MOCA Jax: Art and Ideas, Gabriel Dawe

We had a particularly rough night last night.  Joya woke up about every hour, took thirty minutes to go back to sleep each time, but then woke back up.  It definitely took a toll on all of us, though Joya took over a two-hour nap today, so she got the better end of that deal!  It took a little while to get her down tonight, so I’m hoping tonight isn’t a repeat of last night.

We attended a talk with Gabriel Dawe today, the artist who created the Project Atrium: Plexus No 38 at MOCA Jax. These lectures are always amazing because of the interaction with the artists and learning about each one’s individual style and art.  Joya sat through the first part of it well, but started getting fidgety and loud so I had to take her out.  You can see in the pictures the marquee screen, Jaime DeSimone giving and introduction, and then Jaime with Gabriel as they start the talk.  I included one of the pictures of one of his previous works so you could see the type of installations he does.  Gabriel spoke of how his art plays with light and color.  My favorite parts of his talk were when he said that as he strung up the thread, the material disappeared and only color remained, which you can definitely see as you look at his work.  He also said that the space tells him what to do with it, and as he does it, it is like he is drawing in space.  Looking at the exhibits, I would say it looks like he is drawing in space with light and color.  Very beautiful installations.

Joya did not last through the entire lecture, so she and I went into the museum and explored and left Conni to hear the remainder.  I managed to get a couple of more pictures of her as she was running around the atrium.  There were a couple of pictures after the one where she is running, but they were pictures of the floor as I was chasing her to make sure she didn’t cross the barrier and try to grab the thread.

The final picture is the artist’s drawing of what the exhibit should look like.  Gabriel did say that he did not use rendering software or algorithms to make his computer drawings, he used the computer screen like a piece of paper, it was just easier for him, especially with a background in graphic design.

It turned out to be a pretty good day today, even with Joya not making it through the lecture.  I just hope it turns out to be a good night, too.

MOCA Jax – Project Atrium: Gabriel Dawe

We attended the member preview of the new Project Atrium at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville this evening.  The artist was Gabriel Dawe and his project was titled Plexus No 38.  It consists of industrial sewing thread made into a series of 3D triangles.  The pictures really do it no justice.  When you see it up close and walk around, the entire look of it changes.  Joya seemed to enjoy the piece, though she went back into hockey mode beating on the glass.

Joya was a little shy at first, you can see how she was clinging to my shoulder.  The preview was packed tonight so I can understand why she was clingy.  She did really well at the preview, listened to the speakers, and then walked around the different levels of the museum with us to see the artwork from different angles.  She also got to see Ms. Sheri, Ms. Lashonda, and Ms. Jaime, the curator.  I think she loves to see all of them, even if she does play coy whenever she first sees them.

After walking around, viewing the art and meeting friends, we wandered back down to the front where Conni got to speak to the artist for a few minutes.  I asked him if he had to tie the threads together or if he tied them off at the hooks.  He said he tied them together near the hooks.  We thanked him for his artwork and shook his hand to leave.  As we turned to leave, Joya insisted on shaking his hand, too.  He laughed and shook her hand.  We headed to Cafe Nola, which is in the museum, for dessert before heading home.  I ordered a pineapple rum cheesecake.  All three of us liked it, it was like eating a pineapple upside down cake made with cheesecake.

Joya tried to doze off on the way home, but didn’t go to sleep.  Shortly after we got home, I gave her a dose of Tylenol to help with the inflammation from her trip to the dermatologist today, then rocked her to sleep.


Dermatologist Appointment

Joya had a visit to the dermatologist today to have skin tags looked at. The dermatologist thought most of them were molluscum, a virus that causes little tags that eventually go away as the immune system learns how to fight them. We all have the virus, adult’s immune systems have learned how to fight them off.  There was one she’s had since birth that he was a little concerned about. He numbed her and shaved it off for a biopsy, along with one on her neck, just to make sure. He’s not too worried about it, he just wants to make sure. While cauterizing where he shaved off the tags, he also quickly zapped another one on her face, one on her neck and one on her shoulder.  He said that little zap would cut off the blood supply and they would go away.  Joya was a trooper through the entire procedure, only crying a bit.  We could see the droop in her cheek from the lidocaine for a few hours after the procedure, but she didn’t seem to mind.  She kept opening and closing her jaw because the numbness is a new sensation. It’s interesting to watch how she deals with new sensations and feelings.  We took the band-aid off this evening to look at the scab to make sure it looked fine.  As you can see, it’s just a simple little scab that should heal nicely with no scar.

Tonight we are headed to the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) for a member’s preview of the opening of a new atrium exhibit.  More after the event.

Virginia – Florida: Chincoteague, Chesapeake Bay Farms, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg and Travel

Continuing from the trip to Chincoteague, Kim, Joya and I took a trip to Chesapeake Bay Farms to have ice cream.  While we were there, Joya climbed on a bench that was shaped like a cow.  Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of her hugging the plastic cow, but she did.  After ice cream, we walked around the farm and saw sheep, goats, cows, donkeys and burros.  You can see Joya staring as one of the workers fed the sheep.  Kim took her for a walk to see the burro.  Joya was intrigued by him, though she wouldn’t get close enough to actually pet his head.

For dinner that night, Kim and Jeff provided a seafood smorgasbord: crab legs, shrimp and clams.  Joya didn’t seem too thrilled with the shrimp or crab, she spit the crab out.  She took a bite of cocktail sauce and seemed okay with it at first, but then got this look on her face, scrunched her eyes and violently shook her head from side to side.  I can only assume that she bit into the horseradish and didn’t find it very appealing.  She ate no more cocktail sauce.  She did love the clams, though.  They were steamed in white wine, garlic and butter.  She ate five of them, which is good for Joya — and good, in general, because I know many people who wouldn’t even eat one.

We would’ve spent more time in Chincoteague, but we had to get back to Chesapeake:  we had planned another trip to Busch Gardens.  Fortunately this trip to Busch Gardens was less whirlwind than the 4th of July.  We mostly saw shows, visited friends and just enjoyed walking around the park.  The first show we watched was “Mix It Up”.  You can see Joya in my lap, intently watching the show.  It was a percussion and wind instrument show.  She loved it all, but especially the drums and the performers using pots and pans as drums (I know I’m going to pay for that one soon).  We had ribs for lunch and you can see that Joya, as usual, enjoyed gnawing on the rib bone.  And the sauce.  She loved the BBQ sauce.  She would dip the plastic knife in the sauce and eat it.  Well, eat the part she didn’t fling on Mike or me (or the table, or the ground) as she was attempting to eat it.  It took a few wipes to clean her up when she was done.  Oh, and the BBQ hand print on my shorts when she grabbed my leg to move herself with her BBQ covered hand.  Fortunately it washed out.  We got to say “BYE!” to Nora and Paul, and Joya got a new stuffed toy, Le Zazou, a stuffed elephant from France.

The last full day in Virginia, we went to Williamsburg to get a salt pottery mug for my Aunt Edith.  It was a quick trip into Colonial Williamsburg.  Mike treated Joya and me to lunch at Williamsburg Winery afterwards — and a wine tasting (the 2016 Viognier is a great vintage, in case you were wondering).  The pictures are a little out of order, but the final picture of Joya in her purple shirt with a giant smile is at the Gabriel Archer Tavern at Williamsburg Winery.

Finally we had to head back to Florida, but not before watching Moana at least 15 times and shredding a pack of wet wipes and scattering them around the entire house.  We broke the trip up into two days to make it easier on all of us.  A much-needed ‘easier’ — after all, we were returning to Florida to actually slow down and relax!  The traffic was nowhere near as bad as the traffic on the way up, thankfully, though there were still plenty of jerks on the road.  We stopped for a diaper change and a short break and Joya climbed into the front seat with me and stood at the steering wheel looking out.  From the look on her face she must have thought there were a lot of jerks out there, too.  We are now settled back in Florida where Joya has a dermatology appointment tomorrow and a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) on Friday for the opening of the new Atrium exhibit.


Virginia: Busch Gardens and Chincoteague

I have been woefully behind (inept?) at keeping this blog updated.  I get busy doing other things and forget to take the time to say something about the things that Joya has done.  There are a lot of things that I am going to skip because it’s easier to just start fresh from this point and move forward vice continually trying to play the catch up game.

We left on July 1, 2107 to go to Virginia to visit friends, go to Busch Gardens and check on my house.  We stopped at a rest area in South Carolina to get out and walk around and to let Joya stretch her legs.  The glamor shots above are of her in the rest area.  She ran around the rest area, waving at all the trucks and drivers, then she climbed on one of the picnic tables and posed with her leg up in the air.  She thought nothing of it, I about died laughing before I could get her picture taken.  During the baby shower for Noodle, Joya got a small pink dog as a present, and she just loved it!

On our trip to Busch Gardens, Joya wore a patriotic Minnie Mouse dress and I put a portable fan on a spray bottle in the stroller with her.  The cringe you see is after I sprayed her in the face with the water.  She wouldn’t let me get on one of the roller coasters, as you can see from the death grip she has around my neck.  So I let Justin and Mike ride the coaster and took Joya to the caricature place to get her caricature done to look like Wonder Woman.  She was just as good and calm as she could be while she was sitting there.  She eventually fell asleep and I got to ride coasters — but this was after lunch.  I ordered us a German sausage sampler platter.  She ate bratwurst, white bratwurst and took a bite of the kielbasa and decided she didn’t really like it.  Which was followed by her spitting it out on me.  We went to see a couple of shows after she woke up.  We watched Celtic Fyre first and got a seat at one of the tables in the front where they dance in front of you.  When the show first started Joya cringed and cried from all of the clapping.  But once the dancing started, she was just fine.  Several of the dancers talked to her and one of them even asked for a high five, which she obliged him with.  The second show was Britmania.  She loved this one, too.  She sat perfectly still and her head moved back and forth as they danced across the stage.  After the show I sat her on the stage and took her picture (a note for everyone else, you’re not supposed to do that and a stage manager will come and shoo you away).  I did get the picture, though!  We had reservations for the Busch Gardens Fourth of July picnic.  Joya would eat the ribs, or the chicken, or the pasta salad, but she did eat a slice of watermelon and a corn on the cob.  I didn’t get all of the watermelon out of her shirt, I’ll have to stain stick it again.  With the picnic came a private spot to view the fireworks.  Joya DID NOT like the fireworks, I think because they were too loud.  She did watch some of them, but mostly had a death grip on my neck while the fireworks were going.  The next evening, Paul and Nora came over for ribs and chicken — and Joya decided it was too hot in the house so she took off her pants and stood in the refrigerator.

Yesterday, July 6, Joya and I dropped Conni off at the airport so she could go to Iowa and we drove to Chincoteague to visit Kim and Jeff.  This morning we went to Assateague Island to walk on the beach.  When we first got there, the first wave hit Joya and I picked her up before it got her too wet because she was so close to it.  After that, she started running away from the waves as they washed up on the beach.  Then she saw Kim and me walking in the waves and decided that she wanted to go walk in them again … and took a nosedive into one of them, getting all covered with sand and salt water.  I picked her up to walk her back to the truck and she decided that she had to walk in every wave after that.  Once we got back to the truck, I walked her over to the showers, washed the sand off and put on her spare outfit.  She definitely had a blast.

On the way back for lunch, we stopped at the Pony Center so she could see the horses.  She wasn’t too afraid of the horse at first, but when he turned his head towards her, she hugged Kim around the neck.  We went to the souvenir shop and she had to have a little stuffed pony.  Then another little stuffed pony.

Next in the queue is to go to the farm and get ice cream! Once she wakes up from her post-lunch nap.


Time Flies!

Okay, so it has been a little (long) while since I’ve posted here.  I apologize to everyone for that, sometimes time gets in the way.

I posted a LOT of pictures, since there are so many to catch up on.  I don’t think I’m going to hit everything in these pictures as I write, don’t know how much I’ll be able to write today, though I wanted to talk about some of the things we’ve done since last I posted.

Joya and I took a trip to Barnes and Noble for story time.  Unfortunately, Joya took a nap before hand and by the time she woke up and we got out the door and to the store, the story was already over.  I decided not to let that get us down and let Joya play around in the store.  Barnes and Noble has a train table set up with toy trains and a train track.  She played on it for a little while, long enough for me to decide that if she is going to be a train engineer, she needs a LOT more training! Unless she wants to work for Amtrak, then I’m sure she’d fit right in!  While we were there, she found a sticker on the floor — trust me, Joya is very good at finding stickers anywhere we go, even going so far as to peel price tags off of items at the store (I know, I know, we’re working on that).  This particular sticker was of a heart that some other child had obviously dropped.  Joya picked it up and was so excited to have found it.  I’m telling you, the kid loves stickers!  Another girl, probably 5 or 6 came into the play area and Joya ran up to her and offered her the sticker.  The girl turned her back on Joya.  I was able to contain my inner a**hole — barely — rude little child.  Her mother said to her, “honey, she’s offering you a sticker” and the little girl replied, in a very haughty tone, “I don’t want it!” and turned her back again.  You could see the look of embarrassment on her mother’s face, and I did feel a little remorse for the mother.  But it didn’t stop me from grabbing Joya and saying, “come on, Joya, we don’t need to play with children like that.”  (I did say barely….)

Next in the queue was a trip to Big Talbot Island State Park.  What a hidden little gem so close to us!  The park is situated on a barrier island and has several access points along Heckscher Drive.  You park in a parking lot on the side of the road and there is access to a bike trail, other trails, and a trail that takes you to the beach.  It’s $3 for access, which is very cheap for a state park, and is on the honor system — you grab an envelope, put your $3 in, tear off the hanging tag, put it in your window and drop the envelope in the collection box.  A very small price to pay for this particular park.  As a barrier island, the sands shift as the protect the mainland from the brunt of storm and sea.  In it’s movements, sometimes the trees don’t necessarily move with the beach.  This leaves a lot of skeletal remains of trees on the beach, some still standing and turned silver like a monument to their glorious past.  Others have fallen onto the beach and are likewise silvered in the weather, having the appearance of multi-legged insects frozen on the beach as they were crawling to some prehistoric bug meeting before they were frozen in time.  Joya enjoyed running along the beach around the skeletal trees.  I sat her on one and she had to rub her hand over it trying to figure out exactly what it was.

We made a quick trip to Tampa to visit Uncle Stan and take a wine tour.  Joya didn’t go on the wine tour with me, but we did go for a walk around the Riverwalk.  It was a little sunny that day and Joya, like her mommy and daddy, doesn’t do too well in the sun (but we do have beautiful alabaster skin!).  The picture of her sitting in the stroller is at her Uncle Stan’s favorite pizza place in Tampa.  And it was a very good pizza place — New York Pizza that lived up to its name!

Since it is that season where we tell the government whether or not they stole enough money from us, we made a trip back to Virginia so I could fulfill my part in my own fleecing (TAXATION IS THEFT!).  While there, we toured the Williamsburg Winery and did a wine tasting.  Joya accompanied us on the tour, but did not partake of the libations — though I’m sure she would have enjoyed them, being my daughter and all.  She got a new pink tricycle from her Aunt Trish and Uncle Russ.  She can’t quite reach the foot pedals on it yet, but she likes to be pushed around on it.  Once I’d fleeced myself, we drove back to Florida with an overnight stop in Florence, SC.  Mommy is doing some genealogical research on a family from that area and she wanted to stop at the library to look up some information in their historical/genealogical research section.  Joya lasted about two minutes in the quietness of the library, so we decided to go outside.  On the way out, one of the librarians told me there was a child’s play area with a little playhouse, so we stopped there first.  Joya was playing peek-a-boo with me around the doors, windows and curtains of the playhouse.  When Joya had enough, we went outside and she had a blast running around in front of the library.  It wore her out enough that she took a pretty decent nap when we got in the car to finish our drive to Florida.

When we got back to Florida, Joya and I took a trip to the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens for a walk through the gardens.  It was a nice trip and we decided to have lunch while we were there.  Joya tried grilled shrimp for the first time.  Apparently she liked it because in the end she ate a whole shrimp by herself.

Joya also attended Ash Wednesday Mass with me at Resurrection Catholic Church.  She was very good through the whole service.  So good that a series of older women complimented her on how well behaved she was.  After Mass, I let her run around in the church lawn for a few minutes before going home.  You can see that in the picture of her by the tree in the butterfly dress.

Finally, since we had gone to Big Talbot Island State Park, we decided to go to Little Talbot Island State Park.  There was a twofold objective:  1) go to the park to the beach (which you can see Mayport Naval Station from — where mommy works), and 2) to get a Florida Park Pass so I didn’t have to pay every time I went to a Florida State Park.  Ask me about that one.  Joya enjoyed running on the beach.  She LOVES the wind and there was plenty of it on the beach!  I took several pictures that I refer to as “Christian Rock Bank Album Cover” pictures.  They’re the ones were she’s looking off somewhere besides the camera with an almost indifferent look on her face (call it an homage to South Park and Faith +1).

This past weekend we went to the American Quilting Society QuiltWeek in Daytona Beach. I contracted some kind of stomach bug and am just now recuperating.  It seems that Joya contracted a bug, too, and is finally recuperating.  Keep us in our prayers, and we’ll keep you in ours! Bye for now!


Joya and me recuperating from a stomach bug.

Whirlwind Days

It has been a few days since I’ve written in here, so I want to remedy that.  We try to do something every day, even if it is as simple as go to the grocery store or to Walmart.  The pictures above show an iteration of: being awake but not wanting a picture, dressed to go to Walmart (we needed formula — FYI, if you’re child can tolerate regular milk based formula, we’ve found the Walmart brand to be the best value, well, until BJ’s has a coupon for theirs, then it is the best value), chewing on my RedBull at Walmart (apparently it’s a good teething ring — hello molars!), playing in the kitchen, dressed for the beach, at the beach, a bath after the beach, then dressed to go to the MOCA for the evening.

When Joya woke up the other day, she did not want her picture taken.  The picture with her sitting in front of the baby gate is probably picture 75 out of a series of 200 trying to get a picture (yes, I exaggerate, it’s called hyperbole).  She finally sat there and I got one good picture.  One.  I finally got her dressed so we could go to Walmart to get more formula.  I was looking for something that looked nice to dress her in and when I found the red shirt with ruffles I couldn’t resist.  When I put it on her, I have to say that she looks very good in red!  I’ll have to dress her in it more.  We got out the door, went to Walmart and ended up wandering around the aisles aimlessly vice just picking up formula.  We left with a bag of Halos, formula, a bottle of wine to cook the beef spare ribs in, a RedBull and a bag of Reese’s Minis.  As you can see in the picture, the cold RedBull can obviously makes a good teething ring.  She was chewing on it and drooling all over it and the front of her shirt while I was getting a movie from Redbox (Storks — if you haven’t seen it, it’s a funny movie).  When we got to the car, I took the RedBull can away from her so I could put her in the carseat and she went batsh*t crazy.  Literally.  She screamed at the top of her lungs as though she were being physically abused.  Several people in the parking lot turned around and stared at me.  And she kept screaming the entire time I was putting her in the carseat. I handed her the RedBull as soon as I got her in the carseat.  She stopped crying and screaming but I had to fight her to get her buckled in around the can.  Suffice it to say that I was NOT a happy camper.  I’m just glad no one called child services on me the way she screamed.  I’m willing to bet they were all mothers and they were secretly laughing on the inside that daddy was receiving the brunt of child insanity vice mommy.  Regardless, I’m just glad we made it home in one piece (by one piece I mean with my sanity intact).  When we got home, I was chopping carrots and onions to make short ribs for dinner (beef back ribs, dredged lightly in seasoned flour, seared until brown on all sides, then remove from the pot, add carrots and onions, cook until lightly browned, add a bottle of red wine, some chicken stock, a can of whole plum tomatoes, put the ribs back in, bring to a boil, put a lid on it and put it in a 400F oven for 1 hr; reduce to 350F cook for another hour).  As I was getting stuff ready, she pulled every skillet out of the cupboard and was playing with them.  I couldn’t get a picture of it but she put her green and yellow sippy cup in one of the skillets and was moving it back and forth as though she were sautéing it.  It was the cutest thing to see, even better knowing that she’s been watching me cook and that is how she picked it up.  It was a short lived pleasure, though, because once she realized I was doing stuff on the stove, I had to hold her so she could see what I was doing.  When I needed two hands, I tried to put her down, to no avail.  I was trying to have dinner ready by 1800, but with holding Joya and only having one hand, dinner wasn’t ready until 1900.  It’s a small price to pay dinnerwise, but daddy sure needed a glass of wine after he finally got dinner in the oven!  After I got dinner in the oven, she did redeem herself by helping me load the dishwasher.  Though ‘help’ in this context is a stretch of the word — I think I put the same spatula in the dishwasher five times.  These are all the things I’ll look back on one day and laugh.  One day.  I do love you, Joya; and when you’re old enough to read this you will understand.  In the end, the spare ribs were really good (we had mashed potatoes with them — and Joya fingerpainted the tray of her high chair with them).

Yesterday I woke up and was trying to decide where we were going to go for the day.  I had originally thought about going to the library for story time and then to the beach.  I remembered that we were going to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) for a talk on the Hans Hoffman exhibit and that I needed a haircut, so I decided we would go to Mayport, get a haircut, eat lunch with mommy and then go to the beach.  The haircut went well, lunch went well, and then we went to the beach.

Conni told me before we left that it was windy at Mayport so bring jackets.  When we got to the beach I was thinking she was out of her mind, it should be warm enough.  Then I opened the car door and stepped out.  Yep, I put my jacket on and put Joya’s jacket on her.  I carried her to the boardwalk to cross the dunes to the beach, then let her walk across the boardwalk.  She was very, very, very, very slow going up the incline.  Once she reached the level area, she took off and I had to run after her.  She stopped a couple of times, stuck her head under the rail and I had to caution her that it was a long way down to the dune.  She pulled her head back out, looked at me, smiled, giggle, then took off running again.  When she reached the stairs on the beach side she stopped, pointed at the beach and then reached up for me.  Obviously I was supposed to carry her down the stairs.  At the bottom, she didn’t know what to make of the sand at first.  She has been to the beach before, but we usually carry her to the hard pack sand.  This time I set her down in the soft sand and it took her a couple of minutes to realize that her feet would sink into it as she walked.  It didn’t stop her from going, especially when a very large seagull plonked down on the sand beside her.  I think I bolted towards the seagull before my brain could even process and spit out the words,”you better get away from her you little bastard!”  He jumped and started flying, Joya laughed and took off after him.  And that was pretty much the rest of our time on the beach: Joya chasing every seagull she saw.  She chased them all the way down to the water.  I told her to watch out for the water from the crashing waves.  Several times she saw it and ran away from it.  Then she got so focused on chasing the seagulls she forgot the water was crashing in.  A few times I picked her up and saved her from the water, but decided she needed to learn the hard way.  She ran after the seagulls, a whole flock of them, and they took off in a pattern similar to the waves crashing on the beach.  Then the wave crashed on the beach and washed up over Joya’s feet, soaking through her shoes and her socks.  That made for a very unhappy baby for a few seconds.  Until she saw the seagulls again and took off after them, wet shoes and all.  She discovered a sand dollar on that run for the seagulls.  I tucked it into my jacket and kept it as she kept running after the seagulls.  After I don’t know how many failed attempts to catch a seagull, she tripped over some ripples in the sand and landed on her but in wet sand.  That was the straw that broke the camels back for her.  I guess she could handle the wet feet, but wet sand on her hands and pants?! No way! We headed back towards the car.  She walked part of the way then demanded I pick her up and carry her.  I guess she was not having the wet pants.  When we got back to the car, I changed her diaper, gave her a bottle and then we went home.

Joya fell asleep on the way home.  I put her in her crib and got ready to take a shower to wash all the hair from my haircut off.  I was walking into the bathroom with my towel as she screamed.  I got redressed then grabbed her from her crib.  I decided if I couldn’t get a shower, at least she could get a bath.  She needed one after plopping down in the wet sand at the beach — and it would hurt for her to be clean for the event at the MOCA.  In case I haven’t said it in here yet, Joya LOVES baths.  I mean LOVES them.  If I’m washing a bottle in the sink or rinsing out a bowl or anything that turns water on in the sink she thinks she is getting a bath and gets all excited — and then disappointed when I turn of the water and she doesn’t go into it.  Her baths usually last about 30-45 minutes.  I bathe her in the sink because I manage to get less drenched than I do when she’s in the tub.  As she gets older we’ll shift to the tub, but for now the sink works just fine.  Besides, she has these little bath toys shaped like a whale, dolphin, star and crab that she likes to throw across the kitchen counter and send me scrambling after.  Her favorite toy in the bath, by far, is the 1/4 cup measuring cup.  I left it sitting on the counter one day while she was in the bath and she grabbed it.  Now, no bath is complete without the measuring cup.  It serves multiple purposes, though.  She has a toy to play with and I have a cup to pour water over her head.  Both of us win!

I dressed her after her bath and got her all ready to go to the MOCA.  We ate dinner at the Nola Cafe in the MOCA, then went to the talk on Hans Hoffman.  It was a fascinating talk that I got to listen to after Joya decided she didn’t want to sit still and mommy took her to the play area on the fifth floor.  After the talk, we walked through the exhibit again, then went home.

It has been an interesting couple of days, to say the least.  Today is going to be a trip to the grocery store and then tonight to Sublime Original Gallery’s Debut of “Abstraction”the inspired work of acclaimed artists:  Fran O’Neill | Susan McAlister | Rae Broyles | Page Davis.  We’re going specifically to meet Fran O’Neill and see more of her work.

Anne Frank: A History for Today

We finally managed to get to the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) to see the Anne Frank exhibit called, “Anne Frank: A History for Today“.  I didn’t take pictures at the exhibit, other than the picture and it’s placard you see above, because I didn’t feel it was right to take pictures.  That and with all the people there, Joya didn’t want to walk, so I had to carry her around the entire exhibit.  The picture I did take was not in the Anne Frank exhibit proper, it was another exhibit of Holocaust art from a family that survived.

Sadly, I have to admit that the Holocaust art exhibit was much better than the actual Anne Frank exhibit.  Probably because I was expecting something much different, and also because it was more participatory than I had expected.  The exhibit was a timeline of the rise of Naziism in Germany and Anne Frank’s life, where they overlapped and how and on to her eventual arrest and interment in a concentration camp.  Essentially it was large placards that had this timeline drawn on them with docents to explain.  Perhaps I would’ve liked it more had I actually talked to the docents at each placard.  Joya didn’t seem too thrilled about that, though, she was being anti-social today.  I don’t think she would have let me stand there and talk to them.  I was already getting tired because she insisted that I carry her throughout the exhibit (the anti-socialism).  The timeline was a very good timeline though it didn’t cover as much detail as I would have liked.  The only artifact was a reproduction of some pages of Anne Frank’s diary.  The highlight was a movie they were showing in the exhibit.  I briefly considered sitting and watching it but it was completely packed with a school group and Joya didn’t seem to keen on sitting in one spot for any period of time.  I think I would’ve like it better had we watched the video and talked to the docents.  Perhaps we’ll go back another day and hope for fewer people — but we have to before it closes on February 12.  I think this exhibit would be something great for Joya when she gets older and can understand the ideas and concepts behind the exhibit a little better.

The Holocaust art exhibit was fascinating and remarkable.  I walked through it twice — and could probably walk through it a few more times.  To me, art seems to encapsulate the emotion — raw and untainted — of what it is trying to represent.  The artists in this exhibit did an absolutely amazing job.  So amazing that the art evoked the same feelings I experienced when I toured Dachau while in Germany.  I hope the art moves and other people get to experience it, too.  I do plan to take Joya to Germany when she’s older and we will definitely tour Dachau.  I’d like to get to Auschwitz, but I don’t know if I could handle that much of an assault on my emotions, let alone how Joya would do.  We’ll see after Dachau.

MOSH is located near Friendship Fountain in downtown Jax, so we went for a walk around the fountain while we were out.  I let Joya run around on her own and she almost took out a couple that was walking around the fountain when she almost instantaneously veered in front of them.  I apologized profusely and they said don’t worry about it.  I still felt bad about it.

I took several pictures of Joya as she ran around the fountain.  No matter how hard I tried, she wouldn’t look at me so I couldn’t get her face in the pictures.  At one point there were a flock of seagulls that grabbed her attention.  No matter how hard I tried, she just kept watching them and tried to run off after them.  And she tried to run off after a group of school kids who were in the park around the fountain after their tour of the MOSH.  I finally corralled her and headed back to the car and home.

Timucuan Preserve

Joya woke up at 0645 this morning and woke me up, too.  I grabbed her out of her crib and made her a bottle and a cup of coffee for me.  While we were having our respective morning drinks, I turned on EWTN to see what was on.  It was the Chaplet of Saint Michael.  We listened to the prayers as we finished our drinks, then Joya jumped down and started running around the house.  The Chaplet went off and a commercial came on of all the different hosts on EWTN saying “thank you” for contributing to keeping them on the air.  We taught Joya how to sign “thank you”.  Each time one of the hosts would say “thank you,” she would sign “thank you” back to them.  It was very heartening to see.

It was beautiful outside so we had to get out of the house.  You have to take advantage of the weather before it gets unbearably hot.  I wanted to go to a park with enough room for Joya to run around to her hearts content.  We had taken her to Timucuan Preserve before, when she was two weeks old, so I thought it would be a great place to go back to.  There are a couple of trails and Fort Caroline is there.

We started out at the Ribault Monument.  Joya attempted to walk up the stairs, but there were far too many of them — well, she could’ve done it I just didn’t want to wait the hour it would’ve taken.  Instead we walked over to the wheelchair ramp and she walked all the way up to the monument.  There were a couple of people already at the monument and Joya ducked around a tree first, peeking around it at them.  When the saw her and said “hi”, she shrieked and ran out from behind the tree to the monument.  I did the best I could to get pictures of her on the monument, but she didn’t want to look at the camera.  We left the monument and went to the preserve and walked down to the Fort.  Joya didn’t want to walk down the trail to the Fort, so I had to carry her.  Once in the Fort, she got down and ran around — I mean ran around.  There was a guy there walking his dog and she kept pointing at the dog and ran over towards her.  I told her to be careful and the guy told me that his dog was friendly.  I held out my hand, the dog sniffed my hand and I scritched her ears.  Joya got close to the dog, but wouldn’t touch her.  She just kept pointing and smiling, but never pet her.  When the dog left, Joya took off and climbed up the stairs to the rampart.  I managed to get a couple of pictures of her on the stairs and sitting on a rampart.  Joya kept trying to walk down the hill, but I held her back so she wouldn’t go tumbling down (if you look at the pictures of the Fort on its website, you’ll understand).  When we left, she walked about halfway back up the trail then I had to carry her the rest of the way.

When we got home, she ran around, drank two sippie cups of water, and climbed up on my lap like she was trying to get something off the back of the couch.  She lay her head on my shoulder and within two minutes she was asleep.  I put her in her crib and she slept for over three hours.

I had originally planned to grill a steak for Conni and a salmon steak for me and make some green beans.  Sitting here waiting on Conni to get home and Joya to wake up, I decided I didn’t want to cook.  When Conni got home, I proposed that we go to Whataburger for dinner.  Conni was more than happy to take me up on that.  Unfortunately, Joya was still asleep and we eventually had to wake her up at about 6:30pm to go to dinner.  Joya ate french fries and part of my cheeseburger.  We order her some chicken bites, but she didn’t like them as much as McDonalds’ Chicken McNuggets.  We finally got her to drink some of her milk, but she was ready for a bottle when we got back to the car.

We stopped by Publix on the way home to pick up some milk and halos.  The bakery gives kids cookies and Joya got a sugar cookie.  When the bakery worker handed her the cookie, Joya leaned down and looked through the bakery case at her.  They played peekaboo that way for several minutes with Joya laughing the whole time.When I gave her a bite of her cookie, she was done with the game.  It didn’t take her long to eat the cookie (if only she would eat regular food with that same gusto).  When we went through check out, the cashier, Brandon, got her a pink helium balloon and tied it to her wrist.  She started screaming and crying and Brandon felt awful.  I hit the balloon and it hit her face and she let out a scream of happiness that everyone in the store heard.  She was in high heaven playing with the balloon, and Brandon was relieved that he didn’t make her keep crying.

Joya loves baths, would take one twice a day if we would let her.  I promised her a bath today after we went to the park.  She went to sleep so I couldn’t give her a bath, so when we got back from dinner and Publix, I gave her a bath.  She played in the bath for about half an hour before she got out and got dressed for bed.

Today ended up being a great day.  It was beautiful outside and Joya loved playing at the Fort.  She loved the trip to Whataburger and she always likes going to the store (all of the cashiers know her).  We are going to the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) tomorrow to see the exhibit on Anne Frank.  We’re looking forward to The Next Great Adventure!

A Thursday with Joya

I thought I’d talk about a typical day with Joya.  We had to wait on the Terminix guy to come and do an inspection because they thought they saw some type of rodent activity when they came for the regular quarterly bug treatment.  So, we stayed home and did home stuff.

Our typical morning involves watching the morning Mass at Our Lady of Angels Monastery on EWTN.  The first five pictures are from watching the morning Mass.  “Cheesy Poofs!” I’m sure that’s what she’d be saying if she were talking.  Yeah, they aren’t really cheesy poofs, per se, they are Gerber cheddar puffs for toddlers.  She loves them and I’ll admit that they are pretty good.  They’re whole grain, so no complaints there — even though typically I do complain about whole grain stuff.  Brown rice — yuck.  Whole wheat pasta — yuck.  It’s too chewy and doesn’t taste like pasta or rice.  But these puffs are actually pretty good.  I probably eat one for every five Joya eats.  After eating her cheesy poofs, she grabbed one of her toys and stood in front of the TV and danced to the organ music from the Mass.  I think we’re going to have to talk about that as she gets older — it might be frowned upon if she goes dancing down the aisle of Church during Mass.  Not to mention I’m pretty sure dancing during the Mass is illicit.

Joya was taken with the Terminix guy.  He started his inspection outside, so Joya and I had lunch first — couscous and chicken.  The last picture is Joya having spread the couscous all over her tray.  I’m not sure how much she ate, how much ended up in the floor and how much went down the drain when I washed off her tray.  It doesn’t matter so long as she ate something.  She typically eats a little bit of whatever is put in front of her, and really likes spaghetti (thank God, so do I!), she really liked the quiche we had yesterday (again, thank God! I love quiche and pesto), and, sadly (not because it’s necessarily bad but because my waistline won’t like it) she loves chicken McNuggets from McDonalds.  Yep, chicken McNuggets.  She devours them.  I like them, too.  But my cholesterol and my waist don’t.  But I’m still going to eat them, especially if Joya does.  Damn the luck, she does.  I’m going to get fat. Oh, well, it’s worth it so long as she eats.  That notwithstanding, I was doing laundry while lunch was cooking and I went out to the laundry room and Joya stepped out with me just as the Terminix guy walked through the gate of the fence in coveralls, a respirator and was putting on gloves getting ready to go under the house.  Joya stopped and stared.  I tried to explain respirators to her, and the PPE (personal protective equipment) but she didn’t care.  It was something new and fascinating to her so she just stared.  And stared.  And stared.  I had to pick her up and put her back in the door to get her in the house for lunch.  Then we had the couscous explosion.  But that’s a different story (or at least a story that is waiting until tomorrow when the couscous is sufficiently dried out so I can sweep it up).

Shortly after we finished lunch, the Terminix guy came in to inspect the attic.  I was folding laundry — a task that normally involves folding two items, chasing Joya down the hallway to get them back, folding them again then chasing Joya down the hallway to get the four other pieces of laundry she pulled out of the laundry basket back.  Suffice it to say, folding laundry is definitely one step forward, five steps back with Joya.  However, with the Terminix guy here, her infatuation with him actually worked in my favor for folding laundry.  We normally have the above described fight when folding laundry but today, with the Terminix guy inspecting the house and going up into the attic, she spend the entire time watching him.  She watched him bring in his ladder, climb in one access port, then the other access port, then kept staring.  I managed to get all of the laundry folded while she watched the Terminix guy do his inspection.  It was refreshing to not spend over an hour folding laundry.  I’m sure the Terminix guy didn’t understand why I was so happy, but I’m sure, had he been in my shoes, he would’ve felt the same way.

Joya refused to take a nap while the Terminix guy was here, she was too busy trying to figure out what he was doing.  But when he left, she wanted a bottle and promptly fell asleep.  After her nap, we went to Walmart.  I wish I had taken pictures, but the way she contorted herself in the cart had me laughing.  She was leaning against the side of the cart, had one leg up against the back of the cart, and the one that went out of the leg hole of the cart, the foot came in through the other leg hole.  I probably didn’t explain that effectively enough, but if you had seen it, you would laugh, too.

Dinner tonight consisted of pork chops and roasted acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. Joya chowed down on several pieces of pork chop, but she really wasn’t feeling the acorn squash.  Well, she felt it, she smeared it all over the tray of her high chair.  And threw part of it in the floor.  And some in her hair.  Thank God for wet wipes!

After dinner we went for a walk around the block.  I have taken Joya out for walks in the arboretum and in the Lake Kissimmee State Park and have had discussions about ensuring that she walks on the trail.  When we went for a walk tonight, as we walked along the sidewalk around the block, Joya kept straying off of the sidewalk into people’s lawns.  I referred to the sidewalk as the trail and reminded her that we have to walk on the trail, it is what protects nature.  Joya, for the most part, kept to the trail — sidewalk.  I hope that sense of understanding continues throughout her childhood and into her adult life. I don’t want to burden her with unnecessary rules and regulations, but I want her to understand that there are reasons for rules — and some of those reasons are admirable, but others, well, not quite so much.  I want her to understand that we have to have something we believe in and sometimes it means standing up for our moral beliefs.  I want to impart on her libertarian ideals, the very ideals that define what our founders — and what humanity — strive for as independent beings with free will.

All of that notwithstanding, this was a standard day with Joya.  I’m looking forward to many more just like it.