Posted in My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: “An Artist and Her Pop-Up Work”

Thanksgiving afternoon, after The Big Meal, the lucky thirteen of us in my big ole modern family …

(Okay, okay, I know I posted this pic before.)

… sort of scattered throughout hostess daughter Amy’s sprawling house, the adults congregating in the den before the obligatory football games, while the children (ages 3-17) did who knows what.

At one point, nine-year-old Madison resurfaced: “I’m bored. Matthew (her twin) and Gabriel (her cousin) won’t stop playing video games.”

“Go outside for a while,” wise Nana suggested.

Checking on her a bit later, I saw a now-spirited Madison and a growing pile of sticks. She loves artsy endeavors—note her self-made turkey hat? … bandana?

And then a bit later (who knows how long, the tryptophan was working on me), Madison asked the adults to “Come see what I made!”

Those adults who were still conscious rambled outside to find … an outdoor pop-up art installation!

“A free-form, aesthetically pleasing amalgamation of found object natural elements representing both land and sea,” I immediately thought upon seeing the piece.

“Huh?!” Madison seemed to think in response, judging from her body posture.

Oops, a few last-minute touches …

As self-proclaimed artistic judge, I found the work dazzlingly daring yet delicate, detailed and deeply thoughtful, while being both dreamlike and dynamic!

“Huh?!” I even asked myself.

The artist was then joined by little sister/helper Isabelle (3) …

The Joy of Grandchildren and … Art!

Posted in Change, T-shirt Tuesday

T-Shirt Tuesday: “Abu and Rbu”

Some fourteen years ago, when older daughter Amy announced that she was pregnant with our first grandchild, I was both ecstatic and a tad nervously hesitant. A grandfather?! Seriously?! At this stage in my life? Am I even old enough to be a grandfather … officially?!

The old blog post below explains (in excruciating detail) how I ended up being called “Abu” (Abuelo = Grandfather) by that first grandchild Daniel—and all the other ones who came later.

Younger daughter Emily is a whiz at making custom t-shirts, so she recently created these two for Robert and me. Grandson Daniel came up with the idea of calling Robert “Rbu” to go along with my “Abu,” making us a weirdly matching set.

The old Abu post …

And here are a few early pics of Daniel and me …

And Daniel today …

Yes, my favorite word is “Abu.”

Posted in Humor, Neal's Writing, New, Savannah Joy, The Joy and Wisdom of Children, Transition, Uncategorized, Where Happiness Finds You

The Bear and the Unicorn

For my recent suxteee-seckth birthday, I celebrated with my big ole’ modern family …

… at Savannah’s Tequila’s Town restaurant in Sandfly.

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(Seriously?  Can you believe they come hooting “Happy Bday” laden with tequila for the celebrant!  Even though I had my large head prepared for an oversized sombrero and some flan.)

Post-tequila I received some neat gifts, but perhaps my Favorites came from five-year-old grandtwins Madison (inappropriately pictured above next to the tequila) and Matthew. Their mom let them pick out their gifts for me.  Madison gave me a pink unicorn in a love mug …

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…while Matthew opted for a brown bear that actually smells like chocolate when you rub it vigorously!

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(Matthew is in an over-smiling-for-the-camera stage.)

Oh, they also each got me a large skein of yarn–yellow from Madison and green from Matthew.  Not that I knit (who has the patience for that?!), but because they like to unravel the yarn, make giant spiderwebs and throw it all over the furniture and each other.

Thus, inspired by the tequila, when I got home I opted for a quick photoshoot to document my suxteee-seckth.

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Moral of Story:  the strangest little gifts ofttimes make for the biggest shots of … Joy.

Posted in The Joy and Wisdom of Children

G

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I have FOUR grandchildren.  (Yes, you’re right, I’m FAR too young.  We all know that.  It’s a given.  But sometimes Mother Nature has a way of bypassing her laws of when people should have grandchildren–and presents them in, well, early, early middle age.)

Anyway, the second-from-the-oldest-grandchild is Gabriel, 5, a rambunctious bundle of pure little boy-ness.  He’s often affectionately referred to simply as “G.”  In his most recent pre-K school report, the patient-as-a-saint and give-her-a-raise teacher wrote that Gabriel is “smart, funny, with many friends … and has a touch of naughtiness.”

Here’s G (on the far right) with a few school buddies,

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And here he is the other night with older brother Daniel (8).

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Today I received this text from my daughter/G mom Amy:

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The brutal honesty of children.

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Posted in Encouragement, Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part One)

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Have you done so this holiday?  Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings.  I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys.  Here is a sampling of mine:

1.  I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week.  (I was SO frustrated.)  Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital).  It melted my heart.

 

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(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)

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(Absolute grandfather joy.)

Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:

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2.  The ability to smell Christmas.

3.  Enjoying the power of silly.

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4.  Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.

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What fun!

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Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.

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I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story.  I urge you to do the same.  Who encouraged you along your way?

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“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”

So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:

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5.  Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.

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What are a few of your Holiday Blessings?  Come on, share a few.

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (10/31/14)

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve!  (Wasn’t it just July 4th last week?)  And I am spookily happy.  Seriously.  Here’s why.

1.  Yesterday going to my grandtwins’ nursery school and carving a Jack O’ Lantern.  Here it is:

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Okay, that’s a lie.  I took that pic near my place in historic district Savannah.  Here’s the one I did:

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Sorry but that’s a lie as well.  (Is that a bat?)  Here’s mine:

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For more decades than I care to mention, my Jack O’Lanterns have looked EXACTLY the same.  But what fun with Matthew and Madison and their little classmates.

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2.  Speaking of pumpkins, here’s my dinner Wednesday night–Butternut Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls.

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Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Gourmet heaven.

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3.  The Savannah Film Festival this week, hosted by my SCAD–Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Such fun.

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What incredible films I saw, including a fascinating documentary about Summerville, GA artist Americana Howard Finster and a mesmerizing selection of short films from Ireland.

4.  Singing with James Brown in Augusts, GA.

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We’re belting out “Papa’s Got a Brand new Bag,” followed by “Make it Funky.”

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5.  The joy of holidays.

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Happy, Happy Halloween to you all!

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 9/11/14

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Summer is slipping away.  Can you believe that Sept 22 is the First Day of Fall?!  Would someone please tell Savannah’s daily temperatures that bit of info?

1.  Even though it caused a catch in my throat, seeing the pics my daughter Emily sent of the grandtwins yesterday morning — September 11.

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2.  Actually borrowing an egg from my next door neighbor.  (Is it okay to still do that?)

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(Of course she put the egg in a cute tiny bowl she found in Italy.)

I paid Vivian back with some Werther’s Originals–Chewy Caramels in the same bowl.  (Is that normal?)

3.  This green lion who (which?) lives nearby in Savannah’s historic district.

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4.  Taking four-year-old grandson Gabriel to his first-ever tennis lesson.

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Looking back at me, “Abu,” to make sure I’m watching.

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5.  And speaking of Gabriel, when I picked him and brother Daniel (7) up from school yesterday, G told us that he made a BIG picture of Batman in pre-K art class.  When we got to his house, of course we hung it in the dining room.

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After a few minutes, big brother Daniel, after pointing out that Gabriel had spelled Batman with an M (Matman), said to me, “Matman sure looks like a monkey to me.”

Gabriel screamed, “IT’S BATMAN!”

Happy Friday Folks!

Posted in The Joy and Wisdom of Children

GRANDstanding

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Okay, okay, I admit it. After getting over the terror of my slightly (?) insane old-age-related fear of becoming a grandfather, I have come to LOVE this joyful status in life. And if you’ve read my blog much at all, you’ve seen the grandies: brothers Daniel and Gabriel, and grandtwins Matthew and Madison.

Simply put, they offer me such tremendous happiness, especially since they live right here in my Savannah.

For example, yesterday afternoon, as I twinsat (is that a word?), Matthew wanted a back massage. How do they learn that at 20 months?  So he climbed up on the couch.

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And  directed me with his little hand, as he watched The Disney Channel.

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I will treasure those four minutes.

And earlier in the day, after the Savannah morning downpour stopped, the twins puddled their way to fun.

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Daniel and Gabriel whooped it up in New Orleans last weekend at the Louisiana Aquarium, the N.O. Children’s Museum, and the IMAX.

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I really love being Abu.

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Posted in The Joy and Wisdom of Children

The Babies Hair Salon

So today I decided I really needed to do something about my limp, flyaway, graying hair.

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I’m frustrated because, well, I’m beginning to look my age.  And, you know, that just doesn’t seem natural.  So I consulted the online Yellow Pages for area barbers and hair salons and read about an intriguing little place out near Skidaway Island (I’m in Savannah, by the way) called … The Babies Hair Salon.

I drove over, parked Skedaddler (my lil gray Scion) (gray seems to be a theme in my life lately) (just not fifty shades of it) (yet) and found myself being promptly greeted by, believe it or not, two surprised-looking BABIES!  Ten-month-old twins Madison and Matthew …

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When he saw my hair, I got the impression that Matthew had initial concerns about his and his sister’s ability to help me …

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Perhaps Madison had the same concern, but she tried to mask her feelings with a blank stare.

Nevertheless, the duo led me into their salon’s inner sanctum.

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“I’m beginning to see a color scheme here,” I thought perceptively and intelligently.

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Matthew and Madison took a moment to look through their style books to see what they might be able to do for me.

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“This is definitely going to be a challenge,” they seemed to be saying.

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I felt my first tiny jolt of trepidation when I realized they were looking at books about cows and sheep.

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With determination set clearly upon their young but professional countenances, the twins indicated for me to help them up into their work spaces.

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“An odd request,” I thought.  “They don’t do that at the Barber Pole downtown.”  But, the completely compliant client, I obeyed.

And for about sixty seconds, everything seemed to be going well.  Just typical stylist assessment techniques such as cranial observation and exploratory scalp manipulation.

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Then, inexplicably, I got the distinct impression that Madison was somehow asking Matthew to consult with the monkeys on the wall about the next step.

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But before I had time to investigate, they got to work.

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“This might be fun,” I thought, kinda smiling.

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Madison gently massaged in soothing hair cream.

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Healthy hair.

Then they both started to get a little rough, I thought,  for ten-month-olds.

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Seemingly out of the blue, I sensed a frustrated Matthew yelling to Madison, “Enough of this, sissy!  There’s no way to help this old man!”

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“Bite him!” she might have said.

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“What going on here?!” I thought in terror.  “Are they baby vampires or something?  Nick at Twilight?!  Whatever.  I’m outta here.”

As Skedaddler and I hightailed it back to Savannah’s historic district where I live across from Colonial Park Cemetery, I looked in my rearview mirror and thought, “You know, gray’s not such a bad color.  It’s kinda in-between.”

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(Thanks to Grandtwins Matthew and Madison for help with this post. And the iPhone’s reverse camera.)