Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 4/8/22

1. Breakfast fruit.

No, really, the actual fruit, not HR.

Okay, well maybe Robert too.

2. Our “garden.” We have an apartment in historic district Savannah. No actual yard space, so we do what we can do.

Three Happy Herbs in a pot

3. The ability to make choices.

4. Easter approaching.

5. Appreciating beauty, even aging, post-prime and broken beauty.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

Posted in Family

Cactus Talking

About five years ago my cousin Jennie gave my 94-year old father this little Christmas cactus, after he had a serious fall. He was a resident at Cameron Hall Assisted Living in north Georgia at the time and in the early stages of dementia.

It sat on the window ledge beside his bed, keeping him company with small splashes of pink for a couple of years, until he had to move on to the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta. There was no place for the little plant there, so I brought him home for Robert and me to care for.

My dad passed away in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

The little Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) grew quiet. All green leaves. No tiny pink explosions. Hushed.

But this winter he sprang back to life. He started talking!

“Life goes on. The cycle continues. Just wait, you’ll see.”

Posted in T-shirt Tuesday

T-shirt Tuesday: “I Survived”

Yesterday, I hit a chronological milestone. I turned 70. I should have worn this t-shirt …

I woke up to flowers from Robert.

Lots of flowers …

And cards from Robert, lots of cards (he has this tradition of giving more than just one card for special occasions, which at first I thought was a little over the top but now LOVE) …

And lots of new t-shirts from Robert (do you see a trend here?) …

A beautiful day. Greetings and best wishes from family and friends.

And a hand-me-down Apple Watch!

Finally, as I promised in my recent thrilling colonoscopy post, an update on the birthday steak dinner at Toni’s Steakhouse which the “doctor-helper nurse” suggested just before the “anesthesia nurse” put me to sleep.

We opted for the New York strip with broccoli and potato.

What a joy to have lived through the Sixties two times now!

Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “Introduction”

Spanning the past year or two, a Perfect Storm of sorts has swirled around my life, mind and body, making direct hits from time to time. The storm was/is created by the following major factors (among others):

* The pandemic’s upheaval of “normal” life as I/we knew it. Causing, at the very least, worry and unease. Affecting everything from family dynamics to personal health concerns.

* The deaths of my dad and brother, as well as husband Robert’s father, stepmother and grandmother, all within the last couple of years.

* The angry and dangerously hateful climate of divisiveness within our communities, states, country and political systems. And the constant, sometimes difficult-to-ignore media coverage.

* Realizing and coming to terms with my life as an older married-to-a-guy (!) gay man, closely connected to my two daughters and their families, as well as my loving ex-wife.

* Being married to a wonderful black man and taking a serious and difficult (often very painful) look at issues of racism and social injustices in our nation and world.

* Even the seemingly silly fact that I’m getting older (I’ll reach the milestone of 70 next January!) and dealing with aging issues, which can seem both unfriendly and foreign.

So a few months back, I came to realize I needed some help. (Duh.) After reading Lori Gottlieb‘s encouraging and often hilarious Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (for the second time), I started looking for a therapist.

It took me a while to narrow the offerings down. Have you ever googled “Therapist near me”?! After all, I stand in the produce aisle, taking forever to decide on the “best” tomatoes, based on color, size, texture, aroma and how-do-they-compare-to-my-childhood-memories-of-homegrown?

What was I looking for? I guess this …

… even though at that point, I had not thought about or considered the word “anxiety” itself. I was experiencing it but not naming it.

I finally found him, and it only took a few sessions for him to gently say one day, “Neal, I think it’s pretty clear that you have generalized anxiety disorder.”

I was a tiny bit insulted. I think what I desired to hear was somewhere along the lines of, “Oh my goodness, Neal, you are a terrifically well adjusted man. Now go and BE that. You can do it. You ARE it!”

When I could breathe easier, I realized he was right.

This new blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to be able to say “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the Perfect Storm. I invite you to join me.

But I’ll supply the tomatoes.

Posted in Robert and …

“Robert and …” #2

A blog category of pics I’ve taken of Hubby Robert and … well, just about anything.

Robert and my Father

Robert cutting my 95-year-old father’s hair at the Canton (Ga) Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
And a year or so later at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Hone in Augusta