Archive for October, 2010

Holding my breath-still

October 31, 2010

As is with all things in life, sometimes you have to wait patiently. I am waiting for the person to contact me with photos of her home in Ireland. She sent me a quick blast saying she is digging them out of the attic. While I am waiting, I am going about my regular life.

I am at the crossroads which is to be expected. I have to work on a budget for my pension income, as it is evident that I can not sustain the type of spending I have in the past. I have to work on a better eating plan, as my physical activity has changed since I retired (for example I am not on my feet 8 hours a day, chasing students and their ideas). I have to focus on organizing and cleaning my house, as it has been on the back burner while I was working (I was one of those Holiday “OMG company is coming” cleaners). All of these things can be very overwhelming to someone who is processing that she has the rest of her life to do anything she wants, and quite frankly the first 3 things are not what she wants to do.

I am continuing to pursue doing things I want to do and to that end I went, along with the rest of the participants in John Tartaglia’s master class, to see ImaginOcean, his puppet musical off broadway at the New World Stages. The black light puppet show was light, had a distinct narrative and message, and was expertly manipulated. We got to go backstage to see how things “worked” as well as ask the puppeteers questions. What I learned is that I won’t be working in black light puppetry soon, as I can’t see in the dark, and the puppeteers are in virtual darkness working dressed in black and in hoods under the black light. Next week I am signed up to take a puppet building workshop at The Puppet Kitchen in New York. I consider my puppet building skills strong as I am a fiber artist, and taught puppetry. (as long as this skill doesn’t require working with a monitor, I’m golden LOL). The Puppet Kitchen builds professional puppets for television and stage, and I am really interested in seeing their studio space.

So, while I am waiting to hear the details about Ireland, I am going about the business of living.


Dreaming about Ireland

October 24, 2010

OK, we *might* be living in Ireland for a length of time. Life is about surprises. My husband and I went to Ireland this past summer for 3 glorious weeks. The first 9 days we were on a tour with American singer Kate Campbell. Essentially we “pub crawled” and listened to traditional Irish music. The next 2 weeks, we went on our own, driving on the left side of the road, guided by our GPS through unknown vistas. We immediately loved Ireland.

I didn’t know.

What I mean is that it is as magical as people say it is, it is as green as people say, and it is friendly as people say. Who knew?

Everyone who comes back tries to articulate the beauty, serenity, and history that is Ireland. It’s impossible. Really it is. So we decided that if given the opportunity we would live there for a period of time, like 6 months to 1 year. Meaning, pare down to the essentials, get a house sitter and move. Friends have said “why Ireland, why now”? I say why not? We aren’t getting any younger, and in fact, there is an expiration date on my sight and both our memories. I want to get to a place where we grow a garden, go food shopping everyday to pick up dinner fresh, and look out my window and see green everywhere. Which is not to say I can’t do that where I live now, but Ireland has far less people, houses, busses, trains than New Jersey. At least from what I saw from my 3 week visit.

Who knows what I will blog about if I do get to live there.

Which brings me to this. My husband was getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist, mentioned he would love to rent a house in Ireland, was overheard by another dental hygenist, who passed on the name of her cousin who has a house to rent, who will be emailing details tomorrow night.

I can’t breathe.

We DO do that with sculpture!

October 21, 2010

See my post of We Don’t Do That With Sculpture, then read this article from the times about people touching the Botero sculpture, Adam at Columbus Circle Time Warner Center. Apparently the young boy in my post is very “au current”.

It’s finally fall in my life

October 19, 2010

Fall in New Jersey

Does it get any better than Fall in the Northeast? It’s crisp, colorful, and smells great outside. I took a long walk today in my neighborhood. Everyone’s house was decorated with pumpkins, bales of hay, and mums. I need to get some exercise as I am loathe to go outside in the summer when it is hot, humid and buggy, and I am sensitive to the sun’s rays. But fall is perfect for me, and I plan to take advantage of it before it gets too cold. There is a season turn turn turn…..

Cursing at the hairdresser’s

October 13, 2010

I cursed at the hair dresser’s today. Not the kind of curse that happens when your hair gets cut and you scream WTF!!, no not that kind of curse. But the type of curse we “lazies” have appropriated for an adjective. I was telling him that I was in the midst of cleaning out my closet, when he called. (uhmm, I forgot I had an appointment to get my hair trimmed before the two weddings this weekend..but I digress). Anyone who knows me knows I have a “f*cking amount” of clothes. It’s obscene how many clothes I own. I have to pare the piles back, because quite frankly, where will I be wearing all of these??? So, that is what I was telling him when the “F” word slipped. Or maybe it didn’t slip. But I knew as soon as I comfortably used the word in the context of how many clothes I own, I had offended the two other women in the shop, who, while reading their magazines under their tin foil manes would be listening in. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I can let the word fly, but that I am always offended on how many times we as a society use the word in our daily conversation. I mean, are we the Soprano’s or what? Then I let it slip. I realize that it has infused itself into our mainstream conversation so much so that I think it has lost it’s strength. But I know the word still has enough sting to where people will be offended. I looked at the two women whom I felt I might have offended. They were my age, but didn’t look like me. (well from my perspective anyway, to them I probably didn’t look like them either, and certainly didn’t speak like they did). They looked, as far as I can tell from under the hairdryer, and under their big plastic “wraps”, like perfectly nice women, most probably career women with families. Maybe that’s the key. I have no kids so I can use language differently. I can dress differently, and I can see everything differently, through the lens of just me, a woman with a whole sh*tload of clothes.

ImaginOcean and John

October 9, 2010

Cross that off my life list

October 9, 2010

Just came home from my last class with John Tartaglia. I practiced my butt off in an attempt to redeem myself. I can lipsync with my eyes closed.I had the moves all choreographed, I was confident, I was….. But once I had to put the puppet up above my head PLUS watch myself backwards in a monitor, then, well, let’s put it another way…I was a disaster. No really. Not just terrible, but embarrassing. The kind of embarrassing that brings out the “the old lady tried but failed, but let’s tell her we’re all learning” kind of bad. I felt bad actually for John. He is such a nice person and wants to say something positive, while watching me. And I was in the “omg, we can’t change the channel or get up and leave until it is over-bad” zone. That said, I was fine with it. I was kinda fascinated by my own train wreck. I kept staring into the monitor, trying desperately to figure things out. John would come over and adjust my arm, which would somehow find it’s own way back to the wrong position instantly, as if the puppet had taken over and was an anarchistic child. A sort of Bartleby the Scrivener moment. It was at that moment that I realized that I can cross off being a puppeteer on tv as a career goal for a retired puppetry teacher. I’m not giving up on becoming a puppeteer in a theatrical piece, sans monitor, in an intimate space, so stay tuned.

Lipsyncing to John Prine

October 4, 2010

John Prine and puppet

For my next class on Friday Oct 8th, my puppet and I will be lipsyncing to John Prine’s song “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian”. The song makes me laugh. Here are the lyrics:

Well, I packed my bags and bought myself a ticket
For the land of the tall palm tree.
Aloha ol’ Milwaukee,
Hello Waikiki
I just stepped down from the airplane
When I heard her say.
“Wacka Wacka, nuka, licka
Wacka Wacka nuka licka
Would you like a ……Lay

Hey, Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Whisper in my ear
Kicka puka maka waawaa heenee
Are the words I long to hear
Lay your coconut on my tickie
Whata hecka mooka mooka dear.
Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Say the words I long to hear.

It’s a ukulele Honolulu sunset
Listen to the grass skirts sway
Drinking rum from the pineapple
Out on Honolulu Bay
The steel guitars are playin’
While she’s talking with her hands
Gimme gimme oaka doaka
Make a wish and wanta poka
Words I understand.

Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Whisper in my ear
Kicka puka maaka waawaa heenee
Are the words I long to hear
Lay your coconut on my ticky
Whata hecka mooka mooka dear.
Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Say the words I long to hear.

(There’s more)

Well, I bought a lota junka with my moola
And I sent it to the folks back home
I never had a chance to dance the hula
Well, I guess I should have known
When you start talkin’
To the sweet wahenie
Walkin’ in the pale moonlight
Oaka Noaka what I said
Naaka Waaka Siscum baakas
Hope I said it right.

Lets’ talk dirty in Hawaiian
Whisper in my ear
Kicka puka maaka waawaa heenee
Are the words I long to hear
Lay your coconut on my ticky
Whata hecka mooka mooka dear.
Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Say the words I long to hear.
Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
Say the words I long to hear. (spoken “Aloha”)

[Thanks to for lyrics]

I’m taking a master class with John Tartaglia

October 2, 2010

Tonight was my first class with John Tartaglia of Sesame Street, Avenue Q, Johnny and the Sprites, and Shrek. He is teaching a master class in puppetry. I am in the beginning class, and while I have taught puppetry for 6 years in a high school, I know I can always learn more. First thing I learned is I am an extremely stiff, arthritic pupppeteer! I need to do some exercises to warm up and to stretch. Second thing I learned is I am short and fat. The studio has one mirror wall, and I was hoping it was a “fun house mirror”, but it wasn’t. We learned eye contact, lip synching, and posture. Then we combined those with movement, all while looking in the mirror. Yowzer, I have to work on moving and working a puppet at the same time. When I taught it, we were confined behind a stage, and didn’t have to walk from one part of the stage to another. I am much better sitting than walking around. Everyone in class did really well. John took us through many exercises. We all worked our way up to performing in front of a camera while watching a monitor. The nutsy part is that everything connected with camera work is reversed. So, I have my work cut out for me. I need to practice this week to redeem myself for a less than stellar performance. Fortunately, as I know in life, most people were concentrating so much on their own performance, that no one was paying attention to my performance, except for John and his two assistants. I think they were watching everyone with a critical eye. My homework is to: a) prepare 1 piece of lipsync to a song, b) develop 3 characters complete with personality and voice. Our class was 3 hours this week, and will be three hours next Friday as well. We will also be going to see John’s new piece “Imaginocean” as a class, and get to go backstage to talk with the puppeteers. Cool beans.