july 10, 2018

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“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” 
~ Marcus Aurelius


no dumping


Lexington is one of the largest metropolitan areas that isn’t built on a major waterway. The reason for that has more to do with the early settlers than anything…I think (correct me if I’m wrong). They were attracted to a beautiful fresh flowing spring called McConnell Springs. That was in 1775. The town took off, exceeding the spring’s area so that the larger town grew around the middle fork of Elkhorn Creek later renamed, not very creatively, Town Branch. At one time, one could see the whole of Town branch and actually walk along its banks, but I have never seen Town Branch until it re-emerges around the old Pepper Distillery near Old Frankfort Pike and Forbes Road. Through downtown Lexington, Town Branch is buried under Vine Street, and as I understand it, Central Avenue. Before Central Ave, I’m not sure where it goes, though it’s probably under Richmond Road. I suspect our street-side storm drains empty into Town Branch, and the city has made great efforts to curb the pollution finding its way into the stream. There are plans now underway to help Town Branch re-emerge a little closer to downtown. It will be highlighted by a Town Branch Trail of green space, walking paths, dog parks, an amphitheater and the like. It’s a long project but it will be beautiful when it’s done. Whether you’re in Lexington, Kentucky or Lexington, Massachusetts, all drain water flows downstream. Be thoughtful of fish, fowl and your fellow man. 

july 9, 2018

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“Life is precious and time is a key element. Let’s make every moment count and help those who have a greater need than our own.” 
~ Harmon Killebrew


Three Amigas


Because we had fun at Graeter’s Ice Cream, we also had fun with selfies afterward. That’s all I’ve got at the end of a super busy Monday. It’s summer, eat ice cream. And lots of it. That’s my advice!

july 8, 2018

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“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” ~ Henry Ford




Michelle Shute couldn’t exist if she couldn’t make faces. These are just a few from today after her long weekend in Lexington. We were talking about how long we’d known each other this afternoon. We met in 1991. I think it was when we played at a great dive bar called Sluggo’s in Pensacola, her hometown. She came backstage and I remember signing her guitar. Then, she brought her sister to see us at one of the best bars in America called The Big Apple in Puryear, Tennessee. Those were good times for sure. She’s gone back home now and we’ll miss her. Michelle’s a light in my world. 

july 7, 2018

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“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors,
but today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”
~ Kahlil Gibran




It was an utterly gorgeous day in The Bluegrass. We scooped up Michelle and took her to Wallace Station for a cheeseburger. The ride through horse country with the windows rolled down was like a drive through heaven. Fresh cut grass wafting through the air as weanlings frolicked about. As usual, Wallace Station didn’t disappoint, and Stacy brought home a box load of their delicious baked goods. I enjoy Michelle’s visits so much. They’re too short, but I’m glad we get ’em. She’s a nut and I love her. 


makin’ faces

july 6, 2018

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“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~ Henry David Thoreau




Michelle Shute flew up from Florida, then she, Stacy, and I drove to Cinci to meet one of Stacy’s old high school friends, Beverly Hodge. We then proceeded to the Taft Theater where we rocked our socks off to the Pretenders. (Crystal Heis and Mr. Boyfriend were in the balcony. We waved at each other.) Chrissie Hynde was adamant about no pictures, so an empty stage was all I got, and a selfie of us after the show. As much as I like Chrissie, I fell in love with her guitarist James Walbourne. In fact, his band, with wife Kami Thompson (whose parents just happen to be Richard and Linda Thompson) opened the night. They were totally captivating. They’re called The Rails. Tonight, they played as a duo, and that was perfectly okay because they were transcendent. Chrissie was extremely complimentary of them as well. In fact, I’ve never seen her smile as much as she smiled tonight. I saw the Pretenders at Memorial Coliseum on UK’s campus way back in ’86 when Get Close came out. Iggy Pop opened. It was a good show. Tonight was a good show, too, but this guy James Walbourne – he blew me away. Imagine if Lindsey Buckingham, Jeff Healy, and Richard Thompson had a baby. That’s what he plays like. Plus, he has a great voice. And did I mention that Beverly Hodge is a keeper? She was an absolute delight and I hope we see her again soon. This was a beautiful day, start to finish. Remember that name: James Walbourne. 


and roll

july 5, 2018

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“Train your mind to see something good in everything.” ~ Buddhist proverb


4 ways


If you stand just right at the intersection of Mechanic Street and Limestone you’ll see four street signs and some pretty groovy old houses. They’re sandwiched in by Academy Alley and Constitution Street. There are parts of Lexington that are just cute as can be. This is one of those parts. Enjoy!

july 4, 2018

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“Stay positive and the ups will be more frequent than the downs.” ~ Unknown

immigrant son (snapseed)


These are my great-great grandparents Rebecca (nee Patrick) and Patrick Risner, or Reissner as his 3x great-grandfather spelled the name when he immigrated to the US from Germany in 1728 (before the U.S. was an independent nation). Rebecca’s 3x great-grandfather immigrated from Scotland even earlier than that. Each branch of my family tree holds similar stories. Several of my ancestors came to the U.S. as indentured servants. Can you imagine how hard one’s life must be to reduce one’s self to servitude? It’s a choice I’m grateful I don’t have to make. With the exception of my Native American ancestors, of which there are two, every single one of my ancestors landed on these shores as immigrants, and every one of them pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Well, once it became a nation anyway. The ancestors here before that fought to make it so. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” May it be so for everyone, and I mean that without any qualifiers whatsoever. I mean every human being of United States of America. I encourage you to read our Declaration of Independence if you haven’t done so before. I’ve posted it below in its entirety along with the names of those who signed it; men who were also immigrants to this land.


Link to transcript of the Declaration of the United States from the US Archives or you may view the document here.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton


North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn


South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton



John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton



George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton



Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean


New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris


New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark


New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple



Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry


Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery



Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott


New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

july 3, 2018

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“To be kind is more important that to be right.” ~ Unknown




I had a morning full of errands downtown. I called Stacy and asked if she’d like to have breakfast in between said errands. She suggested Doodles, which occupies an old gas station at the corner of 3rd and Lime. Neither of us had eaten there, and being a beautiful day, it was perfect for a breakfast dining adventure. Plus, as much as possible, their food is locally grown or made. It sounded like my kind of place, and it was. We had so much fun! The food was delicious, the wait staff sweet as can be, the decor bright, and the company as funny as the roosters on the roof. As a bonus, the bathrooms are still outside of the building just like the gas stations of yore, except we didn’t have to ask for the key. I love this place!

july 2, 2018

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“Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient.” ~ Unknown


without (photo by Lois Wilson)


Tony and Charlene are having a large yard sale tomorrow in West Liberty. At the last minute, not wanting to miss out on the upcoming holiday extravaganza, they threw a summer dinner for the family who could get to them in Lexington. It was a great way to spend a Monday evening, and the food was, as usual, fantastic. If I haven’t mentioned it, my aunt Lois Nell makes the best baked beans in the world. She’s also not at all afraid of my camera (see above photo). She’s getting a lot better with it, too. I better be careful or she’ll be taking all the pictures before I know it, and that can only mean one thing: I’ll be in them. That will never do. HA! I sure enjoy this bunch, and I’m really lucky they let me hang out with them.


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