Posted in Humor, The Joy and Wisdom of Children

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Magic Dream Spray”

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A post from the past about … magic and family. Heads-up: our family text groups have gotten MUCH more complicated since this old post. We now have what I named “Just Family” (ex-wife Donna, daughters Amy and Emily, and me. Then there’s “New Family Plus” consisting of all the above plus the spouses.

To throw a bunch of wrenches into the textual road, there’s also now just “Neal and Donna,” “Neal and Emily,” “Neal and Amy,” and every other two- or three- or four-person family configuration you can come up with. I have gotten into trouble too many times to count by getting the text groups confused and texting something I shouldn’t have.

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Magic Dream Spray

Do other folks out there do what my family does? All get iPhones and set up a little Family Group Messaging System? Well, my two daughters Amy and Emily, along with Donna (even though divorced now, we remain the best-est of friends) have done just that. And it’s such an incredibly efficient strategy for staying in touch, bothering each other constantly and having SO MUCH FUN!

The other night, daughter Amy (and mother of grandsons Daniel, 7 and Gabriel, 4) sent us this text:

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I LOVE faith-stretching strategies such as that!  My response:

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A bit more of Amy’s explanation:

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Me:

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End of discussion until a couple of days later when we received this text from Amy as she, Orte and the boys were driving down to Florida for the weekend:

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Family … magical.

Maybe that’s what family is … Magic Dream Spray.

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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 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 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 Holiday Joy

A Most Awesome Father’s Day & Night!

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I hope your Father’s Day (and night) 2015 has been a peaceful and joyful one.  Mine was/is.  Spent time with both daughters and all four grandies.  What a blessing to have them all in my Savannah.  My cards:

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And an incredible Facebook post by older daughter Amy:

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“Happy Father’s Day to my very hip and high impact dad!  I am blessed to have a dad who taught me to love without discrimination, to have joy in all circumstances, and who creates an environment of safety and acceptance where I am free to develop into my best and truest self.”

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What a Difficult and Unparalleled Joy Fatherhood is!

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers — 5/22/15

MAY — an incredibly joyful month, don’t you think?

Five Reasons for Happy:

1.  An early morning walk along the McQueens-Tybee Island trail (between Savannah and Tybee Island–10 mins from my apartment).

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2.  Grandson Daniel in his end-of-year Who Am I? Research Biography presentation.  (He was Paul McCartney, btw.)

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(Okay. okay, maybe I helped him a little with the tri-board.)

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(He could only get such coolness from his grandfather.  Seriously.)

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The kids had to explain their research, poster-board-presentation-style, to the folks in attendance.

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They do that kinda stuff nowadays in 2nd Grade?!  Research?!  All I did in 2nd grade was spend a year of trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to stop crying for mama.

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3.  Being a judge for the 2015 Savannah Authors Anthology.  Such fun!

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(I want to be a judge … full time.  And get paid.  Exorbitantly.  Call me if you or yours need high-end judging.)

4.  Getting 2015 Beach Ready.

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5.  Seafood at Safe Harbor in Mayport, FL.  (After taking the ferry across the St. John’s River on the south end of Amelia Island.)

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Safe, Joyful Weekend ahead to you all!