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

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Solitude & the Absent Smile”

Here’s a rather messily photographed past post from back in 2014. I may still have had a flip phone. I’m loath to change.

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Yes I admit it, I’m an optimist. Pollyanna’s a very good buddy. We take tap dancing together.

What I actually mean is I’m USUALLY a somewhat cheery person. But not always. A while back, I underwent a fairly unpleasant medical procedure. (I’m a big baby when it comes to anything that hurts at a .5 or higher on a 1-10 pain level.)

Here I am in the waiting room, reading about blogging:

Finally I was called back to the eerily quiet and humanly empty procedure room where I had to wait in nervous solitude for quite a while. The doctor was running way behind.

I got bored pretty quickly and started playing with the IPhone’s … reverse camera capability. Doesn’t that sound better than saying I took a bunch of selfies?

I looked at these terrible pictures, grimaced at their muted and otherworldly haziness, realized I wasn’t smiling–and started to delete them.

Then it hit me.

“Get real, Neal. It’s okay not to smile. It’s okay to be muted and hazy … and to be by yourself for a while. Being out of focus doesn’t mean being out of life.”

Posted in The View from Behind

The View from Behind: Introduction

For some reason, I have always appreciated, even revered, “the view from behind.”

As a child, on the first day of each new school year, I was a nervous wreck waiting for the teacher to announce our seating arrangement. Front of the class? 😢 Too much exposure! Too revealing! Too out there! Far too much responsibility to “be.”

A nice, comfy seat toward the back? 😁 Perfect. I get to observe, to “see.” To calmly breathe.

Note to self: ASAP, schedule at least three long therapy sessions to discuss the three short paragraphs above.

But for now, allow me to introduce my newest NealEnJoy blog category: “The View from Behind,” where I invite you to join me somewhere in the back.

Little gator and me, Okefenokee Swamp Park, Waycross, Georgia

Always hold an “alligator” (or any challenging life … critter) in front of you, and if you can, kindly but temporarily tape its mouth closed.

Posted in Holidays and Seasonal Changes

Attempting a Dia de Muertos Celebration

Last fall near Halloween, Robert and I watched Pixar’s Coco, which beautifully introduced us to Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Coming from a family culture that embraces frequent visits to graveyards and cemeteries, I loved the idea of remembering loved ones who have passed on by having their own joyfully colorful and celebratory holiday.

It was only a couple of days until November 2, the traditional day when the holiday is celebrated in Mexico and other places. So we quickly made a little ofrenda (altar) consisting of a couple of pictures of our deceased parents, some flowers and a candle or two. Sitting before our simple shrine, we thanked our folks for their lives and their love.

But 2021 was another story. We began gathering Day of the Dead materials months ago and started making preparations.

We collected Day of the Dead candles, banners, decorations, and on a trip to Atlanta, we found a loaf of Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead) at the Buford Highway Farmers Market (what a glorious center of culinary diversity).

Last Tuesday, November 2nd, we celebrated by combining our dinner table and our Day of the Dead ofrenda.

Robert’s folks …

And mine …

We made some of their favorite foods for our meal …

Fried corn, collard greens, Maryland crab cakes and pork rinds

The loaf of Pan de Muertos, round to symbolize the cycle of life, with teardrops flowing from the top, representing goddess Chimalma’s tears for the living.

Holding hands, we shared memories of fun, funny and joyful stories from the lives of our parents and other loved ones who have passed on.

A movingly marvelous evening and now a permanent addition to our holiday calendar.

Posted in The Artful Dodger, Unexpected Art

“The Artful Dodger” #1

A new blog category about finding “art” in unexpected places and situations.

After drying my hands, I carelessly tossed the hand towel toward the bar on the outside door of our new glass shower (fully expecting it to fall to the floor as usual—the towel, not the door).

But lo and behold, I instantly became a renowned artist! InstaArt. Putting me in the same league with, say, Jackson Pollock and his brilliant “drip technique” of throwing/pouring paint onto his canvases.

See my artistic intelligence? No?! Just look! My masterpiece (well, master towel) seems “bathed” in soft light, accentuating the “clean” lines of the work. Dramatically crowned in portrait mode by the green loofah.

Enjoy!

{Holiday prints now available for a limited time only for $19.99 plus shipping and handling! 🎄}

Posted in Change

“Robert and …” #1

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

Robert and a Waterfall

Robert, with a dash of visible frustration, in front of Toccoa Falls (on the campus of Toccoa Falls College), attempting to explain to me how to take his picture.
Posted in Growing Older, Humor

How to Photograph a Septuagenarian

Now that youth is a far distant memory, and I’m just a couple of months away from turning … from turning … from turning … 70, I’d like to instruct anybody who ever points a camera (well, phone—does anybody use a camera any more ?) in my direction. Here are 10 foolproof suggestions.

1. Take my picture in the snow.

2. Have me get on a giant bed.

3. Let me hold my unicorn.

4. Have me stand on a bridge over troubled waters.

5. Incorporate mirrors.

6. Have me sit in a house with one window.

7. Make the best of focus.

8. Have me sit far away from the paparazzi.

9. Let me hold my big bird.

And 10. Push me in the pool.

There you go. No close-ups. Simple and easy.

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Okay, I’m joking. I love my age and where I am in life.

Posted in Encouragement, Uncategorized

Hi and Hello & a Joyful Sunday Night!

Hello. Neal Saye here. Long time, no see. I’m not sure if anyone is still out there, but I have decided to blog a bit more.

It’s getting late on a Sunday evening (and the Braves are losing at the moment), so here is the gist of what’s on my heart tonight: what we say to ourselves on an ongoing basis is very important.

Yesterday morning, Robert and I did our more-often-than-not Saturday morning foray over to Big Bon Bodega (incredible bagel breakfast sandwiches) here in Savannah.

Boldly greeting us at the entry was Truthful Instruction:

A loving goodnight to you all! “See” you soon.

Neal

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.