“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I had the great pleasure of meeting Catherine Brereton’s parents and youngest brother, Joe, tonight. They’re here from Britain for the Bluegrass experience. There was a large group assembled at Lynagh’s Irish Pub hoping a fiddle would appear so that Catherine’s mom, Fliss, could make her American debut with Liam’s Fancy. Alas, it was not meant to be, but that didn’t stop our intrepid visitor from joining the band. She was the life of the party, and just as kind as she could be (no surprise given how kind Catherine is). I hope this isn’t the only time I get to see them because I really enjoyed our all-too-brief visit. And you never know; maybe I’ll get to hear Fliss play a reel before she flies back across the pond. I’m holding out hope.
“Simply knowing that God loves all people is not enough – it is the first step in allowing deeds of compassion, mercy and justice to flow from our hands.” ~ Rev. Katherine Redmond
I stepped outside the office to view the eclipse and ran into lots of people I know like Catherine Brereton (above) and Deirdre Scaggs and Reinette Jones (below). The first time I saw the sun through the eclipse glasses (thanks to Stacy Yelton) it was totally amazing. I mean totally amazing. With the naked eye, and with my phone’s camera (carefully shielded by the eclipse glasses), there’s still a lot of light even at 95% totality. So, the glasses were a crucial part of the experience. It didn’t get nearly as dark as I expected, and the temp also didn’t fall as much as I thought it would. But none of that matters because watching the moon blot out the sun was seriously incredible. I feel like this was my warm up for the next eclipse due in 2024 north of here. I am so taking the day off (or I’ll be retired by then), getting an eclipse filter for the camera, and taking a road trip to the path of totality. What a glorious experience to watch the heavens work.
“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.
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~ Wendell Berry
This is Geoffrey. He’s the sweet boy that looks after Catherine and Susan. He’s got a curious look about him with huge eyes and a wonky ear that looks like a piece of wadded foil on the tip. He’s a small build with a mighty heart. Unlike many cats who shy away from visitors, Geoffrey joined the gathering in the kitchen for a time, and he was interested in my camera. I couldn’t get it to fire when he had his nose stuck to the lens, so I stalked him down the hallway until he did a pirouette in the bedroom doorway as if to say, “What do you want, human?” I was smitten with this kitten.
“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.
“Happiness isn’t getting all you want. It’s enjoying all you have.” ~ Unknown
I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when Catherine Brereton dropped by my office for a special delivery of Solidago’s inaugural issue. The journal was all her idea. I’m constantly surprised that she asked me to be involved. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. She (and Susan-the-awesome-poetry-editor) is so easy to work with, smart, creative, and other adjectives. I’m such a lucky gal.
“Your face will change. Your body will change.
The only kind of beauty that endures is the kind that lives in your heart.”
~ Lori Deschene
BFF Catherine graduated from the first MFA Creative Writing class at UK back in May. During her last year she’d been Editor-in-Chief of Limestone, UK’s long-time creative writing journal. BFF Susan quit a tenure faculty position at Cornell (yes, that Cornell) teaching English some years ago because she hated academia (can’t blame her there). So, when I say that both women are exceptional writers, I’m really doing them a disservice because the word just doesn’t quite convey how gifted they are. Susan’s poetry is nothing short of exquisite, and Catherine’s fiction, and non-fiction, is second to none. Together, they’re a scary good writing team. A short time after Catherine graduated she asked if I’d be interested in being part of a literary journal with she and Susan. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t want to create something awesome with these two? We named it Solidago; Latin for ‘Goldenrod’, Kentucky’s state flower. We opened our bi-annual submission window for prose, poetry, and art at the end of July. It closes Monday. This morning we met formally for the first time since summer to discuss design and such. We also met our new social media intern, Sabrina Smith, a former student of Catherine’s. Her boyfriend was sweet enough to snap a photo for us to commemorate the moment (I’m sorry I didn’t get his name, but thank you for the snap, Sabrina’s Boyfriend!). We’ll have the first issue of Solidago available for purchase around Thanksgiving, and we’ve already chosen the cover for our spring issue. There are great things happening all around me, and I’m so lucky to be part of this slice of goodness.
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Today has been all about publishing I guess. I got home from work to find a copy of The Bible Belt Almanac in my mailbox. BFF Catherine Brereton has a piece about Mamaw in it, which includes some of my photos. Catherine was inspired by my exhibit at First Presbyterian Gallery back in October. (I absolutely love it when art inspires art.) It’s a story that’s happy, sad, tragic, loving, faithful, funny, and much more. It’s pretty amazing that she was able to wrap all those emotions into a short story. Of course, I was thrilled to pieces when they wanted to publish the photos along with it, but more than that, I was honored that Catherine found Mamaw’s story worth writing. It means more than words can say really. Then, I checked my email and learned an article Judy Sackett and I wrote is being published next month. Like I said, I guess today is all about publishing. Blessed beyond measure is what I am.
“I am not who I was nine years ago. I will never be that person again. I am stronger, yes, but the most significant aspect of the me I am now is that, through the loss, I have learned–know–truly, completely, without doubt or question, the limitless, eternal, and unstoppable power of Love.”
~ Mary Carroll-Hackett
Greg Davis was dressed as a Southern Gentleman for the Derby. His wife Vanessa Oliver wore her traditional Derby Day pants. The pants are very 70’s, and so much more entertaining than the traditional Derby hat. Though I didn’t take a lot of photos during the Derby garage party, the ones I got are either good, funny, or both. I’m only sorry I didn’t pop off a close-up of Annie Bassoni. I love all the expressions. I am just so blessed to have each of these people in my life.
“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.