Author Archives: Alan Bates

2023 Dia de los Muertes Art Festival

Last Saturday afternoon I ventured to downtown Tulsa to Living Arts Tulsa which was putting on their annual Dia de los Muertos Art Festival. I missed all the performances that happened the night before but they still had the altars to loved ones that community members built.

Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. Is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of loved ones for a few days of visiting and feasting. It is usually celebrated October 31 to November 2.

As part of the holiday altars (or ofrendas) are built to honor family members. There are conventions for the altars (check here) but it seems more and more the ofrendas are departing from the “rules” and the emphasis is showing the departed, their interests and passions.

One sees lots of marigolds in these ofrendas. Some believe that orange is the only color that departed souls can see. Many ofrendas create a path of marigold flowers from the floor to the altar and then to the top of the altar. Those are to help guide souls to the altar and then on to heaven.

The brightly colored tissue paper with patterns cut into it is known as Papel Picado. It symbolizes the union between life and death.

Sometimes favorite clothing and beverages are on display.

You see lots of pastries and candles.

Photographs, favorite drinks are displayed as well.

Somebody constructed an ofrenda in honor of the recently deceased singer Jimmy Buffett. A guitar, music, and sandals were some of the objects on display.

I didn’t build an ofrenda but I did use a snapchat filter to celebrate.

I really enjoyed the whole show.

I am linking with My Corner of the World

Mainly Backyard Critters

Kodi being silly

Here’s a backyard cam of Kodi licking his nose.

Alan playing with Kodi in the back yard

And then playing with him.


We have a tennis ball in the back yard. He loves chasing it all over the place.


At night other critters come out. I have seen this bunny during the day.


The way the eyes light up is spooky!!


Lately we have this black and white cat checking things out. We still have people in the neighborhood who turn their cats loose and there are several feral cats outside as well.

Hey, a non-trailcam shot of some geese at a local park.

That’s all I got this week!! I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters

Skywatch Friday – Finally Home

I’m done with posting about my travels for now. So these are some sights since I’ve stayed home .

Full Harvest Moon

The full, or almost full moon, in late September.

Old rock church in midtown Tulsa. The sanctuary is now abandoned but it is connected to a more modern sanctuary that got taken over by a church from the suburbs. It’s all confusing to me but I love to see buildings including church buildings preserved and repurposed.

This is the nearby sanctuary. Not very new, I’m guessing mid 50’s Mid Century Modern.

I’ve been flying my drone as well especially when we get weather. My little lightweight drone gets blown away by winds so I have to be careful.

I had to be really careful for this shot. A front was moving through so I didn’t get very high at all.

I encountered a glider at a monarch butterfly event. I guess you call these things sail planes now.

Another “weather” shot in our neighborhood green space in September.

So that’s it for this week. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Saturday’s Critters at Oxley Nature Center

Last week I went to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. I went in search of otters. The staff reports that they are active on Coal Creek at 8 am in the morning. Well I got out there at 8:30 and I didn’t see them, I don’t think. Near the old beaver lodge which they reportedly have taken over I could see that something was moving under the water chasing fish. I didn’t know if they were otters doing the chasing or if it were bigger fish chasing the smaller fish. So another otter failure but for some reason I didn’t mind.

So I started hiking around looking at what I could see.

Oxley has nice wooded areas, lakes, ponds, streams, and swampy areas. All sorts of terrain and it is pretty flat and the trails are all in good shape so it is easy to move around the preserve.


I saw a great blue heron flying around.


And a closeup, sorry for the fuzziness.


I came upon a limpkin. A tropical wetland bird that has a large range in South America and in the USA in Florida. It is an apple snail eater but they can eat other snails. As apple snails have migrated into south Louisiana the Limpkins followed them. Nobody knows why they are in Oklahoma now. Supposedly Oklahoma has seven of them now, three of them at Oxley. They have been here a few years so I guess they like it. You can read the Cornell Labs writeup here.


And way off in a swampy area I saw these waterfowl feeding.


I saw several groups of deer in the preserve.


And a couple of ducks of some sort.


And more deer. I think I saw four small groups of them.


They were staying in the woods. They were being careful but not skittish like deer in hunting areas get.


They are beautiful animals.

I didn’t find the otters but you know the fun is in the looking for, right?

I am linking with Saturday’s Critters.

Pensacola Pier Skywatch


After our visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, we drove to the Pensacola pier for lunch and sightseeing.


Beautiful skies, almost too beautiful. We were eating outside and the restaurant asked us to move inside. There were two storms headed toward us.


Both of them missed us but I took photos of the resulting skies. I’m not afraid of rain, I am really afraid of lightning though so I was careful. Hear it fear, see it flee it is my motto.


Nothing like a good storm coming through for energy and clean air.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

A Visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola

On our vacation to the Gulf Coast in September we found out that the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola Naval Air Station had reopened to the public. It had been closed since December 6, 2019 after a terrorist attack by a Saudi Arabian directed by al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula killed three people and wounded eight others.

We had been to the museum years ago and were looking forward to a return visit. When we got there a free tour was starting so we jumped into that and were glad we did.

The guide was a retired naval aviator and he had lots of a knowledge about the various aircraft on display.

We don’t generally take the tours but we were glad we did on this one because the number and variety of airplanes to look was overwhelming.

He was able to talk about technological advances over time from the first naval aircraft to the present day and further how tactics and strategy of naval aviation has changed.

He spent a lot of time on World War II in the pacfic and in particular the pivotal Battle of Midway made such a huge difference in how the war went.

The tour was interesting but by the end my brain was full and overflowing.

So if you are in the Pensacola area and have some time I recommend checking the museum out. It is on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

The installation is the home base for the Navy’s Blue Angels. We saw them practicing as we drove to the museum. What they were doing in the air was incredible.

I’m linking with My Corner of the World

Household Critters


My backyard trailcam captured this image of a squirrel munching on an acorn. We have a bumper acorn crop this year. The squirrels can’t keep up with them. Our little dog Kodi has learned the trick of picking one up and bringing it inside where we give him a treat to trade.


We have a few little rabbits who romp around in our yard.

Young Kodi howls when my wife leaves. He’s inconsolable in his sorrow.

The howling kind of irritates our sweet cat Lizzie. I can just see her thinking, “Suck it up dog!”

I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters.