Friday, January 7, 2011

I Am Not Amused.

Hi. Snowy here.

So here’s the deal.

Today started out like any other day. I got up early, did my business, did my yawns, did my stretches, greeted The Fam and had my gourmet repast of canned dog food with a bit of baby food mixed in. (Hey, my doctor recommended the baby food for my bad macho self, so stop your snickering.)


By the time I got all that important business tended to, it was time to move on to the first task of the day which is taking Sarah to school


With everything else I’ve got on my schedule, it’s a bit tough for me to break away and run my sister back and forth all the time; however, Mom always says she needs me to go along with her as Head of Security and keep an eye on all the dangerous criminals who may be afoot. And since Mom is the fount from whom all (food) blessings flow, I usually acquiesce to her requests. (And if you don’t have an impressive doggie vocab like mine? Acquiesce means to say yes.)


So anyway, we got the Sarah Trip over and done with (zero criminals spotted), and I strolled back into the house contemplating a bit more breakfast followed by my first nap of the day.

As per usual, mom had a camera within reach and when I finished eating and turned around, she snapped my picture. Does this woman ever stop?

Now I’ve heard it said that being sick can change a person’s appearance and I suppose that’s true for us Canine Types as well. I mean, look at me. Do I look like the Snowy you’ve always known and loved?



Um. Wait. What’s going on here?

Why is Mom suddenly taking pictures of another fluffy, cute white creature besides myself. And who IS that strange fluffy creature anyway?

What’s going on?





Right smack dab in the middle of that most puzzling of moments, I happened to notice that my mother was chuckling cheerily to herself and it very quickly occurred to me that she had just played a mean trick on me. She had seen this fluffy white dog of Sarah’s and thought it would be fun to find out what I would do when I saw it.


Such juvenile behavior on the part of a 48-year old woman. It’s obvious that the poor ol’ girl doesn’t get out much.

Anyway, I decided to chalk it all up to the Mysterious Ways of Women and then wandered off to make sure everything in the house was secure. And also to take my nap. Of course.

When I meandered back into the kitchen a few naps, er, minutes later, you’ll never guess what I saw. The same goofy white creature was still there, except it (he? she?) had been moved to a different place.

Is Mom taking this whole thing a bit far, or what?


Mom? The joke is wearing a little thin, here.


Well, I guess that in order to humor the Fount of All Food Blessings, I should play along a little, sniff a bit, and try to look intrigued so that Mom will think that this is truly something worth investing our time and energies into.

I mean, really. We could be searching for solutions to world peace or at least trying to invent a dog food that tastes like hot dogs. But no. We’re wasting valuable moments of our valuable lives going through this whole foolish fluffy farce.


After I sniff a little, I suddenly notice something interesting through the front window.

Look! Shiny! (No. My powers of concentration are not well developed. Why do you ask?)


Finally I declare, “I have had enough” because, well, I have had enough.

And then I blow the joint.


Because truthfully?

I really don’t have the stomach for this kind of thing. This strange furry creature comes into MY kitchen and tries to usurp MY spot on the floor and distracts MY mother from taking pictures of MY cuteness!

I am not amused.

This is Snowy. Signing off.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Talking Boxes.

When Nathan was home over Christmas, we thought it would be a good time for him to go through a bunch of his boyhood belongings and decide what he wanted to store at home, what he wanted to take back to Florida with him, and what he wanted to get rid of.

May I just say that it’s sort of sobering to help one’s son sort through his childhood. Sobering and poignant and melancholy and happy and teary and . . . well, you get the drift. A mish mash of emotions, to be sure.




He did about half of it himself and then called in The Mom Person to help him on the home stretch. As we worked together we reminisced about ballgames he’d played, dates he’d been on, camping trips he’d taken, academic/athletic awards he’d received, big school projects he’d done and missions trips he’d gone on.

We ended up with this stack.

Boxes full of childhood.


And they weren’t just your basic silent types of boxes either. No, these particular boxes were Talking Boxes. In fact, they were talking right to me.

“Hey, Lady! You know that little fella of yours? He ain't five years old anymore.(Boxes don't use good grammar. In case you didn't know.) The has come for you to let go and move on.”

I just hate it when boxes give me lectures. Especially boxes that have snatched the memories of my son’s childhood and are smugly holding the smuggled memories captive within their boxy confines.


Thankfully though, those boxes can only hold a limited number of memories. The rest of the memories are all mine--to pull out, to sort through, and to contemplate any ol’ time I want. Memories like these . . .

nate young

And you want to know what the best thing about memories is? New memories are being made every single day!

Memories like these . . .

natemeg2 nate meg

Yes, Nathan and Meagan are still dating, which makes them happy and makes Steve, Sarah and I happy, too!

And so life goes on as my used-to-be-little son continues to step very quickly toward adulthood; in fact, it’s hard for me to believe that he’ll be graduating from college in May. (And may I just mention he made straight A’s during his last semester?)

Nathan is moving out and moving on and moving me to say that as much as I miss him, I’m thankful for the memories that he’s left me with and excited about the memories he has yet to make.

Okay. That was all the news about Son #1.

Son #2 is also staying very busy. As this picture will attest to. _DSC0031

What a life!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Last night we hosted the Vandenberg family in our home for dinner.


This family is unusual. And different. And wonderful. And our family relates to their family quite well.

Why is that?

Because they live in this.

promo bus

(Just in case you might wonder why a minister's family has a Budweiser sign in the front of their bus, this picture was taken by the former owners before the Vandenbergs bought the bus.)


And they travel most of the year singing and preaching in churches around the U.S. and Canada; in fact, Lloyd and Cathy have been living on the road three-quarters out of every year for their entire marriage—25 years!

The main difference between them and us?

They have six children as opposed to our two. So for much of their time on the road, they had eight people living in a bus for 8-9 months a year!

Since their older daughter has recently gotten married and will be moving to China with her husband to do missions work and their next oldest daughter is in Bible school, they have “only” six people on the bus now.

Which is a lot of people in a little space.

We’ve known this family for about twenty years and used to run into each other occasionally in different parts of the country; we'd always try to grab a meal or two together before heading down separate highways. Since they home school, play instruments, sing, write songs, record CD’s, etc. it was always wonderful to get to meet up with them.

Getting the chance to spend the evening with them last night (after not seeing them for about 10 years) was an extra special treat. Sarah especially enjoyed talking with their kids; they have things in common with each other that very few other kids can understand or relate to.

This past Sunday, the Vandenbergs sang and preached in our morning service and then last night after our meal, they gave us a tour of their bus. That brought back so many memories from our own road days.

Here’s Sarah on their bus reading to their cute-as-a-button 3-year old.


A little serious.


A little not-so-serious.


(There are seven people in this picture instead of the usual six because Katelynn—the young lady on the left--has been on break from school for a couple weeks.)

I have to admit to you that once we left their noisy, crowded, happy bus and arrived back at our home, I walked in the front door, took a look around, sighed and said to myself. “Ahhh. Space.”

I have lived full time for over twenty years of my life (first with my parents and then with Steve) in R.V’s and I have quite happily gotten along in the teeniest spaces imaginable. (Most of the time, we lived in less than 300 sq. feet of space.)

So I can truly say that I greatly admire the Vandenbergs for their long term commitment to their traveling ministry. I can also say that I’m glad I got to live that unusual and fulfilling lifestyle for twenty years. And lastly? I can definitely say that I appreciate beyond all description the fact that I now live in a home that has space.

Space, wonderful space. Ahhh.


You all were so sweet to chime in yesterday about my post on Snowy’s liver results; I was touched by how many of you shed joyful tears and/or did your own happy dances over our good news. Snowy is a blessed little fella to have his own Smithellaneous Fan Club. (He says to tell you all howdy but he can’t write right now because he’s too busy trying to keep up with his grueling Napping In The Sun schedule.)

Here are Snowy and his sister before she left for school this morning. A good lookin’ pair, don’t you think?


Before I close, let me respond to a few of your recent comments:

Mary H. said, “I, for one, would be heartbroken if there wasn't at least a little mention everyday of Snowy's brightness and funniness and health. A Christmas miracle, for sure - he came to you at Christmas time, isn't that correct? He was a miracle then and a miracle still.”

Mary, you have a good memory! Yes, we did get Snowy at Christmastime, Christmas Eve, 2000 to be exact. He was two months old, weighed about two pounds and was the most darling ball of white fluff you have ever seen!

AnonymousJodi said, I can barely see the screen to type this email as the HAPPY tears are falling. We should have known Snowy Stud Muffin (is that right?) Smith would be just like his sister PGC!
Yes, Snowy’s unofficial middle name is Stud Muffin.
(Jodi continued . . . .) And while we are talking about the functions of the Smith Children; how is Nathan feeling/doing with the thyroid issues--HYPER, RIGHT)? You haven't talked about his health "issue" in quite some time. I am hoping NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS; but assuming is not something I am good at so please let us know, if you wish.
After Nathan’s last visit to the doctor to have his thyroid checked, she said his levels had come back to near normal. He just needs to be re-checked every year.

BloggerAnne said (in reference to my post about time going faster the older we get), Hi Becky, I read somewhere about a theory that as we age our core temperature rises ever so slightly - the hypothalamus is the reason I think? And they postulated that it affects our perception of time.

Anne, I have no idea what all the means but it sounds very impressive and I am also impressed that you used the word “postulated” in a sentence. That is a lovely word that is so underused!

(Anne continued . . .) Happy Anniversary!!! Will you plan something extra-special for the big 3-0 next year?
Steve and I were just talking the other day about our 30th anniversary and what we might do. Since my dream of touring old buildings and castles in Europe is a little “much” and since his dream of sightseeing out west in a Mazda Miata convertible roadster may not be financially feasible till we’re about ninety, we’re still a bit undecided as to our 30th anniversary plans.
But as fast as time goes? We’d better hurry and start planning because 2011 is probably going to be gone within the next ten minutes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Snowy’s Liver Report Card

Yesterday afternoon, I took Snowy on a “mother/son outing” to the vet since I just couldn’t stand to wait even one more day to find out how his liver is faring.

Sitting there in the waiting room with him after his blood draw, I was reminded of the dozens of times I’ve sat with Sarah in hospital waiting rooms, anxiously anticipating hearing the results from various tests and procedures.   Whether it’s a beloved daughter or a beloved doggie—the waiting never seems to get any easier.

At long last, the vet emerged from the back room and headed in our direction. Because of Sarah’s cancer journey, I have had many years of practice in studying the subtle nuances of a doctor’s face even before one word is spoken.  But in this particular case, nuance noticing wasn’t even necessary.  When I looked up, all I saw was one large, enormous, stupendous grin.

And the reason for that grin?

Over the course of the past eleven days, Snowy’s drastically abnormal liver levels have reversed themselves and are very quickly heading back to normal.

Yes, I said normal!

Here are the numbers indicating liver function:  (And thanks for humoring me as I post my furry son’s blood work results on my blog.  I won’t make it a habit, I promise!)

ALT:  (Normal is 10-100)
December 13:                                         622   
December 22:                                         >1000 (off the charts )    
January 3:                                              242

ALKP:  (Normal is 23-212)
December 13:                                         322          
December 22:                                         738                                           
January 3:                                              218

GGT:  (Normal is 0-7)

December 13:                                          wasn’t measured  
December 22:                                          65 
January 3                                                20

Is that great news or what? The doctor was surprised and absolutely thrilled.  (Especially since she was the who told me a couple weeks ago that there was nothing left to do and we should just “make him comfortable.”)

So that’s the good news.

The other (not so great) news is that he now seems to be having some gall bladder issues since those levels have become a bit elevated recently; also, his platelets are quite high.  And of course, we have the ongoing concern of the large stones in both kidneys that could take off growing at any moment. 

But for right now?  Our whole family is just busy doing the Smith Happy Dance, so thankful that our little buddy has (for the time being, at least) beaten the odds.  He’s been  running around the house in fine puppy-like fashion, dashing up and down the stairs at top speed, and has had the brightest, happiest look in his eyes.   Even the vet commented on how bright he looks which is quite a change from when we took our very sick dog in to see her a few weeks ago.

And so that’s the Official Snowy Report.  Unless something changes and he starts having worrisome symptoms, he doesn’t have to go back to the doctor for three months! 

We are one doggone happy family!

I’ll close with a few favorite pictures of Snowy in addition to the promise that starting tomorrow, I will stop writing about him so much!  (What can I say?  I’m a doting mom.)

 IMG_0031 IMG_0197 IMG_1602 IMG_1864   IMG_4782

steve sarah snowy



Monday, January 3, 2011

Time Puts On Tennis Shoes

Is it just me or did 2010 just sorta whiz on by?  

And have you ever noticed that the older you get, the more whizzing that goes on?  And the faster the whizzing gets?

What’s that all about? It seems to me that the way it should go is that the older you get, the slower time should pass--since there is so much less of it left than there was before.

But no. Once we leave the slow-paced charms of childhood, time puts on tennis shoes and starts its inexorable sprint to the finish line.

And speaking of time passing, I still can’t believe Steve and I celebrated twenty-nine years of marriage yesterday.  Twenty-nine!

It used to be (back when I was a much younger me) that I considered anyone who had been been married for 29 years to be, well, old!  I would look at those couples with something akin to awe and think, “Twenty-nine years?  Really?  That is such a very long, long time!”

Ha.  It’s not long at all.   You get married, you have a kid or two, you have a fight or two (or three) you make up with each other a time or two (or four), you laugh a lot and cry a little and then, BAM!  Twenty-nine years is staring you right in the face.

I have no doubt that our 50th wedding anniversary will only take about ten minutes to get here.  (Or least that’s what it will feel like when it arrives.)

In the meantime, we had a great time celebrating these first twenty-nine (speedy) years.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we went to a lovely hotel on Saturday night and spent time snoozing, reading, eating (yes, copious quantities of chocolate were involved), talking, watching DVD’s and staring in delight at the scenery beyond the deck of our lovely room.

oasis collage

For those of you who haven’t yet heard the story of our romance, here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version.

When I was 17 and Steve was 22, we met on a church bus going to a Christian rally in Washington, D.C.   We got to know each other a little bit during that brief time spent in Washington, then had just six dates over the next two years. (My family traveled a lot so Steve and I weren’t often in the same zip code).  After those six dates, we got engaged and were married two months later. 

Would I recommend that sort of dating and courtship routine to either of my children?  Nope.  Did it work for us?  Yep!


Before I close, let me bring you up to date on how Snowy is doing which is, in a word, terrific!  In fact, we can’t quite get over how well he’s been getting along, at least judging by the way he seems to feel.  

No matter how well he feels though, he’s always ready to take one of his many daily snoozes.  Here he is on the way home from Charlotte last week.


The only thing that might concern me is the fact that he’s drinking a whole lot of water which on one hand is a good thing because water is a good thing! But on the other hand, one of the signs of end stage liver disease is unusual water consumption. 

All in all though, we are amazed at the comeback he seems to have made.  We won’t know the whole picture until we take him back to the vet but for now we’re thrilled and thankful that he seems to feeling so well.