november 1, 2015

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“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~ James Allen

 

collage of happy
collage of happy

 

I had a guest register available at the reception. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I went to bed Friday night. I attended All Saints Day service this morning and picked it up afterward. Sixty people attended Friday’s reception. Sixty people took time out of their lives to come see my work. Some I’d never met before Friday. Some sneaked in and out without my seeing them though they were kind enough to leave their signature. Some drove nearly two hours to be there. Some took off work. Some were recovering from major surgery. Some couldn’t stay long, and others stayed the whole time. Someone pointed out how many segments of my life were assembled in that room: family, close friends, old friends, new friends, co-workers, writers, actors, artists, musicians, librarians, bankers, software developers, railroad men, professors, social workers, therapists, pathologists, nutritionists, the list goes on. They’re not all represented in this collage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have a group hug in the outhouse. Sixty people. I may be speechless for a week I’m so overcome with gratitude.

february 25, 2015

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“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.”
~ Haruki Murakami

 

Reinette
Reinette

At yesterday’s sesquicentennial soiree, the lunch ladies and I grabbed full plates and headed to the break room for some peace and quiet. Reinette Jones joined us. She was looking a little like a deer in the headlights. Apparently, she’d become a favorite of the school’s newspaper photographer. He’d followed her as she perused the exhibit for the soiree, snapping pictures all the way. She didn’t understand why he was so enthusiastic to photograph her. When I explained that it’s because she’s pretty, I could have sworn I saw her blush. And when she blew me off, the lunch ladies backed me 100%. Sure enough, she made it into today’s edition. She claims I’m the only person able to take a good picture of her. I think she doesn’t want to face the fact that she’s pretty, and photogenic, and gosh darn it, people like her.

september 25, 2014

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“When you come upon a path that brings benefit and happiness to all,
follow this course as the moon journeys through the stars.”
~ Buddha

 

faces
faces

 

I had the most interesting conversation/brainstorming session with co-workers Jaime Burton, Reinette Jones, and Stacie Williams. Between plentiful ideas for a grant proposal and an extensive examination of Hip Hop, I came away feeling a lot smarter than when I went in. Plus, the laughter was infectious. We have such potential in these women. All three are extraordinarily unique, but combined? They’re an intellectual force to be reckoned with. I was happy to be included, and happier still to share their laughter.

 

three's company
three’s company

 

the funnies
the funnies

 

august 12, 2014

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“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
~ Robin Williams

 

stop
stop

 

I woke up still in shock over Robin Williams’ death. And just like last night, today’s news feeds were nothing but R.I.P.’s. Why has this man’s death so affected the world? The first 10 minutes of the evening news was devoted to him, record floods and wars be damned. Why? I’ve thought about this all day. I’ve read many articles on his passing. I even watched Access Hollywood (God help me) to hear what they had to say. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because he was at once so gifted, so compassionate, so tender hearted, and so hurt. In the end, the hurt outweighed everything else. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that. I’ve known people who’ve committed suicide. I know people who battle against suicide every day. Medication can help. Therapy can help. Good friends, a good job, a good boss can all help. Yet, all that help isn’t enough sometimes. It’s hard to wrap your mind around that, too. But Robin made us collectively happy. Few have the skills to do that for billions of people. I grew up with him. There was nobody else like him. Ever. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who has given you hilarious happiness for decades. It’s harder still to do it this way because it leaves us with a kind of guilt. He helped us, why couldn’t we help him? If you suffer from depression and you feel yourself going to that dark place, please reach out to someone. And if you feel like you’ve got no one, call the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-TALK or go to http://www.afsp.org/ to learn more.

august 7, 2014

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“Fear is going to be a player in life, but you get to decide how much…so many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. ” ~ Jim Carrey

 

a girl and her pickles
a girl and her pickles

 

The word today is ‘green’. Reinette Jones was wearing green. Mom asked that I deliver to Reinette a jar of her homemade bread and butter pickles. I did, and lo, the pickles and the shirt were strikingly similar. Thankfully, I didn’t photograph her in front of a green screen. Just think of the photoshop fun I could have had with that. Anyway, Reinette wanted to know how much moonshine was in the pickles (I think the Mason jar reminded her of a moonshine jar). She is a pure nut, and I mean that in the best possible way. I think that’s why she and mom hit it off so well. They’re both hysterically funny women; never a dull moment.

may 4, 2014

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“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” ~ Brian Tracy

 

 

cultural ambassador
cultural ambassador

 

The mUsiKcare piano students were invited to the home of fellow student, Hong Shao. Not only did she and her husband warmly welcome us into their home, but she treated us to a totally fascinating mini-concert. She’s an accomplished player of the Pipa, the lute-like instrument seen here, and the zither which sounds like a harp. She told us how she came to learn the traditional Chinese instruments, and how she’s helping young people in Kentucky learn to play them, too. Our day’s blessings didn’t end there. One of our classmates suffers stage 4 ovarian cancer. No matter how bad she feels, she comes to every single class. And despite a less than adequate keyboard at home, she practices. That’s dedication. We all chipped in to help Dr. McVay and others buy her a brand new piano, then told her about it today, ahead of tomorrow’s delivery. It was a remarkable day of real communion and kindness in action.

 

players
music really does care (photo by Hong’s husband whose name I don’t know)

february 19, 2014

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Life is too short for fake butter, cheese, or people.” ~ Unknown

sugar cubes
sugar cubes

There’s nothing fake about these gals. Stacy Yelton and I joined Annie Bassoni, Kathy Schifflett, and Reinette Jones at the new Ramsey’s location. Aren’t you curious what they’re talking about? Being there was no guarantee you would have heard them. Delicious food as usual, but the noise is even worse than the old location. No matter: any time with this bunch is time well spent, even if all I understand are their smiles. That’s good enough for me.

february 15, 2014

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Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘
Holy sh#t, what a ride!
~ Hunter S. Thompson

reflections
reflections

A few days ago I had the privilege of photographing one of our library events. Many of my co-workers attended including Reinette Jones and Megan Mummey. I was primarily focused on the five guest speakers and some of the audience members, but I was instantly taken by this image. The beautiful reflection aside, I was struck by how these women are so different from each other in many respects, and at the same time, incredibly similar. I think that’s true of most of us if we stop long enough to consider the possibilities. No matter how different or similar they are, the honor of knowing and working alongside Reinette and Megan is all mine. They make it a pleasure to go to work every day. What a ride!

august 3, 2013

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Happiness starts with you. Not your relationship, your friends, or your job, but with you.
~ Mandy Hale

birthday breakfast
birthday breakfast

This was the kind of Saturday that makes me want to get up in the mornings. A group of us met at Cracker Barrel for breakfast to celebrate Kathy Schifflett’s birthday. It was a spectacular two hours filled with laughter and fellowship. I love these people so much, my heart sings being in their presence.

neighbors extraordinaire
neighbors extraordinaire

But wait, there’s more – my day just kept getting better. Paula and her husband (above), who’s name I can’t remember to save my life, are young parents with a beautiful daughter. They’re both genuinely warm, welcoming people. You may recall that my neighbor gave me Lily, the little black cat I love so much. Paula is that neighbor! She and __________ wanted to have a neighborhood potluck. Today, young folks brought their children. Older folks brought their chairs. Everyone brought a covered dish. People pitched cornhole while a three-piece dixieland band played from the porch. It was fantastic!

wilson
wilson

A ton of us from three streets showed up. We had a blast socializing with one another, meeting neighbors we didn’t know. For example, I met Wilson. He’s a ham operator. He’s wearing leather suspenders his daughter bought for him. He’s from Minnesota, and he was quick to point out that two others on the street are also from his home state. In fact, one lives next door to me, and the other lives next to Stacy Yelton. He’s a Lutheran minister whom Wilson has asked to perform his funeral. I’m hoping that won’t be for a very long time because Wilson is awesome and I want to know more!

the gang
the gang

I don’t know what I did to deserve to live amongst such incredible people, but I’m sure glad I did it. I wish this kind of neighborhood for everyone. The world would be a kinder place for sure. This was a grand and glorious day, start to finish.

august 2, 2013

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What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.
~ Unknown

sky history
sky history

This was where I spent my second day on the new job; the Kentucky Historical Society’s Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. We attended a “workday” sponsored by the Kentucky Oral History Commission on problematic legal issues of release forms and various other documents. The nerd in me found it very informative, and not at all unlike many of the issues I’ve dealt with in other collections, or even my own photography. I probably should have studied intellectual property law; I’m that much of a nerd. Anyway, I knew it would be a good day as soon as the very cute, very gracious Eleanor Craig from the Loretto Heritage Center said she was new to the club. I wasn’t alone. I also wasn’t wrong about the day. It was a wonderful way to meet new friends. It didn’t hurt that I rode to and from the event with one very hilarious old friend and colleague Reinette Jones. Yes, I could really like this job!

funny girl
funny girl
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