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.

Cash in Can: a word about junk, cash, and signs. S. Seneca, Wichita, Kansas.

by admin

There is really no such thing as junk or trash.

a) it don’t matter, it’s all matter, but if we ‘no matter’, it will only affect us.  a comfort.

b) don’t want to be trite but he don’t make junk.

c) reduce, re-use, recycle. -Jack Johnson

d) beauty is in the eye of the camera holder

But, at the XIT Ranch, all the “matter” currently waiting for a new life (scrap iron, old steel fenceposts, etc. etc.) is neatly organized in front of the shop. And, if it grows too large for the ranch to use, it gets hauled off and is “cash in can.”  Not a lot, not really to be handed over to me for a little weekend New Mexico sojourn, but it all counts as going in the kitty.

Cash for scrap metal.

I was driving to Weckworth Manufacturing on South Seneca from Wichita down to Haysville at 7:15 am a few weeks ago and had to stop when I saw these signs.

Kansas Can Sign. S. Seneca between Wichita and Haysville.

I do believe that “Kansas Can” and I am a sucker for great signs so I had to pull over. How could I not? Signage in the “new” manmade suburban landscape post 1970 is so standardized, codified, and controlled in an effort to be homogenized and tasteful? that as a few good people stated:

There is no there there”  (Gertrude Stein)…

in the “geography of nowhere.” (James Howard Kunstler)

So this is an area of town where we can still have a unique iconic sign to sell the goods. Uniqueness and creativity pays back to the owner, in cans. And cans pay back to the consumer, in cash. 

And, Gigantism has been, for so many purchased items, the current status of our shopping culture. So signs must often follow suit in scale and uniformity to be consistent with the structures.

This is not to say that there are not very wonderful creative signs being made today, because there are. Hutchinson is home to the best signmaker in the region, Luminous Neon, Inc. with origins in Kansas of 84 years linking cities of Kansas City, Dodge City, and Hutchinson through ownership.

And, sometimes interesting signs must be grandfathered in and protected when there is actually an old building left upon which it hangs. But that generally happens when the business behind the sign has not also become obsolete. Everything changes…

This is not a judgment, blame,  or lack of understanding about how that works. It’s understandable and creates order in an ever-more-complicated world. It’s just a comment about when, where, and why I am actually interested enough to stop. I think these are treasured places.

So, I will stop here but these are a few photos from my stop.

Aluminum corrugated siding used as privacy fence.

Beware of dog. Privacy fence required with value in material behind it.

I could use a good ladder.

what's inside to west?



Reveals holy un-cola.

There. It’s in the can. 

Praying for Rain at the Scottish Rite Temple. 1st and Topeka. Wichita.

by admin

Doing a Rain Sketch

I know that I should be sketching more in Kansas. It is meditative. I sketched my way through France and it rained everyday; the Loire Valley, Morzine, Paris, Bourges, it didn’t matter, it rained.

I’ve only sketched twice now in Wichita and both days it has rained while I was drawing which we sorely need. Big, juicy drops that puddled the felt tip lines and created their own thunderclouds on my drawing. I love this, it’s like felt tip watercolors.

So, something compelled me to turn right at the Orpheum Theater on Broadway at First Street. When I saw the curved wood & iron balcony on the turreted corner, there was no choice but to get out, photograph, draw.

I want to stand up there so bad, so I guess I will draw and imagine...


The sky was a dark blue grey, so the subtle colors of the leaded windows were vivid.

The colors aren't vivid in this photo but think aubergine, aubergine, Grueby green, milky cornflower....Louis Comfort Tiffany when he was alive.

And just as I was getting close to winding it up, the Rain Came! And I realized that I was at the Scottish Rite Temple.

Paula's felt tip, prismacolor and charcoal of the Scottish Rite Temple. Wichita.

This is all I can say about the numerous google pages I have read about Scottish Rite and Freemasonry and it’s not even my words. 

There are “three obligations” which include:

  1. the candidate promises to act in a manner befitting a member of civilised society,
  2.  promises to obey the law of his Supreme Being, 
  3. promises to obey the law of his sovereign state, 
  4. promises to attend his lodge if he is able, promises not to wrong, cheat nor defraud the Lodge or the brethren, and 
  5. promises aid or charity to a member of the human family, brethren and their families in times of need if it can be done without causing financial harm to himself or his dependents.

This seems like five, so maybe you only have to do three. Other than that, it was so esoteric that it eluded me, so I’ll offer no more.

I do think they always have the coolest lodges or “temples.”  

Temple definition: a building devoted to the worship, or regarded as the dwelling place of a god or gods or other objects of religious reverence.

But, after seeing the above stated values, I guess God and Jesus (who probably never thought in terms of temples anyway) must not have a problem with this being a temple so who was I to fear it as cultish?  It probably came from the DaVinci Code or some movie anyway.

I'm sorry, but I still see bats and think it could be a great backdrop for Damien IV.

I can imagine that God might feel, as I do, that the design of these buildings gives beauty back to the street and to the cities in which they were so painstakingly designed and constructed. Thank you Order of the Freemasons, for doing your part. 

Scottish Rite Masonic Center (Temple), First and Topeka. National Register of Historic Places. One of the six designated Historic Landmarks of Wichita.

Gary the Grizz on bike bags: utube

by admin

Gary does his own work the best. Here he is….


The webbing material is found either discarded or on the side of the road as it breaks with wear. It is used to tie down stuff onto flatbed trucks. Gary used to drive a truck, hauling beef with Kansas-place-of-origin meatpack from the local butcher to a pastrami deli king in California. On his return, he would haul produce back to Albuquerque. Burned out on mode of transportation, but always a Cowboy on the open road.

"bike bag" "creative" "homeless"

Closeup: Gary's hand-stitched two-tone webbing

Gary will be headed to Jackson as soon as the snow’s over, so about now. I think the place where he may frequent is called the Mission. He also goes to the library which is where he saw the picture of the Canadians with the bike bags. He doesn’t do internet, but we have a date to connect through the librarian so he can see his post, Paula’s agenda, probably not Gary’s though he politely acted interested. He doesn’t have a cell, so we’ll let you know when and how we rendez-vous, but we will meet again. Paula’s pony express is on it and now I have you enlisted to help. If you pass by Gary, please tell him Paula from Delano says hi.

If I had the money…if I had the energy…if I had the time…

by admin

The Lord's Diner and the Commodore Apartment Building, Broadway & 5th, Wichita.

The Staff of Life and Food. 

The Lord’s Diner is Wichita’s soup kitchen located at Broadway, just north of Central. It is a faith-based charity serving over 400 meals a day from 5:30 to 7:30, 365 days of the year, 7 days a week. It is manned by a small paid staff assisted by 5,500 volunteers of many faiths who prepare a hot, nutritious meal “in a spirit of compassion, respect, and loving service.” It is a debt-free facility built by many including 175 local companies and countless individuals who donated labor and materials.

And, if I had the money…

I would approach the Tulsa developer and local Wichitan who will be restoring this building to a hotel with a proposal.  Let’s buy a few floors to keep back for the locals who dine at the Lord’s Diner in the evening.

Schafer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, just down the block, would work out the schematics. These are the guys for whom I worked from 2004-2006 when my daughter attended high school in Wichita.

The Ground Floor

This is the floor where people, anyone, could come when life has taken them to their knees. There would be many others there who have been in this place and so need these newcomers to remind them of powerlessness. People would share, new and old alike, what brought them there. Others might share all the challenges, pain, and positives that lay beyond the adventures of the past. And, to share a gratitude for having the opportunity in life to finally reach the basement and experience the sub-grade of birth.  There is a lot of work to be done on this floor, but it’s only twelve risers and the door is always open.

The Arts Floor

This is a personal floor for me because the beauty is and always has been there. In the sweet manure, in the fluttering trash sack of the junkpile, in that favorite old piece of clothing hidden by new sacks of sh!t. It might be beauty to your ears, to your taste, to your eyes, to your smell, or in a smile. But, (s)he was always there with you.  And, now we get to take the time to look, to really feel the depths of the happiness and pain and beauty. But this time, unclouded and still.

There will be the wildly imaginative persons who need the contemplative to get the project done. And, the reverse, and everything in-between. But what is created will be taken out into the world and shared with everyone.

The Work-it Work-out Floor.

This wouldn’t have been necessary for so many when we all came to this country. But everything’s a muscle, the mind and the body. And we are midwesterners, so it is in our genes. It takes energy to make energy and for those with too much, too trapped inside their head, it must be stoked in some form, to finally get the coals back to the right temperature for proper cooking. Those who toil physically in their daily work get a reprieve. And those who are mothers have daycare. The kiddies would workout with their peers while mom gets to reclaim her mind and body.

And then, there is the dance floor.

Because fun is part of life. Sometimes it’s work to plan the fun, sometimes it’s fun to plan the work. But fun is a great motivator. And, in honor of Lionel Ritchie and the building, the first selection should be “Brick House” followed by “Easy like Sunday Morning.” And, everyone has to dance, alone or together, because it is important to dance while you can. Life is short.

And last, there is our past.

For this, the diners must turn left instead of right on Broadway.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Central and Broadway. Wichita.

And this is an add-on tour, optional, but the point should still be made. Without knowing our history, we are destined to repeat it. So, no matter how painful it is to experience our own, it is a learning that is the hope for a new future. And there is a comfort in our children and our world that nothing stays the same. And all we can do is live our lives and do our work and be kind and give in a way that we have great hope for the future. Not perfectly, not with the answers, not that we’ll do it right and the screwups might actually be sweet, but thinking, pausing, and trying each day for joy, freedom, and gratitude to be alive and for whatever comes next.

Here are some pictures that can tell stories to everyone, literate or not, as they have done since the Middle Ages. They are of pain and here, of people of conviction. They should be passed along. Our stories should be passed along, whether in a moment during a walk with a child or in a painting or a recipe.

Bronze Doors of Immaculate Conception. Wichita.


S. army chaplain who who died in the Korean War.

And sometimes a reminder of earlier stories, told in the same way, that also shaped who we are and that we are responsible…

The Fall of Man: The Bronze Doors of Bishop Bernward, Hildesheim, 1025. Lower Saxony, Germany.

But, I don’t have the money….and I don’t have the energy…and the light is turning yellow

So, I took the pictures. And I wrote a story.

Turning left and heading east, Central and Topeka.



The Gomer Bull: a story by way of Kyle Griffin, the Renaissance Land Man.

by admin

This is just some prize bull, but the guy at the right looks like Kyle Griffin who told me this story.

“You’ve heard of a Gomer Bull haven’t you?” said Kyle to Paula.   hmmm…<thinking>

Kyle is a land man from Oklahoma. We were finding some common ground in a Sat. morning chat in Wichita, so of course, facials at Healing Waters and A.I.’ing cattle. That is, artificially inseminating female cows. Kyle put himself through college performing this act, and I remember one year when John Adams did this in a specially designed chute.

He was talking about the straws (they are just this, and hold the precious more costly bull juice) which I vaguely remembered. And, the window of opportunity, which I had not. He explained that this was only 36 hours. I had thought since gestation time is approximately the same as for humans, that this would be a little longer.

I guess this explains why bulls get top seat for virility when it comes to money, though stallions up. But that’s another story. Just read Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, no one could write it any better.
Be! (clap) Aggressive! (clap)
Be! Be! Aggressive! (clap)

Then, the discussion moved onto the percentage of implantation question and answers. This was his job both in his family’s cattle operation and as a contractor for others. This paid for Kyle’s schooling, so as with many agricultural skills, it is that (a skill).  

Next, came Paula’s questions about technique. It doesn’t seem to matter much (trying to draw on something in a famous novel about a women wanting a child ..Willa Cather…maybe something about a position for producing female children from a magazine…but alludes me now…).

And last, identification of proper timing which does factor in. Here are Kyle’s tips for tracking the pen of females.

One simple technique for identifying the fertile is watching the ladies. That is, les girls, when in their element, will actually do saddle mounts on each other.

Not The Broken-d!ck XIT Bull and definitely not a Gomer Bull.

Kyle knew a few more tricks to tell me about, starting with the Gomer Bull.


Well, my father was in the U.S. Marine Corps, my sister born at Quantico, I, at Camp LeJeune, (the $6 babies). My father went off to boot camp in the summer to the barracks where Gomer lived in Gomer Pyle, USMC.  I love that song, and I really liked Gomer best here, better than Mayberry RFD and much better than when he sang gospel and opera. He looks great in the uniform, and I thought he was well-intended (though incorrect) to encourage iron pants to be more feminine. And, he’s got one on me by accomplishing the rope course on his 3rd try, that another personal failure at SME gym class, though I excel’d at fine motor skills. Who wouldn’t love to have Gomer in their platoon?

And my father, a very soft-spoken man at times, was Vince Carter when he had to do things like teach me how to ride a bike or drive a stickshift or hit a softball or shoot a basket. Still mechanically challenged as his adult second daughter, I understand now how stressful this had to have been for him, just as it was for Seargeant Carter with Gomer.

Well, a Gomer Bull is one who’s little soldier is “re-routed” (I think Kyle used) to turn at 90 degrees.


Thus, if you have a Gomer Bull, you can watch for him trying to ride the cow and her acceptance. Voilà! Work is done, shepherd the cow into pen, AI and you’re done.

I was concerned for the bull’s blue balls, for want of a better word. And, as I feared, he does not get the job done.

Okay, back to another identification technique:  K-Mars.

K-mars are a strip of white tape put on just above the tail of the cow.  Kyle said they work kind of like those necklaces you break open at rock concerts and they light up. I was thinking more like scratch and sniff since it’s a tape. Anyway, some kind of chemical thing. Google it if you care, but you get the picture. With this taped firmly on the cow’s derrière, when bully bob is on top, the friction turns the tape orange. Bull dismounts, check tape, got’her done again.

And the third technique: the roller ball muzzle.  I can only envision this, and Kyle even tried to google for some pictures for me on a AI website but I have no visual. I’m thinking it’s kind of a “demi” size silence of the lambs contraption that fits over the bull’s chin.  Below the chin on the mask (muzzle), is a paintball that operates just like a pen and marks everything it touches.  I forgot to ask all the questions here, but in general there is lots of inhaling (these noises I’m well aware of, kind of some hawing and begging). As soon as bouche à fond (mouth to bottom), the bull leaves his mark. Once again, alerting the A-I-er  that the gal open for business.

Okay, that’s it. Any questions?

By the way, Kyle’s friend from OSU just did the design of the bull that earned Grand Champion earlier this month at the Denver Stock Show. When I say design, he looks at all the muscling, aesthetics, confirmation, etc. of bull and pairs up with the appropriate cow, engineering the match of  spermatozoa to ovum.  The Grand Champion of the 2011 National Western Stock Show Super Point Roll of Victory (ROV) Angus Show was DAJS Shockwave 612, May 2009 son of Gambles Hotrod. And, it is kind of like corvettes and hotrods, it’s all show.

Big time bulls like this never get to see a cow, they live in a lab somewhere owned by New York businessmen.

How sad!” I said to John Adams, “to be the big stud on the block and then to never get to be with a real woman.” John said they are way too valuable and they might, “break a leg or something.”

August 29, 2011. A text from Lace…

by admin

Text I rec’d at 12:15 today….  [and I was on a roll…crossfit at 5, home washing face at 7, at desk ever since…the joys of having adult children]

“Mom-try to check your email whenever you have the chance!”

This was the email I looked at at 1:45 pm, since we’d had a boundary talk about communication.  I was trying not to drop everything in an effort to mirror availability when contacting one another…you know…two weeks adult child = two hrs. mom.
From: Lacy Adams <lacyameliaadams@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Grey shift dress and shoes
Date: August 29, 2011 11:13:05 AM CDT
To: Paula Adams <paulagravesadams@gmail.com>

“I didn’t realize it was so soon – but we have our first party (the Botar Buffet) this Thursday where we meet our escorts. This is the party that is the Kentucky Derby theme – I need to figure out what I’m going to wear!!!”
– Lacy Adams

text to Lacy at 2:08 pm…

Lace sorry to text [this as an aside, not in text…I’m trying to be on-the-text-wagon but the company I keep is making it difficult…] but I’m on it with Genevieve with hat dress and shoes. U r not obligated! I had fun but I’ll send you pics in a bit. luv mom.

email to Lacy…2:35 pm…on the way out of the door to Towne East in Wichita. 

From: Paula Adams <paulagravesadams@gmail.com>

Subject: Derby attire

Date: August 29, 2011 2:36 PM CDT

To: Lacy Adams <lacyameliaadams@gmail.com>

I’m checking Von Maur. There is one possibility that might be good for someone smaller. As the Derby is a summer event, the summer hats most like this have all been sent back. I will send you pictures as soon as possible with some ideas and will be in KC Wed. night to deliver to you as I am driving in from Wichita for the Parents Cocktail Party. I also am hoping that this FB post might gather some other mothers or women in for the challenge! We can do it! Nothing better than feeling needed :). I hope you think this is funny. love, mom.

[I posted this and photo below to FB, hoping for faster communication and some tips from other women. It seems to be a genetic thing in our family to communicate through social media as fastest medium]

googled "Kentucky Derby Hats" and saw this as an option...

3:00 pm, Facebook post from Julayne Ramsey appeared on my wall….so sweet and so” other mother” not to disappoint…

“this is not the best photo…it was taken in the mid 90’s some work deal…But I was showing off my hat…..too bad I don’t have it anymore…I was reading your post and found this.”


Aug. 29, 2011 3:02 pm…

Text to Genevieve at Brick’s, Wichita:   This is felt and 78. Something someone (who?) would potentially wear again who wears hats. Not us…

[Toni, Genevieve, Marilyn and Gail are the team of stylists for the Adams women who know all the available clothes and shoes better than I do as I have bought everything here for the last 6 years and keep it all forever. It is all timeless. Genevieve Gordon’s family owned Brick’s in downtown Wichita back in the day. She lets me borrow her purses and hats.]

The felt one someone might wear again, $78. Dillard’s.

Aug. 29, 3:04 pm…

Text to Genevieve:

 this one kind of dull slick like microfiber and to me looks most like the derby hats online that were the alternative to the big brim one side up and one side down. It is $108 which is way more than I want to spend. But since Derby is over, I can’t be picky. I guess someone might go to another Derby party in their lifetime or the actual Derby?

the most like the Derby Hats online…or I thought…looks like something from Alice in Wonderland in this picture…

Aug. 29, 3:06 pm…

Text to Genevieve:

This one has a slight flip up at the edge like two inches (curved up) and the curve is very structured plus the flat top slants so it’s just quite the combo. In the last one the bow is almost just like a free loop of structured satin, and kind of freely more artful tack with a few wispy feathers. so my gut is with that but you know, not I. TY so much for the Chin luu suggestion that I have that is perfect. What shoes?

Aug. 29, 3:08 pm.

Text to Paula from Genevieve and Toni:

We like the first one the best!

Aug. 29, 3:12 pm.

Brringg…brrinnggg..!!!….Call from Genevieve to I-phone (who is 3 weeks from delivering and not working today by the way….I hope I don’t have to bother her in labor…)

Genevieve to Paula: Yes, the first black felt one is the best.

Paula to Genevieve: Okay, I’m heading to Von Maur. Will send you the last picture in a minute.

Aug. 29, 3:18 pm.

Text to Genevieve: This is not a great pic may try for another but have to sneak.

self-photo at Von Maur with Cosy helping me…ssshhh..illegal photo and they are very strict about this, I’ve tried before…Cosy could be fired.

Text from Genevieve in team effort with Toni:  We like this one the best!

Aug. 29, 3:25 pm. Punishing them for good behavior…

Text to Genevieve:

What shoes? I’m wearing the French whore shoes (the pink and black patent platforms with cutouts) so I could just leave those up there except maybe inconvenient since I can’t take off until 9pm and I have to drive back, so if you have another idea that is good, too. TY so much for checking on the navy blue suede Chi Mihara shoes and for getting the cocktail party shorts done. Takes a village of women….

And here’s the finale, the email pièce de résistance….(since most recent at top, read from bottom up).

Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Lacy Adams <lacyameliaadams@gmail.com>
Date: August 29, 2011 4:36:50 PM CDT
To: Paula Adams <paulagravesadams@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Derby party.
Hi mom,
So when is your cocktail party?? I just found out this derby party was THIS Thursday. Is yours this Wednesday night?
Mom – this is the cutest pic though. So cute. Oh my goodness I love it. You’re so lucky that you know Genevieve and all of these ladies to give you such good fashion advice… I seriously just LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!
Well, I’m driving back to Lawrence tonight – but Tuesday night and Thursday night for sure I’m staying at Sara Liechti’s (her address is – 4949 Wornall Road)
I love you a lot & I’m thinking of you. I can’t get over how cute this pic is!!!!!! How expensive was the hat? Seriously for all of these dresses that you’ve let me wear and dresses that you have purchased for me – if you feel that you want any reimbursement just let me know. Seriously.
xoxo, Lace
On Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:09 PM, Paula Adams <paulagravesadams@gmail.com> wrote:

The final 'fit for the 'ffair.

I checked out three hats at dillards which i hate which were expensive and all kind if over the top and sent to Genevieve at bricks and posed the challenge.

Then to Von maur for last option to see cody who had described this tasteful peau de soie with a soft boyish tie and wavy ( like a ruffle ) band.

Genevieve and Toni at bricks chose the latter which was half the price and twice the taste. She also said do the chan luu which I got on sale from her in fall 2008 and u wore to granddads funeral with the little petal shreds.

The shoes are the ” all black” ( I call them French whore) black and pale pink platforms which I will wear Wednesday night so I’ll have to meet you after this cocktail party which is at 61st and Terrace and over at 8:30. Are you still commuting from Lawrence and if not where are you living?

Don’t feel obligated to any of this, it was fun for everyone on your skilled team (which i am not one  of!)and I can take back the hat but do let me know how to drop off if you’d like.

Thanks for emailing me hon.
mother of the independent new assistant accountant executive in marketing at osborne and barr who also has always done everything for herself including fashion.  I’m so enjoying the moment and think you have a great team of stylists who know all our available wardrobe choices from 2006 on, shoes, dresses, jackets.

They said to call anytime!  1-316-681-0361 and ask for Genevieve, Toni, Marilyn, Gail, or Erin. 

Sent from my iPhone

Done!  Everything in red conveys tremendous satisfaction and love. 

Robin Macy, the original Dixie Chickie, Kansas Treasure, soil and soul sister of Mother Earth at The Bartlett Arboretum, Inspiration.

by admin

I have to begin the concerts at The Bartlett Arboretum with Robin Macy.

Robin Macy & Paula Adams. Jimmy LaFave 17 July 11. The Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine, Kansas.

The First Encounter

I first met Robin at some kind of architectural function where musicians were playing (maybe architect musicians?). Robin was attending because Mike Siewart, her architect for her home and co-creator at The Bartlett Arboretum, was there and I think was maybe playing.  I didn’t know anyone and was new to Wichita, newly working for SJCF Architecture and my daughter Lacy just beginning her 3 year jaunt at Wichita Collegiate.

There was wine. And Robin refused it saying, “I have to speak to the parents at Wichita Collegiate about the Honor Code and it probably wouldn’t be good for me to be slurring my words.” She had this wild blond platinum curly hair that reveals her soul piled high and some knockout attire that completed the picture, but in no way detracted or distracted from the spirit within. And, a few days later I met her at Parent’s Night. I learned that she was head of the “Go girls” (can’t remember name…kind of a find your light and let it shine in whatever context or era women are born in) group.  And, blessed, the next year she was Lacy’s geometry teacher.

The Angel Professeur at Wichita Collegiate Graduation, May 2006. Wichita, Kansas.


So I better get to the basics since I don’t know if anyone really reads this stuff anyway which are the following:

  1. The Bartlett Arboretum, links to Robin’s site, description of Lacy and Paula’s first visit, pictures.
  2. The XIT Ranch, Robin and Kenny’s visit.
  3. Robin’s beautiful poem to Lace at Sr. Graduation.
  4. A recent pic from Jimmy LaFave concert at the Bartlett Arboretum. These concerts from her summer series and music will be in separate posts.
okay one
The website has most about The Arboretum as Robin doesn’t talk much about herself, but if you ever see the video on early Dixie Chicks, she is in that and here’s the wikipedia link to Robin.
This is Robin singing[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UicERus50Ig[/youtube] 1992. She is the lead singer and guitar, voice like honey.
  • Go here for the site’s  history of The Bartlett Arboretum, the 100+ year old 15 acre planned landscape started by Dr. Walter Bartlett as an avocation in the city of Belle Plaine.
  • He also contributed to the community in the form of ballparks and public spaces in part motivated with his fatherly interests in son Glenn’s pursuits.
  • The next generation carried on with his son Glenn becoming a professional landscape architect and horticulturist. He took it to the next level with his introduction to French gardens and landscapes as Company Commander in the 1st Division in France during World War I.
  • As life would have it for those with Kansas roots, while completing post-graduate work at Columbia in NY, Glenn encountered Belle Plaine native Margaret Meyers. She was an artist, fashion designer for magaines, a university instructor, flower arranger and garden-club organizer. So Kansas was blessed for them to return, bringing everything they had gathered while away back with them to share with Kansas and Kansas to share with them.
  • Their daughters, Glenna and Mary along with Mary’s husband Bob Gourlay carried on until 1995 when they finally decided to sell to Robin “this cute little blond elf…[who] came knocking at the door. …we gained another daughter.”So Robin’s work began.
  • The site has all the rest, the soil sisters, all the people who make it happen, concerts, etcetera. She says it best.
The Buildings
But, one last word about design.  I can’t talk much about the landscape, out of my element. And a picture is worth hundreds of letters I use, so I hope to add more photographs later and edit a little here.
I’ve seen Vaux le-Vicomte, Versailles, Green Animals and lots of other stuff, but this little jewel in Kansas is most special because it is ours: a product of Kansas midwestern work ethic and lots of planning and perspiration.
The house:  Mike Siewart’s design (Wilson Darnell Mann, Wichita) built a second level upon the simple several room brick dwelling that was originally on the property.

Robin Macy and Emmanuel Magisson with classic expressions. Pictured to actually show the original house lower level in the background.

The Kitchen: This  joint creation of Mike and Robin’s has wonderful stained white concrete counters with weathered patina in the tiny L-shaped workspace. There are only the cabinets that one person needs (husband Kenny has a separate house…the perfect setup), with several doors of antique glass spool cabinets. These were memorable to me as I have a few of these in which I use as drafting tabourets.
The Upstairs: It is kind of a loft space, so the steps are the grand ascent to her bedroom with footed tub and sink.
The Closet:  should be in a period museum and is a painting in itself of boots, petticoats, urban, rural, high, low, cowgirl, play area that is how I imagine a movie costume room to be for a Merchant Ivory Movie except it would be a different movie, maybe Wade’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues meets Daisy, Mattie Ross, and Coco Chanel. But, never a costume on Robin. She always looks like someone who just transcends time.
The Guest House:  this is where Robin offered for Lace to live her Sr. year. I lived in Wichita for two years, but went home the third. I think it was the old chicken coop. It was really too far for her to commute with activities, but Robin was such a supporter of our family to make this loving offer.  It takes many mothers…or maybe she was Lacy’s sister since Lace didn’t have one. Anyway, Robin helped raise the Adams family.

Robin's guest house and some kind of former outbuilding.

Hmmm..only on two? I’ll make this one brief.
The kids and I were gone from the ranch that day, but Robin and her then boyfriend now husband Kenny were on a road trip one day and said, “I think Miss Lace lives around here.” They whirled up in a cloud of dust at the XIT Ranch on the Cimarron River in this dashing convertible to drop in and say “hey” to John Adams. This is always, always appreciated. Kenny is the guy mentioned above who is a musician among other things and lives with his son in the other house on the property at The Bartlett Arboretum.  He is darling with curly curly hair, too.
Here’s the cute pic, I’m so proud of John or whomever took it since the usual photo lady not there. Thank you Robin I’d say. 

Robin and Kenny in front of XIT Ranch Headquarters where the John Adams family all raised themselves together: John, Paula, Lacy, Jack.

Three:  Robin’s poem toasting Lacy at the Sr. Graduation Dinner at Wichita Collegiate School.
Comin’ outta shoot No. 2, weighing in at 101, no stranger to a saddlehorn or a pair of running sneakers, we now toast our Curly Girl.
Miss Lacy Amelia Adams journeyed the furthest to be with us tonight.
Born and reared on the histori working XIT cattle ranch in Meade County, Kansas (Daddy, John, met me at the cattle cross last year wearing spurts and sweat) this fourth generation cowgirl has much to yodel about.
Our Lacy rode a school bus 60 jies to attend a rural elementary school before her parents decided to send their Little Girl to the Big City for some AP-style “edumacation.”
She has been a very courageous woman, living without her family all year in order to make this dream-come-true.
Lacy was born smiling, from wrist to wrist. She calls ’em like she sees’em and knows all the words to Back in the Saddle Again. Mathematics did not always coe easy for Lacy but she was true to her upbringing:  tenacious and disciplined.
Qualities she surely learned while mending fence or building feed bunks in the summertime- alongside her beloved ranch hand and constant companion, brother Jack.
She was a mainstay in my classroom after schol during her Geometry tenure and I am grateful for those times together.
 Always a style-setter this fun-loving madrigal singing trackster nevr said an unkind word about anyone.
No wonder Lacy is loved and adored by her classmates and teachers.
Like her hair, Mrs. Stokley says her vivid writing and note taking is wild and magical.
Lacy heads off to the University of Kansas in the fall where I’m certain she’ll continue to be wearing her sweaters backward and with her infectious laughter, continue to be the life of the party and proving to all who are lucky enough to know her that some of the best cowboys are, indeed, cowgirls.
You can see, life will never be long enough for Robin to refill the pitchers she pours for us all,  sharing so many gifts that she taps into from one moment to another. Her focus on the big picture, caretaker and co-creator of a beautiful landscape, leaves Kansas with her footprint and those of so many others. So, she lives on and will always, putting her energy back into the soils of the earth in one way or another, always with Robin’s soundtrack as backup.

le sketch du jour: Wichita. Saturday July 2, 2011. by Paula Graves Adams

by admin

Kress Energy, Douglas and Broadway. Wichita, Kansas.

Decided to get back into sketching the hottest day of the year in Wichita, July 3rd. 107 degrees. I had done cross-fit mash-up for an hour and then 2-1/2 more hours of fundamentals (lifts, etc.). But, I was downtown and it was the day to begin.

My sketching reveals my personality a little too much. My goal is to start like this and then work back to my primitive sketches as I had at the beginning of the summer in Paris. It’s all in the journey back to being a child, isn’t it?

Anyway, it is too stocky, but it doesn’t look as bad as it is because you can’t see the third bay.  I was sitting on the concrete curb in the sun, right by the street so cars were like 6′ away from me streaming down Broadway.

I finally just got too hot, so I threw in the towel and took pictures, as I decided to finish at home. When I spilled my Starbucks on it, I liked it even better and may have to get some watercolors to put color into the drawing. And, I like it the way it is.

Anyway, the pen is back in hand. It was very relaxing even though it doesn’t look it.

History of the building

And, it is Kress Energy. It has 51,000+ s.f. and 98% occupancy. Beautifully restored. Schafer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture just up the street did the restoration/renovation.  This is the architectural firm where I worked when Lacy went to Wichita Collegiate for High School.

The bank where you change your money when traveling abroad is a branch of Bank of America (across the street and big marbley glass monster building) but the international banking is located in the lower level of this building. It is a very intimate place to get your pesos and crib notes for travel conversions.

And, Kress Energy is for sale and is a bargain, I think about 3.3 million. 58 buildings nearby have already been purchased. Wichita is like a frontier town right now, very exciting. But, it’s getting bought up, better hurry. I think Delano is still affordable as well as the Arts District south of sprint and the design district just west of 135. Come to Wichita!

Here’s the description:

Kress Energy Center is a landmark building meticulously restored and updated to meet the standards of discerning firms, it offers timeless elegance rarely found in today’s offices. The property is attached via sky-walk to Bank of America Building and Kansas State Bank Building. Surface parking for 26 and additional parking available in the Bank of America parking garage.

Located in the heart of Wichita. Kress Energy Center is on the NW corner of Douglas and Broadway streets. Kress Energy Center provides it’s Tenants with access to such key areas as Kansas State Bank Building, Bank of America Center and the Petroleum Club.

Anyway, just had to do my sales pitch. It really was an incredible building when it was built. Wichita an oiltown so people do it right.



Joyland Park, est. 1949. Wichita, Kansas. noon Friday, 17 June 2011.

by admin

I started my day at Blackhawk Crossfit in the Get Fit class.  After our abs, I noticed Kim’s shirt.

Kim in her Joyland shirt.

Always interested in historic places in Wichita, I asked about her shirt and the place. Joyland was an Amusement Park built in Wichita in 1949, a  Wichita institution. Joyland was home of the Skycoaster, the oldest wooden roller coaster still standing in America. Kim’s shirt says, “Last warning, do not stand up.” This sign sat at the peak of the first hill on the ride. A sound warning in a day before we were physically barred in.

Joyland Wooden Roller Coaster, painted white.

I mostly want to just share the pictures. But, Kim said that the wood is a special wood from Florida that is very hard and does not weather. The structure is still sound, with some tweaking for function, of course. It was painted white prior the the Park’s closing as the psychology of the weathered wood wasn’t understood by riders. The thought was that the white paint refreshed its look and instilled confidence.

Closeup underneath the tracks.


Underneath view of Skycoaster cable system.

Bringin' it home with the skids.

They are in the process of raising funds for a renovation of the Park which has been closed for over 10 years and fallen into decay.

Entry to Joyland and pink amphitheatre steps.

The scale seemed small in comparison to World’s of Fun. But, upon walking the grounds, it was still Amusement Park scale and spread out over several intertwining areas on a lot sitting back from Pawnee. I’m sure it was fairly rural at that time.

Old stand with toy.

It was fascinating, a point in time that had been suddenly abandoned. No cleanup, no storage, the last night’s toys perched on the ledge.

Motor room.

This was some kind of center of electrical operations, amazingly small.


The panel says, “Rednecks were here.” But, it had been largely left alone. We noted that it would be a great shelter for the men without a mortgage (homeless). But, in Wichita they congregate in a more urban spot under the River bridges by downtown Delano. This would be pretty rural, and there are no McDonald’s around for warmth.

Games below, offices above.

This building with four or five bays had competitive games below, but administrative offices were above.

Old typewriter.

I wonder how the typewriter was removed from offices and landed below?

Shoot for the Stars.

I had to put this in because we had a common background with guns. I lived on the XIT Ranch for 28 years. Kim is a marketer and distributor of replica antique guns, Replica Armory, especially cowboy guns. They are used in re-enactments and films and purchased by collectors.  She has customers all over the world, Brazil, France, Canada. The French are big into historic Cowboy stuff. Some countries have regulations regarding shipping guns even with they are replicas. The are housed in a warehouse and Kim is the liaison between storage facility and end-user. This is her blog.

Roller skate.

There was also a place to roller skate and we found this shoe with orange bumper on the toe. It would be like Mission Roller Skating Rink off Johnson Drive and the French Market off Metcalf, all rolled into one. But,before anything in Johnson County ever existed.

Bugs Bunny Easter Egg Drawing.

This sat in an arcade over by all the kiddie rides. The easter eggs were still scattered and shattered all over the floor.


I’ll call this picture above and those below: Homage to Randy Knotts and our evening at ESPN Zone. If I’d only known the historic character of these games, I’d have suffered less from ADD this night in Chicago with our families.


This was some kind of submarine underwater game.

Ticket booth to Ferris Wheel.

Men's urinals.

The restrooms had suffered a fire but they had been very attractive. White subway tile with black tile trim. I have never seen such sustantial men’s urinals, not that I’ve seen many.

The Old Woman who lived in a shoe.

This was pretty tiny, only big enough for a small person or two.

Perfect size purple door.

Wacky Shack.

Cut off hand.

We are in Wichita, and I lived here when they caught Dennis Rader, the BTK killer. So, a hand like this in an area that would be rather spooky and sinister at night gave me a moment’s pause.

Kim and her after sale cop car.

This is Kim’s car. She said she was merging one time a bit above the speed limit to avert a wreck and was stopped. I would think this would be terrifying. The officer commented on her driving which she defended on safety. And, he said, “your car does attract quite a bit of attention.”   I can imagine they aren’t really pleased. I had actually thought someone in our crossfit group was a police officer. But I thought perhaps this officer had fallen on hard times. It’s  stripped and with a bit of hail damange.

Tall enough to ride!

Joyland sign. Skycoaster in rearview.

It was a lovely morning. So glad I asked about the shirt and we headed out to look right after our class. A new friend and an old hangout. That might become a new gathering spot. So I love seeing this Skycoaster in its 60s with some age and interest. And capturing a place in time which could go shiny or decay, but will nonetheless never be the same as it was today.