“The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” ~ Normal Vincent Peale
Crystal loves to help me spend my money. Let me back up a bit. I really needed a macro lens when I photographed Melissa and David Hurst’s newborn back in October. Melissa let me borrow hers. I mentioned to Crystal that some things require a macro, like photographing a newborn, and she’s been keeping an eye out for one for me ever since. She found a mint condition used lens day before yesterday from a wedding photog going out of business. My folks wanted to get me something for Christmas. So, before I wrapped the new mint condition deal of a lifetime and put it under the tree, we thought we better play just a little bit. You know, just to be sure it was as perfect as it looked. It is.
“Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical, person that you are.” ~ Mandy Hale
Friday is great because it’s Friday, but this Friday was extra great because I got to see lots of people I love, meet two new people I loved right away, and listened to some inspiring thoughts by Jad Abumrad, founder and co-host of the popular NPR program RadioLab. I had a wonderful lunch with Gail Kennedy who introduced me to an absolutely delightful Kevin Dearinger, actor, writer, and all ’round awesome dude. I was so enthralled with our conversation that I didn’t think to snap a pic. If the day had ended there it would have been a great day, but that was just the first course.
Crystal, Judy, and I made our way to the Jad lecture when Ruth and her friend Chuck sat down behind us. We were having a great time socializing before the lecture when suddenly Josh James sat down in front of me. The NPR station where he is a reporter moved to an off-campus location so I don’t get to see him as much as I used to and it was a real treat to spend a little time with him. As a bonus, he introduced me to his mom! Like Josh, she’s totally adorbs. We had a great conversation about everything from rotten politics to Uber. I met two new awesome people today and I got to hang out with even more awesome people throughout my day. I must be living right.
“Maybe thousands do not know your name, but you have the power to completely change the lives of those around you with love; and that, I’ve learned, is far more gratifying and important.” ~ Avery Rogers
For the second time in two weeks Crystal and I have worn the same t-shirts on Friday. Gail was kind enough to snap a pic of us, but not before I snapped a few hilarious Ko-style selfies, or as the Swedish say, “fortsätta oss själva,” which translates as ‘perpetuate ourselves.’ <snort> What better for perpetual memory than a gif? I can’t stop laughing. May we all enjoy an awesome Labor Day holiday weekend without laboring too hard, and may your perpetual selfies be as hilarious as ours.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~ Hans Selye
Well, our tiny heroine was back at the track this evening for the weenie dog race redux. I got sick yesterday and wasn’t sure I’d be there, but daggone it, I was determined. I should have maybe shared some of that determination with ‘Lil Bit. In her defense, this was her first race, and she’d been thrown off her game with the cancellation.
After a stall mid-field that seemed to linger, she finally figured out that running was the point. She was actually really fast, but since the winner had crossed the finish line 20 seconds prior, it was a bit late. To make matters worse for me, I arrived too late for on-the-rail seating, and every where I turned someone was in my way. Even the announcer blocked my view as Mayzie crossed the finish line. It was a bit like missing the kiss of a wedding. So, I was super bummed I couldn’t get better shots for Crystal, and super bummed that Mayzie didn’t qualify for the final race, but it was a beautiful evening with friends and that made me feel better. Now that Mayzie’s gotten the first race jitters over, next year will be her winning season.
“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.” ~ Marla Gibbs
I’ve been looking forward to today’s Dachshund races at The Red Mile. I’d never been to the Red Mile grandstand or watched harness racing. Plus, Dachshund races! How could you not want to see that, especially when your BFF entered her dog!
Crystal had been training her little bitty doxie, Mayzie, for the race over the past week. The enthusiasm grew, and so did the party. Crystal’s parents, her aunt Jeanette, grandma Lucy, and cousin Speedy drove down from Ohio for the event. Annie, Jen and Abby Bartlett, Stacy, and I were all in attendance, too. Then we ran into Tamara Bayer and her friend Hope. Mayzie’s entire fan club was on hand.
Mayzie was placed in heat three of four. The top winner from each would compete in the fifth race for the trophy: a bronze statuette of, wait for it, a dachshund. Did I mention there was a horse race between each doxie race? Bonus! It was shaping up to be the perfect evening of fun. Then the storm clouds gathered, the lightening struck, the skies opened up, and the track became a river. We waited nearly an hour for it to let up, but one by one we filed out of the clubhouse and into our cars as the rain continued. The event was postponed until August 23. That’s a Thursday and the Ohio contingent will not be able to make a repeat appearance. I’m determined to double the fan base to make up for their absence because I’m certain Mayzie is going to earn her mama that cute little bronze prize. Gosh, I sure love the Heis family. Rain or not, it was great to hug their collective necks. Some of the finest people I’ve ever known.
Ann Bassoni may be the queen of practical jokes. Yesterday, we’re driving home from the Distillery District when she says, “Hey, Catherine and Susan live right here. Let’s stop.” Naturally, we all say okay. Then Annie says, “Okay, listen. We knock on the door and ask if they have any fresh baked goods. If they say no, we just leave. Don’t say anything. Just get back in the car.” Naturally, we all say okay. We go to the door and knock. A totally disheveled Susan answers. It was obvious that she’d been trying to enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap. “Do you have any fresh baked goods?” Annie asks with a straight face. Bleary-eyed Susan replies, “Uh… no,” and the four of us immediately turn around and head back to the car…except Stacy. She took maybe four steps before I heard, from behind me because, you know, I’m headed to the car with Crystal and Annie, “Wait, are we really gonna leave her?” Well, yea, we were. That was the point. Stacy’s reaction was as funny as Susan’s. So we go inside for a few minutes, and before we left, we tried a self timer picture since none of us had had showers and four of us had been in the scorching heat for hours. Yes, we were all looking our very best. Perfect time for a photo. My friends love me, but they do occasionally give me no small amount of grief over the photos I choose to post of them. Of all the pictures I could post from our drive-by visit yesterday, I chose this one because I owe my friends a little something in return for not killing me over their photos. I think it’s my best side. <snort>
“As always, the message is the same: make today count.” ~ Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
I spent 90% of Saturday working, either on work work or chores around the house. This morning, after coffee, I clipped Wally (a really good job I might add) and resigned myself to another day of work. Then I got a text from Annie Bassoni. She had a plan that included ice cream. She picked me up, we drove to Stacy’s and picked her up, then drove to Crystal’s and picked her up. Off we went to Crank and Boom in the Distillery District. It’s a favorite for three of us, and Stacy had never been. Now, she has!
Our day ended up being far longer than just an ice cream social. We enjoyed our ice cream, as you can see, but we laughed and perambulated about the district until we wandered in to Goodfella’s Pizza where we were treated once again to deliciousness and laughter and conversation like balm for the soul. We even had a hysterically funny sidetrack to Catherine and Susan’s on the way home (a post for another day). When I did finally get home I thanked God and the Universe for this day and these women who made me stop working and laugh. They are keepers.
“Don’t wait. Life goes faster than you think.” ~ Unknown
Shell and Crystal admired a camera sitting atop the Audubon cabinet housing Transy Library’s copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The ladies give scale to the enormous prints that were bound into beautiful leather bindings. The prints and the cabinet, which was specially made for the volumes, were donated to the library by a wealthy woman named Clara Peck. She also donated a first edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species. These donations and others have been in the news lately with the recent release of the film American Animals based on the heist at this very library. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the film, but there’s no mistaking how we all felt about what happened at Transy. I’m really glad their special collections librarian wasn’t seriously hurt (she gave me my first tour of the library over a decade ago), and I’m overjoyed that their stolen goods were returned.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what’s been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down.The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.” ~ Josh Shipp
I’ve had an excellent week capped off by a trip to Transylvania University’s Moosnick Museum and Special Collections. My old friend and former housemate Kevin Johnson is Transy Library’s latest hire. He joined us on the tour (“us” as in UK Libraries’ Special Collections crew). You sort of met Kevin way back on January 4, 2012 when the outhouse first sprang to life. Actually, you only met his wrist (watch), so this is the first time you see his face. Kevin probably doesn’t know that his calm demeanor and steady friendship helped hold me together during one of the worst periods of my life at the death of my BFF Jim Brown. You can’t replace friends like that.
I’ll talk more about Moosnick later because there’s a lot to talk about and it’s very cool, but this post is about three old college friends who somehow, after twenty years, managed to find themselves on a workday in the same place all armed with cameras, on Friday the 13th no less. We shot plenty around Transy, but we shot lots of each other, too. I think our colleagues were entertained by our three ring circus. In case I haven’t told the story: Kevin was in the MFA program at UK as Crys and I were working on our undergrad degrees (all in photography). Kevin took us under his wing, and in many ways, taught us more than we would have ever gotten from our coursework. We forged lasting friendships. Fast forward all these years and Kevin is happier now than I have ever known him to be. He has a son in whom he delights, and now he has landed a job with people who truly appreciate his highly evolved silly photog ways. He even gets big bear hugs from Marie. It makes me so happy to see him well and peaceful. He’s a great man and Transy is fortunate to have him. Me and Crystal are pretty lucky, too.
“Please don’t judge people. You don’t know what it took someone to get out of bed, look and feel as presentable as possible, and face the day. You never truly know the daily struggles of others.” ~ Karen Salmansohn
Today, Kathryn Lybarger and Crystal Heis received their 10 Year Service Awards. It’s not an exaggeration when I say it feels like they started yesterday. In those earliest months I would tell Crystal she “started at a weird time.” Now that she’s been there a while, she tells people she “started at a weird time.” And it’s true. A lot of things were in flux back then, but in a good way. We were growing in amazing ways, and our department had stepped to the national forefront in several areas. It was exciting to be part of that growth and that team, which included both Kathryn and Crystal. A lot has changed in ten years. The department we were in splintered. Crystal is the only one of us who has remained connected to what we were doing then. I transitioned from leading a national program to a job where very few people know what I actually do now, let alone what I did. Kathryn landed a faculty cataloguing position working with really stupendous colleagues. They’re very lucky to have her. It does my heart good to be with these gals and remember all the good we’ve done and all the good we’ve yet to do. Here’s to an even better 10 years to come.