the forever honeymoon

Friday, August 28, 2015
6-10 PM
at the Hippodrome State Theatre
25 SE 2nd Pl, Gainesville, FL 32601

Plus, in the days before and after (for those wishing to make a weekend of it):
– Thursday evening: Group dinner at Chopstix (7 PM)
– Friday morning: Walking the La Chua Trail (9 AM)
– Friday evening: Party! (6 PM)
– Saturday late morning: Brunch at Joe & Gay’s house (11 AM) followed by a trip to either the Florida Museum or to Payne’s Prairie (depending on the weather)
– Saturday evening: Dead dog party/dinner and (if weather permits) stargazing at Tim and Lorena’s house (6 PM)

Keep checking in on this website for more information about times of events, hotel recommendations, travel information, and more!

The Anniversary Party (debriefing)

Whew! Thanks, y'all, for coming to our little celebration for Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe, and making them feel so loved. Their fifty years (50! 50 YEARS!) of marriage hasn't just been about them, but also about all the lives they've touched through the years. It was so lovely to see so many people gathered from far-flung places (Alaska! Ohio! New Hampshire! DC! The other side of Gainesville!) and to hear so much laughter all weekend long, and to hear so many wonderful stories.

I still haven't gotten the photos up on Flickr for regular sharing, but I have everything up on Facebook. The party itself, on Friday, I made that album public - so even if you don't have a Facebook account, or if you do but we're not Facebook friends, you can see those photos here.

I have to admit I was a little stressball most of the weekend - I so wanted this to be a wonderful weekend for Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe, and there were so many last-minute things that kept changing I was afraid the whole thing was going to just fall apart like a house of sticks - and at one point I snapped at Tim's sister (for which I apologized) but then about two days later I think I remembered snapping at his mother, too, for which I shall burn in Hell for she's just the sweetest lady ever... so, Linda, if I snapped at you when we were first trying to get everything into the right elevator, I'm so sorry!!!! If I snapped at anyone else, though, it was probably on purpose. HAHAHAHAHA, kidding. ... ... Maybe. .... No, but seriously. Also, mad, mad, mad props to my lovely friend of holy-shit-not-really-almost-30-years-because-aren't-we-both-like-twelve, Quinn, who stayed with us over the weekend and totally held me together with love and duct tape (and safety pins) all weekend long. Out of all my heart's sisters, my lovely Quinnling, you're the one I've had the longest, and I could not have sailed through the weekend without you. If you need something done, I'm telling you, Quinn is the one to do it! If you put her and Jag and Jenn together, you would have an unstoppable force of nature.

From the first lunch on Thursday, to the Butterfly Rainforest, to dinner at Chopstix, to the La Chua Trail the next morning (Jane, I'm so sorry I tried to kill us both with heat stroke!), to the party Friday night, to brunch Saturday morning, to the dinner party out here Saturday night, and a quiet breakfast that turned into lunch on Sunday... thank you, thank you all for participating.

But mostly, thank you, all of you, for coming, or for saying lovely things even if you couldn't come; you really made the weekend amazing for Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe, and for that, you have my unending appreciation.

And if you'd like to watch the slideshow (yes, I know, it's a video, but I'm still calling it a slideshow) that I put together of their lives, it's about 12 minutes long (so put your feet up... and grab some Kleenex).

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Coming to Joe and Gay's anniversary party? Look for an email from me tomorrow!

Hello, all! Things are falling into place for the weekend - even though I can hardly believe it's here already, because there were still things I wanted to blog about and didn't have time to!

The final schedule, for those wishing to make a weekend of it (and barring any weather complications):
– Thursday evening: Group dinner at Chopstix (7 PM)
– Friday morning: Walking the La Chua Trail (9 AM)
– Friday evening: Party! (6 PM)
– Saturday late morning: Brunch at Joe & Gay’s house (11 AM) followed by a trip to either the Florida Museum or to Payne’s Prairie (depending on the weather)
– Saturday evening: Dead dog party/dinner and (if weather permits) stargazing at Tim and Lorena’s house (6 PM)

If you've gotten an invitation and RSVP'd, I'll be sending out an email tomorrow with addresses and phone numbers (rather than publish them here on the web). If you have any questions after that, feel free to email or call me (my cell phone number will be in that email).

If you didn't get an invitation, or had to RSVP in the negative for the party, but would like to have dinner on Thursday, walk the La Chua Trail on Friday morning, or come out and be social on Saturday night at our property, drop me a line!

Thanks, y'all!

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Anniversary Party: Did you get an invitation? Did you RSVP?

So, even though I could feel Emily Post spinning in her grave when I hit "send", all of the invitations were sent out in June, via email. Extensive research on Etsy (for invitations) and Google (for "really?") told me that email was the new way to go, that nobody is doing physical mail-outs any more, and that all you need to do is include your email and cell phone number and the date by which the RSVP is needed, and there you have it. I looked through fifty pages of invitations on Etsy, and couldn't find a single one that included RSVP cards that were the traditional "we'll be there with ___ number in our party" type. So, email it was, then!

However, I still have a little over 60 people I haven't heard back from, and for a typically-anxious-anyway type of person like myself, well... I'm worried they didn't get the email. I'm worried 60 more people will show up for the party than we've planned for. I'm worried they responded and I didn't get the email. SO MUCH WORRY. (As an aside, am I any more worried than I would be if I were awaiting cards in the mail, wondering if they'd gotten lost or misdirected or if I'd written an address wrong? Not really. Six of one, right?!) At least, unlike when I was planning my wedding, people aren't telling me that this should be the happiest day of my life, hahahahahaha! No, we'll be celebrating Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe and fifty years of happy days, and for that my heart is singing joyously.

I do, however, want to make sure that I am making enough of these, for the guests...

Print. Cut. Soak. Peel. Attach. Squeegee. Repeat 84 times. Dry. Photograph. Notice trimming error on one. Shrug. Decide that one's yours. Fill kiln. Prepare to fire. #ceramics #ceramicdecals

... so if you haven't RSVP'd yet, please, please drop me a line! I'd hate to make 84 of these and find out that day that I should have made 147.

Thanks, y'all!


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Coming to Joe & Gay's anniversary celebration, and worried about food allergies or restrictions?

If you're not a regular here, you might not know it, but I have severe food allergies (seafood, chickens/turkeys/fowls, eggs from both of those types of animals) so I can guarantee you that food safety/concerns/wishes are something we take very seriously around here.

While the menu is not yet set for the actual anniversary party, I already know that a few people coming are vegetarians, vegans, and/or have celiac disease. I don't want you to have to use your epi-pen any more than I want to use my own, so don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have concerns.

We also plan to eat out a few times, as a group (with anyone who's available), and again, please let me know if you have any dietary concerns or restrictions (for example, I'd knock the grilled cheese place off the list if people coming are both vegan and have celiac disease).

Now... one of the things we all love about Gainesville so much, is the wide variety of locally owned restaurants. You can find a very clever list of them all online, here at No Soup For You. You can either look through them all or search by type of fare (bakery, Cuban, fusion, vegan, etc.). Most likely to be on our list for group lunches are Chopstix (Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, sushi) and very, very careful about food allergies and cross-contamination) and Emiliano's (Caribbean, tapas, really great salads, and the servers are very open to discussion on what goes into the food). Emiliano's is downtown, close to the party location (and to the hotel we recommended for people who wanted to be right close to the event, the Hampton) and Chopstix is just south of that and not far of a drive -- and, it's on the water; as you can see in the photo below, the view is worth it.

Sunset and the sound of crickets

We'll also be having a dinner out here at the property, more of a buffet/free-for-all sort of thing, and again while the menu isn't set for that, yet, different needs will be accommodated.

Anyway! We want you to know that if you have any food restrictions, your needs will be met as best we can, and please don't be afraid to contact me if you have any concerns.

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Spending the weekend for Gay & Joe's anniversary? Consider hiking the La Chua Trail!

One place that Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe love to go, and would love to show to anyone making a weekend out of the anniversary party, is to the La Chua Trail. The trail, about 3 miles long, goes to almost the center of Paynes Prairie, passing the Alachua Sink on the way. It's called a sink because it is essentially that - in times of drought, the water can get very low (and the alligators more abundant around it as they try to stay cool in what water there is) and in times of heavy rain it can "back up" and almost flood the prairie. There is a handicapped/wheelchair accessible part of the walk, to the sink (some concrete, some boardwalk); after the sink it is a dirt and grass path and not wheelchair friendly. The hike is three miles out to an observation tower (so, three miles back) but you can stop and turn around at any point - many people don't go beyond the sink, which is about the halfway mark.

The address of the park is 4801 Camp Ranch Rd, Gainesville, FL 32641 (this is about a 15-minute drive south/south-east from the party location). The trail opens at 8 AM and closes one hour before sunset, and the cost to get into the trail is $2 per person. Due to the large number of wild, free-roaming alligators, pets are not allowed.

There's a great description of the hike here that you can read, if you're on the fence about joining us. The time is not yet set in stone but this will tentatively be Friday morning, starting as early as we can get there as the second half of the walk is in the direct sun. And below, I'll leave you with a few photos I've taken the times I've been out there. This is definitely an opportunity for photographing the real Florida!

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Where to stay in Gainesville

First off, my apologies to those of you checking in just for updates on Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe's anniversary party - buying 15 acres and moving our house and my art studio has tapped me out a lot more than I thought it would. Coupled with taking a while to get Internet out here, I'm just now starting to feel caught up. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions that I haven't gotten to yet!

Now. Where to stay in Gainesville, if you're travelling in for the event! We did not book rooms at a specific hotel (that would have meant using that hotel for the event, and we wanted a different location), and instead are opting to recommend a few different places to stay based on feedback from friends and family who have stayed in those places.

A note about navigating in Gainesville (and yes I know everyone has GPS these days, BUT STILL.) - the city is laid out in a grid system, with four quadrants (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest) with the dividing roads being University Avenue and Main Street. With few exceptions, streets in Gainesville are numbered, with 1st being closest to the intersection of University and Main, and getting larger as they go out. The designation (NE, NW, SE, SW) will tell you what part of the city you are in. Streets, Terraces, and Boulevards run North/South, and Avenues, Places, and Roads run East/West.

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How do Anniversary Party guests easily get to Gainesville?

The joke around here is that all roads lead to Gainesville... and that's kind of true.

Interstate 75 runs through Gainesville, as does US Highway 441, so it's relatively easy to drive from anywhere in Florida. Which brings me to the other joke about Gainesville... that we're two hours away from everything... and that's also kind of true. We're about 1.5 hours away from Jacksonville. Two from Orlando. Two to 2.5 from the Tampa/St. Pete area. So if you are flying, say, from a big city and don't want to connect in Charlotte or Atlanta to jump a smaller plane to Gainesville's airport, you can take a direct flight to Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville and drive over without too much fuss. You can take I75 directly from Tampa, you can take I4 to 75 from Jacksonville, or you can take the Turnpike to I75 from Orlando.

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Anniversary party location

I am thrilled to say that we have scored an amazing, wonderful, perfect venue for Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe's anniversary party... the Hippodrome State Theater!

Some friends of mine got married there a few years ago, before I knew them, and ever since I heard that I've been trying to wrap my mind around how you have an event like that on their three-quarter in-the-round stage. Hahaha! You don't! You rent out their castle-like basement, which comes complete with a separate, private entrance! Allow me to show you a few photos...

2015-02-10 15.08.37

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Only six months to plan!

Thirty months ago, I sent my friend and soul-sister Jag an email titled "Only 36 months to plan!"... with the idea that we might work together to plan Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe's 50th wedding anniversary. We would find out if they wanted it in Boston or Gainesville, get a guest list from them, and then "surprise" them with an amazing party (I say "surprise" because while we'd need to make sure they knew it was happening so they didn't plan anything else that weekend, our idea was to take the stress off of them by doing all the work and planning, and letting them just sit back and enjoy the party). We would find a location, work on food (of which Tim wanted to make most of), put together a slideshow set to music and gather videos or written remembrances by friends who couldn't make the party, etc, etc.

The Graduates

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    • Thanks for letting me know, Elizabeth; I certainly understand not being able to make a commitment this far in advance — but I’ll certainly keep you posted! And stay tuned, there will be many, many more photos of young Aunt Gay and Uncle Joe. 🙂

  1. I think we alreasdy let you know we are going to be there? But yes–Charlie and I will see you there –I just got worried about all your worrying!

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