Posts from the ‘Gastrica’ Category

Feel Good Friday

A little twist for the Feel Good Friday….

Things that make me feel good this Friday:

In no particular order….

1.  Insanely cold weather like we have right now.

2. Any movie that has Walter Matthau in it. (Watching The Fortune Cookie as I type on DVR)

3.  Some amazing family members, both near and far.

4. My Purple Ipod and the Ihome speaker thingy.

5.  Talking to the guy that doubled with me and Patrick to the Prom in ’87 and him telling me of this very evening, going out on a first date with a girl we went to school with that he had a crush on then and she never knew. 

6. Singing with the two Tara’s, Jennifer, Scott and Ron.

7.  Pictures like this that remind me of what a great childhood I had:


That’s me, Terri Leigh, the Sister and Trish.  How great would it be to be that carefree again?

And Emmylou singing songs like this…

Christmas Past

I have posted this Christmas picture before, but, it’s so funny (to me anyway) I have to post it again and since we are celebrating my mother on her birthday, and since there is no threat that she’ll actually see this (computers ARE of the devil, of course) I can just post it and be amused.


This would have been Christmas about 1972.  I am three, the Sister would have just turned 6.  I am the one in that strikingly lovely yellow gown while the Sister is decked out in the blue.  Our mother is the rather tired looking lady in the pink robe (one of my earliest memories of my mother is her in that robe).

One’s attention is obviously first turned to Mom’s hair in this picture.   It sorta has a life of its own, doesn’t it?  I guarantee you, if she were to be looking at this picture right now, she’d say “See? I used to have a lot of hair!” 

That said, Mom likes her coffee.  And her Marlblies.  I figured she hadn’t had a chance to partake in either of the aforementioned things by the time this picture was snapped (no doubt, the sun was not up yet).  However, upon closer inspection….to her right, you will notice there is an ashtray under the tree.  I don’t think Sanny Claus brung Barbara a new ashtray for Christmas. 

This is the sorta thing that in 2008, would cause a mother to be arrested…and scathing news lead in stories of “Mother Caught Smoking Under Christmas Tree”….smoking in the house AND next to the Christmas tree!  Yeah, yeah, it was a fake tree  (complete with fake snow!) and because I always remember noticing the box said the tree was “Flame Retardant” (always bringing giggles that our Christmas tree was retarded. Heh heh), there was no threat of the tree going up in flames but SMOKING UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE ON CHRISTMAS MORNING???   You might be a redneck….

Other notable notes from this photo that could be so easily overlooked by Barbara’s uncoiffed coif….notice the lamp in the back?  That was a lamp attached to the table and the base was a horse head.  I can still remember the sound that silver thing would make (it moved.)  As ugly as that thing is, I’d give a lotta money to have it now.  Talk about a good conversation piece! 

The Lincoln Logs….and what is that we’re holding up? 

And the globe….no doubt we had driven the Parents nuts asking for one.  We were so curious about Geography at this point.  “Insatiable curiosit”  of the world around us, is how teachers were always heard to describe us.  Just couldn’t get enough.

I didn’t know exactly where North Dakota was, geographically until the Manchild was about 7 and was obsessed with the Weather and I figured out where it was by a weather map.

Shut up…I was busy soaking up lots of important, useful trivia on country music and old movie stars.

Quick Trip To Knox County


Check out Payton’s new teefuses.  He is proud of them. 


Loved, loved, loved the Living Christmas Tree put on by the fine folks at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville. 


Was especially fond of the little blondeheaded girl grasping onto the Lord Jesus there….that’s my niece.

Was also fond of the 120 shepherd there….and his staff….that would be the Engineering Brudda In Larrr…


The kid in the green vest and red shirt there. (Heh) Third from left….the Nephew With The New Teefuses…

The Sister was also in the production….she’s the one in white.  (Not one of the levitating ones though)


I couldn’t find her in the midst of  all the white but she’s there somewhere.


The Gay Street Bridge there behind the Arena was quite lovely.


As was this old-timey Arby’s sign. (I have a thing for neon)

Oh and here’s my Christmas tree….I wish it were wider and all that but it’s gonna have to do. 


Notice there is not nary a single gift under the tree.  This is because I have yet to buy the first Christmas gift.  I think I may give the gift of “Joy” this Christmas.  Yeah…that’s it.  That’ll go over HUGE with the kids. 

(Note to my children….please answer my texts when I ask what you want for Christmas….love ya, Mom)

Farewell, George

We got in the car yesterday afternoon and I realized it was Sunday and George was probably on so I flipped the radio over to 91.1.  (The Holy Tara was not pleased with this move). 

My good friend of a million and two years, Traci Todd, has hosted “George, The Bluegrass Show” on WRVU at Vanderbilt for 22 years.  Every Sunday afternoon, you could tune in and hear bluegrass on the radio in Nashville, Tennessee, thanks to Traci.  She started doing the show in the 80’s when she was a student at Vanderbilt and kept it up all these years for no other reason than she loves the music and wanted to share it with the people of Nashville.  She certainly never did it for the money.

I made the comment to the HT, when I got the tuner tuned “I can’t believe she still does this show after all these years.”  It wasn’t 60 seconds later that Traci came on and said something about it being the “farewell” to George.  It gave me a little pause.

I first found George back in the 80’s when I was first getting into Bluegrass.  This was before Mr. Smiff, y’see.  I started listening to Traci every Sunday and would even record (on tape!) the show every week to my jambox.  This was during the short period between the Old-Boyfriend-I-Keep-Running-Into-Everywhere-I-Go and Mr. Smiff.  It was kinda sad and dark there for awhile and that’s one of the things I always think about when I listen to George. 

There are a couple songs I have really vivid memories of hearing on George that made me love Bluegrass and good pickin…one was Don Reno and Tony Rice’s version of “Freight Train Boogie.”   Something else she played that I loved was Johnny Warren’s “Black Eyed Susie” that featured, unbeknownst to me at the time, Mr. Smiff on bass and the “heys and ho’s”.  

Who isn’t going to miss George and every week, the playing of “The Little Girl And The Awful Dreadful Snake” after the Bluegrass announcements???   That was one of those things you could just plain depend on. 

George was a wonderful, Nashville tradition that I’m a little sad to see go, however, Traci has gone above and beyond all these years keeping it up.  She’s given Nashville just about the only radio outlet for Bluegrass.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?   A lot of performers have gotten good exposure thanks to Traci and George. 

The cool thing about Traci is eventually, she and I worked together at the old CMT.  We became instant pals and she was good enough to be in me and Mr. Smiff’s wedding.  Traci is such a good friend.  She’s one of the “True Blue’s” that will show up in your darkest hour when you least expect anybody to care.  Traci is perhaps the most organized and programmed person I know as well as one of the most intelligent. (Because she’s so programmed and efficient is probably why she’s the head of programming at CMT, still, to this day). 

So, for Traci….George and his friends….a big Saaaaaa-lute.

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? 

Hoochie Mamas

I will probably get all kinds of hits from pervs with that title.  Go away, slimeballs.  This is not a post for sickos.

A true story:

Last weekend, Mr. Smiff and Them had the opportunity to play in Burlington, NC to Mr. Smiff’s hometown crowd.  It was a big deal for all the Smiffs and Boones out in that area. 

The guys were on the bus, getting ready when one of the guys, doing as guys do, said “Hey y’all…look at these!”  These, being some attractive women walking towards the bus.  “I think it’s a mom and daughter!”  So Mr. Smiff comes to look and he couldn’t see too well at first (Mr. Magoo) but he agreed that yes, some nice looking females.  On closer inspection, he realized that it was his cousin Debbie, her daughter and her niece.  He instructed the band members to steer clear of his kin.

I tell that story to preface this next one….Sister Gastrica, the Baroness of all Things Bariatric, who lives in Knoxville, had gastric bypass surgery some months ago.  She has lost more than 100 lbs.  This is what she looked like the week before her grand opening:


This is what she looks like as of the other day:


I think she’s gonna take the Hoochie Mama route.  She should, don’t you think?  The Engineering Brother in Law has dropped some pounds himself.  Mr. Smiff has found them.  He’s at an all time weight fluctuating between 169-170 at 6’4.  Woo!

I do want to add that Gastrica’s choice to undergo the Gastric Bypass was not, by any means, an “easy” way to lose weight.  Her description of the recovery period immediately after was quite painful.  She’s had two C-sections and said this was way worse than that.  Still, I think it’s been worth it. She looks great, doesn’t she?

Praise the Lord and Pass The Gravy, Please!

My two favorite fat fellers, Rick and Bubba, are finally coming back to Nashville.  According to Cuzzin Terry, the Two Sexiest Fat Men Alive return to the airwaves in Music City on May 21 on 1510 WLAC.  This makes me want to do a happy dance. 

I haven’t listened to 15 LAC regularly since I was a kid and it was THE happening radio station for Top 40.  Gastrica won prizes from there once and we went to fetch the prizes in the L & C Tower.  We thought that was big stuff.  Never mind our father had won many awards and accolades for his radioin’….we were at 15LAC!

The story of Willie and Wanda that R & B tell is perhaps one of the best ever.