Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Warning: Attack Bird on Duty

You’ve reached the home of Susan, G-Man, Molly and Kenny, the attack bird.

That’s what my answering machine should probably say. (It really doesn’t.)  Or maybe it should be  stronger–

You’ve reached the Shays. Warning–we have the world’s meanest bird.

Do they have warning signs for birds, like they do for dogs?

Attack bird on duty. Enter at your own risk!

This is Kenny. He LOOKS like a mild-mannered, unassuming cockatiel, doesn’t he? Don’t be fooled. He’s not!

 He’s mean. If you get too close, he’ll raise his wings and hiss at you. Then he’ll squawk and rush at you, teeth beak bared and ready to bite off a chunk.

We didn’t make him mean. He came to us, by way of our son who was doing some work on a woman’s computer. She said Danny could have the bird, but having too many critters in his house already, #1 passed him on to his dad.

His name was Penny when we got him. Penny? PENNY?

Anyone can tell he’s a male. He’s cheeks are bright and beautiful, much too pretty to be a girl bird. And I understand female birds lay eggs, whether there’s a male bird around or not. So G-Man changed his name to Kenny, after Kenny on South Park. Why?

Kenny McCormick

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kenny McCormick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You never saw SP Kenny’s entire face, he mumbled so you couldn’t understand him and he died every week. We figured that was perfect for this bird.

The original owner had kids who’d poked at and teased the poor bird until he had to learn to protect himself.

While I don’t call Kenny a pet (you really should be able to pat your pet, right?) we’ve been good to him. We give him delicious food, treats and we even found a way to keep his water clean. (At first, he thought the water bowl was a toilet bowl. We went through several watering systems before we found one he couldn’t foul.)

We buy him toys, and if there’s any way, he’ll eat them. Once we got him a swingset, and he chewed on the pieces until it fell apart and collapsed to the floor of his cage. He’s eaten through several perches.

And one time when Molly got hold of him, we pulled him from the jaws of death and rushed him, wet and sagging, back into his cage where he shivered for a day or two. Before long, though, he got his spirit back.

He’s smart, though. Even with the ceiling fan on, he’s never flown into it and never gone out the door, when I’ve left it open.

And he has a few good points.

He’s a great alarm. When G-man leaves the bedroom to come down for breakfast, Kenny starts squawking. (I imagine he’s yelling, “Pop! Pop!” in bird talk.)

And he’s a great whistler. He barks, meows and has a does a wolf whistle. 🙂 Danny can get him to show off any time he wants, and I figure that’s because he’s the rescuer. G-Man and I are just his caretakers.

Well, G-Man is.

I don’t like having that sharp beak snapping at me.


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Hot Pursuits

Anybody notice how hot it is outside? (Snort) Temps in our Small Town World are supposed to be three digits this week–110, 111, 112. Yikes! That’s hot.

I think I have oven temps that match. Well, nearly.

So when Little Bit wants a little outdoor time, we both wear out fast. The first thing he says when we get outside is, “Hot.”

He likes to go across the street and see the concrete statues, but they’re too hot to touch these days.

He’s learned that word really well. So we take little walks to a store. We love to go to Celebrations because 1- they have toys and 2-they have candy and 3-it smells good in there. 🙂

He also like to wear the merchandise.

This hat is for sale. But Deegan loves hats, so he tries it on. Trouble is, it’s hard and is a decoration, not really to be worn. Somehow, he keeps it on his head.

The crown is a toy that Deanna keeps for kids to play with. I know, it’s a princess crown. And that’s a truck he’s playing with. The boy is multi-talented, isn’t he?

The only trouble with taking Deegers for walks these days (besides it being to hot to breathe outside) is that he’s figured out he’s faster than I am. At least, he can run faster than I want to.

I usually get him stopped. At least I haven’t lost him yet. Too bad I can’t think of something for him to do outside that he’ll enjoy that’s a sit still thing.

I taught my kids how to use a magnifying glass to set stuff on fire when they were a little older than him, and it kept them happily occupied for a few days without me having to chase around in the heat. But with the lack of rain we’ve had this year, I believe we’ll wait to teach him that one. 🙂


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What Makes Summer?

The original logo for Six Flags over Texas.

The original logo for Six Flags over Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

YAY! The weekend is here!

Funny how the prospect of “weekend” changes. As a kid looking toward a weekend, I saw two empty days with nothing much to do except play and go to church.

As an adult, it’s a chance to spend time with my honey and catch up on chores we can’t get done during the workweek.

When I was a kid, summers seemed like long, long weekends. Nothing much to do except play and swim and go to church. And church camp. As an adult, it’s a time with more chores to catch up on the weekends.

I was talking to one of my nieces yesterday and she said, “I haven’t had any summer yet. Not really.”

That stopped me. Here it is, the end of June and we’ve had plenty of hot, hot, hot (triple degree heat) weather. Lots of sweat. Tons of sunshine. She couldn’t mean summer temps.

And she’s been on at least two fun trips so far–Six Flags over Texas and canoing down the Illinois River.

She’s been swimming, to basketball camp and cheering. What more could a girl want?

I had to find out. “What makes summer really summer?” I asked.

“Getting to sleep in. It’s not really summer unless you get to sleep in.”

Oy.

Maybe that’s a good way to look at it. If she can just sleep in, she can have summertime all year round. 😛


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Games We Played

English: Youths playing the Red Rover game.

English: Youths playing the Red Rover game. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember the days when the gang of kids in your neighborhood played outside together all summer long? We had so much fun, running, laughing and screaming our heads off until the sun went down and our parents flashed the porch light. (Time to go in.)

I found a button on the floor at work yesterday, so I went from room to room. When I got to the M & M office (Mallory and Mendy) I said,

Button, button–who’s got the button?

I got a strange–Do what?–look from M#1.

“Didn’t you play Button, Button when you were a kid?” I asked.

“I’ve never heard of it. How did you play?”

Surprise. “How about Drop the handkerchief?”

No.

“I’ll bet you never played Good Egg, Rotten Egg either.” I’ve never heard of anyone who played Good Egg except the crew at Bible School in Old Ford one year before we moved to C-Town. (I don’t remember the Bible School lessons, treats or crafts but I loved the games!)

After I demonstrated the position for Good Egg, Rotten Egg (squatting with your hands clasped under your hiney and elbows used for handles) and explained that two larger kids picked you up by your elbows/handles and swung you (if your hands slip loose, you’re a rotten egg) she recognized it.

Different name, same game. And even young M#2 played it on the trampoline.

Since I had work to do, I didn’t ask if they’d played Farmer In the Dell. Besides, it wasn’t my favorite game.

My absolute favorite gaggle of kids game was Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Susan come over.”

(Does anyone know what a Red Rover is?)

Remember how we played it? The other side tried to pick the littlest, weakest kid because they shouldn’t be able to break through the wall of hands-holding kids.

I loved that game, because I was tougher than I looked. I liked being a surprise. 🙂

Tag was always fun for a while as was Hide and Seek. But another one of my favorites was The Ghost Don’t Pop. (Ignore the grammar–we were kids.)

Friend, next-door-neighbor and Monopoly player extraordinaire Susie Lunsford introduced us to that game. You couldn’t play until almost dark because, after all, it was a ghost game. And everyone knows ghosts don’t come out during the day.

A base was chosen, one person was it, and the rest scattered but had to hide in a specified area. (In one person’s yard and around their house.)

After “It” counted to a hundred while all the “ghosts” hid, she started walking around the house, always keeping an eye open for lurking “ghosts.”

Using a scary voice–“It’s one o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop. Two o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop. Three o’clock and . . . “

At “Twelve o’clock and the Ghost Don’t Pop,” all the ghosts popped and ran for base. “It” ran for base, too. I’m not sure how anyone was the winner or how somebody became “It”, but it sure was fun!

I don’t remember my kids playing a lot of big group games when they were little. Oh, they played Duck, Duck, Goose as preschoolers as well as Tag and Hide and Seek, but once they outgrew those games, organized sports such as T-Ball and Soccer are the only ones I remember.

So I have three questions for you today.

  1. Did you play gaggle-of-kids games when you were young?
  2. What was your favorite?
  3. How did The Ghost Don’t Pop end? (Susie Lunsford, are you there???)


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What I Found

I know how beautiful manmade things can be.

Whether by someone famous, such as Michelangelo

or by someone not quite as famous as this quilt made by Deb Dixon.

But no matter how beautiful it is, nothing ever can quite compare with the beauty of nature.

Aren’t the colors magnificent? And the way the light shines through is fantastic. All I did was point and shoot. God did the rest, even the contrasting background colors.

Wow.

This is Bittersweet. Aren’t the delicate colors beautiful?

I don’t know what this leaf is, but I love the way the colors meld.

This bluebird house is made by man, but the setting is what takes it from nice to much, much better.

See what I mean?

No matter how man might try, he can never achieve the glory of the Almighty. At least it’s fun to try. 🙂