Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


4 Comments

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Are you ready for the big day? I’m not sure I’m ever really ready, but since I have yet to learn how to stop time, it’s coming anyway. 😉

One of my favorite things about Christmas has always been the Sunday before. I have tons of memories of me, my sisters and Mama, all in matching velvet dresses on Christmas Sunday. Sometimes Mom got Jeffrey in a matching velvet vest, but for some reason could never get Dad in one. 🙂

party-gifts

I still love church on Christmas Sunday. We sing all the songs I’ve always loved, or most of them. And we hear about the Bethlehem Adventure–or at least part of it, depending on the preacher and what God gives him to share.

I love learning what I think I know and realize I don’t know. Like the wise men. You know, like the song. “We Three Kings of Orient are . . . ” and learning I don’t know how many Wise Men there were. (No one does.) And the idea that Mary rode a donkey when she and Joseph went to Bethlehem. Go back and read it again. Where’s that donkey? 😦 Poor Mary.

mary-did-you-know

More than anything, I like the reminder that Immanuel (God with us) who created the universe, became an infant so that thirty odd years later He could die for our sins. Our sins, not His. (He was perfect.) No matter how many rules we had, we couldn’t be perfect enough. But He is God, so He’s perfect, the Lamb of God, sacrificed for our sins.

His presence (remember, He’s Immanuel, God with us) is our present for eternity.

I like that so very, very much.

Advertisements


2 Comments

Labor Day 2013

Labor Day weekend–finished. How was yours? I can tell you how mine was in one word.

H! O! T!

Right, I know that everyone in Okieland had the same temp (about) but we have specially trained everything in our lives– our appliances, our vehicles, even ourselves–that if something is going to go wrong, it’s gotta be on a weekend. Preferably a long weekend.

sun2

We should have been prepared. We should have known with LD coming, something would gilflirt.

(BTW: Gilflirt is a technical word meaning to stop working.)

So since this was the last weekend of “true” summer (at least on the calendar) our air conditioner decided to go on the fritz. And it did a magnificent job of fritzing.

It gave us no warning, not even a death rattle. It just stopped.

Pfft.

Now I truly love our air conditioner guys. I’ve known the HGIC (head guy in charge for those of you who don’t get the lingo) since we were little kids.

standing_fan

The thing is, they’re good. They’re really good. Everybody (nearly) uses them. Which means it takes FOREVER for them to get to my house and fix the ‘ditioner.

I even tried the old, “My husband has heart problems and can’t sleep in the heat,” whine to no avail.

1-1-day-heart.jpg

So we hauled a mattress downstairs so we wouldn’t have to fight over the couch. (Family room now looks like a dorm room. And no, that doesn’t make me feel 18 again.)

BTW: Did you know that even if you sleep on a mattress, if you’re sleeping on a hardwood floor, it’s still hard? A couple of mornings of stiff backs had us dragging the box springs down to go under it.

I’m not sure it’s much softer, but we don’t have as far to stand up when we awake in the a.m.

But I still go upstairs to put on my makeup and get dressed in the heat. (Note to Walking Buddy: The stripes you noticed in my makeup was not a fashion statement. It was where sweat ran down.)

But at least I got something done this weekend. I power-washed my front porch and chased away all the web makers. (By the time I was finished I looked like I’d been swimming.)

The spidys decorated for Halloween way too early. I noticed an eight legged interloper out there yesterday on the way in from work, so I’ll be going out again, this time armed with a can of ant spray.

Spiders hate ant spray.

1-push-up

And before someone reminds me how wonderful spiders are (shiver) because they eat bugs and their webs are miracles of creation, I’ll tell you: The spiders who’ve taken over my deck are healthy, happy and incredibly fat. (We have a ton of bugs here near the lake.)

So . . . how much fun was your LD Weekend?

Care to share?


2 Comments

Memorial Day at Old Mannford Ramp

This is a reblog from five years ago. Much has changed in those five years–kids married, friends passed, books published, a new hip–but memories remain the same. Maybe that’s the good thing about remembering. That’s the one thing in life that remains constant–as long as I don’t compare mine with someone else’s who was at the scene. LOL!

♥ ♥ ♥

5/24/2008– Whenever I think of Memorial Day, I think of the year I was pregnant with our first son (btw: that was 1977.) My DH had wanted a sailboat for sometime, so we finally bought one. A twenty foot Daysailer with a cuddy cabin. (You can see a picture of them here.)

Memorial Day dawned beautiful. The sky was brilliant blue with only a crown of clouds around the horizon. We went to his parents for lunch, then took out the boat. His parents and younger brother decided to go with us. His parents didn’t want to go in the boat so they stayed on shore. After insisting he wear a bright orange life jacket, Younger Brother, DH and I loaded up and took off.

New: We went to Old Mannford Ramp, which is no long open on Keystone Lake. While we were there, I pointed out the place where I’d lived as a little girl as well as the tree I could never climb because the branches started way too high.

I didn’t know that where we put the boat in was the same area where my parent had swum as kids, many years before that and very near the place where my mom had lived.

We went to the end of the area we were in. (I think it was near where that bridge was that scared me so much, the one we had to cross to go see Janie and Sally.)  We were turning around to sail back past his parents so we could wave at them when the wind died. And when I say died, I mean D-I-E-D. There wasn’t a breath of a breeze anywhere. It felt as if we’d all donned heavy wool coats.

“It’s hot!” YB complained. “Can I take off my life jacket?”

“No!” DH and I both answered.

Luckily, there’s a law that you must have a paddle in the boat, so DH, at the back of the boat, started working our way toward home.

That’s when I heard a distant roar. I had no idea what it was, but it scared me to death. “Can you hear that?”

“Hear what?” DH wasn’t in a really good mood with sweat pouring into his eyes.

“That sound. It like a great big wind, heading our way.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“It’s either a great big wind or someone is riding a motor cycle down the middle of the lake!” I snapped.

Before he could answer me, the wind caught up with us. It filled the sail and the jib, and before we could catch our breaths, tilted the boat high on its edge. I sat close to the cuddy cabin on the low side, and when I glanced at YB to see that he was okay, I saw him bail off the high side into the stormy lake.

Then we capsized. I grabbed the two loose life jackets and put one under each arm to keep them from being washed away.

YB swam up close to me and grabbed the end of the boat. DH worked hard to pull himself onto the top of the bottom of the boat. While he was pulling himself up, YB said, “Quick, Susan, take this.”

“This” was the rudder–which is solid iron and acted like an anchor in my hand, weighing me down so low, I could barely keep  my nose above water.

Then DH said, “Hand me one of those life jackets, Susan. I’ll put it on.”

I started scissor kicking hard to keep the water out of my mouth. “I can’t. I’m holding the rudder. If I give you a life jacket, I’ll go to bottom.”

“Why are you holding the rudder?” 

I was a little irritated. “Because your brother pulled it out and I didn’t want to have to buy another one.”

He looked down from his safe spot. “Okay. Hand it to me.”

“Hand it to you? How? I can barely keep it where it is. I sure can’t lift it.”

Oh.” Getting on one knee, he reached down and took the rudder, placing it next to him. “You all get up here.”

YB climbed up and sat on the sloping portion, then we looked toward shore. DH’s mother was running up and down the beach as if she thought we were going to be swept out to sea at any moment. (Oklahoma is a long way from the sea, but that didn’t enter her mind. Her baby was in trouble.)

His father found someone who had a boat with an engine and sent them out to rescue us. But the waves were so high and the wind so bad, each time they got close, they almost landed on top of us. They had to give up.

In a while a man with long hair, wearing only a pair of cutoffs and carrying an empty gallon milk carton came wading into the lake, then swam toward us.

“Go back! Go back!” DH yelled.

The guy ignored him. When he got there, he told us he was with lake rescue.

“What’s the milk carton for?” I asked.

“It’s to tie to the mast in case we have to drop it.”

He told DH to get off the boat, go underneath and break the mast over. DH went under, but it took him so long to find the mast and do the necessary adjustments in the dark, the stranger thought he was going to have to rescue him.

DH finally popped back out, safe and sound. With the mast now hinged instead of fixed, the wind was able to blow the boat onto its side. We easily pushed it to shore.

A bit upset (and in my first trimester of pregnancy) I got in the truck and let DH and his dad load up.

Although we still own it, we only went out on that boat one more time. It was a Fourth of July when the wind blew so hard, it forced us against the rocks under the railroad trestle. Unwilling to chance capsizing again, I whistled down a passing boat (yep, I got the big whistle gene in this fam) and got us a tow back to shore.

What are your favorite Memorial Day memories? Sprucing up the cemetery with your grandparents when you were a kid? Going on picnics with your families? Vacations that span the weekend? Or for you, was Memorial Day just a day to catch up on yard work?

   


4 Comments

Happy Heart Day, Y’all!

So . . . Valentine’s Day. Happy, happy!

hearts

Do you celebrate the day?

G-Man and I are sometimers. Sometimes we do, sometimes . . . meh. Last year, G-Man did a swell job for V Day. (Yeah, I picked it out, but he was there. That’s what counts, right?)

day-heart1

This year, though, I’m afraid the day just might slip past without much notice. And that’s fine. I’d much rather be with someone who loves me every day and lives it than be with someone who tries to make up for the year on one appointed day.

heart vintage-valentine-knitting-dog

So how about you? Are you a carder? A gifter? Or is your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day fixing a big-deal-meal to share with the one you love?

How do you celebrate?


5 Comments

Getting Crafty

Omega had a birthday celebration yesterday. (Her bd was Saturday. Yeah, we’re a little slow.)

I got bit by a craft bug this weekend.

What does one thing have to do with the other? I. Don’t. Know.  But I created all weekend. Not necessarily good crafting, but it filled that need for the moment.

First I got out my cutter quilt and made hearts.

hearts  I wouldn’t take them to the fair, but they filled my basket. 🙂

Last week, I found a blog that I loved. Check it out. It’s called The White Bench, and just the colors on the page make me feel good. The owner is an artist (which I’m not!) and everything she does is beautiful.

She has several tutorials, one of which is how to make roses.

So I made these–

rose-white

rose-blueA hot glue gun holds it all together.

Untitled-1

Warning: This can be dangerous. If you try it, keep a bowl of ice water nearby, because hot glue stay where you put it and it HURTS! It doesn’t stop me, though.

rose-burlapThe artist didn’t have anything made with burlap. (Hers are gorgeous!) But I liked the gunny sack, turquoise and lace look.

rose-1I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but when I gave a couple of them to Omega (for her birthday) I told her she could put them on bags or hats or wear them like a pin on her shirt or lapel.

How’d you spend your weekend?

          

 


14 Comments

A Nightmare for Christmas

Christmas in the post-War United States

There’s something that terrifies me, and I have nightmares about it every Christmas.

It stems from my childhood, back when I was tender and vulnerable. Back when things impressed me and made a big difference in my life.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have four sisters and a brother. Each Christmas, Mama turned herself inside out, doing her best to figure out what we really wanted for Christmas. (I might have said I wanted ice skates, but with not so cold weather and no place to skate, she knew I wouldn’t be happy.)

So she’d shop from can’t see to can’t see, getting just the right gifts for all of us.

On Christmas morning, we’d rush to the living room to see what we had under the tree.

This particular Christmas morning, we all looked at our gifts and were giddy with joy. All of us, except one.

Now if you know my sibs, you know we’re very individual people. Debbie’s sweet and loves to have people at her house, Jeffrey’s a caretaker/outdoorsman, Lisa’s a ton of fun, I’m weird, Omega’s a baby (well, she’s THE baby, anyway) and Cindy is quiet, plays well with others. (Well, we all play well with others, but she doesn’t a really good job of it.)

I don’t remember what I got that holiday morning or what any of the others got. I only remember Cindy’s response.

When we’d all finished and were admiring our take, Mom noticed Cindy was crying. When she asked what was wrong, Cindy answered.

Her answer is the stuff nightmares are made of . . . for me, anyway. She said, “I didn’t get anything I wanted for Christmas.”

AAAAACK!

Mama was devastated. I was devastated for her. In fact, I think the entire family nearly bawled when Cindy said those eight words. The very next day, though, Mama made up for it. She took Cindy to Tulsa and let her pick out just exactly what she wanted.

She got to keep all the gifts she’d been given that she didn’t want, and get new ones, too. (Maybe that’s when the rest of us bawled.)

So a few days before Christmas, I’ve always worried that come Christmas morning, when we’re all sitting around the tree unwrapping the presents I’ve so lovingly wrapped, I’d hear those horrible words.

I don’t think I could handle it.

Do you have a nightmare for Christmas?

 

 

 


1 Comment

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! When I was growing up, Mama made a big deal out of it and passed that enjoyment on to her kiddos.

It’s always been my favorite time of the year, too. From our first Christmas as a family, G-Man and I’ve loved it! garyWe lived in B’ville for our first Christmas. Those are insulated coveralls, Santa brought him for riding his motorcycle. The rocking chair behind him was my present. (I still have mine, but the coveralls are long gone. LOL!)

SusanNotice the gorgeous Christmas tree. It’s a cedar, and when I was growing up, it was the REAL Christmas tree.

baby-dannyThen Baby Danny came along. (Okay, about five years later, Baby Danny came along.) That’s when the real fun at Christmas began.

Knowing how active and inquisitive Danny was, we put the tree on top of the card table, and bought all soft, knitted ornaments in case he succeeded in grabbing the tree and turning it over.

Luckily, he never did. I don’t remember what was in that present under the tree, but I still have the ornaments on my tree today, even though I don’t have to worry about him turning it over anymore. Much.

Brad-toys

This is Baby Bradley at Mama’s on Christmas morning. You know it’s Mom’s because of the red carpet. Mama loved red–because it’s the quintessential Christmas color? Could be!

When Brad was this size and I took his picture, he always looked as if I’d just caught him doing something. Can you see that innocent, “Who, me?” look? LOL!

gifts-and-tearsI laugh every time I look at this picture. We’d just moved to Pryor Creek the August before. Brad (on the right) was one and Matt (crying) was three. For some reason, the kids naturally opened their presents one at a time while the others watched. The others would then go and try to take it away from the owner.

More tears than understanding that Christmas. (And parental laughter!)

Matt-giftThose Christmas morning battles dissipated as the boys learned to enjoy their own presents, or to be sneakier about taking them from the others. 🙂

3-boysBatmen and Mickey Mouse came for Christmas one year, and everyone had a great time.

Don’t you love the look on all their faces? Danny’s thinking, “How soon can I go back to bed?”

Matt’s just giddy with the happiness of  celebrating the season.

And Brad is thinking, “I’ll bet I can swipe those other gifts and put them back before anyone finds out.”

We’re back where we started now. All the boys have wives, homes, and (furry) children of their own. But Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year.

I think I’ll go paint something red. 🙂