Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Happy Re-Ween

I promised to share some pictures from The Most Haunted Hotel in America today, but I’m sorry to say, I can’t. My computer has a power cord problem (at least I hope that’s all it is) so I can’t get to the pictures. (Sorry, Megan.)

I will share them as soon as I get a new power cord. In the mean time, I’m reblogging from Halloween 2008. If you’ve read it before, thanks! (That means we’ve been friends for at least four years. LOL! )

~10/31/2008 Again~

Isn’t Halloween a great holiday? There’s not a lot of planning that goes into it. Just a little candy buying and costume buying (or making) and carving a jack-o-lantern.

For me, though, the best part is the memories.

I remember scary dreams I had on Halloween night as well as the dream one of my sisters (sometimes known as #4) had about a witch cutting off her leg. I thought it was funny, but she was shaking all over when she told me about it. Guess it’s a good thing dreams are age specific. 😉

I remember special years when we trick or treated. Once I was a blind ghost–holes in the sheet kept shifting so I couldn’t see where I was going. Once I wore my dad’s older brother’s clown costume he’d worn when he was my age. Kind of fell apart as we made the rounds, but it was a beauty.

A really special memory is the year my folk moved into the house I grew up in. A crowd of people from our old town (20 miles away) came to give us a surprise house warming and all our old friends were there to t-o-t with us.

To be honest, my favorite part of Halloween has to be the movies. My favs are not the cut ‘em up and watch ‘em bleed kind. I like the good OLD ones like The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr.

TWM  was made in 1941. (Makes you wonder if that was before the attack on Pearl Harbor, doesn’t it?)

When we were kids, my sister Debbie and I went to the movies most Saturday afternoons with our friend, Marsha Hagberg. Marsha was a little younger than me and a little older than Debbie, so she made a great friend for the two of us to hang with. We saw all the good old movies. Frankenstein–1931. The Mummy–1932. Several vampire movies that were all old and scary. And we thought everything was new!

Marsha watched most of them through her fingers or hiding her face completely while she whispered, “Tell me what’s happening! Tell me what’s happening!” Marsha usually sat in the middle, so I’m not sure what Debbie was doing. Either she was braver than Marsha or too afraid to talk loud enough for me to hear. (I seem to remember the two of us crowding into one theater seat a time or two, but I’m not sure which was more afraid. Her or me.)

Right now I’m hoping I can catch THIRTEEN GHOSTS, the original one made in 1960. There were wonderful actors in the movie. Martin Milner, Margaret Hamilton (The Wicked Witch of the West), Rosemary Decamp (from the Munster’s tv show)

For years I thought the picture was in 3D because of the glasses they gave us to wear, but today I found this:

  • The movie was filmed in “Illusion-O” and a pair of special glasses where needed to see the ghosts. This resulted in a number of sources incorrectly stating that the film was originally shown in 3D. The “ghost viewers” contained a red filter and a blue filter but unlike 3D viewers, both eyes would look through the same color filter. One color would cause the ghostly images to intensify while the other color caused the images to fade.

I thought watching through the image fading color was a waste of my $$, so I braved it out. (I can’t say what Debbie and Marsha did.)

There are a ton of vampire movies I loved watching back then. I just wish I could remember the names of them in order to look them up. It’s funny they made so many vampires and so few wolf men, isn’t it?

Today you find more vampire romances to read, too, and very few werewolf.

(From Young Frankenstein) Werewolf?


Where wolf? There. There wolf.

Why are you talking like that?

I dunno. I thought you wanted to. I’m easy.

Yeah. Funny scary movies rank up there, too. The (new) Mummy, Lost Boys and Young Frankenstein are on the top of my list in that department.

If you have a minute . . . I often wonder if anyone else had a movie childhood like mine. Did you catch any of these movies on the big screen? Which were your favorites?


Happy Re-Ween! Hope you get tons of candy!

English: The Wicked Witch of The West, melting...

English: The Wicked Witch of The West, melting after being doused by Dorothy. From the first edition of The Wizard of Oz. Français : La méchante sorcière de l’ouest, en fusion après avoie été arrosée par Dorothy. Extrait de la première édition de Le Magicien d’Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Remember when being pinned meant you were engaged to be engaged? (Or at least going steady.) Never happened to me, but I saw it on the movies. 🙂

Not anymore. Now, being pinned means Pinterest.

Of course, you’re on Pinterest. EVERYONE (even #4) is there these days. And I have to tell you, it’s addictive.

Go there, and it’ll take you about three days to surface. You can find anything and everything you want to know about there. If you can think of it and there’s been a picture taken of it, it’s most liked been pinned.

Recipes, arts, crafts, gardening, baby things, nail ideas, decorating, vacationing, house designing, boots, Hodge Podge, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, showers, birthdays, shopping and on and on and on.

The trouble I have with Pinterest is getting lost. I get so involved with it, I can’t turn it off. Or I click on a Pin, then click again to follow it to the web page where it came from. Then follow that and wander on until I’m not really sure where I started. Or when it was.

BUT there are some beautiful ideas. Such as this cute ideaI saw  for Christmas nails but can’t find again. The nail is painted red, and a white ribbon and simple bow painted on it. In the center of the bow is a rhinestone. Simple and gorgeous!

Delicious soups, such as the broccoli cheese soup crock pot soup I pinned (thanks to DIL Nikki) this morning.


  1. Sauté onion and green pepper in butter.
  2. Combine all ingredients on low in crockpot for 3-4 hours. Do not add salt.
I’m not a big Velveeta fan, but this looks really good.
To be honest, I’m not really sure how Pinterest works. If I pin something, I can’t always find where it went. (If I don’t pin it and want to see it again, it’s gone, for sure.) But when I can make it work, I love it!
Is this great or what?
Of course, I’d have to change BROTHER to SISTER, but that’s okay.
And I love this–
Now if I can find it again, I’ll follow to the post and learn HOW to make it.
Do you pin? If you do, come on over and follow me so I can follow you back. Then maybe you can tell me how it works. 🙂


Yard Shoot

While we were in Arkansas last weekend, I took a lot of pretty-leaves-from-a-distance pictures. I never thought about what closeups would look like. Then I read a blog where a woman said taking random closeup shots of fall leaves was good for her soul.

I loved her pictures and wanted to try it. Our leaves aren’t that gorgeous this year. And I don’t have a ton of time for going out to find them.

When I came home yesterday, I decided to try it anyway, and stay in my own backyard. I kind of like the results.

See what you think.

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I also took pictures of my one remaining tomato plant.

I had two plants here, back in the spring. After they’d grown a while, they looked like this–

Then one of the plants ate the other one, and now he looks like this.

I keep my fingers crossed that he won’t eat Molly when she’s out playing in the yard. So much plant, so little fruit. 🙂


Springing Eureka

As I mentioned Monday, some of our kids spent time with us in Eureka Springs this last weekend, so I thought we’d do a few things we’d never done before. G-Man and I’ve been to Eureka so many times, there’s not a whole lot we haven’t done, but I found a couple of things.

We toured the springs! (Yes, there are springs in Eureka Springs. LOL!)

It’s funny, but we’d never spent time actually exploring the thing ES is named for.

Eureka was first established because of the healing quality of the natural springs. Indians believed in the healing power, Civil War soldiers recouped there. And (I hear) people still soak in the hot springs in some of the spas. We didn’t do that. (Maybe on the next trip.)

The first spring we visited was inside an antique store. Yes, we bit the bullet 😛 and shopped at that store so we could see the Gadd Spring.

We loved this shop. Probably could have spent the entire time we stayed in Arkansas just exploring the place and grounds.

Can you imagine the joy of having this inside your shop? Too cool!

See the water falling toward the bottom of the picture? That’s the spring, springing! Great place to grow plants.

e-Gadd! 🙂 LL–this pic is for you. It’s a banana plant growing next to Gadd Spring.

Basin Spring

This is the spring most people see, but I’m not sure they realize it’s the spring. The water has been routed to this fountain, which runs pretty much all the time. Beautiful, isn’t it?

 Laundry and/or Onyx Spring

This spring had two names. It was called Laundry Spring, because so many people did their wash there, back in the day.

 This bench says, “Onyx Spring,” because at one time, there was onyx there. It’s gone now.

Looks like a water fountain, doesn’t it? Several of the springs have those, but there are signs that say, “Do not drink the water.”

We didn’t.

Grotto Spring

This was a gorgeous place. Lots of room to climb or just hang around.

Here’s the undrinkable fountain at that location. We met a woman from the area with her two kids (and their dog, Barney) at this spring. The kids were polite, obedient and delightful. The woman was friendly and full of helpful knowledge.

She told us about walking trails, where we could find free maps, and that we could go into any of the public areas at the Crescent Hotel without worry. (I’ll tell you about visiting The Most Haunted Hotel in the World on Halloween.)

Then we ran into this woman and her kids every place we went. She even stayed at our hotel for the weekend so her kids could swim, so we had breakfast near each other a few times. (She could sniff out a full coffee pot with the best of them!)

Is that a cool mom or what?

Grotto Spring Cave

This candle was burning in Grotto Spring Cave, wherethe spring originates. The woman from ES hated it being there because, she said, it’s killing the cave life.

We didn’t blow it out anyway.

Magnetic Spring

The last spring we visited was Magnetic Spring. It’s near the bottom of Magnet Road, which leads from the Passion Play to Main Street. I’m not sure why they named it Magnetic.

Like the others, this spring was lush and beautifully landscaped.

This is Matt, standing in front of the two basins, filled with water. We drove by once and saw some kids wading in it. The water was up to their thighs.

The upper basin spills into the lower basin, keeping them both fresh and pretty.

I hoped we could do the family pic at one of the springs, but that didn’t happen. Gonna have to try for some group shots again. Soon!

Grist Mill


Fall Tripping

Recognize this?

My favorite time to take a road trip is autumn. (Big surprise, huh?) We invited our kids and their honeys to join us over the weekend. (I had lofty dreams of taking family photos, too.) It didn’t work out the way I wanted.

#3 son had another commitment, #2 son couldn’t come until Saturday, and his wife couldn’t come at all, but #2 son and his wife were there. We had a great time!

I love hanging with someone who has great taste.

We saw some beautiful foliage. Have I mentioned I like fall leaves?




Most of you probably know, I’m talking about Wareagle. So many great ideas. So many I want thats! (So many, “I can do thats!”)

Wareagle developed around a grist mill. (That’s the water wheel that turns the millstone inside.) There’s a restaurant in the top of the mill, but we never get close to it during the craft fair. It’s much too crowded. After all, it’s been going on for 59 years!

It’s set in a gorgeous landscape. I love this river.

 There’s an old one-lane bridge that crosses it. The fair is on both sides, and so much fun!

Of course, there were a few things I thought were just too cute to ignore.

Anyone have a spare horseshoe I can borrow?

By the end of a day at Wareagle, I’m always exhausted. But by next year, I’ll be ready to go again. 😛

I’ve talked since the last time we went to Wareagle about the witch’s brooms nearly all the women (besides me) were carrying. G-Man insisted I buy one this time. (I’ll be adding a bat to fly nearby, and maybe a spider.) When we got it, he suggested I fly it to the car. 🙂

I told him I would, except we didn’t have a long enough extension cord.

I bought this doll from Polka Dot Pig. Trouble is, she doesn’t have a name.

 Want to help me name her?


Balloon Dancer ;)

Isn’t it funny how the smallest thing can bring back full blown memories? Last night I was watching TV and saw a young woman in a dress a particular shade of dusty pink that reminded me of our first grade play.

I don’t have a picture from that play. This is a couple of years before.

When I was little, there were two lower grade schools in C-Town. Every year, we took turns having the Christmas and Spring Plays. The year I was in first grade, we got to do the Spring Play.

Of course, there weren’t enough parts in the play for everyone to get to be in it, so those of us who were left out got to be Balloon Girls.

Yes, I was disappointed, but since some of my friends were Balloon Girls, too, I didn’t mind too much. Another of my friends (who was in a higher grade) had a mother who volunteered to teach us our balloon dance.

We’d line up on the stage, and Jane would show us the steps, over and over. There must have been eight or ten of us little girls up there, bumping into each other and twirling around. And when it was almost time for the Spring Play, she brought real balloons for us to practice with. (Wow!)

Now I imagined in the real play, we’d each have a helium balloon that would magically float along with us as we danced. Naturally, I was way wrong. They were just round balloons that we held by the tail, and must have looked like a ball in all our little hands.

I don’t remember much about that dance, but I remember practicing the end. We stepped forward, dropped our arms down to our sides, then swung them forward toward the empty gymnasium. (They brought in chairs for the play.)

I’m not sure how oblivious I was when I was six, but I was really surprised when I  saw the costume I had to wear. I don’t remember Mama sewing it and I don’t remember trying it on or being measured for it.

The day of the performance, someone helped me put on a short pink dress with a very gathered skirt that was made out of crepe paper.

Yep, crepe paper. And we had a headband with pink crepe paper frills on it, too. I’m surprised they called us the Balloon Girls in the program. I’d have called us Paper Dolls. 😛

We wore lipstick (!) on our lips and our cheeks. I’m telling you, we were real dolls!

We took off our shoes so we could dance in our socks rather than clump around the stage in penny loafers. Just before we went on stage, Jane handed us each a balloon and said, “Now at the very end, when you swing your arms toward the audience, throw them your balloons.”

Bummer X 2.

Bummer 1: The one thing I thought would pay me for missing out on being in the play was that I would get to take my balloon home.

Bummer 2: The balloons were just balloons, not helium. And they weren’t magical. 😦

I don’t remember being nervous at all, but with the bright stage lights on and the gym lights off, I couldn’t see anything but the curtains the edged the side and back of the stage. Nothing to be nervous about.

I’m sure we did a perfect job. (Snort.) Afterward, one of my friends and I went with our moms to get our picture taken by another friend.

Somewhere there’s a picture of Marsha and me in our crepe paper costumes, if one of my sibs didn’t eat it at some point. (That happened a lot at our house.) Our cheeks are so red, we look as if we’d just finished running a marathon.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that picture, I don’t really remember it very well, but most likely my hair is a mess (it usually was if I had any time to play) and my headband, if I hadn’t lost it, is probably slipping over one eye.

Boy, was it fun. 🙂


Christmas Card Shoot

It’s been a long time since my family has taken a family photo. I’m not talking snapshots. I take tons of those.

This pic is BN (Before Nikki.)

 I’m talking the thing where you dress up with a goal in mind. Where there are no dishes on the table.

Something like this–

or maybe this–

You know what I mean. Truly,

A Family Photograph

Did you hear the Angel Choir sing when you read those three words? I’m sure they did, because God loves family and He loves it when we take a beautiful picture of the whole crew.

I might be able to find a scripture to back that up if you give me time. Maybe.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve sent out Christmas cards, letters or greetings of any sort. So I thought, why not do a family picture since all my boys are married now and send them for Christmas?

After all, my favorite Christmas greetings are ones with family pictures like my sister-in-law, Julie, usually sends out, and I could include it in a letter like the Cathys send out. (Forever Friend, Cathy, and #1 son’s mother-in-law, Cathy=the Cathys. Get it?) Christmas letters catch everyone up on family happenings for the past year.

Don’t you just love those?

I look forward to them all year long. Maybe someone would enjoy a letter like that from us! (And the ones who don’t could just toss them and I wouldn’t be the wiser.)

AND I’d get a FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH to frame.

I don’t know if you can see this, but it’s the boys when they were just little. That’s probably the only family picture Christmas card I’ve ever sent out.

Don’t ask why. I. Don’t. Know.

So, back to my plan. I decided I want a family photo. I set the date. I set the place–a beautiful town with wonderful historic sights. I even set the time–a weekend when there’d be tons of gorgeous autumn leaves for background.

I let everyone know a few weeks ahead of time. (Me, making plans that far ahead is a miracle in itself.)

I was pumped. This could work!

Right away, I ordered a new lens for my camera, found the tripod and bought a remote control thingy that actually shoots the picture while the whole family smiles.


Almost immediately, my bright dreams crashed like a china shop with a three-year-old running it. One of the kids had a conflict. It was a really excellent family reason he couldn’t be there for the picture. As a woman who believes in family, I couldn’t find fault with what he needed to do. In fact, I WANT him to do it. But that didn’t stop my disappointment. *sniff*

#1 DIL had a great idea, though. “We’ll just photoshop them in. We can do this!”

Ooooh-kay. That might just work. Then a few other conflicts started popping up. Work commitments and school things that, while they don’t completely stop the photo shoot, will change the perimeters. But it’s still doable.

I hope. If the day I have planned doesn’t get rained out. And if I can get everyone to behave just for a little while.

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just schedule another shoot, maybe at a park in T-Town with beautiful leaves and fountains and bridges and scenery, and I’ll tell them all they have to be there for the Christmas Card Shoot.

If that one doesn’t work out, I’ll schedule another. And another. Finally, they’ll have to give in. Right?

No Christmas Card Shoot, no Christmas.