Friday, March 27, 2009

I have a new blog name and a new blog url! Sorry to make this such a pain but would you all please bookmark or change in your favorites to the new address. Purty Pleeeze? Thanks!! I'll set to work fixing things up here soon enough. Bear with me! My Dark Oak Woman blog will remain up but all my new posts will be here. I'll have a permanent link to the old place though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

uneven edges...

My Dark Oak Woman name just wasn't suiting me any longer. I love having an "Indian name" but it didn't describe me completely. I have a history with uneven edges so this new name is more fitting. One of my legs is longer than the other. When I was a kid this didn't bother me but as I get older it causes me pain now and then. So, I'm physically uneven and more aware of it. It would be impossible to find someone who isn't uneven.

Alas, I am also creatively uneven.

When I made my very first pieced quilt I didn't understand the quarter-inch seam concept AT ALL. It was a disaster. But, I managed to get all of it lined up on top. You shoulda seen the bottom. Several years later I made a bowtie quilt and didn't like the size of my blocks so I cut them down. This time I wasn't so lucky with the outcome. It does add to the "charm" of the quilt though, don't you think?

Then there was my first afghan...

I dove right in without understanding how to end a row, make a chain and begin the next row. Luckily I thought of a way to fix it by crocheting an edge around all 4 sides and today my mistakes are hardly visible(this is a "before" picture).

Now, thankfully, I have figured out the quarter-inch seam and how to end/begin a crocheted row.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to trim your own bangs???....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Simply Sunday...

Jasper enjoyed the view.

Sarah talked on her phone to grandma and friend Callie.

Anyone want to buy a 1991 Suburban?

I love it when the oak tree is this color.

This is one tall tree!

Jasper tried to make friends with Jeff, the red eared slider Sarah caught at the park today.(click to enlarge any of the pictures)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It Isn't White!!!

It seems as though almost every car we've had in the past 20 years has been white, especially the last 3 or 4. Finally, we have branched out and added a nice neutral! Introducing my new ride!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ocean Sapphire...

Sarah's friend got a Siamese Fighting Fish(betta) a few weeks ago and she's been bugging us to get one too. I resisted because of the cats, but finally gave in today. He's GORGEOUS!! (click to see larger images)

I wish his irredescence showed up better in the photos. He's a dark blue with slightly lighter fins.

Here he is backlit, showing off his greenishness. You can see a few of my needle-felted balls behind his bowl too, an nice foil for his coloring.

This is the truest picture of his color.

We already had the bowl and red marbles, a perfect habitat for such a beauty. However, we will be looking for a bigger container. They do better in 1-2 gallon tanks, this one is probably a half gallon. Why yes, that is a C3PO standing in the corner!

In other news...

I'm taking time this weekend to go through a newish(acquired last year) old cookbook, Rodale's Naturally Great Foods Cookbook by Nancy Albright(published in 1977). Is it ever full of good stuff! Not just recipes but instructions on everything from making yogurt, sprouting sprouts, and even grinding flour from pumpkins! Wowza!!! There are soooo many recipes in it that I'm dying to try out, like Alfalfa Sprout Gazpacho, Avocado Banana Dressing, Grainburgers, Millet Meatloaf, Broccoli Timbales, Yogurt Cheese, Sourdough Rye Bread, and the list goes on and on and on!!! I'm also reading another goodie called Cooking Vegetables the Italian Way by Judith Barrett. Lotsa good stuff there too.

We are supposed to be taking the last bits of wallpaper down from the dining room tomorrow. The paint we've decided on is called Caramel Cream, a rich, bright orange. All the playing I've done at Valspar's online room painting thingie points to this color. I think it will be perfect.

I'm sure it looks garish on your monitor, kinda looks washed out on mine too. Trust me, its really a rich, goldish orange with depth and a nice warmth. In fact, if you'll scroll back up to the third picture of Ocean(his true color pic) and look directly above his tail you can see a felted ball of red, yellow, and orange. The orange in that picture is very close to the wall color. I can't wait to get it painted!!

Guess that's all the goings on for this weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to blog more next week. Having a working teen who is also very social is demanding more of my time than I ever thought possible!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New Shoes...

Yesterday was shoe buying day for some of the Soniers. Amy was outgrowing her Converse and wanted Chuck Taylors and Sarah found some brown and white checkerboard Vans that are just adorable! I wanted something with a little more support for my older model feet and tried some Eccos on just to see. Oh my GOOOOSH!! I never even took them back off!! They got their first workout today at the park and my feet feel wonderful!!! No sore spots, no aches at all! I am impressed big time.

HERE are the shoes I got. They aren't quite as bright blue as the picture, more of a greyish blue actually, but still very stylish.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Deliberate spontaneity or spontaneously deliberate....

I've decided I want to be more flexible and regain some of my muscle tone(this would be the deliberate part). I tried skating today for the first time in 9 years, it was NOT pretty(this would be one of the 3 spontaneous parts). Anyway, I've found 5 Element Qi Gong is an easy way to get back into exercising. Several years ago I did yoga all the time and LOVED it but one day it was too cold(I did my routine outside) and it was like hitting a steel wall. I have never done a yoga routine since then. This is fun and doesn't take long to learn or do(spontaneous thing #2). I follow along 3-4 times a day.

I've also started walking at a local park again(spontaneous thing #3). This is Julianna Park for the locals. My plan is to get fit enough to be able to skate. I took 2 semesters of roller skating in college and loved it. Hopefully it won't take too long to get back in the swing of things but I've GOT to have better muscles in my legs!

Along the walking trail is a small neighborhood park(Ward Park). We lived a few blocks from this park before Ryan was born and I'd walk there when I was pregnant. It used to have old, dangerous equipment but yesterday we were pleasently surprised to see this being installed! Now, if they'd only add more tables and a bathroom we'd be set! Luckily its just a 1/4 mile or so to another park(at the upper end of the trail) with facilities. This looks like one to add to our rotation.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Thinker

You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.
Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.

Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.
A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.

In love, you are an easy person to fall for. But you're not an easy person to stay in love with. Although you are quite flexible, you often come off as aloof or argumentative.

At work, you are both a logical and creative thinker. You are great at solving problems. You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.

How you see yourself: Creative, fair, and tough-minded

When other people don't get you, they see you as: arrogant, cold, and robotic

You Are An INTP

In other news...

Sarah and I want to go camping again when we visit my parents this summer. Here's the place.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Which I Ruminate...

As some of you know, we are dealing with Mark's mom's moderate to severe Alzheimer's Disease. She refuses to see a doctor, won't take so much as an aspirin, and considers herself to be healthy "pioneer stock". Mark's dad is doing the best he can and has taken over the cooking and such, but she's really way too much for him to have to look after. They are in their early 80s and he has health issues of his own. She's bad enough that she's preventing him from seeking the care he needs as well. Anyway, without going into all the gory details, it is time for her to be cared for in a facility and we are starting Monday with getting her evaluated and placed.

Soooo, in Mark's communications with his sister about all this, he was presented with the story of how he came to be a part of their family.

Mark's mom has always told conflicting stories about the adoption of their children. He was never really sure where he or his sister came from or the reason his parents couldn't have children of their own. His sister told him yesterday that his birth mother is a relative of a woman his parents knew socially here in our hometown. She claims to have seen this woman once and says there is a very strong resemblance. My mom, Mark and I have, on rare occasion, seen a young man(maybe 8-12 years younger than Mark) who could be his twin. Same hair color, facial structure, body frame, eye color. Mark knows the friends of his parents, he even saw the husband in Walmart last week. He has never, to his knowledge, seen the woman who might be his birth mother. We don't know the situation that caused her to give him up for adoption. Maybe she was a young adult, unmarried and pregnant for the first time, or maybe she was older, divorced and unable to take the responsibility for another child. It wouldn't be hard to find out these things without actually contacting this family, but it would be nice to hear the true story from someone who knows. It is SO unfair that the adults(when he was born) are the keepers of the knowledge. Even now, as an adult, he is, possibly forever, in the dark about his blood lineage while "everybody else" knows his history.

Does Mark want to know her story? We've talked about it and I think he does but not right now. He has an enormous volume of work with his new business and the goings on with his parents so it might be a while before he's able to focus on this part of his life. I hope he chooses to approach the family about finding his birth mother. There are medical issues he's dealing with that are adult onset, things we might need to know for the sake of our children.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with his mom and dad. Its going to be stressful for everyone involved rest assured.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A weekend day around the casa...

First we enjoyed the comings and goings at the bird feeder.

Then we enjoyed the company of our youngest three kitties.

(Tallulah, 7 months)

(Gypsy, 16 months)

(Jasper, 16 months)

Later, the girls helped out with the garage clean-up. Ryan helped too but I didn't get a picture of him.

Finally, I looked through our glass door at the afternoon sun. Can't wait to get it sanded, painted and installed!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Abundance Is....

(First I'd like to thank everyone who commented on my deliberate living post. What you all wrote was inspirational and has given me more to think about. I'm absolutely at peace with dancing to my own music, using my microwave, and sleeping in dyed sheets.*G*)


Abundance is...

Having enough to give away and never miss it.

We filled the whole Suburban today with stuff for charity and gave a nice dresser to a needy family. We aren't finished, not by a long shot, but we were cleaning first, sorting out second. There are more weekends coming up.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2.

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.~G.K. Chesterton

Abundance is...

Perfect weather, rain or shine.

The past two weekends were spent raking, moving, hauling, lifting, digging, bagging, and so forth. We got our entire front and back yards done! This Saturday we awoke to chilly, windy drizzle and it was just perfect because we had nothing to do outside(no yardwork). Ryan had to be at his job just before noon so we all got ready and dropped him off. We headed to Lowe's for some shelf holders and Jake's for guinea pig and dog bedding. The girls were hungry and decided on Taco Bell. Just as we were waiting for the light to change for us to turn onto that road, Mark had the brilliant idea that we needed something a bit more substantial so we headed for our favorite Tex-Mex dive. It was exactly what we needed on a gray day, very comforting and relaxing.

Today we had no plans to work in the garage but it happened. The weather, once again, was just perfect. Not too cold, not windy, sunny and mild. We didn't get hot on the west side of the house nor did we get cold fingers(except the girls when they washed some box lids). Now after hours of hard work, our garage is clean and organized with (almost)everything in its place.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

There's nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway. ~Mark Burnett

Abundance is...

Experiencing one of the Earth's most powerful and awesome events and not being hurt or scared.

We had an earthquake early this morning! Actually, what we think is that it was an aftershock from one that happened north of Oklahoma City at 3:43am(Did You Feel It?"). Mark and I were awakened at 4:45 by a series of vibrations like idling in a diesel truck but there was no noise(our bedroom doors did shake a bit). The dogs had actually got me alert a few seconds before so I felt them before Mark. The shakes woke him up. It was unnerving but we really didn't think "earthquake" until we'd got up and around later in the day.

Which would you rather have, a bursting planet or an earthquake here and there? ~John Joseph Lynch

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. ~Frederick Douglass

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Deliberate Living....

A new friend of mine said something that gave me pause. She said she needed to start living more deliberately. Hmmmm. As with all philosophies, some followers are rather militant, taking it to the very far extreme. Many, however, like my friends Cheryl, Kel, and Anet (and others of course) are just wading in and doing what their hearts tell them. Baby steps for me. I'm not sure I am ready to commit to any certain "thing" yet. It might be that I do as these women are doing and deliberately change the foods I serve to my family but it quite likely won't be exactly what they are doing. Maybe I'll work at reducing my plastics like Kel has done.

There are things we have that we cannot give up, like our swimming pool. Sure chlorine isn't the healthiest thing to be swimming in but does the exercise we're getting count against that at all? We can't afford to switch over to a salt water filter but I can research alternatives and possibly switch to a less toxic treatment or determine when the best times for swimming would be. There are other things out there that seem to be hype(or at the very least, overly dramatized) as well. I won't be giving up my microwave, sticking my feet in a detox machine, or exchanging our current bedding for organic, unbleached, undyed sheets. I have no room for a garden, nor do I have the inclination to dig in the dirt so that's out for me too. What I do know is that the phrase I heard at park day, "live more deliberately" struck a cord in me and I want to investigate further. How about you?

Here are more websites about living deliberately...

Deliberate Living: Slowing Down & Simplifying

Living Deliberately(a discussion group)

Monday, February 16, 2009


For Christmas, my mom gave me a book of affirmations called The Art of Abundance, a Simple Guide to Discovering Life's Treasures, by Candy Paull. I've just now had time to start reading it and found three wonderful quotes right away that spoke to me. They have a common theme not just about abundance, but about where it is truly found...

One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life, and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure, in the common, the near at hand- to see that heaven lies above us here in this world. ~ John Burroughs

One of the most important -and neglected- elements in the beginnings of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendor that is all around us in the creatures of God. ~ Thomas Merton

In those vernal seasons of the year when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. ~ Milton

Abundance, for me, means enjoying the goings-on in our very front yard. That this Spring-like weather is tricking my daffodils into blooming is only part of it! I've got 17 flowers in my little "daffy patch". I also love the beautiful moss carpet that's shooting up new growth like velvet underfoot. If it wasn't 45 degrees at the moment I'd be out there closer to it. My dad bought a bird feeder for the girls and I after we returned from North Carolina. The birds have finally figured out how to eat from it and we've been enjoying them for about a month now. Sunday morning as I took Puppy-girl out for her potty break, there were 4 robins swooping and darting from the back yard oak to the front yard pines and all manner of other birds hopping and twittering in the sun. This morning there was a squirrel on the porch, teasing the cats as it stuffed its face full of sunflower seeds.

Abundance also means cooking the spaghetti squash that was languishing on the counter and anticipating the eating of said squash as if it were the finest meal in the world. For the record, I sprinkled it with ground sage, a tiny pinch of dried thyme, salt, and liberal amounts of garlic, oh, and a spoonful of smart balance margarine! It was a comfort food much like mac and cheese without the guilt! We won't be doing a "real" grocery shop until Thursday which means I'll have to make do with what we've got in the cupboard til then. A "pantry challenge". Mark just arrived with guinea pig food and hay, potatoes, and bread. We've got rice, pasta, beans, spices, chicken breasts, tortillas, dairy products, sausage, peppers, onions, fresh and frozen veggies, canned tomatoes(and beans, etc, etc.), and more, so technically we could probably eat for another 10 days or so. Having such a bounty is not just abundance but also peace and provision.

I hope you all find similar things to appreciate within the ordinary(and it is SO not, once you take time to observe) this day and this week!! Children seem to enjoy abundance naturally so I take a lot of cues from this chicka. She found the first anole of the season yesterday!