“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Today was the library’s annual holiday luncheon. It’s never a lunch. It’s always a luncheon. I don’t know the difference, but the food at the Boone Faculty Center is fantastic. Every meal I’ve had there in the last two years has been good enough to make you wanna slap your granny. Add in your favorite coworkers and you’ll wanna slap your papaw, too. Happy Feasting one and all.
“Get out of your head and get into your heart. Think less, feel more.” ~ Osho
This is Ruth’s dad, Bill (left). I had the pleasure of meeting Bill some years ago at one of Stacy’s NYE parties. He’s a kind man of quiet intelligence and gentle smile. At Ruth’s tea yesterday, Bill made friends with this lovely gentleman, whose name I don’t recall (because I can’t remember anyone’s name – ever). They talked for a very long time. For me, there’s something touching about two elders trading stories. We should all be so lucky to age with a friend.
“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” ~ Unknown
Today was Ruth’s annual Christmas soirée; tea a la Emily Post. Each year the cast changes slightly, including the pets, but the core library crowd is consistently present, and always the day ends with Christmas carols. I’m always pleased to be in their company. A good time was had by all.
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Two long-time colleagues retired this week. Gail Kennedy, pictured here with Ruth Bryan, was one of them. I’ve worked closely with Gail in these later years, and I’ve gotten to know her rather well through our shared love of art. I will miss her kindness in the hallway, her smile in the lobby, her sharing of knowledge and passion for learning. She left us each personalized cards in our mailboxes filled with words of kindness in keeping with her spirit. Gail will be back from time to time, and I look forward to seeing her on the job and anywhere I run into her. Thank you, Gail, for sharing yourself with us all for so long. I hope we returned the favor.
“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” ~ Carlos Santana
Ruth and I sometimes walk together to the parking garage at day’s end. Today, we neared Limestone Street when she began to tell me about the two large columns on either side of the university drive at Limestone. Just this morning I’d wondered about these columns. Construction is rebuilding one sidewalk, taking out the shrubbery, making one column obvious to see. Coincidentally, Ruth, university archivist, had gotten a reference request today about the column’s origins. The earliest evidence of the their existence is 1906. The columns marked the main entrance to campus. They were flanked by the classic Kentucky white paddock fencing, which is about five feet tall. Each column anchored an iron gate only slightly taller than the fence. The columns weren’t much taller. By 1920, however, the gate and fencing were gone, and the columns were the height they are today. You can see a square iron stud still in the stone where the gates used to be. It is, as yet, unclear why the gates were dismantled; why the column height was raised; or why they remained erect after the main entrance was moved elsewhere on campus. What is clear, however, is that Ruth has a cool job. Who wouldn’t enjoy finding these hidden answers?
“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”
~ Satchel Paige
Wally and I had an impromptu visit from Aunt Ruth Bryan this evening. As Wally sported his best punk mohawk, there was much talk of ticks. They seem quite prolific this year and unusually hungry. Wally had two ticks this week, both firmly embedded in his delicate skin. The problem, besides that the ticks were already established, is that Wally regularly gets Revolution, an oil application that’s supposed to defend against fleas, ticks, and heartworms. I supposed two out of three ain’t bad.
“Growth is painful. Change is painful.
But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”
Special Collections has been filled with January Capricorns as long as I’ve been there. The majority of us are still around, too. Here, we’re lined up in the order of our birth day (youngest to oldest as luck would have it) starting with Ruth Bryan (Jan 3), Matt Harris (Jan 4), moi (Jan 8), and Judy Sackett (Jan 9). Matt and I were born the same year. Unlike me with a dog and two cats, he has five real children. He’s holding his birthday card that I thought was going to be cool for his kids (although he had to ask who left it in his mailbox because he couldn’t read my signature). It wasn’t going to be quite as fun as I thought. After a meeting this afternoon, we decided to take pictures with the cute mustache on a stick only to find it didn’t actually come out of the card. I think they used cement to be honest. So, we were forced to pose with the whole card instead of funny individual shots with the mustache. Still, Ruth provided plenty of funny faces. It was good fun, and I hope it made Matt’s birthday a little brighter. It sure made my day bright.
“Do your little bit of good where you are;
It is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.”
~ Demond Tutu
I mentioned last week that I’ve been slowly working my way through a large backlog of photos. For instance, this shot is from the middle of September. It was the last image with Ruth Bryan’s jazz band (their name escapes me at the moment) playing a cookout at the Victory Avenue Church. I want to caption this so badly, but the choices seem endless. “Surprise!” just doesn’t cut it. I know this: Ruth always puts a smile on my face, whether she’s being silly or just being herself. She’s a good egg, and I’m lucky to call her friend.
“Don’t just slay your demons, dissect them and find out what they’ve been feeding on.” ~ Andres Fernandez
It’s been a long beautiful day. I, with several of my colleagues from Special Collections, had the opportunity to attend a Brené Brown workshop; Rising Strong. It was sponsored by UK’s Work+Life Department. UK does some things very well, and their Work+Life program is one of them. The day-long workshop was presented by Cindy Reed. You might recall that Annie Bassoni and I were doing yoga with Cindy back in January. In addition to being a yoga and meditation instructor, Cindy is also a psychotherapist. She started facilitating Brené Brown workshops with her colleague Cindy Hutchinson not long ago. If you’re not familiar with Brené Brown, look her up. You’re probably familiar with some of the very positive things she has to say. Things like “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” Needless to say the workshop was inspiring. When it was over, I played paparazzi and photographed Ruth Bryan’s jazz band. They were playing a cookout at the Victory Christian Church in the Kenwick neighborhood: my old neighborhood where I lived with my BFF Jim Brown many years ago. The church was close enough to throw a rock to our old house. It brought back many good memories. The whole day was wonderful, and I’m grateful for every second of it.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.
~ Nido Qubein
Today was the much anticipated Kentucky Field Trip with our IFLA guests. We wanted to give them a good overview of how beautiful and awesome The Bluegrass State can be. What better way than Keeneland and Buffalo Trace Distillery? Bright and early we loaded up the UK bus (with our awesome driver, Sarah) and off to Keeneland we went. Becky Ryder, Director of the Keeneland Library and local committee member, met us there (as did Ruth Bryan, Kazuko Hioki, and Michael Lütgen who drove themselves). She treated our guests to a delicious Kentucky style breakfast. Judy Sackett even tried gravy and biscuits for the first time…and she liked it! Our guests were then treated to a tour of the track, the grounds, and the sales pavilion. It was a beautiful thing to see their eyes light up watching the horses train, and the excitement when one of the outriders stopped by for a chat was just so special. My heart swelled with pride. Except for the oppressive humidity, it was as close to perfect weather as we could ever hope for.
We could have spent a lot more time at Keeneland. The tour guides were incredibly engaging and the ladies especially loved the gift shop, but Buffalo Trace was waiting on us, so we loaded up the bus and off we went again. This is where the story gets good. My contacts up to this point were not the people who met me at the visitor center as expected. Instead, the Distillery Archivist (whose name I have sadly forgotten) and a man named Art met me at the door. When I asked for my contacts, Art simply said, “I’ll be doing your tour.” It was a bit odd, but I was okay with it because I could tell right away he was a cool dude. We soon found out how lucky we were that Art was our tour guide. He was the most entertaining tour guide I’ve ever had. We had a ton of laughs – and that was before the samples – but we learned a great deal, too, not just about bourbon but the general history of the area. I might also add that the now-forgotten-named archivist was great as well.
Art really showed off our Kentuckian sense of humor to our guests (a point of personal pride for me). Truly, he was a load of fun, and when it came time for the samples, he shared with us their White Dog brand. It’s essentially alcohol (something ridiculous like 170 proof) before it’s aged to become bourbon. He poured some in their hands mostly to smell, although a few did taste it. Their reactions ranged from “that’s not so bad,” to, “Oh my God, I tasted it!” followed by a contorted face. In any case, a gentle rubbing of the hands produced the smell of bread caused by a chemical reaction of the alcohol on skin and oxygen (I think). Everyone then had a chance to sample a couple of their more popular brands, as well as root beer and bourbon chocolate made by Ruth Hunt Candies, another Kentucky staple. By the time we left Buffalo Trace, everyone was tired but completely happy. We could not have planned a better representation of the Commonwealth. My heart was bursting with pride and joy.
That brings me back to where the story gets good. This is Art with IFLA participant and US Government Docs librarian Cynthia Etkin from Virginia. I had the pleasure of getting to know Cindy yesterday when we lunched with Reinette Jones. She’s a warm hearted, open soul who was so happy to be with us and learn about all the good – and troubling – things going on in the world of news media preservation. She had lived and worked in Kentucky for many years some time ago, both at WKU and EKU. It was at the latter where she met Art. Oh yes, they knew each other before today. On the way back to the hotel we learned that she not only knew him, but she dated him… for thirteen years! They never married (at least not each other), but you could tell they remained close after all this time. Cindy had told Art she was coming to Kentucky and would be on the tour. Art, in turn, insisted he be our tour guide. It all made sense why my contacts did not meet me when we arrived. Theirs was one of the sweetest stories I’ve heard, and learning their history together was the perfect way to wrap up our shared adventures. Every second of this week as been worth the sweat and sleeplessness. I made new friends, connected with old friends, shared time with mentors, and smart men and women from all over the world. We might solve this preservation dilemma yet. I continue to be the luckiest woman alive.