Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Stuff

Thanks to everyone who has gone to Sarah's site, read her piece and left such encouraging messages. She's been absolutely "pickled tick!" (Er, tickled pink!)

I started a discussion over at The Back Yard Fence; I'm on the lookout for "cool" vegetable side dish recipes for summertime. I'm tired of eatin' hot cooked peas four times a week and desperately need to hear from my cooking buddies!

Speaking of the discussion board, here is some info from Blogger to help explain that particular widget a little more. If you're a blogger, this is definitely info you'll be interested in because it gives you more exposure.

1. To join your community, your readers add a link on their blog to your blog

2. When your reader clicks on their link to your blog,
they appear at the top of your widget!

3. Your readers click "Visit the community" to read each others posts and participate in your forum

4. You can choose to display your "forum activity" on your widget

5. You get more links to your blog which increases your search rankings and traffic. Your readers get to see their face on your blog and get to know each other better.

(A note from me: I'm not sure why a Caringbridge link stays at the top of the visitor list widget all the time; it's obviously stuck somehow and I'm not sure how to "unstick it." So just disregard!)

In closing, that widget is s a win-win situation! So go on and start clickin' and linkin' and recipe-submittin'!

And have a happy Saturday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Third Post Today!

I promised you all I would give you a "heads up" whenever there was something extra special posted on Sarah's Spot. Well, today is that day! You can go on over there and read "A Retrospective" written by Sarah herself!

Be sure to sign the guest book and let her know you appreciate her writing; that will encourage her to write even more. As it does with ALL blog writers. (hint, hint)

Follow Up to "I'm Just Sayin . . ."

Alrighty. Some comments have come in and the question has been asked several times, "Why didn't you and Sarah move?"

Are you ready for this answer?

Are you sure you won't think we're weenies?

Okay, the answer is that when I leaned over and asked Sarah if she wanted to move she said, "I don't want the people behind us to feel bad, like nobody wants to sit near them."

And the reason I concurred with that "argument" (besides respecting her opinion) is that I basically felt the same way.

Yes, I know. We are waaaay too tenderhearted.

But we're good with that.

And actually, the kicking behind us didn't start increasing in intensity until later in the movie. So apart from the initial annoyance of them all coming in late, piling in behind us and rustling around getting settled, it wasn't an aggravating situation for the entire movie, just some of it.

At any rate, that's our story and we're stickin' to it.

This is the tenderhearted mother of the tenderhearted daughter, signing off.


And by the way, I realized after writing this entire post this morning that it easily would have fit right in over at
Sarah's Spot. However not only am I tenderhearted, I am also just a tinge lazy when it comes to moving an entire post from one spot on the web to another.

So that's my other story that I'm stickin' to!

I'm Just Sayin' . . .

Have you seen this child?
If you've been around here any time at all, I would guess the answer would be "yes!"

Well, last night, this wonderful child (teenager) and I sashayed on out of the house to see a movie together. (Hannah Montana at the $2 theater, in case you're wondering.)

Since the movie has been out a while (and since we were at a bargain place) the theater was very empty. Like about 95% empty. Which is fine with me. I'm good with empty.

However, what I am not so good with is what took place in that almost empty theater.

Five minutes before the movie started, three sort of loud teenagers came crashing in and sat in the seats Right. In. Front. Of. Us. There were one bajillion empty seats all over the theater but they chose to sit as close to us as they could possibly get.

Being an inveterate "people observer" from way back, I sat in my little chair and pondered human nature and why someone would choose to sit so very near someone else in an almost empty theater.

However, once the movie started, I got distracted by Miss Montana and her complicated life and I forgot all about our "in front of us neighbors."

But then? Then the unthinkable happened.

A family with two small children came in and sat in the row Immediately. Behind. Us.

Are Sarah and I "theater go-er magnets?" Or what?

The two little girls behind us were of the wiggly, giggly variety and they managed to hit our (rocking) theater seats about four or five thousand times during the course of the movie.

Now I have had small children in my lifetime and back in those (wonderful, stressful) days, my very FIRST thought upon entering an almost empty theater would be to corral said children into a densely unoccupied area where they could spread out and wriggle around to their hearts' content. I would most certainly NOT guide them into a row RIGHT BEHIND a middle aged mom with (obviously) middle aged nerves. And I would NOT let them kick their legs and move around and hit the chairs in the front of them.


I truly have a very long fuse regarding most things. I would consider myself a tolerant, patient person almost always. And if the theater was completely full and those were the only seats available, I would be even MORE tolerant than usual.

But people. I'm telling you that there were only about seven movie attenders in the entire theater. So WHY did the family of wriggly children choose to sit right behind us?

If anyone out there has any clues, please, I beg of you, fill me in so that I can better understand the unusual thought processes of that species called the Child Accompanying, Theater Going, Human Parent. It would be a great help to me.

Now to look at this whole scenario from a different perspective, a couple weeks ago I took myself off to a matinee showing of "My Sister's Keeper." I made it a priority to find a seat far, far away from anyone else in the room because I knew I was going to be blubbering like a, well, like a blubber-er. I even got my little pack of Kleenex out of my purse ahead of time so that I would be well prepared.

And I did use the Kleenex, four or five of them, at least.

But I was comforted by the fact that I wasn't the only one in the room crying; there were sniffles galore. It is definitely a touching, sad, poignant movie for anyone who views it. But to watch it as someone who has actually had a child with cancer? Whew! Incredibly, utterly heart wrenching.

But for me at least, it was well worth seeing. (Steve's still not so sure he wants to go.)

So that's my "movie going stories" for the past couple of weeks. If anyone has an opinion on My Sister's Keeper, or has any movie-going stories to share with the rest of us, go for it! I always love to hear from you! (And so do all the other Smithellaneous folks.)

PS In regard to my entry about the turkey yesterday, Heather asked what wonderful recipes I served along with the turkey.

Well, the truth of the matter is that by the time I finally got done with the preparation and cooking of the turkey, I was so thoroughly traumatized and exhausted that I had no creativity or cooking fervor left. I think I did manage to whip up some mashed potatoes and I made gravy from the turkey drippings. Along with some peas and bread, that was the extent of my fabulous turkey feast.

And then I went and laid down.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Turkey With A Goiter

In the interest of full disclosure I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a professional turkey roaster. In fact, while I do quite well with turkey breasts, I am extremely intimidated by whole, entire turkeys. You know, the kind that come complete with legs and cavities stuffed full of rather yukky things enclosed in slimy bags? Those kinds of turkeys?

Well, a few weeks ago, some friends of ours generously gave us a whole turkey which I laid gently in the freezer to deal with at a later (and more courageous) time in my life.

Last week, that time arrived. The grocery budget was a little (a lot) slim and I thought, "I've got that 13-pound turkey in the freezer. I can create a whole bunch of meals from that!"

And so I thawed it. And then set it on the counter. And surveyed it from a distance. And pondered it. And surveyed it. And pondered some more.

And then I crept slowly and cautiously up to the turkey (as though it might leap upon me at any moment) and conducted a little exploratory excursion into the "cavity." And in the midst of my excursion, I touched the mysterious innards.

I shuddered! I backed away slowly! I did what I have done for twenty-seven years in times of duress.

I yelled, "STEVE!"

Steve appeared on the scene with great expediency to see why his wife was in the kitchen yelling like a panicked maniac.

I said to him, "Steve, you're an Eagle Scout. You have camped and foraged for food and dealt with many yucky things along the way. So I need for you to please remove the innards from the turkey for me because I just can't handle doing it myself." (Yes, I AM a bit squeamish, in case you're wondering.)

So Steve gallantly scrubbed his hands (as though preparing for surgery) and began to rummage around inside Sir Turkey while I stayed a safe ten feet away and made lots of "Ewwww" noises in order to further encourage him.

I was also being very helpful by reading the instructions to him which were going on and on about all sorts of lovely things like the following: Tie legs together; skewer the neck skin to the back; if there is no band of skin, tie the drumsticks securely to the tail using 100 percent cotton string; twist wing tips under the back.

And stuff like that.

Once we had figured out (Steve close up; me from a distance) what all we were going to skewer, tie, and/or twist, we had to decide how we were going to season the turkey.

And may I add that this entire process had been accompanied by many shrieks, giggles and guffaws on our part as we wrestled ye olde turkey to the mat. (Although you can't really tell it from these particular pictures where Steve is so seriously concentrating on the job at hand.)

I thought back to the only time in my life that I had prepared a whole turkey before (with my friend, Leeanne's help), and remembered that she had lifted up the skin (ewwww) and put butter underneath it.

So, from my vast well of whole turkey roasting expertise, I informed Steve that we needed to put butter under the skin.

He strode boldly over to the fridge, got half a stick of butter and just STUCK it under the skin.
Like this!

By this time, I was in utter hysterics. I said, "Oh, it looks like the poor turkey has a GOITER!"

We both lost it. Entirely and completely.

After we had finally gotten ourselves back under control, I convinced Steve that we had to soften the butter and THEN put it under the skin. So he surgically removed the "goiter" (with me still "ewwwww-ing") and I ventured forth bravely from my hiding place at the end of the counter to soften it in the microwave.

We eventually got the tying, twisting, skewering, buttering, and seasoning all done and put the poor, traumatized bird in the oven. (Which was probably a nice, quiet sanctuary for him after all the turmoil we had put him through.)

And despite our amateurish efforts, the turkey was delicious and yes, I did make a bunch of meals from it.

And even though I was never in the Girl Scouts, I hereby declare that I do hithertofore and henceforth forever more deserve an official Cooking Badge because I, Rebecca C. Smith, have had a (small) part in roasting a turkey. With a goiter.

The end.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fence Friends Alert

How exciting! Someone actually asked a question over in the Backyard Fence Area!

Brenda is inquiring as to whether or not there are any other Tweeters hangin' around Smithellaneous besides her. Although I am not personally a Tweeter, I have a feeling a few of you might be so run on over there and let her know!

By the way, for those of you who have been threatening me with threatening threats if I didn't call my doctor, I'll update you on that later today or tomorrow. No big news; just wanted to let you know I did it!

Now Sarah and I are off to buy a couple minor items for her summer wardrobe.

Got Bocce?

Last night for our Evening's Exquisitely Exciting Entertainment, we borrowed a Bocce Ball set from our neighbors and attempted to play it.

In case you've never played Bocce Ball, it is a game of riotous action and non-stop movement.

As these pictures so stunningly illustrate.

Oh wait! Do I detect some exciting game-related action?

Nope, false alarm. Steve was just waving to a neighbor.

It took a while for me to figure out all the complexities of this game so I had my eldest (not to mention, only) son give me lessons. Can you see the look of intense concentration on my face as I valiantly attempt to absorb sports-related facts?

And also, try to understand the scoring system which involved (gasp!) MATH?

Sarah was very serious about the game as you can see by the way she is marching over to the balls and saying to herself, "I am just going to go over there and show those balls who is the BOSS!"

I must say that Steve and Nathan did more horsing around then they did playing.

It's a guy thing.

Sarah and I, on the other other hand, maintained our exemplary, iron-willed, disciplined Bocce Ball Game Concentration.

Um, except when I decided to go swing for a minute.

Because I'm focused like that.

And except for when Sarah ran in and out of the house a couple times. Because she's focused too, just like her mom.

Please, I beg of you, do not ask me what the guys were doing in these pictures because I have no earthly idea.

I just know they were having fun. They're really good at that.

Did I mention it's a guy thing?

In closing, I would like to officially present to you The Smith All-Star Bocce Ball Team! (Sans their Stunning Star Player who had to miss the team shot in order to take the team picture.)

Is it too trite to say that a good time was had by all?


Well, then.

A good time was had by all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Taboo and Trauma

Last night the four of us gathered in the kitchen for a mega tournament of Taboo. (My favorite game.) It was the males vs. the females and although Sarah and I took off with a strong lead, the males eventually came back to beat us by a few points. (It was nothin' but luck!)

Nathan was amazed and annoyed in turn by the "feminine mind link" that he claimed Sarah and I had going on. She could say just four or five words as a clue and I would instantly know the answer.

Nathan kept on saying, "How you do you guys DO that?"

Sarah and I would just give each other our secretive smiles and do an occasional fist bump in celebration of the amazing, intuitive female brain.

Although we will probably mix up the teams in a little in future games, one thing that we will never do in a family Taboo game is to put Steve and I on the same team; he and I are downright "scary good" when we play together. Having been married almost twenty eight years, we have our verbal shorthand down to a science and that comes in really handy in a game where you have to communicate a lot of information with minimal words.

So anyway (I AM going somewhere with this post, believe it or not), we were having such a great time playing last night; there were shrieks, yells, hoots of laughter, and plenty of fist bumps and good natured teasing to go around.

At one point in the evening when I was giving the clues to Sarah, we got so raucous that the game broke down into complete, unmitigated chaos. I had given an absolutely ridiculous clue to Sarah and to everyone's great amazement she got the answer correct, which just added to the general mood of mirth and merriment.

You know how you sometimes get to laughing so hard you can't breathe? Well, that's about the place we were at. And I've been there many times in the past--it's a fun, hysterical place to be until eventually everyone settles down and gets back to whatever was so funny in the first place.

Except for last night. Last night was different.

Because last night when I got to laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe, well, I really couldn't breathe. All evening I had been noticing a sort of funny feeling in my lungs and when the waves of laughter hit, and my lungs were pushed into doing that extra work, they just sort of rebelled.

The air got sucked out of the room.

The laughter vanished in an instant.

Steve came crashing around to the back of the table where I was sitting beside Nathan and tried to talk me through some pursed lip breathing. I managed to tell him to get my rescue inhaler from the kitchen cupboard but once I had that in my hand, I was having trouble taking a deep enough breath in order to use it.

Things got kind of wild there for about thirty seconds and when I was finally able to focus in on the room again, the first thing I saw was Sarah's stricken face and the tears in her eyes. Nathan was patting my arm and looking traumatized and Steve was rubbing my shoulders and saying loving, calming things.

By that point I had tears streaming down my face from a combination of laughter, trauma, and crying. Not a pretty picture, I assure you.

After we had sat and caught our literal and figurative breath for a few minutes, I insisted we keep on playing. I sure didn't want to end a fun family night on such a low note. The kids said, "Are you sure you can keep playing. Mom?" and in response, I repeated the funny clue that had started the whole brouhaha in the first place.

They grinned in relief, obviously figuring that if Mom's sense of humor was still working she was gonna be okay.

And so we played another half hour and although it was a bit more sober than the first part of the evening, it was still a sweet time to spend together.

Now lest any of you start worrying too much, I was never at a point where I felt like my life was in danger and we were not on the verge of calling 911. It was just a quickly passing, fairly scary episode.

But as I told Steve, it really hit me hard emotionally because it's the first time that COPD has really entered my everyday life. I know it affects me all the time when it comes to going to the gym and taking a walk and doing active, physical stuff but it has never before intruded on my real life, my "day-to-day working and playing with my family" life.

Going from merry mayhem to borderline panic in the space of a few seconds--that was all courtesy of COPD. It reached out its long fingers and made its presence known in a way it never had before. And it wasn't fun.

Not being able to breathe easily isn't fun. In fact, it's downright scary.

And what's so discouraging about this whole thing is that as a life long nonsmoker, I should never have gotten COPD in the first place!

But it is what it is.

I have COPD and it's probably not going to get better.

I have COPD but I also have a family who loves me enough to cry real tears over my real trauma. And that kind of family can get this kind of gal through a whole lot of tough stuff.

Taboo and trauma.

Both seem to bring out the best in this family.

Notes on Nate

I haven't talked about Nathan a lot lately but his name alone brings all sorts of happy stuff to mind; our fine fella just seems to radiate a marvelous blend of beneficent bonhomie wherever he goes. Although he does have an occasional crabby mood swing (as do we all), he is generally a really fun guy to have around.

Of course, he's been even happier than usual lately because of the recently solidified relationship (isn't that such a romantic way to put it?) between him and his longtime good buddy, Meagan.

If you will indulge me for just one teeny little moment, the maternal side of my writing self feels compelled to post just a few more pictures of the two of them. Aren't they wonderful and darling and cute and sweet and romantic and lovely and super?

Yes, I thought so, too.

And while I'm on the subject of Nathan, last Monday and Tuesday he had a significant blessing come into his life. A retired pastor and career counselor, Dr. Fred McGehee, invested into Nathan (free of charge) a total of about twelve hours; they went over a huge battery of tests and also discussed Nathan's life goals, dreams, worries, ambitions, education, future, finances, personality, career, faith, relationships ... the whole nine yards. (This is the same man who met with Steve and me several months ago.)

Those two days were so affirming and life-changing for Nathan as he got a better grasp on his present and a clearer look at his future. It is such a blessing (to this Mom, especially) that people of Dr. McGehee's caliber are willing to invest themselves in mentoring a new generation.

The session seemed to clarify for Nathan his desire to go into some kind of a career having to do with counseling and helping people; he doesn't know exactly what that will end up looking like but at least he knows the basic direction he's headed.

Here's Nathan in "pondering" mode.

And here he is in "non-pondering" mode.

I kind of like him both ways!


Be sure to stop by The Backyard Fence today; there have been several prayer requests posted over the last few days. Also, if you want to start a discussion about something, feel free! Any discussions that get started over there, I will mention on the main blog area to kind of guide people in that direction.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Hundred

Does anyone know what happened on April 11, 2009?


Give up?

Are you sure?

Okay, I'll tell you.

On April 11, I bravely branched out from Sarah Smith's Spot and started Smithellaneous. (Whose design was paid for by a very dear person who wishes to remain anonymous.)

What is so amazing (to me, at least) is that this is my one hundredth post in three months!

Can you believe that? I am obviously a blog-postin' fool!

What amazes me even more is that the one hundred posts I have written have been about absolutely nothing! I mean, when you think about it, our family is in a major holding pattern right now. We're in limbo, we're not busy and we're not all swooshy and important. Our calendar is no longer filled with so much ink that you can't even see the pages behind the appointments.

And yet I have still somehow managed to write one hundred entries!

About nothing!

It's a gift!

Let's see--some of the titles were: The Sneezing Angel, In the Hallway, A Medusa In Their Midst, The Toilet Paper Stand Off, The Marijuana Shirt, Obeying the Eyeballs, Dithering in the Dressing Room, Biscuits, Realtors, and Faith, May I Borrow Your Busyness, and A Sermon on A Stump.

As all of those wild and wacky titles probably tell you, I truly do enjoy writing and I'm looking forward to continuing it as long as I have even one or two people still dropping by to read the Smithellaneous Miscellaneous Missives.

So thanks for helping me break in this new blog and celebrating with me three months and one hundred entries. And what would be even more celebratory for me is if I could see the Followers List (found to the right) get up past one hundred this week. It's not hard to do--just click on "Follow" and then your name and picture will appear with the current 86 names and pictures of the folks who have already become some of my new best friends! Forever!

It's been fun! It's been real! It's been really fun!

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

P.S By the way, the reason I posted this particular picture of "Becky the Blogger" is because I got the 100% silk blouse at a thrift store this week. The "new tags" were still on it for $65 but I paid just $7.50. Woo-hoo!