Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers: 1/21/22

1. Watching and being SO encouraged, as well as entertained, by Mirabel and her crazy family in Disney’s Encanto.

By the way, therapists love this movie! (I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing for the movie.)

2. The incredible gift of eyesight. Even with my Coke-bottle eyeglasses. (Does anyone else even know what that means anymore?)

3. Robert’s yummy pizza.

For some reason he wanted a picture taken of him sprinkling the mozzarella. (Sometimes you just go along with it.)

But if you ask me, his Apple Watch is trying to steal the show.

Sorry, the pizza got a little camouflaged in the “Why don’t we use the leftover Thanksgiving paper plates?”

4. The truth of one of my favorite and most encouraging affirmations: “My body knows how to be well and is always trying to move toward wellness.”

TIB (Truth in Blogging): Though I know you will find this hard to believe … That’s not me.

5. Grandson Gabriel playing in his first rec dept basketball game. (He’s also on a team at his school.)

Healthy Weekend to You and Yours!

Hope You Have a Ball!

Posted in The Artful Dodger, Unexpected Art

“The Artful Dodger” #5

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

On a recent Atlanta trip, Robert and I ventured over to the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center to experience their yearly Christmas extravaganza.

After we enjoyed the very festive inside, (you can read about it here if you have any interest, and why on earth wouldn’t you?), we ventured back out. Robert, always on a quest to find the perfect photo op, hightailed it up these steps to Dr. Goldman’s Memorial Garden (which just looked like a bunch of shivering bushes to me) …

I think they plagiarized that quote from Judy Garland or somebody.

But HR (Husband Robert, remember?) hightailed it a bit too soon, if you ask me. Look back up in the pic above at that flagstone step leading up to Dr. Goldman’s “Garden.”

No, not the middle of the step … to the right. Do you see what I saw? Look closer!

Okay, I’ll help you. Here’s a professional reenactment of the moment I saw her/him/it/they.

A fat little bluish gray bird!

Someone with creative eyes saw the gray flagstone, placed a berry for an eye, and a piece of wood with a leaf for the bird’s wing!

For some reason, that little bird thrilled me (it doesn’t take much) on that cold Atlanta day. So, not to be creatively outdone, I found another little piece of wood and a leaf, and made a baby bird for the fat mama bird!

Maybe it looks a little rough, but give it a break, it was just born! How would you feel if someone posted a picture of you seconds after you were born?

Art in unexpected places.

And look what I found when I Googled more of the lyrics from Dr. Goldman’s plagiarized quote …

Somewhere over the rainbow, BLUE BIRDS fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

Posted in Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

Monday Moaning or Monday Marveling?

This post has a bit of both.

I’ve still marveling at Husband Robert’s culinary chops (and patience) making, this past weekend, a fabulous but time-consuming Au Gratin Potatoes dish.

Here he is, doing prep work, with cheeses whose names I can’t pronounce.

Whenever Husband Robert (let’s just call him HR, you’ll remember what that means, right?) is making something “fancy,” I will wander into the kitchen (most often because of the aroma, similar to what dogs do) and sweet-sincerely ask, “Babe, is there anything I can do to help?” Here’s where the story takes an abrupt turn before it has really even started.

HR doesn’t immediately answer. He presses “pause.”

The pause is substantial, pregnant with meaning. If the pause were a criminal taking a lie detector test, here’s the truth it would freely confess, to avoid jail time:

“Uh, excuse me, Neal, but you don’t really belong in a chef’s kitchen. You are more at home with a cast iron skillet in your Southern hands, frying something. Go read your escapist novel.”

What?! I love my old cast iron …

But here’s what actually birthed out of HR’s full term pause:

“I’m fine.”

(Which basically means the same thing as what that honest criminal said.)

After pouting while joyfully reading Apples Never Fall for a bit, I return. To take pictures. And being a photographer, Robert CANNOT resist pictures being taken of his food.

He bought this new contraption to slice potatoes thinly—which TERRIFIES ME. It’s a potato guillotine.

And I don’t mean to be a cynic or anything, but this is a Big Bunch of Energy Expenditure for a potato.

Here HR is watching a YouTube video WHILE OPERATING THE GUILLOTINE!

“You do it your way. I’ll do it mine,” I think he said to the online chef.

Finally, FINALLY, the Dish is Done. And it looks and smells heavenly.

Why do I keep taking pictures with vitamins and supplements in the background?!

I find it SO yummy.

But Robert is NOT happy, and when the head of HR is not happy, neither am I.

He moans (and it wasn’t even Monday morning yet).

His problem? Well, being lactose intolerant, he couldn’t use cream or half and half in the recipe, so he substituted almond/coconut milk instead. He thought it didn’t come out creamy enough. Didn’t have the proper scalloped texture or coloring. Sort of Rotten Au Gratin, he seemed to think.

But I thought it was good, actually VERY good, especially for food not fried in a cast iron pan.

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 My Saturday Evening Post

My Saturday Evening Post: 1/15/22 “Charcuterie”

Robert and I attempted our third charcuterie board. Well, maybe “boards” since there were two.

Charcuterie (shar-KOO-ta-REE) is a term with origins reaching as far back as 15th century France; literally translated, it means the products of a fancy pork butcher. Modern charcuterie does often include pork, but the definition has widened to reflect a dish served throughout many cultures.

Known in Britain as a “ploughman’s lunch,” served in Italy as “antipasto” and familiar to many North Americans as the humble “meat-and-cheese plate”– these days, charcuterie can be found in any number of variations and is served everywhere from pubs to high end restaurants.

— Darcy’s Market


Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers: 1/14/22

1. A birthday greeting/art work from a buddy In Arizona.

2. Pretending that I have a clue about what to do with my new hand-me-down Apple Watch. I remember when a watch just told you the time.

3. The joy of simply waking up in the morning.

4. Chocolate on my fork.

5. Cornbread.

Especially when it’s made in my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet.

Weekend Joy to you all!