Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Car Entertainment

I get a thrill every time I get in my car.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but when I listen to the radio, my favorite stations to listen to don’t play music. (Yes. I’m weird.)

I like to hear people talk. Talk radio–Christian talk radio–is what I’ve tuned to for years.

Okay, yes. I listen to the great old songs sometimes, but that’s not what I like best.

Recently, I was turning the dial, looking for G-Man’s fave (R & B) when I noticed something intriguing. A station called, “Radio Classics.”

Now, I’m not old enough to remember the time before TV. (Really, I’m not!) But I remember my parents and grandparents talking about old radio shows. Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour have all entertained me while I drive.

Road to Bali

Bob, Bing and Dorothy told the story about the Road to Hollywood. (At the end they were waiting tables and working in gas stations.)

They’re funny!

I’ve heard Fibber McGee (He opened his closet door and had an avalanche) Dragnet, Johnny Dollar and Charlie McCarthy. Oh, and The Shadow!

And I heard GUNSMOKE! Great story. (Matt told the bad guys at the end that if he wasn’t the marshal, he’d beat them with his gun.) You know who played Matt on the radio? William Conrad! Remember him? He played Cannon on CBS in the ’70’s.

Radio’s Gunsmoke

Not my idea of Matt Dillon, visually. But when it’s on the radio, YOU get to decide how the characters look. 🙂 I like that!

I almost got to hear HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL. Did you ever see that TV show? (It’s on Encore Westerns sometimes.) The TV show starred Richard Boone and was about a hired gun who, in his non-professional life, was a highly educated gentleman. The show was on CBS from 1957 until 1963.


BUT it was also a radio show that ran from 1958 until 1960. HGWT was one of the few shows that was on TV first, then was adapted to radio.

If you have pay=to-play radio, check it out. Very entertaining!

BTW: The pictures used here are all from Wikipedia. Click on the title underneath the photo for copyright and fairuse information.

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Sharing Grins

Here it is, Friday, again. How’s your week been? Good? Fan-flipping-tastic? 🙂

When you judge your week, how do you do it? One of my favorite friends and favorite writers, Marilyn Pappano, is probably judging her week by the number of pages she gets written. She’s under contract for about a gazillion books this year (yay!) so that’s important.

School kids are counting down to the end of school. They’re now in the single digits, making for a great week.

Dad judges his by the number of days until he gets his new/old chicken coop (more on that later) and by measuring the growth in his garden.

I like to judge my week by the number of things that made me grin.

Yeah, I know. Weird, right? I can’t help it. It’s the way my twig is bent.

This week at work, we had some really grinny days and some that were laugh out loud funny.

Deegan, the office ruler, keeps us all grinning.

He’s decided that Cousin Rick is the king of the world. It’s hard to get Deegan to walk past Rick’s door without going in for a visit, and to put on Rick’s hat. And Deegan demands that Rick take him outside to play in the back of his pickup several times a day.

I doubt if you can tell what this is, but it makes me grin every time I drive past it.

There. Is that any better? Someone who lives at the top of this hill has planted pink roses so they’ll grown down the side. Isn’t it gorgeous?

How did it happen?

Did someone plant a climbing rose and over fertilize it? Did they forget it was there and let it just go to town?

Or was someone just extra thoughtful? Maybe they planted several roses and aimed them toward the expressway to give people on the drive to and from T-Town a little something to enjoy?

Who/what/however it was . . . THANKS! You make me grin. (Or at least your roses do.)

One of my tomato plants disappeared this week. That shouldn’t make me grin, but it’s like someone came along and plucked it right out of the ground. No leaves left. No stem. Nada.

I can’t help but remember the old cartoon of the gopher underground in his run, popping vegetables out of the ground overhead.

BTW: There’s no sign of a gopher or a mole, but I have a grin.

And finally, my biggest grin of the week has been Car Wars.

We don’t have assigned parking at work. There are areas where we park out of habit, but even the boss and TV star–well, he’s the boss anyway–doesn’t have squatters rights to his spot.

One day this week, one of the secretaries got hungry and was running out to get something to eat just as another woman was arriving. First Woman had pulled halfway out of her spot when the next woman pulled up and waited. First Woman, not wanting to lose her space, pulled back in.  She waited. Woman in the street waited. They both waited. And waited. The universe expanded. Finally, sensing a stalemate, the woman in the street finally went to a space farther away.

Whew! Saved. First Woman started to pull out again and another worker pulled up and waited to pull in. First Woman pulled back in and, with a lot of determination, out waited that one, too.

Finally! First Woman thought she was safe to dash over, get her food and get back before anyone could steal her spot. She started to pull out again when a third woman pulled up and waited. For the third time, First Woman pulled back in and  out waited the interloper.

But Third Woman outwitted the spot-squatter. She pulled around the block and waited until she saw First Woman drive away. Then she circled the block and zipped right into the coveted spot.

After all her work, time, patience and determination, First Woman had her parking spot stolen right from under her.

And I missed the whole thing! (I’ve got to start getting to work earlier.)

I heard the story from an unhappy Blocked Parker–all three, actually–and laughed my guts out.

That’s just too funny! (Maybe because I wasn’t involved.) Especially when you remember that, like everyone I know (me, too!) these women are looking for ways to get more exercise.


So how about you? Any grins you can share this week?


Writers’ Retreat

The Four-spotted Skimmer or Four-spotted Chase...

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My writers’ group and the venerable Ms. Jean Brashear  (romance writer extraordinaire) went on a retreat over the weekend at Meadowlake Ranch near Sand Springs, OK, and guess what! I found a new Small Town World!

Funny how that happens, isn’t it? 🙂

I got to the ranch at about 5:00 and went with the others who were there to check out the cabins. Being a person who doesn’t sleep much (especially when I’m in a strange bed) I chose a cabin with a place where I could get up early and not disturb anyone. (Outside, on the patio next to a pond, I had time to spend with the Lord each morning.)

I roomed with our queen mentor, Marilyn Pappano, and the very soon to be published, Lynn Somerville. Now that’s an entertaining pair! I’d hoped for a little snoring (I find listening to snoring relaxing) but both ofo them slept with hardly a snort. 🙂  

We had wonderful food, great fellowship and a speaker–Jean Brashear–who gave us the benefit of the knowledge she’s acquired during her wonderful career.

I was blown away at the preparation she’d done for our little retreat. Her handouts were great, but her patience, knowledge and willingness to share with us was unbelievable. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you, Jean!

There were miles of trails to tramp, the air was cool but not cold, and we had a great time hanging with our sisters.

We met a mom and her daughter, who were staying in the teepees,

who’d come just to have time together without TV. They took hay rides, gathered eggs from the hen house, rode horses and had a great time.

At the end of the retreat, we had some very exciting, nearly unbelievable, news. But I’ll save that until tomorrow. 🙂 (I’m not being coy. I just need to take my time when I tell you about it.)

So when was the last time you took a weekend for yourself to refresh and renew? If you retreat from life once in a while, share!   



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HDTV and Me Ü

''I Love Lucy

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It all started on the 4th of July. The kids were here, waiting for the chicken to get fried, watching TV with their dad. One of them spotted the HD recorder we bought a while back and decided to install it. “You’ll love the picture. It’s so much clearer.”

So they connected it, fiddled with it and called the TV guy and finally got it where we could watch one channel but couldn’t record. (We had been able to record two channels at once.) No HD.

Why is it when Pops and the kids get something going and someone has to stay home to get it fixed, staying somehow falls to Mama? LOL. I’m not sure how that works, but lucky me! I got to miss work to let the TV guy in so he could make things right.

In case you’re wondering, no. I didn’t tell anyone I wanted it hooked up. But yes, I will be watching it (a lot) so that evens things out. 😉

I was late to work to meet the first technician, only to find out that the man who came couldn’t do a thing. (Not his part of the job.) Then I missed over half of the next day so another technician could come.

But it all turned out great! Our technician was Irish. From Ireland! He had the most beautiful brogue and, I found out after a few moments, he was a nice guy.

We chatted a little, he told me not to answer his phone even if it rang, and he went outside and started working. On the south side of my house. In the heat. And the sunshine. And he could still smile when he came back in. (Could have been the air conditioning that rated the grin.)

Now we have really clear TV. I can see whiskers growing on a guy’s face if I bother to look. There’s such clarity, I could probably see the peach fuzz on Justin Bieber’s face if I had the chance.

NYC signing September 1,2009 Nintendo Store - NYC

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Right now though, I’m watching a movie that’s not available in HD, and I don’t care. I enjoyed TV when we only had two channels, neither one was in color and I Love Lucy was on both. (Okay, maybe it just seemed as if it was on both stations.)

Compared to that, this is fantastic.

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Bye-Bye Big Love, Hello Dancing Stars!

Big Love promotional photo featuring (from lef...

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Confession: I am (was?) a BIG LOVE fan.

I know, I know. I’m awful. G-Man was appalled when I started watching at the beginning of the series. (Although he did get caught up in it, too.)

My friends compared seeing the show to watching a snake in the room.

I can’t help it. I loved BIG LOVE!

Why? I’m not sure. I could never be in a plural marriage. I’m very jealous, or maybe I’m selfish, but I like being the one and only. And if my man ever suggested dragging in another spouse, I’d have to break his nose–or something. 😉

That said, the set up for Big Love was perfect. Here’s why.

  1. The wives all lived in separate houses, so they weren’t fighting over who was the boss of the house or who had to do which chore.
  2. The wives had extremely different personalities so Bill wasn’t marrying the same woman, over and over. And it made for great conflict!
  3. Although the kids lived in the house with their own mother, the other mothers loved them like they were literally their own. No jealousy over kids and what they received.

Did I like the way it ended? No.

*Big Pout*

But then, I didn’t like that it ended at all.

*Big Pout Finished*

(I never can keep a pout going for long.) 

So . . . anybody watching DANCING WITH THE STARS this season? What’d you think of Kirstie? (I loved her!)


Happy Birthday Amy D!

I first saw her through the glass minutes after she was born, her thick dark hair curling and still damp from her first bath, and her toe stuck in a tiny hole in the pink baby blanket the hospital wrapped her in.

Her big blue eyes were bright and they’ve stayed that way.

This is Amy’s basketball team when she was in 5th grade. She’s #31 and her forever friend, Jonna, is next to her.

This is Amy’s senior picture. Gorgeous, isn’t she?

    This was her birthday last year, just before she did the Mexican Hat Dance!

Favorite Amy memories:

When she was three (or so) she came home from playing with Jonna and got up to the dinner table. “Pass the damn corn.” (Jonna’s big brothers were teaching them new words.)

Mama–“I you’re going to talk like that, you’re never playing with Jonna again.”  

Of course she played with her again the next day.

When she was about five, I gave her a black cat. She named him cotton.

When she was eight or ten, she asked me to take her to see a newly released movie at our drive in. I asked, “Are you sure it’s on out here?”

She answered, “I just saw the commercial on TV and they said it was showing at a theater near me. That’s the nearest one!”

Amy is the Omega to my Alpha. She’s the one most likely to get in trouble with me, who has a huge heart, a faith and love of God that’s amazing to behold.

Love you, Amy. Happy __ birthday and many, many more!


Christmas’s Last Leg

A postcard from 1919, with artwork of Santa Cl...

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Last night was the final leg of Christmas–our celebration with Dad and sibs. Oh, and spouses, kids and their spouses and kids were there, too. Some of them at least.

As usual, we gathered at Sister Debbie’s house. Debbie is the consummate hostess. Her house is decorated as if she were Mrs. Claus and the food was fantastic.

#4 wasn’t able to be there. (She lives in a far away land.) I sent her pictures and love during the celebration so she could still be part of things.

Our entertainment was so much fun. During the first part of the evening, Sister Debbie’s younger granddaughter watched us all dance as we tried to make her smile. She was just a little bit tired from all the Christmas fun she’d had, and since she isn’t a year old yet, it’s understandable she might get a little bit pooped out.

A cookie similar to "Gingerbread Man"...

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And later Sister Cindy’s older grandson danced for us. (He turned a year old on the day I celebrated a year of pain free walking.) The child is full of personality and joy, and he even climbed on my lap for a moment or two.

We played Dirty Santa for ornaments, and like a dummy, I was the only one who actually made her own ornament to take.

The first one I made was this–

I knitted it from a show I watch on TV called Knitty Gritty. It’s one of my favorite shows, but they aren’t making any new segments. I watch the reruns faithfully and hope they’ll start making new ones. 

When I finished making the flower, it curled and flopped, so I wired the petals–not ideal if people are going to be handling it. (The poinsettia on TV was stiffer because they made it from wool and then washed it to turn it into a fabric. I didn’t do that.)

Rather than chance having someone get poked by the poinsettia, I decided to make another ornament. 

SD had mentioned taking ornaments that represent us, so I took a clear ball and put in lavender I’d dried last summer (because I’m a gardener) and “yarn”, which was really cross-stitch thread (because I’m a snitter) and a little snow (because I love snow) and a few sparkles just for the heck of it.

I don’t know that my niece who won it was thrilled, but it was fun to make. I tried one with miniature jingle bells, but the glass is so fragile on those clear ornaments that anything that heavy will break out the side. Or you have to not shake them, and who can hold an ornament with stuff inside and not shake it?

So this is what the one I took looks like–

I stole a good sized, sparkly gingerbread man from one of my BILs. When he pulled him out of the bag, Jeffrey put on his falsetto voice. “Don’t eat my gum drop buttons!” A line from one of the Shrek movies.

That’s another game we played last night. Actually, it’s more of an ongoing thing. We do movie quotes that go along with the action. (“Hello movie house!”) and the others try to guess the movie.

Funny thing is, my kids do the same thing and make it harder by throwing in a TV show along the way. Great fun if you watch the same stuff; a little tougher if you don’t.

The Dirty Santa big hit with the babies was a dancing snowman with a flashing nose that sang a song no one recognized. Brother Jeffrey ended up with an ornament that was a pair of six shooters (perfect!) and Sister Debbie got “Mine’s bigger than yours is.”

Did we have fun? Yes!

Would I change a thing? Only to get others there who weren’t able to make it.

If at all possible, will we do the same thing next year?   What do you think? 😉