Archive for the This and that Category

Secret Keeper Girls

Posted in This and that with tags , , , , , , , on 09/29/2010 by Susan Shay


Above is a picture from the Secret Keeper Girl blog.

Last Saturday night, I took my 11-year-old niece to the SKG conference in Tulsa. We met several other girls (12-years-old and younger) and their moms for dinner first.

The idea of riding in a van full of squealing little girls was a little much for me, so I drove. I noticed at dinner, though, the girls from my church did very little shrieking, and I’m grateful.

Several of my favorite women took their daughters, so I had a great time at dinner. My niece did quite a bit of table hopping–proof she had a great time, too.

I was late getting our tickets, so we didn’t sit with our home group at the conference. If we go next year, I plan to get seats with everyone else!

So what happens at a Secret Keepers conference (beside enough little girl squealing to last me a loooong time?)

They used scriptures to tell the girls that they’re beautiful just as God created them. They are princesses in God’s house and don’t need makeup or tight, revealing clothes to be pretty.

They taught the girls several tests to see if their clothes are what a Secret Keeper should wear, called Truth or Bare Fashion Tests. If you have a minute, check it out. I know several adults who could learn something! (I certainly did.)

Their website has a secret for the girls to discover anytime they’re online. Go see.  

I had a great time at the SKG conference, and only a couple complaints.

1- We could only find two (2!) bathrooms with 3 or 4 stalls each.  I’m not sure how many females were in the place. I’m horrible at that kind of estimating. Maybe a thousand? If there were only 500, EIGHT STALLS ARE NOT ENOUGH!

And those were at the bottom of five or six stairs. I’m so glad I didn’t need John MyCane anymore. I don’t know what women in wheelchairs did. But, yeah, I could live with that.

2- The big complaint at this conference is the same one I have at many Christian functions–Women who think, because they’re at a Christian function, they can order others to do this or that, and we’ll do it because, after all, we are Christians. Do unto others. Right?


So I was directed to “move down” because some friends were coming from the nosebleed section to sit by them.

Hey! I paid for these seats in this section. Those people paid for less expensive seats. Isn’t it tantamount to stealing when they sit in seats they didn’t pay for?

People! What are you teaching your daughters?

Are you wondering if we moved? Yes. We. Did. (Teeth gritted.) Why?

I figured the message I sent my niece by letting someone steal seats was less harmful than the message I’d be sending if I punched out the over-bearing woman. 😉

I’ll have to check with her mother and see what she thinks.


Posted in This and that on 02/09/2009 by Susan Shay

When I was little, my dad used to read a comic to me called Pogo. He was a possum. So when we had a possum visitor the other day, I named him Pogo.

DH took this pictures. The possum is getting a drink from the pond where I did my hip in. (Luckily, the possum didn’t do the Chinese Splits.)

Pogo picPogo and Molly Leave me alone, dog! I need a drink.


Thirsty PogoThirsty Pogo.

Molly's new playmateLooks like Molly has a new playmate, doesn’t it? She’s up for it, but I’m not sure the possum was. 

Out my back door

This is out my back door at daybreak. Isn’t it beautiful?


Posted in This and that with tags on 01/25/2009 by Susan Shay

Last night we celebrated #1’s birthday. I called for reservations two days before at Kilkenny’s, where we’d gone the year before. The earliest we could get in was 9:00.

For everyone but DH and me, that was too late. So I left it up to #1 to find the place.  

We ended up at McNellie’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. (Also known as Beer Heaven.)

Not being a beer drinker, I’d never heard of the place until a week or so ago when a guy at work mentioned it. It’s in downtown Tulsa, not a part of town where I normally hang out. But according to my oldest son, they have great food.

So we got there and after parking around back, we hiked to the front door. I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurant. (We’d passed a bar called Dirty’s–it fit its name–just a couple of blocks away, and I was really worried.) 

Everyone was there. #1 and DIL, MS and his date, BB and his gf, and DH and me. You know. All the most important people in my world.

First person I saw was a guy from my home town. He looked a little surprised as I squeezed past him and said, “Hi Rick.” But at least he recognized me.

The woman he was with looked me over, but relaxed when she noticed John. Guess she thought anyone with a cane was safe.

Anyway, we only waited a half hour or so before getting a table. DH and I gave #1 a digital picture frame thingy with a silver frame.

His first comment was, “It’s so big!”

“Yeah. But I have a gift receipt, if you want to take it back. It has a silver frame.”

“I know.” He pulled the box to him. “I wanted a silver frame. How’d you know?”

Lucky guess.

McNellie’s has Irish food, of course. DH ordered a marinated steak, #1 and I got fish and chips (mine were sweet potato fries. Yummers!!!) DIL got a burger and my two other sons got chicken fingers.

Guess most of us O’Shay’s don’t really go for Irish food. Go figure.

For the next birthday, if I’m smart, I’ll make the reservations a month ahead of time so we can go to a restaurant we really like.

Until then, I don’t have to think about it. 😉

Happy Birthday, Dandy Andy

Posted in This and that on 01/23/2009 by Susan Shay

Saturday is #1’s birthday. (Yay!) He was very kind to his mother on the day he was born. Only weighed 5 pounds and 13 ounces–and born on his due date.

When he was little, every time he’d see an exit sign, he’d say, “Exit. The way out.”

The kid was a product of Sesame Street. Not that it’s a bad thing.

Bert and Ernie, a couple of his close friends, introduced him to Big Bird, who in turn brought Cookie Monster to the group. Even Oscar the Grouch wasn’t left out.

We even went to a play park near Dallas once that was all Sesame Street stuff. DH was in Dallas on business so #1 and I had a lot of free time, so when I stumbled across Sesame World (I think was the name) I was ecstatic!

I took a picture of #1 in Oscar’s can. We met Big Bird. He played in a clear plastic jungle gyn. We swung on ropes and had healthy food for lunch. And #1 ate it! (He never ate much.) 

#1 was a real ham, and came by it naturally. When swimming (him in a life jacket, me in my natural floaties) he suddenly rolled onto his back, close his eyes and let his tongue droop out of his mouth.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m a dead rabbit.” Pretty funny for a two-year-old.

We went on a 5 day ski trip with my cousins from Texas, and for two weeks afterward, #1 spoke with a Texas accent. I finally told him he couldn’t go the next time the cousins went with us if he didn’t quit.

#1 Son

I took him to market with me (to buy clothes for our dress shop) and he’d get bored. “Let’s see how many steps to the next appointment,” I’d tell him, then whisper numbers in his ear as we went from showroom to showroom. By the time he was 18 months old, he could count to twenty. And he knew all his colors.

When he started kindergarten, I asked the teacher if he talked a lot in class. She answered, “Yes, but that usually just means his mother talked to him a lot.”

Ha! Little did she know with #1, it meant he thought he was smarter than the teacher. And he probably was. 😉

In grade school, when he took the Iowa test, he made the highest score ever received in his school. And much to his dismay, he was put in a class for smart kids once a week.

He loved the class. But the hateful way his regular teachers treated him while in their classes was enough to make him determined to never let anyone know how smart he was again.

Rather than give him his assignments for the day he was out for the other class at the beginning of the week, as the accelerated learning teacher had told us, he was handed a list on his way out the door. And even though the “smart” teacher said he’d only have to do enough to be sure he kept up with the other kids, he had to do everything they took all day to do THAT NIGHT.

It’s amazing how very stupid a teacher can be. Not all teachers, but a few resentful, narrow minded, b.o. reeking ones can ruin a child.

About that time he broke his arm playing bumper cars with his brothers’ big wheels while riding one like a scooter. When we asked him how he did it, he lied. “I bumped into a rock.”

After high school graduation, a friend gave him a golden retriever for a present. He lied again and told us that he found it in the road and couldn’t stand to think it might get run over. He named the dog Boone. After he quit chewing the sprinkler system pipes off the house we actually fell in love with him, too.

I even named the hero in my first book Boone after him.

All our kids have a wonderful sense of humor, and #1 is no exception. He keeps his father laughing out loud whenever they’re together.

Told you he was a ham

Told you he was a ham

He’s married now to my favorite (and only) daughter-in-law (I honestly like her a lot.) They don’t have children YET, but they have a house full of critters. Three cats and three dogs at last count.

And yes, the golden retriever is leader of the pack.


We Spell Family Reunion F-U-N-E-R-A-L.

Posted in This and that with tags on 01/17/2009 by Susan Shay

We used to spell family reunion W-E-D-D-I-N-G, but that changed after the present generation married off.

I wonder how typical we are?

Monday morning on the way to work I found my cell phone was dead, so I left it in the car to charge. On the way back from picking up lunch, I saw I had a missed call from my cousin.

“Wow. I never hear from Liz. This is great.” Soon as I had everyone at the office fed, I called her. But the news wasn’t good.

Her brother, Buddy, had died unexpectedly. I hated hearing that. Even though he’s many years older than me, it breaks my heart to lose him. So many memories have Buddy as a part of the cast.

When he was in lower high school, I remember him coming to our house with taps on his heels. I thought he’d started tap dancing, but he said it was to keep his shoes from wearing out too fast. I learned years later it was a “cool” thing to do at that time and where he lived.

See full size image

He lived in Tulsa and went to school in the 1950’s. Think of the book, “The Outsiders” by SE Hinton. That’s his generation.

The Outsiders                         

When he was a senior in high school, he was in the play, “The Diary of Ann Frank”.  Mom and Dad took all of us kids (I think there were 3 of us at the time) but didn’t have very high expectations. After all, it was a high school production.

Were they ever surprised! The play was fantastic! The acting was fantastic. Buddy, who played Ann’s father, did a stupendous job.

As I said, we had a reunion of sorts before and after the funeral. I saw family I hadn’t seen in years. Years and years. (Not as long as #4, but a long time.)

And I saw family I’d seen just a year or so ago when an aunt died.

Funny thing is, I LOVE getting together with this part of my family. So why don’t we do it more than just when someone passes away? Why is it so hard to stop every day life and take the time to reconnect?

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Posted in This and that with tags , on 12/25/2008 by Susan Shay

Wonder how many blogs have that title this a.m? It might not be original, but it’s heartfelt!

Remember when you were a kid and worried if Santa remembered what you wanted? Now days, I worried whether I got what the kids wanted.

Do things change or what?  

Christmas Eve at the Shay house was great. All the kiddos were home and we ate till we popped. And I plopped! Snoozed all the way through Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. I love that movie.

Want to know what we ate? Prime rib, baked taters, grilled asparagus, salad, deviled eggs and sour cream muffins. Yummers! Oh, I made hummus, and DIL made red velvet cookies.

Now I’m getting ready to make a breakfast casserole. We bought cinnamon rolls to go with it. (DH taste tested them yesterday and they were delicious!)

I hope your Christmas is beautiful and you hear from all your loved ones, even if you don’t get to be with them.

Merry Christmas!

Wrapping Orgy

Posted in This and that on 12/24/2008 by Susan Shay

I’ve done it again. Every year I plan to start early, be like everyone else, and get Christmas finished ahead of time. Be ready to kick back and sip eggnog.

This year, as usual, I put it off until the last possible minute. Today I’m having my annual wrapping orgy. That’s what I call it when I have to wrap all my gifts (and some for others) on Christmas Eve and toss them under the tree.

I’ve heard about people who they have their gifts purchased AND WRAPPED by Thanksgiving.

It’s probably just an urban legend. But if it isn’t, imagine buying the gifts so early that you have to clean them–and around them.

I always wonder if those early shoppers have to buy special gift wrap that repels dust. (They only sell it until Thanksgiving, then it goes off the market.)

Maybe I should start sniffing my gifts. If I smell Pledge, I’ll know the gifter is an early bird.

Once, many moons ago when I only had one child, I got an early start. I bought Christmas before Thanksgiving. Then per my normal habit, I bought after Thanksgiving. Then I bought more before Christmas.

I had enough presents to gift my dh and kid the whole year round. Trouble is, it’s hard to keep super cool stuff hidden from the fam. So I didn’t.

I know better than to do that again.

I’ve thought about scheduling the season. On my calendar on Nov. 1 I’d write, 9 gifts to buy and wrap. Using my calculator, I’d figure 55 days until Christmas. I  must buy one present every week or so. Wrap each gift as soon as I get it home.

Right. Not going to happen. I’d be giving things like ink pens, bow ties and marshmallow guns. Who knows what they want until it is Christmas?

Besides, it would ruin the Yuletide.

What’s the fun if you don’t have to pay extra for expedited shipping? Where’s the excitement if you don’t lie awake worrying if the big present for this child or that (or all of them) is going to get here in time?

Sounds as if being organized would take all the fun out of Christmas. Besides, I have other things to do in November.

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