On the road again

Jordan and I have taken a number of road trips in the past 6 months. And a few of them have involved crazy long drives in a crazy short amount of time. We added to the list by driving down to Gainesville on Thursday so Jordan could interview here. And then, as soon as he finished, we headed east to Cocoa to surprise my mom (Mariah was in the know). We drove up next to them while they were on a walk, J rolled down the window, and my mom screamed. Bloody murder. We were just glad no heart attacks were had. It was lovely to see them, although briefly. J flew out the next morning for another interview (Michigan), and I stayed and got to do what I love most... play in the water. I helped Mariah teach a windsurfing lesson (facilities and equipment courtesy of our friends at Calema) to some of her school friends, the proceeds of which were donated to the Leukemia Society. Pretty sweet service project. That plus Publix subs and a sail on the Hobie Cat (courtesy of pirate Philip) made for a lovely Saturday.

It was lovely to see these ladies again (I didn't take any pictures... this is the best I could do).
And now I'm home. In my cozy little apartment. Ready for a nice night of sleep at the conclusion of another road trip.


What else are we missing?

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

-- from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies

Church doesn't start for us until 1pm EST so we've gotten into the habit of watching (or at least listening) to Music and the Spoken Word at 11am on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday, Lloyd Newell referenced a story I had never heard before. Here's the text of his message:

What else are we missing?
It was a busy workday as commuters rushed headlong toward their busy schedules. But on this day in Washington, D.C., something different happened: a 39-year-old man dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap took out an old violin and began to play.

Few people noticed. Most kept their eyes on the ground or looked straight ahead. A few, talking on cell phones, raised their voices in order to be heard over the music. These were, after all, busy people. They had work to do and appointments to keep.

And so they did not stop. And they did not listen. And what they missed was a rare performance by one of the greatest violinists in the world playing his Stradivarius violin, worth more than three million dollars. He chose to play some of the most technically demanding, elegant music ever written for his instrument, and he played with all the passion and perfection that he had become known for throughout the world.

His metro-station concert was part of an experiment proposed by a writer for the Washington Post. The question was “How many people would recognize beauty in a place where it wasn’t expected?” During the 43-minute concert, nearly 1,100 people passed by. Of those, only 7 stopped to listen even for a moment.

The writer, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his article about the unheard violinist, summarized the experience with these words: “If we can’t take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that—then what else are we missing?”

Indeed, the world offers us daily moments of beauty that can enrich our lives—if we open our eyes and open our hearts.

Here's the piece written by the WP writer. It's really, really great. The artist was Joshua Bell, and here's a video of the metro station while he was playing.



Lest you think it just a passing whim, the word staycation was added to the Webster dictionary in 2009, and is defined as a vacation spent at home or nearby. We chose the 'relatively nearby' option on Saturday, and decided to drive up to Charlottesville VA to see Jefferson's Monticello. I had been there once before (Monticello, that is) with the littlest Jackson last summer, and think that it is one of the most interesting historic sights in the US. That, combined with the beautiful fall foliage on the drive up, made for a great little trip. It poured rain as we arrived in C-ville, but it lightened up as we got up to Monticello, and completely cleared up as we were leaving the house tour to explore the grounds. It was a crisp, blustery fall day and couldn't have been more lovely. We stopped for lunch on the way at Bodo's Bagels, a culinary delight unique to C-ville (I got the egg & muenster cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel... as per the usual). Jordan thought Monticello would be a little bit more overwhelming from the outside (it looks so big on the nickel!), but loved the interior and the historicalness of it all.

An excited Jordan, with a view of the west portico of Monticello.
I loved the little inventions and European touches throughout the house, and we both especially loved the gardens.
A photo courtesy of the internets (AT) that highlights TJ's alcove bed. I am in love with the idea of an alcove bed. His was open on both sides... conventionally, they are only open on one. We also walked around UVA's campus (both UVA and Monticello are on the UNESCO World Heritage list) and saw where Ed A. Poe lived while attending (albeit briefly) the university, read about the secret Seven Society (weird), and hung out on the lawn for a bit before having a nice dinner in the historic part of the city. Central quad at UVA. Not too shabby.

And for any Jackson kids reading this blog, look what I made for breakfast this morning. Yep. Baby Dutch. And yep, that is a pool of butter you see on the top of the massive fluff of a pancake. We ate it with some apple slices, so, totally healthy, right? It made up for the fact that I only ate 1 (one!) fried food item at the NC state fair this week!

All in all, a lovely little trip and a wonderful fall in the southern-ish states.


My journey back to school (after a very prolonged break) has been great! I had to dust off my backpack and my Lisa Frank pencil case, but my classes are all great, as are my professors and classmates. I'm only a few weeks in, but I think I'm really going to love epidemiology at UNC. Here are a few notes of encouragement I received from great friends my first week of school:

Jordan is back at school too, and is so excited to be in his fourth (and final) year of dental school. Sure, he's opting for three more years after that for a pediatric residency, but he'll be paid (sort of) during those years, so it'll feel a little more like a job than more school.

We also went to an Ingrid Michaelson concert at Cat's Cradle (the local venue for shows like that) and LOVED it. Here's a video from the concert (thanks, You Tube). It was a really great show.


The Chill and Thrill of Newness

So I'm the second JO and I can't say that I have been running towards this first post; you might say that I have been running from it. You see, new things although exciting, inspiring, paradigm shifting, growth producing, higher heights lifting, mystery shattering, both eyes opening, sun burst smiling, puppy dog licking, 1st tooth extracting, one man banding, blistered hands callusing, heart strings strumming, frontier colonizing, history making, and generally fun and neat can be nothing more than an enigma wrapped in yesterday's hesitance stuffed into a foreboding gift bag and hand delivered by Postmaster reluctance himself. You could say that I'm not a new-things guy.

Now don't get me wrong I see people all the time doing "new things." Having fun, running in slow motion, poppies blooming under their feet, the enormous flaming gaseous sphere we call the sun assuming animated character and smiling down on all the people who do new things every day like it's nothing. New things are unpredictable, that's their appeal, they keep surprising you, well I say I may have a heart condition and what emergency care facility might I find myself in if I just threw my cares to the wind? An unexpected "new thing" could leave your heart palpapooped after all of the exciting new revelations gained.

An example from my childhood. Pictured here see a distraught five year old who has been the victim of hundreds of dollars spent on brand new Christmas present ski equipment, a long car ride to the slopes, kiddie pass and complementary beginner's lesson purchased, and approximately 37 seconds on the unabashedly not stable but very slick and wet and cold and again very not un-moving ground.

Although I did see the light some years later as is evidenced by my squinty eyes, crinkled nose and my awkward mom-gloves gripping my long-stored and newly revived ski equipment, I can still remember the bitter chill of the unknown I felt that Christmas season of 1986.

"New" has always been unnerving to me, been hard to swallow, hard to wash down no matter how much reassuring experience you chase it with. One new thing, however, which by the way tops all of the newness that you could ever consider, has never been 37 seconds on the snow for the first time for me, it has been and ever will be pure joy and that is marriage, being married to the love of my life, my Jenny Jayne.

Happy Four Months My Love. Four months ago my sweetheart and I went to the storage unit, dusted off the skis and started down the hill whizzing past new things like it's nothing. Here's to what's around that next bend.



My parents celebrated their 33rd anniversary today. They have survived six moves (at least), five sets of braces, one garage bonfire, countless ship trips, dozens of hurricanes and deep freezes, and lots and lots of stitches. But because of them, we have enjoyed a very happy home. Just a few pictures:

Some excerpts from a book mom made for dad when they were "friends" at the BY

A darling wedding picturewho would have thought we'd become the Florida JacksonsRight after MTJ was born... so tenderOne of my all-time favorite pictures of Mama and Papa J
We love you, mom and dad.


long lost summer

Our Farmer's Market flowers! Yesterday was only the second time all summer I was able to go to the CFM. So I bought a beautiful wild-flower-y looking bouquet (I think I can only name one flower in the whole bunch).

Another wild thing? Totally this summer. We figured out the longest we've been home together all summer was three weeks. A couple countries and a few road trips later, we're glad to be back in our home together. We both start school this week. I'm a little thrilled to be a student again, and Jordan's got his alarm set for 5:30am tomorrow. Yep, he's secretly thrilled too. Atta-dentist.

Just a couple pictures before I head to bed. These are from Jason and Heather's wedding in Connecticut - they had a New England clam bake on the beach after the lovely ceremony.
I also had a great trip to California to visit Liss and Abe (pictures of which can be seen here and here. Oh yeah, and also here.) I had such a great time and can't wait to take Jordan back for the ROCKET BOAT!



I should be packing. Technically, I should have packed a few hours ago and now I should be sleeping. But I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures from the Jackson Family Vault (JFV) that I've scanned in the past few days. Most of them are from the early early days. Lots of Matty J in diapers.

I'm rather in love with this photo
And this one too. Grandpa J holding Matty J.
A few other pics of grandfather with his first grandson.
Matty getting a bath in Cali.
This series of photos is also one of my favorites so far.
Curly and blonde. Who would've thought?
I look stressed. And they look like they're hiding something. They were probably daring me to do something dangerous. Or swinging me too high. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Next post: Colombia. I swear.


At what age does he go from being Morgy-boy to Morgy-man?

Our little Morgen is having a birthday today, and I wanted to post some of my favorite pictures of him... some are well known, while others are secret treasures I've only recently discovered.

Morgen, the grandson
Morgen, the twinner
Morgen, the birthday boy
Morgen, the superhero
Morgen, the adventurer (yes, he's always been that way)
Morgen, the reverent cake-eater (I guess... I wasn't around yet)
Morgen, the pea-picker
Morgen, the boy who lived in Morgan
Morgen, the sleepy-head on the awesome shag carpet

Morgen, the sports enthusiast
Morgen, the pea-picker, but with sweet sunglasses

Morgen, the ocean frolicker

Morgen, the wind-swept Floridian
This is perhaps my all-time favorite family photo. It says so much. Dad had us washing off oranges near the pool. I don't remember a lot, but I know it took all day, and by the end, Morgen had spelled out "this sucks" with all the clean oranges.
Morgen, the accomplished violinistMorgen, the very sweet son
Morgen, daddy's helper
Also one of my favorites, because Morgen is bursting with joy (maybe tears?) at the birth of his littlest sweetest sister.Morgen, the great brother
Morgen, the best Funcle ever.

We love our Morgen, and are so thankful for all the wonderful, and often thrilling memories because he's been a part of the Jackson Seven. Happy birthday, Morgy-boy.