Posted in Countdown to Christmas

12/3/21 Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks

For this blog category, “Countdown to Christmas: Our Travel Tree & Georgia State Parks,” each day between December 1 and 25, I take a pic of a state park ornament on our Travel Tree and briefly highlight that park.

High Falls State Park is a naturally beautiful oasis along the Towaliga River just off I-75 between Macon and Atlanta, near Jackson, Georgia.

The water was a bit muddy the day we visited. (But then again, I’m a bit muddy some days as well.)

Here’s a one-minute “meditation” (we’ll call it). Close your eyes and listen to the cleansing sounds of nature …

Moving Peace.

At one point I paused by the water and chatted with … an animal. It looked like a camel. I think it was a camel.

See? Don’t you agree?

It never answered back. And Robert would have no part of it.

High Falls was just a short stopover on our way home from Atlanta, so we want to go back for a longer trek one of these days.

(I hope the camel will still be there. Robert assured me, with a bit of an attitude, that it “wood” still be there.)

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers 11/26/21

1. Robert and I enjoyed a big ole modern family Thanksgiving celebration with daughters Amy and Emily (and their fams) and ex-wife/great friend Donna.

And a pic that defines Awkward Family Photo …

I had just made some silly, jokey remark, and grandson Daniel was the only one who thought it was funny. He thought it was REALLY funny.

2. Cranberry sauce. More specifically, MY cranberry sauce. With allspice, brown sugar, fresh squeezed oj and zest.

3. My aging, sometimes achy and imperfect but wonderful body.

{No pic until said imperfect body is perfect. Do not expect body pics in the foreseeable future.}

4. Robert’s sometimes odd but always delicious soups (which he often makes up on the fly). This time, Baby Bok Choy and Shrimp.

5. The countdown to Christmas. We put up our Travel Tree last night, Thanksgiving night—a tradition. What’s a Travel Tree, you ask? It’s a Christmas tree, with each ornament from one of our travels. (More about the Travel Tree on my blog each day during December.)

Happy Last Weekend in November!

What are you thankful for this day?

Posted in Thankfulness, Gratitude

Tuesday Think Thank

This morning I Did what I Should Not Do—according to my husband, my therapist and even my pint-sized common sense. I started my Tuesday by scrolling (and scrolling) through online news. Why? Idk, but I’ll blame it on an out-of-my-daily-routine second cup of coffee.

Paraphrasing my three advisers: “Neal, how does it help you to be inundated with mainstream news, which is most often bad news?”

*************

A teeny sampling of what my caffeinated scrolling unearthed:

* Senseless deaths and injuries in the Wisconsin Christmas parade tragedy.

* Tucker Carlson calling Kyle Rittenhouse a “sweet kid.”

* A defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery case referencing in her closing statement Ahmaud’s “long dirty toenails.”

* The dangerously divisive hatred (hatred?!) in our divided political world today.

* Etc. Etc. Etc.

*************

What “got me out of the newsroom” (thank goodness!) was a quick trek to the frig for more creamer for that second cuppa and noticing what I had stuck on the refrigerator…

The overflowing harvest of the simple cornucopia somehow (note to self: yet another therapy topic) jarred me into remembering that not all is bad. Duh. And that I/we have so very much to be thankful for.

All of which, again, somehow brought to mind my favorite small-t thanksgiving song, Josh Groban’s rendition of “Thankful.” So I did a quick listen-to.

This non-newsworthy line stood out: “Sometimes we can’t see the joy that surrounds us.”

Here’s the song if you have a couple of minutes

Who says two cups of coffee are bad for you?!

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 My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: World Kindness Day 2021

Did you know that today is World Kindness Day?! No? I kinda didn’t either. But according to a quick Googling (should that word be capitalized since we’re using it as a kinda generic verb now?), WKD is celebrated every year on November 13.

Here’s my kinda extensive research:

Coincidentally, I snapped this photo the other day of a cool and kinda appropriate-for-today t- shirt.

We CAN be both. Or at least we kinda can.

And here’s a little about how World Kindness Day got started:

If you’re interested, here’s a kinda informative and encouraging article about ways to be kind … to yourself, family, community and the earth:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/13/health/world-kindness-day-2021-acts-wellness/index.html

HAPPY KINDNESS DAY 2021!

LET’S FIND A WAY OR TWO TO BE KINDA TODAY — AND EVERY DAY.

Posted in Encouragement

Sometimes

Last evening, Robert and I headed over to Big Bon Pizza in the hip Starland District of Savannah. (Being so hip myself, I like going to hip locations. As long as my right hip cooperates.) After voraciously enjoying their WONDERFUL hot-outta-the-brick-oven pizza …

… the Universe spoke to me as I waddled past Big Bon Bodega/Big Bon Pizza’s sandwich board:

An enlightening message I most definitely need to heed much more often!

(Even with the comma issue. 😩 Retired English professor.)

Here’s my mental activity as I continued waddling to the car:

Now isn’t that better?

Wait a second! Halt the waddling! Did I really just proofread and edit THE UNIVERSE?!

Posted in Excerpt from a Fellow Blogger

It’s Past Time to Be Kind

Wondering through Ponce City Market in Atlanta a while back, Robert and I came upon this cool clock display.

We assume we have so, so much time left. Clocks simply full of it. But, do we really know how much we have left? Or what we should be doing with it?

“Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” — Henri Frederic Amiel

It’s Past Time to Be Kind — Robert’s Snap Spot

Robert wrote a neat post about kindness and time. The link above takes you to it.