues. Actually, since Collegiate was never a boarding school, Jan was called the Principal. Later Jan retired again, but was pulled back out to serve at the Fundamental Learning Center for which my cousin Gretchen Lee (my Grandmother’s maiden name was Lee) Andeel was one of the Founders and is a grassroots constant worker. I think she has since retired. And then, Gretchen said, has been pulled back out again to serve.

I’m really going off on tangents here, but since I’m moving away from Wichita to another hub, I wanted to mention just a few of these things. I will never “leave” Wichita anymore than I will ever “leave” southwest Kansas or Kansas City. One never leaves a sense of place.

Jan in ballcap in Homecoming Fancy Car.

Jan was so special to our family. But mostly, she was a fast friend to Lacy, taking the incoming sophomore Country Cowgirl under her wing. And this is the funniest thing I will always remember about Jan.

In 2003, grinding had just entered the scene. Now, I remember pitch black 8th grade dances at Indian Hills Junior High where the teachers (never enough) would circulate a bit during the slow dances. And, I distinctly remember realizing from a personal experience that boys (I had no brothers, just Gina and me) had a sensor on some of them that indicated whether or not they were enjoying the dance. It is not my place to comment on any particular people. Or whether or not this is an appropriate reaction to something as innocent as a little slow dance in a public place on a dance floor. I am not a man and plus, I do not think they are all the same. Well, maybe…

Anyway, as mentioned Wichita Collegiate was diverse and there were some very good grinders on the dance floor in the cafeteria. Lacy said that Jan had taken it upon herself to go out on the dance floor to “break everyone’s hips apart” and make sure everyone kept their hands to themselves, somewhat. I mean, this was a private school!

Later in the year, I asked about how that was going. Lace told me that Jan had “given up,” which is out-of-character for this woman. Upon inquiry, she had just formed a different opinion. Jan said it had caused her too much angst at the dances and that she just resigned herself to seeing it as “safe sex.”

THE RETAINERS, role of money from 2003 to present.

We were definitely pinching pennies (and who isn’t always?) when Lace was at Collegiate. I worked at Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture downtown. So that pretty much tells the story on my wages. That is, I was heavily subsidized by John Adams and the Adams Cattle Co.It took the entire household budget previously entrusted to me 200 miles east. Actually, I do think I sent home a check for $500.00 so John could buy himself some groceries.

A Word About Meals. This is both to

a) defend myself as I was not at home and hearth making good food for the male Adams, John and Jack

b) to share some Adams food traditions.

And just for the record about my job…

The Wichita stint was not for the purpose of me working for a architectural firm. Don’t tell them, but this was not my forté. They seemed reasonably happy, I guess, as I received raises, they put me in an ad on tv for Exploration Place with Sam Frey, and I attended all the interesting speakers and charity events for the office to which no one else wanted to or could go due to young children, loving every minute. But, reality was I about died in front of that computer. The bulk of my day consisted of doing construction documents and trying to understand mechanical systems & codes for all the Wichita Public School work we were doing at that time. WE WERE THERE FOR LACE’S EDUCATION.

The quote that best sums up my career  was from Wade Walker (Gastinger Walker Harden Architects KC and friend and running partner of my father’s). In asking me how work was going, he said “Are you still down there pretending to be an architect?”

I actually didn’t take it personally, as I’m sure all principals in successful firms feel this way when confronted with tedious architectural conundrums which caught them off-guard in some social setting. Business and marketing or schematics and organization of labor skills should supersede them doing CAD drafting 24-7.

In general, architects are generalists though dealing with details. The difference is that in general, they have paid lots of dues that I have not. Kirk and Wade also remind me

a) not to undercharge (hurts them) even though I still have not worked enough time for a licensed architect to have mine. I worked for David Thompson one year and then the economy tanked, office of 10 down to sole proprietor.

b) they also said (which made me feel good) that for the service I am performing, I have had a valuable background in experiences, education (“over-education”), and most importantly incredible client projects, though few.

I feel kind of guilty about this and that I maybe lept over hurdles, but I do need to cut myself a little slack on the ease of marketing myself because where I was living. It was actually amazing I had any work. Of course, I have had zero income in 2011, so what’s my excuse now? Hmmm….other priorities.

So what about your husband and son? Don’t you feel bad? (yes, I heard this on one occasion at a Kansas City Christmas Party and it stabbed my heart as it was holiday season and I would only be home for a day or two). In reflection, I realized the woman was extremely successful in KC real estate, so I realize now that she was probably just wanting to connect. I think it was the second question to which I took offense, “so do you and your husband “swing?”) Once again, I guess there’s a part of KC that has a whole different undercurrent that I have known nothing about.

So, a little bit about feeding ourselves with actual food, now that income has been addressed…

every quarter I would make approximately 50 homemade meals, in foil containers, so that John and Jack could have our family homemade meals 3+ times a week even though Lace and I were away. I won’t get into mine here, but they are Millie Ward’s, Ginny Graves’, gina Lloyd’s and Diane Simpson’s recipes.

THE BASICS: The other nights when not eating my frozen dinners they had John’s specialties.

steak and beans

hamburgers (or cheese) with fried onions. (I do mushrooms, swiss if I have it).

green bean casserole (John adds in some sauteed onions which make it. When he doesn’t have mushroom soup, he invented adding heavy cream as we don’t always have milk but we do have heavy cream. I really like this better as I don’t like soup taste). 

fried pork chops with delicious instant mashed potatoes (I also am  proud to say that I served these. I like potato buds though John prefers Hungry Jack. I grew up on them and much prefer these artificial ones, they are much creamier. I do little cream cheese which my mother invented. I actually tried to duplicate the smoothness of these one Thanksgiving with my new Kitchen Aid and it was a disaster. They turned to gluten which is what happens with laziness like a mixer you don’t have to hold in your hand and babysit. I’m serious, when I poured them out of the bowl I practically had to take scissors to cut it apart it was like that movie The Blob. 

On weekends, Dad’s bacon and egg and fried potato blowout after feeding cattle. John’s trick is putting a heaping tablespoonful of fried bacon grease that I keep in a jar in the frig in with the potatoes.

It is my feeling that one’s father (and then husband) must always make the meanest fried eggs and bacon. And that one’s mother (and then wife) must always make the best fried chicken. The genders can flip, Adams aren’t rigid with that. Jack has learned all the nuances of crisping up the chicken. Lacy, well….I’ll let her tell you the stories but I heard she made a great taco salad for her boyfriend this month and she mentioned something about New Year’s resolutions.

Goodness! I have taken up my time when I should be packing boxes, have not put in a visual, and haven’t made it to the Mexican Fiesta Fiasco. So, this will have to wait a day or two so stay tuned in.

Lace, does this look familiar? I think it was on a Saturday splurging by going out for lunch. I'll tell what I remember but when I do the post this week, you'll have to add the real story.

If you have made it through this (and who cares about all this??), I promise this next one will be funny, short, and with a video on-location. I guess that’s how I got here, I had been to the Nut House and ate all that Chocolate while I was driving down Central taking pictures. 

So if you only look at the pictures, here are few from my drive.

More Wichita Gothic. I don’t know what the crane was for and it’s all I could do to not stop myself, ask questions, and take a video. You can see the ADD with my move is really out-of-control.
I like St. Mary’s here with the tree at right. I could photograph St. Mary’s in Wichita everyday forever.
I like this building and statues, have no idea what it is. I think the snowball bushes in front are a great touch.
I can pretty much find a house I would love to live in, in every neighborhood. See the torquoise…?
Knew there was a reason why I stopped, had to turn around. I bet the owner or a friend of his made the shutters unless this was some stock thing in another era, but I have never seen any like this.
Maple Grove Cemetary is really beautiful if you are ever in Wichita. I’m not sure of street, maybe about Central and Hillside. Has stone pillars all around the perimeter.
This is across the street from the torquoise house. But, I thought it was interesting because, being rural, I love school buses. And, I didn’t really think city children rode on the school bus anymore, so I was curious.By this time, all of the neighbors were, too, about me so I went on my way.

It’s never the end.

A cucumber sandwich never hurt anyone.

by admin

A cucumber sandwich never hurt anyone. Paula Adams, summer 2009.

"Cucumber sandwich on african beaded runner

still life: cucumber sandwich on Gorky, african beaded runner

Pepperidge Farm extra thin white bread
softened butter
Hellman’s mayo with olive oil
salt and pepper

Dirt and Wind and Paula’s XIT Princess Palace.

by admin

Make many footprints, the wind blows hard. One day you will get it right and be dust.

-Paula Graves Adams, December 5, 2010.

The Worst Hard Time

"My neighborhood"

At the peak, the Dust Bowl covered a hundred million acres and more than a quarter-million people fled in the 30s.


"Cimarron Chronicles"

Cimarron Chronicles: Saga of the Open Range, Carrie & M.W. Anschutz

The picture on the cover of this book was taken on the Cimarron River during roundup on the XIT (Former XI) Ranch.

The effects of the dust bowl were not so severe on the XI and XIT Ranches along the Cimarron River as they were for farmers. The rolling land was untillable and unplowed. It was meant for cattle, not crops.

But still, Mary Anschutz Finney, granddaughter of Carrie Schmoker Anschutz, told me of putting wet towels around the windows to prepare for Black Sunday. Mary Finney was the wife of Tom Finney, the foreman of the XIT for Raymond Adams, Sr., Jr., and John Adams’ manager from 1982-1996. Tom Finney’s father had cattle around Paxico, Kansas. His father lost everything after the market crashes of the 30s. It was after that when Tom came to work for Raymond Adams, Sr.

H.G. Adams (Raymond Adams, Sr.’s father and Raymond was the youngest child of six with two older brothers) bought out William Robert’s interests in the southwest Kansas landholdings in 1923, but died 10 years later in 1933. After this time, his three sons operated lands in Maple Hill, and the two ranches in Southwest Kansas.  The youngest brother and his father before his death had formed the Adams Cattle Co. They prospered in being the earliest cornfeeders in Kansas and there is a picture on my website of their concrete silos which were the first to be built in Kansas.

Being the youngest brother, Raymond Adams (Sr.)  was given the least desirable land of the holdings of the land in the West upon the death of the father when the brothers divvied up. This was thought to be the east ranch in Oklahoma. But, though he did not live there, Raymond Adams (Sr.) ventured into some early wildcatting for oil on this ranch in Oklahoma. The specific proven field which is still producing is the South Woltz. I lived on this ranch when I was married from 1982-1996.

A tangent for runner. Provides ranch scale concept vis-a-vis suburbia. And illustrates the value of training on dirt roads against high winds without water with a dog that runs very fast. 

At the time, one of my rural coping skills was training for a marathon. When I would need to do a 12 mile run, I would loop through the south Woltz so that I would not have to backtrack. The other loop required running 28 miles. So my first actual “marathon” (26.2) was actually padded a bit in distance. It was on the ranch on a day when the wind changed, with no water. But I did run with our faithful German Short Hair pointer, Lapsley. He was given to us by the now Kansas Sec’y of Commerce Pat George. His name is George Lapsley Waugh, taking in two special people as his namesake.

But, my point is that because the pre-marathon training was so grueling, the actual race was a piece of cake. The “first” was that usual deplorable time, maybe like 3:52. In my first real marathon with Kathy Kindred (Avon in KC), my time was 3:36:12. In fact, it was so good that after the following entire summer of training, my second KC Marathon in the fall only beat this time by 14 seconds. I was a little depressed. But my Dean-the-Machine-and-Marine-Father-runner-of-51-marathons told me that shaving off even the least little bit from here on was very difficult. His advice was that speedwork and lengthening my stride were key.

So, this is when I hung up my running shoes to put this time into things that were not quite as isolating and meditative. There was always plenty of time for that regardless.

Raymond Adams, Sr. re-located Tom Finney from where he was working for him in Maple Hill to western Kansas to be his foreman. Tom lived on this ranch and managed many cowboys. It is here where he met the girl up the crick, Mary Anschutz.

The point is, he and his wife, Mary operated the XIT Ranch in western Kansas for more than four decades for the Adams (as if it were their own) in many many ways. They moved from the Oklahoma Ranch upstream to the Kansas Ranch where I later lived in 1968. This was after this west ranch (XI Headquarters) was purchased back from the widow of older brother Alec by Raymond Adams, Sr. and his son Raymond, Jr.

From then on, this west ranch would be known as the XIT Headquarters.  XIT was the Adams Cattle Co. brand and that which Raymond Sr. adopted when the original cattle of his father, H.G. Adams, were divided between the brothers and he had to easily change the existing hide brand. Brands are registered by state, and there was not an XIT in Kansas. A single bar creates each letter of the brand to keep it from being muddied, so this only required the additional two strokes.

"XIT Storm Cellar."

Paula, Ginny, John, Tom Finney. XIT East Ranch Storm Cellar, sum 1983.

This was taken when restoring the 1934 adobe home for John Adams and Paula Adams’ home.

John’s Grandfather, Raymond Adams Sr. had these three adobe structures built on the east ranch in Oklahoma in 1934.  He secured skilled workers from New Mexico familiar with adobe techniques. They were were brought to this ranch on the Cimarron and used soil and hay from the ranch to mix and bake the adobe bricks on site.

This is a view of one of the adobe stucco'd houses on the East XIT Ranch in Oklahoma. You can see the huge Cottonwoods and get the feel, but you actually only see the left corner of the house that we fixed up in which we lived from '83-'96.

Our home had a stamped “1934” in a rectangle at the gable of the south leg of the L-shaped structure. It was formerly a three-bedroom house, but not organized as one would think. There was a bedroom, living room, later added bathroom, dining room and kitchen for a married couple on the east end. But a solid adobe wall ran along the west side of the kitchen dividing this part of the house from the other two west rooms. These two west rooms shared a later added tiny bathrooms, but each room had it’s own door on the south side which opened off into the covered porch.

Tom Finney, John Adams, Paula Adams. In frame doorway with brick partition during early construction.

Kitchen (after) shot. This was era, had seen the cabinets in Santa Fe in a Wayne Nichols House. Jenn-Air range. Paula in hideous running attire.

You can imagine the context. That is, the open range had closed and ranches had formed with outside capital to provide fencing (invention of barbed wire 1874) and windmills for water in the latter part of the 1800s. Trail drives over, the lifestyle of the transient Cowboy had changed and he had settled down. So, a couple provided some stability as well as services in cooking and possibly cleaning (?) for the two single men. The discussion of historical “Cowboy” as single man and women in this landscape is for another day.

View to northeast from my office. I felt guilty about having this great office off our bedroom in a former screened in porch but a) John didn't want it because he could not see the front cattleguard or barn and b) I had the computer. The photo at right with my father--in-law Raymond Adams by the door is the former open covered porch to the south. The "front door" was the sliding Pella door at this west end. To the right on the north wall you can see the doorway which led to the west "extra cowboy" room. To the left of the white stucco banquette that I added later, you can see the second "extra cowboy" bedroom door which was filled in below to make a window out of this bedroom. The two doors were unnecessary. This is when everyone had just started doing the brick butted up against each other (no grout) that was set in sand. The buffalo rug on the floor was given to John from my father. He had a client for whom he'd done architectural work who had a small buffalo herd. Dad did a partial bartering of services in exchange for the hide. The Navajo Flag pictorial is a gift from my dad to John.

You can envision the time period and the context of blistering heat that so beautifully incorporated the open southern porches in ranch homes. And, the teeny later bathrooms as Rural Electric had only just made it to Wabaunsee County in the Flint Hills in 1946.

An Indoor Plumbing and Rural Electric Tangent. 

In fact, the folklore is that John’s Grandmother Jessie was responsible for getting electricity down to the XIT employees in exclaiming something like, “You CANNOT let them live like this! You WILL pay to run these lines in!”  The Adams men tend to be conservative in keeping their costs low. And with no immediate or ever return in a ranch domestic structure, these things tend to get tabled until absolutely required (translation: demanded by wife). Don’t get me started on yellow shag carpeting…

So back to this first house, Paula’s dream house and anyone’s at age 23 and actually at any age. XIT East Ranch, Beaver County, Oklahoma.
Dean Graves, architect.
Henry Rempel, contractor.
Tom Finney, project manager until he started picking finishes and was demoted by Raymond Adams who appointed

Paula, project manager and interior designer, pre-architecture school.

It is one of the first of many successful renovation-restoration projects using the Adams-Graves merging of education and design with a sense of place and history that had been associated with the Adams family for over a hundred years.

There is a wonderfully restored adobe bunkhouse for which Dean Graves did plans on this end of the ranch for John’s Grandmother, Jessie Stewart Adams for her use when she would visit. It was beautifully executed and was done right. This small building had to be trenched below to re-pour footings for stabilization. The re-built bunkhouse and concrete pour for the floor incorporated radiant heating so the tile floors were always warm. These were always great experiences for me, because on all of these projects there was not a general contractor. Owner (and his asst. moi) would act to coordinate subs and work. 

The house had Pella windows, brick floors set in sand, Wood-mode contemporary oak cabinets for which we chose the horizontal strip “pull” band at top to be Maple, corian counters with integrated bowls, Talavera tile. The walls were textured sheetrock in the one part where the stucco had crumbled beyond repair, but in other areas, there were beautiful soft cracks that would have to be periodically patched. I loved this, it gave it character.

Finishes. John and Paula. Paula and Dad (Dean) Graves. Pass-thru to kitchen.

The ceiling was original. It consisted of built up beams to resemble heavy timber, stained a very dark brown that was almost black. Tongue and groove spanned these beams. I left them dark on the recommendation of a decorator who wisely told me to not follow the current trend at that time of making all wood light or painting them white. He explained that the dark would cause the 8’6″ ceilings to recede to give the illusion of greater height.

I really cannot believe that this was my first house, for it was a dream and I was a Princess.

My first trip to the XIT Ranch after my engagement. I flew from Albuquerque to Liberal after a trip with my mother to Santa Fe. This is the sign south of the Cimarron River Bridge on highway 23 which runs north-south and divides the east and west ranches.Love the knee socks and I'm serious.

And back to wind, it has been a very dry year. Ranchers in Kansas experienced this in all corners. Many weathered it, continuing to endure, but it was a devastating year for many people.

This is how it works when one is in business with God and it is a part of that wonderful spiritual relationship that some say is trying to “control” the land. Any steward knows much more than the rest of us that the only thing one controls is oneself, one’s work, and one’s management of whatever resources are at hand  and gained with whatever hand one is dealt. But that everything is really just under the employ of Him. Agriculturalists do an excellent job that is very hard, that many would not choose to do. But we all get to look and see these landscapes as we drive across beautiful America.  I feel gratitude for this.

Here is a picture of the house pens by the XIT Headquarters on the west ranch in Meade County. This was on a windy day about a year and a half ago. Pray for rain.

Pipe pens just west of barn. XIT Ranch Headquarters, Meade, County.

The way to a girl’s…make them laugh, kindness, honesty and killer abs.

by admin
"Marcus Allen"

Marcus Allen

The best thing about heaven is that Mark is going to be there and he won’t have aged.  I still have dreams about Mark and I’m not sure what awakens me to remember ?? Maybe I shouldn’t say too much more about that, except that at the end I am always laughing.  The killer abs phrase is from Marthe whose specific memory is from grasping Mark’s torso from the rear of his motorcycle.  He was one of those real guys who drove a motorcycle for the real reason in the 70s which is that no father or family was going to supply him with a car. It was paid for with labor, in Mark’s case, construction for Chuck Stratford as well as measuring with Dave Wood for my father Dean Graves.

Marthe, Mark and I pal’ed around together sometimes. This threesome was in part because we all had volkswagen beetles.  A few tangent notes about those:

  • Marthe’s was lemon yellow and had no radio because Dick Dreher thought that a radio would promotes reckless driving. I think Marthe later thwarted this by hanging a transistor on the temperature control knob.
  • Mark’s white, I am thinking, was probably his brother’s car or his mom’s that he would have on occasion.
  • Mine was a 1967 white beetle that had been painted “hippie green” to make it palatable for my older sister, Gina, to drive when she turned 16 in 1974. This was the first “second car” that my parents bought.

a cultural sidenote: Prior to this time, my mother, as did many women, existed by either doing without a car during the day or driving their husband’s car to work so that they could use the car that day for their grocery shopping, to take a child to the doctor, or for their wash and set. Remember that our mother’s mothers still had those embroidered tea towels that said “Monday, ironing, Tues. washing…etc.”.

This was actually pretty common and one of reasons social psychologists explain the sharp rise in divorce of women in the early and mid-70s. Women now had wheels. That is, with freedom of movement, came freedom to work. As men lost physical control over women, they lost control over the children and that is when our society just went straight to hell, at least as some may see it.

Plus, vacuum sweepers and all the appliances (supposedly) meant there was less housework for women (NOT) to goof around and go buy stuff. Or, in the case with the women in my family, to go do some work other than housework which used their education so they could make money to have a little fun using their own cash and pay someone else (provide another woman with a job) to do the work for which they now needed help.

so back to car cultural sidenote: I don’t really believe that the car was the downfall of men’s and women’s societal roles. Barbie may not have had or wanted a Dream House, but in my mind there was always a Barbie throughout history who had her wheels, even if it was in her mind.

…and back to volkswagen beetles: One time in the SME parking lot we put all their noses together for a kiss. Mark was kind of joint property, even among the best of women friends. And the laughing we all would share….a man among men and a stud among women, both liking him equally well.

And back to Mark. Mark’s mother, who raised two wonderful sons alone, had to have been an incredibly strong and independent woman. The only memory I have of Mark speaking of his father was a  memory about A.I.’ing cattle in Texas with him one summer as a young boy. A.I’ing is artificially inseminating. So, I now think this is interesting and curious, having lived on a ranch.

Mark related notes

Mark related notes

My life is recorded through notes to my mother and kept them all. If I wrote a note to my parents telling them where I was and with whom, and this guy was responsible and watched my back, I had very a long leash. Mark spent a lot of time hanging out at our house and staying for dinner, long after our brief period of dating. My family thoroughly enjoyed him.

Mark was hanging around at my house the night of the Kansas City Flood. While we were at the top of 67th St. (a relatively high point), a later addition to our house prior to a later drain caused a foot high lake of water in front of our home.  Mark helped my father release the floodgates by opening the garage and bucketing thousands of gallons of water from the front to the back of our house. A good man.

"Prom 1977"

Prom '77: he's got the body stance, the tux, and I'm still quite pleased with my dress.

Here is a note from Mark:

"Paul Lenard GO AWAY"

Paul Lenard GO AWAY

Contrary to what everyone always wrote in my yearbook, I was not that nice. This was a date that I accepted because this is what I thought my mother was telling me was the thing to do. That is, to say yes to the first invitation. I do not agree with this, by the way, and in this case, it is not nice to accept and then to complain dearly about having to fulfill the commitment behind the person’s back, in this case the date with Paul Leonard. I always had a fear of boys liking me for which I had no really jazzy feeling in return if you get what I mean. My daughter explains how to handle this by advising, “even the nice nerdy ones still think there is always a chance. So to be both kind but to not shun an overture of friendship, “you just need to keep clarifying from the very beginning that if you hang out with them nothing is NEVER going to happen.” In this case in hindsight, I realize it wasn’t even an issue. In fact, this is the male company with whom today I am very, if not most comfortable.

Anyway, Mark came over to help me prepare for the dreaded date, and when I went to the door to greet Paul, I found that Mark had stuck this on the front door. As I left, Mark yelled from my parents bedroom (he spent lots of time here with various people when we had parties before tee pee’ing SM South when my parents did their 3 week trip to the southwest every fall), “she doesn’t want to go with you!” and other hurtful things that I maybe had been saying but I really think not that bad but just maybe something like, “I REALLY am dreading going” but regardless now I don’t like to admit to having said or thought mean things or laughed at the much meaner things that Mark (boys in general) said.

I am so sorry Paul Le(o)nard. It was really a very nice date and we went to Pumperniks in Ranch Mart. And I had matzoh ball soup for the first time. I think Paul was Jewish, so that also commemorates this nice date in my mind.

"the bunny fleece jumpsuit"

The bunny fleece sleeper

I’m putting in this photo to document that the fleece sleeper Mark wore at the pep club assembly our Sr. Year was mine and link myself with this fame.  All of the (football players..??? or was it the basketball yell leaders?) dressed up as cheerleaders and pep club girls. And then Mark arrived in the pink bunny sleeper. Hanging out at the Graves, he’d seen this quite a bit, but I can’t quite remember any preliminary try-on or how he snuck it out of my house.  It was quite formfitting on him. Translation: Mark’s @$$ looked great in it, all hard but soft and fuzzy, too.

Mark saw it all with me, was like a brother I never had. The white zit medicine I’d forget I had all over my face when he’d drop by but he’d never mention until I’d been chatting for an hour. Understanding my habit of taping over blemishes so I’d keep my hands off (by this time I wasn’t bothered that he saw this) but then later letting me forget the tape was on my face when I had to go answer the door. (He had no blemishes but I did have a little picking obsession at the time.)

So that is it, or at least a few Marcus “Ottawa” Allen stories. Please post if you have more.

Samouyah, Mark. (“we will meet again” in Taosien).

All the women will be lined up for a kiss, a funny, and those great abs. We have missed you!

le sketch du jour: July 12, 1980. Dressing for Claude Monet….

by admin

My mother Ginny Graves found these and called them our “Monet Water Lily Dresses.”

Above: My sister Gina, my cousin Laura Ward McCrary, and I are pictured above, dressed for the wedding of my mother’s cousin, Christie Lee Triplett, in St. Louis. Christie Lee was my Grandmother Millie Ward’s niece as Christie’s father, Floyd Lee is the brother of my grandmother, Mildred Lee Ward.

When Claude and I met. 

I knew Claude when I was in pre-school. That is because my mother taught art lessons at the Nelson Art Gallery, so this was my pre-school. But that’s another post.

Anyway, if you have been to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, as it is now called, you have seen the triptych of Monet’s Water Lilies. It  used to be in the large room just to the left of the Nelson Bookstore and Giftshop which are to the left as you enter the gallery turnstiles. Or do they still have the turnstiles?  Anyway, they were and still are mesmerizing to me.

So to visit this real place and the ponds and gardens where Monet painted 16 years after this picture was taken was like being in a dream. The paintings are actually more real than the place, but they are equally beautiful.

Monet Triptych at the Nelson.


Claude in his Gardens.

Saturday July 12, 1980. (from my journal and sketchbook)

Woke. Ran 3. Went to Breakfast.

Met Granda & we took Métro to Gare St. Lazare.  From there we took a train to Vernon and from Vernon a taxi to Giverny, the Gardens where Monet painted. They just re-opened this spring and everything is beautiful.

See the bachelor buttons...

The house is pink stucco with green trim and the gardens were full of bachelor buttons, thistles, and all sorts of little yellow, red, pink & orange blossoms.

Monet's House with Tile workshop at left. Arbors are along pathways throughout the Gardens. colored marker sketch by Paula, summer 1980.

We saw the curved bridges and lily ponds and willows that are in all the paintings.

There was a room of paintings in his house.  Off the entrance were some of his later works which are really dark, but interesting and beautiful but in a different way.

We stayed until 3:30 and took the taxi back to Vernon.  Sat in café with Granda and had a sandwich de jambon (ham sam) & a croque monsieur.

Our train leaves at 6:00 and we are waiting at the station. Dinner tonight is at Grandamolie’s hotel, the Regina, at 7:30. This is the hotel on right bank on the corner just across from the street from the wing of the Louvre where le museé des arts décoratifs is located (where I am going to school).

Seed pearl earring surrounded by suspended bezel of baby seed pearls on French Wires from the Hotel Regina Bijoux & Joaillier Anciens & Antiquaires

Granda gave me a very beautiful pair of antique gold earrings with baby seed pearls in the bezel from the hotel jewelry shop. Teensy tintsy intricate construction, they are about 1/4″ diameter drop on French wires.

(end of journal entry)

Monet's Pink Stucco house with Green Trim at Giverny. I used little sponges to do the trees. This was one of my first painting classes and I'll have to tell you, it identified early on why anal people aren't (initially or ever?) very good painters. Way too tedious and don't take enough artistic license. I'm still trying to get past this stage...oil on canvas by Paula, winter 1983.

The painting above was done later from a photograph in my album from that summer. It’s not an exciting painting, but the colors do capture the place.

So Claude, it was a pleasure to visit your home, and with my Grandmother Millie, which made it even more special. And if only I could paint like you, I would paint a picture of the crossing at the Cimarron River on the XIT Ranch, for it is as beautiful a place as any in your pictures. And, I may still do this. It is clearer in my mind each day.

Anal retentive men.

by admin

The Anal Retentive Chef. Miss you Phil.

The best men are the anal retentives.  They’re clean, tidy, take care of their person, and are picky about people touching their stuff. They aren’t open to suggestions of going “dormitory style” on vacation (I think this sounds fun). This is because after living in a fraternity they don’t want to bunk with other men, ever. Sometimes it takes a while for it to come out, but it’s there.

The anal retentive architect. Redundant.

The anal retentive drummer. Vicks in the vaporizer.

The anal retentive rancher. Knows every head count, in his head. Look at the iron pile organization and the cattle organized by breed (hereford, angus, black baldy), then age, then confirmation, the use of buildings. It’s all a painting, it’s all good business, but it is anal.

The anal retentive cowboy. The nymphet saddlemaker, the poet, the cutting horse trainer, the jockey, the artistic welder, the Oklahoma Sunday preacher, they’ve all been here, the list goes on.

The anal retentive falconer. Birds with little helmets says it all.

The anal retentive contractor-developer. This guy just keeps it coming; albino snakes in glass cases in the man cave.

The anal retentive journalist carpet sales associate. Exactly 7 pairs of pants in the washer. This is scary.

The anal retentive candyman. After getting some help with the manpad in his late 20s, mentions that the decorator  “threw in a few contemporary pieces with the antiques to keep it from looking too stuffy.”

The anal retentive lawn man.  I think a two-decade long house remodel describes it. Still married.

The anal retentive lumberman. Carries peeled garlic cloves in a jar on the hunting trip.

The anal retentive car salesman. Sending back the bottle because the red was the wrong room temperature.

The anal retentive paper man. Restaurant table setting re-arrangement. Clothes organized by hue. …and it goes on?


Linking it all together…friends, jewelry, and some Neil Young.

by admin

I have been making some bracelets for very special friends in Wichita in the holiday months. I will be moving this next month to Kansas City. I keep my friends, eternally, in one place or form or another and in my heart, just like the Neil Young song.


(We are all painters in his workshop in different ways, our lives the landscape. I like this song.) 


I was meeting with a life coach of sorts, working on my inventory over breakfast last week before the New Year. I gave her a bracelet for her new-mommy-daughter-in-law-Lisa, whom I had just met and for her, my friend Anne.

When I commented on Lisa’s wristlet, I mentioned that the multi-colored rings were of a different gauge. My concern was with the strength of the bracelet to resist a strong end-to-end stress test. How this might happen in the strenuous activity of jewelry-wearing, I do not know. But, I like to cover all my bases for problems in my homemade gifts.

note: gauge is the weight and circumference of metal.

Jump rings. Different resulting chains.

Paula to Anne in comparing their two bracelets:

“Yours has the heavier jump rings, but Lisa’s colored rings are very weak .” (Weak here meaning very easy to bend open. That is, fingers instead of jewelry pliers).

“But, I think when they are all linked together, the structural integrity of the whole is very, very strong.”  

Of course after this statement, I was then intensely into pulling on this colored chain to illustrate un-wearer-tested potential flaws in construction. But then I looked up, finally realizing consciousness of words and actions, in so many ways around this trusted servant.

Anne, a schoolteacher said, “and isn’t this always the truth.” 

by Anne Mitchell & Paula Graves Adams.

The Good Egg, Bradley Fair Wichita. Dec. 30th, 2011.

Nothing’s really original or unique but the moment.

This is for the famous Cathy Faber of Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band in Santa Fe. I met through our SME friend who is, I think, consistently her drummer of late. She has a new CD, look for it!


skull: Day of the Dead, history, ancestors, Mexico

cow:  We are both cowgirls of sorts.

boots: what girl doesn’t love a good pair of riding boots?

cross: don’t know if fit, but regardless, important to Santa Fe.

This is for another Santa Fe Band with whom our SME friend plays, Bus Tapes. I met Heather through him but also then connected with our common interests in the arts and her degree. Her day job is with the International Folk Art Museum. She is beautiful, young and wise, newly married to hot husband, and Bus Tapes' lead singer and a songwriter.


see the hippie bus? love it, ebay.

roll of tape+ “s”. wish I knew origin. last 1.

skull: same a.a.

silver oblong bead: some Ginny Graves finds.

This is for my friend Genevieve. You know Genevieve...my thoughts and clothes coach. Her family history in fine men's suiting-tailoring for generations. She carries on with her father for both genders. She just had her baby, and she's right back on her horse at Brick's in the afternoons with Rory sidesaddle. A bit wild-eyed, but stable.


baby shoe

hand with dangling heart: Shaker handcraft motif

vintage enamel monkey: kids.

(this is interesting…I found in my drawer on old broken Susan Nichols-Lopez necklace. Susan is some descendant or connection with Nichols of K.C., J.C., and was/is jewelry designer, I think in Santa Fe? Don’t know relation to Wayne Nichols, the architect-developer there or quote me on this, I don’t have time to call Ginny. She (my mom) had this made for me in high school. She used wire wrap and old stuff. Recycle, recycle, recycle again!

copper heart with anodized coloring: old cut up thing.

crosses: Kapaun. A good catholic KU Pi Phi girl.

cow: URGENT…”KC cowgirl to Gen! S.O.S.! send out stylish duds”

round frame: will have tiny rory pic.

note: this more intricately patterned chain came about because the heavy gauge jump rings were smaller and way-to-tight for the plainer box link.

And back to Neil’s words in the songs about dreams which give me pause.

I do get confused sometimes with all the places, people, and reasons why, when and where I, or actually someone higher up, placed my paint. Maybe everyone does. But when I have faith and love, I am never lost.

The Never Really End.