Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 8/15/14

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I love these lazy, hazy crazy days of summer!  Here’s Nat King Cole singing about them.  Listen as you read the Happy Bringers:

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1.  Friendly dogs coming up to me as I sit and read in Washington Square — “my square” here in Savannah’s historic district.

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2.  Going to the Meet Your Classmates and Teachers Social at Grandson Gabriel’s Pre-K class at Savannah Country Day.

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(My grandies call me Abu.  Read why here.)

3.  Making up a cool recipe the other night — Sautéed Collards with Red Beets and Onions.

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4.  The (frequent) sight and sound and smell of late afternoon heavy rain in Savannah.

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(Outside my living room window.)

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5.  The sheer joy of being enthusiastic.

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Here a wonderful article about that very subject:

Enthusiasm is the Key to Happiness

Have a gloriously enthusiastic weekend ahead!

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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 Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (7/19/13)

Here are five things I’m happy about this warm July Friday in South Georgia.

1.  My newfound love of KALE–here sautéed with onions and garlic.

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How else can you eat it?  Anybody know?

2.  Six-year-old Grandson Daniel pretending to be part of an Office Depot sales associates meeting yesterday.  (He got bored when his mother and I were doing some shopping.)  (And he has his grandfather’s sense of humor.)  (I thought it was a lot funnier than the Office Depot folks did.)

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Right after I took that picture, Daniel asked me if we could go look at speaker eggs.  Huh?  What?  I’d never heard of such a thing.

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How does a kid know about such devices?!  When I asked him, he said that EVERYBODY knows about speaker eggs.  I couldn’t decide if I was proud of him or wanted to spank him.  A little while later, when he asked, “Abu, how old will you be when I’m twenty?” I knew I wanted to spank him.

3.  Eating dinner in a balcony.

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(At Sage.  Historic District Savannah.)

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4.  Lying down in your bed at night, putting your head on your pillow, and going to sleep.

5.  Savannah Clouds.

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*

Look up at the clouds this weekend!

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (5/3/13)

It’s Cinco de Mayo weekend, so let’s be happy!  Here are five more reasons I’m smiling.

1.  Ships

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2.  Getting good deals at the Dollar Tree.

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(And being patriotic at the same time.)

3.  Grandson Daniel trying to get Grandtwin Matthew to patty cake.  (Wait a sec, is it pat-a-cake?)

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4.  Learning (great emphasis on “learning”) to go with the flow, instead of fighting against it.

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5.  Grilling pork chops the other night and creating a NealEnJoy Marinade with apple butter and Dale’s Seasoning.  Yum, yum, yum!  But I ate them before I thought to take a picture to show you.  I considered snapping a quick photo of my belly, but I couldn’t stretch my iPhone out far enough for the reverse camera thingy to get my midsection so bloated.  So I thought to myself, “You know, you could probably ‘Google image’ (I just created a new verb!) a pic that would pass as your NealEnJoy marinated pork chops, and, really, who would know?”  But after the Googling, I was bamboozled by all the pork chop pictures that came up.

This could be a picture, for example, of my chops …

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… except they are in a frying pan.  But that frying pan does look like one of mine.

And don’t these look good?

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And thick:

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And these remind me SO MUCH of how my mama used to fry pork chops for supper.

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Then the Internet surfing got weird.  Here’s a man grilling pork chops with his standing dog watching.

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And I discovered that Republican politicians absolutely LOVE pork chops.  Here’s Mitt Romney eating one.

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And Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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And would you believe it?  Here’s John McCain eating a pork chop too.

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Not to mention Rudy Giuliani.

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I started to call somebody to report my findings about partisan pork, but I didn’t know who.  Then, lo and behold, guess who popped up chowing down on a chop?!

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And a pork sandwich.

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Fifteen minutes and gobs of chop pics later, I started to smell more pork.  Then out jumped an advertisement of Miss Piggy hawking her line of perfume called … yep, Pork Chops.

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Enough of this foolishness.  May we all flow into a beautiful weekend ahead.

Posted in Where Happiness Finds You

Neal’s Neverending New York PhotoNotes Post

[Warning:  If you’re going to read this one, you might want to go get a snack.  And maybe a cushion.  Wear loose-fitting clothes, comfortable shoes.]

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I traveled with daughter Amy, son-in-law Orte and grandsons Daniel and Gabriel to Manhattan last Thursday, returning yesterday.  This trip has become our annual spring rite of passage.  Except spring didn’t cooperate this year–cold!  Brrr!  Even a little snow.  But what a Grand Time as our Vagabond Shoes left Savannah and headed to the Big Apple.

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Easy, FUN flight, even with five- and three-year-olds.  No, BECAUSE of five- and three-year-olds.

Cool suite on Park Avenue:

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And of course, the first thing the boys want to do upon our arrival in New York?   Watch Gravity Falls on TV.

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(Okay, maybe it was pretty interesting, all about Dipper’s sister Mabel having a crazy-about-boys summer–at one point she sees a young fella holding a turtle, runs up to him and exclaims, “You like turtles?!  I LIKE TURTLES!  What’s happening here?!” as she moves her hands back and forth between her and the boy.  Finally Mabel sorta falls for a trenchcoated pyramid of Gnomes who want to marry her and make her their Gnome Queen.  I had no idea Gnomes could be so pushy.)

Gabriel looking out on the NY skyline from our 27th floor:

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The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (on the Upper West Side):

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A walk in Central Park, playing with dirty snow.  (But we’re from the south–we’ll take what we can get.)

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Delicious Waldorf Salad lunch for me–at the Waldorf:

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Touring = Tiring:

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Dinner at Victor’s, our favorite Cuban restaurant in Manhattan:

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Neat day, after Gabriel’s “breakfast” …

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… we taxied to another great museum: the Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo.  What an interactive place!

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My work:

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(Now do you see why I teach part-time at an art school?!  I call it Morning Glory and Green-Haired Cory.  Bids start in the upper thousands.  Thank you.)

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Daniel’s Dragon:

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(Those aren’t my blue fingernails.)

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First of two Broadway plays: Newsies.  Just incredible energy!  Google it.

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Newsies ticket

And here’s a pic of the stage/curtain thingy, right before I got yelled at for taking pictures inside the theatre.  (I’m sure they didn’t realize they were talking to a world-famous blogger and all.)

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I’m thinking about becoming a Broadway star.  All that’s holding me back is that you have to sing and dance and memorize lines and get up in front of people and not stutter because you’re so nervous.  AND not fall off the stage when you have to walk close to the edge.  That part TERRIFIES me.  But still.

The most incredible coincidence happened next.  Walking back to our hotel to join the fam, I saw Andaz.  No not a person, a very cool hotel.  We have an Andaz on Ellis Square in Savannah where they give you the MOST delicious Candied Bacon I’ve ever tasted.  (Okay, it’s the only candied bacon I’ve ever tasted but SO good.)  Of course I had to shashay in to compare Andazes (plural?).  This sign greeted me when I walked into the lobby:

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Hooting Hyenas!  SCAD is where I teach as an adjunct.  So I hopped on the elevator to the second floor!  Wouldn’t you?  Why?  Well, duh, a reception, and receptions mean one thing … free food.  The first person I saw was Joseph; he’s in a writer’s group I sometimes attend:

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(I’m not sure why I look so huge and bloated in that picture.)

(Does anyone know how to Photoshop me standing about two feet behind Joseph so I don’t look so very big?)

I chatted with other SCAD folks and even a few newly accepted students and their parents.  A fun NY surprise.

Next morning, Grand Central Terminal …

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… and waiting for Kidding Around (a very cool toy store) to open–we did F. A. O. Schwarz the day before:

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Street vendor hot dogs, of course:

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Second Broadway play: Cinderella (with a new spin, including lots of humor and an evil stepsister who turns good).

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Orchestra pit (we had second-row seats!):

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Afterwards off to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where the wait staff … SINGS!.  So cool:

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Snack on the walk back to the hotel:

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The Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal for a new case for my iPhone:

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Last morning.  Daniel and Gabriel reennacting the final scene from Gravity Falls (we watched the same episode three times over our stay) when Dipper rescues Mabel from the Gnomes, and the brother/sister engage in an “awkward sibling hug” with “pat, pat.”  (Hulu it.  I think the episode is called “Tourist Trap.”)

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Blustery/snowy/rainy weather on the way to LaGuardia.

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For some reason, less-than-ideal weather always makes me feel better when it comes at the end of a trip.  (Reminder to self: therapist talking point.)

While we were waiting at the gate for our flight, a Big Red Heart sauntered up.  No clue why.  But D is never one to miss a photo op.

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Oh, if you were that Big Red Heart, looking where he seems to be looking, you would see this:

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It’s an iPad cafe–you order your food right from the iPad.  (“Hip” should be my middle name.)

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A wonderfully joyful New York trip.

As we waited on the runway, while an animal-like machine de-iced the wings, Daniel looked at me fiddling with my phone and yelled (loud enough for his dad and the rather stern flight attendant to hear), “Abu is not turning off his electronic device!”

Great memories to think about.

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers (3/22/13)

It’s Friday again, and I’m in New York City with daughter Amy, son-in-law Orte, and grandsons Daniel and Gabriel. That in itself is reason enough to be HAPPY. But here are FIVE more reasons:

1.. Still filled with memories of last weekend’s beautifully fun St. Patrick’s Day.

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2.. Finding this cool driftwood-and-found-objects ship sculpture at Habersham Antiques and Collectibles in Savannah.

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3.. Realizing that so much about being joyful in life is a result of CHOICE.

4.. Flying to New York with a five- and three-year-old.

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5.. It’s freezing here in Manhattan, but here I am last week down on Amelia Island

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Have a great weekend and take care of business while I’m away.