Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Regional Dilemma

The Oklahoma flag.

I was born, and have lived pretty much my entire life in Oklahoma.  

Sure, I've 'stayed' in other places, but I have never been somewhere without the knowledge that as soon as that period of time was over that I'd be once again home in Oklahoma.

With that being said, it is interesting to me that I've lived in this state for 25 years, but have difficulty determining in which region my home state lies.

The Oklahoma State Capitol.

Some say Midwestern.  Others say Southern.  Some even say Southwestern, which seems to me to be the furthest fetched story of all.

I never really put it together how much of a controversy this topic was until I started trying to describe my state here on this blog over the past couple years, and I could never figure out if my state was technically "southern" or "midwestern."  I don't identify myself at all as "southwestern" so the thought never went through my mind.

With all these U.S. regional maps found on a quick google search, one might easily see why we 'Okies' might be confused.  

Why are there so many differing maps?!  And who's great idea was it to list Oklahoma and Arkansas as part of the "Gulf Coast?"  Do we look like coastal states to you?!?  Um, even our lakes had to be manmade.

So, am I a southern girl?  Or am I a Midwestern girl?  I'm certainly not a Southwestern girl, although it certainly seems a variety of maps seem to think I am.

Everyone appears to have their own opinion about this, and not many people can really agree.  Other southerners are very against the idea that Oklahoma could be considered "southern."  We don't host the capital of country and bluegrass music, we were one of the later states to join the United States, and we just aren't Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, or Louisiana.  In some ways, the easiest conclusion is to say that we're a Midwestern state since we host so much farmland, however, few of us could truly identity  ourselves as a "midwesterner."  If I had to guess for how most people in this state identify themselves, I would say we identify most southerners.

Oklahoma's state rock, the Barite Rose Rock

It is almost as if we are in a crossroads, though.  Perhaps those in the North-Eastern part of the state identify more as midwesterners, and those in the West as southwesterners.  My family is mostly from the Southeast, and I feel we identify as southerners.  

In some of my research, I found THIS ARTICLE one day that really explains well how I feel, plus someone else's personal study about our regional crossroads.  It is an interesting read if you have the time!

Do you strongly identify with a particular region where you're from?

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P.S.  Many of my personal photos posted in this blog post are photos I took for the Oklahoma Women Blogger's March instagram scavenger hunt!  Search the hashtag #okwbscavengergram to see more fun pictures from Oklahoma!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Industrial Lighting on Hometalk

Recently, I joined a site called Hometalk, at the recommendation of one of my lovely commenters.  

At first, I didn't really get on, but lately have rekindled an interest in the site.  The best way I can describe it is a Pinterest that is mainly for home and diy projects, and instead of only one image with a short description, you can look at a mini-blog post with an overview of the project.
It is helpful to viewers since we all know how annoying it is to click on a pin and once you get to the site, the creator of the post actually mislead you to think the post was about something else.  This way, you can know more about the project before ever clicking the poster's link.

It is also helpful for bloggers, since we can share more of the specifics of our projects, and to a more specific set of readers.  The Hometalk community feels significantly smaller than Pinterest, which allows you to actually interact more with other users.  Unlike Pinterest, clicking a clip takes you back to the original post, so you can always connect with the writer of the content.  Just like you can comment on a blog post, it is typical in the Hometalk culture to comment on others' projects.
I've posted some of my DIY projects first posted here at Let's Drink Coffee, Darling and was contacted by one of the community managers to curate a board within the same genre as my DIY Industrial Cage Lamps.  There were so many great DIY projects for industrial lighting on Hometalk, so I'd encourage you to head over and check out the board!   And if you're also a DIY blogger, it may be worthwhile for you to consider posting some of your projects as well!
Check out some of the features from my Industrial Lighting clipboard!

Maybe I'll see you there, don't forget to connect with me on Hometalk if you have an account!
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Kestrel Catches Sparrow

We've had several snow storms coming through our region in recent days, and so many of us have enjoyed watching all the little birds - sparrows, cardinals, blue jays - out in the snow.  Some neighbors keep bird seed feeders outside their apartments, others of us just throw out the occasional bread crumbs. 
This particular day I was taking some pictures of the birds outside and suddenly I saw this colorful bird I'd never seen before hopping around on top of the shrub. 
Come to find out this is an American Kestrel, a type of small falcon.  He had been hunting the smaller birds feeding on the ground, and I captured his catch.
Needless to say, some of the photos below may be a bit graphic as it involves the dying sparrow that the Kestrel caught.

At first, I did not realize that the Kestrel was hunting the other birds since he disappeared into the shrub, but I realized when he came out he was carrying one of the small sparrows. 

The sparrow was still alive, but regardless of whether I tried to shoo the falcon off save the little guy, he was already injured enough that he wasn't going to make it.  I figured the Kestrel needs to eat too, but I did feel a little guilty for throwing crumbs out and that the sparrows had their guard down while they ate.

It was such a neat opportunity to see nature happen at my doorstep.  It is such a beautiful bird, and I'll like him so long as he doesn't stay here and hunt all the little birds that always eat here.
He obviously saw me taking pictures of him, since he looked directly at me several times before he flew to a nearby tree with his dinner.
While the birds look beautiful in the snow, I'm hoping winter and all these snow storms will die off during March. 
How is winter looking where you live?
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Route 66 Leg 1 (2011)

Since I have given you a series over the past couple weeks about our recent road trip on Route 66, I decided to take you back in time to before I had this blog on our first Route 66 adventure in 2011.
It was just a month or so after Tyler and I were "official" and about 3 months after we initially started dating, we decided to take a roadtrip one January afternoon to see some sites on Route 66.  I'd never seen any of them although I've always lived in Oklahoma, so we started making plans.  Tyler's roommate at the time came along with us, and the two of them planned our trip to visit the sites from Oklahoma City westward.
We took 66 through parts of the city, near the State Capitol, and suburbs in Bethany and Yukon.
A blurry picture of the Oklahoma State Capitol.  In my defense, I took this picture a long time ago.

Flour mill in Yukon from Route 66.
While the boys were mapping out the course of travel, they found a place called "Smith and Turner Mortuary."  It was funny, because Tyler's last name is Smith, and my last name was Turner.  I had no clue where we were stopping until we pulled up in front of the sign and got out to take a picture.  Clever and funny, those two silly boys were.
After that stop, we headed west on different broken sections of Route 66.  Since that highway has been replaced by newer highways, you can't always drive the whole stretch without having to jump onto the new highway and get off again onto the old 66.  

We went through El Reno, and stopped at Tyler's all time favorite onion burger joint in the state of Oklahoma, Robert's Grill.

I will now speak for Tyler, and tell you that you have to eat at Robert's Grill.  Because he always tells everyone that when the subject comes up.  A nice plus to this place is that their burgers are a really good bargain, but if you're into yummy, greasy, onion burgers then the quality is great.  I'm pretty sure Tyler is a walking advertisement for this place.

There really aren't a lot of stops for Route 66 in western Oklahoma.  The first major thing you'll see once you're west of El Reno are giant windmills from the highway.

 One of the other few 66 sites along the way.

We drove west to Clinton, Oklahoma and visited the Route 66 Museum, which was very interesting.
It was filled with a lot of antiques and Route 66 memorabilia.

Tyler in the telephone booth!  I'm not sure why he is squatting though.

Don't you wish gas pumps still looked this pretty instead of the smelly ugly boxes that they are now?
I'm sure these were still smelly, but atleast they looked nice.

Did you know the first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, and designed by professors at Oklahoma State?

After the Route 66 Museum, we headed back toward our little college town in Norman.  

But first, to stop by a tank on the side of the road.

Now both of the boys with the tank.

Just the beginning of a pretty sunset.

And really, when has Oklahoma not ended the day with a beautiful sunset?

I do believe this is about half of the Devon tower while it was under construction.  Hard to tell with the awful picture quality.

Have you ever driven any parts of historic Route 66?  What is your favorite Route 66 site?  

For those who aren't from the US, do you have any famous historic highways or roads in your country?

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Copyright 2012-2014 Saxon Smith (Let's Drink Coffee, Darling). All rights reserved.
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