Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Philadelphia’s China Town

Ever been to Philadelphia? It wasn’t on my Bucket List of Places I Want to See Before I Die, but we flew out there last month for G-Man’s birthday, and we had a great time!

He’s a fan of R & B music and a couple of his favorite groups were playing in Collingswood, New Jersey. We stayed in Philadelphia, because Collingswood is just across the river.

Our plane left early, early in the morning, so we had peanuts for breakfast. But lunch! We made up for missing breakfast at lunch.

009This building is full of restaurants–kind of like a giant food court! Naturally, for our first meal in Philadelphia, we wanted Phily Cheese Steak Sandwiches, and we stood in two lines to get ours.

I ordered mine with hot peppers, G-Man got his with mild. Sadly, people in Philadelphia don’t know what hot peppers taste like. 😉 Very mild peppers.

It was an interesting and entertaining experience! A man with two large spatulas worked over a huge grill making the sammies. He used the edge of both spatulas to chop, chop, chop that meat. Occasionally he’d toss in a few onions and peppers, then chop, chop, chop some more!

When he deemed the beef ready, he took a bun (looked like a hoagie to me) with cheese in it, put it face down on the meat and after a few moments flipped it all the other way, wrapped it up and handed it over.

Good stuff!

Next we decided to walk to Betsy Ross’s house. The walk was almost as interesting as Betsy herself.

horticultureThis was on a wall along the way. It says, “The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Improving the quality of life and creating community through horticulture.” Beautiful, isn’t it? Across the street from the gorgeous wall was a rack of bicycles.

blue-bike-worldThese bikes aren’t free to ride. You pay so much per month (or per ride) to use them. I didn’t see a lot of people on them, but I thought they were fascinating. You can read more about Indego here in case you’re planning to go to Phily and love biking.

The really interesting part of the walk, though? Guess.

China-TownIf you guessed China Town, you were right! The place is wonderful!

parking-lot-dragonThis guy protected a private parking lot. Isn’t he beautiful? He had a buddy, too.

protecting-the-parking-lotI loved those guys! If I could have fit him in my suitcase, I’d have one in the backyard right now. (Probably would have had to pay the airlines extra for the weight, though.) 🙂

We walked a little longer. We passed lots of Chinese restaurants, Sushi Restaurants and gift shops. One alley, though, stopped me in my tracks.

fish-drying-in-the-open-airCan you tell what that is? In an alley, right next to a very busy street, this black Chevy pickup was parked. The bed of the truck is covered and there’s something drying there. I’m fairly sure that’s fish, drying in the open air. People walking, cars driving by and birds flying overhead. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it, but it was still there when we went back to the hotel.

It doesn’t get stolen.


Every now and then, interspersed among the parking meters, they had one of these. Pretty, isn’t it? I didn’t see one in use, but I assume it’s for locking up bikes. Maybe? Guess I should have asked.

One more thing I saw that amazed was this.

shopping-opIsn’t that a cool sign? The Hoopskirt Factory wasn’t there anymore, sadly. Just shops. But I’d love to have visited.

Next time, I’ll take you to visit Betsy. She’s quite a woman.

So . . . questions–

Have you been to Philadelphia?

Have you ridden a blue bike there?

Do you know what that was drying on the back of the pickup?

Terminally Curious is asking. 😉

♥ ♥ ♥





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The GRAND Canyon

How long has it been since you were at the Grand Canyon?

We’ve been there twice, the last time at the beginning of this month! And to be honest, my toes stayed curled for a long time after we left because of the sudden drop looming next to the path. 🙂

As you can probably guess, I snapped a few pics while we were there.



This statue was in front of the restaurant where we ate. Don’t you love it?

GC-FATHER-SONTo be honest, I’m a people/critter watcher first and a canyon watcher second. This pair looked like a father-son to me. I loved the way they were recording their time together.

GC-HORSEThis was one of the park rangers. She didn’t stop and chat (sadly) and she didn’t offer me a ride, sigh, but she was friendly. Nice horse, too, huh?

GC-LIZARDWe watched this guy sun himself on the edge of the canyon for several minutes.

GC-SQUIRRELAnd this speedy character entertained several of us lurkers.

GC-ART-STUDIOThis is an artist’s studio there at the edge of the canyon. Imagine spending your days painting God’s handiwork. (And hoping you don’t sleep walk off the edge.)

GC-WEEDSI did get a few (!) shots of the canyon. God really carved out a beautiful place out there.

GC-THE-CANYONAren’t the muted colors gorgeous?



GC-TRAILING-PATHI decided I couldn’t climb any higher on the rim train at one point (that deep hole was making me dizzy) so I sat on a bench and waited while G-Man went on up.

I met several people while I was there. One couple was Sam and Rebecca from Ohio. They asked where I was from and I answered, “Cleveland, OKLAHOMA. When I say Cleveland, most people say ask if it’s the one in Ohio.”

Rebecca laughed. “When you start talking, they know it’s not Ohio.”

“I have an accent???”

GC-LEAP-PADSThis is the place where my kids hopped around the last time we were at the Grand Canyon. Yeah, my toes curled then, too.

So when was the last time you were at the Grand Canyon? Well, it’s time to go back.

Not that it changes much in a span of a few years, except for the manmade stuff. But most peoples’ memories are never as beautiful as the real thing. Head out that way soon and send me a picture of your favorite part.

I’ll love it.


I Met Puff! (But I didn’t inhale.)

Here’s the funniest picture I took while we were on vacation. puff-the-magic-dragon

I tried to get G-Man to get out of the car so we could take a selfie together in front of the sign, but he just shook his head. I don’t know if it was because the shop was still open or if he was afraid Puff the Magic Dragon would snatch us.

I wasn’t worried, though.

In case you’re wondering (you are, aren’t you?) I didn’t go inside. I didn’t buy anything. I didn’t get a free sample, and I didn’t see Puff. (I didn’t even breathe deep while I was there.)

I knew Colorado had passed a law that made the sale of weed legal, but actually seeing it for sale like that blew my mind! 😀

There was a shop closer to our hotel called GANDALF’S SMOKE SHOP. I don’t know if it sold cannabis (they don’t mention it in their ad) but just hearing the name made us laugh out loud. They had the name for it!

BTW: For those of you who don’t know, in that song about Puff the Magic Dragon, they aren’t talking about imaginary creatures. At least, that’s what the big boys told me.

See what you think–



We Filled the Well!

My sweet niece, Hope, mentioned the other day that I haven’t blogged lately. (Hiya, Hope!)

I told her that I’d run out of words. How sad is that? A writer without words is like an artist without his medium, a swimmer without water or a musician without music. Pretty darn bad.

Just to be honest, everything I thought about writing was b-o-r-I-n-g. And who wants to be boring???

But I refilled my well last week!

G-Man and I went to Durango, Colorado, then on to the Grand Canyon. Except for the fact that there’s a long fall right in front of everything beautiful out that way, we had a great time!

The first day in Durango, we went to Mesa Verde. Ever been there? We have a few times, and each time it’s magical. Or spooky. Or both!


This is the view on the way up, through the windshield. Yep, those are bug guts you’re looking at. Sorry about that. I washed the windshield each time we got gas, but those bugs were determined to die there.

When I washed it once, a Mexican man who’d taken my space’s squeegee to help his wife clean their windows, brought his back. (I swiped one from the next aisle over.) When he did, he said, “My wife said, ‘These dratted insects.’ But I answered her, ‘At least they’re legal dratted insects.'” And he laughed.

I wasn’t exactly sure what he said (heavy accent on his part and poor hearing on mine) so I laughed with him. He was very nice!

So, back to Mesa Verde. The first thing did when we got there was to go to their main building. What’s it called? Wait, I know. The Visitors’ Center. (Duh) Anyway, we went there to get my visit-all-the-national-parks-book stamped. Since my joints aren’t quite up to long hikes and climbs, we didn’t pay to go on one of the regular tours.

We opted for the self-guided ones instead.

mv-flowersThe wildflowers were beautiful. And we saw lots of wildlife–squirrels, chipmunks, lizards and even a bear! We were in the car when we saw fuzzy boy, thank heavens! I’m not sure I’d have thought it was so wonderful if we’d met him face to face.

We found our way to the “Step House,” so called because they found some ancient steps there. (I couldn’t see them, but they were there.)

mv-step-house  mv-house-with-steps




I wish I could show you the valley floor those people had to travel down to get where they were going to build their houses. I whined just walking on the paved path.

The best thing about the trip was the nice people every place we went! We chatted a little with another couple while we were there. (She was from up north. He was from Durango and looked like a young Sam Elliott. 😀 ) They were very nice. You could tell he did a lot of hiking/climbing/etc. She was more like me–afraid of heights and not used to the thin air. 🙂

I’ll admit, I whined some, but I made it back to the car without having to be carried. (I did mention Gary giving me a piggy back a time or two. He didn’t jump at that idea.)

Reminded me of a book I started a long time ago about some people who camped out in a cliff dweller’s hut. I think I needed to spend more time in Mesa Verde, just sitting inside the house and communing with the ghosts living there.

But there was a park ranger guarding the place, and I really wouldn’t want to mess anything up. We could have spent our entire time away at Mesa Verde and still not seen all of it. Those park rangers have fantastic jobs!

So . . . have you been to Mesa Verde? What did you think?

If you want to learn more about Mesa Verde, check this out–





Doing the Drag

I posted this on my FB Page.


Responses made me laugh out loud.

Then I started thinking–Was it just back in the day when gasoline was c-h-e-a-p that kids did that kind of thing? Was it just Small Town Worlds? Just Oklahoma?

I don’t know.

Around here, though, kids liked to pile in a car and ride around, but only certain streets. They’d drive down main street through town, turn on the other main street, drive to the end, circle the fast food restaurant there and head back the way they came.

I’m not sure where they turned around on the north end of town. Anybody?

We called it Dragging Main. You could count on seeing certain kids riding there Friday or Saturday night. (And a lot of week nights.)

And you didn’t just drive. You had to honk at your friends in other cars when you passed them.

The reason we did it wasn’t about driving or riding, you know ?

Okay, I didn’t do it. (Honest, Dad!) But everybody else did. I was sure then and I’m positive now. Every single person in this Small Town World got to drag main except me!

It was a social thing.

It was about hanging with friends and making new friends. Flirting with boys (or girls). Having fun.

And sometimes, the cars stopped and the occupants mixed up and started Dragging Main again. Of course, after the mixing, sometimes kids rode together who shouldn’t have been together, and then watch out for the drama!

But hey, at that age, life is all about the drama. Right?

Now the Terminally Curious in me is asking, Has it ended? Did Dragging Main go the way of cheap gas?

If it ended, what took it’s place?

One more question: Did you Drag Main? And if you did, did your mama know?

♥  ♥  ♥