Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Sunday Morning

1967 Elcona Mobile Home

Image via Wikipedia

Hey guys!

It’s Sunday morning. I have exciting news–for the Shay clan, anyway. We sold the mobile home our boys lived in while going to OK State. Finally!

After the last son moved out, we were doing a few touch ups when a group of kids from our mobile home park decided to trash the place. After that it took some time to get it back in good enough shape to think about selling.

Finally I put a “For Sale” sign in the window and a notice on Craig’s List. (Now I have to remember to take it off CL. LOL)

We got a call on Thursday, met the buyer, he made an offer, then another one and we shouted, “Sold!” I met him the next day to do the title transfer and get the check. 🙂

The new owner wants to move it on October 5 or 6, so we had to get everything–all tools, residual furniture and junk–out this weekend. With the help of the two youngest kiddos, we got it all out in one day.

I’m exhausted but happy!

I’ll try to tell you more about and maybe even post a few pics later today. Right now, I’m late for church!


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Meret Beret

I might have mentioned I like to knit. (grins) I’m not a fantastic knitter, but I enjoy the process.

Usually, I knit a lot in the winter, and not so much in the summer.

Nikki and Nicole’s Christmas stockings.

(Too much to do outside to spend a lot of time knitting when it’s warm.)

When we go on vacation, no matter what time of year it is, I like to have a project to take along. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s all that down time with little to do if you aren’t reading, driving or navigating. Or maybe it’s an “idle-hands” and “devil’s-workshop” thing. Who knows? 😉

The first time I remember feeling as if I “needed” something to do while on vaca, we were visiting my cousin Liz in Texas. That time, I bought a kit and did embroidery. After that when the fam left the state, I found myself looking for shops to buy busy-work.

If you’re in a place like a ski resort, hobby shops aren’t inexpensive, although they often have really, really cute patterns and ideas. All the newest and latest!

So to head off high prices (and give myself something to do on the way where ever we’re going) I started finding something to take along. For our two day trip to Paola, Kansas, I found a cute beret I wanted to knit at Loops in Tulsa. I knew I couldn’t knit the entire hat while we were gone, but I thought I’d get a good start on it.

The yarn and needles came from Loops, but the pattern came from Ravelry and is by Woolly Wormhead. (Don’t you love that name?) It’s knitted in the round. That means either double pointed needles

That’s kind of hard to see. Check this one out. More visible but simpler.

or I could use a circular needle.

Since a circular is only one needle to deal with and dpns have five, I chose the circular. (I know. Duh, right? LOL)

So I cast on, just like with straight needles, then the tricky part. You have to make sure there are no twists or turns, then you join the circle so you can’t tell where it begins. The joining isn’t hard. It’s making sure there are no twists or turns that’s killer.

   This isn’t my picture. It came from a website called Knit Simple .

The object is to get all the stitches going the same way

like this. Then join.

So I thought I had all my stitches going the same way, like the pic, and I joined it. I knitted for an inch, then did a 1 x 1 rib.

Can you see it? Think about the bottom of a sweater. That’s ribbing.

Here’s how 1 x 1 ribbing is made: Knit a stitch, pull your yarn to the front and purl a stitch, take your yarn to the back, knit a stitch, etc. Not hard, but you can’t just zone out and knit as I did the first inch of the hat. I knitted and purled for nearly an inch when I got a funny feeling.

I had a twist in the stitches when I joined the circle. 😦

My excuse was I didn’t have room in the car to spread it out and the road wasn’t the smoothest, yada yada. But the bottom line was, I had to rip. No fun.

But I ripped and put it all back in nearly by the time we got to Payola.

Here’s where I am now.

 With all the stitch markers, it reminds me of back in pre-historic times when I slept in hair curlers. 🙂

I think you can see it better here. I’m nearly finished with the first layer. Here’s what the “real” Meret Beret looks like–

Pretty, isn’t it?

Front view.

These last three pictures are from Ravelry. Someone can really make a gorgeous hat.

I doubt mine will be that perfect, but at least I’ll enjoy making it.

One more picture.

This is what I’ve done so far. It’s sitting on my Bible to remind me to tell you about zoning out as I knit. When the pattern is simple enough that I’m not repeating each step, stitch-by-stitch in my head, I pray for whomever I’m knitting it as I go. When I give it away, I call it, “A Prayer in Every Stitch.” (If I had a knitting biz, that’s what I’d name it.)

To be brutally honest, I should probably change that to, “A Prayer In As Many Stitches As Possible,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? 🙂


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My Favorite(s)!

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the tr...

Image via Wikipedia

What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? (Once you get past the wonder-awe of watching rain fall.)

Mine is to stay home, watch old movies and knit. Oh, and eat popcorn! Or apples. (If I lived in Seattle, I’d weigh half a ton.)

I really enjoy old movies. So much that, when they were little, one of my kids asked me once if the world was black and white when I was young. (I still wonder if he was being a smart alack. LOL!)

Some of my favorite oldies? “Valley of Decision” with Greer Garson and Gregory Peck. (Yum!)

A servant in the mill owner’s house falls in love with the son of the house. But her father bitterly hates the mill owner (and anyone connected to him) because he was crippled in the mill.

It’s a fantastic 1945 movie with a not-so-wonderful title. If you get the chance, watch it! Naturally, it has an HEA.

Another favorite of mine is “Now, Voyager.” This 1942 movie stars Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claud Rains. Bette is a spinster whose mother has kept her under her thumb. The movie is about her breaking free and her growth as a person. And for some reason, I love it!

If you have a few moments, watch the videos. The first one introduces Charlotte. (Bette)

http://youtu.be/Q6KD7DATyj0

This next one shows Charlotte after she’s been away from her overbearing mother and grown into her own person.

http://youtu.be/5KWwn2U5H1k

Another movie I watch over and over, especially on rainy days, is Mrs. Miniver.

Greer Garson (again) and Walter Pidgeon star in this 1942 movie. It’s a wonderful story about the life of an English family in the first months of World War II–1939–and the strength of the mother of the clan.

You can probably find snippets of all these movies at Youtube, but they’re best when you watch them in their entirety with a big bowl of popcorn in your lap.

So share with us. What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?


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Tombstone Wednesday :)

Snippet of Fantasie-Impromptu

Image via Wikipedia

Hey! Walking here! (What movie is that?)

Did that sound like the Big City? LOL.

I’m not good at sounding as if I’m from a place where people don’t chat when they stand in line together. Where they don’t make eye contact. Where people don’t care about the lives of those around them.

I’m a true small town world guy.

Back to walking. I’ve started walking again since the temperatures have dropped below a hundred. (To be honest, I waited until it dropped below ninty.)

Yesterday my newest DIL, the musical one, and I walked in the cemetery together. I enjoy spending time with her so much! It’s amazing how good my boys were at choosing their women. 🙂

As we walked, I told her stories and pointed out where people I knew were buried. I showed her the twins headstone their daddy made, which I wish I could bring home and care for. (I need to call the city office and see if they know who those babies are and what year they were born and buried.)

We walked on and I took her to my piano teacher’s headstone. Patti Adams Shriner was her name. She’s buried next to her father (I believe) but I didn’t see a husband’s headstone. Maybe she was divorced. I didn’t think to ask when I was a kid. (I was just a little intimidated by her.)

Mrs. Shriner had suffered a broken hip sometime before I started taking lessons from her, so each time I went into her house, it smelled like Deep Heat or Ben Gay. Remember those rub-on pain relievers?

She had two pianos. A studio piano (I think she used it when she and someone else played dueling pianos) and big, black, shiny grand piano, which we took our lessons on. Imagine a tiny 2nd grader (she liked her students to be able to read before they started taking lessons.) one hand on the magnificent keyboard, plunking out, 1-2-3-rest. 1-2-3-rest. 2-1-2-3. 1-rest-1-rest.

♪♫ Here we go. Up a row. To a birthday party. ♪♫

♫♪ Dolly, dear. Sandman’s near. You will soon be sleeping. ♫♪

And all the while, this beautiful woman had tons of musical talent coursing through her. She’d play for us sometimes. When she did, it was magical. My favorite song she played was Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa0Z6g1XJkU

That was a girlie version. The one below sounds more like the way Mrs. Shriner played.

http://youtu.be/jwZFdKHl8dY

If you listed to both, you’ll hear the difference. I liked Mrs. Shriner’s version best. I took lessons from Mrs. Shriner for six years. When I changed to another teacher, she told me I “played like I was killing snakes.” 🙂 Then explained I had a man’s touch, rather than the sweet delicate touch a woman (or girl) normally has.

I don’t play anymore–at least for anyone but myself. It takes time and practice to play well enough for others to hear, and I don’t take the time to practice. Right now, I’m trying to learn to be a good writer.

But I enjoy the little bit of knowledge I received from Mrs. Shriner. And I love good classical piano.

That’s the music to Fantasie Impromptu at the bottom of her headstone. Beautiful, isn’t it?


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Almost There!

The title really ought to be, “MADE IT!!!”

I finished judging my last (I hope) contest entry in Where the Magic Begins! The Romance Writers Ink contest for unpublished writers.

I’ve probably told you more about it than you wanted to hear, but we’re almost at the end. Everyone on the committee judged at least twice as many entries as most people who pitched in to help out. I had 11 or 12, a couple of category judges had one or two more than I did, and Sandee had (at least) nineteen!

Sandee is a big reader and a wonderful judge. We don’t put our names on the entries we judge, but I truly hope the people who entered appreciate the judges.

It’s hard work. We do our best to critique these entries so they can be fixed and sell ASAP.

All the members of RWI are actively trying to sell our manuscripts, so we know exactly what it’s like to put your heart in a book. Get up early. Stay up late. Take time from your family or your knitting or other interests to tell that story.

And when that story comes to The End, we start all over with a new story, whether the last one has sold or not.

That might sound like the definition of insanity, but there are thousands of women all over America (all over the world!) who are doing the same thing.

Some are succeeding.

Sometimes our comments might seem harsh, but we work to keep that from happening. Any criticism of our babies hurts, and just like when our children have to be disciplined, it only makes them better.

We want to be a stepping stone on the way to success.

I truly hope we are!