Compassion for the Homeless

On bitterly cold mornings, I can frequently count twenty homeless persons sleeping in Boston’s North Station.

They are huddled together in corners or sprawled on station benches, wrapped in multiple layers of dirty gray-brown clothes and blankets, surrounded by plastic bags and heaps of what appears to be refuse.

These unfortunate human beings could be me or you, your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt or uncle.  They warrant our compassion.

Money Bed. 3.28.2017.

Money Bed. 3.28.2017.

The station workers turn a blind eye to the ramshackle overnight lodgers who seek refuge from the inclement New England weather, and disappear outside before rush hour commences.

My sister recounted a story about one homeless individual which I will never forget.

A friend of hers traveled to New York City on business.  While hurrying for an appointment in Lower Manhattan, he caught sight of a homeless man.

Her friend recognized something in the man’s face and called out a name.  Much to his amazement, the homeless man answered.

Shocked, my sister’s friend approached the homeless man to ask what had happened since their graduation from college four years ago.

The man’s misadventure began with his father’s untimely death.  Then, his mother was diagnosed with early dementia and passed.  He lost his job and was unable to find employment.

The onset of depression followed a more serious illness and resulted in financial ruin.  Since he was an only child with no close relations nor financial safety net, he became destitute.

This story does have a happy end though.

My sister’s friend cancelled all appointments in the City and turned his attention to helping his unfortunate classmate.  He secured public health services, affordable housing and raised funds to pay for the man’s wardrobe plus day-to-day expenses.   When last my sister heard, the man was gainfully employed and doing well.

I folded the Money Bed this evening thinking of the homeless.  Tomorrow, I will make a donation to a local shelter.

March Hare or Rabbit?

A fluffy brown rabbit scampered across the footpath.

It turned to look at me, paused for a few seconds, flashed a Mona-Lisa smile – I swear – then slid under the fence around Russell’s Field.

“The first March hare,” I muttered.  “Or, maybe it was a rabbit. Yes, probably a rabbit.”

Money_Rabbit_3.22.2017

Money Rabbit 3.22.2017

I re-adjusted the straps on my knapsack and quickened my pace towards the Alwife train station.

Note to self:  Look up the difference between a hare and a rabbit on Wikipedia.

Maybe it is the ear length which distinguishes the two.

Rabbits flourished on the grassy field.  I doubt there were many predators keeping the population in check.

Cambridge would have to do something this year.

Last Fall, I could count 10 to 20 rabbits on the field as I walked to work in the mornings.  Clearly, they were multiplying.

The rabbits seemed unafraid of humans and only fled when unleashed canines appeared.

I snickered as I approached the station doors, ruminating on the phrase “Hare today and gone tomorrow.”

Delightful Elephant in the Room

Ok, how often does one say that the “elephant in the room” is delightful?   This expression actually refers to a problem or risk which no one wants to talk about.

But, the Money Elephant in the picture is definitely not that problem or risk!  Look how the inverted triangle serves as his eye while the folds of the neck outline his ear.

Money Elephant. 3.21.2017

Money Elephant. 3.21.2017

A bit tricky to fold for the novice, it can be done following the instructions here.

At the end of the instructions, enjoy photos of folded elephants and read comments posted by viewers.

Why do I fold dollar bills?  The printed pattern on the bills guides my folding and hides my flaws.  Plain paper is very unforgiving.

 

A Confession About Currency

Forgive me for I have sinned.  I’ve passed very crumpled US dollar bills to vendors.

I’ve told lies to cashiers about my non-existent teens who threw the bills into the wash.

Then, once a week, I’ve rushed to the bank to request the newest, flattest, smoothest dollar bills – of course to fold.  Well, no more.

Money Peacock. 3.18.2017.

Money Peacock. 3.18.2017.

While trolling YouTube, I found videos on how to restore dollar bills with moisture and ironing.

Since the bills are part cotton and linen, ironing them after wetting them a bit really flattens them.

This folded Peacock is an example of a recycled dollar bill from yesterday’s 2$ House.

Hence forth, I will humidify and iron the bills for Origami reuse or return to circulation.

This seems only fair – no more alternative truths.

 

 

$2 House

The cellphone buzzed.  It buzzed again.

Jolted from a deep sleep, I reached out to its general location on the bedside table.  Then, fumbling around for a few seconds, my fingers grasped the device.

“Hello”, I groggily answered.

“It’s me, Peggy,” an excited voice replied. “I bought a house in Vermont.”

“You did what?” I asked. By this time I was fully awake.

2$House. 3.17.2017

2$House. 3.17.2017

She repeated her answer and proceeded to explain how a sudden windfall from a relative’s estate led to this new purchase.

“The house called to me,” Peggy excitedly recounted.

A realtor sent her a binder with listings of New England homes for sale.  A sprawling 19th century converted carriage house-barn jumped out at her from the pages.  Up to Vermont she went and immediately decided to buy it.

Peggy had a knack for finding rundown old homes with good bones and restoring them spectacularly on a shoe string budget.

“Are you leaving Boston?” I asked.

“Nope, my daughter will move in.” She responded. “Besides, Vermont is gorgeous in the summer and I can escape the city’s heat.”

I congratulated her on her new home, hung up the phone then couldn’t get back to sleep.  So, I folded this $2 dollar house from two single dollar bills, got dressed and left for work.

Destination Nigeria, Africa

This African mask brought back happy childhood memories of living in south-western Nigeria.

My father was a professor at the University of Ibadan in the 1960s.  We lived in a house near the University filled with African art including lots of masks.

I recall accompanying my mother to the marketplace, seeing vibrant, colorful fabric encircling bodies, pungent smells of fresh foods and the cacophony of sounds made by vendors and buyers negotiating in a variety of languages.

African Mask. 3.15.2017

African Mask. 3.15.2017

My siblings and I attended an English school and wore plaid uniforms with white shirts.  When not in school, our parents took us to African music and dance performances frequently, much to my delight.  I even remember ordering my first bottle of wine in French in Dahomey (now Benin) on one of our family trips.

One day, Cook bought a large sea turtle to prepare a special soup for us.  We youngsters were horrified and pleaded with our mother to spare the turtle’s life and let us keep it as a pet.  She acquiesced.  Cook tied the turtle to a post in the backyard but the next day it was gone – stolen for someone’s supper, I am sure.

This Origami African mask design is in Montroll’s Dollar Bill Origami book.  I really liked folding the model but with plain paper not with the dollar bill.  The printed design on the bill distracted from the wonderful features of the mask.

King Cobra sighted

This King Cobra is harmless but does have teeth and a fierce head.

King Cobra.3.12.2017.

King Cobra.3.12.2017.

Adapted from the original design, a snake’s head and part of the body were folded using a five dollar bill.  A one dollar bill was added to extend the length of the tail.

If you follow the YouTube instructions, you will notice that some steps were missing.  I sort of improvised as to what those folds may have been.

You will need, in addition to your paper(s), a piece of wire – a kitchen twisty will do – and double sided tape to keep the wire in the snake’s body.  Happy folding.