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. 

january 21, 2017

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“In a way life itself tracks a person’s generosity, much like an airline might track frequent flyer miles. The more you give, the more you earn, the higher you fly, and the further you go.” ~ Robin Jackson


the crew


Today I did something I’ve never done. I went to a protest march; the Women’s March. I tend to keep my political views to myself. The outhouse provides me a positive, creative outlet. Politics don’t really belong here because I don’t find them particularly positive. But today I have to talk about it. I exercise my right to vote at every election, and I take that very seriously. A century ago, women were beaten and scorned and God knows what to get me that right. I refuse to dishonor them by not going to the polls. My father and his brothers, even my mother through her military service, fought to uphold this right as well. I honor them when I cast my votes. As a progressive in Kentucky I often lose, but I go to the polls anyway. You can call me a lot of things, but sore loser isn’t one of them.


estimated 9000


I did not go to the march as an anti-president protestor. I never want our presidents to fail. I don’t want congress to fail. Nobody wins if/when these things happen. No, I went to the march because ours is a democracy admired around the world for its ability to survive whatever gets thrown at us, and that survival depends solely on people getting off their asses when they don’t like what they see and doing something about it. I went to the march because of the inexcusable behavior during the campaign that allowed America’s underbelly of racist, sexist, cruelly insensitive hypocritical culture, the level of which is nearly incomprehensible, to raise its head. It’s not the campaign tone alone that I have a problem with; it’s the culture to which that behavior gave voice. Disturbing though it is, I am not at all surprised by it. You don’t have to be a minority to know it’s there. You just have to be willing to acknowledge it.


more or less


A man did not win the American presidential election. Apathy won the election. Frankly, I think having a president who did not earn his seat by popular vote, buoyed by a single-party controlled congress that, thus far, appears perfectly alright with whatever happens regardless of the consequences, will be an excellent thing for this country. Let’s hear it for this reawakened bravado of the McCarthy-era wealthy, white patriarchy. You can’t fight what you can’t see. So, here it is, front and center. If you don’t like it, do something about it. If you do like it, enjoy it. I suspect this current Washington line-up is just the punch in the gut that Apathy needed. After what I witnessed today, the mid-term congressional elections are in 2018, and this resistance train is mighty and moving fast. Things will change.


the now generation


I went to the Women’s March today expecting nothing but women. Boy, was I in for a surprise. There were just as many men. They made my heart sing. There were young people and elderly people. There were people in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, and gay people and straight people and people somewhere in between, and black and brown and white people, and people in costumes I didn’t understand at all. There were friends and colleagues and strangers all around me. This might have been called the Women’s March, but this was really The People’s March. This is what democracy looks like, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.


A First Wave Feminist


I’ve seen estimates for Lexington’s Women’s March between 5000-9000 people. There was an estimated 2.5 million protestors across the country today, apparently making this the largest protest in American history. I marched today for my mother, and my grandmothers, my aunts and cousins, friends and colleagues, and for all the men I know who would never condone the behavior that’s been unleashed. Jim Brown and Lance Hughes felt particularly close. I marched for my dad who loves me from the bottom of his heart and would never, ever, ever talk about me like a piece of meat. He is a decent, honorable man. We are so blessed to live in a country that gives us the right to peaceably assemble, and for our voices to be heard. God knows we’ve got our faults, but America is already great, and I reject any suggestion that it is not. I’m not a political junky or an activist. My view here is simple compared to the complexity of the situation. All I really know is that I love everybody. I don’t care what a person’s religion is, or who they sleep with, or how many sins they may – or may not have  – committed, or what color their skin is. If they are kind, respectful human beings, I welcome them in my world, and I hope they would welcome me into theirs. To me, this is what being Christ-like looks like, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also fundamental to my political views. 


rock on

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




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

february 12, 2014

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Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are.
It solely relies on what you think.
” ~ Zig Ziglar


When Stacy started her job at the library, she shared space with another recent hire, Ida Sell, left. They hit it off splendidly, which doesn’t happen easily when you’re a generation apart. Stacy found in Ida someone quite different – more compassionate and trustworthy – from the co-workers she left, and they share similar interests in many things, such as theology. I watched Ida’s friendship allow Stacy to relax and begin to trust people again. Amid the dark and unkind of the world there are lights. Ida is one of those lights.

look, she's young
look, she’s young