“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”
~ John R. Wooden
My old friend and colleague Louisa Trott Reeves (bottom left) came to UK from UT Knoxville for some spiffy training today. We were lucky to have a nice lunch with friends and catch up. Our chat was much better than this cobbled picture of us squinting into the noonday sun. I’m very grateful to be in a profession that has allowed me to make good, lasting friends like Louisa. I hope it’s not so many years before we have a chance to catch up again.
“Turn your face stubbornly to the light, and keep it there.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
A few weeks ago Crystal traveled to Austin, Texas to attend a Photogrammetry workshop. This type of photography involves many photos, multiple angles, and a single object from which a map or a 3D model can be created of said object with specialized software. Basically, the software uses the photos to measure the object.
This afternoon Crystal decided to photograph the giant Abe Lincoln head in the Special Collections lobby from which to create a 3D model. Abe is a hollow bronze created by Gutzon Borglum, the artist who created Mount Rushmore. Our Abe was a model for that larger work. I lent a hand (and a flash), and I learned a lot about Photogrammetry along the way. One thing we both learned: close your eyes before the flash goes off.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie
Crystal sent a note this morning. “You realize we graduated from UK twenty years ago today, right?” Well, I didn’t until she told me. I’m not real good with dates or names, but that day I remember really well. My best friend Jim Brown had died just a week before. He and I were supposed to walk through graduation together (he’d finished his degree in Business in December), but he didn’t survive. Instead, I walked the smaller Fine Arts graduation, but I didn’t walk it alone. Crystal walked, too. She’d finished her BFA in only four years, as where it took me five years for a simple BA. In my defense, I was still playing a lot of music and working a couple of part time jobs. I tell you what, Crystal and I had a lot of good times, and great conversations back then. She’d take smoke breaks with me. She didn’t smoke. I had a two-pack-a-day habit. A lot has sure changed in these last twenty years; some good (I quit smoking), some bad (a lot more people have died), but all in all it’s pretty awesome because I’m still hanging out with Crystal. She’s the kind of friend you want in your life, and I’m incredibly grateful for her, and to her…even though she still looks like she’s twelve. Maybe a little of her anti-aging secret will rub off on me if I stick around her long enough.
“This week: Stop stressing over shitty people.” ~ Unknown
The lunch ladies had special treats today. Mama Heis (Elaine) was in town and wanted to have lunch with the lunch ladies. She drove by campus to pick up Crystal, Marie and I, and we met Stacy at Ramsey’s. We enjoyed a few laughs, lots of hugs, good talks, and we all walked out without having pie in solidarity with my diet. I love my lunch ladies, and we all love Mama Heis. A good time – and full bellies – was had by all.
“Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it faith. Feed it truth. Feed it with love.”
I guess all I had to do was talk about taking a walk with Crystal to make it happened. Crystal, Marie Dale, and I took advantage of the warm weather after lunch for a quick jaunt around campus. We came across these beautiful, and unusual-for-campus, bikes. Crystal and I naturally whipped out our phones. We laughed about that. I think I saw Marie giggle and roll her eyes, too. And those bikes! How could you not love a bike with an anchor and white-wall tires, or streamers on the handle bars? A good time was had by all.
“Be kind, there is really, after all, nothing else worth doing and all others things done, if done without kindness, are unlikely to bring to harvest the hope with which the deed was begun.” ~ Mark Davis
Back in December, after the library’s holiday lunch at Commonwealth Stadium, Crystal and I walked back to the office. It’s funny how often she and I are on the same page. It can be a good page or a bad page. Today, we were on a bad page. For me, technology has been utterly atrocious at work for the last two weeks, and today it bit Crystal, too. So, there we were in my office trading complaints. I would really miss her if one of us left UK. I found this photo from that walk we had in December and it reaffirmed that thought. My life is so much richer with her as my friend. Her little kindnesses, that silly laugh, big brain, and mad cooking skills are just what I need to get me through a day job (I’m so unsuited to a day job it’s kind of scary that I can do it at all). I don’t know what I’d do without her.
“Ring the bells that still can ring | Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything | That’s how the light gets in” ~ Leonard Cohen
Yesterday, Crystal and I walked back to the office from Commonwealth Stadium. We went through the Blanding Tower dorm area. I delivered more pizzas to those old dorms than I can count back when I was in undergrad school in the mid 1990’s. Yesterday, our forms made long shadows on those paths I walked so long ago. I have very found memories of that time of my life. But I enjoy the new memories, too, like taking a selfie with Podge and Crystal outside the Woodford Reserve Room during the holiday lunch. It was an excellent day for the old and the new.
“Health does not always come from medicine. Most of the time it comes from peace of mind, peace in the heart, peace of soul. It comes from laughter and love.” ~ Unknown
I had never been inside Commonwealth Stadium before today. The Libraries held our annual holiday lunch at the Woodford Reserve Room at the stadium. Hands down it was the best location for our gathering, and you couldn’t beat the view. The room opens onto a spacious deck at about the fifty yard line. I imagine the games are wonderful to watch from here. Crystal, Podge (Jeff Rion), and I were all sorry we weren’t properly dressed to take a run down the field. It looks so inviting with no one on it. It also looked much smaller than it does on TV. The Dean’s remarks before lunch were also memorable. He very rightly pointed out that we are an inclusive institution of higher learning, and that Christmas is but one of many holidays celebrated during this time of year. Given the vitriol that has bubbled to the surface of our society around the recent election, I found his comments appropriate; reaffirming that we as librarians are stewards of democratic principles, and it is our duty to offer a safe place for our students and colleagues. He then pointed out the recent bronze sculpture of the four football players who integrated football at UK and in the SEC. It’s just outside the stadium beside the new practice facility. Naturally, Crystal and I walked back to work in that direction. It’s a really well done, moving piece of work. The perfect cap on a delicious lunch with some very, very special people. It was an excellent day.
“The older I get the more I realize that some situations do not need my reaction.
I can decide where my attention and energy flow.” ~ Unknown
If you want to throw a party, call Shell Dunn. Today, we had our Special Collections Christmas “Taco Extravaganza” and Shell pretty much designed it all. From cooking all the meat (and there was a lot of it) to table decorations to fabulous door prizes, Shell ran the show and really outdid herself this time. Of course others chipped in with food, game design, and general prep, but Shell is the undisputed party visionary of Special Collections.
One of the most popular games Shell has come up with over the years is Jeopardy. All the questions are designed around things familiar to the SCRC staff. In fact, under the “Staff” category one question was, “This person only takes the pictures.” This is Crystal’s motto, and she was amused to be a Jeopardy answer (see above). Though she was not on a Jeopardy team, she was the only person to answer one of the $500 questions. Not bad for a non-competitor.
The most active game of the day was the pepper piñata (tiny self portrait in the glasses). I lost count the number of people that took a swing. It was one tough pepper.
Our people weren’t blindfolded. That would be too ordinary. Instead, they wore welders goggles as modeled here by Lewis Warden, who I should mention, didn’t break the piñata. Instead, he ripped it from its hanger causing a stop in the action for repairs. He got an A for effort, however.
Even Associate Dean, Deirdre Scaggs, took a swing at the pepper piñata. We were beginning to think it was as rigged as the election until Sarah Dorpinghaus finally cracked it open (below). Candy, fake teeth, rubber balls, wooden airplanes, plastic back scratchers, and a host of other trinkets littered the floor, dropping even the oldest among us to the floor in childhood curiosity. The piñata was a hit, so to speak. Jeopardy was a hit. The fabulous door prizes were a hit. The food was exceptional. Our unusual Christmas party was the most festive way to end our year and usher in 2017. Thanks to everyone who helped bring us together for some real fellowship. Your efforts never go unappreciated.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
There came a tiny knock on my door near the end of the day. Crystal peeped around. “Look who’s here!” In walked Miranda Hines, one of my favorite people of all time! She worked with us in the libraries for many years before leaving for another job about five years ago. She just returned to UK, and is stationed nearby. She dropped in to pick-up Crystal’s fabulous silk scarves that she’d bought some time earlier. The last time she was in our neck of the woods, Crystal and I were still seated across from one another. So, when Miranda inquired about my whereabouts, Crystal gladly donned her tour guide smile and down the hallway they came. Talk about being just what the doctor ordered: these two couldn’t have timed their surprise better. I’m just thrilled to have Miranda back on campus. As a bonus, she’s close enough to enjoy lunch with the lunch ladies. I hope we can make it happen in the near future. What a wonderful way to start the weekend.