“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.”
~ George Washington
Nifty, nifty, look who’s fifty! It’s Annie Bassoni, come to join the 50-is-the-new-30 club. There was a gathering of friends to celebrate Annie’s half-century on this planet. People I love from the bottom of my heart, and people I’d never met: my favorite kind of gathering. Happy Birthday, Annie. I’m sure glad you were born. You make the world a better place.
“In a way life itself tracks a person’s generosity, much like an airline might track frequent flyer miles. The more you give, the more you earn, the higher you fly, and the further you go.” ~ Robin Jackson
Today I did something I’ve never done. I went to a protest march; the Women’s March. I tend to keep my political views to myself. The outhouse provides me a positive, creative outlet. Politics don’t really belong here because I don’t find them particularly positive. But today I have to talk about it. I exercise my right to vote at every election, and I take that very seriously. A century ago, women were beaten and scorned and God knows what to get me that right. I refuse to dishonor them by not going to the polls. My father and his brothers, even my mother through her military service, fought to uphold this right as well. I honor them when I cast my votes. As a progressive in Kentucky I often lose, but I go to the polls anyway. You can call me a lot of things, but sore loser isn’t one of them.
I did not go to the march as an anti-president protestor. I never want our presidents to fail. I don’t want congress to fail. Nobody wins if/when these things happen. No, I went to the march because ours is a democracy admired around the world for its ability to survive whatever gets thrown at us, and that survival depends solely on people getting off their asses when they don’t like what they see and doing something about it. I went to the march because of the inexcusable behavior during the campaign that allowed America’s underbelly of racist, sexist, cruelly insensitive hypocritical culture, the level of which is nearly incomprehensible, to raise its head. It’s not the campaign tone alone that I have a problem with; it’s the culture to which that behavior gave voice. Disturbing though it is, I am not at all surprised by it. You don’t have to be a minority to know it’s there. You just have to be willing to acknowledge it.
A man did not win the American presidential election. Apathy won the election. Frankly, I think having a president who did not earn his seat by popular vote, buoyed by a single-party controlled congress that, thus far, appears perfectly alright with whatever happens regardless of the consequences, will be an excellent thing for this country. Let’s hear it for this reawakened bravado of the McCarthy-era wealthy, white patriarchy. You can’t fight what you can’t see. So, here it is, front and center. If you don’t like it, do something about it. If you do like it, enjoy it. I suspect this current Washington line-up is just the punch in the gut that Apathy needed. After what I witnessed today, the mid-term congressional elections are in 2018, and this resistance train is mighty and moving fast. Things will change.
I went to the Women’s March today expecting nothing but women. Boy, was I in for a surprise. There were just as many men. They made my heart sing. There were young people and elderly people. There were people in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, and gay people and straight people and people somewhere in between, and black and brown and white people, and people in costumes I didn’t understand at all. There were friends and colleagues and strangers all around me. This might have been called the Women’s March, but this was really The People’s March. This is what democracy looks like, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.
I’ve seen estimates for Lexington’s Women’s March between 5000-9000 people. There was an estimated 2.5 million protestors across the country today, apparently making this the largest protest in American history. I marched today for my mother, and my grandmothers, my aunts and cousins, friends and colleagues, and for all the men I know who would never condone the behavior that’s been unleashed. Jim Brown and Lance Hughes felt particularly close. I marched for my dad who loves me from the bottom of his heart and would never, ever, ever talk about me like a piece of meat. He is a decent, honorable man. We are so blessed to live in a country that gives us the right to peaceably assemble, and for our voices to be heard. God knows we’ve got our faults, but America is already great, and I reject any suggestion that it is not. I’m not a political junky or an activist. My view here is simple compared to the complexity of the situation. All I really know is that I love everybody. I don’t care what a person’s religion is, or who they sleep with, or how many sins they may – or may not have – committed, or what color their skin is. If they are kind, respectful human beings, I welcome them in my world, and I hope they would welcome me into theirs. To me, this is what being Christ-like looks like, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also fundamental to my political views.
“Don’t just slay your demons, dissect them and find out what they’ve been feeding on.” ~ Andres Fernandez
It’s been a long beautiful day. I, with several of my colleagues from Special Collections, had the opportunity to attend a Brené Brown workshop; Rising Strong. It was sponsored by UK’s Work+Life Department. UK does some things very well, and their Work+Life program is one of them. The day-long workshop was presented by Cindy Reed. You might recall that Annie Bassoni and I were doing yoga with Cindy back in January. In addition to being a yoga and meditation instructor, Cindy is also a psychotherapist. She started facilitating Brené Brown workshops with her colleague Cindy Hutchinson not long ago. If you’re not familiar with Brené Brown, look her up. You’re probably familiar with some of the very positive things she has to say. Things like “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” Needless to say the workshop was inspiring. When it was over, I played paparazzi and photographed Ruth Bryan’s jazz band. They were playing a cookout at the Victory Christian Church in the Kenwick neighborhood: my old neighborhood where I lived with my BFF Jim Brown many years ago. The church was close enough to throw a rock to our old house. It brought back many good memories. The whole day was wonderful, and I’m grateful for every second of it.
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” ~ Lewis Carroll
The moment we Absolutely Fabulous fans have been waiting for had finally arrived. Opening night was a must for this AbFab fan. Stacy Yelton and Annie Bassoni posed with the marquee before the viewing. As you can see, they were in prime form for the big reveal. We were later joined by Joy Hayes, Lujza Hayes Nehrebeczky, and a gaggle of self-entertaining singers screeching My Old Kentucky Home along with the organist. It was my first time at the Kentucky with an organist between showings. To echo Annie’s impression; it was reminiscent of a baseball game, except we were inside. In any case, the movie had some side splitting bits. Eddy: “One woman called me a pariah.” Saffy: “Do you know what a pariah is?” Eddy: “Yea. It’s a fish.” <snort> Frankly, Joanna Lumley was brilliant. She just makes funny faces and I howl with laughter. Everybody and their brother is in the film, most of them playing themselves, which in itself is pretty funny. I have loved Eddy and Patsy since Michelle Shute turned me on to the show in the early 1990’s. I was pleased as punch to spend my Friday night with them all these years later.
“In the end only three things matter, how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~ Unknown
I’ve been so busy that I almost didn’t have the annual Derby gathering. At the last minute, I dragged the TV to the garage and fired up the grill. Most everyone had plans, but fortunately, I wasn’t alone in my last minute throw-together-cookout-idea. I couldn’t ask for better company. The food was delicious. The horses ran without incident, and Nyquist remains undefeated. The rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and a lot of laughs were had. I’m glad we were able to be together. We sure did miss Sandy Davis, though: love and miss our Miss Kentucky Derby. Otherwise, a good time was had by all.
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work.” ~ Wendell Berry
I’ve had a pretty fine week in case you couldn’t tell. Yesterday was awesome for sure, what with Cinco de Mayo with the Heis family and all. I ran into some friends before that fun ever started, like Johnny Farris. This is his first appearance in the outhouse. Johnny, Crystal, and I went through UK’s Fine Arts program together. He’s an excellent photographer, but more than that, he’s as sweet as the day is long. Plus, he’s just adorable. I hadn’t seen Johnny since Greg Davis and Vanessa Oliver’s wedding nearly two years ago. So, it was great to catch up with him. Then, there was Annie Bassoni. I’m at my desk migrating data listening to Foo Fighters cranked to eleven in my headphones when I hear a tiny ‘clink.’ Seems I didn’t hear Annie calling my name through her bull horn…and yet I heard her throw a rock at my window (go figure). My selective hearing aside, I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give this woman a bull horn, but she was walking around campus terrorizing people with it, calling out random names and actions to complete strangers. Mind you, Annie is a therapist. It might be fair to say she’s the reason some people need therapy with that kind of behavior. She absolutely cracks me up. I wouldn’t take anything for her and Johnny. I love my people so much.
“Our reaction to a situation literally has the power to change the situation itself.” ~ Unknown
I had the opportunity to go to KY Crafted: The Market. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I met Annie Bassoni at the venue and off we went a-lookin’ at glorious art. For three hours we went a-lookin’, and along the way we ran into lots of friends, old and new. David Campbell (above) finally found a way to elude my lens, although it took hiding behind the black curtain to do it. I love David and Rebecca so much. This was her first year at The Market and she won KAC’s Accessibility Award. David also pointed out something really special about this year’s event. “There are three artists here from Morgan County. You’re in the exhibit, Dean Hill is down the other aisle, and here we are. I texted Pam (Oldfield Meade) and told her next year she has to be involved so Morgan County can just take over the whole thing!” Speaking of Dean Hill, he took home a purchase award from the Chamber of Commerce. Rebecca and Dean, way to represent Morgan County! I’m awfully proud to be among such gifted artists from Morgan County, and the Commonwealth overall. There’s just so much good in this state that I have to pinch myself sometimes to remember that I’m here, too, and I’m part of it. Pictured below are just some of the wonderful people I saw today: 1. Judy Sackett and Nancy Lewis 2. Deb Chenault and Annie Bassoni 3. Rebecca Miller Campbell and her beautiful creations.
“Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present.”
~ Dr. Steve Maraboli
The Michler’s Christmas Fair – way back the first of December – doubled as an excuse for the Happiness Gals to convene for our Christmas celebration. Not all of us could be there (we missed them), and none of my shots are very good. So, since I’m rarely in the group photos, I thought I’d lead off with a blurry self-portrait courtesy of the fair’s tuba player. That we’re missing excellent pix of the day is irrelevant really. What mattered was that we were together sharing conversation, laughter, and good cheer. I love my gals. They’re such a blessing.
“Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.” ~ Unknown
Ruth Bryan held her annual Emily Post high tea. This year’s intimate friend of the hostess was Annie Bassoni. As you can see, she took her job as, well, as Annie Bassoni. Emily Post was likely turning in her grave. The rest of us were laughing. I recommended Annie use this photo as her facebook profile picture. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Stacy Yelton was instructing Kazuko Hioki and Ruth Bryan on the finer points of the Carol Merrill wave.Let’s Make a Deal; it was trip down memory lane and a show with which Kazuko was unfamiliar. She’ll remember it from now on.
Just off the kitchen sat Judy Sackett with the puzzle. Being the queen of puzzles, she had the pieces organized into separate Ziploc baggies by color or style for easy(ier) assembly. It’s too bad it wasn’t the puzzle Judy told us about. The one whose box cover picture was backward. That would have been a challenge. It may have required more than tea.
Making her first appearance in the outhouse is Ruth’s mom, Carol, here enjoying a robust cup of hot chocolate. She’s always smiling and pleasant. Stacy and I didn’t get to stay for the Christmas Carols as we were due at Good Shepherd, but we packed in plenty of laughter while we could. Plus, Stacy taught the girls the Carol Merrill wave, so it was a successful event I’d say. I do so love my co-workers, and Ruth’s mom, too.
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”
Look at those smiles. This was exactly what I’d hoped for at the reception, and every picture I have from last night shows nothing but smiles. I’m told Stacy Yelton was so proud of me and the work that she was fluttering about singing praises to everyone who would listen. She played tour guide and took my family up to the sanctuary where they all sang Amazing Grace together. I’m really sorry I missed that. How do you repay that kind of support? I’m speechless yet again.