Posted in Holiday Joy, Humor

Staring Contest #4 (Thanksgiving/Early Christmas Version)

Minding my own business over the weekend, peacefully walking along the river in downtown Savannah, not at all trying to start something that would have to be finished, my joyfully calm day became something altogether darkly different when an overly confident Toy Soldier started to–.

Wait, let’s back up a second.  Some of you know that I occasionally find myself, through no fault of my own, smack dab in the middle of the most painfully demanding staring contests.  Renaissance men, famous football coaches, even Pirates all have been my adversaries in this universally accepted battle of true manhood and endurance.

Anyway, back to my story.  As I was trekking through the lobby of the Riverfront Marriott, hoping to find some free holiday punch and maybe a cookie to further cheer me, and thinking about the feasibility of writing a letter to Santa at my age (that confession might be borderline funny if it wasn’t so very true), I heard a Snicker, a Snigger, and felt inexplicably Scorned, Scoffed.  Initially thinking, Ebeneezer Scrooge-ishly, that the interruption might simply be the result of the fried duck and waffle breakfast I demolished earlier at B. Matthew’s on Bay Street, my sauntering slowed as I heard/felt the intrusion again.  So I turned casually around …

… only to see a Smirk, a Sneer on a colorful (I’ll give him that), sorta French-looking Toy Soldier.  I tried to be polite and friendly (afterall I write a happiness blog), but TS obviously had other plans, jerking his head one way, then the other in an only-partially-successful effort to intimidate me.

Finally after what felt like only minutes later, the feeble, old-enough-to-be-MY father concierge told me (rather rudely in my opinion), that I had to get out of his lap, and that no, his table was not big enough for both of us to sit behind.  So I marched right back over to the Toy Soldier (he was perched by the only exit), knowing a battle awaited.  Gathering my gumption, I flung myself headlong into Staring Contest #4.

And as is usually the case, whenever I stop trembling, Neal’s courage arrives.  Holiday revelers gathered round, about half of them backing up TS, the others for yours truly.

Big deal that his fans were more festively dressed and enthusiastic than mine.

The battle intensified.

And even though I really had to use the bathroon after having sipped all the concierge’s cocoa, I held my own.  The game I’m talking about.

And I …

Won!  How?  I can’t give away all my secrets.

Later.  I’m outta here.

Posted in Holiday Joy, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Gratitude Turkey

I picked up Grandson Daniel (5) from school yesterday, and, hopping into his back seat, he excitedly showed me his just-completed Turkey Basket (well, that’s what he called it anyway).  As I soon learned, the turkey project was two-fold: first the cute little construction paper turkey itself.  But as you can see in the pictures below, the front housed a nifty envelope (basket?) which held little gratitude or thanksgiving cards.  For each note, Daniel and his classmates completed the statement “I am thankful for ____ because …” for their family members.

What a joy!  Little ones expressing their thankfulness so sincerely.  Below Daniel explains to me that his plan for Thanksgiving Day consists of waiting till “all the guests” have eaten “some of their turkey” and then “hand out the slips.”  And he did just that–for all fourteen of the folks at the table.  His mom helped him with some of the spelling, but the sentiments were exclusively his.

Here’s mine:

“I am thankful for Abu (that’s me) because he helps with decorations.”

(Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strange, but the day before, we had decorated for Thanksgiving with some outdoor lights.  And a month earlier we had carved two jack o’ lanterns.)

What Thanksgiving Joy!  We really all do have so very much to put in our Turkey Baskets.

[For more on “Abu” see “My Favorite Word Is Abu!” post.]

Posted in Breaking News, Where Happiness Finds You

Breaking News–Sir Riboclavin’s Castle!

Buddy Riboclavin (see #3 in yesterday’s Five Friday Happy Bringers) just sent more pics from his Irish holiday.

And.  He.  Is.  Staying.  In.  A.  Castle.

I just assumed he would be lodging at Ireland’s equivalent to Motel 6 or Sleep Inn.  But no–a real, live castle!  It’s called Ashford Castle.  When Ribo told me where he was staying, I hooted and asked him to find a throne or something to sit on and snap a pic, but so far these are what I’ve gotten:

I wanna be in a castle!  With a moat around it.  Maybe sitting outside in tweed, drinking mulled cider or grog.

Or perhaps wearing this:

Maybe listen to some music:

Rustle around a bit:

Eat a huge turkey leg:


If you have a moated castle, let me know ASAP.  Thank you.

Posted in College Teaching


Each Monday morning up at my old hunting ground, Georgia Southern University, my buddy and former Writing and Linguistics Department colleague Eric Nelson shares a poem on the W & L listserv.  Yesterday’s poem was so joyful and encouraging, I thought I would share it with you, Kind Blog Readers.  It’s called “Blessings”:


Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.

—Ron Wallace from Long for This World (U of Pitt Press, 2006)
Isn’t that a cool piece of writing?  I LOVE being reminded that … good happens.
Posted in College Teaching, Savannah Joy

Five Friday Happy Bringers (11/2/12)

Okay, I know it’s Saturday. but yesterday was an uberbusy day.  And isn’t today gorgeous?  It’s cool.  It’s Fall.  And it’s time to acknowledge some Happy Bringers.

1.  Enjoying the Savannah Film Festival this week (hosted by SCAD).

2.  Making little Halloween goody bags for my international students, most of whom had never “done” Halloween before.  Then discussing the Day of the Dead (which some of them celebrate) and being grateful for all our relatives and friends who have passed on.

3.  A great-smelling rose.

4.  Attending and enjoying the Taste of the World food festival at SCAD yesterday.  Here’s a little bit about the event from the ISSO (International Student Services Office) newsletter: “Dine thali style and sample more than 80 international dishes. Visit the mixed grill area specializing in tandoori chicken, Thai chicken satay on skewers and Persian beef kebabs. Enjoy live performances inspired by international cultures and Savannah’s own Latin and Merengue sensation, Son del Coqui.”

I ran into some of my colleagues from SCAD’s Language Studio.  Here’s Coordinator of Language Studio/ESL Ana Turner (right after leading a traditional dance).

And here’s the Director of Language Studio/ESL Christina Cavage.

New full-time prof Curt Klinghoffer.  (I wish my last name cool like Curt’s.  I mean, Saye?  Really?)

Officemate Emily Gung.

Oldtimer–I mean “experienced”–ESL prof (and my mentor) Todd Nemanic.

I appreciate the appropriateness and truthfulness of this affirmation:

And I loved seeing some of my students at the festival.  Here’s Sonali.

And Juliana.

Andrea (with a friend).

Raquel and Juli.

And some other people I met.  Juwan, for example–I took his picture because of that cool blue hair.  I’m thinking about green for mine.  Yes?

And Devyn wins my prize for hippest necklace and pants.

I really had a ball there.  So much fun.

Now let’s play a game.  It’s called Oh Saye, Can You See?

I ran into my buddy Mangue Banzima with his gorgeous daughter.

Mangue writes/photographs a beautiful blog about fashion in Savannah, Qui Style in SavannahCheck it out sometime.  Okay, check it out RIGHT NOW because I’m in it for the second time!  Keep scolling down, past all the really cool and hip-looking people, until you get to the Taste of the World pictures–then, again, scroll past those young, stylish folks till you find … me!  [First post from a while back about fashion: I’m a Famous Fashion Model]

What a fun couple of hours in the fall beauty of Savannah.

5.  Seeing smiles as the most significant means of communication between people.

Joyful, Smiling Weekend!