Archive for January, 2006

RIP Natalie Maines

So Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks is telling us she is “done” with country music..she never liked it anyway, even though it made her a star, gave her opportunities that most people will never have and not to mention a wealthy woman, because of the backlash for her infamous comment regarding her fellow Texan, President George W. Bush.

Alls I have to say about that is this….I just hope she someday doesn’t find herself in a situation where she needs country music to make a living. Say, she has a shady business manager who invests a lot of her money in some sort of bad real estate deal or forgets to make sure the IRS gets their yearly contribution from her. Or, if she actually matures and realizes if it weren’t for country music, she would probably be slinging hash in a greasy spoon in Lubbock and she wants to give twang a stab again. I don’t know that country fans will be forgiving about this latest bout she’s having with diarrhea of the mouth.

Country music fans are probably the most loyal in the entertainment world. They are wrongly made fun of (especially by Nashvillians every June) but they will stick with “their” artist through thick and thin and through brilliance and crap (think Chris Gaines). They make it possible for artists to make a living until they either drop dead onstage or have to be wheeled out by their nurse.

I think a majority of country fans had forgiven Natalie for her lack of articulation and elegance of speech but denouncing the music, like she has done…I do believe she has just dug her own Music City grave, for real this time.

Missing the Two Sexiest Fat Men Alive

Are Rick and Bubba ever coming back on the air in Nashville?!?!?!

Sure, I can listen to them online but it’s not the same as in the car. Somebody, PLEASE bring them back. Nashville needs Bucky Beaver, Dicky Nadmire, Speedy, Don Juan and all the gang. COME ON RADIO PEOPLE!!

Steeples and Graffiti

My pal Eric McLemore says God lives in Williamson County. I think this is true. On News Channel 5+, they have their own show, they have their own section of the Tennessean and it appears to be where lots of people want to live.

The aforementioned theory of God’s residence was confirmed to me last night while watching the news on Channel 2.

Forest Hills Baptist Church sits on the corner of Old Hickory Blvd. and Hillsboro Rd., where it has sat since it was started in about 1959 or 60. The original home of the church was in a house on the corner across the street. (I believe the house is still there, now a private home). Ground was broken on the current sanctuary in October of 1978. Technically, Forest Hills Baptist Church is on the Davidson County side, but the Williamson County line is a hop, skip and a jump away from the church property and a lot of the church’s members live there.

The steeple was in dire need of some repair work and a paint job so the church had a company take it down, fix ‘er up and put it back. A snafu of biblical proportions ocurred though when the company hired to fix it painted it (gasp!) white instead of the beige on the church trim. There seems to be a disagreement on whether to keep it white or have them repaint it.

A disagreement over a church steeple is news?!?!?! It shows to go you that anything that happens in Williamson County is news because God DOES live there.

I can laugh about this because Forest Hills Baptist Church is the church I attended (as did my philosophical friend Eric) and was a member of from the time I was 6 years old until I married and moved to the other side of town. I was baptized there, married there, and I put the only known graffiti on the bathroom walls there when I was about 7 when during a service, I went to the restroom and had this uncontrollable urge to write on the bathroom wall. I knew I couldn’t (and wouldn’t have anyway) written anything nasty so I wrote “Jesus” on the Kotex box. The last time I looked, in about 1995, my own brand of witness was still there, in all its glory on the holy Kotex dispenser.

The Git R Dones: Party of Seven

Most of the extended Smiff Clan went to Sunday lunch after church today. Eating out with Mother In Law Smiff is a serious matter. It’s more than just grabbing a bite to eat. Being she’s something of a well known Southern cook extraordinaire food is a big deal.

So anyway, we all agreed to go to Logan’s, since they had not been graced with our presence in awhile. We decided to call ahead and my wise acre, but quite humorous 19 year old nephew, Jeremy made the call. When they asked for the name of the party, he told them to expect “The Git R Dones” in about 15 minutes.

The Git R Dones arrived and Princess Daughter thought we were kidding about our pseudonym. When she found out we were serious, of course, being 12, she was mortified. She kept holding her ears everytime they’d go to call a name. Finally, the hostess announced over the microphone “Git R Done, party of 7” and the best part she said it like our hero, Larry the Cable Guy would. The Princess was not at all amused when I answered with a “yee haw.”

Now, I understand why my father used to enjoy embarassing us so long ago. It’s quite fun.


I got to thinking about teachers yesterday when through a “can you believe this” set of email events, I was in contact, through email with an old teacher of mine that I have not seen since about 1981.

Marianne Hawkins started teaching in the Williamson County School system in 1974. The next year, when I was in first grade, her classroom was next to Mrs. Campbell’s first grade class. Lipscomb Elementary School had bought into the “open” classroom” theory so it was like the classes were all together. You could see everything that went on in the class next to you and probably helped cultivate a lot of ADD in kids.

Miss Hawkins was young and lots of fun. All the kids really dug her. By the time I got to fifth grade, she had jumped over there (I guess she tired of Dick and Jane and wanted more “mature” fare) and I got to be in her class.

Miss Hawkins did some babysitting on the side and often stayed with our next door neighbor’s daughter while they went out of town. We were pretty tight with the neighbors and since she was my teacher, I got to spend some neat time with her away from school and boy, was it fun. Miss Hawkins truly loved children and she must not have gotten too sick of me since she hauled us some places in her small, ultra cool car. If memory serves, it was a little Chevrolet of some sort but it could’ve been the Beverly Hillbillies jalopy, for all I cared cause I got to hang out with Miss Hawkins. She even let us call her by her first name away from school.

Miss Hawkins turned into Mrs. Meriweather and “Mom” to a couple of kids, while I moved on to junior high, high school, marriage, Momhood of my own and I have not laid eyes on her since the early 80’s. Even so, I can remember minute, obscure details about her and she was a real role model for a little girl. She told me she had been teaching for 31 years (what?!?!?!) is a mother in law now and was looking at retirement soon. Sheesh, I remember her 28th birthday…I’m sure she does too.

Ironic catching up with Ms. Hawkins/Meriweather yesterday when I heard about a car accident involving my 14 year old son’s History teacher, Betty Peden. Ms. Peden epitomizes dedication much like Ms. Hawkins/Meriweather.

Ms. Peden retired a few years back from Metro Schools. She taught at one of the inner city high schools for something like 30 years. She hated retirement and missed her kids. So she jumped into the Sumner County School system. The thing about that that gets me is Ms. Peden lives in Antioch and Knox Doss Middle School is just about in Gallatin. School starts at 7:30 every morning so no telling what ungodly hour she has to rise and start her treck across town.

Thursday, she left school, probably went home but came all the way back to Hendersonville (or was trying to) for the basketball game that evening when she was involved in a multi-car wreck and is recovering in Vanderbilt with some pretty nasty injuries. I’m astounded that she would want to come back after being there all day. I certainly don’t want to go back to my job in the evening.

Ms. Peden and Mrs. Meriweather are dedicated. God bless them both.

Can’t Be The Biggest Loser

DANG! I was hoping to try out so I could wear nothing but a sports bra and biker shorts on tv. Now that auditions have been canceled, the world will not get to view all of my lovlieness.


Do you ever read the obituaries?

I do every single day and have since I was a kid. People think I’m morbid but I’m not. (Never mind I love and The obits are interesting. My next door neighbor, Dorothy Jones, read the obits everyday and she was always in the know about everything going on. I look at it as keeping up.

I’ve learned of deaths of parents of people I knew from school, or people I used to go to church with, work with, etc. When you have experienced loss, you know how much it means to get a card, or a visit at the funeral home. I learned this from my own father’s death and try to respond when I can in such situations. It’s impossible when a death occurs to let everybody you know know the news.

Another fun thing about the obituaries is that some are very long and detailed, giving lots of interesting info about the person who has passed. You can find out people who are kin to each other that you didn’t know were kin.

The funniest thing is seeing the nicknames. There are lots of people called “Pee Wee”, “Booger,” “Big Mama”…whoda thunk the obits could be so entertaining? The nicknames give a bit of an insight as to who the person was and what kind of personality they had.

Needless to say, to see an obituary of an infant, or child or any young person is disturbing and I always wonder what happened and say a silent prayer for the families left behind.

Obituaries aren’t cheap either. When my stepfather died last year, it cost a buttload to have a small obituary and a photo in the Sunday paper. Talk about price gouging!! My stepfather, being tight with a buck, would have pitched a royal fit if he’d have known my mother spent like $500 on his obituary.

I Hate Meetings

I hate meetings. I get sooo sleepy and have to fight the urge to yawn every single time I’m in one. Be it something interesting or not.

This morning, I’m out at Opryland Hotel to meet with some publicist types in from out of town. We meet outside that bar that used to be called something else, about 7 of us crammed around a tiny table, two different conversations going on at once and at Opryland Hotel, you’ve got some good people watching. I felt like #2 Son, who is ADHD, and when we’re trying to get him to do his homework and his eyes fight to wander…that was me. Bored out of my skull and being new in this position, not having nary a clue what they were talking about.

No wonder presidents and stuff tend to doze off….sheesh.

Mom Is Not Dead

My sister calls me this evening as I’m coming back from the grocery store saying she had tried to call Mom all weekend, left three messages and she never called her back. She was scared she was lying in a heap with her little poodle sniffing her.

My mom is a source of concern for my sister and I. She is 71 years old, twice widowed and lives alone in West Nashville. Since my dad died in 1992, Mom shut herself off, totally from all of her and Dad’s friends. In spite of being in pretty good health (and in spite of the Marlboro Red habit she has had for lo about 50+ years)she has not an iota of interest in going anywhere or doing anything. My sister and her family live in Knoxville and she is forever trying to get her to come visit, but she won’t. I live across town and rarely see her. She lives in West Nashville, for goodness sake. There is nothing happening on that side of town nor any real reason (other than her) for us to go over there. In fact, usually, she doesn’t want us, any of us around.

Every time there is a plan for my sister and her family to come visit or some other plan in place, Mom will inevitably turn up sick. The woman can will herself to get bronchitis. I’ve never seen anything like it. One would think she would delight in her 5 grandchildren coming to see her, but instead it causes her to have a hacking cough and hives.

Part of that, I think, is that her husband she married in 1996, was not the kind of guy who particularly related to young children. I think he was a bit OCD myself. I think while he was alive, Mom would get so nervous about the possibility of her husband being made nervous by her broods is why she would force herself into these exiles of sudden illness. He has been dead a year and from what she says, she prefers to be alone and just not have us in her face. I can call on a Saturday and say “Hey, we were going to come over.” Oftentimes, I get a “hmmmph” or she’ll announce she is in a bad mood.

The whole thing makes my sister and I terribly sad and we try to laugh about it to keep from becoming totally depressed by it. I know a lot of her problem is age and the fact that when my father died, a huge part of her died. Mom is a little on the shy side and Dad never met a stranger. He liked to be on the go and Mom’s introvertedness was a good balance. It worked for them. They had lots of friends and were always going here and there. She was the first of their group to be widowed and when the livlier spouse dies, it freaks people out and they don’t know how to act around the survivor. I think Mom sorta felt like a leper and avoided all of those people and possible situations that might bring moments of sadness. I can’t help but feel like if she’d have worked through that a time or two, she’d still see those dear people who were like extra parents to us and wonderful friends to her and Dad.

Sister finally got Mom to answer the phone and then I got her a little later. She used the same excuse about how we hang up too quickly before she can answer the phone and she even threw the “I was doing my Pilates” excuse. She is alive and well and holding down the QVC fort and seemingly is clueless as to why we get concerned about her. Nothing we can do except respect her need for privacy and solitude and go on about our business and try not to dwell on the fact I feel like an orphan when it comes to family.

I wish Dad were still here.

Blue Clear Sky

Watching a bit of the Steelers/Broncos game in Denver yesterday..ok, so I wasn’t actually watching or giving a real rip about the actual game, but Mr. Smiff was. I was quite captured by a sight I haven’t seen in awhile…it took me a minute to figure out what it was and it was the most gorgeous, blue sky I’ve ever seen. Made me wish I was there. We’ve had so much rain and dreary days, I had forgotten what the blue sky looked like.

I want some sunshine and blue sky! I don’t care if it’s cold. No wonder people get seasonally depressed.

Imaginary Friends

#2 Son is 7 years old. He told me last night on his way to bed that he was going to wake at 5:59 a.m. this monring because his show comes on at 6. No idea what his show is, but I would wager it comes on Cartoon Network. (Just found out it’s Ed, Edd and Eddy.”)

#2 also has a new imaginary friend. It’s a different kind of imaginary friend because #2 is a different sort of kid and this imaginary friend is not totally invisible. It’s a piece of wood that he’s drawn a face on and his name is “Plank”. Best I can understand, they have something similar on “Ed”.

#2 and Plank just ate their Frosted Cheerios and he asked if Plank could come to church with us. I guess if Plank is under conviction by the Holy Spirt, we’ll just take him along.

Do-Mestik Injuneering

Ahhh…your typical Saturday at the Smiff House. The kids are fighting over the computer. Princess Daughter has discovered My and that is the center of the universe, as far as she is concerned. #1 Son gets online and plays Neopets for hours on end while listening to Rick and Bubba. #2 Son occasionally wants to play a game or something, but as a rule he’s not involved in the fracas surrounding the computer. Arguments and insults abound between the older Smiff kids and it drives me nuts. All the while, Dad is away on the road taking bows and signing autographs.

I’m also in a never ending battle for the laundry and housework. I’m not a housekeeper. I suck at it. I hate it. Because of this, we live in what Fly Lady calls “C.H.A.O.S”…aka “Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome.”

Mr. Smiff promises when we get caught up, I can once again have a housekeeper come. I’m fearful that a professional would show up here, scream and run away crying “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Therefore, I have to clean house before the housekeeper can come and even then, I’m scared they’ll not want to come.

My mother made it look so easy, the whole running the house thing. Course, she didn’t work and had two kids as opposed to my three. (Those without more than two kids may not think there is much difference in the balance and rythym of the home between two and three kids, but oh there is.) Even so, my memories of home were that things were basically pretty together. There wasn’t crap piled up on the kitchen table, the house was decorated pretty nicely, the bathroom was never yucky, like mine tends to get. I don’t recall that my father ever really jumped in and helped out. I do remember her having her moments but all in all, home life was pretty idyllic. Mom wasn’t a drinker or pill popper, that I ever saw, however, the Marlboros were ever present.

I’ve tried the Baby Steps on Fly Lady, read every book there is on organizing and having the perfect home but still, my skills as Domestic Goddess, after all these years are crappy.

I see these moms at church, school, etc. Perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect looking children and want so bad to ask them “How?!?!?”

Anybody that cares to clue me in on how this is all done, please feel free.


I’m married to a musician. I realize for someone living in the Nashville area to say that is like saying “I brush my teeth in the morning.” What else is new, eh?

The difference in my musician is that he is a real, working one. He has never had a “real” job in his life. I didn’t realize how out of touch he was with those of us who do the 9 to 5 thing until a couple weeks ago, he got an email from his fellow band members about a Wednesday meeting and someone referred to Wednesday as “Hump Day.” The musician in him assumed it was a dirty connotation. He had NO idea what “Hump Day” meant!!!!! I had to explain to him that Hump Day is Wednesday because it is the middle of the week…we’re getting over the hump of the week yada yada….claims he has never heard that phrase before.

Mr. Smiff is part of a band called The Grascals. They do bluegrass and do it very well. They won two awards in October from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), have opened at Radio City Music Hall and are nominated for a Grammy next month. They’re playing the Station Inn on February 3.

To say I’m proud of Mr. Smiff is an understatement. We’ve been married 16 years and through 3 kids, ups and downs of musician life, I’m still his biggest cheerleader. He’s had numerous near misses in his musical career. Been this far from major record deals only to have them taken out from under him; has secured a couple major record deals,(one record deal was all signed sealed and delivered, project recorded, and about a week later, taken away from him a couple days after we had brought our daughter home from the hospital. It was one of the worst moments in our married life) publishing deals, brushes with greatness, highs, lows, disappointments like you wouldn’t believe. He’s been a professional musician since he was 5 years old and he’s still at it. Still, in my not so humble opinion, one of the best upright bass players and singers that’s ever graced any stage. We’ve not been foreclosed on and we still have our cars. We don’t live in a mansion but it’s in a nice part of town and our kids go to the best schools in the county.

For him to get a Grammy nomination has made all the heartaches and hassles worth it. He has played SO many less than glamorous gigs in his time. Good lord, the stories he can tell. He’s also played some pretty cool gigs all these years and crossed paths with some pretty interesting folks. I would be quite happy to have a Grammy on my mantel (wait, I don’t have a mantel) but, if he doesn’t win, that’s ok. The competition is fierce with Rhonda Vincent, Cherryholmes,Del McCoury and Blue Highway. He’s going to go to Hollywood and enjoy the moment. I can’t help but think in his mind, some of the naysayers and jackasses he’s had in his life will get the middle finger ala the famous (and fabulous) Johnny Cash photo.

The Grascals video “Me and John and Paul” is beginning to air on GAC and hopefully in the next little bit will air on CMT. Check them out.

My Nephew, the Writer

My nine year old nephew, Payton, provided me and some other people with a laugh yesterday. I don’t think it was quite so funny to his parents. Got a note from his mother, my sister:

“His homework folder comes home yesterday with all his work from the week
before. All his papers and tests. On top is a note that he made the honor
roll last 6 weeks. So I was just gushing all over him about that.

Then I get to a paper where she apparently had them read a story and write 3
or 4 lines about it. He wrote it in cursive and his handwriting was great.
Then I read the story. It was about a spider who was apparently very mean.
The story said (I’m paraphrasing)

“He was a selfish, dirty, rotten food eating F… headed jerk. He was mean
to everyone And did I mention that he was a F…? Oh yea, I did.”

Didn’t spell out the bad word but put “F…”

I about died. Asked him what that stood for. He said “I cant tell you –
it’s bad”. I said “Payton do you know what that word means? He said no. I
said “That is the nastiest word anyone can say” I think he thought it meant
stupid or dumb. I asked who taught him that word and he said “Kevin”.

My son used the F word in his homework!!!”

Kinda reminds me of my favorite movie “Coal Miners Daughter” where Loretta says the word “horny” live on the radio. She thought it meant “cuttin’ up and actin’ silly”.

Two shockers yesterday. Ok, maybe one. Found out a long time employee where I work (totally upstanding in his moral character, or so they thought) is no longer an employee here due to an inappropriate relationship with a younger employee.

I understand the mid life crisis thing. I just hope it was worth losing his job of 20 something years and probably losing his wife.

Shocker #2…Leif Garrett arrested in LA. NO! Say it aint so. How come ol Leif hasn’t turned up on the Surreal World Yet?

Snow Day….For Some

It appears I’m the only one in my office this morning. Obviously, the BLIZZARD that hit Music City last night has kept them all in. Wimps.

To listen to the morning news people, one would’ve thought the roads were simply impassable and treacherous. This is not true. It took me less time this morning to get from Hendersonville to Downtown than it usually does and that included stopping for gas. Go figya.

Smiff Children were happy dancing last I heard before I went to sleep. As adults, we forget how meaningful snow days are. I guess that’s because we don’t get them anymore. One of the crappy things about being a snowdays. Well, you can take a snow day off but somehow, it’s not as fun. Especially for me because if I had taken today off, it’s not like I’d have been able to enjoy a restful day of slumber and relaxation. I figure I get more rest here at work. People laugh when I say that but the moms out there know how true that can be. If I were home, I’d be washing clothes, breaking up an argument, picking up somebody else’s mess and I certainly wouldn’t get my pick of what tv show to watch (out of the 5 tv’s in the house, mind you.