Sunday, August 22, 2010

had I three ears

Yet again I found myself stuck in bed with a non-serious but incapacitating illness, taking up a new occupation to distract myself. Heat rash had me laying on ice packs for several days. With my scissors and some discarded jeans nearby, I started making a braided rug.

In the many hours this task kept my hands away from scratching, I thought of the 3 Fates, or the 3 Norns, or the 3 Weird Sisters, triplet hags who spin and weave the fortunes of men. As I cut and braided and cut and braided I pondered my fate. How had I gotten here, with this rash, my ass kicked from a camp teaching job? Where will I go next, after this, my 60th or so job in a long line of eclectic temporary jobs? Am I getting too old for all these strange employments? Will I ever not be poor? Will my need to do only work that has "meaning" always be the curse I was once told it would be?

But as I keep spiraling and sewing this continuous stormy sea-colored braid outward, I think I must be on the right road, no matter how rocky and twisting it persists on being. I cannot live as a straight path walker. The rash I thought would never go away finally did. Some new unexpected prospects are poking up around the next bend. I'll soon have a very nice denim rug on which to rest my investigating feet.

This rug is easy to make. Cut up your old jeans into 2 inch strips (making turns at top and bottom for longer strips) then braid, joining new strips in by tucking them into the braid. Then spiral the braid around, stitching the sides of the braids together. Keep it flat when sewing, wet it down to flatten more now and then as you go along.

Photos below: strips are a joy to cut with good Gingher sicissors; the spinning Norns at the foot of the tree of the world; and my heat rashed back (sparing you the full hideousness by removing the color).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

roaming Roma

I've been spending the afternoon walking around my old Rome neighborhood via Google Street View. It is unbelievable that technology has made this possible. I can still find my way through the streets I used to take to go to school, and to buy bread, and have cappuccino, and eat gelato at the Pantheon 15 years ago.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Giant Chicken Puppet v.2

The second session of Common Ground summer camp brought a whole new chicken. It was important that the second be different then the first, based on the drawings of a new group of kids. Early in the session, though, my body rebelled with a terrible case of heat sickness including an intolerable rash from hiking with my backpack, and then a vomit-virus, and then a bad cold with a fever. I was half delirious when I was cutting the cardboard chicken parts each night, and somehow it came out far bigger and heavier then intended. By the third week it was still in pieces, and I had no idea how it was going to work.

With some last minute night-before building help from fellow camp teacher Jasmine, and councilor Ralston volunteering to take the inside position in the performance so I could assist with the massive head, and despite a drizzle of rain just before (which is no good for a tempera-painted paper chicken, let me tell you), it just barely came together just in time. And thank goodness, because these kids were so excited for this chicken. I would have done anything not to disappoint them.

Chicken version 2 featured googly eyes made of rotisserie chicken containers and foam balls (invented by one of the campers) and also a second puppet of a worm for the chicken to chase with its functioning tongue.

Friday, August 13, 2010

alone at last

Though in the Polly costume I constantly, compulsively pull groups together and seek crowds and noise, I am at heart a hermit. Silence and solitude are ingredients I need as much as air and water. Six weeks of being a camp councilor with 200 children with 200 million questions to be answered was a monumental challenge. Today, at last, it is done, and finally I am in my studio, alone, with just the sound of the breeze through the screen, and the distant voices of people who need nothing from me. I am grateful for the incredible experience I just had. I'll miss the staff and the kids a lot. I am sick as a dog and still fighting an impossible heat rash. But right now I am quietly full of bliss, and I feel just like this: