Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Sunday Giggling

The best thing happened to me after church yesterday. My dad gave me a watermelon at church. (No, it wasn’t a bribe to get me to go to church. I really love going! Honest!!!)

After that, I went to the grocery store and bought several bags of groceries.

So when I pulled into my driveway, I called G-Man and asked him to carry in the melon for me. After we disconnected, I stuck the phone in my shirt and started loading up bags of munchies.

In a few moments, I started hearing the most delightful voices. They were happy, chipper, sweet and full of giggles and laughter.

At first I thought I’d hit some cartoon video on my phone. But I kept hearing the same words again and again–“Hello? Aunt SueSue?” And lots of giggling.

Finally, I got where I could put down my packages and pulled out my phone. I’d accidentally FaceTimed my niece Ashley and her oldest daughter answered the phone.

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This is one of the gigglers, Ashley’s middle daughter. She’s a doll!

Okay, I FaceTimed, for them it was more of a  . . . well . . . chest time. Oy!

spess-crew-ashley

When I pulled out my phone, the girls all were still giggling and having a great time, so maybe they weren’t too traumatized by the experience.

ashley's daughter

Ashley’s oldest giggling daughter a few years ago at Thanksgiving.

The funny thing is, they couldn’t hear what I was saying, but I could hear them perfectly. I just hope they could read my lips when I said, “I love you, too!”

10400038_10203801718075639_4906752814064437375_nAshley and her youngest giggler.

So if you couldn’t read my lips, I do, too, guys!

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A Brand New Year is on the Way

2013 is a’comin’!

2011 4th of july 063Are you ready?

  • Resolutions set?
  • Party plans made?
  • Christmas decorations all put away?
  • Count down started?

My answer to all those questions would be a loud, resounding, “NO!”

I still have my decorations up and my lights on.

Resolutions? Well, I’ve thought about them, but don’t know if I’ll write them down at all.

2011 4th of july 038

And a party? PARTY? I don’t think so.

The truth is, I remember very few parties I’ve given/attended on NYE in my life. As a kid when our parents would go to a New Years Eve Sunday School party, sometimes the other kids whose parents were at that party would come to our house.

Sometimes.

But I’ve never done the stuff you see on movies about cool parties. No balloon drops. No streamers. No sparkly balls dropping.

I did take G-Man to Eureka Springs to the Basin Hotel once. We had a nice, nice dinner, then went back to the hotel room to watch movies. 🙂

We’ve had reservations at Tulsa steak house once, but it turned out to be crowded, noisy and running late and all the waiters were cranky. And hateful.

2011 4th of july 012

We’ve even been to a concert. (Not a great idea.)

A few years ago, we discovered that going to Stillwater to dinner is a good idea, at least at the Chinese buffet we like. All the college kids are still at home (or want to go to a big city for the night) and navigating that town is easy.

Tonight, though, we plan to stay home. I might make pizza or buy a carry out early in the day, along with a little finger food, then we’re going to stay HOME.

Scarlett and I will think about putting away Christmas decorations tomorrow. 🙂

What do you plan to do?


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Names of Jesus

cropped-merry-stars.jpgKnow whose birthday is coming up in a little over a week? 🙂

Those are some of His names in my header. I decided to do that because I read of a woman who made wire Christmas ornaments of some of Jesus’s names. She thought it was important for her kids that He have a presence on their Christmas tree, and now she has them for sale. You can see them here.

But I’d seen a beautiful “sign” at Thanksgiving, and thought I’d like to do that with Jesus’s names. (Those little ornaments would get lost on my tree full of pictures and bling.) So I started trying to figure out how to make one of those signs.

I planned to finish it in 8 1/2 X 11, print it out and either frame it or Modge Podge it on a board. But seeing that Christmas is just a little over a week away, I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not.

Do you know what happens when you start doing something like this sign with the names of Jesus? His names start standing up and making themselves known.

There’s one. There’s another one. Oh! Look, there’s another one.

I wish I could tell you my favorite of them. One moment I think it’s “I Am,” next I think it’s, “Lover of My Soul,” or “Lamb of God” who was sacrifice for my sins. Or maybe it’s “Immanuel, God with Us.”

God With Us. I love that.

But my favorite? I don’t know.

How about you?


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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. 🙂

 

 

 


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We Hit a Bonanza!

Oh, my stars! We had so much fun yesterday. We met Butch, Sundance, the guys from “Cowboys and Aliens” and Ed Harris! Actually, WE didn’t meet them, but we met people who not only met them, they worked with them.

I knew my friend, Cathy Carmichael Johns, had been to Santa Fe a few times, so I asked her what we should do while we’re here. She told us, “Bonanza Creek Ranch is not to be missed!” so first thing we did yesterday morning was drive out to BCR. We pulled into the ranch house. It looked like we might be in the wrong place, so we didn’t stop but instead pullout back out and drove down the road a little ways.

The owner’s name and phone number was on a sign by this locked gate, so I tried to give her a call. While my phone was ringing, she pulled in next to us!

Imogene Hughes is so nice! Naturally. She was born in Okie-Land, so how could she be anything else?

When she pulled in, I laughed and asked, “Are you Imogene?” We had a great talk, then she called a guy who works for her and asked him to give us a tour. He seemed more than happy to take us around.

And guess what! Remember Cholo in Lonesome Dove? That was him!!! His real name is Jack Caffrey, and he gave G-Man and me a tour of Bonanza Creek Ranch, where lots of movies are made.

This is Jack–aka Cholo. He’s an actor with a bunch of credits and an agent! What a nice man. I asked a ton of questions (big surprise) and he kept saying, “It’s isn’t real. Remember, it was just a movie.

He showed us Clara’s house on Lonesome Dove. And the pond where they had the picnic. And the barn and corral. I’m telling you, it was cool!

We walked on the street where the aliens attacked the town in “Cowboys and Aliens.” (It was SO COOL!)

 Picture from the Bonanza Creek Ranch website.

We went into the barn from “The Astronaut Farmer“. We saw where they made the new “3:10 to Yuma“. They also made parts of “John Carpenter’s Vampires” on her ranch.

When we got back, we walked to the Plaza and looked in windows and at gorgeous Indian jewelry. Want to talk about a group of talented people. Oh, my stars! Today I’m going back to buy some.

Maybe. 🙂

Have you been to Santa Fe? What was your favorite part?


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Cricket Town

Louis L'Amour

Louis L’Amour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Louis L’Amour used to be my favorite writer. For a time in my life, his books were all I read. In those books, he had a saying he used several times. It was something like, “Don’t kill that cricket. His friends will come and eat your socks.”

Guess what? Someone must have killed a cricket in C-Town.

Yesterday, I went with one of my nieces to watch her little sister play softball. (I’m so glad we have school sports for girls these days!)

On the way to the softball field, my niece told me they were having a problem with crickets at school.

And, she said, if anyone started to kill one of the little bugs, her best friend would rescue it and shoo it out of the school.

So I quoted Louis. “She must know if you kill a cricket, his friends will come and eat your socks.”

“But I don’t wear socks, Aunt Susan.”

The girl reminds me of her mama. A lot. LOL. She went on to tell me how many crickets they’re seeing at school. Took me back to when C-Town had a real cricket infestation.

I don’t know why we had so many of the critters living and loving in our town, but they were here by the billions.

Mom owned the dress shop back then, and I worked there. It was in this building, in the front of the main floor. When I’d get to work every morning, the long wall you see would be black with crickets. The sidewalks were covered with crickets. The streets were covered with . . . well, you get the point.

And when I unlocked the door and walked into the shop each morning, I heard the unmistakable crunch of bugs smashing under foot, because the carpet was covered with crickets. Dead crickets, mostly, since we had a bug control guy spray the store each month. The first thing I did was grab the vacuum and sweep up all the little black carcasses.

Even little dead crickets start to smell after a few days, so we kept emptying the sweeper bag every day or two to keep the odor down. One morning, I noticed that dead cricket smell. Gag! I emptied the vacuum bag and took the bag outside along with the trash. The odor was still there.

I hoped I was the only one who could smell it. None of my customers mentioned it, but when my help came in that afternoon, she didn’t hesitate. “It stinks in here. We need to change that sweeper bag.”

“I did change it, and it’s outside. I don’t know what that is.”

The hunt was on. We checked under racks, behind the jewelry counter, under the check out stand and in the office. Nothing. Then she had a spark of genius.

The building we were in was an old bank building. The entryway had two doors to pass through, which was supposed to keep the wind from blowing directly into the main room. (I guess that was so the bank’s stacks of money wouldn’t blow all over before they got it in the vault.)

When the building was built, they made a little indention in the floor in that entry with a scrape-the-mud-off-your-feet-here grate in it. Beneath that grate was a graveyard of dead crickets, sending their perfume into the shop. We got them out of there, fast! Thank goodness, the crickets moved on not too much later.

And now, some of them are back and hunting down my nieces so they can eat their socks. 😉

And the ball game? I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but when I left it was 5-0. We won.

Looks just like me, doesn’t she?


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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.