Friday, September 6, 2013

So it's official. Despicable Me II came out. And it was a hit. And it features purple Minions with wild hair. So we had to get one. And now it goes with us everywhere. This page will share with you the odd, familiar and unstated locations where the purple Minion appears near Jacksonville.

Enjoy, and talk back. We'll pass your reactions on to him. Just don't tick him off, or he may show up at your doorstep...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


In a break from the constant drum of busy-ness, Amy was able to take a week off and bring us to the Toronto Film Festival. As I recall, we saw some movies... between the numerous and rewarding stops for food. Good food. Yummy food. Terrific food. Gastronomic food. Pho-food. Oyster food. Dim sum food. Charcuterie food. Beer... well, beer!

Even though it was Canada, I got (minor) sunburn walking around, and walking and walking around more. The scale, the density and the interlocked neighborhoods remind me of San Francisco. Toronto also boasts 24-hour streeetcars, (aka trollies) and a subway system. The ROM combines art and natural history in an amazing structure. The Contemporary Art Museum combines a penchant for video projects with Bay-Area worthy attitudinalism. And the BATA Shoe Museum is, well, unique and well worth a trip!

Screenings at TIFF we well organized, as is the website ( and the whole shebang depends on a sub-population of volunteers in orange shirts. The movie-plexes are also a step up: shopping on other floors, food courts and even bars! We sat through a range of ten stories, from silly Sicilian money-borrowers to end-of-the-world wanderers; from continental Indian Romeo and Juliet amid a religious divide, to a gay Filipino man in his last years. The latter was Amy's favorite; mine was about a blind man who taught echo location to kids at a school for the blind.

I know what you're all thinking: "Can't wait for next year's report!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

School has claimed the kids back, Lana included. But we had a fun summer (interrupted as it was) between school years.

We stayed at a lodge in a waterfall park in Georgia, hiking amid white flowers, cool water we could ALMOST reach, and 768 stairs. Then we hit the road to give her time with her mom.

When I went back and brought her to Jax, Lana plunged right into a five day art camp put on by the fine art museum here. It was a hit - and I hope to have her back next summer, according to her wishes. She made a wonderful sculpture, several excellent drawings, and I'm going to frame one for her.

On the way back, after beaches, rock wall climbing, frozen yogurts galore, a shopping spree, riding bikes into the surf, chess matches and HER beating ME in Monopoly (!) we hit the road again.

This time, at the Super 8 end in Chattanooga, after donuts, we hit the amusement park as we always do. We're both addicted to the roller coaster (a good one on a wooden frame) and the bumper cars. Lana also has a penchant for getting me onto rides where I almost lose my dinner. Never used to be a problem -- am I getting old or just more sensible?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Storm season in full bloom.
Debby’s squall hit pretty hard here, though other parts of Florida took more of the brunt. Flooding and pooling water spreading in lots of areas – including the roads – with the rest of the week forcast as wet.  Right now a tornado watch for our area. Holy cow -- tornado!

I feel for the sea turtle eggs resting snugly in their nests all up and down this part of the coast. The odds are high enough against them without blustery erosion and flooding.
Selfishly, at least I got a bike ride in before the precipitation fell.

Yesterday we drove to Ocala. We didn’t see much besides rainy roadside, but we DID feel an uphill... it was like being on another planet! We were escorting FX, who gets surgery today for a bone chip in his shin. He had a kicking spat with another horse, and, true to his other name, has a “Boo-boo.” Luckily, the surgery is out-patient; he can get it done standing up, which lessens the chances of complications. We’ll be bringing him a get-well treat soon, maybe by boat!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Covering both coasts in a few weeks -- and Amy bouncing back and forth additional times -- we've seen the gamut, from sunny LA to tropical eastern storms. Yep, that's right. Earlier than hurricane season by several weeks, our second storm is here. It's dark and windy outside, with rain expected nightfall tonight. The stores aren't yet packed with milk-shoppers. But the Mayor declared and emergency and cancelled the Jazz Festival downtown.

The pictures on the side speak for themselves, so I'll keep this post brief. I got sunburned in LA and I'm looking out for falling palm fronds and tree limbs in Florida.

Lana's mother has thrown a wrench in my summer time with Lana, so Lana will be here briefly on June 8, then later in the summer if things work as they are supposed to. In between, I'll have to be in mediation and possibly a courtroom.

But for today, I got to drive on the bridge over a stormy Intercoastal, check out the churning surf with other pre-storm gawkers, and fill up the Jeep -- just in case we need to get to a shelter.

Of course, the more one prepares, the more likely a storm will pass you by!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Travel all over, in this town and in the next several. In Kentucky for the Rolex event; in LA for a growing-up event; up to Chattanooga to pick up Lana for summer. Lots of miles to log on, lots of things to see and do. Even a slew of varying weathers. Kentucky was cold, then hot; LA is... who knows? and Chattanooga will be unpredictable, though hopefully no bad storms,

Horse eventing in Lexington very cool, catered, hanging around horse-know-it-alls, and taking some photos fro the first time in a year! I sidled up to an older lone woman who, it turned out, was a formidable dressage rider in her day and now runs a breeding stable with legendary lineage. She was a card, and didn't really fit with some of the rest -- she confirmed my pick of vegetarian/hippie restaurant as the best in the area (ALFALFA), and we talked about seed saving and local foods!

Back to Jacksonville and started a "community" garden for the community of horse boarders. Long hot day -- seven hours -- and one poor soul even had heat stroke. I don't know what success to expect because the soil is mostly sand with some horse manure plowed into it. But it looked great when we were done!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Been up to Chattanooga again... Been there, done that a thousand times, it seems. Took a trip up on the side roads, passing some swampland, seeing route 66 by another name. But every time I see Lana it's a new excursion. She greeted me this time in her Cal Bears shirt I got her. And now that she's not taking baths every night, she's on a dirty clothes rampage. (So the shirt was on two days!)

This time we checked out an open house at one magnet school. The next morning we played "hookey," sort of, since I got her out of one school... but into another. We toured a second magnet Middle school, for a full hour. Since I was leaving Saturday, we stayed together until then.

And wouldn't you know it, her mother, who insisted she have Lana back Saturday by noon, then cancelled her house party she needed Lana for. But by then, Friday, my plans were made: the hotel nights set, the emotional time frame set, my dog walks scheduled, and my enthusiasm for seeing Amy again creeping in.

Another quick trip up to Lana in the works -- but first Amy and I have a zany month or so of travel and adventure. Not even considering the twin Minis.