Thursday, October 30, 2008


I'm so bummed that I'm going to miss this. It sounds like so much fun. (This is from 2006) Next year I want to sign up to be a zombie.

For more info on Thriller:
Thriller in Lexington

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The last few weeks at work have not been what I would call fun. With a deadline looming I’ve been trying to finish up a project that was started before I even came on board at UK. We’re creating a digital archive of UK yearbooks also known as The Kentuckian. The total nerd side of me has loved this project. Having taken so many photos destined for yearbooks, I loved looking at the portraits. Watching fashions and hair styles change from year to year has been completely entertaining. The first person to smile with their teeth showing didn’t occur until 1915 or so. Most people probably wouldn’t care, but I’ve had too many mothers tell me “Make sure he/she shows her teeth,” so I notice these things. Another interest for me stems from the fact that I went to school at UK. Campus has changed so much over the years. I walk around now and try to imagine what it looked like back in the day based on the various photos I’ve seen.

The down side of this project is that it spans over a 100 years, and the University has obtained several copies of each edition. Most were owned by actual students, which means people have cut out pictures and/or removed entire pages. Covers have been replaced. Not all the pages are numbers. Pages have fallen out and been reinserted in the wrong order. I’ve made countless trips to the archive and reading rooms to verify odd ball things, like the fact that the printer did indeed jump from page 10 to page 12 in the 1910 volume. These are all little things, but they are driving me slightly crazy.

So good, ol’ Kopana said to me last week, “You just need to get out and do something fun. Come on a group of us are going on a ghost walk.” I was totally up for it. Officially, it’s named the Lexington Ghost Walk and Creep Crawl. I didn’t catch the name of the man that leads the tours, but he also does history walking tours of Lexington, although he admits the ghost walks are the more popular tours.

Thursday night, the weather was wonderful. The tour starts at Main and Broadway. Our group got their early to grab a warm drink from Starbucks. Around 7:00 the tour guide arrives, decked out in a top hat, long black cape and carrying a lantern. I remembered a few years back sitting at a traffic light and seeing him come down the street with cape blowing in the wind and being scared to death until I saw the group following behind. That’s when I figured out what was going on. So I had to chuckle at expressions of people driving by catching a glimpse of the man

The tour itself lasts about an hour and half. You walk through downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods stopping to hear a spooky story about how somebody died and the ghostly things that have happened in the building since. The stories range in time from the late 1700’s going all the way up to 1970’s. The tour winds its way up through Transylvania University’s campus and the Gratz Park neighborhood. (Incidentally, the Bluegrass Trust also offers a ghost walk where you actually get to go inside some of the buildings. It is only scheduled for this weekend, and given that I’m here in Ohio, I’ll have to remember to sign up to for next year.) In addition, to the ghost stories, historical land marks are pointed out, like the oldest brick building in Lexington and the home where Mary Todd Lincoln was born. I learned that the horses used by Lexington Livery Co. actually still live downtown. I assumed they were trucked in from a nearby farm. These are types of things that a nerd like me loves to learn. The tour is only $10 per person and completely worth the money if you like a spooky stories and historical tidbits.

After the tour was over, I made my way back home. Still keyed up from the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I found myself wide awake at midnight. I clicked on the TV and surfed channels a bit, eventually settling on KET (PBS). The show was Kentucky Life, which features interesting people and places across the state. I started to nod off during the show, until I heard the host say “Next up, we’ll talk to photographer, Sam Abell, who has worked for National Geographic, but got his start right here in Kentucky as a photographer and editor for the UK yearbook.” My eyes shot open and there on the television was the 1967 Kentuckian.


Forget the ghost and sprits. I have my own haunting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I have to say a big "Thank you" to my friend, Kopana, for introducing me to a most wonderful creation.

Hershey's has released a pumpkin spice kiss. yum.

It ranks right up there with the pumpkin spice latte in
terms of yummy deliciousness.

It's like taking a little bite of pumpkin pie. yum.

Did I say yum?  

Apparently they are a limited edition and not everyone is carrying them.  

So if anyone reading this has any contacts with Hershey's research and development folks, I vote to make this one a keeper.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

an evening with David Sedaris

Yesterday, as I worked on my blog I did a quick google for David Sedaris. Buried about half-way down the list of results was #25 David Sedaris « Stuff White People Like. The link takes you to a blog about what presumably all or only white people like.

The bloggers pose the question why would people spend money to go hear an author read from a book that they already own or have read? My response would be another question. Why do we go to concerts to hear music that we've already bought or heard on the radio?

Anyway, I what interested me most was a comment at the end of this blog post.

I waited in line at a bookstore for an hour and a half, give or take, so that my
girlfriend could meet David Sedaris... (in the book) he signed for her he
said, “I’m glad you have legs so that you can walk.” That’s it…is that

I don't think this person get it. Sedaris is very observant of tiny details about people. He tends to hone in on they way they look, something they say, what they do for a living etc. The things in finds particularly interesting may be abstracted and morphed into something else in his imagination, and there begins a story. I suspect that is why he talks to each and every person at a book signing. He's always looking for new material. Judging by last nights attendance the man probably meets hundreds of people a day. Coming up with a witty comment for each person would be impossible, especially if it's someone you just met. Think of how hard it is to write a unique comment in an office birthday card, and that's for someone you probably see on a daily basis. To fill in the gaps I'm assuming that he uses quotes or tag lines from one of his many short stories. Out of context, the phrase may seem a bit random, but a die-hard fan would probably get the joke and others (like me) might appreciate a silly bit or randomness. Let me give you a similar situation my friends and I experienced a couple of years ago. This is the same night I discovered that I didn't look like a slut.

A dear friend of mine had been recently diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia which is often times terminal because it usually afflicts elderly men. She was in fact a 35 year-old woman, and is currently in remission. Anyway, at the time of the signing she was just beginning treatment. The line for book signing was long and she started to feel very tired. My other friend, Teresa, and I suggested she sit down and rest, while we have the book signed for her.

When it was our turn, Teresa told David to please make it out to "Paula" and that was it. As he was signing, Teresa blurts out. "You didn't just write that?" She hands me the book and I see the words " Paula... You are going to die."

Earlier in the evening David had read a short story, Memento Mori when gifts come back to haunt you, that at the time had recently been published in the New Yorker. Without paraphrasing too much, the story had the reoccurring phrase "You are going to die." So upon seeing the inscription we knew what he was referencing. It was plan old irony that he wrote that in a book destined to a woman with possible terminal illness

I don't think either Teresa or I breathed for a minute or so, trying to figure out should we give the book to Paula or stealthily run over to the book kiosk and get another copy. Eventually, we delivered the original book to Paula, who was eagerly waiting. We warned her that the inscription may be unsettling. She took one look and laughed out loud. She got the story reference and she go the irony.

So I can see where the blog commenter was coming from to a certain extent. I think its a case of not everyone gets it.

Momento Mori was published this year in When You Are Engulfed in Flames. On the dust jacket there is a quote from a reviewer at the Village Voice "Sedaris's sometimes affectionate, usually dark insights might be troubling if they weren't so damn funny." I think that sums it up best.

So you may be asking yourself what he wrote in my book this time. "I like your stick." Seemingly random yes, but I was wearing my "little dude on a stick" necklace. It works.


Saturday, October 18, 2008


Despite the best of intentions, this week still wasn't great, so we're trying it again. No big plans for the weekend.  "Work around the house" is always at the top of the "to do" list.   It began last night by doing laundry, paying bills, and cleaning up the kitchen.   Some may see it as a pathetic way to spend a Friday night, especially for a single girl, but it works for me.  In a way it's cathartic, especially cleaning up the kitchen.   I know its nuts, but I find fewer things in the world more satisfying than scrubbing down my kitchen sink with Comet and having it glean back at me.  The whole house could be in a shambles around me, (which has actually been the case off and on throughout various construction projects,) but if my kitchen sink is clean, I know I'll be okay.    It's weird I know, but it's one of my tics.

Speaking of tics,  I am so excited about this evening. I'm going to
 see David Sedaris at The Singletary Center for the Arts. 

I saw him about two years ago in Louisville, and can I say the man is brilliant!  I'd heard him on NPR's This American Life several times, but had never read any of his books.  That night after the show I picked up Naked and even had it autographed.  I've been told that David is really good about book signings. He'll stay until everyone in line has been taken care of, which was great considering I was nearly the end of the line.  

I'd had plenty of time to watch the man, considering a small hoard of people were ahead of me.  I liked the fact that he actually asked who the book should be made out to.  I've been to book signings before where a staffer comes through the line and asks you for your name. Then writes it on a post-it to be placed on the page where the author signs.  It's a nice way to speed things along, I guess, but it seems rather impersonal.  Not that the Sedaris' approach is THAT much more personal.  He asks the name signs the book, hands it back to you, smiles quietly and says "thank you." 

So when it was my turn, he quietly looked up at me and asked "Who should I make this out to?"   I answered back "To me,  Crystal."  He put his head back down and quietly wrote.  As he finished, he clutched it to his chest and said "I have to explain, why I wrote what I did...It's because of your name."  He hands me the book and I quickly look at the inscription.   "To Crystal
Funny, you don't look like a slut.   David Sedaris"   

There is an even better story from that same evening, but I'll leave that for another post.  

I picked up When You Are Engulfed in Flames last week on one of my many bookstore visits.  I think I'll tuck it in my bag just in case I have another opportunity to have it signed.  I wonder if I still "don't look like a slut."


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Planting the seeds to a better week

  • Have breakfast with a friend at Joseph - Beth (a favorite place.)
  • Discover a soon-to-be new favorite place, the Morris Book Shop 
  • Purchase some gifts for friends, might as well add one for yourself too.
  • Go home to only to find out that you and your best friend both decided to purchase buttons at Hancock Fabrics and missed bumping into each other by only a few minutes. (Acknowledge the coincidental randomness)
  • Eat the Glorious Morning Muffin you saved from breakfast (Yum!)
  • Make a to do list for the rest of the weekend.
  • Avoid all news reports about the economic "crisis" just to be safe.
  • Begin the day with NPR and good coffee.
  • Start working on outside chores like cleaning up the back yard from recent construction projects.
  • Plant the free plants given to you from a friend.
  • Realize you've completed nearly all your  "To Do" items
  • Decide to finally use that gift card from Barnes and Nobel that you've had for 6 months.
  • Laugh at yourself as you realize this is your third bookstore visit in a little more than 24 hours. 
  • Treat yourself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte (YUM!)
  • Meet up with some good friends to take photos at the Arboretum. Laugh almost constantly for the next 3 hours.
  • Dinner at Ramsey's  (another fav)
  • Come home to find more free plants delivered.
  • Consider the cheer up weekend a success!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A New Week

It's Sunday, and I'm hoping that this week turns out better than last. Nothing horrendous happened. It was just kind of a crap week. Perhaps it's the trickle down from the "economic crisis." That seems to be all anyone is talking about. It's bound to affect my mood, and they say its probably going to get worse bere it gets better. So the plan is to turn this funk around for the coming week.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Bianka Story

So I’m contemplating changing the name of my blog The Dog Blog, since I’m finding out it’s becoming less about sharing bits of my life and more about sharing stories about Bianka. I know I talk about her as if she was my child, and honestly right now she is the closest thing I have to a child. But, no matter how much I dote on my dog, I do realize she is a dog. She digs up snakes in the backyard. She eats gross things. She sniffs other dog’s rears when she meets them and yes occasionally she gets into the trash. This is why she lives in a kennel when I’m not at home …that and the fact that she ate an eight in hole in my couch the first week I got her, but that’s another story

So off and on throughout the summer my father has been helping me with a home remodeling project. Back in May, Dad observed that Bianka spent most of the day asleep in her bed while I was at work. He suggested I try leaving her out of her cage during the day. That trial period lasted exactly 3 days. On the third day, I came home to find the contents of my bathroom trash shredded and strewn around the room. She has lost all freedom privileges after that, and she earned herself the nickname TED (trash eating dog.)

So, for the past week, my father has been back down to finish the various projects started earlier in the summer. Bianka loves it when “Grandpa” comes to visit because it she gets a break from kennel time as long as he’s around. Then, when I get home from work, I get the daily dog report. Today’s report was particularly entertaining. Dad came in from working outside to the little black dog with a white nose. At first he thought she’d gotten into the powdered sugar. Then he realized that, no, TED had returned. This time she’d gotten into the kitchen trash, drug out the paint rags that were disposed of the day before, and decided to redecorate. Thankfully, she Hadn’t ventured beyond the kitchen, so damage was minimal.

So I will say there are advantages to having a dog over children. When Grandpa goes home, I can resume locking Bianka in her kennel during the day, and I don’t have to worry about social services being called.