Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wondering About Whimsy

I spent all last year being serious and focused. At least all of last year until December. Then it got a little silly. There were antlers and mustache leaves and holiday merriment. And I really liked that. It felt like I could breathe again. And I dared hope that maybe, just maybe, my life might become FUN again.

Well the universe decided to throw the doors wide open on that front last week. 
My dad came to visit while my husband was gone.

Now what you need to understand about my dad is that he is a total ball of fun. And I am not talking about a super ball. My dad is like the sun, full of energy and radiance and adventure. And he takes up about the same amount of space. There really is no containing him. So I knew I was in for a party, like it or not.

My dad needs something to do all the time, so as soon as I got off the phone with him I started brainstorming and feverishly looking through all the local events pages I could find. Monica Boland's events page (in the DC area, sign up here to get her events page in your email) mentioned that Sunday was the last night for the Holiday lights and mini train display at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD. Done!

Yes, this is Nessie and baby. I was not expecting a sea monster 
in the pond at a botanic garden.

I loved how the picture above turned out. It kinda reminds me of a really cool dance club.

 The tropical house was at the bottom of the hill, and a nice, toasty break from being outside. See how fun the trains were? There were a variety of tracks and trains were going everywhere you looked. There was even an ice skating rink with actual moving skaters.

They had even made a miniature of the building we were in, complete with teensy, tiny train that moved!

After we had thoroughly explored the jungle and the trains, we headed back outside.

Doesn't it just make your heart happy?

 It was truly spectacular. 1.5 million lights.  You should go next year. 

Don't worry. I'll remind you.

It was completely enchanting. I wished that my husband's excellent camera was with me instead of with him in the South Pole. But I think my iPad did alright. Plus, I could take videos, like this little gem. Sorry about all the heads in the way of the lights. I am still very much a video novice.

This was Sunday. Now let's fast forward to Tuesday. 

Dad and I decided to drive to Richmond, about 1 1/2 hrs south of here, to go see a display of Dale Chihuly's fantastical glass sculptures at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. I had been waiting not-so-patiently for this show since last summer. And I was not disappointed.

It truly filled me with wonder.

How can you look at this and not smile? It just makes me so happy to know that somewhere in the world is a man that has this kind of thing in his heart. Perhaps he's the real Willy Wonka.

You walk from the room of marble and glass fire-filled boats into a room with nothing in it. Until you look up.

This is the ceiling.

There are over 1000 pieces of glass in a huge variety of shapes layered on one another and then lit from above. Don't you love all the cool light patterns down the walls?

Who thinks of this?

There was also the room that looked like it had been attacked by a rabid balloon animal guy. But in a good way.

Your mind just can't take it all in the first time you see it. We walked around this section about 4 times and then sat and stared at it for a while. I still don't think we saw everything that was there.

The pink and white tree is about 15-20 ft tall.
There is nothing to prepare you for the magic of it all.

These white pieces reminded me of the seaweed that I found on the beaches of Oregon as a child. Except that these were huge. You can see the people in the background in the photo above for some scale. See the faint red jacket there on the right side of the picture?

Here are some of the "sketches" Mr. Chihuly makes when he's just feeling like painting. 
I like the black on on the bottom right the best. It reminds me of a party. 

And these kinda reminded me of giant clams. I don't really know why.

These are baskets made of glass in the pattern of the Native American tribes 
in the Pacific Northwest. 
How cool to think of making baskets when your medium is glass?

There was an entire huge wall of these Pendleton blankets in the Basket Room. 
I just kept looking at all the different patterns and colors they had. 

And here are a few more of the baskets. 
Don't you love that they were displayed on half of a huge tree?

This one was like a giant neon hairball. 
But I did like the reflection on the floor and the fact that he just made it to see if he could.

I love doing stuff just to see if I can.

 So after 5 days of being with my dad, I've decided that the 
Universe must be trying to tell me something.

I wonder if this may just be the Year of Whimsy?


  1. Ahh, I knew I'd seen his work somewhere before. He did the lobby at the Bellagio in Las Vegas! Very cool stuff. Yes, I agree, too much serious does not suit you. You are a whimsy gal. Clearly it is in your genes. xox

  2. I could spend all day there with my camera capturing all the angles and light. I'm inspired now!

    Whimsey away =)

  3. You go girl! I love a year of whimsy! What fun! And those pictures are amazing!


  4. We all need a year of whimsy!!!
    Maybe that needs to be a word for the year! hahaha!
    In 2000 I was up in Buffalo in the winter and they were featuring that same exhibit...well maybe since then it's been tweaked a few times. was seriously amazing. And I had no camera...never again. :/ Glad you were able to see it.

  5. THANKS for sharing such amazing beauty!