Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Health care during a COVID-19 pandemic

Where in the world has Ms. “V” been?  For those of you who like details - here it is.  It has been awhile since I’ve been on social media and it was a little difficult getting back; but I’m alive and getting better every day.  The devil tried to take me out, but God has many more great years in store for me and mine.

Our Granddaughter came to visit for the Summer this past July.  We have been surrounded in a “Bubble of Protection” (Job 1:10) that God has for us.  It wasn’t until August 20th that I began to feel chills and fever from a UTI.  Because I’ve had so many of these, I had an antibiotic on hand, but it had no effect.  I packed to go to ATL for that weekend, feeling a little better, but still was weak and not myself.

It took me a week and wanting to sleep all day that I got a virtual conference with a doctor on the base.  A urinalysis confirmed that the infection was still present.  The antibiotic that was prescribed for me was wrong.  I became weaker, lost my balance a couple times and fell to the floor.

God gave me enough strength to enjoy our Grandchild although I wish that I was feeling 100% instead of 35%.  Well, things were getting worst instead of better.  When you’re nice to people and talk as if you have sense, you will obtain favor.  I called the base and got an appointment on Sept. 9 with a doctor who would be saving my life.  This same doctor called me the next morning at 6:30 a.m. and told me to go straight to the nearest emergency room; that the base is not equipped to handle AKI (Acute Kidney Injury).

Van and I were in the ER from 7:15 a.m. as they started IV’s for my dehydration.  My veins were so small that I now look like a ‘pin cushion’.  Talk about being tested for FEAR, before I went to my semi-private room, my blood pressure had risen to 175/98.  They took it twice and I prayed that I wouldn’t stroke out.  It came down immediately after that.  God is so faithful and always there.

More testing came to my Faith as my room was right next to the Kidney Dialysis room.  I was asked so many questions and was given a Sonagram of my Kidneys and Liver (to make sure that the Hepatitis C was still cured and no harm was done in that organ.  The CAT Scan didn’t reveal anything, yet one examination and a Sonagram of my legs indicated that I have a blood clot in my left leg.  I had Thrombophlebitis over 40 years ago when I was a nurse, and got treatments just as I’m getting blood thinners now.  I am gaining my strength daily and slowly gaining the 13 pounds that I’ve seemed to misplace; nonetheless, I miss going to the gym and my lack of muscle tone needs help.  I was discharged from the hospital on the 14thh and will be seeing an Oncologist for the blood, and a Nephrologist to follow up and make sure that I continue to heal.

Thank you to those who inquired about my wellbeing and for the prayers and thanksgiving to God.  Sometimes you just need to be alone with close family and not a lot of questions.  #TBR

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Safety at the Alhambra during COVID-19

It has literally been a month of Sundays since we’ve had a review on “Around Town with Ms. “V” due to the pandemic shutdown in March; nonetheless we thank God that we are alive and well.

Florida has only reached Stage 2 of carefully reopening some businesses with social distancing and having patrons don masks, yet we are proud to report that the “Alhambra Theatre and Dining” has complied to safely protect its patrons and their employees.

Masks are not required during your meal, but you are requested to mask-up when going to the restrooms.  Some people chose to have on their masks during the show’s presentation, but that’s entirely up to you.

Space between tables has been designed so that only you and people who are in your party, are sitting together.  Plexiglass is positioned throughout the showroom in order to separate one layer of tables from the next level of tables.  All servers are protecting you with their facial coverings and gloved hands.

Yes, you can still get your favorite alcoholic beverage brought to your table, and don’t forget to get your professional 5x7 framed photo taken with a themed background to commemorate your visit along with a memorable key chain.

The show “Grease” is fantastic.  When I asked if I should watch the original movie with my Granddaughter, it was suggested that I wait until after viewing the show, and she was so right (but it really didn’t matter).  A couple of the songs were different and of course, some of the scenes have been changed under the excellent production of Mr. Tod Booth.  The actors (some of whom you might have seen before), are seasoned participants as they act, sing and dance with the upmost precision.

The Alhambra Theatre and Dining is a small business that is doing everything that they can do tin order to maintain quality while presenting the best three course meals by Executive Chef DeJuan Roy.  Also, please be kid to your servers because they work hard to give quality service.  Tipping is allowed and recommended.  The only negative of my evening was the coffee that tasted like a weak tea, nevertheless, there’s still a Starbucks still open somewhere on the way home.

“Grease” may be sold out (even with the addition of three extra weeks); but in order for experience live theater, you may want to join the Alhambra’s Royalty Partners.  These Season Ticket holders, who have purchased tickets before the onset of the Coronavirus, get first preference to available seating.  Want to get out and continue to enjoy life?  Get your Alhambra Theatre & Dining tickets today.  Give them a call!

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to reopen for phase II

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens today announced its second phase of reopening, which restores community access to the Museum’s indoor galleries and exhibitions in a limited capacity, will begin on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

This announcement follows the safe and successful first phase of reopening that began on June 20 with the historic riverfront gardens, light bites and beverage service through the Cummer Café and two pop-up locations of the Museum Shop. The Museum will continue to limit daily capacity across the campus for the foreseeable future.

“Since the Museum closed to the public in March, we have been diligently working toward the day when we could safely welcome the community back to our galleries to find comfort, inspiration and respite during this challenging time,” said Interim Director and Chief Advancement Officer, Kerrie Slattery. “We are grateful to be able to open our doors so that everyone can once again experience art, culture and connection, in a safe and socially distanced setting.”

To celebrate the reopening of the galleries and honor Northeast Florida’s military community, VyStar Credit Union will sponsor free admission for active duty service members and their families on July 25 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and July 26 (12 to 4 p.m.).

"VyStar Credit Union has a deep appreciation for our military, and we are proud to partner with the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to sponsor free admission for service members and their families," said Brian Wolfburg, President/CEO of VyStar Credit Union. "We hope this provides a meaningful experience that celebrates the rich art and culture found in our community."

Members and guests are required to reserve a timed ticket in advance of their visit at cummermuseum.org/admission. Tickets are available in two-hour time increments, with dates and times for the upcoming week updated every Monday.

The Museum has implemented many safety and sanitation measures, including hand sanitizer stations throughout the campus, plexiglass guards for the front desk area and expanded daily cleaning and sanitation policies for all common areas and surfaces according to the Centers for Disease Control and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. All galleries now feature routes to direct the flow of movement and support social distancing. Transitioning to a timed ticket model provides additional time for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the campus, including high-touch surfaces. Museum staff, members and guests are required to wear masks.

The Cummer Café will fully reopen on August 1. Art Connections, the Museum’s interactive education center, will remain temporarily closed for remodeling.

For information about the Museum’s permanent collection, internally curated gallery spaces and special exhibitions, visit cummermuseum.org/visit/art. The Museum’s digital gallery experiences, virtual tours and online resources remain available to the community at www.cummermuseum.org/engage.

‘Cummer Museum’ helps special needs students through virtual program

“The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens” and “Connecting Thru Music” (CTM) have partnered to provide a unique learning opportunity for children with special needs enrolled in Duval County Public Schools’ Extended School Year (ESY) program: a three-week virtual series, “Live from the Cummer: Connecting Art and Music.” Music therapists from CTM’s partner, First Coast Music Therapy, along with Cummer Museum educators, will host two 30-minute classes, twice weekly.  During each class, these students and their families have the opportunity to explore the Museum’s artwork and galleries through lively and fun music interventions.

The virtual explorations, which launched on July 7, are presented live through Microsoft Teams at 11 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. for two different groups of ESY students, based on their ages and abilities. Each session includes a brief curated art tour (approximately five minutes) led by a Museum educator and information about the themes presented in the museum gallery. The music therapists engage the ESY students for approximately 20 minutes with songs connected to the theme and artwork. Additionally, these students receive art-making ideas that their families can work on together at home.

“We are focused on the need for a flexible and creative approach so that the children will have this unique opportunity to learn during these challenging times,” said Karen Demuth, Executive Director of CTM. “The added benefit of their parents being present because it is virtual adds a positive experience and promotes learning, bonding and fun.”

For many families, the summer break is a critical time to maintain the gains students have realized during the school year. “During these uncertain and stressful times, it’s more important than ever for the Cummer Museum to support the diverse needs of our local community,” said Kim Kuta Dring, Director of Education for the Cummer Museum. “This partnership provides students with differing abilities and their families with access to high quality artworks and experiences that promote self-expression, wellness and family stability – all important aspects of a child’s healthy growth and development.”

About the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens: For almost 60 years, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has been committed to engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens, and education. A permanent collection of more than 5,000 objects and historic gardens on a riverfront campus offers nearly 150,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities. For further information, including hours, visit The Cummer Museum.

About Connecting Thru Music: Connecting Thru Music is a 501c3 that partners with First Coast Music Therapy to provide music therapy with board certified music therapists and related music services which enhance the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, development growth of the children with special needs throughout Duval County and the Northeast Region of Florida. For more information, visit connectingthrumusic.com.

Florida Theatre welcomes corporate partner Bowing Oaks

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre welcomes Bowing Oaks as its newest Corporate Partner.

Owner of Bowing Oaks, Jim Efstathion, has a deep connection to the arts in North Florida, having moved to Jacksonville over 50 years ago to begin working with Ted Johnson and the Alhambra Dinner Theatre.  During his years in Jacksonville, Efstathion and his family have become familiar and welcome faces at the Florida Theatre.  “Each Christmas season for over a decade, The Florida Theatre became our second home as our daughters and their friends rehearsed and performed in the Nutcracker. Music, dancing and celebration have always been a part of our family’s DNA,” said Efstathion.

It was Jim Efstathion’s family that led him to create what has now become Bowing Oaks.  “Seven years ago, my wife Cheryl came up with an idea.  When most people were retiring, we designed and built a venue in a natural setting for one of our daughters to have her wedding. Bowing Oaks was born,” said Efstathion.  “Our booking manager Heather Canada Randall remarked, ‘If you build it, they will come.’  And boy did they.  With over 450 events held to date, Bowing Oaks is considered one of the premier wedding and events venues in north Florida.  In addition to weddings, Bowing Oaks is home to 1 Vibe Dance, an internationally acclaimed dance studio with thousands of participants attending classes over the last four years.”

“I know Jim has a long history of involvement in the arts and theatre as a practitioner and also as a supporter.  He knows the importance of the arts to business and business to the arts,” said Florida Theatre President, Numa Saisselin.  “The Florida Theatre earns 85% of its annual budget from its business activities, and support from the business community, like our new Corporate Partner Bowing Oaks, helps to close that small budget gap every year and keep the Florida Theatre and its programs something special for our community.”

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union.  For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre's official web site floridatheatre.com.

About Bowing Oaks: Located on five acres in the Bayard area of south Jacksonville, Bowing Oaks is the city’s premier wedding and event venue, with just the right blend of rustic elegance and modern convenience.  Bowing Oaks’s 3,200 square foot ballroom can accommodate up to 200 guests with an unparalleled sense of rustic elegance.  The venue is fully handicapped-accessible, has two spacious lounge/dressing areas for wedding parties, and a large catering kitchen.  Bowing Oaks also has two unique outdoor ceremony sites, and numerous locations to take amazing photos.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Being Black in 2020

This was on someone’s Facebook page, and I post this cautiously because I didn’t want to “stir the pot”, yet all people need to be reminded that the following things happened to Black Americans. After MLK died, Black folks got quiet, nonetheless with the “Black Lives Matter” movement we shall rise for equality. Remember, you can help to make a change in ALL the 2020 elections. You must VOTE! (some words have been changed or omitted by this writer) - VTP

“Black People can’t..."
Dear Social Media Friends,

I am about to say some harsh things and you may not like it. But I pray that you will pause your life and hear me. 

Black people in America are, ONCE AGAIN, grieving. We are hurting because YET AGAIN, this country sends the message loud and clear that we will never be equal. And a lot of you…my friends…don’t know about it, don’t care about it, don’t believe it, refuse to see it and at the very least, you aren’t willing to take a stand against it. How can you love me if this is where “we” stand? How can I walk hand in hand with you knowing that I will ALWAYS be treated differently? How can I worship with you, when I know that we are only one political FB rant/post away from you disregarding my life and the lives of those who look like me?  So yeah, I’m tired. Downright exhausted. But today I want you to pause, and if you are willing to go on a journey beyond yourself, beyond your interests, beyond your privilege…then keep reading. And if you don’t know these names, GOOGLE THEM! LEARN! Get a better understanding of why Black people, in and out of different circles, are NOT OKAY!  We have been murdered by white people in this country for CENTURIES!!!! And believe it or not, it’s still LEGAL to take our lives! So read, educate yourself. See why it’s downright TRAUMA to live in this nation as a black person…thinking about our every word and step, wondering if someone will feel so threatened by it that they take our lives. READ! And after you’re done reading…tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors, tell those cops… And maybe if YOU speak up enough, maybe if you stop tolerating it, they will #STOPKILLINGUS! 

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).
We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson). 
We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride). 
We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark). 
We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards). 
We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).
We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).
We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)
We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We can't serve our country (#VanessaGuillen)
We’re tired. 
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too. 
Tired of dying.
Tired, Tired, Tired.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

‘Fickling Construction’ teams with the FL Theatre

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre welcomes “Fickling Construction” as its newest Corporate Partner.  Though their Corporate Partnership with the Theatre is new, President of Fickling Construction, Alan Fickling, has been a supporter since 2012.  "My family and Fickling Construction have enjoyed Florida Theatre for many years.  We are happy to support the Florida Theatre and the variety of performances they bring to our great city throughout the year," said Fickling."  Our company has been part of Jacksonville for more than 50 years.  We're committed to the city and North Florida, and we're proud to have this partnership with Florida Theatre."

“The historic Florida Theatre is pleased to play its part in providing Northeast Florida with the music, dance and theatre programs that are part of what gives Jacksonville the unique character that we have all come to appreciate, and expect, as residents of a great city,” said Florida Theatre President, Numa Saisselin.  “The theatre earns 85% of its annual budget from its business activities, and support from the business community, like our Corporate Partner, Fickling Construction, helps to close that small budget gap every year and keep the Florida Theatre and its programs something special for our community.”

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union. For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre's official web site floridatheatre.com.

About Fickling Construction: Founded in 1965 and based in Jacksonville, Florida, Fickling Construction provide Preconstruction and Construction Services.  Their experienced and helpful staff knows how to make sure projects stay on schedule and in budget, with a focus on quality and not-only meeting but exceeding the construction industry’s best practices.

About Florida Theatre: From ballet and opera to contemporary pop, jazz, rock, country and blues the nonprofit Florida Theatre offers 200 cultural and entertainment events annually for every taste and age.  More than just an entertainment center, Florida Theatre is also home to graduations, awards ceremonies, lectures, business meetings and charity events that support the community's schools, churches, hospitals and civic groups.  As an anchor to downtown development along the beautiful St. Johns River, Florida Theatre draws 250,000 people to Jacksonville's center each year.  The magnificently restored Florida Theatre is recognized as one of the finest concert venues in the Southeast. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Florida Theatre holds special memories for four generations. From the Vaudeville acts and silent films of its earliest days to today's blend of performances of all kinds, the Florida Theatre has served as Jacksonville's premier entertainment center since 1927.

Thrasher-Horne Center has limited reopening

In response to Florida’s COVID-19 Phase 2 protocols, Thrasher-Horne Center has reopened its doors for rental events with limited capacity.

St. Johns River State College President, Joe Pickens states, “We are happy to be able to reopen Thrasher-Horne Center for rental events and continue our great partnership with Clay County.  The safety and well-being of our guests and staff is of upmost importance to us.”

Details of Thrasher-Horne Center’s reopening protocols include the following:

·         All visitors on St. Johns River State College campus are required to wear face masks.
·         Group gatherings must be 50 people or less.
·         Social distancing rules apply.

For a complete list of these protocols visit THcenter rentals for more information.  Protocols may be updated as CDC guidelines in Florida’s reopening phases change.

St. Johns River State College and Thrasher-Horne Center continue to assess the situation and will provide updates as they come available.  If you have any questions, or are interested in and event, please contact their Ticket Office at (904) 276 - 6815 ext. 1 or email them.

LOCATION: The Thasher-Horne Ctr.
      St. Johns River State College
      283 College Drive

      Orange Park, FL 32065

Come back to the Cummer Gardens - it’s safe

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens invites you to come take a moment to experience the healing power of art in nature.  The Museum is excited to announce its reopening plans to welcome you back this summer, beginning in phases on June 20, 2020.  The first phase of the Museum’s reopening will provide access to the historic riverfront gardens; phase two will include reopening the Museum’s galleries and exhibitions.

June 20 through 21 | The gardens will reopen for a special FREE admission weekend for everyone in our community.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.

  • FREE admission on Sat., June 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., sponsored by Florida Blue.
  • FREE admission on Sun., June 21, will be available from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
June 23 through 26 | The gardens will open to members only from Tues., June 23, through Fri., June 26.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.

June 27 | The gardens will reopen under normal operating hours to everyone in the community starting Sat., June 27.  Timed tickets are required and must be reserved here.

In order to prioritize the health of our guests and our staff, and to minimize touch points and onsite capacity, all visitors must reserve a timed ticket for entry.  Tickets will be for two-hour time increments and are limited per time slot.  Be sure to secure your preferred time before tickets sell out.  Tickets for the upcoming week will be added every Monday morning.  Check back often for updates.

Tickets are free to members and children 5 and under.  Tickets for adults, seniors, military, and students are $5.  Healthcare workers and first responders (with ID) are free.  And don't forget, everyone can take advantage of their free admission days.

The galleries and exhibitions will reopen during phase two later this summer.  If you have questions or concerns please contact Visitor Experience, or call (904) 356–6857.

RESERVE YOUR TICKET TODAY: Your health and safety are the Cummer Museum’s top priority.  They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the utmost safety of our visitors and staff upon reopening.  Click here to review some of the measures they’ve taken and will continue to take upon reopening.  Please be advised masks will be required – you may either wear your own, or one will be provided for you upon arrival.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
   829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857

Friday, June 12, 2020

Cummer Museum to host a Black Lives Matter Zoom discussion

Culture and conversation will be happening at the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, in response to current events through the arts.  Throughout history, artists have used their art forms to amplify conversations surrounding the injustices that have shaped the country and world.

As part of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens' focused efforts to continue to collaborate on initiatives with community partners, we hope you will join us on Tuesday, June 16, 7 to 8 p.m., for a FREE panel discussion on how the arts communicate a message to respond to current events.

The panel will be moderated by Wanda Willis, the Museum's Director of Community Development, and will feature an esteemed group of arts and culture leaders in our community.  Virtual guests are invited to register HERE to receive a Zoom link to connect with the panel discussion.  Space is limited; so, register today!

DATE: Tuesday, June 16, 2020
TIME: 7 to 8 p.m.
MODERATOR: Wanda Willis, Director of Community Development for the Cummer Museum
PANELISTS: Shawana Brooks and Roosevelt Watson, Founders of 6 Feet Away Gallery.  Mal Jones, Hip Hop Artist and Creator of The Lyricist Live.  Erin Kendrick, Artist and Art Instructor at JAMS (Jacksonville Arts & Music School).  Adonnica Toler, Ritz Theatre & Museum Administrator.  Joy Young, Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.