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.

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.

Cummer Museum and Gardens

It was a beautiful day in Jacksonville today so I decided we needed to get out of the house.  We are members of the Cummer Museum and Gardens so I thought that would be a great place for us to go and get out of the house.  They have beautiful gardens and sit right on the St. John River, and they have a very nice collection.  We did a quick tour through the exhibits — seems there were several elementary school classes there and we didn’t want to compete with them to see the art.  We spent out time in the gardens instead, and then had lunch at the Museum Cafe.

It was 58F when I woke up this morning.  Siri told me the high was going to be 74F with clear skies.  What better way to spend the day than in gardens?  The Cummer has three gardens (not counting the sculpture garden):  the English Garden, the Italian Garden, and the Olmstead Garden.

The English Garden was being worked on today.  It looked like they were repairing some sidewalks and planting some new plants.  We only took a cursory tour, though I explained to Joya that in a couple of months the Wisteria vines would bloom and I’d take her back to see the beautiful blow flowers that would be hanging from the terrace.

The Italian Garden, while very beautiful, isn’t very stroller friendly. You can see everything, but I couldn’t run the stroller around the plants and ponds, nor could I take Joya out and let her run free.

The Olmstead Garden is where we spent most of our time.  There is a very well laid out rose garden that has brick paths running through it and a sculpture of Mercury in the middle.  that opens up to another wide open area that is surrounded by plants and trees with a view of the St. Johns River.  I parked the stroller under a terrace, took Joya out and let her run around.  She wandered through the roses, mostly ignoring them.  She ran all the way down to the fence on the river and began playing with the fence and looking at the river.  She ran around the rose garden and into the wide open area where she took off!  She spent about twenty minutes running around through the grass.  She fell several times but, amazingly, didn’t ask me to clean her hands off.  The grass was still wet from the dew but she didn’t seem to mind.  We finally worked our way back around to the rose garden and I got a few pictures of her with a rose.  Which, I have to confess, she ended up destroying.  She tripped over a brick and tried to catch herself with the rose.  It didn’t survive.  I’m just glad she didn’t grab a thorn.

She got tired in the gardens, so we went back in to the museum hoping to see the exhibit.  We made another cursory run through the new exhibit, again, there were still so many school children there we didn’t feel like competing (ok, ok, I didn’t feel like competing).  I will say that the exhibit looked like something I want to spend more time in, so we will go back.


“Green eggs and ham” quiche, side salad and bacon — and kids cheddar puffs (thank you Gerber).

We left the exhibit and stopped at the Museum Cafe.  I decided we might as well eat while we were there.  Today’s quiche was green eggs and ham — a ham quiche with a layer of pesto in it — and today’s soup was eggplant with roasted garlic.  I almost went for the soup but decided Joya probably wouldn’t like it.  So I settled on the quiche and a side of bacon.  I didn’t know how Joya would respond to the quiche with pesto and was a bit worried I was going to have to feed her something else when we got home.  She took a bite and shortly demanded another. And another. And another.  She  had about seven or eight large bites of the quiche and she ate a bite of bacon.  Suffice it to say I didn’t have to feed her anything else for lunch when we got home.

Hans Hoffman @MOCAJax

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These images were taken at the opening of the Hans Hoffman exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Jacksonville, Florida.  The placard for each work follows the picture.

Friday night Joya, Conni and I went to the member’s opening of the Hans Hoffman: Works on Paper exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAJax).  We started the evening with hors d’oeuvres and mingling.  Mostly the mingling was everyone saying “hi” to Joya and us trying to get her to wave or blow a kiss to them.  It was nice, because we met Jaime DeSimone’s (the Curator) parents as we were walking through the Project Atrium exhibit by Nicola Lopez.  They were very nice and her mother and Joya took to each other very quickly. There was a short introduction by Ben Thompson, the Deputy Director, followed by a brief overview of Hoffman and his work by  Jaime.  During the introduction by Mr. Thompson, Joya took off running through the gift shop.  Just as Mr. Thompson made a remark about Hoffman, Joya screamed in jubilant joy, at the top of her lungs.  There was a very brief — but awkward — pause, and then Mr. Thompson said, “She agrees!” and everyone started laughing.

After the introduction, we went to see the exhibit and it was amazing — if you are in Jacksonville while this exhibit is still up, I recommend you go see it.  Joya spent her time running through the gallery from picture to picture while I was trying to get pictures of the exhibit.  I didn’t take pictures of Joya with the artwork, she was moving around too much for that. But, we will go back and will spend more time at the exhibit so she, and I, can explore it more.  I prefer to go on Sundays because there are very few people there so you get more peace and quiet in the galleries which allows me to look at the work and appreciate it better, and allows Joya the ability to run around and look at whichever piece she prefers.


Saturday we drove to Mount Dora, Florida, near Orlando, to go to a SteamPunk festival/exhibit.  It turned out to be less of a festival and more of a flea market / antique show.


Though I won’t complain because I did find a really nice 1944 copy of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. I think it is going to be a gift for a friend.  Joya got frustrated when she was confined to the stroller for a while but tore through the whole place when she got to get out and go for a walk.  There really isn’t too much to say about this other than it was a fun day trip — it was mostly just a flea market.



  1. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville is a cultural institute of UNF.
  2. The pictures here do not do justice to the work in the gallery.  Also, the care and attention that went to arranging and hanging the art and all of the descriptors was remarkable.  I’ll again make the shameless plug that if you are ever in Jacksonville, go see it!  And if the Hoffman exhibit has rotated out, whatever exhibit is there will be equally as remarkable.
  3. The Steampunk show had a steampunk band and there were several people walking through the show dressed in steampunk garb.  I would have liked for it to be more similar to a convention, but I’ll take what we got — Joya didn’t seem to mind! There were plenty of other older kids there dressed in steampunk garb to keep her entertained.  I wish I would’ve gotten her picture taken with some of the costumed people–lesson learned for the next adventure.

Jacksonville Arboretum

Joya and I went to the Jacksonville Arboretum today for a walk around the Live Oak Trail.  It’s only about a half a mile long, but there are several gentle uphills and downhills that allow a one year old to practice trail walking.  Joya walked a good portion of it, but reached a point where she just didn’t want to walk anymore.  When she reached that point, she demanded I carry her.  Every time I tried to put her down to walk herself, she grabbed my neck like a great white clamping his jaws around a seal.  Suffice it to say I ended up carrying her for most of the walk.

The pictures above (R-L, Top to Bottom):  Joya posing while standing on one of the park benches along the trail; Joya and Buddy Bison on a gopher tortoise carved from the trunk of a camphor tree; Joya after falling down — this is her standard response to falling, “daddy, wipe off my hands, I’m not moving until you do”; Reading a sign for one of the trees located in the arboretum; carrying Buddy Bison through the arboretum; and at the end of the trail, I put her on a picnic table to take her picture with Buddy Bison — you can see that she disagreed with that. “Launch the Bison!” is what I think she tried to say before I got pelted with a stuffed bison.

Unrelated to our trip to the arboretum is a funny story from yesterday.  I went to the bathroom and thought that I had closed the door behind me.  As I was standing there, I hear a scream and then the door flew open and in charged Joya with a shirt in her hand she had dug out of the laundry.  The next few minutes were me playing goalie with the toilet (while still trying to maintain aim) as she tried to throw the shirt into the toilet.  Unable to get around me, she then attempted to shove the shirt between my legs into the toilet.  I stopped her, fortunately, though I thought for a couple of minutes I was going to have to fish a shirt out of the toilet — a thought I did not relish.


A few notes on this entry:

  • I hyperlinked the Jacksonville Arboretum, the Live Oak Trail and Buddy Bison in case anyone wanted to read more about them.
  • Jacksonville Arboretum is located very close to the house and has trails that, while moderate in intensity, Joya can manage, though there are a few areas where she needed assistance (i.e. daddy got to carry her).  
  • Buddy Bison is a project of the  National Park Trust.  I have one, too, though I’ve been remiss in taking pictures with him.  I’m thinking of designing simple little patches for Joya and me to attach to our respective Buddy Bison.  This way we can tell them apart and we can each get unique pictures with our own, personalized Buddy Bison.  If you are a hiking fan, National Park fan, or just like to go out into nature and preserve it, I recommend purchasing a Buddy Bison.  They’re $9.95 and they support a good cause.  And you can take pictures with him.  What’s not to like about that?  There’s even a Facebook page

Here we go …

Someone told me that I should start chronicling my adventures with Joya so that other people can share in the culture to which we introduce her.  I thought that was a great idea, though I didn’t want to just chronicle the things she gets to see, but also the everyday things that make me laugh when I think about them.  So, this is the start.

I gave it the title “The Princess and Me” because she is my little princess.  I did the best I could with the picture of her and a tiara when she was 6 weeks old.  I may go back and change the layout / appearance later, but for now, this will work.

Welcome to my world with Joya, I hope you find as much entertainment and laughter as I do on a daily basis.