“Be a safe, trustworthy person. Love others by listening well. Weep with those who weep. Light up their life with your face of love.” ~ Br. Luke Ditewig, Society of Saint John the Evangelist
Aren’t these cool? It’s an antique European street sign signaling the optometrist’s office. Deb found it when she was in Amsterdam, bought it for a song, and managed to fly it back to the states intact. Now they watch you wherever you go in her house. That Deb is pretty crafty with her home security.
“Self Worth: you can’t buy it, date it, drink it, or earn it from others. It’s an inside job.” ~ Anne Lamott
This post marks the completion of the seventh year of the outhouse. Seven inconceivable years. I haven’t missed a single day in those seven years racking up 2,556 posts as a result. So much for a one-year project, eh? I’ve gotten much more from this little idea than I ever expected. There have been a few bumps along the way but there’s been way more good than bad. 2018 has been a tiring year for a lot of reasons, but that, too, is not a bad thing. It has caused me to reflect in ways that I might not otherwise. For those who’ve been with me from the start you might recall that after year two, having amassed over 34,000 images during that period, I changed the rules to allow images from the archives to be used in daily posts (prior to this all images had to be created the day of the post). Now, I think it’s time to expand the outhouse horizon again. It’s time to scale back on the number of posts I make – from the usual daily post to once, twice, maybe three times a week depending on happenings. This will allow me to concentrate on the depth of posts rather than the breadth offered by daily posts. Further, it will allow me to concentrate on a few other artistic outlets I’ve been entertaining, perhaps finally remodel the house (or part of it anyway), and pay some attention to my aging body. I was still 46 when the outhouse began. I’ll be 54 in a week. During this time I’ve lost and gained more weight than anyone one ought to. I’ve got more grey hair, more wrinkles, and a lot more age spots. I’ve been through natural disasters, deaths -some tragic, births – all glorious, surgeries (goodbye gallbladder), a few weddings, a divorce (maybe more), many fun travels, great food, great parties, reconnecting with dear friends, staying connected with others, wonderful family gatherings, and art. Always art. There must always be art; the act of creating something from nothing, or creating something new from something old; reimagining the world and one’s place in it; seeing God, the Great Creator, the Universe in all things and channeling that into being. This is central to my existence. I celebrate the work made by others, too. Their visions and their places in this world are important to my own sense of being. In May, I received an unusual curio cabinet. I don’t collect curios, but I do collect folk art, usually of the small variety, along with small amulets, not always worn, of great personal significance. I began to assemble all of these into the cabinet and created something more outstanding than I ever imagined. In these few images you see work by Minnie Adkins, Michelle Shute, Sandy Davis, Rebecca Miller-Campbell, Julene Jones, Joe Molinaro, Ron Gevedon, Libby Barnes, Debi Horton, and Chris Terrell among others. You also see the spirits of Lance Hughes, Angie Bliss Fanning, Mindy Gaumer Cardenas, my parents, and my beloved dog Sadie. That’s just in these photos. There’s a bottom half of the cabinet not shown here. Every single day I look at this cabinet and it glows with love, compassion, integrity, and innovation. Above all I see inspiration and hope. My wish is that you, dear reader, find as much hope and inspiration in your daily lives throughout 2019 as I find in my art life cabinet every day. Here’s to us and an improved outhouse in 2019.
“To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
~ Mary Oliver
I was walking to the car after work, reminiscing about all the cool stuff I used to find along the way that I would photograph and write about in the outhouse. I was feeling I’d exhausted the supply. No sooner did the thought cross my mind that I was stopped in my tracks by the wooden relief sculptures between every set of doors on the Whitehall Classroom Building and Patterson Office Tower. I’ve been around campus for more than 25 years now, and while I noticed the reliefs, I never really saw them until today, the very second I thought I wasn’t paying attention. The symbolism is both ancient and modern in appearance, as the rectangular and square elements highlight the style of the 1960’s and 70’s (the buildings were erected in 1969). In cursory searches, I haven’t found any information about the reliefs, but somewhere, someone knows the meaning of the symbols, who had the idea to add this art to the buildings, and who the artist was. I would love to know the answer to these questions, and I hope I never stop paying attention, even if I’ve seen it all before. Coming back to mindfulness: it’s good for my soul.
“Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go… There are things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful and deprive you of your freedom. Find the courage to let them go.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Last week, this gorgeous handmade cedar box arrived at my door. It was made by a native artist on the West Coast. Pam Thurman and Barb Plested sent it for my birthday. How sweet is that? It smells so good, too. It really took me back to a cedar chest my mother had when I was little. I learned to play drums on it. That’s why she doesn’t have it anymore. Then, a few weeks ago, me and Sandy Davis had a long phone call. We promised to trade art works since neither of us had a piece of the other’s. Today, my new Sandy Davis arrived. It’s from her barn series, and I’m thrilled to give it a home. She’ll live on the cedar box for now where I can see it and count my blessings until I turn out the light at night. I really don’t know how I got so lucky to have such gracious, giving, compassionate friends. They make my life rich beyond measure.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I did some Christmas shopping at the Bread Box. It’s a section of the old Rainbow Bread factory where artists now have studios. The other section is West Sixth Brewery. A couple of weeks before Christmas the Bread Box held an artist’s market and invited artists who don’t have studios in the building to join in. It was a gorgeous day, so I took pictures outside the building instead. I don’t know the artist of this piece, but I really love its fluidity. I especially appreciate the scale. And, of course, I love the Little Free Library at the corner. It was a very successful shopping day; brewery, artist studios, art, and free books. What’s not to love?
“Don’t lower your standards to fit in. Don’t shrink who you are to make other people comfortable.”
I saw Charlotte Webb for a hair cut, but for the first time since I’ve known her, and the first time in my life, I also had a facial. Charlotte specializes in facials, but when we met 25+ years ago she was strictly doing hair. A severe allergy to color forced her to change direction, but my lack of self-pampering didn’t follow, though she did continue to cut my hair. After the stress of flying last week, followed by more stress when I got home, I decided I needed some self care. I called Charlotte, and for more than three hours tonight we talked and laughed and pampered. Shoot, my hands even got the paraffin treatment. I simply adore Charlotte, and this evening of spa fun was just what the doctor ordered. I’m ready for the holidaze now!
“When the past calls let it go straight to voicemail, because it has nothing new to say.” ~ Unknown
Meet Faith Harders. Faith is a Librarian in the Design Library. About a year ago she discovered that Don Galloway was a graduate of UK’s Theater program and a native of Brooksville, KY. If you don’t know his name, you might recognize his face (those of a certain age won’t recognize either). Galloway is best known as Sgt. Ed Brown on Ironside. He went on to do two Perry Mason movies with Ironside star Raymond Burr. He also had roles on TV, in particular General Hospital as Buzz Stryker, and he played husband to JoBeth Williams’ character in the hit movie The Big Chill, one of my all-time favorites.
Faith was so excited by the Galloway discovery that she wanted to pursue an oral history project about him. Galloway died in 2009 at the age of 71, but there were still plenty of fellow actors and family members to talk to. She deposited 14 interviews with us a couple of months ago. She then petitioned the university to erect a flag in his honor. These flags are common around campus except they usually depict successful businessmen, engineers, or doctors. There are very few commemorating arts graduates. In fact, this is the only one I know of. Yesterday, we made the Don Galloway Oral History Project interviews accessible online. I sent Faith an email saying as much, and I offered congratulations on the flag. It turned out that she didn’t know her petition for the flag had been successful, and this morning I received an enthusiastic, “I’m going to look at it right now,” email. I grabbed my camera in hopes of catching her at the flag, and sure enough, I did. Faith is a perfect example of what can happen when you have a great idea and follow it through. I’m so proud of her, and I’m really pleased to see the arts getting some UK love.
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres
This gorgeous piece of glass art by Dale Chihuly was gifted to Keeneland from Makers Mark. It’s on display in the Keeneland Library. Chihuly’s work is eye catching to say the least. It can be incredibly complicated even in a seemingly simple form. I’ve never seen a piece of his work that’s boring. It’s always very fluid and colorful like this one. I do giggle from time to time. Each individual piece – on its own – reminds me of something sculpture professor Gary Bibbs drilled into our heads (for those of us in his classes); one does not want to make work that could be used as a candy dish. But my giggles soon fade when I consider the intricacies of the work, and the interconnectedness of each form to the others. It’s far from a candy dish. I really want to see Chihuly’s large installation piece at Makers Mark distillery. I’ve seen photos and it looks pretty incredible. Art makes my soul sing.
“The politics of Jesus in 5 words: Love your neighbor as yourself.
In 3 words: Love your neighbor. In 1 word: Love.”
~ Nathan Hamm
One advantage to spending time at UK Chandler Hospital is the art. Last night, when mom was moved back to her room from Good Sam (where the surgery took place), I was walking from the parking garage when I noticed this sculpture for the first time. I hadn’t noticed it in the daytime, but with the street light against the sunset sky, it popped out like it was the only thing I could see. I didn’t notice who the artist was, and I didn’t read the entire quote inscribed on the base, but I loved the work.
Our Shero continues to do well, better than expected, in fact: no temp, clear lungs, great vitals, good color. She had a hard time with the anesthesia, as she typically does, but they finally got her settled by this evening. Reinette Jones came to see her this morning, and this evening she still remembered. Pretty impressive for somebody that’s been filleted like a fish. I’m feeling less nervous about her condition today. He medical team, lead by Dr. Swaghert, is just brilliant. Between him and Dr, Silby, I believe our Shero will be dancing a jig in no time. So very grateful.
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
Lori-Lyn Hurley had an opening reception this evening at St. Raphael’s gallery. Her beautiful paintings lined the gallery walls in few but mighty numbers. I’m so proud of her for doing the work she loves and putting it out there for the world to enjoy and appreciate. And that man of hers, Tracy; still one of the finest human beings ever. The two of them together fill me with more joy than should be allowed, and any time in their presence is a gift. I got an unexpected treat at the reception, too. Stacy and I met St. Raphael’s interim rector Rev. Karen Booth. She was engaging and her story was very familiar. She has a BA in fine art photography from EKU (who does that sound like?); and she left the church for a time before coming back to earn her Masters of Divinity. I don’t have the latter, of course, but I do identify with why one would take an extended break from organized religion. It’s amazing to me how many people I know who have had similar experiences. They’re brought up in the church, leave or become disillusioned for one reason or another, and then called to return. Most if not all are the most genuine, compassionate Christians I’ve ever known, so there was little surprise that I connected with Rev. Booth. I got to see two of my favorite people, hang out with Stacy, and meet a new awesome person. I win Friday.