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 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 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!

Posted in T-shirt Tuesday

T-shirt Tuesday: “I Survived”

Yesterday, I hit a chronological milestone. I turned 70. I should have worn this t-shirt …

I woke up to flowers from Robert.

Lots of flowers …

And cards from Robert, lots of cards (he has this tradition of giving more than just one card for special occasions, which at first I thought was a little over the top but now LOVE) …

And lots of new t-shirts from Robert (do you see a trend here?) …

A beautiful day. Greetings and best wishes from family and friends.

And a hand-me-down Apple Watch!

Finally, as I promised in my recent thrilling colonoscopy post, an update on the birthday steak dinner at Toni’s Steakhouse which the “doctor-helper nurse” suggested just before the “anesthesia nurse” put me to sleep.

We opted for the New York strip with broccoli and potato.

What a joy to have lived through the Sixties two times now!

Posted in Encouragement, Growing Older, Humor

Neal’s Nifty Notes from his … Cheeky Colonoscopy

I’ll turn &$#@! on January 10. Well, Tuesday morning, I had an early birthday gift—a colonoscopy!

Hours earlier that morn, at 3 a.m. to be exact, as I was groggily downing my second serving of Suprep Bowel Prep (more about THAT later) …

… I had a lightheaded “I-can’t-remember-the-LAST-TIME-I-ATE!” epiphany that my blog followers would probably want to hear all about my upcoming procedure! (Was I right, or what?) Thus, in order to be faithful to my thousands, hundreds, dozens, single digits of followers, I would need to remember to take DETAILED mental notes about my experience. I’m a retired English professor, after all.

Butt hold on, let’s start at the very beginning, just like that “Do-Re-Mi” song from The Sound of Music.

Because of a couple of slightly concerning issues back in December, Dr. Ken Griffin, my primary care physician here in Savannah (the very best in the Western Hemisphere, btw) suggested that I go ahead and get a colonoscopy instead of waiting the full ten years for my next scheduled one in 2023. TMI already?

Butt first, I was referred to local general surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Mandel for a quick look-see (DO NOT THINK ABOUT THAT TOO MUCH), who thankfully decided I wasn’t ready for “non-surgical rubber band ligation.” What?! Rubber bands? And why get lawyers involved?!

The next step found me making an appointment with gracious gastroenterologist Dr. Mark Murphy, at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health and The Endoscopy Center (whew, that’s a mouthful), who would end up performing? administering? doing my colonoscopy.

If you’ve had a colonoscopy, you know that the preparation is tougher than the procedure. And that Suprep Oral Solution I mentioned earlier? When I walked into CVS to pick it up, I nearly went into a panic attack (you may know about my issues with anxiety from my “Hello Anxiety” posts) at the price …

Butt what calmed me down was realizing it wasn’t just any old bottle of bowel prep you might find at The Dollar Tree. No, $100 dollars bought me an entire kit! With TWO bottles of bowel prep, a reusable non-BPA (thank goodness) plastic cup, and nonfiction reading material!

Husband Robert just interrupted my inspired blogging to complain, “Neal, don’t you think it’s about time to move on from writing about the bowel prep? It’s starting to bum me out.”

Well, okay, here’s the final thing I’ll say, show about my experience with Suprep Bowel Sodium/Potassium/Magnesium (Isn’t that $1.29 Gatorade?) Sulfate Oral Solution …

After a LONG night, Robert and I showed up at the Endoscopy Center at 9 a.m. You have to have a driver for these procedures, you know, you can’t just hightail it to a colonoscopy date all by yourself, for goodness sake. Having a driver made me feel sort of special, inexplicably, not to mention inappropriately, reminding me of Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.

All kidding aside (for a moment, at least) ALL the folks at the Center were terrific—friendly, welcoming, professional and so adept at calming me down and assuring me that all would be well, that I was being taken care of. I wish I could remember everyone’s names to thank them individually.

Super amicable and soothing Nurse Molly showed me to my little smartly curtained waiting/prep cubicle, and when I was all snug in my little bed (kinda like Goldilocks), Molly brought me a heated blanket! I made a mental note to tell Robert ALL about THAT.

Then the hippest anesthesiologist in the history of anesthesiologists, Dr. Gantt, paid me a visit to let me know about the upcoming sedation. I couldn’t pay much attention because I kept looking at what made Dr. Gantt so very hip: his choice of headwear. His scrub cap (is that what you call it?) was all colorful/islandy. Dr Gantt told me he gets his caps from a company in Key West! The design looked something like this …

… but don’t hold me to it. I was about to have a colonoscopy. Do you expect me to remember everything perfectly?

After the hip anesthesiologist left my cubicle, I slowly settled back into my cocoon, gazed up and began to behold the most beautiful blue sky, replete with white fluffy clouds. Mesmerized at the heavenly scene miraculously forming above me, I suddenly felt nirvana-ish, at peace with the world, confident that my procedure was well under way, and the hip doctor’s sedation a splendid success! All I had to do was float, inhaling joy and health into my body, exhaling love and peace out into the world. Ohm.

But then Molly came back into my little cubicle, which I had dubbed Neal’s Nap Pad, and told me it was time to wheel away to my procedure (!). What? I had been staring up at the common area ceiling, painted a soothing light blue with white clouds to calm nervous patients like me.

Nurse Molly said the sweetest thing to me as I left her: “I wish all our patients were just like you.” And I wish all nurses were just like Molly.

Wheeled into the procedure room, I was greeted by two delightful young ladies, but I can’t remember their names, darn it, an anesthesia nurse and a doctor-helper nurse (see how intelligent I am with medical lingo). The anesthesia nurse told me I was about to take a great little nap! And get this, the doctor-helper nurse saw from my armband (more about that later) that my birthday was coming up and asked how I planned to celebrate. I told her that Robert and I were keeping it low key, just going out to eat. [Interestingly, everybody seemed to know all about Robert, which I thought was just so 2022, forgetting that they knew about him because he’s my “designated driver.” Wait, am I getting this Center for Digestive and Liver Health experience confused with one a while back at Savannah Tap House?]

My new friend, the doctor-helper nurse, then went on to explain that her family had recently had a celebration by going out to eat as well.

“We went to Toni’s Steakhouse.”

“Oh. My. Goodness!” I think I yell/gasped, probably worrying the anesthesia nurse a little. “That’s where we are going! I’ve never been!”

She then aptly suggested that Robert and I share the delicious steak for two deal, which comes with four sides! I assured her that we will. And we will! I’ll post a picture next Monday. Now you have something special to look forward to.

Well, as much as I wanted to know what sides to choose from, things made a swift turn when Dr. Murphy stood up from where he had been doing who knows what at a computer near my feet. He told his helper nurse that he liked Toni’s too. The room started to feel like a Norman Rockwell family painting.

Dr. Murphy was terrific, saying that he knew my nurse daughter Amy (I need to come up with a better way to name nurses), sharing a funny little anecdote about a traffic stop, explaining to me all about the colonoscopy and assuring me that I would be fine.

Then I was out like a light.

Butt I think I recall snippets of the convo between the doctor and the two nurses as they worked on me.

Anesthesia Nurse: “Isn’t he famous? I think he’s famous.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think you’re right. I just can’t place him.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “I really should have told him the sides.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think he’s an actor. You know, they love Savannah.”

Anesthesia Nurse: “Hmm, I don’t think so. I think he’s a fitness model.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “Did you read his armband? He’ll be &@%! next Monday on his birthday! Who would have thought?! He doesn’t look a day over 39!”

The next thing I knew, nice Nurse Cassie was welcoming me back to Planet Earth and giving me some ginger ale! We hit it off, both having vacationed in the Poconos. Cassie soon walked me out to my designated driver (I felt just a tad like leaving the Taphouse). And I said to Cassie, according to Robert: “Everybody was so nice, if I didn’t have to have a colonoscopy, I’d like to come and hang out with y’all.”

And look, you get gifts. A neat holder pouch for your glasses.

This beautifully simple bracelet. Here I have it paired with another bracelet gift from Robert.

And, believe it or not, luggage!

Thanks so much to the talented, good natured, and kindhearted professionals at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health! The best!

Dr Murphy and sensational staff really did give me a most appreciated early birthday gift: a clean bill of colon health with no polyps. Again, TMI?