Take a whiff of Sista Smiff and you'll come back for more, that's fo sho!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Favorite Quote of the Day

"I love the Monkees....Did you know they were a big influence on the Beatles?"

Lloyd Christmas-Dumb and Dumber

Vacation/Sick Day

Of course, the day I plan a vacation day, I end up having The Crud that has been flying around. I had it yesterday, went to work and then Co-Worker Debbie said I had a fever and in her oh so subtle way said "Get out of here. I don't want your funk."

I was planning on taking #2 to The Hermitage today. He is so into Presidents. They're calling for possible severe storms this afternoon and I'm not so sure I want to be stuck at Jackson's Tomb during a tornado warning. So instead of delving into the history of Old Hickory, #2 and I will be getting our sore, swollen throats swabbed for Strep. Yee haw.

While I'm convalescing today, I'm watching some uplifting television. So uplifting, I'm seriously considering donating my 401K to him. I'm also catching up on my gameshows.

The word for the weekend is "streptococcus." Ginormous pills the size of Cleveland I must ingest for ten days and waiting for that inevitable "secondary" infection that is sure to follow when taking 875 mg of augmentin. (The girls out there know exactly of which I'm speaking.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Praise The Lord and Pass The Lipstick

Why is it that I can name just about every kid from my second grade class (1976), know minute, obscure trivia about country music and old movies, but every single time I am in a parking lot, I NEVER remember where I parked and I walk around and around and I'm three or four rows over from where I left my vehicle? I've been like this ever since I started driving. One time, I stopped short of calling the police at Hickory Hollow mall, thinking my Cutlass had been stolen, only to find I had come in a different entrance...

It happened again this evening at my second home, Wal Mart, where I happily found (for those following the saga) some COFFEE GLAZE lipstick!! God is so good to me.

The Buck (or Buddy Alan) Stops Here

I have a date with Eddie Stubbs tonight. Eddie's doing a 5 hour tribute tonight on WSM Radio (650 on your am dial!) to Buck Owens. There will be a lot of spayshul guests sharing their thoughts and memories on the Buckster, who died last week....Ferlin Husky, Roy Clark, Marty Stuart (why of course...can't have nothing without Marty throwing HIS two cents in) Jim Lauderdale and even Tom Brumley, who was the steel guitarists for the Buckaroos during their heyday. You can also listen to it on Sirius Satellite Radio or online. Should be a good un.

Speaking of Roy Clark, from what I hear, there was not lots of love lost between Buck and Roy. When "Hee Haw" began, Buck was supposed to be the "stahhh" but Roy, being funnier and such a great comedic talent, kinda stole it from him. I don't think that was the thing that caused the friction though.

Roy was known to indulge in alcoholic beverages and other activities. Buck was a teetotaler. Roy often rolled into the studio during tapings when he felt like it. This did not make Buck happy, for Buck was into gittin r done and getting out so he could count all his money, of which he had lots.

Buck kinda flipped out there for awhile in the 70's. Buck was married, for about five minutes, to Jana Jae, the girl that used to do commercials for Wal Mart, playing that blue fiddle, hideously, I might add. He married her and about 5 minutes later, kicked her out, then took out an ad in Billboard begging her to come back to him. (Why, Buck, why?!?!) Seems Miz Jae did go back, again, for about 5 minutes, and then later told the press "Buck was mentally ill while I was married to him." Obviously, or he wouldn't have married her. Buck did go through a rough time after his best friend/musical partner Don Rich died in a 1974 motorcycle accident, so we can forgive him for his horrible lapse in judgement.

I got hit on once by Buck's son, Buddy Alan. (I know women everywhere will be so envious of me) Back in 1990, me and some friends snuck our way into the Country Radio Seminar. Party central, I tell you. (My dad was one of the founders of this auspicious event, yet, somehow never mentioned all the drunkeness that occurred there. No wonder he'd be gone all during CRS week!) I was newly married, and at the time, Mr. Smiff had a record deal and single out and I guess I thought I was going to assist his up and coming career, knowing Buddy managed some of his Daddy's radio stations out west. I was all of 21 and as Minnie Pearl would say, didn't know nothin' and didn't suspect nothin. Let's just say ol' Buddy weren't interested in Mr. Smiff. Thank God and Roy Clark I was able to get away before I got a Buckaroo Gropin'.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Clouds in My Coffee

I'm so vain and I DO think this song is about me.

I'm out of my favorite lipstick shade and it's totally making me feel like the ugliest creature on the planet. I feel nekkid and not quite right without my "Coffee Glaze." I can't find it anywhere. I do hope Maybelline has not stopped making this color. I've bought a "Coffee Toffee" and a "Coffee Gleam" but it's lighter and when I pass by a mirror and see myself, I resemble a corpse. I also got another shade that looks like a close friend of Coffee Glaze, "Velvet Crush". I was crushed at how ugly it is.

I've tried mixing my various coffee shade with my "Elegant Cognac" gloss. It only looks good the first time I put it on in the morning. If I redo it later in the day, I start to resemble Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Blvd." SCARY! I am no Estee Lauder or Liz Arden fo sho.

I have never thought of myself as vain. I'm not afraid to go out in public without my makeup on. Ask Chris that works at the Hendersonville Kroger. He has seen me in just about every way. I've been in there fixed right nice after church on Sunday and early on Saturday mornings when I run out of my Hazelnut creamer. He still speaks to me after that and doesn't pretend he doesn't know me! I'm ok with the au naturel face look.

If, for some reason, the fine folks at Maybelline have decided Coffee Glaze needs to be retired. I don't know what I'll do. HELP!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Old School...New Name

Yay to the Sumner County School Board for voting to rename Wessington Place Elementary School in Hendersonville, George Whitten Elementary School. Kudos also go to Ben Bush for getting the petition started and getting the ball rolling on making it all happen. George Whitten was the principal at Wessington for about 25 years until he died of cancer just before this past Christmas. Before principaling, Mr. Whitten taught in Sumner County schools, so lots of kids in Hendersonville (and a lot of adults) were products of his tutelage.

Mr. Whitten was our principal for just two years. #1 Son began his school career at Wessington, attending there for kindergarten and first second grade, before a new elementary school came in and we were re-zoned for the new facility.

During #1's kindergarten year, I had begun working full time, which left Mr. Smiff responsible for getting the lad off to school every morning. Mr. Smiff, being a musician, keeps musician hours. My mother in law refers to it as "Elvis Standard Time", meaning late nights and waking at the crack of noon.

While #1 was in preschool, he didn't have to get there til about 9:30 and there was no strict rules about getting the kids there on time. This was perfect for Mr. Smiff. (Look up "slow" or "laid back" in Mr. Webster and you are likely to see his picture.) Elementary school, as Mr. Smiff was soon to learn, is not quite so relaxed as far as the school bell was concerned, nor were they interested in the shedyool that he was accustomed to.

As a result of a few too many mornings missing the bell, #1 brought home a note informing us that he was due to report to detention as punishment for his tardiness. Detention for a kindergartner??!??!?! Mr. Smiff was livid. He was going to go confront Mr. Whitten and settle this matter and that was that. He was all ready to deal with the big, badass principal. He was going to tell Mr. Whitten how it was. I told Mr. Smiff that we were in a different playing field now and things like getting to school on time was not a matter of our convenience and that we couldn't get #1 there whenever we felt like it. "Pffft" said Mr. Smiff. For he is the Dad.

Needless to say, #1 completed his sentence in detention. This happened after Mr. Smiff went and had a little chat with Mr. Whitten. Mr. Whitten wasn't such a badass after all. He explained to Mr. Smiff that he couldn't let one kid slide on the rules and not the other. (Same thing I had said). I believe Dad felt pretty bad when all was said and done that #1 had pretty much been sentenced to dentention because of his not getting him to school on time. Tardiness was never a problem again for any of the Smiff Kids.

Lunchtime in Downtown Nashville

I had the absolute best lunch time ever today. I didn't dine at a trendy spot or anything like that. I put on my old tennis shoes I keep at my desk and decided today, I would get my exercise over lunchtime, since I've been having a hard time working in the Y in the evenings. (Whine, whine..it isn't easy with a full time job and three kids that expect to be fed and stuff)

Off I go, out the door. It's a beautiful day in Nashville, about 58 degrees when I set out, a little chilly sorta but beautiful, blue sky.

Started out from 8th towards Church St. I love Church St. Everytime I am there, I always try to picture what it was like back in the day it was the center of Nashville's shopping district. Castner's was still open when I first started working downtown almost ten years ago. As a kid, I can remember every spring, taking the big trip downtown to Cain Sloan for Bunny Land. Who else remembers Bunny Land??? Come on now. I know I'm not the only one.

As I walked through the Arcade, instead of noticing the neat little eating places, all I noticed was that every person in there was smoking! It was almost like today was a special day just for the smokers. I'm surprised they let them do that still. Not smoker bashing (I are one) but it was just an interesting observation.

What are they building right next to the L & C Tower? I mean, the Tower is going to have itself a twin. The L & C is just a cool building. Have you ever ridden in the elevators in there? They are old and retro looking and just cool.

The Mother Church was looking beautiful today, as always. Wish I could've had time to go in and just set awhile.

Went around to Broadway and my eye caught the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Do I cross the street through traffic? Is it worth it? Yes, it was. Compared to the newer ET Shop out at Music Valley Dr., this one is tiny, but, oh so charming. Especially when you consider that for years, this was THE after Opry place. They even have the coke crates Loretta stood on to reach the microphone. They have Pete Drake's steel guitar, a tv playing the scene from "Coal Miner's Daughter" shot right there....cool western shirts that ET wore. Books galore...I could've spent the rest of the afternoon reading Hugh Waddell's "I Still Miss Someone." It's a great book featuring remembrance of Johnny Cash by his family and friends (and their shoe sizes!).

As I was standing there, reading through the Waddell book, enjoying the Loretta cd playing in the background, I looked up and there are photographs all over the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. A lot of them have been there since forever. There was a photo in a frame directly above where I was looking and I recognized it immediately because I was present when the photo was taken. It was made about 1978 at Two Rivers Mansion during Fan Fair when all the old timers got together. ET, Patsy Montana, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Joe Allison, all these people and there, about midway in the bunch was my dad smiling back at me.

I beamed and practically skipped my way back up that horrendous hill on Broadway back to the office. I should have lunches like that more often.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What Makes Country Cool

An odd little moment today during lunch at Jaybird's in Hendersonville. (Jaybird's is a fantastic little restaurant on Stop Thirty Rd. that specializes in amazing southern cooking. You should go there.)

Jaybird's has a couple tv's in their establishment and one of the television's was airing that race in Bristol. I'm not into NASCAR so I'm not sure what it's official title is, but, Diamond Rio performed the National Anthem (and did a bangup job, I might add) and bassist/singer Dana Williams' parents, Louise and Maurice, were sitting at the table behind us, quite proud of their boy. Louise shared she was recording it at home and I thought that's just like a proud mom. After all these years that Diamond Rio has enjoyed a lots of success, Mom STILL records every television performance. Neat.

Also heard that at Brad Paisley's show in Iowa last night, when he performed his current hit "When I Get Where I'm Going", he added a photograph in the video presentation of his mentor, Buck, and then at the very end, included a photo of Buck and his beloved guitarist/harmony vocalist Don Rich (who was killed in a motorcycle wreck at the age of 34 in the 70's) with a caption of "Together Again." How sweet is that?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buck Owens 1929-2006

The best country band...ever-Buck Owens, Don Rich, Willie Cantu, Tom Brumley and Doyle Holley...aka The Buckaroos

Three cool dudes: Buck Owens, Tex Ritter and Dad
circa 1965 (photo by Polaroid...the 1960's version of the digital camera)

I'm trying to follow the blog rule of my pal, Steve, in not going back and adding stuff to the blog after I post it, but, I thought of something I wanted to add on thoughts of Buck.

In 1989, I was working at CMT. This was before it was bought by the mega conglomerate and was a struggling little cable channel run by Stan Hitchcock. I was the 20 year old on the front desk, answering the phone...the lowest chick on the totem pole.

There was a television that played CMT (what else) all day long. It was quite redundant hearing the same 10 songs over and over all day long and to this day, songs/videos that were popular at the time ran along the lines of the then "new" acts like Alan, Clint and that guy named Garth. In the mix, there was some Buck Owens thrown in. I was nuts about Buck and did something I've only done one other time and that was write a fan letter. (The other one was to Donny and Marie when I was about 7). I had the advantage of having Buck's office address so I guess that helped it get right into his hands.

To my utter amazement, about two weeks later, I received a package in the mail. In it were two autographed cassettes, an 8 x 10 and a personal, handwritten letter from the Buckster himself. Do keep in mind, this guy was a multi-bazillionaire and largely retired from actively performing so he certainly had nothing to prove by responding to me. But, he did.

Some might say "What is the big deal...he was the guy on Hee Haw?" HA! Hee Haw was just a minute little stop Buck made in his professional journey. Before he hit the Kornfield, Buck Owens was a succesful studio musician in Los Angeles. He underplayed his guitar abilities after the great Don Rich joined his outfit and he largely let him do the guitar work and I don't know that he ever showed off his chops on Hee Haw.

Buck Owens recorded some of the best country music ever and he did it all on the West Coast. He was covered by the Beatles, even and they didn't cover a lot of artists. He refused to be part of the Nashville machine (thank goodness) and he pretty much did it his way and on his terms. He was also a sharp businessman, owning Lord knows how many radio stations.

If all you know of Buck is the guy on Hee Haw with the backwards overalls (Hee Haw was the bomb though), I would strongly encourage you to take a hop over to your favorite music outlet and get a copy of The Very Best Of Buck Owens Vol I.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Thundering Herd

Last night we had to go to the High School for our first, I don't know what the official name of the event was but to get the registration booklet and info for our upcoming High School Freshman.

I'm not sure how I feel about having a child that will be a Freshman this fall. It doesn't seem possible that he has grown up this quickly but more than that, the selfish side of me is like "I just got out of high school a few years ago." Then I remind myself that next year is my 20 year reunion.

We're fortunate to live in an area with this beautiful, new building out in Sumner County. (Williamson County Who?????) that's only been there a few years. They have a gajillion clubs..a food court (say what?) and it's just an all around nice place. I'm excited for #1 Son because Lord willing, he's about to hit what I hope will be a fantastic four year period in his life. He is already talking about where he wants to go to college and I've lectured him umpteen times on how on his path to college, the sliding by without studying, but still making good grades thing is probably about to come to a screeching halt and he's going to have to commit to studying a lot if'n he wants to be able to go to the high fallutin' school he's talking about (Vanderbilt).

I was pretty cool about the whole idea of high school until they mentioned that this incoming Freshmen bunch will be the class of 2010. All the kids in attendance hooped and hollered but as I looked around, I was glad I was not the only parent with the lump in their throat.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh K. T. Oslin, Where Art Thou

About 19 years ago, a singer/songwriter type blew into Twang Town from New York City with her song about "80's Ladies." Kay Toinette aka "K. T." Oslin was a seasoned commercial jingle singer and seems to me, she had done some Broadway work before coming to Nashville.

I remember there were some who cried foul when her nostalgic song about being grown up women hit the country charts. I know my own mother griped because "she ain't country!" Truthfully, I kinda thought KT was a little snooty and uppity for country music myself. Those silly gloves she wore and all that feminisim attitude she had. Pfft....I didn't relate to the song about burning bras and being the "girls of the 50's and 60's" in 1987. Heck no...I was 18, a size 6 and still had black hair and just didn't relate to nary a thing that song was talking about. I never gave a hiatal hernia about that 80's Ladies song....until about 5 minutes ago.

Listening to XM's "America-Classic Country" (Channel 10 to be exact) and they just played "80's Ladies." The lyrics that got to me.....

We've been educated, we got liberated And that's complicated matters with men
Oh we've said I do and we've signed I don't And we've sworn we'd never do that again
Oh we've burned our bras and we've burned our dinners
And we've burned at candles at both ends
And we've got some children who look just like
the way we did back then
Oh but we're all grown up now All grown up
None of us can tell you quite how

I'm just too sentimental. I'm sitting here bawling my eyes out, feeling pretty stupid. PMS maybe....I don't know. What a great song. Sorry I had negative thoughts about you K. T. At 37, I get you now.

Where is KT anyway????

The Grande Dame of Music Row

This is my maw in law. My husband's mother. My children's grandmother and a mother figure to a lot of people from struggling songwriters to young women to gay guys. Everybody is "honey" to her, unless, of course, you step out of her favor which, trust me, you don't want to be out of her favor.

Hazel is from Caswell County, NC. It is so far removed from the hustle and bustle of busy suburbia, it isn't even funny. She grew up on a tobacco (tuh-backa as they say in Caswell) farm. Her daddy was the local sheriff and all around bad ass. She tells stories of her dad getting mad when the kids played. He wanted them to work all the time and apparently, he didn't put up with much nonsense. Every picture I've ever seen of my grandfather-in-law, he looks stressed out and unhappy. He died at the age of 58 while sitting at the breakfast table from a massive stroke.

Her mother, who is still living and recently celebrated 92 years of living, married at 15 years old, and although she was not educated, has more common sense than anybody I know. She was also, before the effects of 92 years of living took their toll on her, one of the best southern cooks around.

Hazel took the broad step and moved to Nashville in 1968 to pursue a career as a songwriter, leaving behind a 15 year marriage. My father in law, who is ten years older than my mother in law and of a totally different mindset, did not support her dreams of doing something beyond Rockingham and Caswell Counties. He didn't think she had any talent as a songwriter or really, anything. In reality, The Older Mr. Smiff knew what he was dealing with with his wife and that she was a livewire. I think he was extremely threatened by her spunk, tenacity and git r done attitude. He begged her to come back home. He missed her cooking.

Hazel came to Nashville, with my then 8 year old husband in tow, later followed by her older son, and somehow, scarfed out a living for herself and her kids. She worked for Kinky Friedman, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, began writing a long running column in Country Music magazine and coining the phrase "Outlaw Music" to describe what her then employers were doing musically. Later on, she ran the office of Dr. Hook and the personal dealings of Ricky Skaggs and had some pretty good song cuts in between. She has continued writing for various publications and is on radio station WFMS in Indianapolis every morning.

Hazel learned a lot from her mother's kitchen and is quite the Southern culinary expert. She has spent the last 5 years making it her personal mission to make sure people know how to cook like our grandmas used to. She has cooked on Emeril Lagasse's show on the Food Network and appears on the Ellen DeGeneres Show a few times a year. She has a cookbook called "Cooking With Country Stars" and tonight (Thursday) she will be on QVC at 8:00 eastern hawking it. Although it would be great if you bought one (I have my kids inheritance to think of, ya know), you should be highly entertained.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

TV Land Awards

Holy Senior Citizens, Batman!!!!

Watching the TVLand Awards and I'm just amazed at how friggin elderly some of these people are.

JJ from Good Times is much blacker than I remember him....Michael looks like somebody's Paw Paw....Donny Osmond, caked in makeup, IS somebody's Paw Paw....Dee from "What's Happening" uses some sort of crutches that you can tell aren't a temporary thing....What has happened to Billy Crystal!?!??! Sid Caesar, God love that genius, is so frail and couldn't walk without help. Ok, so he is something like 85 so I can understand has anomaly.....Peter Brady (sans the bimbo from the Surreal Life") has salt and pepper hair....John Amos, aka James Evans, Sr....his nose still looks like it could house a whole city....Larry Hagman looks like a wax figure from Madame Toussaud's.....Mary Tyler Moore...whoever continues to butcher her face through plastic surgery should lose their medical license. Don't stretch it no more. Not much left to stretch. Where was Janet Jackson?!??!?!?

The parody of "Grey's Anatomy" was killer.

Smiff Meets American Idol

One of the best parts of being a parent is seeing bits and pieces of yourself in them.

When I was growing up, I hung out amongst country music royalty on a regular basis. I didn't know that these people were "special" until I got older. I mean, I thought everybody's parents had good friends who had a collection of Nudie suits and colorful cowboy boots like Carl Smith did. That was the norm. It's been much the same for my kids, getting to meet legends (most of the time unimpressed) and do stuff like hang out backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. I used to get Dad to haul me out there when certain people would be performing.

For my kids, they've been to the Opry a number of times throughout their lives. Regulations are stricter now for bringing children backstage so they didn't get to go a lot until the last couple years. When I was a kid, there were no such rules until Sonny Osborne got mad when some kid ran into his banjo neck and broke it, but, I digress.

This past weekend, the Princess Daughter made her first arrangements (on her own via her grandma) to go to the Opry when Dad was not playing. She wanted to see her hero, Carrie Underwood, and see her she did.

If she lives to be 190, she will remember meeting Carrie just as I remember the first time I met Emmylou when I was about 15. I don't have a photograph from that first meeting but I would be I had the same scared, "I can't believe this" look on my face that my sweet daughter has here.

There's So Much That We Share When It's Time We're Aware......

I love blogs. They're fun to read. There's some interesting folk running around out there.

I had happened upon this blog a number of times and as somebody who attempts to run and shares the same spiritual philosophies, Steve's blog was one of my favorites. I didn't know until about a week or so ago, after being a semi-regular to this blog, that Steve works on my floor. I've only been on this floor for a couple months so now Steve is a new pal and we've bonded...through blogging.

Technology is so grand.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I have a Post It Note attached to my computer reminding me to send a note to Genny. It's been there for a few weeks.

Genny is a former co-worker... a fantastic lady in her early 70's who is one of the hippest, free spirited chicks I know. She dressed in colorful clothes, and was full of interesting stories and tales of her adventures in life.

My favorite Genny Story was how when she was in college, in the 50's, she dated a Chinese guy. Nowadays, that's not a big deal but at that time, in Nashville, Tennessee, for an upstanding young college co-ed, that was unheard of and took a ton of guts.

Genny's last husband was about 20 years younger than her. She outlived him.

Genny broke her back within the last year and it really took its toll on her. She was dealing with Macular Degeneration and one of her sons has a terminal illness and is in Hospice care as we speak. She still had her sense of humor but everytime I saw her, the spark seemed less and less.

It's too late for me to send her that note to encourage her and let her know I was thinking of her.

Genny was scheduled for eye surgery today (that she was determined to get to, come what may) and the person who was going to take her for the procedure this morning went to get her but got no answer at the door or on the phone. When they got in. they found her in her chair with the television on, her little dog by her side.

Note to self....don't put off those promptings of getting in touch with somebody. No, my note probably wouldn't have saved Genny's life...but, it would sure make me feel better right now to know my pal knew how much I cared about her.

Lordy, Lordy

40 doesn't seem too old anymore. It never seemed "old" to me, just, rather, "far" off. A number of my friends and family will cross that milestone this year, including my sister. Today, however, one of my most favoritest cousins crosses the 40 threshhold.

I have a TON of first cousins. Both my parents came from big families and their brothers and sisters took the "be fruitful and multiply" command quite seriously. Interestingly, most of these first cousins are old enough to be my parents. The exception to this family rule was my mother's sister Pat had a second marriage and proceeded to have three children in stairstep order and they are the only first cousins close to my age. They lived in Alexandria, Louisiana, and we usually saw them at least twice a year. The highlight of the year was going to Alex or them coming to Nashville. The culmination to the Nashville trip was the trip to Opryland (see photo of us in our Dr. Pepper shirts in 1979-cool does not describe us. Also note the little dark headed girl on the top left that insisted on wearing the different Dr. Pepper shirt. I was such a rebel without a clue)

All of us kids thoroughly adored and enjoyed each other. The memory closet of times spent with these kids is so large, the blogosphere wouldn't hold them all.

Cousin Kim was the second of these three and the only relative (up until my own daughter was born) that I knew of that was blonde and blue eyed. My mother's family was full of black hair, almost black eyes and all on the short side. Kim was blonde, blue eyed, long and lanky. She has never for a second had to worry about gaining an ounce and somehow she missed that awkward stage the rest of us had to endure. She could turn flips, dance, always had a boyfriend and was extremely popular in high school and college. She was even a friggin beauty queen and competitive gymnast.

We used to play Charlie's Angels (Kim was always Farrah), tell ghost stories, play Swinging Statues, jam to the DeFranco's while watching their ultra groovy record player light up in time with the music, go to the mall and stay up most of the night howling with laughter until Aunt Pat would come fuss at us, without her teeth in..making us laugh more.

Kim and I communicate pretty regularly through email. I've only seen her once in the last 20 years but she keeps me up to date on her family and now that her mother is gone, she is the lifeline to this branch of our family tree we love so much.

Happy 40th Kim....maybe we can go down to Valentine Lake to celebrate!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Old Pals I'm Proud Of

I have a My Space page, solely for the purpose of keeping an eye on my preteen Princess. It's quite interesting, that My Space. A few weeks back, I got a message from some nice looking guy (pictures come with messages, if they have one posted for those not familiar) and the subject line had my first name and a question mark. I opened it up and all the message said was my first and maiden name with a question mark. I could not figure out who this guy was but assumed it had to be somebody who knew me when I was my maiden name, which has been quite a long time. I looked and looked and figured I had to have known this person but who was it?!?!?!

It finally hit me that it was Murrey Gropp. Murrey Gropp and I go back to first grade at Lipscomb Elementary School. I haven't seen hide nor hair of him in probably 20 years. He was/is as much as a character as his name implies. A rather robust little boy with an "overbite", his appearance and his personality is one nobody could ever forget. He was a hoot in school and had a wisdom about politics and current events that went way beyond his years. It probably wasn't very wise wisdom but it always impressed the heck outta me that he could talk politics in the 5th grade and sound like he knew what he was talking about.

Murrey was a great kid. All these years later, I can just think about him and start laughing. He lives in East Tennessee now...never married or had children as of yet. He is a drug/alcohol counselor. Apparently, he draws on experience in counseling those trying to free themselves from the bondage of substance abuse...which didn't surprise me because the last time I remember seeing Murrey was at one of those wild, Brentwood parties in about 1985. I still don't know why I was there because I didn't really participate in such, but, I was present at this gathering of Brentwood High students...seems the party resembled the party in "Sixteen Candles".

As I was leaving, I passed Murrey, no telling how many sheets to the wind he was, giving some young girl a field sobriety test. The pot was screaming for the kettle.............anyway, I'm glad to be in touch with ol' Mur and am quite proud of him for turning his life around and helping other people.

Thawt Fawr The Day

Why is it that people are always seem so shocked and amazed when we have a coldsnap in March or April?? It happens every single year. We get a taste of spring and warm, pretty weather and inevitably, we'll have another touch of winter before it's all over. Why does this shock people? Do they just forget or they long so for spring they can't handle the thought of winter?

Let that fall on you a minute....tawk amongst yaselves.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Williams Girls

People are just stupid. Even if the allegations against Hank Williams, Jr. were true (no chance in hell) now would not be the time to say something like this.

Boozing, women and rowdy friends aside, Hank is living every parent's worst nightmare, not to mention their poor mother lost her dad and is dealing with all of this in the same week.

Glad to hear Holly has been released from the hospital and let's keep praying that Hilary makes a complete recovery. Both are beautiful and talented young women.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Day Off

I took a vacation day today. Just as I predicted last Friday, when it was 75 degrees and an all around gorgeous day, the day I take off is cloudy and 50 degrees.

The reason I took a day today was because Mr. Smiff and crew are singing/playing in a wedding this evening. The guy getting married is the brother of a famous singer (that we found out isn't speaking to the groom over a tiff of some sort). Here it is 2:32 and the wedding is in 4 hours and I have nothing to wear. I'm teetering on "I'm not going". I should be excited about a rare evening out and a nice, free dinner, but this whole not having to wear anything just puts a damper on things.

I've gone to try to find something but haven't found anything that suits my liking. That's the way it always works out for me. I HATE to shop. I especially hate shopping under pressure. All the stores have these tops that have paisleys on them (when did THEY come back and who invited them?) and it's that horrid time of year when sleeveless seems to be everywhere. Some of us have better manners than to wear sleeveless. If I weren't looking for something and had no money in my pocket, I'd see a million things I'd want.

We did go and surprise #2 at lunchtime. Lunchtime with second graders is always a fun and meaningful experience. We chose not to partake in the fine cuisine of the school cafeteria. I see they still serve those horrid soybean burgers and tater tots. Yuck. We opted for the Mason Jar instead.

It was hard to find #2 in the crowd of kids in the cafeteria because it was a sea of green. Every kid had green on. I mean, every kid. One kid had on a tall, green Leprechaun hat and one girl had on deely boppers with shamrocks on them.

Maybe....I should find something bright green and borrow the kid's deely boppers for my wedding attire?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Separated At Birth?

Is it just me, or do these two look alike? If News 2's Brent Frazier was to get ahold of some gel, we'd have us a set o'broadcasting twins.

Wedding Bells for Rusty

Isn't it precious that Rusty Yates is remarrying this weekend??? I think a great wedding gift for the new Mrs. Yates would be stretch mark cream, a new copy of "What To Expect When You're Expecting", maybe a Lithium prescription and a two by four to knock ol' Rusty in the head here and there.

I still think that low life Rusty bears part of the responsibility of what happened to his children and he should be doing time in prison. Knowing his wife was clinically PSYCHOTIC, he insisted on keeping her perpetually pregnant, had her live in a friggin RV, homeschool (don't even get me started on that topic) all while she was taking care of her father, who was dying of Alzheimer's.

Andrea should've drowned Rusty instead.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shopping List: Odor Eaters

I didn't wear socks with my slip ons today. It don't smell so great. It smells like that old portable at Franklin High School where I took Driver's Ed. It makes me think of the curmudgeonly Economics and Driver's Ed teacher, "B" Nelson. (There were two Bill/William Nelsons at FHS in those days. B as in "bastard") He always said I wouldn't amount to anything. As if he amounted to a heap himself trying to teach all of us how to balance checkbooks and to drive.

I think ol B Nelson has gone to that great portable in the sky. Thanks to him, I did not learn to balance a checkbook adequately and my memory of him is associated with smelly feet. Not exactly the way I'd want to be remembered.

This is kinda like "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie." If you don't wear socks, it will remind you of a teacher you hated....Gives a whole new meaning to A Whiff of Smiff doesn't it?

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Slight Wind

The thing I hate about this time of year is the threat of bad thunderstorms and tornadoes. I was working downtown on April 16, 1998, when the tornado that most people didn't think could come to a downtown, urban area came. I've always been a Storm Ninny but since then, the sound of a tornado warning makes me nervous as a cat at a dog show.

It had stormed off an on all day and I'd had my radio going and my co-workers were laughing at me for being so uptight about the weather and the warnings. They thought it was pregancy hormones run amok (I was 6 months along with #2 Son) and that I was overreacting. I had pretty much kept my eyes peeled to the window most of the day, nervously pacing back and forth.

A little before 3:30, Mr. Smiff called and said that there was a tornado that had just gone over Channel 4 and was going towards 2-65. I could see Knob Hill out a window and it didn't look like the typical funnel cloud. It was just dark, dark and quite foreboding.

I went into another office and there were a couple ladies standing looking out the window and I told them what Mr. Smiff had said....tornado...coming towards Downtown, we'd better do something. (There was nobody in charge, no emergency plan in place at this time) The one lady paused a minute and said "Oh....do you want to see pictures of my grandbabies?!?" trying to push a photograph in my face. "UH NO" I said as I stormed out. The power started to flicker and nobody was doing anything or even noticing, really. It pissed me off. I was hauling ass for two, for the love of Bill Hall. I took off for the stairs (and oddly enough ran into another expectant mother who had the same fears and common sense. The last thing I heard before descending to the bottom of the building was some brilliant girl saying "Wow! Look at that car flying!" Idiots.

Going down about 12 flights of stairs as fast as my pregnant body would carry me, the building was shaking, insulation flying through the vents, the windows bowing in and out, stuff flying by the window...I get to the bottom and the security people did not know what to do. Nobody had a clue. I just kept going as far as I could go.

When we came up for air, things looked ok at my building, save the guardshack that had been on the parking roof about 15 minutes before was nowhere to be seen. A few cars lost some windows but otherwise, things were ok. I climbed BACK up the 12 flights of stairs to get my stuff to leave (no electricity) got it, came back down, got in my car and headed for home.

I did not know that the rest of Downtown Nashville was trashed. I went through downtown, like I always did, to get on Ellington Parkway, but, found myself stuck in horrible traffic and then a Metro Cop came to my car and said "You have to get out and get inside somewhere...another one's coming." I happened to be by the Hermitage Hotel so I went in. The bar was PACKED and people were having themselves a good ol time. Tornado! Yipppeeeee....drinks for everybody. Had I not been knocked up, I'd have joined right in....and I'm not a drinker.

I didn't have a cell phone at this time, but, it wouldn't have mattered. There was no cell service. I couldn't call home, didn't have any way of knowing how Hendersonville was. It was a pretty helpless feeling. They finally let us leave the hotel and I made my way back to my building.

Another problem came up as I got in the car. My gas tank was just about on empty and I had NO money on me. Nothing...no card....nada. I waited a little longer at work and thanks to a $20 donation from one of the VP's...I got gas and finally got home at 7:00. When I walked in, I was greeted by my then 6 year old and 4 year old and their daddy...who was about 90 sheets to the wind. Needless to say, I was worn out and had the headache from hell. Being pregnant, I couldn't take my usual Goody's headache powder so the inebriated Mr. Smiff had just the remedy....Tiger Balm. That shit burned my head so bad, I can almost feel it now thinking about it. I was not happy. Just been through a tornado and it's aftermath, and I have this burning stuff on my head.

Amazing only one person died that day. I was not near death or didn't get plundered in the head but I felt fortunate to have been able to go home to my kids and their drunk daddy that night. You can't go through something like that not realizing how fragile life is and how incredibly small we are.

If I don't ever experience another tornado close up again...it will be too soon.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Viva Nash Vegas

Mr. Smiff and The Grascals are on the Grand Ole Opry tonight and they are going to have some very special guests join them. They will be performing "Viva Las Vegas" (really cool done bluegrass) and The Jordanaires, who sang on the original with The Kang himself, will be ooohing and aahing behind them. Cool is probably not an adequate enough word to describe it. These guys are truly legends of American music and even more of an honor is that Gordon Stoker is flying in from his winter, Florida home to perform with them.

You can see it on tv on GAC at 7:00 tonight and it will air again Sunday and through the week.

Friday, March 10, 2006

And the June Cleaver Award Goes To............

Typical Friday morning at the Smiff House. I was in my usual jovial, positive, life-lovin mood, as I am every Friday. I think the Smiff Kids probably recite my dialogue along with me as I spew out my usual uplifting, positive reinforcement to get them ready for a day of learning.

My Middle Schoolers are having "Friend Pictures" made today. They let them get with their friends, pay $5 and have a moment frozen in time. I'm surprised they don't charge $30 for a tiny polaroid. Anyway, #1 Son is having his picture made with his girlfriend. I was hoping he'd have one made with his posse of pals that he's been friends with for a long time, but I didn't press. I didn't tell him I predict he and Girl will probably be an un-couple within a week or two. They've been a couple for about three weeks now. He mentioned yesterday some other kid is trying to move in on his woman. I'm bracing myself to comfort the boy on his first heartbreak. It's coming. I feel it.

The Room Mothers had sent home this big envelope wanting us to do all these little things for Teacher Appreciation Day...have the kid write her a note of thanks, do a "Why I Love Mrs. Smith" picture, send snapshots of the kid, and of course, an envelope to put money in for a gift. We got this envelope a week ago and we certainly didn't want to break tradition and have it ready earlier in the week. Why no! It's much funner trying to scramble and get it done at 10:30 the night before it's due and carry it over to 6 a.m the next morning. That's the Smiff Way and I refuse to break such a time honored family tradition.

#2 Son is also having his picture made this morning because he has been given some title I can't remember but it has to do with being a good student. They take a picture of the other winners and they put it in the paper. I didn't feel like washing bluejeans last night. #2 is wearing the same jeans he had on yesterday. I did not know until we were on our way out the door this morning that he spilled ketchup on them. He will be Student of the Month, with ketchup on his pants, in the local newspaper. Check that box and vote me Mother of the Year.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Perfect Song

The Perfect Song: "1. Till I Gain Control Again - Van Morrison"

I've had a long love affair with songs and songwriters. Songwriters are just plain interesting. I've known lots of them in my time. I think my love of the art began when I was a baby.

When my family moved to Nashville, I was 8 months old. We stayed at the home of some friends for a few days until our house was ready to occupy. The friend was a man by the name of Eddie Miller. Eddie wrote a lot of songs that are considered to be classics...."Thanks A Lot", "There She Goes" and the immortal "Release Me". Eddie was a wonderful man and as a small child, I didn't realize the impact his songs have made on millions of people and he died when I was 8 so I never really had the chance to question him about how he came up with the idea for this one or that one, like I later had the opportunity to with people like Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, Johnny Russell and a lot of other people.

I think the most perfect song ever written is Rodney Crowell's "Til I Gain Control Again." It's everything a great song should be. Rodney took the not so original idea of trying to move on past a failed relationship and said it in a way unlike anybody has ever expressed it, which is the goal of every songwriter when they compose.

I was way familiar with it when in 1987 at a benefit at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, a not-yet-famous Vince Gill performed it, just him and a guitar and it moved me in such a way that I had not been moved before and rarely since. The best way I can explain how it affected me is that it was like something physically got inside my body and touched me so profoundly that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It was powerful.

I was intrigued when I heard that Van Morrison had cut "Til I Gain Control" on his latest cd "Pay The Devil." Somebody with such a distinctive voice and artistry HAD to just nail it....and he does not disappoint. Wish I could've been one of the lucky ones to hear him perform it at the Ryman this week. I have a feeling to hear him sing it live, probably would've affected me much like Vince Gill affected me with it in 1987.

Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns that I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
Til I can gain control again

Dang, Rodney.....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Enough Already

Between last night on Larry King and all the stories about Dana Reeve dying of lung cancer (how tragic and just plain bizarre is that?) to tonight on the same show, talking about David Bloom, who died of Deep Vein Thrombosis way too young, they are making my hypochondriachal tendencies go absolutely beserk, not to mention how depressing it is. I am all for awareness but my word.....

I think we need a Good Times or Saturday Nite Live marathon.

Misheard Song Lyrics

Listening to the XM Radio this morning to my favorite channel, The 70's Channel and invariably, I find myself giggling hearing songs that I used to hear on the radio as a kid and I STILL subconsciously sing the words like I thought they were when I was 10. For example...Olivia Newton John's "A Little More Love"...I still want to sing "A little more love makes you constipated" instead of "Will a little more love make you start depending" and everybody's favorite "Blinded By The Light"...revved up like a douche, another........in the night" Never knew that the correct words were "Revved up like a deuce another runner in the night" until I was nearly 30 years old.

I want to hear some other misheard lyrics...I know there are websites but I want to hear "real" people's.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

He's a One Boy Cuddly Toy, My Up, My Down, My Pride and Joy.

We all know about Andy & Opie, Mike, Greg, Peter & Bobby; George H.W. and George W; Bill Bixby and that little freckled kid; In a world where there's so much hatred and estrangement in families, I tell ya, this story about Nashville's own favorite Fabulous Father/Son Duo is what families are all about! It brings a tear to my eye and just fills my heart with so much....There is love and light in this mean old, hateful world.

I can't help but hear strains of "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" theme in the story of Artie and his boy and best pal, Perry and just thinking of all the swell, fun things they've done together...fishing, camping, murder, skipping town....oh, it's too much.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made? Me?

I am a Bible thumpin' Christian. I love the Bible. I love to study it and love how the Old and New Testaments parallel each other and how the Old Testament talks about Jesus, down to his birth and death. I love the times when I'm dealing with something and God will direct me to somewhere specific in the Word and my question is answered. Those are the best times. I've had some wonderful moments studying the Word over the last 10-12 years and spiritually, have seen myself grow up, although I'm not "there" yet. We'll never be "there" until it's all said and done.

People like Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Neil Anderson and my own personal spiritual mentor, Debbie Williams, have been used in my life to light a fire to desire to know God and what His will is for me.

Being I'm a born-again, Bible believing Christian does not make me a perfect person. I have my own besetting sins that I fight daily. One of those is my own unbelief. I believe every word God says to us in the Bible is true, but my heart has trouble with some of the ones that talk about me.

A verse I have taped to my computer screen says "For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139 13-14

Why is it that I have such a problem believing I am really and truly fearfully and wonderfully made? All these years, since I was a little bitty girl, I've fought feelings of inferiority. I've always compared myself to everybody else and although I've gotten better as the years have gone by, I'm like a stubborn kid and argue with God when He says I'm wonderfully made, it's like I'm saying "Am not!" and He's saying "Are too!" It's an insane argument.

I've got it taped there on the computer screen, prayerfully hoping that I can believe that this week.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Taste of Love Is Sweet

An 18 year old SistaSmiff and June Carter Cash-CMA Awards 1987

I've been here before, but have to come here again.....I'm glad for Reese and I'm glad the name June Carter is out there and people will remember her more for this, but people, please understand me...Reese did not become June Carter. She thanked somebody in her acceptance speech for helping her "create" this character...thats exactly what she did. Ya'll who never saw June except in photos, trust me on this one. She was so animated and such a wonderful character. There was one part in WTL where Reese seemed to be trying to bring some of June's character, in the scene in the beginning where she and Johnny "meet".

Phillip Seymour Hoffman became Truman Capote....Jamie Foxx became Ray Charles....Sissy Spacek became Loretta....I'm just not getting this. I don't know why this bugs the far' outta me (as June would say) but it does.

All the same...yay for Reese. She seems like good people, but I ain't budgin' on this one. I would lay money down that she never has attended a Grand Ole Opry performance.

Just cause your cat has kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Attention Mayberryites

Looks like i won't be getting much done this weekend. TVLand is running an Andy Griffith marathon in honor of Don Knotts. At this point, they're showing the early ones and I just caught sight of the fabulous Roland White who is a mandolinist extraordinare, longtime Nashvillian and all around swell guy. He was in the bluegrass group called the Country Boys that preceded the Darlings.

CNN will be repeating the Larry King Show from the other night that featured Andy, Jim Nabors, Ron Howard, Joyce Dewitt and Don's daughter, Karen Knotts on Sunday evening.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Most people get really pumped when Friday rolls around. I have come to realize that anymore, it's the thought of Friday and the weekend that's exciting. It's not like I get any real rest anyway. I haven't had an exciting weekend in years. Wait...did I EVER have an exciting weekend? Every Monday, when someone will inevitably ask if I had an exciting weekend, I will answer with my usual "No, but someday I will and I will be sure to tell you about it."

I am in bed earlier on Friday nights than I am any other night of the week. I guess after the busy week, mentally, something shuts off and I'm out by 9:00. I don't even make it to 20/20.

Nine Fridays out of ten, Mr. Smiff is away so that means Friday mornings I have to corral #2 Son and get him to before school care BEFORE his pill melts. He's always in a good mood but as I mentioned, he has a pill to take so before the old Concerta does its thang, I have a loud, wild hyper boy on my hands who wants to watch Ed, Edd and Eddy or go out to the trampoline or something other than get ready for school. (No joke...he was on the trampoline at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. It's twisted, I know).

Probably a good idea I'm not out on Fridays. My mother has been telling me since I was 16 years old to be careful because "All the drunks are out on Friday nights." As if they aren't out any other night or day of the week. All the drunks in town have an appointment to be out on Friday nights.

That's about as logical as the time my sister and I were making a weekend trip to Atlanta. Mom warned us to watch out for the drunks AND to watch out for the Lesbians. According to my 70 something year old mother, who never leaves her house except for work and to buy cigarettes, Atlanta is crawling with lesbians and they are out looking for me!!!! We still wonder where that one came from. ???

I guess the real danger out there would be drunk lesbians. Yay for them. At least they're able to stay up past 9:00 on a Friday evening.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hear My Song, Lord

Last Wednesday, Anthony Burger died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. If you don't know who Anthony Burger was, he was an amazing pianist, with an amazing testimony, who has been apart of Bill Gaither's videos and tours for many years.

Now, if you're thinking Anthony must've been an older guy...he wasn't. He was 44 years old and had no history of heart problems and appeared to be in good health. You see some people who look like heart attacks...Anthony didn't.

The Gaither Bunch was aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean when Anthony died. Anthony was in the middle of a song, in front of an audience when his time came. The story is quite chilling and is told in detail by Tori Taff, the wife of Russ Taff, on Mark Lowry's website here.

The First Cut Is The Deepest

I'm sitting in a little meeting today with a brand new "Misses Ha-Wiggins Pad" (translated....a legal pad. Me and the old boss started calling them that. HA...so funny) Sitting there trying to be interested and I moved my hand along the side of the thing and got the most perfect, pristine and friggin painful papercut. It hurt so bad, I wanted to scream.

How is it something so small can hurt so dang bad?! And then proceed to bleed like there is no tomorrow???