Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Commenting System Update

(See entry below for background to this post.)

I contacted the blog designer this morning about the comment system and she said that she can definitely get it moved to under the posts instead of in the right column where she placed it originally.  However, she doesn't work on weekends so it will be a couple days before she gets to it.  In the meantime, just carry on as usual with the old commenting system.

And thanks to Jodi for suggesting in the comments suggestion that everyone introduce themselves; when the new system is up and running, that will be a cool thing to do.

I have had a way too busy day and am happily headed to bed.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

Comments. A New Era.

One of the things I’ve loved best about blogging over these past nine years has been the comments that have come in—literally thousands of comments over those years.  I’ve had the privilege and joy of getting to know you and I’ve gotten to discover fascinating pieces of your lives, learn how you think, find out what you believe and learn what you find to be inspiring and funny.  

The only frustrating part about it has been that it’s difficult to have much of a dialogue between you and me and between you and the other commenters.
I think the Smithellaneous readers have turned into a wonderful community of long distance friends but I think a different comment format could take it an even better place.  

 And so?  I am very excited to let you know that in the next few hours, a new commenting system will be installed here on Smithellaneous.   It will allow me to easily respond to each individual comment (each comment thread will be hooked together) and it will also allow you all to interact with each other and respond to what they have to say.

I’ve been wanting to do this for about a year now because I’ve seen the system on other blogs and absolutely loved it.  However, I have tried to install it several times on my own and run up against a lack of sufficient technical knowledge wall every single time.  I finally got smart and contacted a blog designed to install it for me, which she will be doing within the next day.
The only (small, teeny, tiny) thing you will have to do to switch over is to take about 45 seconds and create a user account. And then?  You’ll be good to go.

I can’t tell you pumped I am about this chance to turn a largely one-way conversation into a multi-person, multi-city, multi-state, multi-country conversation

Welcome to the New Smithellaneous Commenting Era!  I’m glad you’re here!

I’ll close out with a few pictures I took this morning of an area next door to downtown Manteo.

boardwalk 9-30-11 056

boardwalk 9-30-11 090

boardwalk 9-30-11 177
boardwalk 9-30-11 230

boardwalk 9-30-11 069

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Breathing. Blue.

Although I’ve had COPD for about six years now, for most of that time I haven’t been on any daily medication.   I tried several in the past and not only did I not see appreciable improvement, the medications also affected my vocal cords and made it next to impossible for me to sing without hoarseness. 
So. The pulmonologist took me off everything except my rescue inhaler and that was that.
As I’ve written before,  after my cancer surgeries last year I went from being able to blow 350 on a peak flow meter down to 300 with 600 being normal for my age.  And to be quite honest, that was rather discouraging for me.  I couldn’t help but think, “Where will I be a year from now?  Or five years from now?” 
Downward trends in breathing are never terribly heartening.
Well.  When I went to the new pulmonologist last week, he did some tests and then sent me home with a sample of Spiriva to try. I took it along with me without any great feeling of enthusiasm because nothing’s ever helped me before. 
But I am all about being a cooperative patient and so for the past five days, I’ve used the Spiriva every morning.  And yesterday?  I blew a 375 on the meter!  Three. Seventy. Five. 
Can you believe it?  And so far, my voice feels fine—no hoarseness, no strain, no nothing.
So today I am one happy, grateful, breathing-a-little easier woman.

If you love the color blue, you will love the pictures below.
Before you peruse them however, please know that I donated several pints of blood to the Marauding Manteo Mosquitos in the taking of said photos. I have never seen so many mosquitos in my entire life.  Not. Ever. 
But I squirted on some skeeter spray and ferried forth into the fray with fervent, fevered, (f)photographic fervor. 
(These were all taken in a gorgeous harbor front neighborhood about a mile from where we live.)





Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: (Plus a Honeymoon Sneak Peak!)

I don’t know who the wise guy is that’s making that goofy face but it’s 
quite obvious that he needed better parenting in his formative years.
Let me just say that if someone was holding me off the floor sideways like this? 
I would not be smiling. 
I would be yelling in a highly hysterical manner.
Trust me on that.
Nathan has been blessed with some truly great friends. 
Michael (on Nathan’s right) was his best man and also went with him to
Jerusalem during their sophomore year of college.
And the other two guys are just all around wonderful fellas. 
I remember all the times Steve helped get Nathan ready for church
when he was a baby and a toddler.
Here he is helping him one last time.


The Belle of the Ball and Her Belle-ettes.
Love this perspective.
Awaiting the first glimpse of the First Lady of his heart.
That is one happy mama-of-the-bride!
After twenty-two years of being Nathan’s mom, I thought
I had all the expressions of his face memorized. 
His wedding day changed all that. 

I saw new expressions of joy; new expressions of love.
Oh yeah.  And I also saw this.
Did I give him permission to get all grown up and
 go around kissing beautiful women in public?
Did I?

Sigh. Yeah, I guess I did.
Although it seems to me that Nathan wasn’t the only handsome man Meagan was sharin’ the love with that day.
Here she is with her most darling nephew, Spencer. 
(Spencer’s dad was one of the two ministers who performed the ceremony.)
I’m just not sure if the six of us could have smiled any bigger. 
What a joyful day!
After the ceremony, it was on to the hard work of picture taking. 
And water drinking. 
Can you tell that the bride and her party were dealing with
 some pretty intense Florida heat?
Of course, being Southern belles, they did not sweat.

They glistened.
What a bunch of purdy (glistening) ladies.
wedding pro3
It may just be me, but the two of them look awfully
grown up standing there together.
I still can’t quite believe I am looking at a picture of
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Smith.
My son!  My daughter-in-law!  They’re married! I’m a mother-in-law! 
Someday they will me a grandma!
(insertdeepcalmingbreath here.)

Okay.  May  I just say one more time that this guy seems to be just a little wacky in the face making department? 
I hope his wife has plenty of patience stored up;
she will certainly need it for the next sixty years
of living with her goofy groom.
wedding pro4

Guess what?  
Before I close, I have preview for you! 
Next Wednesday there will be more wedding pictures—
plus some honeymoon pictures!
Like these!
314939_587368422978_116701404_32253136_568869321_n (1)
nate meg

Thanks for stopping by Wedding Wednesday.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Since I dearly love finding (and using) helpful tips (tech and otherwise), I thought that I’d be extra helpful today and helpfully pass along some of those helpful tips to you to help you to discover helpful tips and to be . .  um . . . helped.

Helpful Tip Number One: Fences
If there is one computer-esque thing that I really hate, it’s to turn on my computer and be confronted with a desktop littered with a dizzyingly unattractive array of scattered icons.  It just steals the happy right from my heart.

To illustrate: this is a recent screen shot which actually isn’t half as cluttered as it sometimes is. 

With this latest trick I have found, I can go from the picture above to the picture below in a simple double click.
From messy to completely clean.  (Now if only there was a similar button to push for my bedside table.)

So how did I do that?

I thought you’d never ask.

I downloaded a free gizmo called Fences   Here’s a brief description:

Fences lets users clean up their desktop icons in moments. Users draw "fences" on their desktop which enables users to drag and drop icons into them. Users can have fences show and hide by double-clicking on the desktop. In addition, users can control which icons show and hide when the desktop is double-clicked on allowing for easy desktop clean-up.
I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to instantly have a clean desk top and then, in another instant, have all the icons reappear when I need them.

Just like magic.

Fences has made me a happy, happy woman.

Helpful Tip Number Two: Read It Later
Have you ever been surfing the web and come across something that looked intriguing but you only had five minutes to spare before you had to start cooking dinner?  Yeah, me too.

That’s why I was delighted to find something called Read It Later. There are several Read It Later applications for different Internet Providers  (you can Google it) but I use the one for Chrome which can be found here.  I just right click on the page I want to come back to and it adds the page to my Read It Later list.  When I have a few spare minutes to read, I just open that page and all the things I’ve saved are lined up right in front of me for my perusal.

Love. It. 

Helpful And (Really) Scintillating Tip Number Three: Stumble Upon

I just recently found this site and every time I spend even five minutes there, I leave feeling inspired and challenged and refreshed. 

Simple concept. 

You are presented with a list of interests and you can check as few or as many as you want--from photography to cooking to quotations to gadgets to oddities to education to scuba diving to hunting to religion.  

Once your preferences are saved, you merely click the “stumble upon” button and voila’!  An article or a photo or a helpful tidbit of some sort pops up from one of your categories.    

The cool part of it is that you never know what sort of info from which of your categories is going to appear next so the temptation is always to want to see “just one more.”  It’s so much fun! 

Of course, one of the interests I selected was photography and I have seen some of the most amazing pictures over the past couple weeks—truly magnificent, jaw dropping photos.

And then there also pictures that crop up like this one.  Dontcha just love it?

Here are a couple more "sample links" I’ve recently discovered on Stumble Upon.

(Edited to add:  Stumble Upon has 15 millions members, so it's obviously a well used and well loved program. However, Vickie just left a comment that her son has had some problems with getting viruses while using it so I wanted to be sure to mention that.  Thanks, Vickie, for pointing that out.)

Helpful Tip Number Four:  Organizing Unwieldy, Ever Multiplying Cables

This tip is from the How To Geeks Newsletter and I fell in love with as soon as I saw it.  I had just been staring morosely at all the cables in my life and wishing fervently that there was a simple, inexpensive solution to organizing them. 
And then?  I saw this.   
Whoever said that fervent wishing does not accomplish anything obviously didn’t know what they were talking about.Here’s the reprinted article submitted by one of their readers.
With so many cords all tumbling around in the pocket of some computer bag, there tends to be some sort of intermingling that takes place and when you pull the one cord you need, the entire pocket empties and you end up holding what looks like a ball of deadly vipers. 
I began thinking the other night of a way that I can keep these cords in a easy to use, yet portable container that is flexible and will fit easily into any bag I choose to carry. I wanted something that I can set up in file cabinet type fashion where I’m not rifling through everything to find that one cord I need. 
Then, it dawned on me. Almost everyone still has that CD case lying around. So, I opened up the junk drawer, pulled out my Case Logic circular CD case, and began to file my cords one by one in the now empty CD sleeve.

Regular Case Logic Circular CD case

Cable filing system.

I even have a place in the back for my screen rag.

Anyone else have Helpful Tips to share in the comments this week?  All us Smithellaneous folks would to read them.

(Non Helpful) Bonus Pictures
I’m including these simply because they make me smile.



MN Mom: “Do you get the same beautiful fall colors we have here in the Upper Midwest? Hope so!”

We do get some pretty colors here since Manteo has many different kinds of trees; however, I have fond memories of fall in the Midwest and it is drop dead gorgeous there.  Fall and Spring are my two favorite seasons so I’m looking forward to the chill in the air and the colors that are coming.  Mr. Nikon and I are definitely going to take a few fall jaunts!

Mel said, Hi Becky:  “I just love seeing the pictures also. Megan and Nathan really do have the most wonderful smiles. Their playfulness comes through in every picture. I would like to know what song they picked for the first dance and did they have a special song for the father/daughter and mother/son dances?”

They danced to “Lucky”  by Jason Mraz and Colbie Cailat.  I had never heard it before but it is such a cool song and well worth looking up on YouTube.

Here are some of the lyrics:
Lucky I'm in love with my best friend,
Lucky to have been where I have been,
Lucky to be coming home again.
Meagan and her dad danced to “Cinderella” by Steve Curtis Chapman which will make any parent cry. And Nathan and I danced to “Find Your Wings,” by Mark Harris, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Isn’t it amazing the way special songs like these make up the moments and the soundtracks of our lives?

And yes, I do agree that Nathan and Meagan both have wonderful smiles that light up the fun they’re always having!