Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Progress–Stockings, Nano and “P”

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

As I’ve mentioned, I started a new stocking for my newest DIL2b (daughter-in-law to be).

Here’s where I got started.

I got a lot done the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday. Here’s where I am now.

Pretty much just the toe left to knit. It’s going to be red.

Of course, I still have to do the edging, hanger and her initial. That won’t take too long. I should have it finished before we have to hang the stockings. (Officially, that’s Christmas Eve. Right?)

So that’s kind of success. If you notice the pictures, though, they’re a little dark. And that’s after I worked on them in Elements. 😦 One of my goals is to successfully use the “P” setting on my Canon Rebel. (Program setting) Not doing well with that. Not at all.

I think I’m going to have to have someone take me by the hand to teach me.

And as I stupidly told the world, I did NaNoWriMo this month. (That’s where you write 50,000 words in one month.)

I’m afraid I’m a NaNo punk. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words. I made 40,012 words. I lack 10,000 words, and it has to be finished by tomorrow night at midnght. That’s 5,000 words a day, and I don’t see me doing it.

I probably  should have waited for another year because my story wasn’t ready to start. I didn’t even have an outline. Just a vague idea.

 Besides, it’s a stupid story. No, I take that back. It’s a great story. The trouble is the black moment. I’m not finding a motivation strong enough to keep the Hero and Heroine apart.

If I have an epiphany, and can write, write, write, I’ll let you know. Right now I’m taking punk status. Not a good thing, but survivable.

Suggestions or help–with either Nano or using my camera’s P setting–I’m eager and waiting!

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Can you tell from my new header what I’m up to today? It’s knitting. (‘Snitting.) 

To be honest, I started this piece yesterday. Here’s another shot.

Knitting with DPNs. (Double Pointed Needles.) That’s so I can knit in a circle and I won’t have to seam. I’m making a stocking for my newest DIL2b. #2 son got engaged this year, and I want to have a stocking for her hanging on the fireplace.

A couple of years ago, I decided we needed some knitted stockings. I didn’t have time to make the gorgeous ones you see on other people’s fireplaces, so I whipped up these for us. Four of the six stockings I knitted.

There will be eight stockings hanging on the fireplace this year–if I can keep #1 son from putting them on and wearing them around the house as he threatens to do each year. (And if I get the last one finished.)

I’ve stopped work on my Shalom sweater and my knitted chick to get this finished, but that’s all right. I’ll get back to them someday.

My mom was a great one for someday. When she was in her late thirties, she started to cross stitch a red tablecloth (her favorite color.) It was going to have white stitching, which would make it a beautiful Christmas table covering. But she found out she was pregnant with her 6th child not long after she started it, with five kids already keeping her busy (aged 15 and down) she didn’t finish it for a long time. I mean a LONG time.

Eventually–oh, 20 or so years later–she got that tablecloth done. That sister (#6) owns the tablecloth now. So see? I’ve got plenty of time.

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My new header is a picture of the guys where I work, ready for the big game. My niece asked if I was on the fence, since I’m wearing black. (I’m the one on the far right.)

Nope. I’m the black of orange and black. OSU’s colors.

Oklahoma State University Athletics logo

Image via Wikipedia

Trouble is, I couldn’t get the entire picture in the header. It left Baby Sister out. So here’s the entire thing:

Oklahoma Sooners athletic logo

Image via Wikipedia

#6 is holding an OU football. For some reason, I couldn’t get it in the picture. Heh-heh. Sorry, Little Sister. No can do.

Here’s another picture–with Carollea and without Amy and Sharon.

But here’s my favorite of all. No one expected this to be taken.

Jane is explaining something to Mendy about her daughter and why she’s wearing that red color.

To be very honest, most of the group doesn’t care all THAT much who wins the game. We’d like to see “our” team carry the trophy home, but even if they don’t it won’t make all that much difference.

To one or two of the crew, though, it’s killer.

My son is one of those. He’s also an OSU graduate. In fact, many of Ray Spess’s grandchildren attended or graduated from OSU. So many, I’ve suggested they change the name to Oklahoma Spess University. 8) Just kidding!

I found this on Wikipedia:

The Bedlam Series refers to the athletics rivalry between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, of the Big 12 Conference‘s South Division. Both schools were also members of the Big 8 Conference before the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

The Douglas Cup

In 1900, in Oklahoma Territory, Oklahoma A&M (later Oklahoma State) veterinary medicine professor Dr. L.L. Lewis assembled a group of A&M students to participate in the first territorial Track and Field Meet. Held on May 4, 1900, the event included Alva Normal College, Central Normal of Edmond, Kingfisher College and the University of Oklahoma, along with OAMC. The prize of the tournament was a silver cup donated by a local jeweler named Douglas. Surprisingly, A&M won the meet and returned to Stillwater with the traveling trophy.

In 1901, A&M won again, and a third consecutive win would mean permanent retirement of the Douglas Cup in Stillwater. The meet was held on May 23, 1902, with the Aggies amassing the most points. Oklahoma filed a protest based on the pole vault competition not having been completed due to darkness, however, Oklahoma A&M claimed the Douglas cup.

The next day the Sooners held their own vault competition and declared themselves the victor. Several weeks later, the Douglas Cup was missing from its place in a glass case at the Oklahoma A&M chemistry lab. Suspecting that OU students had stolen the Cup, a group of A&M students retrieved the Cup from Norman, supposedly burying it under Old Central for safekeeping.

"Old Central", OSU, Stillwater OK, c...

Image via Wikipedia


Ten years later, when excavation was being done for A&M’s Gundersen Hall, the trophy was found. Today it resides in OSU’s Heritage Hall.

I don’t know why the rivalry is called Bedlam, except it tends to make people crazy, and Bedlam was the name of a mental institution at one time.

Or maybe it’s because it makes some fans as crazy as bedbugs. 😉

Anybody know?


Deathly Hallows

Have you seen the new Harry Potter movie? G-Man and I went last night after work. We saw the 9:40 movie. I know, really late for this early-to-bed girl. (I’m usually dozing in my chair by 9:40)

G-Man wanted to go, and I make it a policy to never say no when he wants to go somewhere. So we drove to T-Town, bought tickets to see Harry on the big screen (IMAX, the REALLY big screen) then went to eat at Smashburger.

Logo of the franchise SmashBurger.

Image via Wikipedia

The burgers weren’t bad, even if they were a little messy. The haystack onion rings were fantastic! I was tempted to try the sweet potato fries, but I know how delicious the onion rings are, and couldn’t pass them up.

Since we still had a good hour before the movie when we finished eating, we did a little shopping. (G-Man sat in the car, I shopped.)

Finally, we went to the theater. We didn’t stand in line. The seats weren’t crowded. I think the show’s been out a week or two, so it kind of surprised me that it wasn’t busier, but it was fine with me.

Harry Potter

Image by Pixelsior via Flickr

Harry’s all grown up. He’s not that smooth-faced little boy anymore. Now he has a five o’clock shadow and an adult’s voice. He still wears the same glasses, though, so he’s still Harry.

The flick goes on a little long for my taste, but there are lots of pyrotechnics and CGs going on, so I stayed awake for the whole thing! (Unusual!) 

This movie seemed to be a kind of lead in movie. Kind of like backstory in a book. You have to know it, but it’s not the best fun getting through it. Which makes me anxious to see part 2. 

Rupert Grint outside the premiere of 'Harry Po...

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe if I’d read the books, it’d help. Or not.

Have you read them? Do you think fans should read first and then seeing the movies or the other way around?


How’d Your Thankgiving Go?

Terminally Curious rearing her ugly head again and asking, how did your Thanksgiving go?   T.C. Okay, it’s not really. <g>

We had a great time. Everyone came–and all brought food! (Yay!) This year, the DIL brought sweet potato pie, and left it so I could totally destroy my diet instead of just partially destroying it.

Of course, my diet wouldn’t have survived my apple cake with caramel icing and whipped cream AND the hard sauce. The Pioneer Woman cursed me with this fabulous recipe on her website. OMG!!! If you don’t have an aversion to a little bit of alcohol, try this. *Homer Simpson Sound*

Homer Simpson

Image via Wikipedia

 One half cup of butter, one-and-a-half cups of powdered sugar and two tablespoons of brandy. Like my granddad use to say, it’ll make your tongue lap your brains out. And since I just happen to have a bottle of brandy that I use for one teaspoon a year in my Christmas cookies, I tried it. Turns out it was a little strong for my taste, so I mixed it with whipped cream.

Not exactly a dieter’s delight but  Y! U! M!

We did have one less than perfect moment in the day. Satan in the form of a red wasp made an attack on the family. Actually, Mr. Buzzy just flew through the room, but DIL has a real aversion to the mean critters, so she locked herself in the bathroom while #1 son tracked him and killed him like the true hero he is.

In the mean while, the rest of us ate. (He wasn’t coming after me, so I didn’t slow down.)

Now, after watching a favorite musical

with #1 and DIL, it’s just the two of us. G-Man is doing the dishes and I’m, uh, working. Yeah, that’s it. I’m working. And nobody can prove I’m not. LOL.

So . . . TC’s asking, what was your surprise favorite new dish this year? Either a dish someone brought or a new recipe you fixed yourself.

And if you had only the tried and true this year (which probably says something about you–such as “you aren’t very adventuresome”) what’s at the top of your forever-favorites list?

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Ready? Set . . .

A Turkey.

Image via Wikipedia

Terminally Curious has a question–

Are you ready for Thanksgiving, 2010? If you’re hosting it at your house, chances are you’re not.

 We’re having Turkey Day here at the Ridgemont homestead. That means not only cooking, cook, cooking, but also cleaning, Cleaning, CLEANING!!!

But it’s all good. Since the house will be clean, it’ll be ready for Christmas decorating, which, of course, is coming soon.

And the kids will all be here with their honeys tomorrow. That’s the part I like best. It can never be like it once was, too many people who live deep in my heart who’ve passed on, but in some ways it’s almost as good. Just really different.


Now I’m the one responsible for most of the cooking and not giving anyone food poisoning. (I worry.) I’m the one who has to remember everyone’s favorites and make sure it’s on the table. And the people I used to call to ask, “how do I . . . ?” aren’t there anymore. I have to figure it out on my own.

Have-to-haves on our Thanksgiving table? Roast turkey–not deep fried or smoked, “fresh” ham,  Brad’s strawberry-sour-cream jello salad, Paula Deen‘s sour cream muffin thingies, Grandmother’s dressing, Matt’s tabouli, Danny’s deviled eggs. Of course, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. 

Now, make Terminally Curious happy. Tell me:

  1. What have-to-haves are on your Thanksgiving table?
  2. Hard or soft “G” in giblet?


I think this is Virginia Creeper. It grows wild on my fence, and I think it’s pretty when it turns all red like this, so I though I’d share it with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


♥ Book of my Heart ♥

Unlike what most people mean when they say, “the book of my heart” this isn’t a book I wrote. This is a book I own that grows dearer and dearer to me every year and lives deep in my heart.

Do you have a favorite cookbook? Mine’s called Fancy Country Cooking from the First Christian Church. (I have another extra-special-to-me cook book my friend Marilyn made for me, but I’ll tell you about that another time.) Fancy Country Cooking is one of those cookbooks that churches put together, then sell to each other and their friends.

This book means so much to me because it has recipes from so many of the people I’ve known most of my life–many who are gone. Some have moved away, some have died, even some who’ve grown up and moved to other towns and churches.

Sometimes when I look through it, like this morning, I can barely see the pages for the tears. I see “Ruth Wiles Sugared Popcorn”, and remember my piano teacher. Everyone who knew her called her Mitten.

We always scheduled my lesson for the last one in the day so afterward, we could have hot tea and sugared popcorn (I call it sticky popcorn) and knit together. Mitten was one of the last people I said goodbye to when I went to college.

On another page I find Poppy Seed Bread by Jean O’Kief. Mrs. O’Kief was one of the most loved women in C-Town. She was a teacher who didn’t believe there was ever a bad child. She wouldn’t listen to gossip and wouldn’t even let a kid talk bad about himself.

I didn’t have her for a teacher, but I did have her for a customer at Four Seasons, the dress shop my mother owned. She appreciated everything in the store, the hard work we did and the fact that we had such pretty things in a small town. 

Grandmother’s dressing is in this cook book.

Miss Holler, my 6th grade teacher’s sugar cookies.

And more pecan pie recipes than I ever knew existed.

On page G-2 is a recipe my mom put in. It’s called Momma’s Blue Ribbon Hot Rolls. To be honest, I don’t remember Mom making them very often (if at all.) But oh, my goodness! When Grandma made them, the house filled with the wonderful perfume of rising yeast. (To be honest, I like the dough better than I did the baked rolls.)

When Grandma lived on the west side of C-Town, we had several holiday meals in that rambling old two-story house. There wasn’t much heat except for a gas stove in the living room and the cook stove in the kitchen, but that made the rolls that much easier to smell!

Grandma Reeves’s rolls won the Blue Ribbon at the Cherokee County fair at Tahlequah two years in a row.  

Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Image via Wikipedia


Here’s the recipe:

Momma’s Blue Ribbon hot Rolls

  • Scald 2 C. milk


  • 1-3/4 C. cold water
  • Pour over
  •              2 tsp salt 
  •              5 T Crisco, melted
  •              1/2 C sugar

Stir until the milk, water, sugar mixture is lukewarm.

Add 2 cakes yeast mixed with 1/4 C lukewarm water.

  • Add 10 C flour, working until dough is stiff.
  • Let set on floured board 10 minutes.
  • Work down (knead) and put in greased pan (or bowl).
  • Let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Work down.
  • Let rise again until finger prints stay in dough when pinched. (I don’t know how long that is. Probably at least 30 minutes.)
  • Make into rolls
  • Let rise 30 minutes.

Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

 I tried making rolls once when I was first married. I used hot water with the yeast instead of lukewarm. Needless to say, I killed the little beasties and the rolls didn’t rise. My bil named them “eggs”, because they looked like brown hen eggs.

I won’t make that mistake again! But I don’t make hot rolls all that often, either. And if I do, that bil won’t get any. LOL!

Do you have a cook book that has a place deep in your heart? Care to share???