October 18th, 2006
Adam and I got engaged on June 25, 2006 and will be married on April 14, 2007! We are getting married in neighboring St. Augustine, our nation's oldest city. Our wedding will reflect the history and Spanish heritage of St. Augustine, and we have chosen a historical venue for the ceremony and reception: The Fountain of Youth historical park, all outdoors. This is the spot where Ponce de Leon thought he'd discovered the secret to eternal youth and is now a beautiful 15 acre park. We will be married at the back of the property, which is right on a nearly pristine view of the marsh and intercoastal waterway. A horse and carriage will deliver my bridesmaids and I right to the spot. The party will be at the front of the property and the bar will be set up in the Spring House, where the original spring is housed so guests will be able to have a drink of the water.
It has been a lot of work but we're doing good on the planning. And I can't wait for us to be Mr. & Mrs! I am so lucky to be about to marry my best friend.
Click the pic above to see my gown and the Save The Dates!
December 21st, 2005
With thanks to Eddie Vedder. Yeah, I didn't get locked up in a European jail or anything like that. Well, here it is the holiday season and the scrambling has commenced. My dear sweet Adam has jetted off to Miami for the next three days leaving me to make house as the McGinnis clan plus me attempts to be comfortable all together in the condo. But, Adam and I will be together for Christmas as we must because it's pretty hard to break the habit once you've started. Finally, my mom gets to see me for Christmas as she's missed me the last two years. Soon after Christmas we are off to Annapolis, Maryland, to be attendants in Adam's sister Heather's wedding at the Naval Academy Chapel. I joined the local World Gym in October and I have been spinning, kickboxing, yogaing and weightlifting my way to making sure I look good in that bridesmaid dress. Oooh, and I can't wait to see Adam in a tux! My job at the College of Health ends on December 31 and I am hopeful on going back to advising the freshmen & sophomores at the Academic Center for Excellence. They have my resume, we'll just have to wait and see!
I'm sorry I've been so lazy about getting Europe pictures up. They're still not up entirely but I'll link you to what I've got if you click on the Eiffel Tower pic below:
and follow the usual steps. I think pretty soon I am going to post my pictures up in a better way. Again, laziness.
What can I say about Europe? Everything I can think of is woefully insufficient. We are already dying to go back. I am actually thinking of planning a getaway for next Christmas in Amsterdam, cause Christmas stesses me out so. Amsterdam was my favorite place because it was so beautiful, everyone was so nice, and not to sound like a spoiled American, but everyone spoke English. A bartender in Amsterdam told us that Dutch is one of the hardest languages to learn because the Dutch generally all speak English, French and a lot of times, German. Hey, I did make a sincere effort at speaking French in France! Who would have guessed that high school French class, in which I spent alternately bewildered and frightened, would actually come in handy? If I could get through a whole transaction, like ordering a crepe, using only French, I was super pround of myself. The thing that killed me was when they would tell me how much something was. Never quite got the hang of numbers.
But back to the Dutch! I have since begun appreciating everything about the Dutch. First of all, they are all about [i]gehzelig[/i] in their lifestyle, which (basically) means the comforts and pleasures in life, cause hey, we only live once. They are environmentally friendly, with windmills all over the countryside and the bicycle being the most common form of transportation. Then, there's the things we enjoy over here in the States, Dutch chocolate, Dutch apple pie, Gouda cheese (my favorite!) and, uh, Vincent Van Gogh. The Van Gogh museum was probably my favorite in Europe, and I am including the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. Yeah, I think Christmas 2006 in Holland might have to be a priority.
Well, enjoy what I've got up so far and Germany is coming soon. Look for an easier photo access coming soon.
September 19th, 2005
We have just concluded our journey through Germany, most of which we spent in Berlin. It might be one of the best cities I've seen. We stayed at a very nice hostel called Green Eggs and Ham, an independent operation which was refreshing after the slightly institutional feel of the hostel in Amsterdam. This was an old building left over from not-so-distant East Germany communism. We arrived a bit off schedule, three days earlier than we had expected, in hopes there would still be a room for us. We couldn't get the private room we'd booked yet (hostels have those too) but they were cheerfully accommodating in putting us up in a five bed dorm. Fortunately for us, no one else booked a bed in it so we had it to ourselves until our private room was available. Every morning we went down to their cafe and had the best breakfast we've had in Europe. They called it the German Breakfast, which has completely made a born again carnivore out of me. Salami, ham, toast, cheeses (Brie, even!) fruit, and coffee. This was a really nice place, I would recommend it to anyone.
Further, I would recommend Berlin to anyone any day on any budget. I really enjoyed it there. A person can find cheap or expensive accomodation in abundance, cheap or expensive shopping, and nice food and drink always cheap. We became fond of the Berliner Pilsner beer there, I hope European Steet or someone will carry it when I get home.
We partook in a lot of museums too (all of which I'll note were quite inexpensive), including the Deutsch Guggenheim, an Einstein exhibit (one of the best), a museum of Natural History, which had a very large rock and crystal collection as well as casts of dinosaur bones and fossils. We also visited Checkpoint Charlie, a former Berlin Wall checkpoint (the American Sector), which has a museum of the history of the Berlin Wall, what people did to sneak across, and art over the years related to it.
We did a ton of shopping in Berlin, because so much cheap shopping can be found. We found the best vintage store called Made in Berlin. I could hardly believe the stuff there was vintage because they obviously had very high standards on what they would accept, and both Adam and I scored some excellent deals there.
We found Berlin to be a very friendly city as well. There was also an air of excitement because the German elections were about to take place in the days we were there. They voted on the day we left Berlin (Sunday the 18th. I still don't know who won). We also visited the Berlin Flea Market on Saturday, which was much better than any we saw in Paris.
Well, we never picked up much German while we were there (I'd say that in Germany they are less forgiving than the Dutch with speaking English but much more than the Parisiens) but overall we really enjoyed Germany and I certainly hope to return. Again, I'd recommend it to anyone traveling on a budget (or not). I'll write again when I can. I hope everyone's doing great.
PS We have some great pictures but uploading them away from home has proved tougher than we thought. I'll probably just end up putting them up after I get home.
September 11th, 2005
Here we are in gorgeous Amsterdam. This is our third day, and I absolutely love it here. Paris was really nice, and we had a lot of fun there, but they aren't the friendliest and in comparison this city has felt like a resort for royalty. The Dutch people have been very very friendly and nice, the city's architecture and canals are absolutely beautiful, and things move at a much more comfortable pace. In Paris we were constantly in daqnger of being run down by a car or other pedestrians. Yesterday when we bought a Coke at a corner store, the proprietor actually told us to have a wonderful day and a good weekend. From this we about died of shock after being in Paris. And everyone speaks English here, and they do not hold a grudge about it. This has been a welcome reprieve.
We are staying in a very nice youth hostel situated on the edge of Vondelpark, a beautiful green park with bridges and ponds and separate paths for bikes and pedestrians. Everyone rides bikes here, and there is a whole road system for cyclists separate from cars and pedestrians. Interestingly there are more bikes in the city of Amsterdam than there are citizens. The hostel has been lovely with its free breakfast, laundry facilities, in-house restaurant and bar and loads of people to meet. We are staying in an 8 bed room and have already met an Australian girl, German guy, and a Belgian couple on their way to a 3 week stay in Pakistan.
Yesterday, we went for a walk in Vondelpark after breakfast, then we visited the Van Gogh Museum which was a real treat. After lunch we got a bit lost among the canals which took up a good part of our afternoon, but it was pleasantly lost and there were plenty of places to pop in along the way. This weekend is a celebration on national monuments and buildings in Holland, so elaborate churches and buildings are open to the public for a look around, and we saw the inside of an incredible cathedral. Adam has in mind to find an antique spyglass on this trip, and we found a couple shops specializing in this type collecting with very interesting old ships instruments, sets of encycopaedias, globes and furniture. Alas, the least expensive spyglass we found was a staggering 500 euros, but Adam hasn't given up. It was enough to explore the old shops. That has been our joke on this trip, "We wanna see some old stuff."
It may not be very PC of me, but the Dutch language rather makes me want to giggle. From the moment we got on the train in Paris and they made the announcements in Dutch, I had to supress the urge. It also has this feature of sounding very much like English in passing, but the words make no sense and then you realize that they are not speaking English but Dutch. Still, I have found the Dutch people to be very warm and inviting and it is a real pleasure to be in Holland. Each time we walk into an establishment they seem to say, 'Oh there you are, we've been expecting you'.
Tonight will be our last in Amsterdam and we plan to see the Rijksmuseum (national gallery), the Anne Frank house, and the Flower Market today (on the train we passed fields just growing flowers in rows. Beautiful.), and then we will have to decide where we are going next. We have reservations in Berlin for next Friday and I expect we'll find a place in Germany for the next few nights where the pace is relaxed and we can sample some German wine.
I hope you are all doing great and it's nice to hear from you. I hope the recent tropical storm wasn't too harsh for anyone. I'll write again when I can.
September 6th, 2005
Bonjour, mon amis! Well, we made it safe and sound and I have finally found an internet cafe. This is our fifth day in Paris and we are beginning to adjust. We are staying in a sort of non-touristy area where not everyone speaks English, and we've been trying to get by in our pidgin French. People have mostly been very nice but there have definitely been some who despise us for existing. Whatever, American culture is emulated all over the place, so it feels like we have one over on them too. So far we have seen the Louvre, Picasso Museum, Musee Carnivalet, which is the history of Paris, Notre Dame, the Parthenon, Jardin du Luxembourg, a beautiful park (from where we just emerged) and probably more that I can't think of at the moment. The highlight was finding a bar a few doors down from our hotel tended by a British expatriate, coincidentally named Becky, and she has been a godsend in helping us with questions we cannot ask in French. We met a bunch of her pals, all British, including one who owns a bar in the 5th arrondisement and they have been showing us a great time.
There are so many parallels here and yet it is also like a parallel universe. We figured out the subway today, and I'd like to say that it is NOT like BART at all, to all of you who gave me that indication. :) It's actually a lot simpler but we probably shouldn't have tried it the first time upon our leaving Earl's pub. So we've been doing a lot of excess walking, but it's good for us. Today we were armed with idiot instructions written out step by step by Becky and now that we've done it I feel comfortable. We are in need of some chill out time so I think we'll call it an early night tonight, but hopefully I'll be able to update again soon once I've collected my thoughts a little more. Leave me some comments! I miss you all and I hope to hear from you. Hope everything's going great where you are. Au revior!
August 8th, 2005
Well, it's been a pretty crazy week and I have to admit I haven't been as sweet as usual. But now we have major events behind us and it's all about packing and planning last major details. I got a great new pack for my birthday (oh yeah... that was the 6th. 24!) thanks Mom, and I also bought myself a nice pair of walking shoes. Got some thin wool socks for the oh-so-glamourous washing in the sink with a bar of soap and hanging to dry, and as we all know, cotton kills. And a quick dry microfiber towel for much the same reason. I went online today and bought my traveling art supplies- portable watercolor half pans and three waterbrushes- you fill the brush handle with water and it flows through the tip, no need for a separate water container. Also, watercolor paper and drawing paper postcards and a watercolor journal. It's going to be interesting because I haven't done a whole lot of watercolor but obviously my oil paints would not be practical. I have to be super careful on what I pack because every little ounce adds up, and it's all going to be on my back for six weeks. The cat is now gone with Adam's parents in Colorado, we miss her so much but it is the best thing for her while we are gone. Still, we can't bring ourselves to put away her toys and dish. You wouldn't think we will be reunited with her in about two months with the way we're acting! Well, she is a very sweet and entertaining companion, and we love her.
It won't be long now and we can hardly believe we will be stepping off the plane in Paris in just over three weeks. Here's to the mad rush.
August 7th, 2005
||Adam the Graduate
Happy Graduation to Adam! He stuck it out and now proudly holds a bachelor of arts in Philosophy. It was a wonderful night and we are all so proud of him. Click on the picture to see more photos of graduation.
August 3rd, 2005
||Becky & Adam
Well, I have excellent news to report. The show went better than I could have hoped and I am now a bonafide professional- I sold four paintings! They were the Spring, Summer, and Autumn pieces. I say four because my neighbor Russ bought Autumn before I found out my friend Tom wanted to buy all three pieces. So I've told Tom I will do another piece like Autumn for him so he can still have the set. Thanks Tom! And Russ! I also sold quite a few notecards and postcards of my work. Thanks to everyone who bought one.
Also, thanks to everyone who showed up and gave their support to me on my debut. A special thanks to Adam Chapman who was the honorable bartender and did a superb job. The man knows his stuff. I am so lucky to know so many wonderful people. Another special thanks to "the moms," my mom and Donna who worked so hard to make the place spotless and a beautiful presentation.
The best part of the night was that I was completely in the moment. I didn't feel anxious, or ill at ease, I was completely happy and not thinking about anything but that moment.
Please click on the picture of Adam and I above to gain access to the gallery of pictures from that night. I said I would take lots and lots of pictures but I didn't end up taking that many. Sorry! Like I said, in the moment. Most of them are from before the event started. But you can still see how everything was set up, I really just slacked on pictures of the guests.
Also, I did get the August spot at Manuel's. I am going there this afternoon to put the finishing touches on the display. Adam and I had a wonderful time at their wine tasting a few weeks ago so please go do that on a Friday night this month. It is only $5 for a generous amount of wine and very nice hors d'ouvres, it is well worth the money. The owner is a very nice woman named Pawnee (sp?) and the crowd was warm and friendly. Remember: Manuel's is right off A1A in Ponte Vedra, in the same shopping center with the Fresh Market. I believe wine tasting starts at 6.
Europe is coming faster than we can believe and so this page is about to get much more interesting. Adam will graduate from UNF on Friday, and the next day I am 24! So many wonderful things on the horizon and all of you lovely people to share them with. Stay tuned.
July 26th, 2005
I found a backdoor for viewing my gallery. Click on the image in the entry below (Spring) and it will bring you to a large image of the painting. From there, you can click on the menu on the right side of the image- click "up" and it will bring you to the whole gallery. You will be able to click each picture to see a larger image. Hopefully soon there will be a direct link in my journal to view galleries.
July 25th, 2005
oil on canvas, 10"x10"
Welcome to my livejournal, created for the purpose of keeping all my favorite people updated on my artistic exploits and, soon, my travels with Adam through Europe, starting September 1st. At this point I have created a gallery for you to view 13 of my current pieces but I am told that the livejournal folks are still testing their gallery software so these are not yet viewable. More pictures to come of the much anticipated art show, Limerence, happening July 30, and with any luck I'll be able to post pictures of the Europe trip while it is in progress.
If any of you are unable to make it to Limerence, my work will be on display at Manuel's Fine Wines and Deli in Ponte Vedra Beach next to the Fresh Market for at least 30 days, I have not yet received confirmation on whether this will be the month of August or September but I will post that information when I get it. Manuel's has great wine tastings on Friday nights, Adam and I can attest, so please go get drunk and look at my paintings, they will look even better.
Until then, all my beautiful people!