Stories

In the Wake of the Plague

In the Wake of the Plague

Last summer I reread In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death & The World It Made by Norman F. Cantor. I bought it in 2002 because of the cover art and my fascination with the idea of how society would change if one-third of the population disappeared.    Some changes are measurable. According to Cantor, “the Black Death accelerated the decline of serfdom and the rise of a prosperous class of peasants, called yeomen, in the 15th century. With “grain rotting in the field” at the summer harvest of 1349, because of labor shortage, the peasants could press...

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How to Look your Best after the Pandemic

How to Look your Best after the Pandemic

A friend asked me to write a style guide showing how to wear my jewelry - outfits, occasions, looks, etc. It’s a great, fun idea, but every time I sit down to start it, I’m halted by a nagging sense that something is not right.  As we emerge from behind our doors and screens, it’s worse.  In conversations about jewelry and fashion, the majority of women I speak with immediately start to criticize themselves. They don’t think they “look good” or aren’t sure how to “look right”. After our forced confinement, natural self-soothing with food, and extended period of extreme stress, we...

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Ducks, Gladiators, and Black Panther

Ducks, Gladiators, and Black Panther

News stories from the past year that should have been front page: 1. A fully intact food stall was excavated in Pompeii: Image: Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei Read Pompeii article 2. Germany is planning to return bronze sculptures, stolen by the British from the Kingdom of Benin, to their rightful home in Nigeria. I hope I live to see the day museums return all of their stolen art. Read Benin article If you enjoyed the opening scene of Black Panther, read this: https://jhuexhibitionist.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/why-museum-professionals-need-to-talk-about-black-panther/ 3. As if we needed more reasons to visit Rome, by 2023 the Colosseum will have a...

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Italian treasures, Indian loves, and Jhumpa Lahiri

Italian treasures, Indian loves, and Jhumpa Lahiri

If I am actually going to read something right now, it better be good. I’ve lost the ability to focus, find social media and the news maddening, and really want to be around other people.  When I think about jewelry, I wonder how easily my mask will pull it out of my ear or how many widows in India are going to have to sell their jewelry to survive. So, today I share a few interesting things (click on photos to read more): 1. Archeologists found a fully intact, four-wheeled, processional chariot in Pompeii. 2. The Accademia Gallery in Florence, which has...

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Motherhood is the oldest profession

Motherhood is the oldest profession

Since ancient times, mothers have been valued as the source of life everywhere, as seen in these mother and child sculptures from the 12th century BC to the 12th century AD from Mexico, Egypt, France and India.  The obvious rise in patriarchy over the past several hundred years eroded the position of women. But, it seemed the value of mothers stayed intact. In our generation, I feel the value of mothers has been eroded. At work, we hide our pregnancies and distracting worries about the kids. If we decide to be full-time moms, we are ‘doing nothing all day’...

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Birds of Prayer Dancing in Stone : The Fatehpur Collection

Birds of Prayer Dancing in Stone : The Fatehpur Collection

Fatepur Sikri, built by the Emperor Akbar, was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. I’ve probably been to Fatepur Sikri (about 35km from the Taj Mahal) more times than my relatives in India combined. Each time I notice something different. When I was a little girl, I noticed my mom and aunts preferred talking to running. As an adult, I realized I took my frequent visits for granted. As an architect with my architect husband, I paid attention to the layout and function. As a mother, I wondered what my children were seeing and I saw...

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