Archive for November, 2006

Wanna See Sumpin’ Funny?

Go here. I’ll wait. 

Coming Down Through The Line Strong As It Can Be….

I interrupt this, what’s inadvertently become a Christmas Blog, to post about something of a highly important nostalgic nature.

I’ve been renting season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy to catch up.  It’s dandy.  Love it.  I also rented something that arrived yesterday that takes me to a new, Memory Lane high…The Electric Company is in the house! 

Lots of you who read this are of my era (born between say, 1960 and 1975) and if you fall into that era, you will definitely remember Carmella, Winnie, Easy Reader, J. Arthur Crank, the Short Circus…the whole gang. If you do fall into this category, you’ve gotta see this.  Thanksgiving_2006_065

You’d think a show that is 35 years old (yikes) this year, that children of 2006 would not find it entertaining.  Heh.  Wrong.  #2 watched it over and over until he fell asleep last night.  He was highly impressed with my rendition of "Hey you guuuuuuuuuuuuuuys!"  Goes to show kids like simple stuff.  Funny though, how when that show first came out, those graphics were then state-of-the-art.

Most of these skits make me feel like I’m in my bedroom with the pink, shag carpet that I shared with Gastrica and I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4. 

I can remember how "Julie" the cute little Asian girl, had the coolest bangs that would flop up and down when she’d dance.  I wanted floppy bangs like that but my hair was short and curly and could never be so fabulous.

Irene Cara was just a little chubby preteen when she was part of the "Short Circus."

Thanksgiving_2006_054 Remember the groovy graphics?

I always was very partial to Winnie, aka Judy Graubart.  Whatever happened to her and JJ, (whose real name was Skip Hinnant)?  I always thought they were married in real life.  That character he did, Fargo North, Decoder…call me crazy, but, I think that’s brilliant writing right there.

I always forget Bill Cosby was on there because he was only on the first couple seasons.  Morgan Freeman, even as the groovy disc jockey, you can see his amazing talent even then.

Anyway, you gotta watch this dvd and if you are younger than me and don’t remember it, get it anyway. For some groovy nostalgia, go listen to this.

Sista Strikes Again

I’ve done it again.  I’ve deleted some cool pitchyers by accident.  These were gems, too.

We (me, Daughter and Mista) went and got the Christmas tree today.  I had documented the choosing of the tree; Melvin, the Tree Guy from Michigan,(I never knew these people came from all over the place to sell trees in Middle Tennessee, but, apparently, that’s the way they do it) sawing the bottom off, putting it through the little net thingy, putting it in the Smiff Mobile, us getting it home and the best picture of them all, Mr. Smiff HUGGING the tree…before it was lit. 

You’ll have to trust me, they were fun pictures.  Your Sista has to learn that when it says "Delete This Image" or "Delete ALL Images" that it’s best to choose the "this" option unless I’ve done uploaded them.

It’s a nice little tree.  It’s smaller than I thought it would be and I’m having a devil of a time getting the lights like I like em. There is a preponderance of yellow in the lights. Who knew they put so many dang yellow lights in Christmas lights?  My Christmas tree resembles the Northside Vikings school colors and it’s driving me nuts.   What do you think?  Do you see mucho yellow?  That’s all I can see.  Man Lemony_christmas_tree Child says all he sees is green.  I barely even see the green for the yellow.  It’s like a Lemony Christmas Tree.

So, instead of seeing the journey to the Griswold Smiff Family Christmas tree, I give you the Smiff Cats sitting under said tree.  They have names, but, I bet they think they’re names are "Get outta my way, You Stupid Cat."  That’s the normal, endearing names I call them. Imgp0275

Is There Or ISN’T There?

"Mom", #2 asked as we were in the Coke aisle at Kroger a little bit ago…."Who is Santa…really?" (Funny how random things just come out of his mouth whenever.) Trevor_and_santa

The question of Santa Claus comes up every year.  We went through it with ManChild and the Drama Queen.  I’m wondering how much we’ll get away with with #2 this year.  He’s been satisfied in years past with "People who don’t believe in Santa are crazy and don’t get nothing" and it being left at that.  He is 8 years old and that’s the typical time that most kids start doubting.  There’s always that one brat in school that starts to spoil it as early as Kindergarten. 

I did not even question the existence of Santa until I was in the 4th Grade.  I will never forget it.  Sitting at the cafeteria table at Lipscomb School, my friends Kelly Yearout and Anne Gaines were discussing Christmas.  (Even now, I have to remind myself these were 9-10 year old girls.  At the time, they seemed much older and oh so wise.)  Kelly said to Anne, "I certainly hope this is the last year Julia believes in Santa Claus"  (Julia was Anne’s little sister-Kelly & Anne were next door neighbors) as though Julia’s belief in the Man With The Bag had just totally exasperated and worn poor Kelly out.  For heaven’s sake…she was the neighbor! Of course, at the time, that didn’t occur to me at all.

I can remember when Kelly uttered those words, my life changed.  No Santa?!?!  What???  What was wrong with this girl?  How could anybody say such blasphemy about Santa?  Stupid girl. 

I remember going home and questioning the parents. I can’t remember what they told me exactly.  Bobbie Jean probably just ignored me, as she often did when I asked such probing questions like where babies came from and if Santa was real.  I do remember asking Biff about it and knowing him, I’m sure he gave a philosophical dissertation on faith, belief and the spirit of Christmas. 

What I do remember was the whole thing of Santa being real or not eating me alive.  I remember going to McHenry Center that weekend and there was a really crappy Santa over there and since the store Santas were "Special Helpers" straight from up North, I thought I’d point-blank ask the Helper.

Interestingly enough, the "Helper" had a thick, southern accent, but, I will never forget him looking me in the eye and saying "If you believe, Santa is always in your heart." He never said "No, there is no Santa" (neither did my parents) but the way he explained believing and as long as you believe it’s real was perfect. Corny and cliched, yes, but, it was good enough for a 9 year old who wanted nothing more to believe that Santa WAS real. This guy was so sincere.  It makes me get all verklempt  now recollecting it.   There was a picture made with that Santa and I wish I had it handy to post. 

Frightening that that was nearly 30 years ago.  I’m now 37 years old and have been playing Santa for my own kids since 1992.  I know A_visit_with_st that Santa does not come to the house. I know this.  Yet, every Christmas Eve, I still look for him up in the sky and listen for him.  Still.

I hope I’m still doing that when I’m 90.

O Tannenbaum

The Living Room at the Casa de Smiff looks like a real room now.  I Charliebrownchristmastree forgot there was actually a floor in there. Amazing. I’ll do the After picture later.

#2 informs me this morning that he wishes for there to be a Christmas tree in place this afternoon when the bus deposits him back at the Casa.  "A Christmas tree…all decorated and lit up, huh?" said the Sista.  "Yes" the darling boy replied. I would actually much rather do it that way.  Get the tree put up today while the kids are at school and then it will be just like I like it. 

Like my mother before me, I am a bit anal about the tree.  I’ve had to relax the Christmas sphincter since my children were big enough to care about the tree, though.  They love to get it out, decorate, the whole bit, which is great.  I finally realized I can let them decorate the tree and I can always go behind them when they aren’t looking and fix it.

I came from the Bobbie Jean School of Christmas Tree Decorating.  Bobbie Jean Christmas Tree 101 plainly states that "Ornaments must be placed from the biggest on the bottom and work your way up."  It’s a rule.  That rule was ingrained in Gastrica and me from the time we were big enough to walk.  You were not allowed to help decorate the Collie Christmas tree unless you knew and understood that rule.  There were no discussions about Rule #1. It was the way of Yuletide life in growing up in our house. 

Because of Rule #1, I can fix a pretty Christmas tree.  I’ve said before, it’s not one of those color-coordinated trees and it contains ornaments that pre-date me.  Those old ornaments that are older than I aren’t rare antiques or nothing.  There are a few old timey Chrsitmas balls that have amazingly survived all of the Presidential administrations since at least President Johnson. 

This year, I really want a real tree.  I want to go to one of those places and cut one down, ala Griswolds.  Mr. Smiff has issews about real trees.  The liberal, tree hugger side of him feels it is wrong to cut down a tree just so we can sling our crap on it.  I say piss on that thought. Sista wants a real tree.  We don’t have carpet anymore to worry about needles becoming one with and even if we did, this is why the Good Lawd gave us vacumn cleaners.

I do love the ornaments and try to get a couple new ones every year.  Gastrica has already gifted us with a new ornament.  She was in a place on Charlotte the other day, and this ornament reminded Smitty_ornament her of her bass playing brother in law.  The resemblance is striking.

Irony

Funny how yesterday, I was talking about Spider and the subject of the Ralph Emery Show came up.  While I was writing that, I thought of all the different characters and performers who were on that show….Keith Bilbrey,Tom Grant, Maude & Dorothy, all of the band; Billy, Norm Ray, etc. It was certainly  not a show worthy of an Emmy, but, it was lots of fun. 

I thought of the little man that worked on the show, but, was not a "performer" per se, but, on camera a lot and part of the shenanigans, Norm "The Killer" Fraser.  Ironic that I got an email this morning from Hazel saying that The Killer had passed away night before last. 

I wish I had some of those shows taped.

The Month In Pictures

I had what I hope to be my last roll of film developed and had some gems on them.  November was a fun month. 

Img012 The first week of November brough Bunco at Kat’s.  Remember…we were supposed to play Bunco, but, never got around to it. 

Img014 We had such a fun time. Img016Can’t wait for the next one.

Img018

The Bloggers Without Borders Tour was another memorable day.  I’ll never forget being at the Patsy Cline Memorial in Camden….   Img019

Img020 Will also never forget spending the day with my two, favorite Gadgeteers….and going to the Commune in Dresden. Img021

Img023 I love this picture of my kids with the Elder Mr. Smiff.

Living Room Progress

  I am making progress, although it’s a little slow.  You see, Mr. Smiff has returned home from the road and he has joined his firstborn in watching the Dean Martin Variety Show dvd’s

I tried to take a picture of the room so those playing along could monitor and critique my progress, but, Mr. Smiff is "comfortable" in his drahs on the loveseat.  Use your imagination. 

More Important Christmas Entertainment Info You Need To Know

How cool is this?

Somebody has bought the house used in A Christmas Story, restored it and has opened it to the public. It opened yesterday. How fun a blogger road trip would that be?  Too bad it’s a pretty fur piece away.

And in other Christmas Story trivia…I learned this last year.  The guy who plays Ralphie…Peter Billingsley…is one of the elves in the workshop in one of my other favorite Christmas movies, Elf.  I can’t believe I never picked up on that before.  It’s an uncredited role, but, now that I know it, you can see it IS him.  Look here.

The Opry Without Spider?

There’s an article in the Tennessean that disturbs me.   I’m a little hesitant to spew forth my true feelings about it, but, I will say I don’t like it.  Not a bit.

Spider Wilson has been a staff guitarist at the Grand Ole Opry for 53 years.  He’s as much a part of the Opry as rhinestone suits and Goo Goos.  Seems of late, the Opry people haven’t been allowing Spider to play on the tv portion of the Opry.  Everybody wants a tv spot, not just cause you get on tv, but, because they pay more.  At our house, the mention of a tv spot brings joy and happiness.

The thing about it that irks me is the way they would tell Spider he was not needed on the tv spot.  The music director, one Steve Spider Gibson, would send all the musicians emails saying "I need everybody except Spider." 

I know the Opry has got to evolve and move with the times in order for it to remain, but, there’s a thing called respect. The Opry dumped longtime bassist and AF of M treasurer Billy Linneman a couple years back.  Like Spider, Billy had been at the Opry since he was about 18 or 19 years old.  I hear they have recently let pianist Tim Atwood go as well. One by one, they’ve let all those guys go, or forced them out in recent years.

Remember when Spider was part of Ralph Emery’s morning show? 

It’s just weird. I could say more about and with a lot more cullah, but, I won’t.

How Old Am I?

There’s a guy out here in Hendersonville who has been an Alderman (is that the correct way to say it, "AN" alderman or just "Alderman?") since forever.  I think he held that post for 19 years. 

In the recent election, he lost.  He is unhappy that he lost. Because he is so unhappy, he is challenging this election that he lost by 18 votes.   I think he needs to deal with the fact he lost and move on, but, apparently, he just can’t.

The thing about all this that makes me howl with laughter and reminds me my inner Beavis and Butthead is alive and well is this former alderman’s name….Mark Skidmore.

A few years ago, when he ran for something else,  there were Skidmore signs all over the place and the Smiffs would just laugh everytime we’d see one and say "Mark Skidmark…hahahahahahaha!" We thought that this was our own, clever little nickname for this public servant, but, were tickled to discover it wasn’t when one morning, there was a huge Skidmore sign down the street that somebody had marked out "more" and put "mark." 

This is proof that some of us stay perpetually 12.

Wonderfully Awful Christmas Lights-Saturday

The Whiff of Smiff Tacky Tour continues.  These pictures are from Madison and Goodlettsville.  Me and Man Child (formerly #1 Son) had so much fun, we’re definitely going to head back to that part of town, for it is rich in its Griswoldness. 

Imgp0174

I’m so loving this one simply for the lighted, American flag. It screams "We love Christmas AND America."  Now, somebody explain these inflatable things to me.  What is the allure of big, inflatable things?   They fall over with the slightest bit of wind and they are just plain tacky.  There are times, when used correctly, that they are somewhat cute. Most of the time, however, they are neither.

Imgp0180  This gem of a display really should have a sign a block down the street warning drivers to put on eye protection.  This is bright stuff right ‘chere.  I don’t know if you can see it, but, I especially loved the heart on the tree. When we spotted this house (and turned around to go back and capture it) Man Child applauded with glee.

I’m still learning this camera, so hopefully, the images will get better as we go along.  You don’t want to get caught by the homeowners and usually I’m laughing while I snap.  You get the jest.

Help Me If You Can, I’m Feeling Down

I’m in the living room today, thinking that since I love Christmas, and all the other Smiffs love Christmas (except the Mr. He’s quite indifferent about that and every other holiday), it might be a good idea to try to straighten up so we can get the Christmas stuff out.  Makes perfect sense since all three Smiff kids are asking when we can get Christmas stuff out.  I tell them repeatedly "There will be no Christmas until we get this living room cleaned up."

It’s just me and #1 Son at the Casa de Smiff today.  The D is at a friends and #2 is at his Grandma’s house, probably eating his 20th Jello Pudding of the day as we speak.  #1 is a smart boy.  I’ve said, enthusiastically and with much hope, "Hey Son…help me figure out what to do with all this crap and let’s get ready for Christmas."   This is the underwhelming reply I’ve gotten all day…Thanksgiving_2006_052

I even called Mr. Smiff, who is on the road in Myrtle Beach today.  "What should I do with all this shit in the coffee table?"  (We have a coffee table you can store stuff in)  As always, Mr. Smiff had deep, meaningful advice…"Well, I don’t know."

So, I’m coming to you, blogosphere.  Where would you start with a room that looks like this? Thanksgiving_2006_051 As you can see, there is a broom and a dustpan and there’s stuff on the loveseat that I took out of the table to go through and decide what to do with, but, yeah, that’s my living room at this very moment. I am trying, but, I get pissed off and walk away from it.  The teenaged boy on the couch is not a motivator, either.  Purty, ain’t it?  I can’t believe I’m showing  you the state the living/family room is in.  I have sunk to a new low. 

Y’all give me suggestions and I will put an after picture up when it’s done. I needs inspiration since nobody in the house seems to care so come on. 

80

Had my dad not died in 1992, he would today, turn 80 years old.  In a way, that’s such a weird thought…Dad at 80.  I kinda have an idea of what he’d be like at 80 because those last 6 months or so of his life, as the cancer took over his body. he had gotten much slower moving and much quieter. Biff_

I’ll never forget calling him in the hospital when he was so bad (I didn’t know how bad he was and there I was, oblivious, calling him, trying to keep his spirits up) but he answered the phone and I swear, he sounded exactly like his father.  It was scary.  Like he had channeled the ghost of Pop.  It rattled me. 

Anyway, thank goodness my main memories of him are not centered around how he was that last year.  God has been so good to make those memories harder to recollect.  I have to dig down deep to pull up the picture of him sick, in his final days. I’m glad about that.  Bless_your_pea_pickin__heart

See, my Dad was such a spitfire of energy and charisma.  There was no such thing as "strangers" and he could relate to just about anybody from any walk of life.  He had a wickedly Biffwonderful sense of humor and loved to tell and hear a good story.  Being a radio guy, he was pretty chatty and he did have the most lovely speaking voice. I love the fact that #1 Son inherited the deep voice. 

I always feel bad for people who tell of having fathers who were Lee_me_la_lone distant, uninterested, undemonstrative, not affectionate with them in any way, never told by their fathers that they were proud of them or that they loved them. Now that I’m older, I understand and see how Dad was pretty unusual for his generation of men who didn’t Disk_jockey_of_the_month show emotions or their true feelings.   To this day, my father is just about the only man I’ve ever known who would open show emotions when something touched him. I must admit though, at times it was embarrassing when he did that.  Interestingly enough, now at my ripe old age, everything chokes me up.  It’s not as obvious with me as it was him.   

He wasn’t a perfect father or man, but, he was very genuine and Baby_in_the_house sincere with everything he did.  Everything was either black or white with him.  He was pretty opinionated and as charming as he was, you did not want to anger him.  That was not pretty.  Whenever he gritted his teeth while addressing you over an issue, you knew he was serious.

This will sound weird and I hope nobody takes it in a weird way, but, I was telling Web of Webslog the other day (who lost his father 6 months ago and his family is now facing the dreaded first holiday season without him) that you grow in such a way when you lose a parent that you can’t grow without going through that.  It’s hard to explain, but, those who have lost a parent will know what I mean.Biff___his_girls

I’m sure if he were alive today to celebrate 80, we would’ve surely had a big party.  I’m going to imagine that scenario today in my mind.  I couldn’t help but think this last couple days how he would have enjoyed having all 5 of his grandchildren around him.  He only lived to see one grandchild and that was only for 6 weeks. Trev___biff I know he’d have gotten a large kick out of them, as they would have him.

One thing that time does do, in regards to losing a parent, for me Biff___rusty anyway, Dad has turned into a lovely memory.  The stinging pain of him not being here anymore is not what it was, although he’s missed everyday. Recollections of him today usually involve something funny he said or did or me looking in the mirror or hearing myself say something that could’ve come straight from the mouth of the Biffer.

   I feel very fortunate to have had him as a dad.  I could’ve stood to have him a few more years.  I would love to have a conversation Biff___hank with him now, at the age I am now.  We had good conversations then.  I’m sure he would be loaded with unsolicited parental advice and wisdom to impart (he was good at that).

Oh and this blogging thing…he would be eat up with it.  He’d be blogging if he were here, no doubt.  I like to Biff__barbara__terry___sharon imagine he reads this one everyday.

The First Annual Whiff of Smiff’s Wonderfully Awful Wacky World of Christmas

Ah, the Wonderful World of Christmas…the title is taken directly from Mr. Smiff.  That is his description of his Uncle Daniel Boone’s (yes, that’s his real name) Christmas display.  The same Uncle Daniel Boone who used to call Christmas Eve to offer us some Christmas Cheer (after dipping into the Cheer hisself) and sing "Jump in the bed and cover up ya head ’cause Santy Claus comes too-naaat."  You haven’t lived til you’ve been serenaded by a happy, jolly Daniel.  It makes life worth living.

Your Sista is on the lookout for wacky, tacky and any light display that would make Clark W. Griswold envious.   Why, right here in my own backyard in Hendersonville, we have mucho lightos. I was surprised to see, driving around this evening how my fellow Hendersonvillians were busy little bees putting them lights up today.

I can’t think of a better place to begin the Wonderful, Wacky Christmas Tour than with the grandaddy of all tacky light displays in this part of town….Forget the House of Cash, we’ve got the House of Trash, deep in the heart of Hendersonville.  And we’re so proud.

I can’t help but think Conway Twitty turns flips in his grave every year about this time when the switch is pulled at the place he called home.  I mean, yeah, Conway first lit up what is now known as Trinity City, USA, but, at least he had real, live reindeer. Thanksgiving_2006_046_3I long for the days Conway would wish us a "Merry Twismas" everytime I pass TBN all lit up in its splendor.   Paul and Jan Crouch have no live reindeer at this display, no siree.  It’s all about the baby Jesus in the manger here.

Everybody knows I love Jesus. I’m not knocking keeping Christ in Christmas, in fact, I think we need a little more of Him in the middle of everything.  If this complex had any other names besides Paul, King of the Closet Homosackshul Preacher and Jan, Queen of the Pink Hair, attached to it, I wouldn’t even as much as giggle. 

Heck, I’d find it more believable if it was Sarcastro’s channel, complete with him handling snakes and speaking in tongues, but, I digress.  Thanksgiving_2006_045   

I hear that the Holiday Grinch is copying this idea for his/her house.

Thanksgiving_2006_047 This MUST be what Heaven looks like.

And just think, even YOU can go see this in person.  Take I-65 North…take the Vietnam Veterans Bypass…lucky you, there are signs along the way.  Take the Indian Lake Blvd. exit.  Turn right…go about 2 miles to East Main.  Turn left.  Go a mile or two down the road, where it turns into Johnny Cash Pkwy…and well, you can’t miss it unless you are blind.

Stay tuned for more. Hee.  Do shoot me an email if you know if some wonderfully awful decorations.