february 16, 2019

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“Self care is also not arguing with people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” ~ Ayishat A. Akanbi


South African delights


Today was Maggie Jacobs’ birthday. She invited a few of her gal pals out to the farm to celebrate. We were treated to tea and delicious homemade South African treats. Leave it to Maggie to make her own food then treat her guests as if we were celebrities. Her chocolate mousse raspberry cake above was as delicious as it looks, but she also made some treats that were unexpectedly fantastic in their simplicity. I was seriously inspired by how light yet delectable they were. Not bad at all for a dieting girl like me. Maggie really knows how to treat her friends, but then, I didn’t need today to know that. She has always been one of the finest people I’ve ever known. 


Maggie and her girl gang


Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know Maggie’s friends Jane Rees (standing in black) and Betsi McCullough (standing in yellow). I had the best conversation with both of them today; just what the doctor ordered. Jane, you might recall, was with her husband Don on the Honor Flight with mom and I. Today was the first we’ve seen each other since then. We regaled everyone with the story about that harrowing aborted landing. Like me, Jane said it was the most frightening flight experience of her life. I’m not kidding when I say that we are very, very lucky to still be here to celebrate Maggie’s birthday. A lesser pilot would not have known what to do and we’d be pushing up daisies now instead of sharing some quality time with one another. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to still be able to celebrate Maggie, and not just because we survived that flight, but because she is a woman worth celebrating.  Maggie is discerning in her friends. The ones she takes to heart she tends to keep for life. She has taught me so much during our 20+ year friendship, not to mention everything she’s taught me about horses and animal husbandry. Happy Birthday, Magda! May you be blessed with many more trips around the sun, and may I slim down enough to eat the entire chocolate mousse cake next time. You’re the very best.


a good time was had by all

february 15, 2019

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“One way to pray in a fear-filled world is to choose love over anxiety.” ~ Henri Nouwen




Sometimes, I feel totally out of the loop when it comes to modern-day pop culture. Thank goodness for friends like Deb Chenault to keep me from being perpetually dense. Before Deb and I went to the Hall of Fame induction the other night, she gave me a sweet little heart box of Russell Stover chocolates and a handmade Galentine’s Day card with a handmade brass bookmark. (she made the card and the bookmark, naturally) She said,”Happy Galentine’s Day,” and I just thought that was so clever of her. Deb is very clever and super thoughtful. Then she explained that it really was Galentine’s Day. Okay, so it wasn’t her clever idea, but she’s still clever as far as I’m concerned. By night’s end I see all the women Happy Galentine’s Daying all the other women across facebooklandia. I thought, “Oh, this is a really sweet way for gals to appreciate one another through Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day rolls up a couple of hours later and I run into Crystal Heis at work. “Happy Galentine’s Day,” I say, to which she immediately and matter-of-factly replies, “That was yesterday. It’s always February 13th.” Seriously? Somehow feeling the sentiment of Galentine’s Day was just squashed like a ladybug underfoot. Crystal explained, as heard on NPR earlier that morning, that Galentine’s Day comes from an episode of Parks and Recreation. Amy Pohler’s character on the show set Feb 13 as a day for ladies to celebrate ladies; female friendships. Unbeknownst to me, obviously, the idea took off for real after that episode aired. Any excuse for a holiday I guess, and hey, I’m on board with this one. We gals can’t celebrate friendships enough. Thank you, Deb, for helping me navigate American Capitalism more splendidly and for being my Galentine. And here I thought I’d been watching too much TV. 

february 14, 2019

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“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary


ol pals


Kentucky has birthed a whole herd of gifted writers, and many of them inducted into the Hall of Fame have, thus far, already crossed into the next etherial chapter. It’s a pretty big deal to have two of the Hall of Fame inductees still alive to participate. Gurney is used to my unusual selfie approach, but it was new for poor, unsuspecting Ed McClanahan. It didn’t matter. That Merry Prankster was all for it, sniffly cold and all. Both Ed and Gurney read hilarious work as part of their presentations. Ed’s known for his humor, but Gurney’s humor is usually weaved into a story like a silver strand. Not last night. He read a chapter from his upcoming book that had the whole crowd laughing until we cried. It was one of the most hilariously accurate character portrayals of a small town lying shyster I have ever heard. I cannot wait to get my hands on that book. I look forward to running into Ed again so we can practice the selfie a little more. What a great night we all had together, friends and strangers alike.


old theater

february 13, 2019

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“According to the great wisdom traditions of the West (Christian, Jewish, Islamic), the heart is first and foremost an organ of spiritual perception. Its primary function is to look beyond the obvious, the boundaried surface of things, and see into a deeper reality… a world where meaning, insight, and clarity come together in a whole different way.” ~ Cynthia Bourgeault


the man, the myth, the legend


It’s no secret that my favorite Kentucky writer is Gurney Norman. I remember meeting Gurney when Stealin Horses was playing what would be the first of several Christmas parties at Appalshop. That was probably 30 years ago. Several years later, when I’d stopped touring and enrolled at UK, I took my first creative writing class with Gurney. That class set my life on a different course in the most meaningful way. I’m too tired to explain it further than that right now, but suffice it to say, Gurney had a profound impact on my life. I am far from the only student throughout his 40 years of teaching who would say that. He’s been vitally important to literature and exceptional to Kentucky. I was beyond proud to see him finally inducted into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame tonight. Nobody deserved it more. I might be a tad biased, but I’m also right. At least about Gurney.

february 12, 2019

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“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” ~ Saint Basil


from the nosebleed seats
first timer and old timer


We had a big time tonight. UK offered seats at an okay rate to its employees, so I got three. They were nose bleed seats; so high in Rupp Arena that Mom and I both had a hard time with vertigo. Nevertheless, we had a blast. It was mom’s first UK Wildcat game at Rupp. Dad used to go when he was a younger man. Tonight, instead, he periodically reminded us that you can see the game better on TV. This he repeated in between his chanting “Go Big Blue” and “BOO,” which was said a lot during this game. Mom said going in that they’d lose because she was going. She was right. An LSU buzzer shot, despite goal tending, lost us the game. Still, we had a great time, crappy seats and all.

february 11, 2019

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” The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien




I attended a really enlightening class event today on urban vs. rural environments and how students at UK traverse such landscapes. It broke my heart to hear some of the students confess that they walk onto our campus and feel completely alone because they don’t see anyone else like themselves. It’s not all about skin color and it’s not just our campus. I would have left despondent were it not for the hope and understanding they’d each received through their studies, especially through Professor Rosie Moosnick’s course where they discovered that they’re not as different as they thought, nor is anyone else. There are some really great professors at UK. Rosie is one of them and it’s been a real blessing to work with her and get to know her. 

february 8, 2019

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“It’s not fear that gets in the way of showing up – it’s armor. It’s the behaviors we use to self-protect. We can be afraid and brave at the same time.” ~ Brené Brown


beacon on a cold night


More photos from my December trip to DC. Union Station is gorgeous any time of year, but it’s classically festive at Christmastime. 


to the capitol
from the capitol


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