april 27, 2018

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“Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do.” ~ Unknown

 

week-long crew

 

It’s been one of the most technologically frustrating weeks of my career, and it’s pretty clear from the look on Doug’s face that he’d had a pretty rotten week, too. (we both got a big laugh out this picture) If I told you just how bad it was you wouldn’t believe me, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it was really rotten. Thankfully, Ida Sell and Danielle Gabbard maintained a jolly outlook for us all. “But Abba got back together and they caught the Golden State Killer this week,” Danielle quipped. “So, see, it wasn’t all bad!” You can’t argue with that, and that’s one of the reasons I adore her. She sees the good in nearly every situation, and it helps remind me that I do, too. That’s especially important to remember when I’m struggling on days like this.

 

not quite done

 

After we four grabbed a pick-me-up coffee I excused myself. It was a beautiful day, I had my camera, and I just needed a quiet, little adventure to ground me. Last Saturday I’d passed the front of the new Student Center and noticed major progress. It was begging a second look. I was across the street admiring the impressive UK stone work when I noticed students filing out the doors. I soon realized it was open. Naturally, I jaywalked in front of a cop to see for myself. (I did not get a ticket)

 

now that’s a bookstore

 

Last month, Mike Moore told me he had installed escalators in the new student center. I found them inside the bookstore, which opened just this week. Not only does it span two floors, accessible by said escalator, but it houses a Starbucks cafe – not just coffee, but cafe – as well as a small market that sells cold drinks and collage durable foods like chips and cookies. It’s impressive. I knew the old student center and Alumni Gym sections were still being renovated, but I wondered what else might be accessible. I decided to wander some more. 

 

waiting to be filled

 

Earlier this week on social media I’d caught a glimpse of another Bowman statue (Bowman is the Kentucky Wildcat) being positioned somewhere inside the student center. He was easy enough to find. I just followed the crowds. I later learned from this video that this area is called the “social staircase.” It warmed my heart to watch parents photograph their collage-age children with Bowman. That’s the kind of photograph they’ll look back on someday with, I hope, fond memories of their time at the University of Kentucky. And just like that I’d been put right. My technological doldrums seemed a distant past. I left the new Student Center with a glimmer of hope, not just for the rest of my day, but for the future in general. This generation of young people are bright, talented, conscientious, and good. I’m glad that they’ll have a nice place to gather. I’m betting one of them will invent superior technology that will make my work-life a whole lot happier one day. 

may 15, 2016

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“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.” ~ Leonard Cohen

 

dad (to be)
dad (to be)

 

Today concludes the last of the Library Spring Gala photos. You met Mark Cornelison back in 2014. He was the official photog at the gala, and boy did we all have a good time telling him congratulations. Not, because he was the photog, but because he’s going to be a dad very soon! I’m very excited for him. He’s great guy and he’ll be a great dad. The gala was fun, the people spectacular, and I am a lucky woman to know them all.

 

the gala people
the gala people

may 10, 2016

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“Failure is a necessary part of success. [It] helps to break down the obstacles that perfectionism and self-doubt can create.” ~ Jon Wadswoth

 

award
award
 

Tonight I received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Performance at the annual Library Gala. They were prepared to bring it to me in my seat, but I insisted I walk up to get it. The limp was a little abnormal, but otherwise, it was all good. The Dean was very gracious to me, and I had the chance to share the event with many people I love and admire. You’ll see pictures of many of them as the week moves along, but for tonight I thought I’d present just one of the highlights of the evening (in addition to the super awesome award). Jaime Burton was sweet enough to photograph a toast I made to boss Doug Boyd (who nominated me for the award), Danielle Gabbard (without whose help I would have never been able to achieve everything that got me the award), and our most awesome CEP Fellow Cecilia Virtue who’s getting married soon in Iceland (how cool – ha ha  – is that?). It was the traditional Angie Bliss-Fanning Oklahoma toast; a salute that can only be presented to people you trust, reserved for those whom you would call friends. These three – and Jaime – definitely qualify. A good time was had by all.

 

the toast
the toast

 

the result
the result

may 4, 2016

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“Sometimes you face difficulties not because you’re doing something wrong,
but because you’re doing something right.” ~ Unknown

 

pronounced "Yo-nun" (snapseed)
pronounced “Yo-nun” (snapseed)

 

Okay, I’ll admit it. I had a darned near perfect day. Let me back up. On Monday, awesome boss Doug Boyd gave me a gift he’d found while going through some things at home. This morning, while he and I were having a nice chat, in walks Crystal Heis: show and tell time! Doug gave me a tiny light meter (above). It sits on a camera’s hot shoe and runs on a watch battery. Crys and I tried to find some history on it. The best we could come up with was a $75 bid for one on eBay, and a video voiced in Dutch (zero help). Exit Crystal and Doug, enter Jen Bartlett and Shawn Livingston (below). They mostly dropped in to say hi with a sweet thank you card. Jen had just come from the dentist still numb. I’m happy to report she didn’t drool. Soon, Crys and I found ourselves at Le Madeleine people watching and having a great talk over breakfast food. The afternoon eventually gave way to a presentation by our Diversity Students wherein Jo Staggs-Neel told me I had movie star hair and Beth Kramer said she couldn’t tell I’d gained any weight. I told them I was buying a lottery ticket on the way home after such reviews. I topped that off with a great talk with Shawn on my way out (I saw he and Jen twice today – I really should have bought that lottery ticket). Did I mention my day started by getting the parking space closest to the garage exit? (this is a big deal, trust me) I had a feeling it was gonna be a good day, and it sure was. Many of my co-workers aren’t just colleagues, they’re friends. Really great, irreplaceable life-long friends. I’m blessed beyond measure.

 

trouble (snapseed)
trouble (snapseed)

september 25, 2015

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“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
~ Unknown

 

doctors in the house
doctors in the house

 

I had an unexpected but pleasant surprise at work. Donald Ritchie, Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate and oral history guru to thousands around the globe, was in Lexington to deliver the annual Prichard Lecture which he did yesterday. He stopped by the Nunn Center this morning for an interview with Doug Boyd. It was a pleasure to meet Donald. I learned over the summer that we have a mutual friend in Judi Jennings who just happens to be one of my favorite people. As expected of Judi’s friends, he was especially kind to me, and he gave Doug an excellent interview. He’s quite well spoken and concise in thought. I enjoyed my day at work a great deal, and it’s always a joy to meet someone kind.

 

old friends
old friends

august 19, 2015

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“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

savor the bunch
savor the bunch

 

It is a rare thing as a supervisor to have every single person in the office be just the most awesome people ever. It is a rare thing as a co-worker to have every single person in the office be just the most awesome people ever. I am the luckiest supervisor and coworker you’ve likely met because I am surrounded by awesome.

 

triple threat
triple threat

 

Nathan Moore happens to be one of the finest and smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Today was his last day with us before he heads to graduate school in Buffalo, NY. Former intern (as of last week), world traveler, dedicated tennis player, and Berea College student Christine Gilbert-Crawford, right, got cheated out of her going away lunch last week because I was a too-busy-airhead. Being the super awesome friend and coworker she is, she drove in from Berea (no small thing on move-in day) to join us for lunch. And because I was a too-busy-airhead last week, we also missed Danielle Gabbard’s, left, birthday. So, today we celebrated all three of them!

 

say what?
say what?

 

I gotta say that Christine and Nathan were an absolute joy to be around. They were always happy, and they were happy together. I can only hope their replacements are half as sweet and fun as they were. I feel like a mom sending my kids off to college. Fortunately, I don’t get their tuition bills. I’m so very fortunate in so many ways, not the least of which are all these awesome people.

june 24, 2015

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“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” ~ Mary Oliver

 

two old soldiers
two old soldiers

 

For a long time I’ve been trying to find a way to interview dad about his life. He met my friend and writing and art life mentor, Gurney Norman, back in December at the funeral of a mutual friend’s father. They hit it off big time. I’ve never known dad to make such an effort to be friends with someone. He thought the world of Gurney the second they met. The feeling was mutual it turned out.

 

from dad's point of view
from dad’s point of view

 

A few weeks ago I awoke from a deep sleep with the answer. (yes, my mind works that way sometimes) I knew Gurney should talk to dad. They share so, so, so much in common. They’re both mountain men. They’re a year apart in age. They both went through jump school in the army. Gurney not only knows where Hardburly is,the coal camp where dad was born, but he has actually been there. The list goes on. So, I asked Gurney if he would interview dad. It was an enthusiastic yes. I was beyond honored. Dad was honored, too. He didn’t care as much about the oral history part as he cared about talking to Gurney again.

 

from Gurney's point of view
from Gurney’s point of view

 

Gurney is a smart man. He’s genuinely interested in what people have to say. He’s equally interesting to listen to, for he has lived many lives in this one life. So, that’s how they did their interview; like a conversation. When dad actually stopped talking for a second (I’ve never heard him so eager to talk – ever!), Gurney shared his own wisdom, insight, and theories. He knew how to draw dad out; how to make him more comfortable so that he would tell his stories. As I suspected, Gurney is a natural at oral histories, probably because he was a reporter for many years, but also because, like I said, he is genuinely interested in people. You have to be interested in order to know how to listen and to ask the right questions.

 

the crew
the crew

 

This was the first of what I hope will be many talks between these two new/old friends, whether it be for our cameras, or just over coffee. I don’t think they care either as long as they can keep talking. There was more admiration and respect in that room than words can define. Most of it was coming from me. I just felt incredibly blessed to be loved by two such great men.

october 31, 2014

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“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”
~ Tecumseh

 

slash
slash

 

I had the best Halloween this year that I’ve had since Kevin Edmondson’s party 20 years ago. Kevin had a casket in his living room with a (mostly) naked friend inside wrapped in cellophane, meat and cheese and other Hors d’oeuvres draped over him. That’s but one detail of the night. Trust me when I say it was a Halloween to remember. This Halloween wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was fun just the same. My co-workers dressed up. Our students dressed up. I dressed up. The boss, Doug Boyd, dressed up as Slash from Guns and Roses (above). I won a door prize at the faculty club (I never win door prizes), and then I got to hand out candy at Stacy Yelton’s house while she took pictures of the kids who were so stinkin’ cute this year it hurt. It was a fun, fun day.

 

Slash and Freddie Mercury rock
Slash and Freddie Mercury rock

 

Slash and Freddie Mercury (Jaime Burton) rock it out in The Nunn Center while, below, we get a look at the many wondrous costumes of Special Collections Research Center.

 

the gang #1
the gang #1

 

(Above – Left to right, top to bottom): Dean Terry Birdwhistell (he claimed to be Inspector Gadget), Maggie Salisbury (a most awesome snail costume), Ruth Bryan (as Ruth Bryan with a pumpkin shirt), Felipe Vogel (see him? He came as a ghost), JD Carruthers (Edward Gorey inspired), John Young (‘ol Punkin’ Head), Ida Sell (she’s always understated, that’s what we love about her), Associate Dean Deirdre Scaggs (jury’s out on who made the best devil, her or Marie), Gordon Hogg (he pulls out his The Scream tie just once a year).

(Below – Left to right, top to bottom): Marie Dale (the Devil’s right arm), Kopana and Marie at VP Alben Barkley’s desk (I couldn’t decide if I was a cowgirl or a farmer), Jaime Burton (dressed as Freddie Mercury, she was scared by how much she looked like her dad), Deirdre and Doug, Sarah Dorpinghaus (as a French Archivist) and Matt Harris (as Sarah in negative), Doug and Jaime.

 

the gang #2
the gang #2

september 10, 2014

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“Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It’s all funny.” ~ Joan Rivers

 

talkers and listeners
talkers and listeners

 

I had a very interesting morning (understatement). Doug conducted an interview with former Humana senior executive, former director of Churchill Downs, Kentucky native, and UK Alum, Carl Pollard (far right). Meanwhile, I (wo)maned our new totally awesome Panasonic video camera, and monitored sound. Neither Doug nor I had ever touched that camera before yesterday afternoon. It’s not entirely intuitive, either. And because it is a relatively high-end camera, mistakes are glaringly obvious. Though I’ve long fancied getting into documentary production, doing an oral history on the fly with a guy who hangs out with the President of the University would not have been my first choice. That said, it was an exceptional experience! I learned more about the camera, sound, lighting, and other elements of a successful multi-media recording than I ever would have if I’d practiced on a colleague or friend. Sometimes throwing me in the deep end is the thing to do. I was also able to observe Doug in his natural habitat. He’s brilliant in the interviewer’s chair. Mr. Pollard was surprisingly shy and modest about his success. He could have left the room with the other luminaries (Doug, far left, Dean of Libraries Terry Birdwhistell and UK President Eli Capilouto) and gone on with his day, and that would have been that. Instead, he made a point to shake my hand, say he was glad to meet me, even called me young lady. I love any man that calls me young at this age, and I especially admire a man who makes it a point to talk to the help. It speaks volumes about his character. I really wish I’d gotten a better snap of him. I say throw me in the deep end again. I like it.

 

morning smiles
morning smiles

august 28, 2014

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“Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can’t eat or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.”
~ Unknown

 

Jesus and Buddha
Jesus and Buddha

 

Doug Boyd and I went to a training this afternoon. Once in the building, we were directed to the last room on the right. There, we found Jesus on the floor, a tiny zen sand meditation trey in the corner, and various other spiritual totems decorating the room. But no people. The room was very small; more pillows on the floor than chairs to sit in. Neither Jesus or Buddha needed our help, so we sought clarification elsewhere, and finally made it to the right room. We’re partnering with Hospice of the Bluegrass to create an incredible collection of oral histories with their patients. The clergy and social workers will do the interviewing, hence the training. Doug, doing what Doug does best, talked to them at length about why oral histories matter and how to do a good one. These people are gifted to start with. Their level of compassion is invaluable. They build rapport effortlessly. They know how to listen. They know how to draw people out. The ease with which they can offer this opportunity is unmatched. As one pastor said, “We’re doing this already. We just don’t record it.” Everybody has a story. Everybody’s story is worth telling. This is exactly the kind of project that made me happy to come work for the Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

teacher
teacher
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