au veau bébé

by admin
breathe sweetness...

breathe sweetness…

Concrete ties…

Cow mom cries

Dinner bell gong

Home Head Song

Minds Connect

Lives do Part

faith protects

love of heart.

Udderly belle pavé

Trapp bouquet…

Mon p’tit choufleur…

Je t’aime beaucoup.

Quelle Surprise 

pour le weekend! 

           -Mama Cow

What is real?

by admin

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

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

So is this painting.

Lacy Amelia Adams and Rosie on kilim footstool.

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

So here goes…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George and Emma Eastman by Calvin Balis. 1850

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, to answer my ponderings above…

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








experience again…

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

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

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

by admin

Eddy made a funny.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.

Adams Family BOTAR Ball Dancing Videos

by admin

note: my comments in red

"Stayin' Alive!"

Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act.    – Lord Chesterfield

Jack Adams somehow knew this at an early age, he does it so well. 




And, of course, they’ve always condemned dancing. You know, you might touch a member of the opposite sex. And you might get excited and you might do something natural.  Frank McCourt

From a woman who gave up on enforcing the “no grinding” rule at private school dances.  “I just look at it as safe sex.”  

Jan Davis, woman headmaster of Wichita Collegiate who was pulled out of retirement from the Wichita Public School System to serve at my daughter’s private high school. 


But in reality we are accompanied by the whole dancing universe.  Ruth St. Denis.

Mildred Evelyn Lee Ward is my Grandmother. She taught school with her Master’s in English to help put my Grandfather Paul Ward through law school during the Depression. But she found time to teach dance on the side, living this motto “life is a dance.”


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.  William James.
aahhh… that’s why I admire these qualities…hmmmm….


All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.  -Molière

what an idea! we must find more time for this….


Dance is bigger than the physical body. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that; you’re dancing spirit.  –Judith Jamison.
as with all creativity, in painting, business, people…..


Dancing and running shake up the chemistry of happiness. Mason Cooley.
and I do both, to both rein it in and put it out…


Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. –Henry Fielding.
keep it in check….


Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire. George Bernard Shaw.
so that is what it is?


Dancing is a sweat job. Fred Astaire.
among other satisfying things in life…


Dancing is a wonderful training for girls, it’s the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.
Christopher that is what we’re supposed to do….have not yet mastered….


and….some of the best dancing partners are women….

Lisa Revare Hickok, Marthe Dreher Tamblyn, Jane Fenn Wallace. Three SMEast '78 Great Women and Dancers.

Disco dancing is just the steady thump of a giant moron knocking in an endless nail. -Clive James.
I just thought this was funny.


Dance hard

Dance while you can

In whatever you do

Even when you don’t know what you should do…

Especially then!










62nd Botar Ball to Benefit the American Royal Association. Muehlbach Hotel, Kansas City. Oct. 22, 2011.

by admin

National Hereford Association Bull. Faces n-s politically neutral to KCK, but no bull about it, he faces north. Prevents the newly developing city from forgetting its roots as a cattletown.

In the spring of 1949, newly appointed Senator Harry Darby gathered a group of civic leaders to find a way to interest young people in promoting the American Royal.  Their common passion was the American Royal, one of the country’s largest horse and livestock shows and a unique and legendary event in Kansas City.  The Royal had come to symbolize the country’s good life straight from the Midwest-land, agriculture, animals.

By 1970, after twenty-eight years of existence, the American Royal Coronation Ball was replaced by the profitable BOTAR Ball, raising more than $1.5 million to date in 1999.  The Charles N. Kimball Lecture “It’s All About the Eating: Kansas City’s History and Opportunity” says it all.

excerpt from the lecture:

THE SPIRIT OF THE ROYAL (A hundred years of growin’)

All bricks are bare now, where a thousand cattle bawled.

The window signs are changed where all the packers called.

Though the yards which penned the critters now are bare,

the heartbeat of a city and its spirit linger there.

The ghost riders come at midnight with jingle in their gait,

The agents and commission men are getting figures straight.

Calloused hands with stubby pencils working numbers in their heads,

Hot coffee and cigar smells rousing buyers from their beds…

You can’t quite see their faces or the color of their eyes,

But you know they remember things that you can’t realize.

They keep the blood a flowing… through the city’s veins,

As they lean back in the saddle, look up the hill across their reins…

And see the city growing, see the concrete sprawling out,

Covering up the grassland where they used to ride and shout.

They think about their bellies and the beans they used to eat,

They put the bull on the east horizon, and brought the nation meat.

They are the founders of the city with the cow stuff on their feet,

The echoes of what they did rebound from every wall,

They’re the soul of the American Royal, They’re the ones who built it all!

Rich Hawkins 4/27/99

The Royal is the symbol of our past; but more importantly, it is the symbol of our future….I thank all of you for coming and listening. It’s an honor for me to deliver the last Kimball lecture of the 20th century on a subject that could be our shining star for the 21st century. Let’s invite the folks who feed us all to dinner.  After all, we still have to eat…and I remind you, It’s All About the Eating!” 

Oct. 21, 1999. Mr. John A. Dillingham.

Children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of old and new Civic Contributors to Kansas City and Kansas in Agriculture, Business, Community, and Preservation participated in this event. It was held Oct. 22nd, 2011 at the Muehlbach Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. And it was grand!

Here are some very amateurish highlights of the event:


A little tight there, Dad! But I'm confident she'll make a break for it...though always her father's daughter.


Beautiful Cerise presents...Mama Connie & Mama Paula were BOTARS together. In fact, as petites, they danced beside each other.


Note: One of the ladies featured had a paternal Great Grandfather who served on the Livestock Exchange Board whose Cattle Company, still in existence, was a charter member of the American Hereford Association.  Her maternal grandparents made contributions to Kansas City in the areas of preservation, architecture, and education. Mom and Dad were a BOTAR and GOTAR and continue in their respective fields to pursue work in agriculture and architectural history in the state of Kansas.

This lady BOTAR works in marketing for an agricultural advertising agency  based in St. Louis with offices located in downtown Kansas City. She lives in a loft in the Kansas City Board of Trade Building and walks to work.  It is a block away from three different downtown architectural offices of her maternal Grandfather.  And, Lacy Amelia Adams can herd cattle, vaccinate and build feed bunks with the best of them as

“some of the best cowboys are indeed, cowgirls.” 

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.





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 <>
Subject: Re: Grey shift dress and shoes
Date: August 29, 2011 11:13:05 AM CDT
To: Paula Adams <>

“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 <>

Subject: Derby attire

Date: August 29, 2011 2:36 PM CDT

To: Lacy Adams <>

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 <>
Date: August 29, 2011 4:36:50 PM CDT
To: Paula Adams <>
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 <> 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. 

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.


A girl child’s fear of rings

by admin
"the constricting ring"

the girl child's constricting ring

This is a story of my girl child’s fear of rings. It’s like sleeping or anxiety, the fear of getting it off just makes it worse to the point that even lubricants don’t work. The principal had to drive her from Forgan to the Beaver hospital to get it cut off. Loosen it up or take it off before it gets this bad. Don’t know if this has passed but I’ve only just now seen her wearing a loose ring on occasion, age 22.