About Me

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Arden Raine is an ex-theatrical making sense of life through many lenses.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Matter of Virtue

So this evening as we worked in our tomato patch in our 4x8 patch of front lawn we found a gigantic caterpillar.

It was so big my husband which had moved the 10 gallon bucket with our "Boxcar Willie" heirloom tomatoes didn't see him. He thought the five inch critter was a leaf!
At first I was excited/creeped out. But curiosity prevailed. What kind of butterfly is this creature?

So I rushed onto the porch grabbed ye old smartphone and voilĂ !
Our little friend wasn't a Luna moth, nor Monarch, but the larvae form of the Hawk Moth or Tobacco Hookworm caterpillar.
My creepy feeling turned onto full blown willies after seeing the carnage these guys do to tomatoes.

We've, ahem, I've grown these babies (tomatoes) from seeds.
I've lovingly, obsessively, nurtured these plants. And today as I went out earlier to harvest I found no bless than 12 rotting on the vine.

That rotten SOM(son of a moth) was crushing my tomato heaven.
Aw hells no!

After reading up on this guy I found squish/cut in half or drown as the most reliable was of removing his heirloom snacking ass from 'my planet larva boy'!
But then I saw the green slime that consists of its innards and couldn't do it. Willies migrated to actual heebee jeebees at the thought.
So we, again I but with quorum approval, cut the stalk he was on and chucked it out into the street.

What?! I figured fate could decide.

Death by bird, death by car or 1% freedom as long as he moved on down da road.
So we corralled tomatoes upward. We searched for more green v striped behemoths in the foliage. We moved our bounty around to increase air flow and reduce risk of crowding diseases.

That took an hour.

The whole time Fritz, because frankly anything that big deserves a name, finished noshing his tomato stalk perch and proceeded to wander in a three foot spiral.
No birds came to claim him as offering. No vehicle came even close to smooshing him.
At this point my family and I sat on the curb in conference as we watched his methodical spiraling.

This guy will grow into a beneficial night pollinator.  He only eats tomato, nightshade, tobacco and bell pepper in a pinch and has survived to final caterpillar size.
He kinda deserved his 1% freedom.
But what to do?

Can we keep him in a jar? Watch his metamorphosis? A learning experience for us all?

Nope! Neither my hubster nor I wanted Fritz indoors. Nor did we want to feed it, touch it or clean up after it. Its frees (poop) is the size of pill bugs.(See heebee jeebees)

Yet I felt wrong from the moment of my exiling him to his doom. I felt deeply that the murder, let's call a card a card here, of this wondrous life was completely wrong. But ewwww.

He's doing his job and I want to kill him, without dirtying my hands, shoes or conscious, because he's eating the food I left out in the open for him to find.

So. I paused. I took a deep breath and asked myself can I condemn a potentially useful member of my ecosphere to death to save my salad?

Nope. It felt wrong from start to finish and both the husband and I felt it. But our crop must survive too.

Then it hit me.

We have backyard crops. Or as I think of them, groundhog bribes. We'll sacrifice the backyard tomato patch and allow Fritz a full pardon.
So he was carried on some yummy fresh tomato leaves down our alley and snugged into the back yard nightshades.

Sometimes you just have to stop and consider how all life fits together.
Fritz doesn't get to ruin anymore of our food crop but can live to become the gigantic night pollinator he's destined to be.

Well as long as the bats don't get him.

"The cirrrrrcle, the cirrrcle of liiiiife."

(In hindsight perhaps we should've named him Hamlet!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sunbathers Beware

One must always be aware of their surroundings.

You never know when a Dragon will be drawn to Siren Sisters' song.

Happy day dreams my friends.

Now shew. Go outside and play!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Almost- a response to an invitation to share

My good friend Jenni Chiu wrote a great piece on her blog about almosts.


And here's my response to her query on my own missed mark.

My Almost

Way back when I decided to instead of going to school for molecular biology that I was going to be a theatre major in college.

I applied at all the big schools and chose to attend Point Park College.

My entrance audition (which I had no prior knowledge of) consisted of the Dean handing me a worn copy of Hamlet and giving me ten minutes to pick something.

I did Hamlet's 'To Be' speech. I memorized it five minutes and went in early to the dismay of the Dean.
I sang a song from Chicago a capella and hit the attending faculty with my doomed Danish Prince. They applauded and welcomed me into the program.

Hind sight lets me know that the ease of my audition and subsequent experience I had should have lead me into an adult career in the theatre.

My course work came stupidly easy. My grades were perfection. I was on Dean's list all the time I attended. In four semesters I performed three shows. So why after only two years did I run away from the school others were fighting tooth and nail to attend?

Hind sight is a grand thing.

I know now that the first seepage of my PTSD began during this time.

The first hair line fracture came in my very first class. A 101 acting class. The professor was a hard line 'method' actor and their modality to teach was to put us through exercises where the prof played psychological games to induce real memories of very deep emotional states.

This wasn't done with explanation. I a child of a master psychological manipulator rebelled. I fought because I instinctually knew that the onion layers of protection that this teacher was sandblasting through were vital to my, and other's, well being. Our minds protect us for a reason. And no one has a right to play with someone's head uninvited.

That prof left soon after. Hey as a 401 master class in method acting the course work was 100% appropriate. Messing with a bunch of trusting 18-19 year olds emotional balance isn't cool.

Fast forward to the end of my stay. I was haunted by doubt and fear even though I was very, very good. My grades reflected my skill. My class mates' acceptance reflected it. My professors' casting reflected it.

My last final at PPC was in John Amplas' acting class. I and an amazing actor Jason Beavers were assigned a piece from "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" by John Patrick Shanley.

In the scene the two characters have just finished making love after a bar hook up. This breaks down into a physical confrontation.

It was an easy scene to do. The physical violence the hysteria the longing and fear poured out of us. My character fought like a demon and sobbed in anquish.

When John called scene I was surprised as my friends rushed to my side to see if I was okay.

I was like um yeah. I'm acting here. Because I am an actor. Duh.

Except everyone got to see a part of me I had hidden away from myself that day. It would take me 17 years before the memories of my own sexual abuse arose and came through the protective barriers my mind created as a child. That was what caused their concern.

What my class saw was my protective mask begin to slip off. It (the mask) cracked during that scene work as I physically recreated being pressed into a piss stained bare mattress on the floor. A stronger man crushing me with his weight. Forcing the air from my lungs with his too tight embrace. Rocking me back and forth to silence my cries. All the while telling me he loved me.  Things I really endured as a child. The scene brought forth memories blocked from my consciousness  and they were peeking out through my body's movements.

I always thought my excellence in creating a role and living through the words of a playwright was because of my gifts of empathy and imagination.

Acting was instead a way to unknowingly work through the darkness I had trapped inside and as my skill in my craft grew and my body control increased. I was coming closer and closer to myself and my buried memories.

I almost was a great actor. I could've been a contender. But the burden of forcing myself to live fully in my body instead of the dissociation of living only in my head that theatre craft was teaching me was unbearable.

My mind was crumbling. I was paranoid and managed to isolate myself to the point of contact only with my mate.

I only wish some adult around me could have seen the very obvious signs of my trauma. Perhaps I might have stayed and finished my degree.

I sometimes miss theatre. But I did perform from age two through twenty-two. And at the time I needed to let that part of me go. Acting was too dangerous to my over protective mind.

I wish you could have seen me perform I was amazing.

(I am not at all sorry for the path my life has taken. I rejoice at each stage of my life and healing and making mistakes. If I hadn't run I honestly think the stress of remembering my abuses too early would have broken me completely. )

So that's my Almost. I have zero regrets.

Cinqfoil Splendor

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Deeply drink in violet, mix with electric lemons, toss in a handful of ivory tears and voilà! Perfection.

Color glorious

Been awhile

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit!

Lots going on. I and the kidlet are participating in an art installment creation by Kim Rullo.

I am working on religious essays to fulfill my Dedicant materials for the ADF.  WWW.ADF.org

We are prepping an entry into a local 4H kids/horses costume parade.

Family members and friends are having children.

Milestone birthdays have been celebrated and prepared for.

And the garden and life have been requiring my attention.

I have about four essays for the blog on the back burner.

Meaty stuff and thoughtful stuff and incredibly goofy stuff.

And my new camera is burning a hole in my pocket.

So let me say thank you!

Your support and encouragement is helping me drive all those above endeavors.

So much love.

- Arden