Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twisting... with Chubby Checker!

(ABOVE: Justin Wilfon, Deana Silk, and myself "twisting" with Chubby Checker on 2NEWS Midday.)

When I look back some day at the coolest moments of my career, dancing with Chubby Checker will rival anything.

The famous Chubby Checker stopped by KJRH earlier this month as he was in town for a concert.

If you're too young to know who is he is, click here for his 1950s classic, "The Twist." He's one of the biggest names in the history of early rock-n-roll.

Chubby Checker is a delight! You quickly get the feel that he's an old friend. He even knew my name and approached me after watching one of my weathercasts... wow!!

In an interview on "2NEWS Midday", the now 70-something year old legend spoke of his career and the lasting impression that his most famous song, "The Twist" had on America.

"It's a dance that anyone can do, at any age," he told us.

At the end of the interview, "The Twist" played from the loud speaker, and we all joined in dancing. (Had I known my feet would be on TV, I probably wouldn't have worn my usual tennis shoes...)

Thanks Chubby Checker, for being you!

(BELOW: After the interview, Chubby Checker handed me his cell phone! He wanted me to take a pic of he and Deana together.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cowabunga dude! Saturday morning run with Runner's World

(ABOVE: Turtle Trotters-- not to be confused with my Blazing Turtles group. Turtle power!!)

Today I ran my second longest distance ever!

I've been waking up early on Saturday mornings this month to "try something new" just because I can now!

I was promoted to a Monday thru Friday job at the beginning of the year after Julie Chin decided to retire from TV weather at Channel 2.

I love my job and working at KJRH, but after working weekends for 10 years in Tulsa, a new beginning felt welcome. I always looked forward to working the popular weekend morning show, but personally I felt like I missed out on zillions of outdoor weekend opportunities. So new year, new adventures every week!!

This morning's new journey: joining a Runner's World marathon training run. I found out about the run while surfing the Internet looking for new outdoor stuff to try.

A large group, several hundred folks gathered on the clear, cold morning along the Arkansas River. Today's run was a 5 miler. The distances and courses vary weekly. (The running groups are free and open to the public. Click here for their schedule.)

Before the run, group leaders held up signs marking the pace that each group would run.

I joined a group called "Blazing Turtles" which ran a 10-11 minute per mile average. That's a doable pace for me, maybe a tad slower than I usually run. But I'm not used to running five miles either!

I also learned that it's a big deal for runners to bond with other runners in their group, improve their performance and even work up to a faster group.

After a few announcements, the fastest group left first. The age range of my group averaged 30 to 50 years old, though I met a 13-year old who was running with her Mom!

The run felt awesome! The morning air, the quiet environment, healthy living.

The group run was my first since high school! I usually run a few miles alone on occasion, so this was a nice change. I think adrenaline set in too as I wanted to run faster with a group.

Runner's World provided water stops along the way and even snacks at the finish line-- pretty impressive for a free "training" event!

I felt great after running just over five miles which marks only the second time that I've run that far in my life. (I'm usually on a bicycle!)

Another goal blossomed for this year: Run in a Tulsa event.

I've never run in any event before, not even a 5K! (as running events are scheduled on weekend mornings when I used to work!)

Thanks Runner's World-- I had fun. I feel awesome, and I'll be back. Great way to start a weekend!

(BELOW: A large group met at River West Park for an 8am run. Runner's World even provided water and yummy snacks with icing! (last pic)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eagle watching in Tulsa

(ABOVE: Paul Orosco took these pictures of a bald eagle taking flight just south of Tulsa near Morris, OK)

Last weekend I woke up before church time on a Sunday morning to eagle watch along the river-- I saw two of them!

The Tulsa Audubon Society partnered with the Jenks High School Ornithology Club during "Eagle Days" on January 14th and 15th.

The group set up high-powered binoculars for the public along the Arkansas River for eagle viewing. I smiled, watching folks bringing their children and grand kids to the event.

I parked at Helmerich Park located south of 71st and Riverside and followed the signs to the watch group.

A small crowd gathered that morning, and we quickly spotted a pair of eagles nesting across the river. It's one of the few times I have knowingly see an eagle in the wild!

We watched them soar across the river and return with fresh critters for breakfast. Through the binoculars we watched the birds interact in the nest-- my first time to see nesting eagles!

(ABOVE: The purple pin shows the location of the eagle's nest. We viewed it from the walking trail along the east side of the river. Another nest is across from 41st and Riverside.)

Their nest appeared huge even from across the river!

The eagles made their home in a tree top, probably 100 feet above the ground on the west side of the Arkansas River in a tree grove. We were located about a half-mile away.

Here's what I learned that day from the Tulsa Audubon Society:

  • Bald eagles stand over 3 feet tall and weigh more than 10 pounds
  • Their wingspan is the width of a car
  • They can fly 100mph!!
  • Eagles are seen together as mating pairs, and they remain with their partner for life
  • At a glance, the female and male look the same. However, the female is larger
  • They may have more than one nest
  • Nests are usually found in tree tops near lakes and rivers
  • And their nest may weigh 2,000 lbs!!
  • Eagles are most active in the morning and during the winter in Oklahoma
  • Since 1990, eagles have grown from zero to 90 known nests in Oklahoma

If you are interested in wildlife, then I encourage you to make friends with the Tulsa Audubon Society:

If you've never seen an eagle before, check out their calendar for future events.

I'll be back!

(BELOW: Follow the signs set up that morning at Helmerich Park for eagle watching... The Tulsa Audubon Society set up high-powered binoculars for anyone to view the eagles... The bottom pic is a KJRH viewer pic of a pair of eagles along Avery Drive in west Tulsa.)