Posted in Family, Humor

Neal’s Awkward Family Photos: First Edition

My family. I own it …

Grandsons Daniel and Gabriel
Daughter Amy and her nephew/my grandson Matthew
Me … and a heady salad
Robert … seriously offering some croissants
Grandtwin Matthew (a little older) excited over a gift
Robert timing a photo while grandtwin Madison poses—and ex-wife Donna and I wonder how much longer this can go on.

To be awkwardly continued …

Posted in Encouragement, Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Top Ten Happiness Questions”

Here’s an old post from my blog back in 2014, when I was semi-retired, teaching as an adjunct at Savannah College of Art and Design. I recently looked at it as 2022 made its way into our lives. May these questions be an encouragement to you.

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This past fall term at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), where I teach composition to international students, my course topic was Happiness Studies.

Each week, I introduced a new question, which I told the students had the potential to make them happier–IF they took the time to ask and then answer the question.

Here are the ten questions.  I challenge you to ask them to yourself whenever you need a dose of joy.

Dr. Saye’s Top Ten Happiness Questions

1.  Just how important is it?

2.  Do I realize that I can choose to think a thought that feels better?

3.  Why do I sometimes try to control other people? That’s really not my job.

4.  What do I see RIGHT NOW that is beautiful?

5.  Who has helped me recently?

6.  What is a good holiday memory?

7.  What do I really, really love?

8.  Do I realize that I can take three deep breaths right now and center myself? My breath is my life.

9.  Who can I be a blessing to in the next hour or so? How can I do that? 

10.  Am I paying attention to NOW (and not wasting time regretting the past or worrying about the future)?

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I encourage you to print these questions, put them up some place where you can easily see them, and start asking.

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Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers

1. Robert’s hasselback potatoes the other night. Yum!

2. Always having enough water. And being aware of always having enough water.

3. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert, Christmas with the ASO last night.

The orchestra warming up. I had no idea at this moment about our big surprise honor just ahead.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Choir, the incredible Morehouse Glee Club and the Gwinnett Young Singers joined the Orchestra to get us all in the holiday mood. Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky mixing it up with contemporary composers. And “Hallelujah!” special thanks to Handel.

But that’s not all, Blog Fans, I have some Very Exciting News to share with you about last night. News which, if I know you like I think I know you, will make you even prouder of me than you already are. Are you ready? Maybe you should sit down.

Robert and I were SPECIFICALLY INVITED to sing “The First Nowell” (their spelling, not mine) and to be backed up by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra! Seriously. Little us from Savannah. Can you imagine how thrilled I was the moment I realized that Robert and I were being asked to sing?!

[I’ll pause and give you a couple of minutes to try.]

I’ve always thought I had a terrible, adequate, good, stellar voice, but I was just so very humbled yet honored to be asked. I am so glad I wore a sports coat and put a little Suave Professionals Styling Gel in my hair. I tell you my my knees were shaking when we stood up to walk up to the stage and sing. And the performance was, in my unbiased view, nothing short of festively spectacular.

P. S. Robert is insisting that I include this minor and inconsequential (if you ask me) “fact” (according to his definition) from the above concert program …

Well, “we” did get an invitation.

4. Visiting Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta. The Gothic-Tudor style mansion was built by Coca-Cola president/zillionaire Charles Howard Candler in the 1920’s as a private home. Each Christmas they have a neat beautifully decorated Christmas extravaganza.

Do you see what I saw on the holiday garland to the left of Robert? Pine cones (HUGE) from my favorite tree, the Longleaf Pine!

I could … bearly contain myself with excitement!

5. Hope and expectation.

A Weekend of Wonder to You!

Posted in Robert and …

“Robert and …” #6

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

Robert and a Bunch of Stuff

Robert and a big bowl of nuts, as Benny and Boopers vie for prime real estate on his Santa pants lap and edge toward his gay vodka t-shirt, as he balances his iPad in his right hand and shows off his wedding ring on his left, while leaning away from his mounted guitar. (Whew)

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 T-shirt Tuesday

T-Shirt Tuesday: “Ben’s”

One of our very favorite pub/bars here in Savannah is Ben’s Neighborhood Grill and Tap. Owners Nick and Heather have created a true neighborhood gathering spot with delicious food and a great offering of rotating craft beers. And it’s small enough to be cozy/friendly with lots of regulars.

Some months back, Robert and I were at Ben’s on a cool day, and I had not dressed warmly enough.

But nothing to fear. Ben’s had gotten in a new shipment of long sleeve of t-shirts. And I had to have one … right then.

Here it is …

Stay healthy. Go to Ben’s!

Posted in Humor, Robert and …

“Robert and …” #4

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

Robert and a Really Big Steak

A few years back, Robert and I were in Atlanta to celebrate our anniversary. On previous trips, we had passed by this architecturally interesting building off I-85 just north of the city.

Wait. What? You don’t find it all that interesting? Well, Robert didn’t either. But in the spirit of blissful anniversarial celebration, I insisted that we go for our dinner festivities.

You can see why, right? Doesn’t the name itself make you happy? All circque du soleil-ish and island-drinky!

We walked through the classy daiquiri bar to get to our table. Walked too quickly, if you ask me.

Robert wouldn’t let me stop. Even though they had a wonderful selection …

Robert was hungry, so we quickly perused the menu, and my eyes immediately found the Tomahawk for two. It WAS our anniversary after all.

Here’s Cirque’s menu description of the big steak:

Neither of us being very good with numbers, 36 ounces sounded like enough for both of us.

After endearing anniversary chit-chat (“But why don’t you want to celebrate with that pretty blue daiquiri?”), 36 ounces finally made their way to our table.

We were both simply shocked. (Why didn’t we do our math homework in eighth grade?!) Here’s my husband, with a somewhat crazed and confused look on his celebratory face, holding our dinner soon after it arrived. It was far too heavy for me to pick up, but I wanted a scrapbook pic for posterity.

Hours later, and 36 plus ounces heavier, we slowly waddled back past the daiquiri bar (I was too stuffed to take a final longing glance at the “Blue Mutha”—the Tomahawk had “Shut my Mouth”) and into the Atlanta midnight.

A BIG anniversary celebration.

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.”