Posted in Humor

Here’s What I Have to Put Up With

I don’t know about you, and I don’t claim to be an exercise physiologist, so correct me if I am wrong, but I always thought that walking involved movement. Especially your legs propelling you forward.

HR comes from an alternative school of thought. The “Walk Till You See Something—ANYTHING—That Grabs Your Attention Philosophy.” Then stop and take multitudinous (Is that a word?) photos of the attention grabber. You can always edit—and walk—later.

So this morn, we ventured out on our SMW (Sunday Morning Walk), which we often do instead of church (nature’s sermons are much more interesting).

If I wanted to hold a grudge, I could document at least a dozen “attention grabbers” Robert stopped for this morn. But let’s allow two to suffice.

We paused for a good five minutes at this “interesting” old chopped-up bush.

I think I’ve told you this before, but Robert NEVER thinks to inform me that he is going to “stop for the op.” After all, his attention has been grabbed! I usually end up walking at least a block away, chattering animatedly about some important topic, like how disappointed I was in the last season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. When I realize HR’s nowhere near me, I turn around and head back, ignoring the sympathetic stares and giggles of people who heard me talking to myself.

And looky here …

A caterpillar! (A good ten minutes.)

This stop was multidimensional for Robert. 1. To take twelve dozen photos. 2. Good Samaritan-ly to save an innocent life. The caterpillar was in the middle of the sidewalk. (We watched the Tiny Worlds documentary series.)

It’s important to take the time to document the caterpillar’s body from EVERY conceivable angle.

Here are a few of HR’s pics …

See what I have to put up with?


But when all is said and done—and photographed—I do love our walks. And I do love HR.

Southern Magnolia bloom

He’s my blossom.

Posted in Humor

Medical Mirrors

Yesterday I had an appointment with my dermatologist. I checked in and had to wait. And wait.

Quick run to the bathroom.

“What a pretty mirror,” I thought. (Who else even thinks to take a pic of the mirror in your doc’s bathroom?! Anybody? Anywhere?)

Then I was called back to Exam Room #3. “Take everything off except your underwear and mask,” I was instructed. I quickly obeyed. Then had to wait.

From the now chilly exam table, I spotted another mirror. “Hello,” I waved (to whom I’m not sure).

Still waiting, I sort of drifted off. (It was early morn, after all.) Woke up to yet another mirror.

Wouldn’t you think there would be fewer mirrors in a dermatologist’s office instead of more? We know we have skin issues. That’s why we came! Why throw it in our face (or other body part)?

Do normal people simply wait patiently until the doc knocks on the exam room door to announce her arrival?

But what fun would that be?

{Reminder Note: At next therapy session, ask Rubi if Mirror Obsession Disorder is a thing.}

Posted in Humor

This Is What

So this is what I have to put up with when Robert and I go out for a morning walk.

“Just a second, let me snap a quick picture or two.”

I can either put my Apple Watch fitness thingy on Pause and just stand there, or shake my arm to confuse the watch into thinking I’m still walking. Which causes great exhaustion after one long minute.

HR finding beauty in a retaining pool

Or throw together a quick blog post.

Posted in Humor

Neal’s Post from the Past: “NONCMA (Neal’s Online Norton Convo with Mark Anthony)” oh

A silly old post from back in 2013.

Recently my laptop somehow got a Most Terrible Virus which shut my e-world down for a while.  My first thought: “Why me?!  What have I done to deserve this?!”  (FYI:  When distressing things happen to me, the idea of a Happiness Blog completely escapes my consciousness.  Happy?!  Are you CRAZY?  And I start to think about writing a Pity Blog or a Hate Blog.)  

Well, I had to restart in Safe Mode and do all kinds of actions, such as holding one finger on F7 while I balanced on one foot.  Nothing worked.  I even asked Jesus for help.  Finally, frustrated and lonely, I somehow made an online connection (Jesus’ help?) and started frantically downloading antivirus software right and left, kind of like Kathy Griffin making fun of Oprah and yelling in a frenzy, “Look under your seats!  Tickets for everybody!  You’re all going with Gail and me to Bali!”

An hour later, with my computer running smoothly, I regained my balance, on both feet.  But it seems I had downloaded a few too many antivirus programs, including Avast!, McAfee, Trend Micro and Norton, most of which offered trial versions and then started to charge after a few weeks.  So today I realized I needed to do some cancellation, or get another part-time job.

I contacted Norton, and here’s (finally!) where my story begins.  Unable to get ahold of a literal person (is “literal” needed there?), I made a sort of appointment for an e-talk chat with a Norton customer service representative.  Here’s what I initially saw on my screen:

“Thank you for contacting Norton Support. We are currently experiencing longer than expected wait times. You have been now been placed in a queue and our next available expert will be with you soon.”


A few minutes later:

“Thank you for your patience. One of our experts will be with you soon.”

[To be honest, I didn’t really have to have an “expert”–just anybody who knew a little bit about cancelling my trial version would be cool.]


And soon after:

“You are now chatting with Mark Anthony.”

[I felt like I used to feel when my time finally arrived to sit in Santa’s lap.]


Neal Saye: I am trying to cancel my Norton trial version.

Mark Anthony: Welcome to Norton Support! My name is Mark, I’d be glad to assist you with regards to canceling your trial.

Neal Saye: Thank you.

Mark Anthony: Neal, may I ask why are you canceling your trial?  Are you no longer using the Norton product?

Neal Saye: I already had an antivirus package on my computer.

[I was too embarrassed to admit that I had a Bali trip worth of antivirus programs protecting my laptop.]

Neal Saye: So I do not need another.

Mark Anthony: I understand Neal, but under this account, I don’t see any trialware on it.

[His use of “Neal” started to make me feel as if I was talking to, I don’t know, maybe an old college buddy I hadn’t seen in eons.]

Neal Saye: Well actually that’s what I saw when I looked too. But I got a Welcome to Norton email at this email address.

Mark Anthony: I see. Okay let’s see if the product key for your trial is still on your computer.  Can you check on your My Documents folder if there’s a Symantec folder?

Neal Saye: [Panicking]  One second.

[I had no clue what he was talking about.  “Product key”?  Huh?]

Mark Anthony: No problem, Neal.

[That’s easy for him to say.  He’s a customer service representative.]

Neal Saye: I don’t see one there.

[Embarrassed.  Afraid he would dislike me because I couldn’t find the damn key.]

Mark Anthony: Okay, if you are sure that there is no Norton trial program installed on your computer, and I don’t see any trialware on your Norton account, there’s no need for a cancellation, the one you received on your email is probably a Norton account greeting that you have signed-up an account.

Neal Saye: Okay, but if I somehow get charged, may I get a reimbursement?

[Beet red.  Made me sound SO cheap.]

Mark Anthony: You may at anytime contact us back.  If in any case you get charged, we will be more than happy to process a full refund.

[So happy.  He cares.]

Neal Saye: Thanks. Also aren’t you either a famous singer or a Shakespearean character? What are you doing working for Norton?!

[I don’t know why I say such things to perfect strangers, but it seemed right at the time.]

Mark Anthony: I get that a lot Neal, and you’re most welcome.

Mark Anthony: Anything else I could assist you with today?

[I would like to have engaged in more banter about my singer/character joke.  People close to me tell me that I’m not really a very funny person.  But that I think I am.  And that’s what makes people laugh.  I never know whether to take that as a compliment or insult.]

Neal Saye: Thanks again for helping me, Mark Anthony. That makes me happy. Speaking of happy, I write a happiness blog–check it out sometime at I’ll mention you!

[Rule of business: Never miss an opportunity to sell yourself.]

Mark Anthony: That’s great Neal.  I’ll be taking note of your blog and will check it out.

[Great response.  We will see if he does.]

Neal Saye: Have a great weekend!

Mark Anthony: Thank you for contacting Norton support, feel free to contact us anytime if you have further concerns. Have a great day!


I suppose there’s no real moral to this blog story–maybe just this: customer service representatives are people too.

Posted in Humor

I Can’t

Kiwi: “I’m sorry, but I can’t elope with you.”

Cantaloupe: “I just don’t understand. I keep peppering you with my affection.” 


Does your breakfast talk like this when you are trying to start your day?!

It gets on my last nerve.

(FYI: I put freshly ground black pepper on everything.)

(FYI 2: Robert thinks it’s a little weird too.)

Posted in Family, Humor

Neal’s Awkward Family Photos: First Edition

My family. I own it …

Grandsons Daniel and Gabriel
Daughter Amy and her nephew/my grandson Matthew
Me … and a heady salad
Robert … seriously offering some croissants
Grandtwin Matthew (a little older) excited over a gift
Robert timing a photo while grandtwin Madison poses—and ex-wife Donna and I wonder how much longer this can go on.

To be awkwardly continued …

Posted in Encouragement, Growing Older, Humor

Neal’s Nifty Notes from his … Cheeky Colonoscopy

I’ll turn &$#@! on January 10. Well, Tuesday morning, I had an early birthday gift—a colonoscopy!

Hours earlier that morn, at 3 a.m. to be exact, as I was groggily downing my second serving of Suprep Bowel Prep (more about THAT later) …

… I had a lightheaded “I-can’t-remember-the-LAST-TIME-I-ATE!” epiphany that my blog followers would probably want to hear all about my upcoming procedure! (Was I right, or what?) Thus, in order to be faithful to my thousands, hundreds, dozens, single digits of followers, I would need to remember to take DETAILED mental notes about my experience. I’m a retired English professor, after all.

Butt hold on, let’s start at the very beginning, just like that “Do-Re-Mi” song from The Sound of Music.

Because of a couple of slightly concerning issues back in December, Dr. Ken Griffin, my primary care physician here in Savannah (the very best in the Western Hemisphere, btw) suggested that I go ahead and get a colonoscopy instead of waiting the full ten years for my next scheduled one in 2023. TMI already?

Butt first, I was referred to local general surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Mandel for a quick look-see (DO NOT THINK ABOUT THAT TOO MUCH), who thankfully decided I wasn’t ready for “non-surgical rubber band ligation.” What?! Rubber bands? And why get lawyers involved?!

The next step found me making an appointment with gracious gastroenterologist Dr. Mark Murphy, at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health and The Endoscopy Center (whew, that’s a mouthful), who would end up performing? administering? doing my colonoscopy.

If you’ve had a colonoscopy, you know that the preparation is tougher than the procedure. And that Suprep Oral Solution I mentioned earlier? When I walked into CVS to pick it up, I nearly went into a panic attack (you may know about my issues with anxiety from my “Hello Anxiety” posts) at the price …

Butt what calmed me down was realizing it wasn’t just any old bottle of bowel prep you might find at The Dollar Tree. No, $100 dollars bought me an entire kit! With TWO bottles of bowel prep, a reusable non-BPA (thank goodness) plastic cup, and nonfiction reading material!

Husband Robert just interrupted my inspired blogging to complain, “Neal, don’t you think it’s about time to move on from writing about the bowel prep? It’s starting to bum me out.”

Well, okay, here’s the final thing I’ll say, show about my experience with Suprep Bowel Sodium/Potassium/Magnesium (Isn’t that $1.29 Gatorade?) Sulfate Oral Solution …

After a LONG night, Robert and I showed up at the Endoscopy Center at 9 a.m. You have to have a driver for these procedures, you know, you can’t just hightail it to a colonoscopy date all by yourself, for goodness sake. Having a driver made me feel sort of special, inexplicably, not to mention inappropriately, reminding me of Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.

All kidding aside (for a moment, at least) ALL the folks at the Center were terrific—friendly, welcoming, professional and so adept at calming me down and assuring me that all would be well, that I was being taken care of. I wish I could remember everyone’s names to thank them individually.

Super amicable and soothing Nurse Molly showed me to my little smartly curtained waiting/prep cubicle, and when I was all snug in my little bed (kinda like Goldilocks), Molly brought me a heated blanket! I made a mental note to tell Robert ALL about THAT.

Then the hippest anesthesiologist in the history of anesthesiologists, Dr. Gantt, paid me a visit to let me know about the upcoming sedation. I couldn’t pay much attention because I kept looking at what made Dr. Gantt so very hip: his choice of headwear. His scrub cap (is that what you call it?) was all colorful/islandy. Dr Gantt told me he gets his caps from a company in Key West! The design looked something like this …

… but don’t hold me to it. I was about to have a colonoscopy. Do you expect me to remember everything perfectly?

After the hip anesthesiologist left my cubicle, I slowly settled back into my cocoon, gazed up and began to behold the most beautiful blue sky, replete with white fluffy clouds. Mesmerized at the heavenly scene miraculously forming above me, I suddenly felt nirvana-ish, at peace with the world, confident that my procedure was well under way, and the hip doctor’s sedation a splendid success! All I had to do was float, inhaling joy and health into my body, exhaling love and peace out into the world. Ohm.

But then Molly came back into my little cubicle, which I had dubbed Neal’s Nap Pad, and told me it was time to wheel away to my procedure (!). What? I had been staring up at the common area ceiling, painted a soothing light blue with white clouds to calm nervous patients like me.

Nurse Molly said the sweetest thing to me as I left her: “I wish all our patients were just like you.” And I wish all nurses were just like Molly.

Wheeled into the procedure room, I was greeted by two delightful young ladies, but I can’t remember their names, darn it, an anesthesia nurse and a doctor-helper nurse (see how intelligent I am with medical lingo). The anesthesia nurse told me I was about to take a great little nap! And get this, the doctor-helper nurse saw from my armband (more about that later) that my birthday was coming up and asked how I planned to celebrate. I told her that Robert and I were keeping it low key, just going out to eat. [Interestingly, everybody seemed to know all about Robert, which I thought was just so 2022, forgetting that they knew about him because he’s my “designated driver.” Wait, am I getting this Center for Digestive and Liver Health experience confused with one a while back at Savannah Tap House?]

My new friend, the doctor-helper nurse, then went on to explain that her family had recently had a celebration by going out to eat as well.

“We went to Toni’s Steakhouse.”

“Oh. My. Goodness!” I think I yell/gasped, probably worrying the anesthesia nurse a little. “That’s where we are going! I’ve never been!”

She then aptly suggested that Robert and I share the delicious steak for two deal, which comes with four sides! I assured her that we will. And we will! I’ll post a picture next Monday. Now you have something special to look forward to.

Well, as much as I wanted to know what sides to choose from, things made a swift turn when Dr. Murphy stood up from where he had been doing who knows what at a computer near my feet. He told his helper nurse that he liked Toni’s too. The room started to feel like a Norman Rockwell family painting.

Dr. Murphy was terrific, saying that he knew my nurse daughter Amy (I need to come up with a better way to name nurses), sharing a funny little anecdote about a traffic stop, explaining to me all about the colonoscopy and assuring me that I would be fine.

Then I was out like a light.

Butt I think I recall snippets of the convo between the doctor and the two nurses as they worked on me.

Anesthesia Nurse: “Isn’t he famous? I think he’s famous.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think you’re right. I just can’t place him.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “I really should have told him the sides.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think he’s an actor. You know, they love Savannah.”

Anesthesia Nurse: “Hmm, I don’t think so. I think he’s a fitness model.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “Did you read his armband? He’ll be &@%! next Monday on his birthday! Who would have thought?! He doesn’t look a day over 39!”

The next thing I knew, nice Nurse Cassie was welcoming me back to Planet Earth and giving me some ginger ale! We hit it off, both having vacationed in the Poconos. Cassie soon walked me out to my designated driver (I felt just a tad like leaving the Taphouse). And I said to Cassie, according to Robert: “Everybody was so nice, if I didn’t have to have a colonoscopy, I’d like to come and hang out with y’all.”

And look, you get gifts. A neat holder pouch for your glasses.

This beautifully simple bracelet. Here I have it paired with another bracelet gift from Robert.

And, believe it or not, luggage!

Thanks so much to the talented, good natured, and kindhearted professionals at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health! The best!

Dr Murphy and sensational staff really did give me a most appreciated early birthday gift: a clean bill of colon health with no polyps. Again, TMI?