Train to El Tovar, II Too! (Don’t) Stop this Train…

by admin

I’m just now planning a trip for tomorrow on a train to the Grand Canyon. Tonight is with Lace and Jay. Tomorrow  by 9:00 am, I’ll be in the middle of a shootout at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. How exciting….

Of course, this makes me remember another trip in these parts…another shootout that hadn’t yet happened….

A few thoughts and old photographs about that trip first…
Then, we arrived driving through Hoover Dam after a few days in Las Vegas. Yes, we took our Grade school kidlets to Las Vegas before we took them to Disneyland! Did not matter, they loved it, architecturally the same trip and none of us really gamble….Or at least I did not then. Life has many risks and it is so much better if one takes them…It was Easter. He is Risen indeed!

My main memory of Hoover Dam was looking down over that precipice and thinking of Albert Brooks meltdown in the scene from Lost in  America the morning after Julie Hagerty has gambled away their ‘Nest Egg.’  Jim Carrey in Cable Guy, too… “Kill the babysitter!” Thank you, Hollywood, for taking us on our first and sometimes only travels.

Here  are the Easter Day’s  highlights which began with our hike that started at 5:00 am. 


Hoover Dam Grand Canyon page from Jack Adams Webway


More El Tovar and Grand Canyon from Adams Family Webway.


I show the two photogs to document and remember two things:

  1. Yes, as I’ve said before… often it’s as if the mother taking the pictures never existed. Even then, I had to cut and paste myself into my life! (did you notice…? In my family album, I had not yet bothered to cut and paste mom into the photo!)
  2. I’ve included the second picture of this ‘family scrapbook’ 3 reasons. a) these are really the only photos of me taken because the kind waiter asked, b) it gives a feel for El Tovar Hotel Dining Room (Easter Dinner), and c) “Dad” has a derriere fetish and thinks it’s funny to fondle at the most inappropriate photo ops, oops… So, I have kind of a weird look on my face…Whatever.

Trip II I’m embarking upon tomorrow will have a more leisurely visit to draw at beautiful El Tovar Lodge designed by Charles Whittlesey. I’ll keep you posted…Trails to Rails…

(Don’t) Stop this Train…

Lacy’s Rudogh and Jack’s Minimalistic Sleigh with Multi-legged Guide who will go down in His-Story.

by admin

Lacy read read read "fresh books" so she has these great phonetics!

Just love it! Like Santa because he has a triangle hat, a triangle moustache and a triangle beard. And Mrs. Claus has a Triangle body. Also can you see it is obvious this child has curly hair herself because of how she handles curlicues for both curlybeard and furry boottops.

Hi, I’m old Santa! Merry Chrismes. 

I’m and elf on rodogh.  (Lace has read so much, I think she’s 7 here, that she’s got the ph down for the “f” sound).

Hi! I’m Mrs. Claus. And I make cokieyes. (Again, she has the “y” consonant for “i” sound).

re: cookie baking and the Mrs.’s often making the holidays as much work as possible

  • So Lace, thanks for noticing that Mrs. Claus is in there baking all those cookies and usually solo I might add. Graves Family tradition was:
  • cookie press green almond butter wreaths with tedious cherry bows
  • nutty nougats (individually rolled in sugar with about 30% loss if done too quickly before cookies cooled)
  • iced sugar cookies (don’t even need to say a word about how much work for anyone who makes these not to add how my detailed decoration doubled the time)
  • and Adams addition of peanut butter balls (that Jack ate as fast as I could roll).
  • The point is, Jack and Lace soon realized it was an all-day ordeal and the value for going feeding with dad and cheerfully doing barn duty for a good part of those days!  I got some help from both, but Jack seemed to mysteriously disappear along about in Jr. High. So relieved I don’t have the cookie press with me this year.


And both of the kids (see Jack’s below) have at least one extra leg. I agree, when you look Rudolf and all the reindeer it gives the impression that there are a million sets of legs there carrying all those toys.

PUPPET??? (Lace will have to explain this).

I have no idea why the puppet is there except that there was an old puppet theatre in the basement that the kids would play with at mom’s. He has has a triangle hat. Actually, in looking at the strings and bar above, it might have been one of our old marionettes from those shows we did at the Nelson Gallery where we made our own puppets.


So here’s Jack’s..he is five.

Love the sleighs!

I am trying to get back to this level of simplification that I fear I never had in making everything so complicated. I do not know what the simple lines are at the left, but maybe he was perfecting the sleigh because they do usually have that roll in the front.

In the middle picture:

Santa has Rudolf sitting on the front of the sled which I think is great. Rudolf needs a break and frankly, if Santa’s sleigh isn’t self-powered then who’s really is? Love the circle, edited bag of toys.

On the top right picture:

Santa (in both) has some nice rosy cheeks and his bag is bigger as is sleigh.  Because the kids grew up on a ranch with deer munching our trees we tried to plant in the yard as well as eating all of our alfalfa, Jack has seen lots of antlers. Plus, when deer hunters get a deer, they often leave the antlers so they are often in a pile all jumbled up and interlocked (like those gateways to Square in Jackon). So I like the way he deals with their intricacy and just makes a big locked up mesh. He looks like a pretty big Buck!

And again, Rudolf has at least 3 spare legs which can always come in handy when you are traveling the miles that he covers.

Okay, that’s it! I love them. Again, they would not be here if it were not for my mother Ginny Graves saying, “draw me a picture!”  and “Tell me about your picture.” Good job Grandy GG.

Rudoph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh Saturday night!? 

Sampler: 29 years of Adams Custom Christmas Cards…

by admin

Well, I didn’t get a Christmas Card out this year. And I won’t be able to see those you have sent over the holidays. But I know they are all beautiful pictures sharing kind sentiments and interesting news from old friends and new to the Adams Family. Thank you! I’m sure they are in a big bowl in the living room with everyone watching over Dexter episodes.

My job was staging the picture, a thankless one that I now realize my mother has always had to bear. One year we had a professional photographer, Robert Love, Ivanhoe Love’s brother (the Liberal Mayor). I cannot find that card. We were all wearing white, very posed and a bit stiff with our hands placed upon each other. It was nice, but I thought we all looked pretty uptight.

I loved doing card design. As did Jack and Lacy. I was the coordinator, printer, and database.  Jack will remember the year we were both so challenged with the avery label print merge on my Dell that the final file was labeled Merry fre@k!ng Christmas labels (or some version of that). It was used for the next several years without computer corrections to the database because it was so hard to do.

Many years I would get help with stamps and labels, but as most mothers know, it is often easier to get them out yourself. The last Mexico card was ready the week of Thanksgiving and I still think it barely made it by New Year’s. Doesn’t matter, a couple of the years the Christmas Cards became Valentine’s Day cards. I always think it’s fine to skip a year if nothing inspirational comes to mind or if it might send one (me) over the precipice. You’ll notice we had very few the 8 years of getting Adams kids through high school in cities afar, working, and commuting to ranch.

So here are a few….

Map from Meade, Kansas to the East Ranch in Oklahoma on Cimarron River.

This was a map with landmarks along the dirt road that took people from 15 miles south of Meade to the ranch house on the East XIT Ranch in Knowles, Oklahoma.

I have to admit it that you are missing a card which was a classic that I am very embarrassed to have sent out. Fortunately I cannot find it in the scrapbooks. John and I are on a horse,  I have on a Laura Ashley dress with a white apron, and John is holding our male pug Winston. Winston, by the way, was later eaten by a coyote…”the dingo ate my baaaybeh”. This was a real eye-opener for me about (wo)man in nature and kill or be killed.

Christmas Card from 1987, the Christmas before Lacy was born.

Christmas 1988. A Blessed Child is here. I knitted the sweater and you can tell she was born a happy horsewoman.


Lacy and Mei Rose. Lacy had pony print pants and I painted her in these, so I'll stick that picture in, too. It was kind of a theme that year and Christmas.

Well, here's the painting and the pug.

And here's Lacy in the pony print pants with her red high top sandals.


We had lots of paper dolls, so this was the Cowboy Santa Paper Doll Card with Lacy's Dear Santa list on his legal pad.

John, Jack, Paula, Lacy Adams. Jack Adams looks like he is smiling but it was FREEZING and he was really crying. I guess that is why dad is laughing. Boys will be boys.

Now here Jack is really happy I think, but again, winter winds in SW Kansas are colder than a b!tch's wit.

 Here is one of those late Valentiner’s. I think it’s actually pretty nice because people actually have time to look at the card as it’s not amidst 500 others.

Love this one, green red blue. I think this was taken Christmas Day because Lacy has her kitten Midnight. Lace cut a picture of a tabby out of a magazine and John scoured southwest Kansas until he saw that exact kitty. Midnight was born a barn cat and stayed a barn cat and mouser. She lived in a tree and one time caught a rabbit and drug it up into the tree, very tough cookie.

Lacy and Jack Adams by carvings at rock outcrop. 1995

Seaside, Florida. 1997.

Lace's drawing of the newly restored Rock Island Depot in photo collage.

Lacy did this great perspective drawing with a light table of the Liberal Rock Island Depot. It was adjacent to the  Grier Eating House (like Harvey Houses but on Rock Island Line) that received ISTEA Grants from KDOT for Restoration-Renovation of the two buildings.

I worked in various areas: schematics, grants, historical significance, and did fundraising so it was a baby for me.  I am proud to have been associated with work of so many many others and there is a great Italian restaurant if you need a bite to eat when traveling on 54 west.  Jack and Lace spent some time there, but rollerblading not allowed on the quays of the tracks so the card is in defiance of city rules.

Oh, Home on the Range. Lace did this drawing and I added the boots. They are over at the guest (bunk) house in that kitchen. They are also pictured on the horses riding outside of the window.

Bob Bernquist skateboarding picture that Jack drew. Then he put into Adobe Photoshop and colored in the fields. Bob is flying on the hilltop over the Cimarron River where I would run everyday on the West Ranch. Get the Mood, Dude! Brilliant, Jack.

This should be Christmas of 2000 or 01 and Jack would have been 9. His pictures were always total action.  The complex twisted body poses always convey the exact movement. He still has this ability to see how people use their bodies to a T and dances and moves like a cat.

He sees it in his brain because he seems to memorize so easily upon seeing and imprints that snapshot in his brain without having to see a picture. Same way with math. Don’t know where he gets it. I wish I had this abililty to see and master foreshortening. Look at Bob’s hand curved back in the air!

For the caption on the back, Jack wrote, "Lacy, what do you think Dad is going to say?"

This card was the Christmas after a summer we went to Chicago. We walked Michigan Avenue with Randy & Heather Knotts and their family taking pictures and lounging along the way around the Cows on Parade.

So this is Cows on Parade on the uplands along the Cimarron River.

Lacy, Paula, John, Jack in New York City, Thanksgiving after 9-1-1. I think we are outside of one of Lidia's restaurants.

Here’s another that became delayed as I was at long last finishing my last tech. arch. studio in Lawrence while John and kids held down the fort at the ranch. Mostly what I remember is that the apartment at Meadowbrook had a pull-down bed and it had to be up most of the time for all the models and projects at my drafting table and it was very lonely for I missed my family, but worth it and necessary for later events to unfold for our family for high school. Believe it or not, the Adams family would come up to visit and we would all sleep in the room together.


I know we’re missing quite a few in here. But, these were the years when we got the Adams children a genufied citified high school edumacation. And it was grueling, and we survived, but personally only by the skin of my teeth. And maybe I’m going to have to be the one to say it to all of us, but… we got’er done! And well-done at that. Fait Accompli, the bulk of our work and work and driving and driving and driving and working and working was over. I’m sure all parents feel this way in some form or another, rural or urban. Of course, it was also the bulk of too much fun!

Jack, Lacy, John, Paula Adams. Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. sum 2010.

So, you may have seen this last card on Facebook the other day. This was a vacation we took in Puerta Vallarta the summer of 2010.  We really had only taken one beach trip like this in that decade to St. Croix the year that Lacy graduated from high school, so it was a real treat and it was a lovely trip. We waited until the last night, I ordered up jeans and black and it still hadn’t been taken after dinner and lots of wine. But what did God send but this beautiful orange stucco wall with tiered steps and I think it is really our best family Christmas Card.

Many happy memories!

Ode to Jack Lloyd Christmas.

by admin


The adjacent building to The Stanley Hotel in Estes. Jack, John, Lacy Adams on the steps.

by Peter Farrelly,
Bennett Yellin and
Bob Farrelly

We went to movies on Christmas Day at the Ranch.  One year, John and I went to Dumb and Dumber with his funniest brother and our funniest Uncle Charlie Adams. I think it was pre-kids, don’t know the year. Our abdominals ached for a week.

But this it is a favorite of our family, in part because they also went to Cheley Camp in Estes where parts of the movie were filmed. Before Jack went to camp and we visited Lacy, as well as after camp altogether we stayed at the Stanley, that is The Danbury.

Jim Carrey and cast at The Stanley (Danbury) steps. Is this Jack at the right?

CUT TO:  Hotel Danbury


Surfboards? I thought those were beginner’s skis.

This suddenly makes sense to Harry.

Lloyd opens a box and holds up a SCANTY NEGLIGEE.


Where’d this come from?



I bought it. 


What for?

(defensive)…I mean, you know, when a woman’s wearing it.

Lloyd inspects it more closely.


Harry, how many women do you know who wear a size XXL?


Look, leave me alone. I’m rich now. I’m supposed to have a few eccentricities.


Legends Ralph Lauren Store. Jack spies, mother cries

you have to get it!”


Sheraton Circle Drive, CCPlaza, pre-Thanksgiving. 

Mother blissful with Jack Lloyd Christmas and Sis.

Isn't it Great?! GG would be proud. You could be a rug in her home or maybe more of a bedspread.

So in memory of Jack Lloyd Christmas: 


I couldn’t help noticing the accent. You from Jersey?





Austria? You’re kidding.

(mock-Australian accent)

Well, g’day, mate. What do you say we get together and throw a few shrimp on the barbie.

The Young Woman turns her back to him and walks away.


(to self)

Guess I won’t be going Down Under tonight. 


Boy, I’ll tell you, this is one dangerous highway.

You wouldn’t believe all the road pizza –two dead dogs, a couple of rabbits, a snake and some big thing I couldn’t even recognize.


That’s awful. Did you see them get hit or were they already lying there?


I hit’ em.

Harry rubs his eyes and looks at the passing FLATLANDS.


Funny.  I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.


I was thinking the same thing.

That John Denver’s some full of shit, huh?



Wait a second, I have an idea.

You go over and introduce yourself.

That way you can build me up so when I come along so I won’t have to brag about myself.  Tell her I’m good-looking and I’m rich and I have a rapist’s wit.


Time out. Where are you going dressed like that?


I, uh, thought while you were making your love connection I’d try my luck on the slopes.


You mean you’re gona go out in public dressed in tights?


These aren’t tights. They’re fashionable Euro-trash ski trousers.


But you can see the outline of your who-who.

Please take over with your favorite Lloyd Christmas lines. And post!

Jack Adams Santa Claus drawing with Ginny Graves. age 4 1/2.

by admin

Red Christmas Tree, Santa, Green Christmas Tree.

Jack Adams drawing of Santa Claus. age 4 1/2.

Drawn on a trip to GrandaGG’s at 5328 W. 67th St. in Prairie Village. July, 1995.

My mother Ginny Graves was the Art Lady from the Nelson Gallery. She was also the creator and director of all of the Art Programs in the Johnson County Library System.

I got to help her with these things, making stuff, being with other kids, on tv, setting up and cleaning up for classes, even teaching an art Class at Cedar Roe Library when I was 12 one summer.

But, most of all I am most thankful because I got to MAKE STUFF. And it was all organized ahead because she got all the supplies and paints and yarn and whatever for whatever general area of project that was proposed. In my mom’s case unlike grade school art, this was very loosely defined so that the creator could let their mind wander on just a few ideas thrown out.

Plus, my mother gets the best art out of EVERYONE.

Anyway, these are two things my mom will say. It don’t know if she is just magical, or if it is just someone who knows the value in taking the time and the interest to say it to a child or an adult, to ask this question.

“Draw me a picture.”  -Ginny Graves.

“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.”  -James Russell Lowell.

How flattering that someone feels enough about your ideas to help you start. That is what my mother was called upon to do at this time and throughout her life.

Then later, she will always say this.

“Tell me about your picture.” -Ginny Graves. 

This makes it an even more special picture because both people can then learn about the thoughts and processes of using our eyes and what is inside of our heads to form an idea, a plan, that progressively gets down onto the paper.

“Creation is only the projection into form of that which already exists.” -Shrimad Bhagavatam

When someone cares enough to be interested and feels that they can learn something by hearing what you were thinking when you did it, how you formulated an idea and made it come forth, it is a confidence builder. Feeling your creative is empowerment.

Creative expression in whatever means, sales, business, relationships, doodles, cooking, style, and even working our sometimes wacked out minds-emotions for both positive or not-always-so-positive means involves time and energy. I feel that figuring out how and when and why we are always creating in life, whether conscious or not, and how to harness it is one of life’s challenges. Then, to focus it, to rein it in and put it into positive directions that are better for ourselves and others. That is ultimately, maybe, what we all are striving to do?

I don’t want to get into too many quotes from my yogi book that told me about all the chakras but creativity is your second one (they go from bottom up).

Read below,

good to know“, and

wouldn’t you know?” in a nutshell.

(And then I do want to talk about Jack’s great drawing.) 


  • area of body:  sexual organs
  • human talent:  creativity
  • color: orange
  • shadow emotions:  passionate manipulation, guilt
  • element: water

Jack’s Santa. A mother’s thoughts.

I don’t know if he said this to mom and she told me or if I am just looking at this drawing to try to figure it out.  Probably the first as you know how it is with small kids, sometimes we don’t take the time and this is for what we have Grandmother’s. I like to draw, and did some art stuff with the kids, but I can be a real micro-manager which is counter-productive. I was a better manager-mother in general when I got busy having my own life.


I would think that the long legs are because Santa has to go down that long chimney.  We are a rather small family in stature, so that’s a pretty long jump from the top of our roof down into the living room at the XIT Headquarters. So, these long legs at least get Santa down through that circuitous shaft that runs from the top of the later second-story roof of the house, through the attic, and to about the ceiling of the living room. He can jump that last flight, that’s nothing with those legs.


I don’t know about all the editing on Santa’s head with just the eyes, the long, thick bare neck, or that shriner’s thing on top of Santa’s head and won’t conjecture.  He has Santa’s black belt.  But you can see, the legs to get down were the most important consideration.


I think the trees are wonderful.  Instead of thinking about the trunk, it seems like it is just getting the essence of the shape of the tree, very stylized. The tufts of green are both representing, to me, the tufts of needles on the trees but arranged almost like ornaments or lights so it is all in green. And the one tree is red.

Jack and Color. And conformity.

Jack, in another project, never seemed to be bothered that his wine bottle tissue paper reindeer body was red, not brown. When my mom asked him how he chose his color for the reindeer, Jack responded something to the effect of liking red, “of course, GG.” Rudolf did have a red nose, though.

This was also the case in Meade Grade School when the children would color in the line drawing of the Jack o’ Lantern which would then decorate the window of the Stockgrower’s State Bank. All of his classmates would color in perfect orange pumpkins with green stems, with the goal to “stay within the lines.” There would be 22, all lined up where they were displayed. I drove by one day to get money and saw that there was a purple one with some patchwork, color extending all over the paper and I knew that was my son’s. He did make the stem green, so it’s not as if he didn’t have some semblance of respect for context of fellow pumpkin artists.

So, mainly I was thinking about Christmas this year, about my parents, and had this drawing stuck away in a folder to share with everyone this season. So here’s the main point!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

Adventures of the Handy Dandy All-Purpose Ballgown from Wells Street.

by admin

The Handy Dandy All-Purpose Ballgown from N. Wells Street was born into the Adams Family on a trip to Chicago in the summer of 1999.  John and Paula Adams were there on a summer trip. I think Jack and Lace were on this trip, because I remember Jack playing with a ball on the steps in front of Nicole Miller. We also bought a black Barbie silk vest for Lacy that I think she wore once, but it will be great for dress-up.

The cumulative total of Balls attended respectively by John and Paula Adams at this time was three.  John Adams had attended the Jewel Ball in 1979.  He had been solicited to escort, but had mistakenly felt he could be absent from parties in June for two weeks to fulfill family roundup and branding responsibilities on the XIT Ranch in western Kansas. When he returned, he had been demoted to the floor committee.  “What on earth were you thinking?,” was my comment when he still seems a bit injured. The other two Adams ball attendances were Paula Graves BOTAR Debut in 1982 (1) with John Adams as her escort (2).

I like to go on record here that John Adams, though he went to Pembroke-Hill, was from Wabaunsee County.  He was living in Lawrence finishing his last semester in business school while Paula was first working at Hallmark as design coordinator and then working at Halls in retail.  Because a BOTAR could choose her escort if she as engaged, John Adams as fiancé was her GOTAR. It tends to be a bit of a family competition at times which holds social rank: being the BOTAR from Kansas City or being the demoted Jewel Ball Escort from Wabaunsee County.

There were two dresses, one a bit more expensive than the other, both very pretty. The less expensive was a crinkly black fluffier number that would look very good on someone about 5’4″ and taller.  The other was this dress pictured below.

The Handy Dandy All-Purpose Ballgown from Wells St., Paula, John, stucco fireplace.

The structure:

It was column-like with a bit of a flare at the pedestal base. Not enough to be anything tent-like, which is how small women can feel when wearing a floor-length dress. Just enough to make it easy to walk, and more important, in which to dance. The bodice is boned.

The sheathing:

Textiles always do it for me.  Handy Dandy’s skin is an aubergine silk that is cross-woven with black. It is crushed into very flat wrinkles.  This gives her a faintly iridescent appearance. It reminds me of an old swakara (persian lamb) coat I have of my grandmother’s or bird’s-eye maple or anything very intricate, but naturally patterned in a tight, small design.

Anyway, after trying on this dress John Adams said, “that’s the one.” For a man who never appears to have any interest in or spends any time shopping, he has a good eye. But, his maternal Grandfather was an artist and had a sign company. And, his father had a good look.  As well, John Adams always looks pretty dapper.

Adventure One-Debut at the 50th Botar Ball:

The 50th Annual Botar Ball.  My friend Betsy, whose taste in fashion is impeccable, called me a trophy wife. That was nice, being that I had young children and was slaving through that last semester of architecture school so I could get the job in Wichita for Lacy to go to the big city school. Neither John nor I were feeling like there was any trophy at the end of the tunnel of marriage, children, and attempting to live rural and urban lives driving thousand of miles and eventually getting Lace educated in secondary school 200 miles from home where I would work for SJCF Architecture. It was grueling, but we were moving towards doing it, and we did it. So, feeling like a prized heifer got me through.

Handy Dandy does the Meade Eighth Grade Graduation.

Adventure Two-Second Appearance at Meade 8th Grade Graduation:

Handy Dandy appeared on stage at the Meade High School for the Meade Eighth Grade Graduation with Lacy Amelia Adams when she graduated from Junior High.  This is a formal occasion, not uncommon in smaller rural towns.  I think my mother told me of wearing a white long dress to her eighth grade graduation, or perhaps this is someone else who grew up in a small town.

I have included the picture of Lacy as she walked down the aisle with the flower that all the girls held.  A local member of the clergy was the guest speaker.  He spoke of Christian values, which at the time I found jarring, wanting separation of church and state education.  But, I’ve lightened up on this and feel it was a reflection of common values that we all held in that room. It was just clothed in a language that was probably not offensive to many, if not most, of the people in that auditorium in Meade, Kansas.

If you will look at the bottom picture of the lineup, you will notice how all of the kids turned so nicely to look at me when I took their picture.  Amanda West is the “even more petite than Adams women” girl to Lacy’s left.  She and Lace get the prize for most effervescent.  Lacy is seen having lost all composure at the occasion.  This happened on several occasions at Meade Grade School performances, at times even taking down the group. But, she was forgiven and loved for her transgressions and has since learned to handle public appearances in full control of her mirth.

Adventure Three-The Handy Dandy All-Purpose Ballgown from Wells Street at the 62nd Annual Botar Ball, Oct. 22, 2011.

When Lacy Adams was asked to be a BOTAR in the summer of 2011, the BOTAR Mother pondered, “what to wear?” Because this frock had traveled across the state and was in the possession of Lacy Adams, I asked if I could borrow it back.

Though I had been instructed from my friend Betsy,”You will not cut off that beautiful dress,” I ignored the advice. I hauled it to my stylists at Brick’s in Wichita, and asked for a second opinion.  “Where will you ever wear a long dress, or more pointedly, where will you ever want to wear a long dress?” they said.  Good point. Not only are they not conducive to climbing stairs, they are not height inducing for the Lillputian. A little bit of leg helps.  And, they don’t show the killer shoes I intended to wear that were also recycled from the Governor’s Inaugural Ball.  Oh, I guess I forgot that, I guess the Adams are at 5 Ball occasions.

Tuxedo and the Handy Dandy Ballgown with Jack and Paula Adams.

I won’t get into more details or show you pictures of the shoes.  (though please notice how cute my BOTAR Governor’s Pin looks on the little cutout in my dress at my left breast.) But, I will tell you that I was very proud of myself for recycling this classic dress for it’s second appearance at a BOTAR Ball. I could never have found a dress that I liked as well as this one. And I bragged about this to everyone who would listen.  The men, of course, weren’t listening though if they were, I think they would have commended me for my practicality.

One female friend commented, “No one will even notice.” Completely missed my point as I wanted to tell everyone in the room. I am the kind of woman who thinks it’s fun when someone buys the same dress that I have purchased and plans an event where we can wear them together like twins, hoping for a third woman to join in on the fun for a Couture à Trois. Of course, if anyone should think I am too practical from living the rural life, I do have to confess that I spent as much or more on my clutch and bracelet.

So that’s it for now for the Adventures of the Handy Dandy All-Purpose Ballgown from Wells Street. I will keep you posted.

I fully intend to wear if it I ever have a Granddaughter who is either living in Kansas City, or has the opportunity to attend or be in the BOTAR Ball if she has any desire for me to lurk in the lobby and peek in.

And if this seems too far off and murky relative to anyone wanting me in attendance or me wanting to be in attendance, I’m sure I can stay this size for one of my potential grandchildren’s 8th grade graduation, circa 2035.





Happy memories of School Buses and Drivers…

by admin

My most beautiful photo: Bus, plastic, wind, thistle.

Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.

-David Hockney

I’m not sure how David Hockney meant this. But, I think the design of the yellow schoolbus is classic and timeless. It moves me everytime I see one.  Here are a few reasons why…

All the memories…of…

…the brown leather seats with those upright backs.

…the boys not keeping their hands to themselves on field trips.

John Graves and John Charles Adams playing very hard finger twisting on bus tour of Miami Beach.

…the girls all sitting together in the back, pulling out all the cool stuff we were organized enough to bring on the bus for the trip.  This began with strings for Jacob’s ladder…to Barbies and teen magazine…to makeup and saved school “notes.”

…the teacher, always a fun one with great tolerance like Mr. Nickels, sauntering back to check in that everything was reasonably under control. And not exerting his or hers before heading back to the front to hang with the driver.

…no bathroom.

…the incredible amount of time it seemed before we would get to a rest area as well as the incredible amount of time it took when we did stop.

…Indian Hills Junior High School’ers peering out of the window at our first transvestite encounter in Washington, D.C.

Miami, 12th and Ocean. Lacy and Paula front row, Jack and John safely across Ocean Drive.

Schoolbuses are good places for storage if you have a place for one in your yard.

So many people in rural America can find use for an old school bus.

They are built like an armored truck and seem to last many generations before losing their structure or color.

La Junta County Schoolbus.

They can be used to haul feed or store it.

Or, to organize stuff by category as in this picture.

Transmissions, I think...

 And last, memories of my children and the schoolbus. 

The Adams children were shepherded to and from the 28 miles from the XIT Ranch to Meade Grade School and Junior High on a school bus.

It was where they played with their neighbors after school, maybe did a little homework, heard really bad language from the other kid on the ranch, and heard tales of fun badness from Jimmy Johannsen.

Lacy laughed with her kind-of cousin, Carcy Larrabee who lived on another piece of H.G. Adams landholdings on the uplands of the river off of highway 23, 15 miles south of Meade. And Jack palled with Blake Larrabee, Carcy’s older brother, doing whatever boys do. Their grandparents were cousins and Horace Greeley Adams was their shared great-great grandfather.

They had two wonderful drivers, Mick Friesen and Betty Friesen (not related…there are about 18 Friesen’s in Meade).

They both loved and cared for my children and escorted them safely from school to my doorstep at the ranch.

They were patient at 7 am being the first pickup.

They were kind and appreciated Jack and Lacy for their kindness and appreciation.

And, on the holidays, they gave them sacks of candy and cookies.

They may have spent more time with these parents than with  their own.

And, I could not have been luckier to have these loving hands and hearts be there with them. Thank you, Mick and Betty.



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][/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.

Lace, mr. diCaprio, and Greensburg

by admin
"We love creative minds"

We love creative minds

Breaking the rule about my children with this one.  Lace was with Leo from the very beginning. She is also a psych(o) major.

Lace about the time of Gilbert Grape

Lace about the time of Gilbert Grape

She’s always had your back.

Mother:  “But what’s the deal with the models?”

Lace:  “He’s just going through a phase.”

Mother:  “But be careful what you wish for, it’s not always what it seems, look at Katie & Tom, look at Kelly & John.”

Lace: “Who’s talking about marriage?”  (see a girl child’s fear of rings)

Branding June 09. Jack and Lace, Kevin Lewis, the crew.

Branding June 09. Jack and Lace, Kevin Lewis, the crew. Lace is the one whose horse is pointing north.

And, we have some connections in Greensburg where we really appreciate your support.


2011 KU Phi Delt Mother’s Weekend, Wheel & Cave, Lawrence on the Kaw

by admin

2011 Phi Delt Mother's Weekend

And it flowed through the Jordan’s that night at the cave….


I traveled the banks of the River Jordan

To find where it flows to the sea
I looked in the eyes of the cold & hungry
And I saw I was looking at me.

I wanted to know if life had a purpose
And what it all means in the end
In the silence I listened to voices inside me
And they told me again and again

There is only one river there is only one sea
And it flows through you and it flows through me
There is only one people we are one and the same
We are all one spirit, we are all one name

We are the father, mother, daughter & son
From the dawn of creation, we are one, we are one, we are one.

Peter, Paul & Mary, River of Jordan

And another great cameo…


Just a few party pics…wish I had more.  Ode to Sean Williams, party pic photographer extroardinarie, ’78-’82, of the Williams Fund clan.

The Stubes

The mixed breeds…some Kansas family genetics circa class of ’82…

The DeGolers...1/2 Pi Phi 1/2 Beta throws a Phi Delt

Salina Manhattan Beta Kappa migratory mix...

Theta mothers and SME cheerleaders throw....

...throw Pi Phi Phi Delt hurdler gymnast grandchildren...

More Kansas SMEast Theta linebreeding...

It’s amazing how attractive we all are…where I’ve lived this kind of thing throws a 6th finger and I’m not lying, ask Jack.

Whew…finally some new bloodlines.

Aaahh...praise god for new bloodlines....Missouri relief Max and Brooke

And of course, up close and personal, friends sons daughters mothers and their body parts…


And tonight’s gonna be a good night!

Thanks to the Pres!

Thank you for a lovely weekend dolls and guys.