The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

Music poetry

As promised (you know if you were one of the people I promised this to), some haiku and a sonnet about recent concerts I've attended:

Rites of Spring
Drunk frat boys, drunk girls,
Crowds, loud music and good friends:
Saturday was great.

Will Hoge
Smoky, crowded, loud,
Exit/In and Will on stage
Make a perfect night.

A few times recently I’ve been so blessed
As to see local guys in a great band
Called Steamboat. Now that I’ve become a fan
I’ll say that as for cover bands, they’re best.

They play the great old classics, country, blues,
Pretty much anything that flat out rocks.
These guys know how to play so that your socks
Are blown to some far place away from you.

Alas they plan to soon take a new name;
Their fans may never be just quite the same.

Previous compositions in iambic pentameter.


Today's one of those days when it seems like everything is going to hell. It sucks.


The Fox family farm

My grandmother passed away in her sleep last night. This was my dad's mom, the one who has had Parkinson's Disease for 15 years. The last time I saw her, for her birthday two weeks ago, she didn't know who I was. Well, she thought she did - she kept calling me Lura Mae, who is a distant cousin who died decades ago. She has thought I'm Lura Mae several times over the last couple of years.

This was the grandmother who taught me to sew, taught me to cook, taught me to garden. For most of my life, she never cut her hair, and wore it pinned up every day. Every Saturday she would wash it. It was so long that, to do so, she would have to kneel over the bathtub and let her hair fill it up. I remember thinking she must have been Rapunzel when she was young.

She and my grandfather (who died almost exactly 5 years ago) were still madly in love with one another until the day he died. And in fact, when the Parkinson's ravaged her mind and stole her memories, she would forget that he had died, and would have to live through that all over again. Her grief at those moments was almost unbearable. I've never loved anyone that much, I don't think.

There are so many things I wish I'd asked her - how she made her okra, her oatmeal, and her beef stew, how to actually finish a quilt and use her quilting frame, how to can and put up jams and vegetables. Her house, that is so familiar to me, is beautifully decorated. It wasn't until the last few years that I've appreciated the quality of furnishings and decor at the farm. She collected a lot of things, but all of them had some beautiful or whimsical value. There's an old crank-phone, two 1940's radios with record players (and my grandfather's hundreds of records dating back to the 1920's), antique furniture handed down from family long ago, and at least 4 or 5 complete sets of dishes - none of them newer than probably 1975. There's a soup tureen and matching soup mugs that look like bee hives. She collected miniature bottles and vases, and set the glass in the window where they would catch the light. She sewed quilts for every room and was meticulous in her cleaning. In fact, when she had to move up to Nashville and physically couldn't help with the housework, it devastated her. She didn't know who she was or what to do without being able to keep the house.

She loved God, and every night that my siblings and I would stay at the farm, the night would end with us reading a story from the picture Bible and reciting prayers together.

She taught me so much, and has had a great influence on me even today. Her mind has been going for a while now, and I've already been missing her. So today I'm going to rejoice that she is finally whole again, and reunited with the love of her life.

Yes, this is the grandmother who accused my sister of getting herself knocked up and my dad of having an affair. All products of the disease, I might add. I think my favorite, though, was this story from last year.

Fired up

If someone came into my parents' place of business, and ate a donut they didn't like, and paid more for it than they thought it was worth, and thought the kid behind the counter was rude, and then this person went out to dinner with some friends and said, in a public place, "Man, that place was bad today. The service sucked and the product wasn't worth the price." If that happened, would you think my parents had the right to sue that person? What if this was said on a blog?

Mom and Dad wouldn't be happy, that's for sure, but would they have the right to take that person to court?

Apparently there are some attorneys in town who would say Yes.

My friend Kat had a recent unpleasant experience with a company called JL Kirk & Associates. She posted on her blog about her unpleasant experience, and a conversation ensued regarding the seemingly-sketchy way they handled her and her husband's situation. An employee of this (allegedly) professional and esteemed company came to Kat's blog and posted confidential information about Kat and said some nasty things. Kat moved that comment to her front page so that everyone could see the actions of this person for themselves.

Now Kat's been threatened with a lawsuit if she doesn't remove all of this.

It's a bunch of bullshit. From what I can tell, she has done anything that would warrant a winnable lawuit, and the lawyer who wrote this letter should know that - he works for the pre-eminent First Amendment experts around. They are simply attempting to bully her into taking back what she said.

More reasonable people would probably reach out to her and try to resolve the situation by putting her fears and concerns to rest. They might even let it go, knowing that it would blow over and there are plenty of other people who haven't read her story who will buy their services. But now, the story is spreading around Nashville blogs like wildfire.

And so I and many of the other local bloggers are taking her story even more public. We may all get letters telling us to stop. I don't know. I do know that in America, I can express my opinion about someone freely, and I think these people are just awful, based on the way they have handled this situation.

But to see what all the fuss is about, and to get the links so that you can repost them on your blog, you can start at Nashville is Talking, where Brittney has linked all of the major action so far. Be sure to read her original link, as well, where there are some great suggestions and analysis of the situation in the comments.

For what it's worth, Kat is one of my favorite people in the Nashville blogging community. When I was hurting and looking for work two years ago, she emailed me encouragement and helped me find some work, even though we'd never met face-to-face. I find her to be consistently kind, strong, intelligent, and fun, and highly recommend her blog for regular reading.

It pisses me off to see someone go after her in such a nasty way. No wonder people hate us lawyers.


Growing up in the good old Church of Christ, there was never a lot of emphasis placed on Easter. Sure, I got a new dress for church and a basket full of candy and toys, but that was about it. It was like any other Sunday, except we always could count on singing "Up From the Grave" at church for sure.

That didn't really change until I moved to California. Some of the people I met my first year in school encouraged me to practice Lent with them. I did, and Easter morning we all met on campus and had a sunrise service overlooking the Pacific. Ever since then, Holy Week has become more, well, not meaningful (it was always there after all), but more impactful on me personally. Easter quickly became my favorite holiday, because, after all, it all comes down to this weekend.

Until this year. This year, I've been really busy. Practicing for our service tomorrow night, trying to get tax stuff done at work before the April 15 deadline, even just going to more concerts than I have in a while. All of it has taken away the time I would have had to think about this week.

Then last night, I had to go to one final rehearsal. I didn't want to go; I had tickets to see Will Hoge afterwards, and would have rather gone to dinner with my friends. But I knew that I should rehearse, and so I did. I got there and chatted with friends, and we all got into our places on stage and started singing. And something changed.

We're singing a song whose lyrics touched me deeply. Suddenly I realized that yesterday was the anniversary. That thousands of years ago, on that very Friday, it happened. The seminal event in human history. The thing that changed everything forever. And I realized that we were entering the dark days - the time when the Christ was in fact dead. When he wasn't alive, teaching and healing, and when he wasn't yet resurrected, promising life and His spirit. When his followers and friends and family were in the dark, mourning and fearful and desperate.

And today - today when they were trying to figure out how to get through the day. When they were looking at what they had done for three years, working and building and creating a new world. Looking back on a time when they had known exactly who they were and where they stood in the world and why they were there. All of that gone, in the matter of a day and a half. With no warning, no explanation, no promise of resolution.

This is where we live. This Saturday world, where the fall has already happened and dark is upon us. Where our dreams can be crushed, relationships fall apart, people we love can be ripped from us in a heartbeat, with no warning and no explanation and no promise of resolution. We wake up every day and face this world, unsure if we're really supposed to be here, if we're doing things right, if we are loved the way we want to be.

But then there's Sunday. Sunday when Jesus' people began to move forward, trusting that if nothing else, this was the Son of God, and God will always work for the good of his people. And when they move toward that belief, act on that faith, approach the tomb to face what must be faced and do what must be done. At that time, oh, the unspeakable joy that awaits.

And we are so lucky, because we know that Sunday is tomorrow. And we know that the tomb will be empty, and that we'll find that our lives are even more meaningful and purposeful and full of love and promise and just sheer wonderfulness, than we ever hoped for or imagined. Everything we go through in this Saturday-life is not without meaning, is not unbearable. Because Sunday will break into our lives when we least expect it, and the life and spirit that can fill us on that day makes everything else fall away to the margins.

And so it is with that anticipation, that expectancy of God's miracle of new life for everyone, no matter how weary and broken down and torn, that I wait on this Saturday for the new day tomorrow.

Christ is risen; praise the Lord!

More good news...

...on the music scene.

The Traveling Wilburys' albums are finally being re-released.

I've been singing "Handle With Care" for two days, and decided to google them to see if their songs might be on iTunes anytime soon. Holy Moly, both albums are being released again, in every available format.

I think the universe is excited and humming the song, and that's why it's been in my head.

(FYI, the release date is close enough to my birthday that I'd forgive you if you got this for me as a late present. Just for the record.)

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