Archive for November, 2007

The Faces of #2

trevor-draws.jpgUnless you’ve been around #2, you won’t recognize the way his mouth is in this picture.  He’s drawing and when he does things like draw or anything he’s concentrated on, he hums.  He’s humming here. He hums a lot.  I don’t really notice it.  His brother and sister do though.

trevor-by-sandra.jpgThis is the same face he made yesterday when we were coming down Music Row and he said “Are we going to pass the Naked Statue?”  I said we were and he said, “Go slow I want a good look.” 

trevor-cute.jpgThe only thing missing here is the halo.  He is the greatest kid.

**Pictures courtesy of #2’s Very Thin Aunt.

Faux Pas Of The Day

We had a little tree trimmin’ party at work, right?  They start singing the Christmas carols.  This older lady who works here starts singing.  I knew she was a pianist and stuff at her church.  I thought she was teasing like I do when I throw in massive vibrato for comic effect.

I patted her and said “Come on sing in your for real voice!”  Um.  That was her for real voice.

I’m on a roll this week.  This older lady at my church passed away.  She has the same last name as another family.  I thought it was the other family whose mother died.  I told her daughter how sorry I was.  Thanks, but, she isn’t dead yet. 

That’s not near as embarassing as the time I told the guy at the video store I saw his daughter a few days before.  He looked at me with the weirdest look on his face and said “My daughter died in January.”  This was July. 


I opened up my email and guess what?  Give up?

My Papa John’s offer has arrived!!  Woo hoo. 

Christmas Time’s A’Comin’

My Manchild is so funny.  He truly is a Man-Child.  You’ve got this big ol’ boy (who has grown almost as tall as Mr. Smiff in the last month) whose wardrobe consists of black t-shirts, usually with skulls on them, yet Christmas turns him into a 6 year old again.

He said to me last night that he wants the Christmas tree up. I told #2 that and he said “So…I hear you’re ready for the Christmas tree to be up.”  The Manchild corrected him and said “NO! Not until tomorrow.  I don’t want the tree up in November.”

Kinda like Lucy from the Peanuts who only eats January snow instead of December snow.


If time will permit, later in the month, I may do the Tacky Christmas Lights Tour.

When You Feel The Prayer Wheel Turnin’…

 Mr. Smiff and Them taped one of those Gaither videos today.  I hope they got Mr. Smiff in the crowd a’singin’ and a’cryin’ and a’raisin’ his hands in the Spirit. I texted him through the day and said stupid stuff like “Tell Vestal I said hey”. We love us some Gaither videos, fo sho.

I was so hoping Ship Ahoy would be there.  “Ship Ahoy” is actually a fantastic singer named Larry Ford.  He has long been one of our favorites on those Gaither things.  We had this video collection of clips from the old “Jubilee” television show from the early 70’s where he did a song called “Ship Ahoy” in his lovely, Irish tenor-like voice.  Because we are so funny (we think we are, anyway) we named him that. I hope if Mr. Smiff ever does run into him, he doesn’t address him as “Mr. Ahoy”. Dude can flat belt out a song, now.  I’m telling ya, he’s amazing.

Oh and I have a Mr. Smiff story for you but I will have to wait to get his permission before I tell it.  One of those things that was just meant to be blogged, ya know?

God Bless Josh

When people wonder why I don’t drink, (except for that rare once a year something) I usually point to the fact that addiction runs rampant through all the branches of my family… so much so that people in my family could fill up the Betty Ford Center.  I don’t know what it is on both my mother and father’s side of the family, we have strong tendencies toward addictive behaviors.  I know it’s hard to imagine this perfect looking group of people here could ever have trouble with collie_clan_1991.jpgaddiction, but, several in this photo have.

Including the little boy in the middle, front with his hands in the air.  That’s Josh.  The youngest son of my cousin Vicki, who is the middle daughter of my dad’s sister Junie. (Confused yet?)  Josh was about 10 in this picture.  He was a cute little feller. 

There were four boys.  2 of his older brothers got football scholarships to places like Colorado and The University of Texas.  Josh didn’t play football like they did.  Josh was a very bright, sensitive, intuitive, creative kid.  His Aunt Judi just read me a poem over the phone he wrote when he was in 7th grade.  Unbelievable insight and depth Josh had to be 13. Josh also served our country in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom.

When Josh and his brothers were growing up, their mom was so great about sending that Christmas card picture every year.  I mean, Vicki never missed a year sending that picture.  From the time they had their first son in about 1977 and for the few years following, there was a new baby every year.  She had her hands full with those Stairstep Boys.  Because Vicki was so diligent about sending that photo every year, we got to watch those kids grow up from a distance.  I always colvins.jpglooked forward to seeing how those boys had grown year after year.  I adopted the same Christmas picture tradition from Vicki so my far away kin could see my kids grow up.

My Cousin Judi, who is Vicki’s younger sister called me a little bit ago to tell me that Josh was found dead 10 days ago.  Because he had no ID on him, his parents weren’t notified until today that their baby boy was gone. 

I can’t imagine.  I just can’t imagine.  I’m so heartbroken for them…Josh’s mom and dad…for my Uncle Wesley, who just celebrated his 80th birthday and now has outlived one of his grandchildren…for his brothers, one of whom will be having very serious surgery tomorrow in Spain due to an injury he received playing pro football in Europe….his aunts, his cousins…all of his friends and loved ones who have watched his decline through the years and sadly, expected that this tragedy would eventually happen.  I’m especially sad for Josh.  This has been going on for a long time.  There were times I thought maybe he was going to make it and stay clean.  Although this was not really that unexpected, I”m sure all of them are going to eventually feel tremendous guilt, “Could we have done more?”, all of those things. 

Just sad….unbelievably tragic and sad.


I had never seen this.  It makes me laugh. I’ve always had a thing for Mike Nesmith.


Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926. So was Alan Greenspan and Hugh Hefner.

Don Rickles celebrated his 81st birthday this year, as did Chuck Berry.

Leslie Nielsen, Jerry Lewis, Harper Lee, Peter Graves, Shecky Greene (I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to blog anything about Shecky.  Just saying his name is fun.  There should be more Shecky’s in this world), James Lipton, Fidel Castro, Cloris Leachman, Sir George Martin, Mel Brooks, Ray Price, Joe Paterno, Jane Withers, Grant Tinker, Ann B. Davis (aka “Alice” of the Brady Bunch) Harry Dean Stanton, Joe Garagiola, and Soupy Sales (another name we need more of) ….all of these people were born in 1926.  That makes them all 81 years old this year.  Some of them still look great while others of them, not so much. 

Ray Price is still out there playing music, James Lipton has become one of the most parodied characters on tv in recent years, Fidel Castro is still in charge of Cuba and Mel Brooks is still a comic genius…Marilyn Monroe, Paul Lynde, John Coltrane, Tommy Bond (played Butch on The Little Rascals), John Derek and Miles Davis would have been 81 this year had they not been struck down by various illnesses, accidents, etc.

I think of a lot of the above names as old folks.  It’s hard for me to imagine or visualize biff_collie.jpgthat my father would have been 81 years old today.  Well, in a way, it is but then in a way it isn’t. 

I haven’t seen him in almost 16 years (something else hard to believe) and I sometimes fantasize what it would be like if I ran into him somewhere and could have a few minutes to chat with him.  Last time I saw him, I had just turned 23 and I am  now peeking over the edge into 39. I think we would have an interesting and lively conversation. 

In a weird way, I’m sometimes sorta glad I didn’t ever have to see him be put in a nursing home or have his mind fail him.  I know that’s kinda strange because I did see him suffer greatly because of prostate cancer. 

I am thankful that when I remember him now, the picture of him in the hospital bed in our den, with oxygen plugs in his nose, semi-comatose, weak and struggling for every breath is something I have to really, really think about to remember.  I think about him everyday, and more often than not, hear myself say things that are like channeling him and a lot of photos of him are eerily like looking at myself.  I am so grateful that the image I have in my head of my father, who like all those people listed above, was born in 1926…is this one here.>mail0001.jpg

This picture is so him.

A Fashion Tip For You From Your Sista

I wore my black turtleneck today.  That’s part of my cold-weather uniform.  I dig it.

I had washed it and then put it on this morning.  I wore that sucker all day. I was sitting with a few people this evening and I thought “This neck feels thicker than usual.”  I then realized I had worn my turtleneck bass-akwards the livelong day.

Because I am so full of couth, I told my friends, “Y’all…I have my shirt on backwards and I’m going to turn it around.” I just twisted around and I felt much better.

At least I didn’t go to church with two different shoes on. I have done that before.

Bless This Mess

Alert the Media…phone the neighbors….wake the kids…I want y’all to know something:

Your Sista worked her hiney off this weekend cleaning up the dang house.  I worked so hard, I hurt all over.  Scary thing is that I’m not done but boy howdy, I’m so tickled to tell y’all I actually ACCOMPLISHED something this long weekend.

I must give props to my very thin sister with the straight bob-Thing about my sister and me is we are alike in many ways (we sound alike on the phone, so much so we can play tricks on you with it) we look somewhat alike, however, I do not feel as though we look like identical twins.  She is taller than I am and now she is thinner.  She can do artsy fartsy crafty stuff with her hands, whilst I can not.  She’s a lot more outspoken in person than I am.  She is not scared to give anybody directions on what to do, when to do it and the best way to go about it.  If I say “Hey, do this” and you say “No”, I say “Ok”.   I am more twisted and just plain odder than she is (but in a good way).  I love to cook and she does not.  You get the picture.

Something else she can do way better than I am is clean crap up.  She was telling about her friend who had  a mess at her place and how she went and helped her get it straightened and she told how she did it. 

I took mental notes here.  For some of us, a big ol’ mess is overwhelming and we get very scared of it and think maybe perhaps we might be swallered by it.  Some of us need direction. 

I had gotten a little motivated when I saw that poor woman on Oprah week before last who had crap piled in her house all the way to the ceiling.  I felt good that I didn’t have quite 75 tons of trash in my house, although I probably had more trash  than you do.  I bet the neighbors are wondering what kind of white trash they have living in the neighborhood that we have that many trash bags waiting to be picked up by our ignoramus hard-working trash guys tomorrow morning.

The other thing that motivated me was I had been telling the kids that there would be nary a Christmas decoration hung in the Smiff House this Yuletide if’n we didn’t get something done about the mess.  The Smiff Kids aren’t “into” helping out around the house.  Yes, I know, they should help me more.  YOU come here and make them. I feel like I rant and rave enough and it obviously accomplishes nothing.

It’s hard to get stuff cleaned up with Mr. Smiff and #2 in the house. Both of them think stuff has feelings and they feel bad when stuff gets tossed.  Example: I worked in the bathroom Friday cleaning up.  I found this old, Ernie doll.   Ernie had seen better days.  He didn’t look good enough to give to Goodwill.  Why it was in the bathroom, I do not know.  I haven’t seen one of my kids play with anything remotely associated with Ernie since before 9-11.  Ernie was lying there and I said (to Ernie) “Ok, Ern’…love ya, but, it’s time to say goodbye.” I tossed him.  Do you know SOMEBODY in this house, I do not know who, must’ve seen Ernie in the trash cause he was back yesterday. WTF?  This is part of what I have to contend with in getting rid of stuff.  I’m not a hoarder like that woman on Oprah. 

Mr. Smiff said today, while I was working in the kitchen “I just don’t understand how it can get this messy here, knowing my habits.”  It wasn’t five minutes later I picked up this stuffed dog (again, why it was in the kitchen is beyond me) and I was going to toss it.  I saw him turn into a 10 year old right there. I thought he was going to cry. He tensed up and then he came and took it out of my hands.  What in the world is a 47 year old man going to do with a stuffed Golden Retriever? I doubt very seriously he’s going to put it on our bed after he makes it tomorrow morning. And he wonders why….

It’s also amazing the long-lost things you find.  I found 2 Gameboy chargers that had been missing. 

I forget that with #2’s Asperger’s, he takes everything you say literally.  I have learned lately I have to watch my sarcasm with him.  I had said the other day, during one of my, “This is pig-sty” tirading rants that Children’s Services was liable to come get them and take them away cause we had such a mess happening.  I didn’t think anything else about that until last night when I was working, he said “What time are they coming?” I thought he was talking about his dad and the siblings.  “What time is the Health Department coming?”  Poor thing thought I was serious. 

So anyway, my mother gave me these big, plastic storage thingies yesterday and I brought those suckers home, started working about 6:00 and worked til I fell into the bed at 1:40 this morning.  #2 helped a little.  He picked up Pokemon cards.  When I tell you there are 4, 382, 918 Pokemon cards in this house, please believe me.  I told him I would throw them all away if he didn’t get them dealt with so he worked on those and put a bunch of them in one of those collector books (something his Thin Aunt passed onto him). 

When Mr. Smiff, the Manchild and the Holy Tara got home this morning from Myrtle Beach, I think they thought they went into the wrong house.  I still have a lot to do but I feel pretty doggone good about getting done what I got done, complete with PMS.  I threw a bunch of stuff away when #2 wasn’t looking.  I’m sure somebody out there will have words of wisdom on how to get the family to help me out around here. 

Messing with the template.  I don’t know that I like the Artsy Frosty look.  I think I liked it last night when I got home and it was so stinking cold.

I got so frozen when I came home and Mr. Smiff had left some trash bags by the curb and ….well….bless his heart…that’s just something we can’t do cause at night dogs tend to roam and sometimes deer are kso when I got home, there was trash in the yard, covered in frost, so I had to pick it up.  I called him (he had left for Myrtle Beach, get this, with TWO Smiff Teens in tow) and I thanked him for leaving me such a nice gift.

By the time I came in the house, I was in a Frosty/Christmasy frame of mind…thanks to the trash. So, I guess I should thank Mr. Smiff for putting the trash by the curb and it getting strewn everywhere cause before that, I was not fillin’ that Christmasy fillin’.  Something about frostbite makes one feel Christmasy, I guess.

algebra.jpgI want you to take a gander at your Sista in study mode.  Look at that…nothing but serious studiousness.  I am in-to it.  That is the Engineering Brudda In Law offering his Algebraic wisdom and assistance.  I actually kinda…understand it. 

If You Need A Good Cry…

If somebody were to ask me to name the saddest movie I’ve seen, I would probably have to say Muriel’s Wedding is way up there.  It doesn’t make me boo hoo out loud like the scene in Steel Magnolias where M’Lynn is standing at Shelby’s casket screaming that she’s “FINE” and that she could jog all the way to Texas and back, etc.  Muriel doesn’t do me that way.  

 mean, after M’Lynn goes on her tirade and Clairee offers up Ouiser as a punching bag, everybody laughs through their tears and they all go  on with their lives and then they have the Easter Egg hunt where Jackson, Jr. slaps Ouiser and we all laugh, funny ha-ha and then Annelle goes into labor right there and Truvy’s son has to haul Sammy in his bunny suit on the back of his motorcycle to the hospital and we’re all happy that even though Shelby’s dead, life goes on.

Muriel’s Wedding is almost too real, y’know? You get over the Austrailian accents pretty quick into the movie.  I think it’s the great casting. Toni Collette is something else and that Rachel Griffiths is, too.  The woman that plays Muriel’s mother is phenomenal.

I re-watched Tender Mercies the other day and that thing makes me sad, too. I think it’s how windy it is and that pitiful little motel where Robert Duvall and Tess Harper lived.  De-press-ing.

The SUV Knew The Way To Carry The Sleigh…

Why is it that even on a day off, I wake up at 5:00?  That sorta makes me mad. 

All the news channels are talking about “Black Friday” and all the shopping frenzy.  I think instead of Black Friday they should call it “Idiot Friday.”  Maybe if I was a shopper-type I’d get it.  Sleeping all night outside a Best Buy in freezing weather is just crazy.  So you’re going to buy a computer for $199.  Even so, there’s something about that that I don’t get. 

Over  bypass and down I-65 to Grandmother’s house we went yesterday.  Thanksgiving was nice.  The first year since 1998, when I made the poor choice of having wisdom teeth cut out the week before Thanksgiving, that I have not eaten myself into oblivion.  The medicine I take makes food taste odd to me.  I ate but not like I usually do, which really is not such a bad thing. 

We did our usual thing at Hazel’s with Mr. Smiff’s brother’s family, my mother came (after Hazel called her and insisted she come, which I’m glad she did, even though she didn’t feel her best, it was good for her that she came) Chet Flippo and Martha Hume joined us again this year.  Opry Dan came as did Robert Hicks.

The usual tales of country music folk flew.  Lots of talk about Porter this year.  Funny how so often the same tales are told around the table but they’re just thanksgiving2007.jpgas lively as ever.  Mr. Smiff did not retell the Jeanne Pruett fainting on the Opry stage story though.  He got engrossed either in football or a nap. 

I can’t decide if I want to go back to bed or cavort with the many piles of laundry awaiting to be done. Oh the choices.

Oh and we have a new bumper on the SUV.  It looks nice.  Y’know, I’m really, really grateful that nobody involved in my little accident a few weeks ago was hurt, but, really…I enjoyed driving the rental car for a week.  The car looks new. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay the bill for that new bumper…$900 and some odd dollahs.

Random Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

When I saw on the local news earlier in the week that they had arrested a guy for a murder committed over 30 years ago of a Vanderbilt student, Marcia Trimble went through my marcia.jpgmind.  Now, they are indeed investigating this man in regards to Marcia’s murder.

For those who are not in the Nashville area or who weren’t in 1975, the kidnapping and subsequent discovery of Marcia Trimble, a 9 year old girl who disappeared while delivering Girl Schout cookies, had all of the area riveted.  I will never forget the whole thing of searching for her and then on Easter Sunday, while we were having an Easter Egg hunt at the McNamee’s house, we heard that they had found Marcia dead in somebody’s garage, underneath a swimming pool.  I was 6 years old and remember this being the first time I realized something really bad could happen to children.  How wonderful it would be for Marcia’s family to be able to see justice brought.

On a much lighter and certainly of no importance note, I noticed something last night.  Everybody knows Barney Rubble had no eyeballs.  What I noticed for the first time is that Wilma Flintstone also did not have eyeballs, however, Fred Flintstone and Betty Rubble DID have eyeballs

It makes me giggle to see both of my boys get all excited about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It’s just cute.  It was even cuter to see Grascals Fiddler Jimmy Mattingly fiddling in Herald Square with Dolly Parton.

My poor mother had her fridge go out yesterday, her toilet messed up so bad…so bad she had to have all the pipes leading to it under her house replaced cause they were so old and she’s been dealing with a kidney infection for weeks. Poor Mimi.

44 years ago today, JFK was murdered in Dallas.kennedys_dallas1.jpg

A belated happy birthday yesterday to the Engineering Brother In Law. princess_dad.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever.  Psalm 118


Have I made my annual statement that I make just about every Thanksgiving-time?  I don’t think I have.  Therefore, I must say it now:

I HATE it when people refer to Thanksgiving Day as “Turkey Day.”  Weather-peoples are especially fond of saying “Turkey Day.”  Why is this so?

Somebody wished me a “Happy Turkey Day” today and it was all I could do to not say “Please don’t say that to me” but I refrained.

I know one things for sure…I’m glad I’m not traveling anywhere, either by air or car.  As much as I would love to be surrounded by various kith and kin in Texas, Louisiana and California, I’m glad I’m not traveling to any of those places.  I’ve spent many a Thanksgiving in my time traveling and everytime I see the news people at one of the major airports, I am so grateful that I’m not amongst the many travelers.

My kids requested from me the Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.  If you want to impress your kin-folks or whoever you are giving thanks with tomorrow, make some of this stuff.  A number of bloggers out in the sphere have sampled it and can testify to its amazingness.  Anything Paula Deen makes is good.  Go here for the recipe.  It’s not hard to make.