Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stop by Sheri's blog today for a wonderful post. You won't be disappointed--I promise! And if you're a mom, you'll probably cry like I did.

For those who may not know, Sheri is the wonderful (almost) mom-in-law of our son, Nathan.

And in other news, yes, Steve did make it back safely last night. Today we are in the throes of deciding between Plan A, Plan B, and possibly even Plan Z for next week's "Getting the Car Back Home From Pennsylvania" Mission.

I guess if we had Super Powers we could just snap our fingers and have it sitting in our driveway but, alas, said Super Powers don't seem to be making an appearance. We may just have to rely on more prosaic methods for getting the car home.

Maybe Plan P for prosaic . . . ?

We'll see.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I posted yesterday that Steve was stranded in Pennsylvania with a transmission that went kapooy. (You may not realize this but kapooy is a term that all mechanics use.)

His parents, who were also at the reunion, had already left for North Carolina; however, they turned back around when they heard about Steve's dilemma. Over the course of the day, Steve found out that although the transmission can be fixed, it will cost between $1000 and $2700 and can't be ready until at least Monday.

Since Steve is a pastor and pastor's Big Days are Sundays, he knew he needed to get on home, even if it meant leaving his car behind.

And so he and his parents hit the road for North Carolina yesterday afternoon and will travel all day today. Sarah and I will meet them later this afternoon at the point where his parents turn off to head to Charlotte. It'll be about five hours round trip for us but that's okay since Sarah dearly loves a road trip. Plus it will give us a chance to have dinner with Steve's parents which is always a treat.

On Tuesday, Steve will probably fly back into Pittsburgh to either pick up the repaired car (if we go that direction) or do some sort of trade in. That is certainly not our first choice in dealing with this situation because we try to buy vehicles and "drive them till the wheels fall off." However, doing a huge repair on a not-so-valuable car is not the most inspiring idea either.

At any rate, we'll get that all worked out and talked out over the weekend. For now, I'm just happy to know that my hubby is headed homeward; he's been gone five nights and that was five nights too long!

Sarah and I were saying last night that the house seemed mighty empty without Steve around. Thankfully we had Snowy, our last remaining Smith male, still at home with us. Although he took great care of us all week, he now says that he's exhausted from all the extra work he did and is going to have to sleep the rest of the day.

If you didn't know, he is very gifted at sleeping. In fact, if colleges offered Sleep Degrees, he would definitely be at the top of his class. So nice to have such talent in the family.

Asleep or awake . . . he's a pretty cute fella. We think we'll keep him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pennsylvania, A Troubled Transmission, A Smithellaneous Friend, And A Talking Sheep.

As you can tell from the title of this post, we are covering quite a wide spectrum of Smithellany today. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Pennsylvania/Transmission Conundrum

Sunday after the morning service, Steve hopped into his ol’ Oldsmobile and pointed it in a northerly direction. His parents and a bunch of his aunts and uncles were planning a reunion in the Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania area and since he hasn’t seen his northern relatives in about ten years, he thought it would be fun to join the festivities. He didn’t tell his parents he was coming so he had the fun experience of popping out and surprising them. (It’s always fun to get to be the one who does the popping.)

I’ve talked to him several times since he’s been there and he’s said several times what a good time he’s having. When you don’t get to be with family a lot, each visit and reunion is extra special. I’m not sure quite how our lives turned out this way, but he and I both live long distances from our relatives—my extended family is in Florida, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Steve’s parents and brothers live in Charlotte and his relatives are in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and California. So it’s no wonder he’s been having such a wonderful time with people he loves but so rarely gets to see.

Unfortunately, Steve’s call this morning brought news that wasn’t quite as cheery. After he had left his aunt and uncle’s house this morning for the 12-hour trip home, his transmission started making funny noises. (Please note: It is never a good thing when a transmission launches into the making of any funny noises.) He then noticed that the transmission was not shifting into drive. (Please note again: It is also never a good thing when transmissions make funny noises and refuse to do their transmissional duty of shifting into the proper gears.)

In the last call I just got from him, he said that one of his uncles had come to meet him on the road and follow him back to town where another uncle awaits to take him to a dealer and see what needs to be done. To replace the transmission would be $3,000 and the car is only worth $4,000, so that may not be the best thing to do. But at the same time, he really needs to get home at some point and to get home, he really needs to have a vehicle.

Can you see the conundrum?

When he called and told me the whole story this morning, we both sort of laughed about it because it reminded us of our road days. (See the Discography tab at top of page for more info on that chapter of our lives.) We had a huge RV rig on the road and one time it broke down just a few miles out of Slippery Rock where we had done a concert. I remember being followed back into town and getting the vehicle repaired, assisted all along the way by the very same uncles who are helping Steve now—fifteen years later.

Even though our family is far away from us, I’m thankful that Steve happened to be close to them (and not 300 miles down the road) when all this happened. He’ll be in very good hands.

A Smithellaneous Reader/Blogger

In Tuesday’s post, we commemorated together the reaching of the 900,000th Smithellaneous page view. As part of the countdown festivities, two of my wonderful (not to mention fabulous) readers won CD’s and a third reader “won” the chance to have a little blurb about her wonderful blog, Days of Grace, posted here.

Let me introduce to you Jenna and let her introduce her blog.

In my blog, I detail the life of a rather ordinary woman living within God's extraordinary grace. My blog follows my family as we navigate the journey of adopting an older child with unique challenges (we adopted our first child, Samantha in 2010), my nearly 12 year battle with chronic health issues, and everything from humour, to our life in Canada's most Northern large city, to faith- and everything in between!

Be sure to stop by Jenna’s blog today!

The Talking Sheep

(Edited to add: Oh dear. Shannon, a loyal reader just left a comment and said that after a quick observation of said sheep, she does not think he is a "mister." What do I know about sheep and their, um, sheep parts? Oh well. Just do me a favor and suspend reality a tad while you read.)

Our bike trail in town meanders by a restored, old timey farm that is open to the public for tours demonstrating how farm life was conducted back in the day. The farm features lovely grounds and buildings and has horses, cows, sheep and a few miscellaneous other farm-esque creatures. While I was out riding bike one day, I thought I’d stop and take a few pictures.

I was standing at the farm fence just minding my own business when Mr. Sheep took it upon himself to come on over and investigate the precise reason for my presence. Maybe the other sheep in the background were part of his harem (if sheep do indeed have harems) and he felt compelled to protect them from the Extremely Evil Lady holding the Scary Silver Box.

As he strides (in an ambling sort of way) towards me, he puts on his most menacing sheep look.


He arrives at the fence and asks me what I’m doing.


When I don’t immediately respond he says, “I’m talkin’ to you, lady.”


He then turns to his right, so that I can see the immensity of his powerfulness and the intimidating intensity of his whole entire person. Notice that he is keeping his eye fixed on The Suspicious Woman at all times.


When he sees that I am not properly cowed (or maybe I should say, “properly sheeped”) he sighs . . .


. . . and returns to his gals who are much better at listening to him than that strange woman at the fence.


Talking sheep. Just one more thing to love about living in Manteo.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Edited to Add (Again) Actually, we have TWO winners!

Number 900,001 signed in first and I thought she was closest. But 900,000 (exactly) just signed in with a screen shot to show she was right on the money.

Here is her comment:

Um, don't know if I ever let you know, that there is someone from Germany following you. I am usually too shy to say anything.

This number now pretty much forces me out of the closet.


All the best to you and your family (including this cute canine of yours).

greetings from Germany, Nadine

PS: Please pardon any linguistical mistakes, I am no native speaker.

So Nadine (all the way from Germany) if you will send me your mailing address, I will get a CD out to you as well. So glad you commented; thanks for reading all the way from across the world! (And your English is excellent!)


Edited To Add:

We have a winner!

Here is her comment:

900001 @ 1:01 !! Becky can you post a link for me to Megahn's mom's blog. My computer has just been re-done and I lost all my bookmarks. Thanks Mel

Congrats, Mel!
If you'll email your address to me, I'll get a CD in the mail.

As as for Meagan's mom's blog, it is You can always find it in the right hand column under Blogging Buddies under the name, Embrace the Grace.

Occasionally, if Sheri goes a few days between updates, you may have to go to the bottom of the Blogging Buddy section and click on "See All" to see the whole list of blogs.


Original Post From Today

Today at some point, Smithellaneous will reach 900,000 page views! You can find the stat counter in the right column ( just below the ad) where I've moved it just for today.

So here's the deal.

Whoever represents the 900,000th page view (or at least whoever gets closest to it, if no one hits it exactly) and leaves a comment will win a copy of Like A Blanket, a CD that Steve and I made of our original music.

Also, if you're a blogger and you happen to stop by in the near vicinity of The Big Number (let's say within 50 or so, on either side) I have a little somethin' for you, too! Leave a comment containing your blog address and a little promo about what your blog is about. I'll include that info in tomorrow's post to give your blog a little extra publicity.

May I also say how much I've enjoyed the comments you've left on yesterday's post. I am in absolute awe of those of you who actually know how to cook without using a recipe; I can't even imagine having that sort of skill. I am thoroughly, utterly, and inexorably dependent on my two boxes. I was also interested to read about some of your methods for organizing your recipes--good stuff!

Speaking of food, I have a helpful little tip to pass along that I read on someone else's blog many months ago. (Sorry I can't remember the name.) She wrote that when she freezes soup, she puts it in a Ziploc bag and then smoothes it all out so that the frozen packs are easy to stack, or even file in a box upright.

Well, that was a revelation to me because I have spent 29 years of marriage putting soup in a bag where it all immediately sinks to the bottom in a big, squishy clump. (A lot like my hips.) Then when it freezes, it becomes all the more awkward because the big, squishiness becomes rock hard (unlike my hips) and takes up way too much freezer space.

In order to keep the bags nice and flat while in the freezing process, I lay them out on cookie sheets until they become solid enough to just throw into the depths of the freezer on their own.

I'll close with one more picture, even though it ties in with absolutely nothing. (Randomness is my gift!)

I was cleaning the garage recently and found these funny eyeglasses. I put them on our little table by the door so that I would remember to take them to church to stash with our drama stuff. Yesterday, it just struck me funny when I walked by and saw a lovely statue, a mirror, a wooden stand . . . and Groucho Marx glasses.

Just another day in the Smith house!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are You A One-Boxer, A Two-Boxer or A Three-Boxer?

My mom is a great cook and so is my mom-in-law. The main difference between the two of them is that my mom doesn’t use recipes and my mom-in-law does.

And do you know what happens when you use recipes? After cooking for a while, you tend to acquire a lot of them. And after a decade or two has passed, most recipe boxes start to overflow.

I distinctly remember one day as a new bride when I saw Steve’s mom get a recipe from her collection and noticed that she had not one, but two recipe boxes stuffed to the brim. I thought to myself, “I don’t think I will ever have enough recipes to justify having two boxes. But if I ever do, I will know for sure at that point that I have become a real grown up.”

Well. I just want to announce to the world at large that the time has come.

I have owned this little number for ten or fifteen years and up until a short while ago, it handled my treasured recipes pretty well.

And then one day while I was valiantly endeavoring to wedge a recipe card back into the box’s overstuffed insides I thought, “Oh my. I believe the time has finally come for me to need a second box. And that means that I am definitely a real grown up!” (insert moment of silence, here)

However, it turned out not to be as easy as all of that. When I started looking for a second recipe box, I found out that they are not easy items to locate. And the ones I did find were dreadfully expensive-- $20 or more. And as a card carrying member of People Who Love Thrift Stores, I absolutely refused to pay that much money for a humble, basic box filled with absolutely nothing.

But then? One day I was meandering through a Goodwill store and came across a wonderful find. A brand new recipe box! With brand new recipe cards inside! For only three dollars! (insert many exclamation points here)

I happily took my purchase to the counter and babbled merrily away to the clerk about how happy I was to find this box because my first box was overflowing and I needed a second box but I didn’t want to pay the ridiculous price that a new box cost and yet I really, really needed one and wasn’t it wonderful that I had found a lovely box—brand new, mind you—that was beautiful and sturdy and now I could go home and separate my recipes between the two boxes and finally be a real grown up! And everything!

Well, actually I didn’t say all that. But I did rhapsodize rather rapturously as I paid. (insert image of patient store clerk’s face here)

I came home and introduced the boxes to each other and they seemed to like each other right off the bat. The old box welcomed the new box very graciously and offered to showed her around the place. It was a happy moment for all involved.


I was quite contented for all of about 5.6 seconds until I realized something rather dismaying. I discovered that finding a recipe box was only half the battle. The other half was trying to find the little divider cards with the tabs listing the various recipe food groups.

I looked. And looked. And then I looked some more. And I was almost ready to give up in abject despair when a thought hit me. A good and creative and wonderful thought.

I thought of these little guys, these little sticky thingies that don’t cost very much at all.

And I just took a few of them and wrote various food group names on them and then attached them to the top of blank recipe cards. Voila! Instant recipe box dividers! I was so happy! (insert happy Becky face here)IMG_4511

My last step was to divide up all my recipes between the two boxes and then label each end of the box so that I could remember which box held which recipes. Because I always forgot. Because I am almost fifty. (insert ancient, aged Becky face here)IMG_4513

The very moment I got those two boxes divided and reorganized, I felt an unmistakable mantle of maturity settle upon my shoulders. I just can’t tell you how great it feels to have finally arrived in the land of real grown up-ness.

So. That’s my story. Now, how about you? Are you a one-boxer, a two-boxer, or maybe even possibly a three-boxer? (I’ve heard that three-boxers exist but I’ve never personally met one.)

Or do you store recipes in a different way altogether?

One of my main problems in the recipe storage area of life is when I find a recipe that I like in one of my many cookbooks, I have trouble remembering which book it was in when I want to make it again. How do you organize your “non-recipe boxed” favorites?