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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Notes:

  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.
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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.

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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
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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.

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