Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Arrived Twosome

Just wanted to let everyone know that our Terrific Twosome arrived safely a little before 9 pm last night. The trip took a total of fourteen hours which translates into thirteen hours for travel and one (teeny little itsy bitsy) hour for food and bathroom stops. That's pretty amazing, if you ask me. (And my 48-year old bladder.)

Meagan hadn't been here in almost a year so we gave her the tour of some of the fix ups we've done since then. Walking around seemed to be a highly appreciated activity for them; for some odd reason, neither one felt much like sitting down. (Don't know why.)

One of the spots on the tour was Sarah’s room, which looked like this last time Meagan saw it.


Now it looks like this!



And since Sarah’s room is so cheerful and welcoming, it seemed the perfect place for all of us to plop down for a while and talk.

I had told Meagan I wanted to hear the whole proposal story again complete with every single tiniest detail so it was fun to get to re-experience that story with them. Mostly Meagan did the telling and Nathan did the (very pleased) grinning.

Sarah, Steve and I were all propped up on Sarah's bed and Nathan and Meagan were sitting on the floor opposite us. About 3,345 times in the course of an hour I thought, "Oh, what a cute picture that would be," and "Oh, I love that expression," and "Oh, they are so darling together," and "Oh, that would be such a funny photo."

You'd be so proud of me and the way I restrained myself. Even though my shutter finger was trembling uncontrollably, I just didn't want to take the chance of sending my future daughter-in-law fleeing in horror back to Florida because of a maniacal future mother-in-law sticking a camera in her face at every single moment of every single day. My own family is used to having the perpetual presence of the mamarazzi in their lives but I did have to work with them a bit, and break them in sorta gradually.

However. Nathan and Meagan have actually asked me to take their "Save the Date" photos while they're here! Can you imagine? I'm actually being invited to point a camera at them? I don't have to beg? or wheedle? or whine?

(be still my heart)

I told Meagan that although I am not a professional photographer, I do have a no-fail method for taking important photos. Would all of you photographers like to know what that method is?

Ahem. My Patented No Fail Photography Method of Taking Pictures is this: Take at least three hundred shots of every single pose and trust in the law of averages that at least one of those shots will achieve a high level of mediocrity. Or even be sort of good. Possibly . . .

I just know Nathan and Meagan are going to read this blog entry and be so very reassured by their choice of photographers.

(I'm helpful like that.)

Today’s Smith Family Schedule will consist of three or four hours working at the church and then welcoming Steve’s parents who will be arriving from Charlotte later this afternoon. Since we live so far from all our family (my closest family member is 1200 miles away) having family come to our house is an extra special privilege and blessing.

Plus, it provides me with extra victims subjects for my photography.


A few questions/comments have come in that I’ll answer in the next day or two. However, I did want to just say (since several asked) that Meagan’s name is pronounced May-gan, not Mee-gan.

And by the way, I meant to tell the story today about being fired as the Plumber’s Helper but I got sidetracked. However, the story will be told soon. Soon the whole world will know about the teensy little mistake I made that caused me to be summarily dismissed by the summarily dismissive man pictured in this picture. Also, the story will be made known about how I’m still desperately trying to recover. Emotionally. Mentally. Psychologically. (And other –allys.)


Stay tuned.

Friday, March 4, 2011

No More "Plumber's Helper" For Me.

Today was not a good day.

Today I was officially fired from my job as Plumber's Helper to my husband.

I feel very sad about that. The pay was good. The benefits were good. But alas, I can no longer put that job position after my name. (Details to come.)

In other news, Nathan and Meagan (and a friend who is traveling part way with them) left Florida around 7 am. Since it's a 13-hour trip (not including all the stops that ladies seem to need) they won't be in till fairly late. I told them that I might try to stay awake past 9 pm, just this once and that I would do my utmost to be fairly, sort of, a little bit alert when I hug her. And him. And do my patented, 48-year old, not-so-fun-to-witness Happy Dance.

I mean, how often does one get to welcome one's son's fiancee' for the very first time? Only once! (And Emily Post has said that it's usually considered good manners to be awake for that occasion.)

In the meantime, I feel just like a small boat adrift in a lonely sea since I've been let go from the aforementioned job. (Sorry. It's far too painful for me to keep spelling out the job title over and over.)

Fired. Can you believe it? Donald Trump wasn't even here to do it. I had to be fired by my very own personal husband! How can I possibly keep my chin up in order to welcome my child and future child-in-law home when I have this sort of disgrace hanging over my head? (Sniff.)

In happier news, I have been so grateful to continue to see fabulous, tasty and quick recipes showing up in the comments area. They will go straight into my Official Fabulous, Tasty, and Quick Recipe File. I am getting ready to make a grocery run and a whole bunch of those recipe ingredients are going to be showing up in my cart.

Speaking of which, I guess it's time I get back to my long and ever growing To Do List.

Um. Did I mention I was fired?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Best Blog Readers Ever

Without even having to ask for easy, fast, delicious recipes, several of you have left some in the comments sections of the previous post--just out of the goodness of your hearts.

You've taken pity on my poor, befuddled self and have come to my rescue and I am so grateful. I am feeling hope once again, hope that I will indeed rise to the occasion and serve my honored (and highly anticipated) guests something other than peanut butter.

Thank you to all my Smithellaneous cooking buddies. I appreciate you!

What I’m Up To

1. Today I am fervently and feverishly (not to mention futilely) attempting to create beauty and order out of the remodeling induced clutter and chaos that are currently pervading the second floor our house.

And why would I want to that? Well, I want to do that so that our soon arriving guests (Nathan, Meagan and Steve’s parents) will all have a place to sleep. And sit. And put their sundry and assorted suitcases and toiletries.

(Yes, I know that sundry and assorted are redundant. But they sound so nice together.)

2. I’m hard at work on a major blog makeover—and have been for a couple weeks now. This task consists of endless e-mailing back and forth with my designer and having long discussions about fonts, designs, backgrounds, tabs, side bar items, nav bars, and headers. And each one of those seemingly simple topics takes endless thought.

3. I’m working with another company on putting together a website for our church. That includes yet more thinking and design-related ponderments. It also requires me to take a crash course in learning technical things I have no clue about. (I mean, “About which I have no clue.” ) My apologies to those of you who may be allergic to ending a sentence with a preposition.

(Or as Churchill is reputed to have said, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”)

4. I have been tasked by my boss, er, husband, to design and reproduce an official visitor brochure for our church with assorted helpful information about service days and times, kids, teen, and adult activities, staff info, etc. Which sounds simple until one actually does it. And then it turns out to be relatively unsimple. Like most of life.

5. I also need to redo and update our church directory which involves a lot of detail-oriented thinking and double checking of names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as other nonconsequential details such as making sure that I place the right family members into the right families.

6. My glasses have fallen apart and my contact lenses are on their last leg so at some point today I need to drive 45 minutes round trip and pick out glasses and pick up contact lenses.

7. My cupboards are bare. My brain is devoid of any fabulous menu ideas. Without menu ideas, I cannot shop for the groceries to populate the hitherto bare cupboards. Unfortunately, my brain has become so sodden with blog, website, brochure and directory-related thoughts that there is no longer room for any menu-related thinking. So therefore my forthcoming guests may very well have to resign themselves to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And ramen noodles. Served on paper goods. Eaten at the kitchen counter.

8. My 49th birthday is on Tuesday. I am not ready to turn 49. I will never be ready to turn 49. I may stay 48 for a while longer until I get up the wherewithal to turn 49. I’ll let you know how that goes.

9. I need to ride my bike today. And go to the gym tomorrow. And swear off anything containing fat or calories for all the days to come. I’ll let you know how that goes, too.

10. I just went through my summer clothes so that I can start the process of switching out winter stuff for summer stuff. It never ceases to amaze me how storing clothes in a closet for four months can cause them to shrink. (See point 9.)

11. I continue to be in a happy tizzy over the upcoming marriage of my son and his fab fiancée. And although being in a tizzy does take up a certain amount of energy, it’s a good energy taker.

And while I’m on the subject of Nathan and Meagan’s wedding, I’m just wondering if they might possibly like me to help them plan their reception.

I’ve got a great recipe for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

On paper plates.

12. And just because I try not to have too many blog posts without pictures, I shall close out with a few photos to make my photo loving blog readers happy.

And then I will go clean something.

IMG_3206 IMG_3196 IMG_3198 IMG_3202


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sheri's Story!

I'm obviously not paying close enough attention because I just now noticed that Sheri (Meagan's mom) has had her own story about Nathan's proposal up on her blog for a little while now.

Don't wait! Read it here!

Of Bathrooms. And Life.

So! Where are we right now in the Master Bath Re-Do Process? (I thought you’d never ask.)

For the past month, my filled-with-fabulousness husband has taken just about every non-working moment and invested it in this job. He gets home from church, pauses about 39.45 seconds (that’s a rough estimate) for a little breather and then throws on his work clothes for yet another go round.

Master bath re-do

Here’s what he and Mike (the tile guy) did last week.

First of all, they informed me that the master bedroom closet (which is actually in the bathroom) would have to be completely (not to mention totally) emptied out so that Mike could do all the dust-producing stuff necessary in order to rip out the (old, nasty) linoleum and put down the (fresh, sparkling) tile.

Do you know that you’re never quite aware of how much stuff is actually in a closet until you have to move it?

It’s a revelation!

We laid stuff on Nathan’s bed. . .


We hung stuff in Nathan’s closet. . .


And we hung yet other stuff in the office closet.

As you can see, the office was already over run with all sorts of various items that had made their sojourn from the bathroom in past days.


Oh the joy of unmitigated chaotic chaos.


The toilet was removed which (even when plugged) caused an alarming sewer-ish smell to eke its way into our not so appreciative collective consciousness. (Chaos and a sewer smell: the building blocks of joy!)


And the work continued.



And continued some more.


And somewhere along the way, one of the workman (that would be my husband) found the time to sneak in three M & M’s left over from Valentine’s Day. It’s obvious that I’ve trained him well. He knows that at least three pieces of chocolate must be ingested per every ten minutes of work. (It’s a heavily researched scientific formula that I went to great lengths to arrive at.)


And somewhere in the midst of the mess and chaos, I actually found a display of loveliness. I walked into the bathroom one night after Mike had left and found the prettiest little round thingies on the counter. I stared at them for a while before finally deducing (in my non-mechanical, very female brain) that they were rings of nails. Or, um, tacks. Or some such thing.



Whoever knew that rings of nails could be attractive? Not me, that’s who! _DSC0010-1

They gave me a wonderful opportunity to whip out ye olde Nikon and practice with aperture settings and depth of field. (Ha. Like I really know what I just said.)


At any rate, I am easily entertained. And I also like finding beauty in unexpected places.

In reconstructed bathrooms. And in life.


Proposal Stories

Let me just mention that I have laughed out loud at some of your proposal stories shared here . (And I’m not really a laugh out sort of person.) Other stories you shared made me feel downright weepy. (In a good way, of course.)

You all have got to stop doing this. I can’t keep up with the emotional trauma of going from crying to snorting, all within five minutes .

Well. Of course, if you WANT to keep telling your stories, I’ll try to find the emotional wherewithal to keep reading them. Because I really do love them!



Leah said, “A couple more Nathan & Meagan questions. You've mentioned a couple times that Meagan has already graduated from college. Is she older than Nathan (no need to reveal her age) or did she zoom through scho0l and graduate early? Is Meagan currently working (as a teacher)? Any idea where the lovely couple wants to live? Is graduate school on the horizon for either of them, or will they go straight to work?”

Leah, Nathan is twenty-one and Meagan is about 18 months older. (Which is sort of funny because her sister married a guy about that much younger, as well.)

Meagan has been working in the classroom of a pre-school connected with a church; she does eventually want to teach the grade school/elementary grades.

Not sure where they’re going to live: they both love Florida and they both love North Carolina. Nathan has even talked about living in Colorado some day since he fell in love with Denver when he went skiing there a couple years ago. So, who knows? I imagine work and education opportunities will play a big part in where they end up.

And yes, they both have plans to go on and do graduate work.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I “R” Aged. And A Romantic Question

I was going through a few things the other day and came across this poster design we were working on right before Sarah was diagnosed with cancer. Since we left the road shortly after that, we never did put this poster into use but it’s still fun to look back at it nine years later and see how very young we looked.

And come to think of it, I guess if we looked so young back then, that must mean that the last nine years have aged us?

Yep. I guess they have.

I am aged.

I feel aged.

I “R'” aged.

Well, you get the point.


Romantic Question

Since I know that many of us are still basking in the glow of this recent event . . .

nate and meg announcement

. . . I thought it would be fun to open up the floor to you all and hear how your marriage proposals came about. If you’re married, you have a proposal story to tell of some sort whether it be funny, sweet, poignant, awkward, or romantic. Or even romantically awkward!

I’ll start.

After Steve and I’d had just six dates in two years, both of our minds started turning pretty strongly toward marriage. Although we didn’t really talk about it outright, we were both dropping plenty of hints along the way.

On November 1, 1981, Steve took me on a day trip through the Blue Ridge mountains. That evening at sunset, we were parked at the top of Mt. Mitchell, which is the highest peak in the Eastern United States.

Great time for a proposal right? On a mountain top? At sunset?

Unfortunately, no proposal was forthcoming.


The next night as we were sitting under a street lamp on a church parking lot and chatting about our relationship, I suddenly blurted out, “Well, what timetable are we on exactly?”

Steve leaned his head forward and rested it on the steering wheel for what seemed like a very long time. Then he sat up straight, looked at me and said, “Will you marry me?”

I didn’t have to think very long before responding in the happy affirmative.

We were married two months later.

Okay . . . it’s your turn!



A couple of you commented on how pretty Meagan’s nails were and asked if she had done them especially for possible proposal.

Although I don’t have the inside scoop on that, I would probably guess that the answer to that would be, “Yes!” Either that or Meagan just has gorgeous nails all the time. In which case, I am definitely jealous.

Jodi asked, Any idea of a date? This year, next year? Does Nathan want to find a job first? What is his major? Where will the wedding be? I am guessing Megan's Dad and Steve will officiate?

Jodi, I’m sure that during the time that Nathan and Meagan are here we’ll start talking about a lot all those questions. I’m fairly sure the wedding will be sometime this summer but beyond that I don’t know many answers to wedding questions.

As for Nathan’s major, it is something along the lines of Social Work/Counseling. I don’t remember the exact official title but that’s the general idea.

Mrs Pam asked if Snowy had gotten any mail yesterday.

Mrs. Pam, he sure did and he says to tell you that the healthy, homemade dog biscuits were especially delicious. He is now convinced that you are the most wonderful person ever!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Commenting Instructions for BlogHer

Several people have e-mailed me today saying they wanted to comment on my post that's being syndicated over at BlogHer but were having trouble doing it.

So here are the instructions:

1. Immediately following the end of the post, you'll see "3 comments." (Or maybe it will be more by the time you get there.)

2. About four lines down from there you'll see a place that says "log in."

3. It will take about 30 seconds to fill in a user name and password and then you'll be set to comment.

Thanks so much for supporting Smithellaneous over at BlogHer.

A Post Full of Romance. And Other Good Stuff.

Thanks so much for everyone who left comments on the blog over the past few hours celebrating the Nathan/Meagan news.

I think one of my favorite comments had to be this one:

Dana from Greenville, SC wrote, “Should I be this excited for someone I have never met?!!! I certainly hope so because I actually did the ugly almost crying face. Congratulations to everyone!”

I just loved the whole “ugly, almost crying face” line, not just because it’s funny but also because it’s so sweet to think that people who have never even met the newly engaged couple can be happy enough for all of us to almost cry. You guys are so sweet to rejoice with us.

Also, I want to thank a couple of you who pointed out to me the difference between fiancé and fiancée. (The former is a man; the latter is a woman.) That’s just the kind of stuff I love to learn and since I will be using those terms a lot in the coming months, I am happy to know I will be spelling them correctly.

A couple other commenters asked if we knew the proposal was coming. Yes, Nathan told us several weeks ago that he had set the date for when he was going to propose; we had several phone conversations with him about the details of what he was planning. (He told very few people about it because he was intent on keeping it all as secret as possible. And he succeeded swimmingly in the secrecy department.)

A few other people said (in effect), “It seems like you are happy with the girl Nathan chose to marry.”

The answer to that query can only be a great big fat “YES!” We are thrilled at the thought of calling Meagan our future daughter-in-law. She is a young woman of many talents and accomplishments who takes her own patented glow with her wherever she goes. She’s a graduate of the same university Nathan is attending (studied to be a teacher), comes from a wonderful family (her parents are some of our closest friends) and has a strong Christian faith. She is smart and witty and a whole lot of fun to be around. We are tickled pink with the future wife Nathan fell in love with.

Okay. Now onto some more important stuff. Women are nothing if not romantic and according to the comments I’ve received, a lot of you are interested in hearing all the romantic deals of the proposal.

However, until I sit down face to face with Nathan and Meagan and hear the whole story again in person (we just heard the highlights over the phone yesterday) I’m not sure I can get all the details written accurately. So for right now, I’ll just give you an overall summary enhanced by a few pictures. (Meagan’s mom will be blogging about this, too. I’ll let you know when that post is up and you can head on over to her blog and hear the story from her perspective.)

The Nathan/Meagan Proposal Summary

Last Friday night, Nathan had arranged a big, fancy date and Meagan was so sure that it was going to be the night he would propose. (And that’s just what he wanted her to think.)

Here he is in the living room waiting to catch his first glimpse of Meagan as she comes out of her room.


Ready for the date. The BIG (non-proposal, trying-to-fake-out-Meagan) date.


At the fancy restaurant. (Meagan has a fun tradition of taking pictures of herself in the bathrooms of all the restaurants they go to.)


The fancy food at the fancy restaurant. Meagan is convinced the proposal must surely be coming any moment.


But alas. Nathan took her her back home with no proposal. She was sooooo disappointed.

And then came Saturday night.

It involved pottery painting.


A blindfold.


A lake side gazebo strung with lights.


Roses, finger foods and sparkling grape juice.


A proposal.


And a ring.


How romantic is that?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Syndicated Post.

BlogHer, the company that advertises on Smithellaneous, has selected one of my recent posts to syndicate across their network. That means I get to post this little cool piece of blog bling on my side bar!

I was syndicated on

BlogHer features many great writers on its main site and I'm honored to be included.
If you have a minute, please click through to see where some of my writing has ended up. And if you have just another minute, I'd love it if you'd leave a comment over there, as well; it will make my article feel a little less lonely as it hangs out over there in non-Smithellaneous land.

(Also, if you haven't read the Big News post below this one, be sure to do so!)

News. Of the Biggish Sort.

A few days ago, I wrote that Nathan and his girlfriend, Meagan, would be coming to Manteo this coming weekend.

Well, it seems as though I was sadly mistaken.

Nathan and his girlfriend, Meagan, will NOT be coming home after all.

It seems as though some things have transpired in recent hours in their relationship and Meagan is no longer Nathan's girlfriend.

In fact, she will never be Nathan's girlfriend again.

Sigh. Sniff.

However . . . .

As it turns out . . .

Wait for it . . .

Although Meagan is no longer Nathan's girlfriend she IS his (drum roll, please) FIANCE'!

He proposed last night!

And she said yes!!

Nathan is bringing his fiance' home!

I'm going to be a mother-in-law!!!!