Archive for September, 2007

Old Hickory Takes Us By Surprise


Look who we happened to bump into at Daniel Smith Days today!  Considering their advanced age, I think Andy and Rachel are looking utterly smashing! #2 and I had a ball out at Rock Castle today.  #2 enjoyed it so much, he wants to go back tomorrow.  I wasn’t sure if it would hold his interest or not, but, he dug it.  He said to me “Y’know…the olden times weren’t so bad!” (Look how into he was with having his picture made with Andrew Jackson!)

 We learned a lot about Daniel Smith, who was the guy who built this house in the 1790’s, before Tennessee was even a state.  He’s also the guy who named Tennessee.  Pretty. Dang. Cool. He was a doctor, but, was most noted for his work as a surveyor and map maker. 

 Rock Castle is one of those wonderful treasures we overlook and it’s practically in our backyard.  It is, literally, at the dead end of Indian Lake Rd.  The event continues tomorrow and it’s worth going to.  Kids under 12 get in free.  Admission for adults is $7. 

I was really impressed with the people doing the re-enacting.  Boy, they are serious about it!  The guy who showed us how they made fire said they had been out there since Thursday and they’d stay out there all the time if they’d let them. 

I only saw one person I knew out there and I managed succesfully to avoid them.  This woman was a co-worker of mine 10 years ago.  She had a name sorta like a famous lawyer.  Not exactly like it, but sorta.  Every single call she took, she would tell every customer her name and add “Just like the lawyer” at the end of it.  (I’m not putting the name here cause she’s the type that would look herself up on Google).  She was a self-proclaimed “Right Wing Nut” whose car was a walking advertisment for the Anti-Abortion movement.  It probably had 50 bumper stickers on it.  I used to take much delight in getting her all mad when I’d argue Barbra Stresiand with her.  Hee.

She was really OCD too, which made for a lot of office fun.  She would eat M & M’s and arrange them on her desk by color.  One time, she had gotten up from her desk and Mike, the boss, went and mixed all her M&M’s up.  I thought she was going to have a stroke.

Anyway….we had a fun time going back in time. More pictures over there on the Flickr.>>>>>

Smile From The Inside Out-Fun With Porter & Dolly

Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner

From Dolly’s tv show in 1987, this was the first time she and Porter had sung together since their breakup in 1974. I have a newspaper clipping I had kept from this.  It was a big deal ’cause lots of people thought it would never happen.  It’s happened a number of times since then, but, this is so wonderful, I had to post it.

I can remember the late Johnny Russell telling about being there when Porter and Dolly first rehearsed this before the taping and that you could see Dolly’s goosebumps.  Great stuff.

Fractions Suck

I have to spend this weekend studying and doing more studying for my first A & P exam next Thursday.  Even the Chemistry stuff is making more sense to me now.  I mean, I always thought PH balance was only important to shampoos and stuff. It seems there used to be a shampoo brand they advertised on tv years ago that even had “Ph balance” in the jingle.   Who knew that if your Ph level is at 6, you are deader ‘n a doornail?!  I know my body parts, cavities, organ systems and functions, simple squamos cells, atomic numbers and why fats are solids at room temperature pretty good. I just hope I can get it all together enough to pass the test.

Some of y’all will find this to be the next step to insane, but, to me, the concepts of Anatomy and Physiology are WAY easier to comprehend (even some of the chemistry) than it is for me to figure out fractions.  I am STILL fighting those $#%@ fractions.  I can be showed a thousand times how do them, then when I’m by myself trying to do it, can’t figure it out and I throw my hands up in disgust, curse and tell myself this Basic Math will keep me from getting into nursing.

I call Mr. Smiff on the road and he’ll help me with them…I’ve asked a co-worker (who is also an accounting teacher) and she’s shown me….I’ve asked the biker looking instructor at school….watched the instructional videos over and over…but mixed fractions will not stay in my head. Alls you have to do these days to see your Sista cry is say “Divide and multiply mixed fractions”. I hateth them.

I may take a break this weekend from studying to go to The 15th Annual Daniel Smith Days commences this weekend in my neck of the woods in Hendersonville.  I would like to go to this.  I think I should make all three Smiff Kids (even the teens) come with me and #2 to this and INSIST they enjoy it.  Rock Castle is such a gorgeous place. It’s supposed to be pretty so you oughta ride out to Scenic Sumner County and see what’s going on. 

A Year Later

She isn’t an official blogger (perhaps she should look into that), but, this makes a good blog post.  So, I will let my sister tell a little about her journey. (I didn’t even ask her permission.  Hey…can I use your thing for a blog post?  Thanks.)

The past year has been surreal.  I look back and it doesn’t seem like it’s happened to me.  In a way, September 19, sandra.jpg2006, seems like just a month ago, and in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago.

When I look in the mirror now, the person I saw a year ago is a distant memory.  Then I look at these before pictures and instead of being proud and thrilled at the transformation, my first reaction is to burst into tears at what I was.  I had talked myself into believing that I was ok as I was.  I had everything I ever wanted.  A beautiful family, I was able to stay home with the kids for the first time in my life.  Life was good.  But looking at these pictures I can see how not good I was.  Yes I was blessed.  And thankful.  But I was not good.  And it was not about how I looked – how I looked was the least of my problems.  I was slowly killing myself and had convinced myself that I was relatively healthy and in pretty good shape for a “big girl”.  But looking at that picture now, I see a big girl who was anything but healthy.  I was lucky.  Lucky that my blood pressure wasnt out of control, that I didn’t have diabetes, that my knees, not to mention my heart, had not given in from the strain. 

I also see someone who hid the misery behind a joke and a laugh.  It was so much easier to do that than to face the sad truth in the mirror, on the scale and the obvious damage I was doing to myself.

So God knew what he was doing when he made the last year possible for me.  And that story is a doozy in itself.  And as I look at these latest pictures, the first thing I notice is not a smaller body.  What I notice first, and what brings me to tears now, is the peace and happines that is visible (even if only to me) that has come through this process.  I am healthier than I have ever been .  I am taking care of my body in a way that I never have before.  I am exercising 6 days a week – which is probably the biggest surprise to me.  I am learning to push myself physically.  I never have done that before.  I always looked for a reason to go slowly, or stop early or not even exercise at all.  Now, I crave it.  I always thought that was malarky when I heard folks say that before.  But it is true now.

So wearing a smaller size and physically looking better than I did are among the gifts that this surgery has given me.  But those are far below the gifts of health, peace of mind, contentment and happines that it has given me.  But the greatest gift is the realization that in almost 30 years of being a prisoner to my weight, I never once had handed it over to God.  I had done everything from liquid diets to thousands of dollars of unused gym memberships, to diet pills, to you name it.  But never once did I give it up.  Until late June of last year.  I had been trying for 9 months to get my insurance company to pay for this surgery.  I had been turned down twice and was waiting  and waiting for their response to my third (and probably final) request for reassessment.  I remember praying for the first time for God to “remove this burden from me”. I had prayed for years and years for Him to help me gain control.  But had never handed it to him and said “here, take it.”  Three days after I prayed for Him to remove it from me, I got word from my insurance company that I had been approved for surgery.  Talk about a reality check.  It was like He said “what took you so long?”  I had been trying for almost 30 years to do it myself.  And when I finally asked him to show His power, He did – immediately.  And this surgery has done just that.  He has removed this burden from me.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  This surgery is not the magic bullet.  I can still sabatoge myself and gain the weight back.  But for the past year, the nature of this surgery is to completely make it impossible for you to over eat.  In that time, I have learned what I have to do for the rest of my life to utilize this tool in order to live healthily for the rest of my life.

So, all that to say, the person you see today not only looks completely different, but is completely different inside too.  And it is nothing that I can count as an achievement of my own.  I have been given a gift that I do not take lightly, and one that I intend to honor and be thankful for for the rest of my days.

Thank you my friends and family for loving me anyway.  Before, during and after all this.  I know there are times that I am not so loveable, but I am so thankful for the support of my family and friends.  That is among my most treasured gifts as well. 

To date, I’ve lost 110 pounds.  Some day I will tell what I weighed when I started.  I’m not ready yet.  Maybe when I get to my goal.  I’d like to lose another 25 or 30 pounds.

Oh, and how bout the haircut??


The same person who I have heard say millions of times, “I could never get really thin, I’m too big boned.”  I always thought that was BS. She looks like she should be doing a commercial for laundry soap, doesn’t she? 

Mayberry Days

Mr. Smiff and them taped their thing on the John Boy & Billy Show today and it will air this Friday…September 28.  Go here to see if you can hear it on your very own radio in your own neck of the woods.  If not, I’m sure you can hear it online. 

Mr. S knew he was going to meet James Best and Betty Lynn…he also hung out with Maggie Peterson, who we all maggie.jpgknow better as Charlene Darling. 

 He enjoyed chatting with Betty (aka Thelma Lou) about betty-lynn.jpgvarious movies (old movie buffs are prone to do that sorta thing when in presence of people such as this) that she appeared in in her 50 something year career.  One he asked her about was “June Bride” that she appeared in with Robert Montgomery (Elizabeth’s dad) and Bette Davis.  Can you imagine sitting with a sweet little old lady who just happened to have worked with Bette Davis?!?!?! That’s one of those things that just doesn’t happen everyday.

 Before being sweet on Barney Fife, she was in the original Cheaper By The Dozen with Clifton Webb.  Good thing I wasn’t there.  Ol’ Betty woulda been saying “Get this crazed savant movie fan away from me!” 

The Mr. mentioned another actress who appeared on Andy Griffith that participated in this little function today.  He couldn’t remember her name.  Described her as “The woman in the ‘How Are You Missus Wy-lee’ episode that Ernest T. kept picking up.”  Oh.  Of course.  “That would be Jackie jackiejoseph1.jpgJoseph.  She used to be married to Ken Berry” I said.  She is one of those really familiar faces you’ve seen on tv all your life.  Look here at all the stuff she’s been in.  WHY do I know these things?   Surely there is therapy for this sorta thing.

One of the things Mr. Smiff noted about James Best (aka Roscoe, Jim Lindsey) is that even though he’s an older, somewhat frail-ish gentleman, when that red light went on, so did he. He was impressed with that. 

All of this craziness goes along with the annual Mayberry Days festival going on this week in Mt. Airy, NC.  Now that the Grascals are officially affiliated with the Mayberry bunch (thank you, Mayberry’s Finest) , they get to participate in cool stuff like this.  For my Mista, this is utter heaven.  Too bad I have to work and stuff, or I’d hightail it over to Mt. Airy.

Stink, Stank, Stunk

This is an explanation of this.grinch.jpg

A Long Hard Road To Travel Alone

I’m really, really sad to hear that Bob McLean was found dead this morning, of an apparent suicide

Bob McLean was a good guy.  Yeah, he messed up, but, he was not a bad guy.  He was a friend to the Smiffs and me and Mr. Smiff will never forget a kindness he showed to us a few years back.  He was a very good pal of Hazel’s and this is going to devastate her.  He was also a good friend to country music.  I took this picture of her, nephew Jeremy, Buddy Killen and Bob a little over a year ago in August 2006.  Amazing both Buddy and Bob are gone.

The whole thing is very, very sad. Sad that he got caught up in whatever he got caught up in and lost people’s money, but, even sadder he felt like he couldn’t face another day because of it.   Nobody comes out a winner in this situation. I’m sure the Media hype did not help a bit in this whole thing.

Years ago, I worked with Teddy Turner.  Teddy Turner as in son of Ted.  I will never forget something he said to me about having money.  As young and stupid as I was, amazing it sunk in, but, it really stuck with me….I was saying something stupid like “Wow it must be kewl to have all that money” (I didn’t say that but it was along that line) and he said “Well, when you have money, you have a whole other set of problems.”  

Funny…I say I worked “with” Teddy.  HA! I answered the phone and we worked for the same company (the old CMT before it was bigtime).  He was the nicest guy…very down to earth, great sense of humor, no airs about him at all.  Wonder where he is?

A Modern Day Warrior

Let’s talk some Tom Sawyer, shall we?

Tom Sawyer has made a triumphant return to our house.  He showed up awhile back, briefly, when the Manchild first started his Heavy Metal Odyssey and discovered the Rush song of the same title.

Tom made another appearance a couple weeks back when #2 had read a condensed/reading level appropriate version at school a couple weeks back.  He was into the story, the characters, etc.  I made the comment I needed to rent the movie from Netflix that Holy Tara watched over and over and over about 10 years ago, starring Johnny Whitaker as Tom and Jodie Foster as Becky Thatcher. Oh lordy, that child watched that movie a million times.  We’d rent it weekly from Blockbuster (pre-dvd and it was no longer available on VHS) and she’d sing those songs constantly. 

A few days after that, I woke early and whaddya know, the Retro channel was showing Tom Sawyer. I was able to record it and #2 digs it.  He was particularly interested in Injun Joe killing that guy.  Isn’t that great?!?!? My kid likes murder.

Another coolish thing about it is that Holy Tara has watched it several times and praise the Lord got the book and is reading it for AR at school.  She does not like to read AT ALL. 

We may have found a formula in getting her to read books that are also movies.  Next up on the list to read is “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  She watched that movie with me when she was about 5 and she LOVED it  Why didn’t we think of this before?

Back to Tom Sawyer…I’m sure there were probably more critically acclaimed versions of the movie made, but, I just adore this one.  Probably because I adore Johnny Whitaker.  Maybe it’s cause he was Jody on Family Affair   or cause he was in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters  but I LOVE Johnny Whitaker.  (Yes…I had a Mrs. Beasley doll.  Did you?) Buffy was big with the Collie Girls.  We called (and still to this day) ponytails like Buffy wore “Buffy Tails.” 

Uncle Bill was the hottest uncle in town who knew how to tell about the birds and the bees! I always wanted big door knobs like Uncle Bill’s doors to his bachelor pad.

Family Affair also had the coolest opening credits ever, didn’t they?

Johnny ended up being a productive member of society and currently hosts a radio show in LA.  I believe he teaches acting and makes appearances at tv conventions and stuff.  Thing is, as good a kid actor as he was, I’m sure his ability didn’t magically disappear when he turned 21.  I bet he’d be great in some sort of character role with a face like that.  I think his old screen partner (to whom Big John gave her first screen kiss to) Jodie Foster oughta demand he be in one of her movies.  I want some Johnny Whitaker, by golly!

Oh yeah…This was supposed to be a post glorifying Tom Sawyer…get this movie for your kids. (Adderall only lasts about 12 hours, y’all) I promise they’ll be all up in the story.  The songs (written by the Sherman Brothers who wrote the songs for Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) are great and Johnny along with Celeste Holm, Jodie Foster and Warren Oates bring it to life.

Oh and don’t forget…EVERY little boy can be President! (You Tube didn’t have any clips of Tom and Huck singing “Gratifaction”, dangit) This clip makes me laugh so hard I need to pee.  “Abe-abe-Abraham…”. 

Alice (And Rex) Don’t Live Here Anymore

Lots of celebrity deaths of late and I know it seems I get a happy about stuff like this, but, that’s not so.  Especially to hear the latest celebrity passing of the brilliant character actress Alice Ghostley.  Loved her in Bewitched as Esmerelda, Mrs. Murdock in Grease, and especially as Bernice on Designing Women. (Remember Bernice wearing the tree skirt that one of the girls had given her for Christmas?!?!  HAHAHAHHAHA!)  That’s only a smidgen of her very long career.  Interesting trivia…her film debut was in To Kill a Mockingbird. 

I believe other than the twins that played Tabitha, Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) is the only one from the Bewitched cast still kicking.

I learned this from Danny Miller’s fabulously wonderful blog.  His blog, to me, is like porn.  He has a post today about a Rogers & Hammerstein Film Festival that’s going on right now in Los Angeles that makes me foam at the mouth with jealousy.  I can’t imagine having something that wonderful to go to.

Another obit of note today is the passing of Rex Humbard.   Rex was one of the pioneers of televangelism and something else interesting about him is he preached Elvis’ funeral.

Thoughts & Prayers

Big hugs and shouts of love to Hairl Hensley, currently of Sirius radio, but, for bazillions of years of WSM Radio and one of the voices of the Grand Ole Opry is recovering from a heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery.  From what I understand, Hairl’s had a rough time.

The sound of Hairl Hensley’s voice, to me, is as comforting and warm as a first cup of morning coffee.  Hairl just has “Home” written all over him.  I imagine had I ever moved away from Nashville, the sound of his voice would’ve made me homesick.  Hairl is definitely one of the nice guys of Nashville.

2007- A Smiff Oddity

Something odd and unusual is happening this weekend at the Smiff House.  It’s so highly unusual, I don’t even know what to make of it?  Can you guess what it is? 

Mr. Smiff is home.  No Opry. No nothing except helping me with my Math homework. I don’t think he’s had a free weekend since probably April.

Speaking of school, I have my first exam in two weeks.  It is on the same night as the IBMA awards which means, I can’t skip the A & P exams to go to the awards.  It also means I have to do some serious studying to do this next coupla weeks.  I’m good on the body parts and cavities, it’s that #@*&! Chemistry stuff that I find to be something akin to trying to understand Swahili.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about having Mr. Smiff underfoot all weekend.  Any suggestions?

Nice Work, Dude

If Jake Byrd shows up at everything we are sure to endure with this latest round of OJ kaka, then I’ll be able to tolerate it.

Notice the lawyer’sch lischp…?  Shishter?  Do you hear that?

Mr. Smiff Meets Roscoe

Because I was busy dining with my good friends Busy Mom and CLC, I missed a phone call from Mr. Smiff telling two important things:

One…#2 went to the dentist.  No cavities.  That is a miracle upon miracles.

Two…Mr. Smiff and Uncle Bobo (aka Terry Eldredge) will appear on the John Boy and Billy Show next Wednesday (September 26) and it’s not necessarily to sing.  I think they’ll play music from their cds (I think this is correct) but they’re going to have both Terry’s facing off in an Andy Griffith Trivia contest.  This is the cool part….Terry Eldredge’s partner will be Betty Lynn aka “Thelma Lou” and my Terry’s partner will be James Best aka Roscoe P. Coltrane and Jim Lindsey.  (I’m pretty good at Mayberry trivia but didn’t know til about 5 minutes ago that Jim Lindsey and Roscoe were the same guy. Der. In my defense, I was not a Dukes of Hazard viewer)

Check your local listings to see when JB & B are on in your area.  This should be fun.  Mr. Smiff almost had a twinge of excitement in his voice when telling it.  Almost.

Oh and B-Mo and Cee…I found my extra cool cd I burned this morning.  Where was it?  Still in the car. 

Because I’m On Top of Important Issues…

ellen0508.jpgHas anybody noticed that Ellen is not on Channel 4 anymore?  I mean, do we REALLY need another hour of “Today?”

Song of the Day

Nothing heavy or exciting to whiff on y’all today.  Tuesday is my long-ass day cause I’m at school til 9:30.  This week’s quiz in Lab is on cell permeability.  ZZZZZZZZ

I do, however, have a song recommendation for you. Because I’ve drifted into Earbud Land in order to save my sanity at work, I spend most of the day with music in my ears and it’s wonderful. 

I’ve been listening to The Pointer Sisters’ Fairytale over and over ALL day.  What a great record.  Go find it on Itunes or wherever you get your music.  Just do it and report back to me.

It ain’t nothing like “The Neutron Dance” fo sho. I can remember this playing on Country radio like crazy when I was really little.  It’s wonderful.  I met Anita Pointer once.  A big ol tall gull, as Granny Boone would say.