Saturday, December 8, 2007

always something there to remind me

A few last things... pictures from my phone. Even though I miss the quality of our other cameras, sometimes it's nice to have the phone as a back-up. Enjoy!

This is from a month or two ago when Stephen and I were hanging out in Deland and went to the Original Music Festival. This band was called (I think) Earth Sky Orchestra, and they were actually really good. I was playing around with my phone settings and acheived this cool looking photo. The guy second from the left is also playing the dijeridoo. (I have no idea how to spell that.)

I wonder about the reason for the obsessive need to celebrate/notate/witness digital counters rolling over. Well, whatever it is, I couldn't resist when my good car recently reached a milestone. Sorry it's blurry, I was driving on the interstate.

Here's another shot of the Jags game we went to. You can see how we were thisclose to the action! Woo Hoo!

And finally, the cutest thing I've seen in a while. Aw, look at my family. :-) Lucky me!

Friday, December 7, 2007

happy holidays!

Well, it's that time.... Chrsitmas! Things have been hectic in the music world with Christmas music programs here, there and everywhere. But, admist the rehearsals, I have had some time to just enjoy the season.

This is the Jacksonville Children's Chorus Training Choir (that I direct) right after our holiday concert last Monday. The kids did well and were understandably hyped-up after that!

Susanne, my co-teacher, put on a Christmas musical with the 2nd and 3rd graders. It was soo cute, and a lot of people were there... all the students, faculty, parents... and of course these folks: (Mary and Joseph!)

Then, my 5th and 6th graders led our holiday chapel service and provided all the music and scripture readings. 5th grade played recorder, 6th played guitar, and they all helped out with various percussion, singing, and Orff intrsutment parts. They did very well and I was very proud of their hard work.

The other night I went for a long walk/run with Bella in our neighborhood. I wisely took along the camera, and I was sooo glad I did because the night and the lights were so pretty! Here's a cool shot of Downtown Jacksonville looking up the river. It was such a clear night, this picture barely captures how pretty it was!

Here's a classic River City Christmas tree for ya!

And another one lighting up the pretty Oak trees!

This is a very cool dove made of Christmas lights that is suspended from a tree. It hangs right over the street and it is big!

And of course, Have a Happy Florida Christmas!

Once Upon a December

I can't believe I missed November entirely! That's crazy... there has been a lot going on... and I have been trying to take lots of pictures. Because I'm making up for lost time, I'll just post as many fun ones as I can and hopefully not overwhelm you with information. Thank you for your time. :-)

So, it finally happened. Stephen and I got a dog! Right before Thanksgiving we adopted her from the shelter and her name is Bella (given to her by her foster family). She's doing great and we've been having a blast with her!

She rides pretty well in the car. Especially when...

.... she goes to sleep! :-)

She's ready for her extreme close up! Hahaha.
She has started hanging out the window when we ride. We only let her do it in the neighborhood and on small roads, but she loves it! The smells in her nose, the wind in her... ears!
During Thanksgiving we had a lot of great family time, and Friday night we went to Orlando for a Magic Game. It was FUN!

We went with Stephen's brothers, (from left) Stephen, Evan, Rob, Camden, and Dani. Good times!
Me and Shelly at the game.

Then on Sunday, Steve and I went to a Jacksonville Jaguars game (we were given free tickets). And it turned out that the seats were on the THIRD ROW! It was great!!! Here's the picture of Steve and his friend Hardy right before the camera died.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to make another post or two with more updated content...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Here, there and everywhere

Okay, so I have been looking forward to blogging for a while now.... buuuuuut the pictures and stories have been piling up so that I have put it off until: TODAY!
First of all, we need to go back in time a bit... to before my last post...
Steve and I were driving randomly about town one Thursday night and we ended up downtown at the river. We started at this cool park with a nice fountain and pretty views of the skyline.

Pictures in front of the foutain!

Pretty lights!!!

Then we walked across the blue bridge (see first picture) and wandered over to the Jacksonville Landing, a collection of shops and restaraunts. We had really been wanting to go dancing and we stumbled across a club that was having Latin night! After a really fun time dancing, we were quite tired and decided to try our luck and catch a ride on a skytram they have that crosses the river. *BUT* it was in the other direction of the way we came, so it was a bit of a gamble (and my feet were HURTING!!!) When we got to the tram station, it was locked and we found the schedule that said the last train was about 2 minutes before we got there! Noooooo! We walked around to the other side of the station and happened to see an attendant locking up. I asked him if we had missed the last train and he paused a moment and asked, "what station?" Well, he ended up giving us a FREE ride all by ourselves over to the other station. It was GREAT!
I didn't want to annoy the guy who was so nice to us, so I just took his picture as he walked away! Thank you, Jax Skytram man, whoever you are!

All in all, it was a really awesome time!

Okay, now we are back up to speed with where I left off after my last post. This is the trip to Stuckey. First stop, road-side boiled peanuts! Mmm.... tasty.

Next stop.....

Vidalia, home of the sweet onion. Seriously, they are all about onions. Exhibit A: (outside our hotel)

Sunday morning we went out to the old Joiner homestead in Stuckey. Before we headed out to church, we did a little photo shoot. (Don't worry, we won't be late... the church is down the street!)

Here's Stephen, contemplating country living.

And, the neighbors! (Aunt Susan and Uncle Lloyd)

Then we headed over to the church. It was a special Sunday because it was homecoming AND it was the church's 100 year anniversary.

After church, what else? CHURCH POTLUCK! Yessssssssss! They even have a separate ROOM down that back hallway for the desserts!

Once we were back at the house to relax, we did a little science investigation to discover how pecans grow. I had really never thought much beyond the fact that they grow on trees. It was cool. We even ate a few. The pecans are found inside the casing part shown below.

Ah, good times with the fam. It was a nice trip, as expected. This is the Joiner Clan. I have to give a special recognition to my great-Aunt Parah-Lee (in front) who is 93!

Now, the next weekend after Stuckey, Stephen and I ended up going to DeLand/Central Florida for the weekend so I could do wedding stuff with my mom. Stephen played golf with my dad, aunt and uncle. On the way there as we were heading out of Jacksonville, we noticed that I-95 northbound had been completely shut down! We weren't sure what was going on until the motorcycles started coming... and there were hundreds and hundreds of them! Maybe thousands! For a good 10 minutes they drove past us in a big motocycle parade. It's not the best picture, but all those headlights are motorcycles. It was crazy!

On Saturday mom and I had a marathon wedding planning day I hope I won't ever have to repeat. Starting at 8AM we went to the rental store, the wedding/reception location, the florist, and finished the day with 3+ hours at the print shop doing the invitations. THEN, we went to the place we are having our pre-wedding party at and met Stephen's mom and finished our evening at the restaurant we hope to use as caterers. Yikes! Anyways, here are pretty chairs for the wedding...

And pretty flowers... I think these ones are Delphiniums... so pretty!

THEN, to finish off our whirlwind weekend, we went to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on Sunday. Because I work for the public school system I got in free and Stephen got in for half price! Yeah! This is us there:

AND, last but least exciting, about a week after that Stephen and I were headed to Publix when another driver ran a red light and hit us. Boo. My poor car is still not fixed yet, but I think we are getting close. (We have been waiting on insurance stuff, of course...) So anyways, life goes on. Hopefully I will have new pictures to post again soon... we are going out of town again this weekend to see family/friends/do wedding stuff... Until then!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Georgia on my mind

Ah, Georgia. What a good song. I have held a soft spot in my heart for this song even before that movie "Ray" came out. Hahaha. I'm sure I've always felt rather attached to it because I was born in Georgia and my Dad's side of the family is from there. When my grandma passed away, I was in college, and while I was home with family cleaning out her house, I was able to acquire some very cool old family photos. I finally got around to scanning them the other day and also was able to talk about them with some of my Dad's family. They are such cool pictures and I am glad to have them as a reminder of my heritage. When I was a child, I remember envying friends and people I knew who had what I considered to be exotic and interesting grandparents from other countries. And if their first language was something other that English, oooh, that was even better. So, it surprised me just as much as anyone when, upon exploring more of this Earth than I had before, I realized that "Southern" is disticntive enough to be considered its own cultural heritage when viewed by someone from say, Canada. :-)

This first picture is of my grandma, Irene Barnard and her Aunt, Mildred. Or so I've been told. Apparently my great-grandma's family were very musical and several of them played the Mandolin. My grandma is the one with the dog.

This photo is also of my grandma, Irene. I love this picture, because even though I didn't meet grandma until a lot later, this picture is a great reminder to me of her spirit.

This fishing picture (probably in some canal in coastal South Georgia, I've been told) features my grandfather, Wilbur Dorsey Joiner in the foreground. Everyone laughs at this picture because it's one of the very few I've ever seen where he still has hair. My grandfather passed away a few years before I was born, so it's so nice to find pictures of what his life was like.

Another cool family story is that my grandma went to work in a shipyard in Savannah during the 1940's as a welder. I like to invision her as a real-life Rosie the Riveter. And, it was during this time that my grandparents met, at the ship yard. This photo has my grandma's handwriting on the back labeling it as: "Dorsey's crew". Look at that TANK!

This is my grandfather's youngest brother, Robert (Bob) Joiner. I believe this was him in uniform during his service in the Korean War. He still lives in Atlanta with his wifa, Sylbra.

This is a picture of my great-grandmother, Granny Barnard. I don't know what her first name was because I only ever heard anyone refer to her as granny. She passed away when I was a child from Alzheimer's so I was so pleased to find with photo of her out for a row-boat ride.

I can't remember who this is, actually. It's someone on my grandma's side. Probably her Mom or Aunt. But I do know this picture was taken in downtown Savannah. The city where many years later, I was born!

This is my grandfather in later years. It's funny to me how much of my Dad I can see now in this picture. And I guess since I see a good bit of my Dad in me... I'm in there somewhere as well.

I LOVE this picture of my dad. I'll have to ask him again about the story behind it, because I've already forgotten. But there's something about him being at his grandma's house and something about that cake. But still.

So this weekend Stephen and I will be off with my parents, Jim and Debbie Joiner, my Aunt and Uncle, Lloyd and Susan Joiner, and Aunt Susan's mom, Betty Wilkins, to meet up with some other family and probably my sister in Stuckey, Georgia. It's a very small town situated near Vidalia (known for it's onions) and some other tiny little places known for having strange names (Alamo, Scotland, Santa Claus, Lumber City...) There we will find a few hundred people, if we're lucky, an old tiny Baptist church, the old Joiner homestead, the graves of my granparents, as well as some other people I'm probably related to somehow. It's the yearly Homecoming Sunday there and I'm looking forward to spending some more time tracing and remembering the roots of our family. Hopefully this rain will finally stop so I can take some pictures. Until then...