Saturday, April 2, 2011

For Your Weekend Perusal And Happy Inspiration.

As springtime tentatively peeks her head around the corner and as Manteo begins to burst back into bloom, I thought it would be fun to recap local loveliness from some of my past photos.

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Happy springtime, y’all!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Giggling, Pig Snorting, Sleep Study Story

(Note: A few years ago I had to have a Sleep Study done, which I wrote about on Sarah’s site. However, just this past week, I got to thinking about that whole experience again and the thinking made me giggle and the giggling made me decide to share the (slightly re-written) story here on Smithellaneous, too. We can all use a good laugh!)

My Giggling, Pig Snorting, Sleep Study Story

Since I had no idea what to expect, I was just slightly nervous as I drove toward my Sleep Study appointment. When I arrived--favorite pillow in hand—the first thing I discovered was that it takes about ninety minutes just to get all the monitors and sensors attached. My tech guy had stuff laid out everywhere and all of it eventually had to be attached somewhere to my person.

This is only about half of the stuff-to-be-attached.ss2

At 10:30 pm, when he had finally finished wiring me up, I asked for one last trip to the bathroom before the final plug-in procedure took place. When I got to the bathroom (trailing numerous wires behind me) and saw myself in the mirror, I broke out into laughter.

Because I looked like this . . .


(I’ll let the laughter die down a bit before moving on.)

After I had finished giggling at myself, I took my strange looking little self to the bed and arranged my tired, wired self upon it. The technician got all my wires plugged into a large, mysterious looking receptacle and then told me that he would step into the adjacent control room and give me some instructions over a speaker about calibrating the equipment before the actual sleeping commenced.

I lay there feeling oh-so-foolish, not to mention oh-so-self-conscious as I followed his instructions to roll my eyes to the left and then to the right, to open and then close my mouth, and to take a few deep breaths and let them out. I obeyed the instructions as well as I could, even though I felt incredibly goofy, lying there looking like an apparition from a low budget science fiction flick.

Everything was going along as well as could be expected until my technician pal said to me over the room speaker, “Now I would like you to please make a noise like you’re snoring.” (I guess he had to make sure that the “snoring sensors” were in the right place.)

Well, it took me just a moment to fully assimilate that request because no one has ever asked me to “make a snoring noise” before. (Just for fun, try to make a noise like you’re snoring. It wasn’t easy, was it? And didn’t you feel like giggling, just a little?)

When I realized he waiting patiently for me to comply with this relatively simple request, I finally took the plunge and launched forth into my very best snoring effort. Unfortunately, my sample snore came out sounding very much like the unattractive sound that a portly pig might emit while rooting around in the mud.

Well, that sound escaping from my very own mouth, coupled with the surreal experience of being wrapped in wires and lying on a bed at 10:30 at night while being observed through video cameras by two strangers --it all just struck me as being incredibly funny.

And unfortunately, the more I thought about my perfectly executed “pig snort,” the funnier it got. It didn’t take too many more moments of “pig snort pondering,” before my weird looking, wired up self was inexorably overtaken by uncontrollable giggles.

That would have been perfectly fine except for one small thing. The sort of funny-ish, pig snorting, calibrating moment—the moment where a little laughter might have been appropriate--had already come and gone. In fact, it was already several minutes gone.

So in the minds of the technicians, there was no reason in the world why their wire-wrapped guinea pig should suddenly start chuckling cheerily in the midst of their sober and scientific calibrations.

It got very quiet in the control room and then I heard a worried voice inquire over the speaker, “Um. Are you okay, miss?”

I could just picture them calling the hospital across the street and asking them to send one of their psych people over (STAT!) to evaluate this odd woman who was lying on the bed laughing for no apparent reason.

I eventually got myself back under control and the reassured techs finished up their little round of calibrations and then turned off the lights in my room.

It was then that the pressure started. It was then that I realized it was up to me to produce some sleep. So that it could be studied. Which, after all, was the whole reason I was even there.

I did my very best. Really, I did. I tried my utmost to be a calm, cooperative patient. I lay there quietly. I attempted to think peaceful, sleepy thoughts. I tried to take deep, relaxing breaths. Everything was going along fairly well, all in all.

But then? Then a crisis came calling. A crisis in the form of a pig snort.

Yes indeedy, before I could stop it, that whole “snorting pig” thing hit me again, full force. And then the funny image of myself in the bathroom mirror added itself to the “snorting pig” memory and I proceeded to guffaw merrily for several long moments. Too late, it occurred to me that every single bodily response I produced during the overnight hours would be recorded (on hundreds of computer pages) and then minutely examined by highly analytical medical persons.

I belatedly realized that the little machines in the control room were probably going crazy and the graphing needles were probably flying all over the place as the two technicians looked worriedly at each other and started wondering again about calling the psych team.

I could hear the conversation now. “Hello? Um, we are currently working with the strangest subject we have ever studied, the only woman in the history of our sleep clinic who makes pig snorts and then bursts out laughing several minutes later for no reason whatsoever, even when nothing is funny.”

Well, I am to happy to report that I finally got myself settled down. However, all of that laughing followed by all of my frantic attempts to stifle said laughter had caused me to feel just a wee bit hyper--so hyper in fact, that I had one of the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had. I lay awake for at least an hour, drifted off, popped back awake (trying valiantly not to think of pig snorts), lay there again, drifted off briefly, and woke back up.

I finally got into a deep sleep at about 3 am, only to have a happy voice chirp over the speaker at 5:30, “Good morning!”


The technician came into the room to unwire me and as he did so, he said that they had been able to record some things "of interest." (Which was probably a scientific term for the recording of a wacked out patient’s uncontrolled giggles.)

I got back home at about 7 am and found Steve eating breakfast and Sarah packing her school lunch. They asked me how it went and when I started telling them the “pig snort” story, I got tickled all over again.

Sarah regarded me with concerned but cheerful alarm while Steve looked at me and said, “Becky dear, I think you might need to go on to bed.” (He’s been married to me long enough to recognize the signs of sleep deprivation.)

So off to bed I went and slept deeply till 11 am, reveling in the fact that there were no tubes stuffed up my nose, straps wrapped around my chest and stomach, or wires extending from my limbs.

And the best part? If I wanted to think about a pig snort and laugh, I could.

And so I did.

The End.


Quick note about yesterday’s post:

It has occurred to me that I might have stated a little over dramatically the “liver damage” possibility connected with taking a toenail fungus medication.

Actually, what the doctor said was that I should have blood work done halfway through the round of medicine just to make sure the liver was processing the medicine well. If it wasn’t, I would just discontinue the medicine.

But no actual liver damage would be done.

Which is a good thing.

Okay. I’m done.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Underappreciated Toe Nails

Do you see these sandals?

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I got them for 70% off about four years ago and have worn them and worn them. (And then worn them some more.)

In fact, these particular sandals are the backbone of my entire summer wardrobe because they go with pants and skirts and dressy Capri’s and even better than that, they’re incredibly comfortable. Every single winter, I count down the months, days, and weeks until the weather is finally warm enough for me to pull out my golden standbys and wear them twenty-seven (or even twenty-eight) hours a day.

I really do love them that much.

However. I have some sad news to share with you concerning these beloved shoes. (I’ll pause here for just a moment so that you can go find your Kleenex box and prepare to wipe away a few sympathetic sniffles on my bereft behalf.)

The sad news is this: This summer, I will not be able to wear The Sandals. (sniff)

Well, let me rephrase that. Actually, I can wear The Sandals, but the experience would not be terribly inspiring for anyone in my immediate vicinity.

Let me ‘splain.

You may recall my post yesterday about my pending visit to the podiatrist. Well, I did visit said doctor and it was not a happy moment in my life. (If you’re squeamish about reading about toenails, you may want to skip down to the place where it says it’s safe to start reading again.)

For those of you still reading, here’s the toe nail scoop. Not only do I have ingrown toe nails on both sides of both big toes but I also have a fungus underneath each of those nails. (Lovely, I know.) I was actually tested by another doctor a year ago for the fungus (a culture was taken and sent to a lab) and was supposed to have been put on medication back then. After two weeks and half a dozen phone calls to that doctor that weren’t returned (trying to get a prescription), I was diagnosed with breast cancer and sort of lost the momentum to pursue a fungus medication when a double mastectomy was pending.

So when this new doctor looked at the results of last year’s culture (that I had brought with me) he said, “Oh yeah, you should have had this treated last year. The longer it sits, the harder it is to get rid of.” Sigh.

At any rate, he ended up removing half of my nail on the left big toe and just a little less than than on the right big toe.

And even when both nails grow back in sufficiently, I will not be allowed to polish them for twelve months! Also, I have to take a prescription med every day for three months, plus brush a certain prescription liquid on them every day for a YEAR. A whole year! (And halfway through the course of the prescription med, I have to get blood work done to make sure my liver isn’t being damaged.)

I left the podiatrist’s office yesterday afternoon and hobbled back to my car like a 103-year old woman, my aching back exacerbated by my assaulted toe nails. Needless to say, I was not the happiest of happy campers.


So. What’s a girl to do?

I guess what this girl is going to do is try and find some sort of versatile, dressy (inexpensive) sandals that will be lovely, perky and feminine and yet completely enclose the toe area. And then I will also have to try and find something casual in that same, toe-covered category as well.

Do you know how hard that will be? Do you realize how few summer shoes have closed toes? Not many!

I think I shall have a small period of mourning today for my lovely, favorite sandals before I stick them way in the back of my closet so that I don’t see them every day and get plunged into yet even deeper sandal grief.

Of course, this just has to be the summer that Nathan is graduating from college and getting married, which are two really big occasions for pulling out perfectly pedicured toenails and fancy shoes.

Okay. I’m done with my whining, ranting and raving about this particular toe and shoe crisis. I do realize that this is a very small thing in the light of huge medical crises that people face; in fact, having just come through my year of breast cancer treatment, I know that fact extra, extra well.

But since this is a blog about what’s going on in my life—well, that is what is currently going on.

Snowy’s Post

Snowy says to thank you all for your responses to his post yesterday. He and I especially got a lot of good giggles over your comments about his hair styling technique. You all are so funny!

You know, after re-reading that post in addition to your comments, it has occurred to me that Snowy and I truly are kindred spirits because I actually use a similar hair styling technique on my very own personal hair.


I had a hairstylist several years ago who showed me a little trick: When my hair was just about dry, she would take the heel of her hand and move it in a firm, circular motion on various parts of my hair, making each part really messy; she especially concentrated on the crown of my head and the area around it.

Then when my hair looked like it was completely ruined, she would brush it out a little and smooth it into place and it would provide nice volume in those “circular hurricane” areas.

I still use that technique now and while I was doing my hair this morning, I thought, “This is basically what Snowy does for his hair!”

Well, except that I like my technique a bit better because it can be done standing up and does not require my ancient, aching body to get itself down on the floor in order to rub my head on the the carpet. Like this:


We 49-year old women have to draw the line somewhere.

So there you have it. Hairstyling tips that work for dogs and humans alike and a Toenail/Sandal Crisis Story that is guaranteed to make you feel extra appreciative of your very own toe nails.

Because just so you know?

There are few things in the world any worse than an underappreciated toe nail.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hi. Becky Here.

I just wanted to publicly thank my marvelous dog, Snowy, for so capably updating the blog earlier today. What would I ever do without such a wondrous assistant?

I also wanted to check in with you myself and let you know that the very frantic, extra stressful pace of the last week is over and today I am actually able to breathe in. Not to mention out.

Unfortunately, stress has a way of making my lower back extremely unhappy and I'm obviously one of those people who carries stress in her back. Consequently, I've spent the past 24-hours on pain killers and muscle relaxers which have sort of thrown me for a loop.

However, I'm coming off all that stuff today so that I can head out to the podiatrist this afternoon to have my (painful) ingrown toe nails cut out. Can you sense my immense excitement?

I've had nails cut out four or five times in my life and each time the doctor has solemnly promised, "This should take care of your problem."

Alas. It is not true. The problem continues to recurr with discouraging regularity.

And may I just say that I have chosen such a great time to have this done? Toe nails mauled right at the beginning of springtime sandal season? Sigh.

Well, that's all I have to say at the moment except to answer a question that has come up a couple times since I started posting the Official Engagement Pictures which is, "Did you take those pictures?"

And the answer is, "No. I will never be that good!"

Those pictures were taken in Florida by a professional photographer, Kristen Czuchra; she will also be shooting Nathan and Meagan's wedding.

Okay. Now I'm off to my happy podiatrist appointment.

(And just a quick giggle for you--when I was a young adult and not real "up" on the proper pronunciation of things, I used to pronounce that word, "poddy-a-trist.)

Don't try that at home. (Or anywhere else, for that matter.)

P.S. Also, a question just came in about Snowy's earlier post, "What is the yellow thing on the floor with Snowy?"

That is Snowy's favorite "toy." It has a squeaker in it which he loves to "squeak;" he also loves to put one end of it in his mouth and have one of us grab the other end so that we can engage in a major game of tug of war.

It's a dog thing.

Snowy Plays Dead and Comes Back To Life and Styles His Own Hair In An Amazingly Impressive Fashion

Hi. Snowy here.

This is a really big day for me because Mom (who is a wee bit worn out from the past frantic-esque week )has assigned to me the job of writing today’s Smithellaneous post. She said that she was just way too tired to help me and that it was going to be entirely up to me.

So. Today? I am the Blog Master! I am the King of Smithellaneous! I am the Dog in Charge! Listen to me ROAR! (Or, um, bark, as the case may be.)

Even though I hate to admit this fact (since I am an independent, self sufficient, manly man sort of doggy) my blogging style has really been influenced by my mom’s example. I have sat in the recliner next to her and helped her write countless blogs and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that her blog posts usually feature lots and lots of pictures.

Also, I’ve noticed that historically, her best blogs have featured numerous pictures of,well, moi. (I’m trying to be humble here, but it’s not easy.)

And so. Since she is my Blogging Person Mentor, I certainly wouldn’t want to mess around with her successful modus operandi. (Whatever that means.) So today’s blog will be entirely comprised of pictures of, well, you know who.

I thought up a really great and descriptive title which I have put at the top of this page. I hope that you were suitably impressed by my massive intellect and creative titling skills when you read it.

And now, here is my very own post . . .

One day last week, my mom discovered a natural spotlight in our house and plopped me down in the middle of it so that I could (rather against my best judgment) pose in a distinguished manner.


And then (hard task master that she is), she told me to stop posing and to roll over and play dead.


I mean, really, really dead.


I had to peek a little bit to make sure I was doing it correctly. There’s a lot of pressure to succeed in this cut throat, playing dead business.


Once I finally came back to life, my mom told me I had done a good job. All I could say was, “Aw, shucks.” Beneath this studly exterior, I am actually a very humble dog.


But then? There was a crisis! A messy hair crisis! Let me tell you folks, being dead really plays havoc with one’s hair.



Since my appearance is of utmost importance to my overall blogging image, I had to immediately launch into a few emergency hair styling maneuvers. You may think it’s easy to do one’s grooming with no opposing thumbs, but I am here to tell you that it takes ingenuity and contortionist contortions to get myself looking this handsome.

Most of my hairstyling technique (you can take notes, if you wish), involves the act of rubbing my head vigorously against the carpet. You should try it sometime!


Let’s see. Head rubbing done. How do I look?

Naw, this look is no good because it hides one of my beautiful black eyes.


Let me attempt a re-style.


Ahh. That’s better.

I’m a good lookin’ dog, if I do say so myself. And I do. (Um. Say so. Myself.)


Okay. I’m done.

And I’m now off to report (very humbly) to my mom that today’s blog has been written. And published. And enjoyed by thousands.

I am so wonderful.


This is Snowy, signing off.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More Engagement Pictures. One Tired Woman.

I must say that these past seven days have comprised one of the busiest and most intense periods of ministry that Steve and I have had in twenty-nine years of marriage. And we’ve got another couple days of it coming up before we can even think about taking a breath. (And also? I’m so tired right at this very moment I’m getting to be sort of all wobbly-ish.)

So since busyness and intensity don’t lend themselves very well to long, witty and/or moderately interesting blog posts, I’m going to let a few pictures say my thousand words for me.

Here are a few more engagement pictures of our very own Royal Couple--the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Smith.

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