A couple of months ago, my sister called and asked if Sassy and I wanted to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Faberge Exhibit. We had toured the Kremlin when we were in Moscow in 2001 and she thought it might be nice to see more of the collection. On Sunday we all headed over there. The treasures were in cases, so I couldn't get as close as I wanted. It's hard to focus on all the detail when you're packed in with lots of other people. Plus - these things are so filled with detail that it's completely impossible to see everything. You're looking at enameling covered by gold stripes filled with precious gems, and then more enameling...unbelievable.
Only one of the eggs was open. Most of them had descriptions of the surprises that were originally inside the eggs, some with small pictures of the surprises. There were parasol handles, candy boxes, frames, icons, cups, miniature animals, chess boards, candle holders - you name it, if the Romanov family bought it, there was at least one example on display.
My favorite egg
At the end of the exhibit Sassy and I were waiting for the others. I turned to her and said, "You know, every time I approach the story of the Russian monarchy, I want the ending to be different. I want them all to live."
I want the Tsaritsa to say, "Hey Nicky! We need to come clean about the Tsarevitch's health - let's tell the people that he's sick." And, "Rasputin - get lost. You stink and you're a pig. Take a hike!" I want the Tsar to say, "Maybe it's not such a good idea to spend oodles of money on incredibly intricate but ultimately useless gifts. Mama, Alix, this year for Easter let's just have a nice dinner and hide eggs for the kids. What we save on our Faberge bill will buy lots of bread for the people."
I know it's simplistic to wish they had seen what was coming and somehow plan for it, but it doesn't stop me from hoping and then feeling bad every time they die at the end.
I've been thinking a lot lately about creativity in all forms. I am primarily a knitter and a spinner, although I do A LOT of dyeing as well. I've always been curious about drawing and sculpting, but haven't had the time or inclination to actually do anything about it. I do have a couple of favorite sculptures that I'd like to share with you.
This is the Ghost Clock.
It's located in the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. The Renwick is the home of the American Art Museum's Craft and Decorative Arts program. The first time I went there, I was expecting crafts along the line of knitting and spinning. I walked into a gallery and saw this piece and thought, "Why would they drape something and leave it in the gallery? That's really silly. They should take it out and repair it and then bring it back." Then it hit me, it's a sculpture - created entirely out of wood. It was carved by Wendell Castle out of bleached Honduras mahogany.
I must have stood and stared at this thing for 20 minutes. It's on a large pedestal with a couple of other sculptures, but you can walk around and see it from all sides. It is gorgeous and I can't even imagine the craft it took to create it. If you're in DC, take a trip over to the Renwick. It's not far from the White House so if you're there for the whole historic tour stop by and see it.
I believe I've written here before about my attempts at getting on the Getting Things Done train. GTD is the shorthand for a program created by David Allen that shows you how to structure your life so that everything gets done and you have time to do all the things you HAVE to do as well as all the things you WANT to do. This year, Jillian challenged me to jump back on the train with her. I've spent the majority of the last two days processing notes from meetings I've been involved in over the last 12 months. Seriously! Here's the thing, I take notes on index cards when I'm in a meeting. I capture high points, future projects, action items, and the like. The ideal is to process these notes within a couple of days. The reality is, I had a stack of index cards about four inches tall. Unacceptable. So, I'm working my way through and hoping I can stick with it. I hate the idea of completely scheduling my life, but it looks like that's the only way I can actually get things done. (see what I did there?)
In the fall of 2012, I was working really hard and completed a big task very well. I was utterly satisfied with the work and so was everyone around me. Then I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole. Nothing was making me happy - not work, not life. So I hired a personal coach and began looking around for what would make me happy. One of the people I encountered was Tara Sophia Mohr. She writes a lot about playing big and living out loud. These questions came in her year-end e-mail. I'm going to tackle them just so I have a touch point to come back to for the coming year.
1. Because I wanted to make
2013 count, I…will play big and stare down whatever fear is currently in my heart.
2. Because fear of failure was
no longer a good enough reason to not do it, in 2013 I…will attack problems head on and be braver when it's time to speak up.
3. Because I listened to the
whispers inside, in 2013 I…will make sure those whispers are speaking kind words about me and the people around me.
4. Because the things that
brought me joy in childhood still do, in 2013 I…will ride my bike more. I forget how much I love it until I'm on it.
5. Because simple pleasures are
so rich, in 2013 I…will cook more meals and share them with my family.
6. Because my body has served
me so beautifully all these years, in 2013 I…will start a yoga practice and be more mindful of what I put into it. What does not serve me will be gone.
7. Because the world needs my
service, in 2013 I…will teach. I want to put together some fiber class descriptions and send them to places that need teachers.
8. Because of the remarkable
people who have loved me and made me who I am, in 2013 I…will tell them how much they mean to me every time I see them.
9. Because I am willing to
believe in the power of forgiveness, in 2013 I…will be kinder to people who I feel have done me wrong. I will apologize first and leave old hurts in the past.
10. Because the silence has
gone on long enough, in 2013 I…will keep speaking up - again and again if necessary, until I am heard.
11. Because I am so blessed, in
2013 I…will continue to look for people and projects that are in need. Kiva and Kickstarter will be seeing a lot of me this year.
12. Because I vowed to be more
radical, in 2013 I…will worry less what other people are thinking.
13. Because I wanted, in the
last days of my life, to remember this year with tears of gratitude, in 2013 I…will be me. I will be grateful for every single day for the opportunities I'm given.