I wanted to interview Elizabeth because well, as was seen in my post on Saturday she’s my second cousin that I only found out about two years ago. I’d love to sit down with her over coffee again some day and pick her brain on books!
First off, give us an idea of who you are, why you blog and your geographic location.
I’m 26, a writer, a reader, wife to Kevin (we’ve been married 2 years), a “dabbler” at gardening, and am currently employed in the public school system. My position is one that I really can’t disclose any details about other than my day-to-day activities (making sure teachers take their attendance, meeting with kids who choose not to go to class, and building truancy cases for the DA), but I can say that the work is never boring.
I am also your second cousin 🙂
I started putting my writing online in 1997. I’d never heard of the word “blogging” back then, but I felt pretty misunderstood as a 13-year-old kid and decided sharing my thoughts anonymously with the masses was the best way to cope. It all just blossomed from there. I was hosted at a few personal sites, went on to buy a couple domains of my own, and have been blogging at MissWisabus.com since 2005. Writing about my life and putting it out there is second nature to me now. My blog is a hodge podge of things going on in my life, things I care about, and random silliness. As of late it’s been a little weird writing because a lot of the people in my hometown and some extended family have started reading it. I mean, they’re stopping my mom in the grocery store and talking to her about it. That’s so ODD to me. But sharing with others is what it’s about, right? I’m trying to get my bearings about the topics I’ll continue to post about in the future.
For the past 8 years I have lived in Norman, home to the University of Oklahoma. I moved here for college and never left. It’s a nice town with just about everything a person could need, but I long to return to the country. My husband and I are currently working on a savings plan that will hopefully make that a reality in 5 years or so.
Oklahoma, like Texas, is a highly misunderstood state. What are some things that you would like to clear up about Oklahoma?
The assumption that people around here are backwoods hicks is pretty prevalent in media and sometimes in the opinions of people that I meet from out-of-state, particular the northeast part of our country. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some backwoods hicks here. Everyone has them. For the most part, people I know in Oklahoma are educated, hospitable, and varied in their interests and political views. I don’t think that Oklahoma can be painted with the broad strokes so often used to describe its citizens. One thing the assumptions do get right is that people care about their football around here. I didn’t care much for college football until I attended OU, but I’ve got to admit that it sparked something.
Say someone was to visit the area you live in for the day, what places should we see and eat to take in a true Oklahoma experience?
We get the chance to do this a lot when Kevin’s parents or Jolene come to visit us. I tend to look outside of the metro area for things to do, since that’s what I really know and love.
Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch in Davis is a place any barbecue lover has to try. They’ve got some of the best brisket I’ve ever tasted and the interior of the restaurant, while somewhat cramped, is such a homey place where you end up sitting next to people that you don’t know that I can’t help but love it. Even if you don’t know the people when you sit down, you will once you stand to leave.
While a person is in the area they should definitely drive a few minutes down the road and get a fried pie from the Original Fried Pies location just off of I-35. You can’t miss the sign. My favorites are the chocolate, cherry, and peach. And now I want one just thinking about them.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is located in that part of the state as well and there are some lovely springs there. We spent a lot of summers in the cold water–swimming until my brother’s lips turned purple and picnicking with our cousins. There are lots of trails to check out in the area.
Further west, one of my favorite places to visit is the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. There is quite a bit to see out there and I enjoy getting to view many of Oklahoma’s endangered species in their natural habitat.
As for the metro area, I think everyone should visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial at least once. It’s a place that means a lot to many Oklahomans and the memorial is a touching tribute to those who were killed on April 19, 1995.
If you are in the mood for a steak there are some great options in OKC, including Cattlemen’s (a LEGEND) and RED Prime Steak. RED Prime is one of our favorites and it’s certainly one of the more upscale restaurants in the area. Their plating and offerings are very inventive. Once again, probably not what someone would expect in Oklahoma, but OKC is really evolving and offering so much more in the way of fine dining.
You are a voracious reader—we’d of been competitors in reading growing up—what books started you off in your reading habits?
I was lucky to always see my mom reading at home and I think just being exposed to that helped me form an interest. That and I thought I was being rebellious when I was sent to my room and found a book to keep me entertained. Ha. (Misti’s note: Me too! Until my mom went further and grounded me from my books..dagnabit!) Third grade was the year that I really started reading more than most kids. My teacher read the entire Henry Huggins/Ramona Quimby series to us and I was enthralled. It wasn’t until 5th grade when I picked up my mom’s copy of Anne of Green Gables that I put everything aside except for reading. It was the only thing I wanted to do at that point.
Is there an author or book that you think everyone here is missing out on?
John Burnham Schwartz is one of my favorites. His novel Claire Marvel is breathtaking. Another favorite of mine that I don’t think many people read is Anna Gavalda. Her collection of short stories is one of my all-time favorites.
How about a guilty pleasure read?
Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series. It’s what the TV show is based on. I devour them. I also love to hate the Twilight series. It’s so bad. No, really.
Meeting a blogging superstar is not very common, so when you posted you met the Pioneer Woman, on her ranch nonetheless, I wondered how you came to know Ree enough to get such an awesome invite? How were you able to connect through all the comments that appear on her page?
I started reading her blog in the early days when she first started. I think I found it through flickr when I was looking through photos taken in Oklahoma and found one of hers featuring a calf testicle. I was disgusted, but could not look away. Then I invited her to Twitter and we tweeted back and forth from time to time. I may have also started a rumor that I am the product of her and a pool boy. Maybe. And that’s it really 🙂
You have dug well into your past, through the genealogy lines, and found some interesting stories. Tell us about a relative that you wish you could have learned more about or have known more of their stories.
Honestly, my Nannie (dad’s mom’s mom). I lived next door to her for years and had more access to her than most of the great-grandchildren, but back then I didn’t know the questions to ask.
On my mom’s side I would have loved to have learned more about the first person who came over around 1630. There’s been very little information that I have been able to find on this individual.
Do you have any tips for those who wish to research their family lines?
Don’t give up. Check every connection. Find their graves. There have been times when I’ve hit brick walls and thought I was going nowhere. Take a break and research a completely different individual.
There are so many resources available online now, take advantage of them! Many people have already done the footwork and the information you are looking for could already be out there.
Your description of yourself on your blog states that you are an aspiring domestic goddess. What kinds of domestic goddessness can we learn from you? Good recipes, cleaning or organization tips, or diy?
I’m not really very good at any of them, but I certainly try! I occasionally post low-carb recipes (due to a metabolic disorder, I am on a prescribed way of eating) and have come up with a number of my own that are very tasty.
One of my favorite things is natural cleaning. I have found a few recipes online that work really well and save quite a bit of money in the long run. I’d recommend looking them up and trying them out for yourself. As of right now, I haven’t ventured into homemade laundry detergent, but I’m thinking of doing it soon.
And finally, tell us the five people you’d love to have over for dinner and why!
Willa Cather – She’s one of my favorite writers. Her descriptions of the plains and life back then are beautiful. I’d just like to pick her brain about writing.
Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables…need I say more?
David Lynch – I’ve recently gotten into Twin Peaks and this guy is a genius AND a hoot. I think he’d be a great dinner guest. He’s got the kind of stories I could listen to all day.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – I cannot deny it, I love these two. Looks like they are set to bring a new face to the monarchy. Both of them seem like such intelligent, interesting people. I would like to be friends with them.