“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” ~ Ron White
I’d been waiting months to see the Chihuly exhibit at Maker’s Mark Distillery with Marcie Christensen and Annie Bassoni. Our night finally arrived, and off we went into an absolutely beautiful, albeit chilly, evening. You might recall that I’d seen the exhibit last month, but that just meant I could be their tour guide tonight. It also meant I could be a bit more prepared for photos since I knew what to expect. And, as a bonus, the distillery had decorated for Christmas. Very pretty.
As Marcie pointed out, photographs of Chihuly’s work don’t do it justice – none of it. Doesn’t matter what piece it is. I’ve yet to see a photo that’s even close to the experience of actually standing before a piece. The wow factor defies description. The work is so intricate and fluid that no two elements, no two angles look the same. There’s always something new to discover. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Marcie and Annie take it all in. I imagine I looked very similar when I first saw the exhibit.
On top of all this, during our ride to Loretto (where Maker’s Mark is located), we had great conversations about spirituality and books and travel. Marcie told us all about her upcoming trips. She’s leaving soon for Africa, then Hawaii, then Scotland with a little Texas and California thrown in for domestic pleasure. Annie and I, and her many other friends, will live vicariously though her travel adventures, but one thing’s for sure: we three won’t be forgetting Chihuly night at Maker’s Mark anytime soon. This was a gift!
“Surround yourself with people who talk about visions and ideas, not other people.” ~ Unknown
Here are a few friends that talk visions and ideas all the time; Catherine Brereton, Susan Stewart, Annie Bassoni, and Stacy Yelton. This morning we converged for brunch (deliciously prepared by the Brereton/Stewart family), a couple hands of Cards Against Humanity, and a wonderful visit on the porch. These women inspire me every day in a variety of ways, and we never fail to laugh when we’re together. We also never fail to eat well, and bread and/bread-like foods are usually involved. What amazing minds I’ve been fortunate to call friends.
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin
It’s been almost a week since we convened to hug Sandy Davis’ neck. I wish we could meet every Friday for dinner, or just laughs. Jeanne Marie’s phone says all that needs saying about my Kentucky tribe. I love them all so much, and I’m so lucky to have them as friends.
“The key to happiness is to focus on what you can control and make proactive choices for joy every day.”
~ Tiny Buddha
Just in case you missed the fact that we had a lot of laughs at the annual Derby Day BBQ yesterday, here are two reminders. Three radio personalities and one Annie Bassoni guarantees you’ll laugh until you cry. I’m so lucky.
“Happiness is simple. Everything we do to find it is complicated.” ~ Karen Maezen Miller
It was Derby Day and this year’s Springridge Derby Day Garage BBQ almost didn’t happen. First, time got away from me, so by the time I sent invitations, almost everyone had other plans. Then, the weather was absolutely horrid. It rained up until about 2 pm, which wasn’t so bad, but an Alberta Clipper dipped into Kentucky overnight and made it a very cold, dreary rain. A few people bailed last minute, and who could blame them with conditions like that, making this year’s crew small. A small but mighty crew we were. We had a blast. We moved the party indoors where John Lumagui managed to make us laugh until we had tears. I don’t get to see him nearly enough, and I’m reminded of that every time he comes around. Not only is he sweet as can be, he really might be the funniest man alive.
Wally and Lilly (the black blob behind the couch) joined in the fun as John spun joke after joke. I snorted and laughed so much my throat hurt by the time everyone left. We still grilled out. The clouds broke long enough for us to soak up a few rays before moving into the house for the race. I even managed to figure out how to set the self-timer on the camera so I could catch us all together doing jazz hands. I love these people so very much, and their presence in my world today was just what the doctor ordered.
“Think positive and positive things will happen.” ~ Unknown
It was finally time for Ky Crafted: The Market. It was a totally rotten weather day; perfect to be inside soaking up lots of good art. I met Annie Bassoni, fellow art soaker upper, and off we went. We were on the lookout for a few people, and sure enough, we found them. Our first victim, I mean, friend encounter was the ever beautiful Deb Chenault. As usual, she shied away from my camera. Annie somehow thought that this silly symbol would stop me. pfffftttt We continued our meandering ways when we spotted Rebecca Campbell, sending Annie into recon mode looking for David so I could spring the paparazzi on him. It was not a successful mission for David saw us first. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all. It does my heart good to visit with my people however short the time. And visiting among art? As good a day as it gets in my book.
“Never forget yesterday, but always live for today, because you never know what tomorrow can bring, or what it can take away.” ~ Tiny Buddha
Stacy, Annie, and I were invited to Susan and Catherine’s for brunch in their new house. PJs were optional, but as you can see, we all showed up in casual wear. What a treat it was to spend a few hours with these smart, witty, funny women. The C&S team cooked some truly remarkable vittles, too. Susan had warned us about Catherine’s homemade cinnamon rolls, but her description didn’t do them justice. They were ridiculously good. We laughed, we talked, we shared our love of grammar and gravy. It was as gorgeous around that breakfast table as the bright blue sky outside. I’m so grateful for their friendships.
“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.