The “Art” of the Matter

Photo by Monica Silvestre on

Once again March is here, and I am in the middle of Tech Week for a show. Like usual during this week, I either find myself thinking about a better way I could have made a costume work or why I believe all children should have access to the Arts at early age. Just this morning I found myself thinking, “Why do so many people push their kids into athletics but not something related to the arts?” I am not a researcher, but as a life long fan of the arts (seriously, I played a sheep at age 5), I feel like the “art” of the matter is that people don’t see the benefits of involvement with the arts.

So what are the benefits? This can vary depending on the type of art form being utilized. To start, let’s talk about the theatre. First and foremost, being in the theatre teaches team work. Unless you’re starring in a one person show in which you also do all of the tech work, you have to work cooperatively with others to stage a successful production. A big component of this is strengthening communication and self advocacy skills. For example, if you’re in the cast, and you lose something, then you have to be able to ask the appropriate person for help. I can’t tell you how often I get asked “Where’s my x?” I’m always glad they ask so that they have something to wear on stage! Additionally, theatre promotes learning empathy (something that I believe is strongly missing in today’s society). Whenever you are playing a character, you have to find ways to understand their emotions and portray them in such a way that you can relate to the emotion. Empathy can also be developed just from watching a theatrical production as well. Obviously, given my 35 years of being in theatre, I feel very strongly about this one!

However, my strong feelings about everyone trying the arts doesn’t stop with theatre. I believe that learning to paint, creating collages, and using clay are essential to developing fine motor skills. Another way to work on fine motor skills? Playing a musical instrument! Learning a musical instrument and how to read music can also help with math skills. In elementary school, I always believed that fractions made sense because of knowing how to read music and understanding the number of beats associated with a given note. Along with teaching math, music can help with writing skills, emotional management, recalling memories, and much more. Seriously, look up all the ways music can be beneficial. One other thing worth looking is the health benefits associated with music and art therapy. If I can’t convince you to get the “art” of the matter, the research might be able to do so. Are you feeling ready to try being artsy yet?

Understand that I’m not trying to say sports don’t have a place. I played several of those while also being active in the arts. Likewise, I’m not trying to convince you to only pick the arts. However, if getting to the “art” of the matter could have a positive impact on life, why not at least give them – or encourage your kids to give them – a try?


The Great Kaysby

The Eye of the Hurricane

Original Artwork – “The Eye of the Hurricane” by The Great Kaysby and LilKsby

“In the eye of a hurricane/there is quiet/for just a moment” is the lyric that kept running through my head over and over while I worked on the pictured painting with LilKsby. The lyric is from “Hurricane”, a musical number from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. During the last few weeks life has kind of felt like a hurricane with so much going on with the pandemic. Businesses and places have reopened, but then they’ve had to close back down. Case numbers had seemingly plateaued, but now there are more cases than ever in certain areas. Masks have gone from being recommended to having to be mandated. On any given day one person can experience so many thoughts and feelings that they feel as though they are constantly living in an emotional hurricane.

Then, there are days where you finally feel like you can breathe; days where you feel like you can finally relax. These are the days when you feel safe from all the distress of the world; these are the days when you just enjoy the life you’ve been blessed with having. These days are the eye of the hurricane for you. Currently, these are the best days! They are days of no anxiety, no doubt, and just experiencing relaxation, contentment, and joy. I think we could all agree that we need more of these days!

So what’s in my eye of the hurricane? Snuggles with LilKsby, cooking for him and Mr Kisby, baking, painting, reading, avoiding social media (that really gets the old anxiety going), exercising, writing, and watching fun videos (lately a lot of Nicholas Brendon’s lives), communicating with family/friends, and focusing on today. My eye of the hurricane is a comfort to me, and with all the uncertainties these days, it’s a good place to spend some time. In my eye of the hurricane, there is love and joy! Even though I know this storm must be weathered, it is good to just be in the moment of quiet sometimes.

What’s in your eye of the hurricane?


The Great Kaysby

Gnome Story

Artwork by The Great Kaysby

I love to paint, but I’m not a skilled artist. I’ve been to just enough paint and sip parties to call myself a dabbler. I’ve bought canvases, paints, and tools so that I can paint (and sip) at home. Back in February, I decided to host a paint night, and I was determined that I was going to paint a gnome. I knew I couldn’t do it without looking some ideas up online, but I was determined!

Determination led to looking at a lot of pictures of gnome paintings on Google Images. I eventually found a picture of the one above while searching “Gnome Sweet Gnome”, and I decided that this was the gnome I was going to paint. Step one was figuring out how I was going to get the gnome from the picture on my phone to the canvas. In the past, I had printed out the object I planned to paint and traced it onto the canvas. This time that didn’t seem like the best course of action. This led to deciding that I was going to have to attempt drawing it by hand (also not a big skill of mine). Long story short, I drew the gnome by hand, and painted it all myself! The end result was the gnome in the picture above.

So what is the point of my little gnome story?

The first point to my gnome story is that you never know what you can achieve if you don’t try. It would’ve been really easy to have talked myself out of attempting to draw and paint my gnome based on my previous perceptions about my artistic ability. This time I didn’t talk myself out of trying, and I am still amazed two months later at the gnome that I created myself!

The second point to my gnome story is that great joy can be found in the simplest things. When I look at my gnome painting, I can’t help but smile. I think it is important for all of us to having something that we can look at and smile every time we look at it. This thing could be a picture of a vacation, a ticket stub from a movie, a favorite book cover, etc. What the object is doesn’t matter; what matters is the feeling of joy that it provides.

Those are the points of my gnome story. What’s your gnome story?


The Great Kaysby

34 Days and Counting…

In the last 34 days, I’ve left the house 5 times maybe 6 to do activities other than walk around the neighborhood. I had to go to work one day, picked up an online grocery order once, went for a drive and lunch pick up, and picked up dinner twice. I’ve cried more than I’ve ever cried especially out of being deeply moved by the kindness and generosity of others. But most importantly, I’ve spent tons of time with Mr Kisby and LilKsby that I wouldn’t have otherwise! ❤️ This is my favorite part of social distancing/corona-quarantine, and I can honestly say that at 34 days and counting boredom is nowhere in sight!

So far I have or we have:

  • Watched a lot of TV (often just as background noise) including: Full House, Fuller House, Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World, Nailed It, Hart of Dixie, Onward, and Inside Out.
  • Baked cookies
  • Learned to make bread from a starter
  • Cooked more than ever (seriously, we had an eating out problem)
  • Cleaned
  • Napped
  • Learned how to work from home
  • Painted my nails
  • Given a haircut
  • Played board games
  • Taken Udemy classes for fun
  • Started to learn guitar from YouTube
  • Worshipped virtually
  • Visited with family virtually
  • Played video games
  • Created art projects
  • Played with toys
  • Read books

I’m sure we’ve done more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment! The good news is there is still a lot we can do without getting bored! The best news is that we’ve gotten time together we wouldn’t have had otherwise!!! FYI…if it wasn’t for the pandemic, then I may not have seen LilKsby’s first steps or been there when he started to say, “Dada”. Those have been the best moments!

I hope that you’re finding things to do during this time at home and enjoying it. I’d love to know your favorite things!


The Great Kaysby

KY-ish Staycation

“Staycation all I ever wanted…staycation no time to get away.”

The idea of a staycation – officially a bona fide Merriam-Webster word since 2009 and allegedly used as early as 1944 by the Cincinnati Enquirer – has been a growing trend in the US since the financial crises of the late 00’s.  The idea of a staycation is simple: enjoy a vacation while being able to sleep at home.  Staycations can be as easy as hanging out at home and just doing fun things like vegging on the couch, playing video games, and watching TV.  They can also be a trip to somewhere within a 3 to 4 hour drive from which you can go and come back in one day.  Either way, they are typically cheaper and require less advance planning than a getaway vacation.  With summer fast approaching, I thought I’d talk about some great Kentucky-ish (aka some are in Tennessee or Southern Indiana also called SoIn) staycation spots!

Corvette Museum – Now I don’t know a lot about engines or specs on a transmission, but I know pretty and shiny!  Oh and you can see a cool exhibit of some cars falling in a sinkhole!  You’ll also have a chance to see the only 1983 Corvette in existence which as an ’83 baby I find interesting.  As an added bonus, you take the tour at your own pace which allows you to spend as little or as much time in the museum as your attention span allows.   Adults – $10 – 


Kentucky’s Stonehenge – So this guy, Chester Fryer, built Stonehenge replicas in his yard.  It is really neat to walk through (which you do at your own leisure) both because it is pretty to look at and the work that went into the development is amazing.  We went and saw it in 2008! FREE –

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Lincoln Birthplace – good if you either like history (me) or climbing a lot of stairs (not me).  The natural spring on the property is beautiful as is the replica cabin.  Plus, the tree from the property known as the Boundary Oak totally provided the name for a local distillery!  Don’t you think Lincoln would have totally approved?  FREE –

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Cumberland Falls – home of the epic Moon Bow! Which BTW is not someone mooning you in front of a waterfall!  It has been billed as the Niagara of the South and is very pretty.  Thankfully, there is a lot to do at the State Park because truth be told you can only stand around looking at a waterfall for so long before it becomes boring.  But in the park you can go white water rafting, attempt to take a raft up under the falls, hike, enjoy activities in the lodge, chill in a cabin, etc.  All this makes it a great location! Some free activities, some not so much – 

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21C Museum Art Gallery – This is the uniquest gallery I’ve ever been to! I love the variety of media represented in their installations.  A favorite of mine is the installation shaped like a tornado made up of items salvaged from a tornado. It is a quick tour, but well worth it with everything else on Museum Row!  Free – or for those in the Lexington area

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Discovery Park of America – Just across the Tennessee line is this gem of a museum! There is literally something for everyone here and the building is shaped like a dragon!  Plus, for an additional fee you can attempt an escape room.  Oh! And for no additional fee you can climb on an old train and pretend to be a conductor or the dude in the caboose!  General Admission Adult – $14.95 –

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Mammoth Cave – home of a really cool tour where the only light is a lantern you (aka Mr. Kisby when we went) carry on the journey!  Plus in the cave are cool features like an abandoned TB hospital, old mining equipment, and supposedly a ghost or two! Prices vary by tour –

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None of these tickle your fancy? Here are some other popular attractions!

  • Louisville Slugger Museum – Free mini bat with admission!
  • Squire Boone Caverns – Lot of stairs, but you get to see a coffin!
  • Indiana Caverns – Is it a walking tour? Is it a boat ride?  Is it both?
  • Frazier Museum – Lots of old school sharp objects and shiny armor!
  • Speed Art Museum – Good art, good times!
  • Rauch Planetarium – Space fun for the whole family!
  • Newport Aquarium – Fish? Pretty! Sharks? Freaky Fun! Penguins? I LOVE PENGUINS!
  • Forest Edge Winery – Good wine, great people!
  • Castle Post – It’s a castle in Kentucky…enough said!
  • Keeneland – It is beautiful and you can gamble KY style by betting on horses!
  • French Lick and West Baden Inns – cool 1920’s architecture, a freaking amazing dome, gambling, and wine with Italian food.

There’s a lot more staycation kind of things to do around Kentucky, but these are some of the tops I recommend!  Let me know which ones you like best!

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