“We forget that waking up each day is the first thing we should be grateful for.” ~ Unknown
You’ve heard me talk about the enormous Abraham Lincoln sculpture in the center of the Special Collections lobby. It’s tall. It’s heavy, even though it’s hollow. It dictates virtually everything that happens in the lobby because, well, it’s huge, immobile, and just about as bland as a sculpture can be. Finally, this year, Shell Dunn was given permission to do something creative with ‘ol Abe. She made him a fashionable top hat and scarf. Not only is he now seasonal and fun, he matches the latest exhibit of holiday cards in the lobby, too. There are purists who frown upon such things claiming it defaces the artifact. I might agree if ‘ol Abe was unique. He is not. This sculpture is one of several throughout the US. What does make him unique is how his approachability engages and entertains researchers and visitors. As far as I can tell, that’s a whole lot more useful than a bland bronze head in the middle of the floor. Kudos to management for the spark of fun!
“Don’t wait. Life goes faster than you think.” ~ Unknown
Shell and Crystal admired a camera sitting atop the Audubon cabinet housing Transy Library’s copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The ladies give scale to the enormous prints that were bound into beautiful leather bindings. The prints and the cabinet, which was specially made for the volumes, were donated to the library by a wealthy woman named Clara Peck. She also donated a first edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species. These donations and others have been in the news lately with the recent release of the film American Animals based on the heist at this very library. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the film, but there’s no mistaking how we all felt about what happened at Transy. I’m really glad their special collections librarian wasn’t seriously hurt (she gave me my first tour of the library over a decade ago), and I’m overjoyed that their stolen goods were returned.
“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.
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” ~ Ben Okri
Funny story time. The night before our Christmas taco extravaganza party, Crystal said Shell was running low on door prizes. The door prizes were to be cookbooks. I had one that would make a great door prize, so I brought it in as a contribution to the door prize fund. My number was the second door prize number to be called. I was excited. I love cookbooks! I chose door number 3. That’s when Shell and I laughed our butts off. I had picked my own book. I’d won it as another door prize at another library function three years prior. I’d never cracked the fist page, let alone baked something from it. It’s a very fancy pastry cookbook. Not my thing. After we stopped laughing I accepted my prize with happiness. “You’re destined to have that book,” Shell said. “Now you really have to bake something from it.” Crystal and Marie recognized the book as soon as I got back to the table. Crystal, with a puzzled look on her face, asked, “Isn’t that the bo….” “Yes,” I replied, before she could finish. We laughed again. I have to bake something from this cookbook. If only I knew something about pastry.
“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.
“I’ve lived, I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve missed, I’ve hurt, I’ve trusted, I’ve made mistakes,
but most of all, I’ve learned.” ~ Unknown
Today was co-worker Angela Pulley’s last day. We had a nice lunch before she left us for greater things. She brought along her Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards as an after lunch treat. Her’s were unlike any Tarot-like deck I’d seen, not that I’ve seen many. Each card had four partial images. When laid in a five-card by five-card square, two halves making a whole would appear multiple times, and it was from these pairings the reading was drawn. Some of us had more positive readings than others, but the laughter that rolled out of us was worth all the bad debt and lost love fortunes that turned up. It was great fun, and I’m really going to miss Angela. One of my favorite things in life is meeting new and interesting people. Angela gave me that and her friendship in the brief time she’s been with us. There’s no bad fortune in that.
“The world will knock you down plenty. You don’t need to be doing it yourself.”
~ Elizabeth Scott
Our hero turned 73 today. She wanted to try Sav’s West African Grill, so that’s where we started. She loved it, and Bangalay Mamadou was as sweet as his father. Then, it was off to the new Kroger super store near campus. It’s the only Kroger of its kind with a cupcake bar, beer cave, and rooftop parking. Its grand opening was Thursday, but you would have thought it was today what with cops directing traffic and more people in the aisles than live in a small town. But it was worth it just to take her picture at the entrance of the beer cave (you’ll have to go to facebook to see that one). After a latte at Starbucks (also in Kroger), it was off for an afternoon of furniture shopping.
The day ended with dinner and music at Burns Night with the William Sutherland Reid Pipe and Drum band. Becky Ryder and Gordon Hogg were kind enough to invite us, and Shell Dunn (below), to join them for the annual event. This was my fourth Burns Night. Neither mom nor Shell had ever attended. We had a wonderful time over dinner followed with singing, and mom playing Scottish dress up in some of Becky’s accessories. Shell made it a point to get the emcee’s attention so the entire audience could sing Happy Birthday to her. Yours truly sat in for a song and played…wait for it….more cowbell. It was a fun night with friends. It was a great day with mom. It was a day to cherish; beginning to end.
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is,
rather than as you think it should be.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Today, we had our holiday potluck for Special Collections Research Center. After we dined on some truly fabulous dishes – like Jason Flahardy’s smoked ham, Gail Kennedy’s killer coconut pie, Deirdre Scaggs awesome pumpkin bundt cake, and Crystal Heis’ sweet potato chili – we played a rousing game of Jeopardy. With Gordon Hogg as Alex Trebek and Shell Dunn (wo)manning the technology, four tables of players squared off on Malaprops, L’s, and Furry things. In the end, the “old ladies in the back,” Stacy Yelton and Judy Sackett (lovingly termed by the old ladies in the front, Gail Kennedy and Nancy DeMarcus), won the game. Then, Danielle Gabbard sort of broke her foot. Like I always say, it’s not a party ’til ya break something. What is… Happy Holidays from Special Collections.
“Seek to do brave and lovely things which are left undone by the majority of people. Give gifts of love and peace to those whom others pass by.” ~ Paramhansa Yogananda
Meet UK Provost Christine Riordan. We met taking this picture. Actually, we were never formally introduced, but I suspect she’ll remember me after today, or at least she’ll remember her visit. She was scheduled to come by Special Collections for a tour. Yesterday, we scurried about prettying up the place. Housekeeping buffed the marble floors while the rest of us dusted places that hadn’t been dusted in years. There was a feeling of excitement in the air, as if The Queen herself was coming. We were told to meet in the lobby this afternoon to greet Provost Riordan before the tour. Associate Dean, Deirdre Scaggs, made a very brief announcement, and then we were adjourned, but we didn’t really move. So, camera in hand (of course), I walked over to Provost Riordan and “snap.” Laughter.
I had seen provost Riordan speak once before today. I felt something familiar about her, not in appearance so much as her tone and the manner in which she carries herself. I had a feeling she would be okay with such a spontaneous moment. Plus, we needed a little something to break the ice. Not only was she okay with it, she upped the ante. Without missing a beat, she grabbed her phone and said something like, “If Ellen can do it….” It was a truly fabulous moment. Much laughter ensued.
How well my assertion played out depended solely on Provost Riordan’s reaction. It could have gone very badly. Instead, she was not only gracious about my invading her personal space, she was downright fun about it. The smartest people I know have the same ability as she to laugh, go with the flow, and be kind in unexpected situations. Thank you, Provost Riordan, for being cool, and sharing the peace and love with us. You made for a great day.
[Ellen selfie: Christine Riordan, Deirdre Scaggs, Marie Dale, Shell Dunn, Crystal Heis, Kopana Terry, Stacy Yelton, Ed Brown (with his head cut off), Michael Slone, Robert Holland, Judy Sackett, Gail Kennedy, Sarah Dorpinghaus, Megan Mummy, Justin Student, Lewis Warden, and the top of Jaime Burton’s head with lots of unidentified hands, probably Seth Newell and Jason Flahardy]
[Botton photo: Dean of Libraries Terry Birdwhistell being the first to find the tweet; Deirdre Scaggs and Megan Mummy also admiring the tweet]