Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back in black (and white)

Hey, they let me back into journalism. As Jen has mentioned, I'm the point person for health at the Florida Times-Union. Spun a quickie yesterday about women doing self-exams for breast cancer. Made the front.

Not a bad start.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just Beachy...

I reclaimed my Floridian status today by making my first trip to the beach.

I can't even tell you how wonderful it is, not only to be back on Florida's beaches, but to be back on the east coast of Florida! 

Living in Naples, I hated the beaches! The water always felt like warm bath water -- it wasn't even refreshing. Also, I always had to do "the sting ray shuffle" to avoid stepping on a ray (which I actually did once).

On the east coast, the water is nice and cool, and totally refreshing. Also, there are great waves to body surf on, as opposed to the completely still Gulf of Mexico.

It was nice and quiet out there this morning...

And you might notice one of my favorite features of the Jacksonville beach I visited today, no hotels and mansions crowding the shoreline!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Take Me Out...

Last night Jeremy and I went out to see Jacksonville's minor league baseball team, The Suns.

The ballpark is really neat. It's located downtown, right near the Maxwell House plant (so it smells like coffee much of the time!). There really isn't a bad seat to be had. In fact, we had foul balls falling just a couple of rows in front of us!

The best part of last night, however, was our reunion with some of our best friends, Larry and Deirdre. 

Here are the former roomies celebrating their reunion:

And here's me and Dierdre enjoying the game:

After the game, we were treated to a fantastic fireworks show! Some of the fireworks were really cool. It sounded like a Civil War reenactment! 

After the game we met up with a bunch of Jeremy's new Times-Union co-workers at a bar called Kick Backs. Everyone was really nice, and Jeremy is really enjoying his time as the new health reporter.

Here we are at Kick Backs (which has 60 beers on tap!):

And here's Larry pondering his beer selection:

And here's the crazy guitarist (who managed to pervert the song "Kokomo!):

It's good to be home!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Sip of Culture...

Jeremy and I enjoyed a wonderful night out in downtown Jacksonville last night. 

We went to a wine bar called The Grotto, where they were holding a tasting. The wine was delicious, and we even bought a few bottles, including a Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Afterwards, we walked around the square, and it was beautiful. Here's Jeremy enjoying the evening!

Here's a cute little theatre downtown in the square:

And the wine bar we visited is in this little strip:

I love the culture. But there is one thing about Florida living I didn't miss...

The way all property turns into lakefront real estate during the summer!

The good news is that the rain usually stops after an hour or two, and it tends to cool things down! Thank goodness!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Farewells...

We said a few other goodbyes in Anniston.

Here's us with our puppies' best friend, Fleck! (Of course, we miss his owners, Steve and Ashton tons!)

We said goodbye to our old hand-me-down furniture (which served us well over the years!)...

And hello to a week of sitting (or napping) on the floor:

We said goodbye to Jeremy's car (which said goodbye to the air-conditioning and heat a long time ago).

And I said goodbye to my University of Alabama sticker, and hello to an alumni sticker!

And, of course, hello to my new University of Florida sticker!

Finally, we said goodbye to one of our favorite hangouts, The Peerless.

Here's Steve sinking a shot:

And here's me, helping us leave Anniston with a winning record!

All in all, it was a great last week.

Farewell to Anniston...

Jeremy and I said farewell to Anniston last week with a wonderful send off thrown by our program director and his assistant. We enjoyed great wine, great food, and about a million pictures!

During the past year, I've learned so much from my fellow classmates. We were such a diverse group -- all coming from different backgrounds. We each offered new opinions and ideas and we always challenged each other.

Now, we each have master's degrees and heads full of memories. I know wherever life takes me, I will always treasure the experiences I had as a Knight Fellow.

Here's our group: (From left: Christina Smith, Anne Anderson, Cassandra Mickens, Andrea Young, Jeremy, me, Chris Waddle, Emily Amick, Sandra Martinez, her husband Hector, and Dr. Bill Keller.)

Here's us looking ghetto-fabulous!

And us loving on our only boy in the program!

Me and the hubby!

Sandra and her hubby!

Me and Sandra.

Me, Dr. Keller, Andrea, and Cassandra enjoying fine wine!

Us again!

Hector, Sandra, and Emily!

Jeremy and Christina:

Us with our program assistant, Carmelita Palmer, in the middle:

Thanks, Fellows, for a wonderful year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sips 'N Strokes... And a Few More Sips...

For a final "ladies night" before Jeremy and I move to Jacksonville, my friend Ashton and I went to one of the coolest hangouts in Birmingham -- Sips 'N Strokes.

What you do is you bring a bottle of wine (or any drink you want), and for $25 they give you a canvas, brushes and paint and an instructor takes you through the steps of painting an original painting. There's a cool new one every night.

Ashton and I decided to do "Funky Tree." 

Here she is applying paint for the background (keyword of the day: FUNKY!):

And here's the finished product (both of us got rave reviews from our instructor):

Here's Ashton's "Funky Tree":

And here's mine:

The coolest thing about the class was that, while everyone was painting the same thing with the same instructions, they all came out differently.

We drank, we chatted, we laughed. The instructor was wonderful, and she really kept us interested. And, in the end, it wasn't hard to create a cool painting. (Seriously, I have no artistic skill, and I think mine came out pretty funky!)

During class, it is mandatory that you paint your name on the walls. Mine is on the right in teal (very small), and Ashton's is on the far left in pink.

We had a great time. What a wonderful way to say farewell (for now)!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Jeremy and I presented our final master's projects today, and it went very well. We both got some good questions, and it looks as though our chairmen will be passing us!

We spent the evening at a nice dinner with our good friends from next door. Then, we went home and passed out cold from the exhausting day (and, possibly, the two glasses of wine with dinner).

Stay tuned later this week for a recap of our time here in Bama!

The Home Stretch...

In a few hours, Jeremy and I will give our final project presentations for our master's degrees. We both feel pretty prepared, although both of us anticipate some revisions before getting the official nod for our degrees.

We'll be going from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pray for us!!

Friday, July 11, 2008


On Wednesday I made the long -- though worthwhile -- trek to Bryson City, N.C., to meet up with my family for some white water rafting.

We had the BEST time! We laughed and bumped all along the Natahala River with guides from Rolling Thunder River Company.

Here's us looking optimistic and dry as we prepared to head into the river. As you can see, my brother and I foolishly took the front seat (aka: the drench zone).

The rapids were great! We hit some pretty crazy ones, but nothing too scary.

We had the added adventure of padding through a torrential downpour through most of the trip. It was so bad at some points, we couldn't keep the water out of our eyes to see where we were going!

You can see all the haze in the picture below. That's because the river water that drenched us was about 50-60 degrees. The rain was substantially warmer than that.

Here's James getting a lap full of freezing water. This happened a bit too often for my taste!

Here's Mindy enjoying herself (before Dad took over as the Nazi leader of our boat!).

And here we are braving the "bump & falls" at the end of the river. It was the coolest rapid on the whole river!

Apparently a group that attempted it during the morning run capsized their boat. We managed to stay afloat!

Here's a great YouTube video of that bump. Unfortunately, we're not in it, but you get the idea!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth!

If you have access to a boat and you're near Chattanooga, I highly suggest going out on the Tennessee River. Which is what we did today, with some help from our friends Steve and Ashton (and Steve's dad, who owns the boat). We had a great time. Did some tubing. Did some bobbing in the water. Did some sunburning. It was definitely worth the two-hour drive.

Afterward, we bought a few bucks worth of fireworks out of the back of a semi-trailer and shot them off.

Here's me not getting burned:

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Color Godiva...

Jeremy and I took a big step toward adulthood today. We picked out our very first non-hand-me-down living room set!

It has the most comfortable couch and seat ever!

Here's the sofa we're getting. The color is "Godiva," which is just a deep brown.

Here's the over sized chair and ottoman. Obviously, we ordered it in the Godiva color, not this beige color.

We also got this coffee table and the rug beneath it, along with a matching end table and lamp.

Make sure you pay us a visit and come check it out!!

Half-B-day, A Whole Lotta Gift...

Because both Jeremy and my birthdays are right around Christmastime, we like to celebrate our half birthdays.

Mine is today, and Jeremy made me the most wonderful birthday gift.

As you may have guessed from reading our blogs, we're pretty big Marlins fans. Dan Uggla, the current homerun leader in all of baseball, is my favorite player, not only for his outstanding playing, but also for his, wink wink, "other attributes."

So, my very thoughtful husband actually made me a framed piece of memorabilia, the center of which is a signed photo of Dan Uggla.

Isn't he the coolest? My husband, I mean!