Friday, February 4, 2011

This And That. (Alternate Title: My Importune Pal)

Sugar Shaker

This is a sugar shaker that resides in our home.


It was purchased in antique shop in England over fifty years ago.

(And no, I am not the one who purchased said shaker. Since I am only forty-eight.)

Actually, Steve’s parents bought it when they lived in England and have had it around their house all these years. During our visit to their home for Christmas, Vernie brought it out and asked if we would like to have it.

It’s quaint. It’s a conversation piece. Steve uses it every afternoon to add sugar to his “spot of tea.” And it matches the colors of our house.

What’s not to love?


Still practicing with the new camera and taking pictures of everything in sight. Such fun.



It’s especially fun when a certain little guy appears in the photo. A cute little guy. An endearing little guy.



Well, Snowy is endearing except for one thing. One little ol’ thing that I mentioned in an earlier post.

Sir Snowy has now become convinced that 4:30 am is the Happiest Time! of the Day. He also believes that 4:30 is the Perfect Time! of the Day for Mom to sit in her chair with him and do her Bible reading and blog writing.

So here’s the early morning scene at the Smith House.

I am sleeping. Soundly. At 4:30.

Suddenly, in the midst of my deliciously drowsy dreams, I hear a polite little, “scratch, scratch, scratch” on the bedroom door. I groan and mutter muttery things under my breath.

Thirty seconds pass.

“Scratch, scratch, scratch.”

Then a polite and helpful pause.

I can just picture Snowy putting his paw back down, post scratch, and then sitting sedately back on his haunches and waiting with great delight for what he knows will eventually happen should he just continue to practice his own patented brand of canine importunity. (Importunity is a word from the Bible that means “not giving up.” And since Snowy is a Pastor’s Dog, he tends to think in those terms. I think.)

Finally, when I realize that he’s really. not. going. to go away, I fling back the covers, stomp across the bedroom floor, and throw open the bedroom door with less than loving thoughts percolating in my heart.

And then I see this face.


Snowy catching a glimpse of me in all my early morning, disheveled crabbiness does nothing to dissuade him from the glory that is his life. As soon as he spots me, he goes into a veritable paroxysm of delight, flinging himself around the hallway, wagging his tail frantically, and panting and smiling with a tumultuous display of the happiest kind of joy.

And I know just what he’s thinking. “Mom decided to get up and spend time with me! I am so happy! I am so excited! Life is so grand!”

Yeah. It’s grand all right. If 4:30 a.m. can possibly be referred to as a grand hour.

And so Snowy and I have become early morning buds. I let him outside, feed him, and then the two of us just hang out in the peaceful, pre-dawn hours. (Although I do realize I could go back to bed after taking care of him, I figure 4:30 is right next door to 5:00 and 5:00 is actually a fairly reasonable getting up hour. And so I usually just stay up.)

And just because he really is pretty cute, I’ll close with a few more pictures of my importune pal.


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Thursday, February 3, 2011


Steve has always been one of those people who can eat anything he wants, any time he wants, and never gain weight or have any negative effects from it.

Which (may I just say?) can be just a wee tad annoying to live with. I mean, I can just walk past a brownie mix and add an inch to my waist whereas I’ve had to listen to Steve say during most of our marriage, “Well, I’d better have a piece of cake before bedtime so that I can keep my weight up.”

Could a jury possibly convict me for throttling such a man?

However, in recent months, his cholesterol has come back a little high and so he’s been on more of of a mission to alter his diet a bit. And he’s doing very well with it, I must say.

(I must also add that I am more pleased than I can tell you to hear him ask how many calories or fat are in a particular dessert. Ahhhh. Sweet revenge. He finally has to do what I’ve been doing for twenty-nine stinkin’ years! Mwahahahaha!)

But I digress. . .

Since I can also stand to watch my calorie and fat consumption (understatement of the year), he and I have pretty much been on the same page, food-wise.

Except for one item. And this is serious stuff, folks.

My darling husband loves lots of crackers with his lunch time soup and has now started requesting that I buy him fat free crackers.

Now while I can happily consume things like low fat Ranch dressing and 2% milk all day long, there are some places where I feel compelled to draw the line.

And ladies and gentlemen, fat free soda crackers would be one of those places. To me, they are hideous, horrible, and horrendous things. (Want me to tell you how I really feel?)

And so, since the overall cost is not any greater (each box just lasts longer) I have started buying His-n-Her Crackers.

Which would work out just dandy except for one small problem. The wrappers on the crackers look exactly the same. So if I see a lonely sleeve of crackers in the cupboard that has been extracted from its sponsoring box, well, how am I to know if I’m about to bite into the yummy full-of-fat cracker or the loathsome free-of-fat cracker?

It’s a real issue, people.

And so, caving into my personal paranoia of inadvertently consuming you know what, I got out my marker and carefully labeled each sleeve of crackers.


A little OCD? Probably.

Well, Steve took one look at my all my careful organizing and labeling of the conglomerate cracker population in our family and made a solemn announcement, “Honey, it seems to me that you have a severe case of acracknophobia.”

(imagine rim shot here.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Strange Happenings. Part 2.

Hooray for the comment link working again! A couple people have said that although they hadn’t been able to comment for many months, now they’re able to do so again. Whatever glitch we had seems to be unglitchified. (And if that wasn’t a word before, it is now.)

Your guesses as to the strange happenings around here have been quite entertaining and so much fun to read.

Basically they can be summed up by the following three categories:

We’re going from a one-sink bathroom to a two-sink bathroom.
The mirror was too big to get out of the room so we had to break it.
Steve broke the mirror in order to make a mirror mosaic.

You know, I never would have even thought about the whole “making a mirror mosaic” angle; that was an especially interesting concept to contemplate. Unfortunately though, the mosaic angle is not correct and neither is the one-sink bathroom to a two-sink bathroom guess.

However, breaking the mirror in order to remove it? That is the Right Answer! (Ding, ding, ding!)

Steve and a friend of ours had taken down the large mirror from the master bath with the intent of carrying it downstairs and then off to the recycling center. (The orange screwdriver is not a normal part of our decor. However, the overflowing wastebasket and stuff all over the counter is.)


However, once they got halfway down the stairs, they (and the mirror) got stuck. No matter what they did, no matter how they turned and twisted that mirror, it would not clear the ceiling of the stairwell. (Steve thinks that when the mirror was first brought into the house, it had to have been brought through a window since the stairwell in this house is decidedly unfriendly toward moving large items in and out-- as this old post will illustrate.)

And so my handsome, hardy and handily resourceful husband deduced that if he brought a large paint tarp up to the bedroom, laid the mirror on it (to contain the shards of glass) and then hit the mirror with a hammer, the pieces could be gathered up and put in a large trash receptacle and carried downstairs that way.

And it worked! Hooray for hammers! And husbands!

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet made it to the recycling place and the container full of glass shards is in the back of my mini van. Whenever I turn a corner or step on the brakes, all five bazillion shards rub against each other and create a sound that’s very much akin to fingernails on the black board melded with the scraping sound a hygienist makes when cleaning your teeth.

Yes, it’s that pleasant.

But the important thing is that the mirror has “left the building” (not unlike Elvis), and we can now continue with the project.

And yes, for those of you who guessed that the “project” is a bathroom re-model, you’re right.

Um, not that we need to re-model, or anything. (We have scrubbed these stains with alacrity and believe me when I tell you that they are of the peskily permanent variety.)


Our goal, of course, is to do the project for the teensiest amount of money possible. When it came time to decide whether or not to get replacement sinks, we found out how much new sinks would cost and made an instant decision not to go there. Since the sinks had to be removed temporarily anyway (for the new counter top) Steve went down to the kitchen and spent over an hour scrubbing years of muck off them; it made an amazing difference. (This is the pre-scrubbed picture.)


When I got home from an errand and saw those two sinks sitting so happily on the kitchen counter, the sight just struck me funny for some odd reason and I couldn’t resist taking pictures. I mean, how often does one have two bathroom sinks sitting atop the kitchen counter?


Once the sinks were all clean and shiny, we found faucets on clearance for 60% off. Steve put the new faucets on the old (clean) sinks and, voila!

Loveliness happened!


Steve had never “set a sink” before, but having not done something in the past has never kept him from trying to do something in the present. He thought and pondered and before I knew it, both sinks had been put into their sink spots. (Not to be confused with their sinkholes.)



And do you see the lovely countertop? A friend of ours built it for us for a really great price. He just happens to be one of the best tile guys in the area and is especially gifted at making creative, unique designs with tile. We feel like we have a work of art in our bathroom and sometimes we go in there and just stand and stare at it. Like we’re at a museum or something. (Yes, I know we’re pitiful.)


Last night Steve worked on taking a connection that used to run one bar of lights and dividing it up so it will run three individual lights. How he knows how to do all that stuff, I’ll never understand. We could never afford to do most of the stuff we do around here if he didn’t have the skills to do the work himself; I’m thankful for a multi-talented fella to “play house” with.

(He just hung the medicine cabinet temporarily to help him know where to place the lights. And he’s wearing the mask because he’d been doing a lot of sanding and there was dust everywhere. Just in case you’re wondering.)


The bigger the mess . . .


. . . the happier he is. (Of course, in this picture he looks more pensive than happy but you get the idea.)


So that’s the story of that!

(Incidentally, to those of you who wondered if we were worried about 7 years of bad luck after breaking a mirror, the short answer is: nope! We’re not even one tiny bit superstitious!)

In Other News . . .

I am in the throes of finishing up my work on the singing/speaking presentation I’ll be doing in Charlotte Saturday morning for a group of about 250 lovely ladies. (It’s not too late to attend if you’d like to; e-mail me for info.)

While Sarah and I are at our event, Steve will be playing golf with his dad and then right after lunch, we’ll hit the road for the 6-7 hour trip home--just in time to gear up for arising at 5 am Sunday to get ready for our own service here.

But truthfully? Getting up at 5 am is not the hardship for me that it once was when I was a bit younger. Also, Snowy has recently decided that 4:30 to 5:00 a.m. is way later than any respectable human should be lying abed and has taken to politely scratching on our door every morning between those times. And so in the past few weeks, I’ve been getting up that early all the time and, believe it or not, I have really been enjoying it!

And that’s all the news from here today . . . thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The comment problem is fixed so I don't even mind if you leave hundreds of comments! Thanks for your patience with that.

And keep the guesses coming as to what the mirror breaking/sink displaying is all about. Answer coming soon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Strange Happenings Around Here.

So you may be wondering.

Why would Steve take a hammer and shatter a mirror . . .



that was wrapped in a tarp . . .


and lying on our bedroom floor?



And even more puzzling?


Why . . .


would there be bathroom sinks . . .


propped on the kitchen counter . . .


that I . . .


decided to turn . . .


into a photo op?


Strange happenings around here.

(And yes, explanations will be coming. In the meantime, you’re certainly welcome to hazard any guesses you may have as to said happenings.)

And in other news . . .

A Birthday

Happiest birthday wishes to Steve’s dad, Ken, who turned eighty yesterday. 

And because it was such a big birthday, at the end of our church service yesterday Steve said to the congregation, “Please humor me for just a moment. I would like to call my dad and have all of us sing happy birthday to him.”  

He put the phone on speaker, put it up to a mike, and then dialed the number. 

There was a hello.  And then a click.

He dialed it again. 

Hello. Click.

The whole congregation watched. And waited.  And happily snickered at their perspiring pastor’s predicament.

At long last Ken picked up the phone without the aforementioned “click” and the Singing of the Birthday Song was accomplished.  (Much to Ken--and the congregation’s--delight.)

When Steve talked to his parents later he found out that on the first two calls, his mom had answered the cell phone and then handed it to his dad who, without thinking, had clicked the “talk” button a second time.

Which resulted in the phone being hung up.  Twice.  On Sunday morning.  On speaker phone.  In front of the whole congregation.

Good times!

Here is Ken with two of his favorite ladies.


Happy eightieth!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In Search of a Sunrise

Friday morning as I was driving to the gym, I happened to glance over a couple blocks to my left and notice that the sun was just rising.  I  quickly found a place to turn around and headed back toward where I saw the sun making its shy (yet glorious) appearance over the water.  My new camera was in the seat beside me and I spent a happy few minutes, shooting pictures of the glory of a new sun.

I hope that you look at these photos and--regardless of what time of day you’re reading this—are able to feel the peacefulness and promise that each new day represents.



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