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

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Kidlet (part3)

Here we are with only 5 days left of our first summer vacation.

I'm  so proud of you. You faced some fears over the last few months, you'll be swimming soon. We had lots of fun checking off all your summer fun list items.

You were supremely patient  with your mom as she spent weeks making jewelry and then winded up selling nothing.

So I want you to remember playing in the park.  The solid month of rain we had this June. How we played on the renewed front porch.

STEM camp, even though we only went to half of them.

Reading lots of books!

4th of July fireworks on the bridge with Uncle C.

Uno, endless games of Uno.

Your yummy kindergarten green beans. You grew those kiddo! We'll be snacking on them this fall because I froze them. Picking tomatoes and sunflowers.

Wigglers 1-3 all leaving your mouth. The Tooth Fairy was seriously worried #3 was going to be a June loss! Whew! It made it's debut in July.

Camping with Uncle C and David. Night fishing and Daddy catching his first ever fish at age 48!

Going to the zoo with Aunt S.

And how can we forget Lego Pirates of the Caribbean game and Lego Jack and his grand disappearing act. How did he end up in the camping gear???

Song of the Sea and Nocturna.

Drive-in Minions. Star gazing. Meteorshower where only Mommy got up.

4 day weekend with Ninny and Buppy! Emma, Kennywood and the zoo!

Playing at the Thing.

Swiming with cousins, lake swimming, Palace of Gold, McConnells Mill, endless trips to ice cream.

There was some loss too. Dunner's Oak being set on fire. Mr. Thomas dying. The slide at the park being smashed then boarded up.

Your best buddy going to a different school this year. He's still just 3 doors up and I set a play date tomorrow so that technically scratches off the last item on your list!

We sheltered it all together. I truly hope it was the best of summers. We still have a few more days. I had a great time with you. And your Dad and I love you to the moon and back!

My wishes for next week's new beginning for you: Have fun; Make some more friends; Please behave on the bus this year, please; Always having the fast undies for gym days; Having a teacher you love just as much as Mrs. B!

You're one step closer to Big kid and we are so excited for you! But it's still okay if we call you kidlet for just a little while longer right?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ephemera (Story Track #14)

We spent the cool morning moments chatting on the immeasurable quality of the night bloomers.
Awash in the scents of heady locust bean blossoms and lilting honeysuckle.
He pondered on the magic that makes these ephemera uncatchable to my folks' chemistry.
Oh sure we humans can simulate these ghost scents. But true Mock Orange is like a sugar spun treat on the tongue.  Filling the lungs and bring ecstacy then forever gone on the exhalation.
Jasmine becomes a lead bludgeon in our hands that beats the faculties to numbness in a cloud around each crisply dressed elder woman.
Synthetic Gardenia is a razor that slices deeply into the sinuses and carves its initials into your thoughts.
Our synthetic renderings can mimic the top notes sure. But they fall cloying and heavy upon the pallette;  linger like yesterday's fish fry; and induce not bliss but skull splitting rebuke.
So instead of debate his point of view , which I find all too correct to rebut. I sat with him and just breathed in my favorite memories: part morning mist, part locust bean bloom, part honeysuckle,  and part quiet company.

Monday, May 11, 2015

An Un-normative Mother's Day

As you know, historically Mothers Day (pre kidlet) was a day of exquisite pain and loss for me. A day of constant reminders of broken ties and broken hearts.

Then I had my daughter. And while the sentiment of Mother's day was not one I actively sought or engaged in I found comfort and peace with the day.

This year was different for me. Unexpectedly so if I am completely honest.

My kidlet,  now a big kid in school, became obsessed with the idea of a day long mom fest. Something I never wanted or needed before. The secretive planning with her Dad. The hinted breakfast in bed and Mom is awesome activities were whispered and giggled over for the last 2 weeks.

I found myself actually looking forward to her excitement and her pride in having me as her Mommy. She couldn't wait on Friday to gift me with her school made treasure.  I cried at the sweet handwriting and the adorable card claiming that we like to clean together.  What? Seriously? Cleaning?  Okay baby. I love you too!

I had to hide myself away during the Lowe's build Saturday morning and walk eyes shut so I didn't ruin my surpise for the next morning.  And I did so happily. 

I was a kid waiting on Santa. Heck the tooth fairy visited Friday night. Magic was afoot! My Grove's Beltane was a truly mystical Saturday afternoon and I was poised to tip over into the full on Mother's Day mode! I wanted it badly, embarrassingly so. Who have I become?!

Let me caveat that I do not begrudge any woman her joy in Mother's Day. I do not find fault in the happiness and closeness it brings many. I also deeply and intimately know the pain of those, motherless,  childless,  alone, and grieving who find MD a yearly reminder of sadness and anger and loss.

But for me looking forward to Mother's day is unheard of and unexpected.  I was joyous to no longer dread the day. That was gift enough for me.

So when my child asked to leave me alone yesterday to go off with her Dad and Uncle to finally fish I had to say an emphatic Yes! (It must be noted the men in my life thought it would make me happy to have a me day. They were being thoughtful and I appreciate that effort. )  She has longed for that moment for a whole year. She and her Daddy got their first licenses Saturday night and the pride and joy radiated of my kid like waves of heat from a pot belly stove. Not a chance in hell would I stiffle that enthusiasm.  No matter how strangely sad it made me.

I spent the whole day alone. And truth told a goodly portion sad and hurt. I cried over my own broken maternal connections.  And I missed not being able to get breakfast in bed.

I was happily given my hand made card and wooden planter so lovingly made by my daughter and husband.

I was proudly shown the carefully selected geranium and lavender plants that were my motherly honors. And I love them!

Then without a wave goodbye they left.

I know that I did the right thing.  I know that if our vehicle could carry 6 I would've been right in the thick of it yesterday. 

I would've watched the near misses and the first casts and the boredom of fishing in the hot sun. They had a ball. I am so grateful for that and to the amazing fathers who made that experience possible!

They took the cousins home then came back hot and content.  I was hungry and trying not to be hurt (I could've said no way to the fishing after all. But that would've been so wrong of me to do.)

We quarreled over dinner and I got to have what I wanted only by default and then we fussed and cajoled kidlet through her meal so we could take her mini golfing. (A promised event from Saturday she didn't get to do because I was selfishly socializing still at Beltane.)

So I was feeling like an ass by this point of the day. Angry with myself for being upset. Angry at myself for being selfish.  And frustrated that on the day of celebrating being a mom I felt like the single worst mom ever. (A feeling I often have as I suspect most moms carry.)

And then magic happened.  We went mini golfing.  We played and laughed and argued and corrected and enjoyed each other.  We revelled the families around us. All of us with our small kidlets. Spending that hour engaged washed away all the negative impact of Mother's Day for me.

I wasn't wallowing in past pain. I wasn't kicking myself for feeling adrift. I wasn't doing anything more that playing mini golf,  badly, and enjoying every minute of being together.

We haven't felt like that in a while. I haven't felt connected to them in a while. And I know that has been my own fault.

I've been disconnecting.  I've been tied to my electronic escape or my artistic endevours or my religious pursuits or my 'free time'. And I recognized my own feelings of guilt about being so aloof and distanced.

So lots to think upon. Lots to process.

May your days be filled with small connection.  Don't feel sad when others share their happiness.  Try to embrace it.  It can help sometimes to soften the edges of your own pain. Don't let expectations ruin a perfectly good afternoon.

And enjoy Mother's day if you want to. Insulate if you need to. Rage and mourn if it is what you must. Respect that for some the tidal wave of all things warm and motherly is hurtful but we don't begrudge you, your happiness.

Most of all be gentle with yourselves.  No matter the origin of Mother's day nor it's commercial aspects we all can make of it as we will.

I'm looking forward to another year's worth of perfecting my role as Mom. I fall and I rise. I  succeed and I rejoice. But at the heart of all of it is a child, that we created, who just needs a mother's love and guidance. And for her I'd stay home alone forever if it meant her happiness.  I'd eat dry toast and know it a feast.

I guess it was a happy Mother's Day after all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hemlock Owl (Story Track #13)

Hemlock Owl spirit don't give a....

Hemlock Owl drinks the nectar of death. It don't matter to him that Socrates or Plato or one of those fucks died.

Hemlock Owl rides the wave and tames that pony.

Hemlock Owl is so bad ass he doesn't even hide himself like other dryads or pansy faekin.

He's all: "What!?" And "That's what I thought."

Hemlock Owl needs nothing.  Well maybe he needs woodpeckers.  Those cats eat 4 times their weight in bugs a day. But thats it!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Trichotillomania and me

*This began as a Facebook status but is important enough to share here.*
I have been having a bad time with my Trichotillomania.
That is an obsessive compulsion to pull out one's own hair.
On YouTube I found a beautiful British Channel 4 documentary titled: "Girls on the Pull". 
It's in 2 parts and though I cried through most of it, I see what those girls are going through and realize how lucky I am. And so happy that those women found Lucinda Ellerby, the salon owner who specializes in helping those with Trichotillomania. 
I have had Trich since age 11, so for 31 years it has been my companion.
I have many times stopped and restarted the pulling.
As life and anxiety drag on my resources the trich becomes a means to buffer myself from that anxiety. I have come to see it as a gentle reminder to self care and revisit my therapeutic toolbox.  But I do not berate myself for the relapses.
My last restart began, unsurprisingly,  with the miscarriage last year. And has ramped up lately with the dual upheavals of kidlet's school problems and home worries. Nothing earth shattering but honestly I have pushed my own needs/self care to the back burner and the Trichotillomania is a wake up call to take better care of myself.
My lovelies I am sharing this not because I am in any way in crisis.  I am not. But because of the stigma and self loathing that trich can imprison a person. Obviously not me as I rarely wear make up anymore and am open about Trichotillomania.
I didn't know what Trichotillomania was until I was in college. It was that dirty secret I had to try to hide because it embarrassed my family. Too many who have trich feel this way.
I have since accepted my pulling as the act that it is. It is my body's way of processing high levels of stress and fear.
So if you see me with less eyebrows or notice my bald spots and want to talk about it- I am ALWAYS willing to do so.
4% of the population has this disorder.
That's a lot of folks under a lot of heavy-duty shame and stress (for the most part).
What I can say is it can get better. Self love and care can do so much. But science do not understand (yet) what causes Trichotillomania.  There are no cures (yet). There are some therapies that may work but there's not yet something that medicine and point to and say: that's why it is and this is what causes trich so here's how we combat it.
But it can get better.  Not everyone loses the hair forever.  Some never can grow back what is lost. Some find that after their first bout they never experience it again. For some it's constant. For me it's situational. 
But know I am using my toolkit to counteract the behavior.  Somedays I am amazing at keeping myself trich free. Sometimes years! Sometimes months, weeks, days, hours or minutes.  Each is a victory in its own time. Celebrate those victories!
If you have Trichotillomania and want to talk. Message me. If you do not have trich and want to talk, message me.
And again: I Am Not in Crisis! I am working through the issues that are behind the behavior and doing amazing at removing the triggers. (I have a lot of triggers. Lol) So don't worry.  I am alright.
If I was hiding my trich. You'd know I was in over my head! I love myself too much now to ever feel ashamed of my body.  I have worked hard to see myself as the beautiful soul I truly am. So if I have pencil brows it's because I want them not because the trich must be hidden. I wasted decades in my youth on such self destructive behavior.
And I recommend: "The Gifts of Our Compulsions" by Mary O'Malley.  It has helped with a lot of my compulsive behavior management/recovery.
As always be kind and find the beauty of this day!
Lucinda Ellerby

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Myst (Story Track #12)

In the foggy glow I arrived tense and focused. 

What might step sideways through the grove and join me? My imagination ran wild and free.

Grey cloaked sprites and gossamer frilled monsters?

Honey-tounged bards from long lost ways?

Crow folk to gather me in their rainbow wings and secret me deep into their mysteries?

Soldiers lost on their way from one plane of existence to another?

Ethereal wisps readying to lure me to boggy death?

Ships of thick cloud that carry lost souls and pirates across the cosmos?

Ancestors with a secret quest?

War kittens?

In the end does it matter?

As now not just I have traveled and wondered and imagined but so have you.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Polite Ultimatum (Story Track #11)

As I strolled through the park grounds on a lovely spring morning an icy chill ran up my spine.
That feeling of being watched, nay stalked clenched my bowels.
Eyes pryed away my outer selfhood and left only my primal core. But no matter where I looked only semi-bucolic normalcy was to be spied.
Then as I reached the front door step I found the note:
Dear Human Fe/male (you all look and smell the same),
The food dispensing machines have been broken for years! Fix them post haste.
Full suet goodness is expected immediately upon your receipt of this message.
Now fill the baskets and back away slowly. We expect your compliance and your kat to be locked safely behind the invisible forcefield by no later than 0800.
In Antici.......
The Squirrels,  Erm, we mean the Robins!  Yeah. The Robins that's the ticket.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Something Adorable This Way Comes (Story Track #10)

"Of course it's a changeling!" the nurse maid replied. "But it's a might bit cuter than the Lordship's babe. That I'd swear 'pon my mother's grave and before the rack!" she inadvisably exclaimed just as the Master of House rounded the top stair.

Lord Alistair thought to himself: "The drudge is correct. The imposter is much more handsome and better mannered than my brat! Not that truthfulness willl save her from getting the boot. God let the wife not notice!"

And in this revere Alistair went to fetch the good doctor to increase Lady Sylvia's laudanum and then to locate the head butler to sack the uppity nurse maid.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Clandestine Lives of Furniture (Story Track #9)

When we walked in and turned on the light we didn't expect to see the Seating in a coffee clatch.

We simply admired their lines as they inturn ignored our human intrusion.

With no by our leave the furniture continued their shellacy musings as all of us, man and not, enjoyed the view.

(Photography by John Amplas, used with permission)

Mood Indigo (Story Track #8)

The air stole the chilled breath from my lips.
Racing, the plume lifts in a frothing mass.
A sprint to join it's lover in the heavens.
To entwine its soft azure self with Dawn's rosy glow.

His Character was as Plain as the Bark of His Trunk (Story Track #7)

Freddy was a creep.

All the other oaks avoided him. He was the kind of trunk that drank too deeply and got all grab-assy. He once chucked a nest of baby mice into the underbrush just to see how long it took for their mum to rescue them.

The dryads knew better than to shelter inside Freddy. His bark labeled his character very clearly.

Yep that Red Oak was just an asshole plain and simple.

They See All and Know All (Story Track #6)

The hairs on my neck rose ever so slightly in the foggy morning air.

An uncanny sense of being under surveillance cloaked my mind like a sodden blanket.

But it's obvious that I am utterly alone.

Laughing I think it's not like the hills have eyes!

Ernest in the Rain, an Ernest Chronicle (Story Track #5)

You know perhaps I was a bit too hasty...

Today the Grumpy has become the Serene.

Was it my offerings that soothed his brow?

Did he simply want some time in the spotlight?

Perhaps Ernest simply was taken by a bad spell of the rheumatic yesterday?

I still think his pockets carry treats. Yet I have noticed a lack of squirrels nearby.

He's a puzzle my new acquaintance.

Good day to you fine fellow!

Saddy or Fae 007? (Story Track #4)

I followed behind the family as we meandered through the evening ramble.

"His name is Saddy!" she cried.  "I found a faery in the trees too! We must be magical folks." she concluded with a sage nod to her father. How could we deny such obvious truth?

There's an awaking begun in our neighborhood.  Is it that the Veil Folk slumber the winter months along with the groundhogs and voles? Are the Fair-Folk stirring or is it just our eyes are seeing what has always been?

Saddy? I am not so sure.

I caught the rich scent of expensive Turkish tobacco this morning on the rainy breeze. If ever a chap would be one to puff thoughtfully upon a Meerschaum stalk it's this handsome sprite. I think he has a more distinguished nomenclature. I'll bet he's elfin secret service. "Move along human there's nothing to see here."

But then again, he introduced himself to the 6 year old first.

Magic is a foot. So I am obligated to jot down these musings. Less so because spring drags the romantic nonsensical out of a poet and more as evidentiary record. 

Just in case we wander too close to the holey stone.

Ernest in the Last Snowfall (Story Track #3)

Every weekday morning after I bundle the kidlet on to the bus I walk home through my local park. It's a tiny secluded space tucked conveniently a few doors away from our urban homestead.

And yet every day I find more mystical and magical denizens through my camera's lens.

This tough bugger I have walked past about a million times in the last 6 years. But only today did he feel like letting me see him.

Perhaps he's as sick of the snow as I have finally become. Which is no mean feat!

I think I'll call him Ernest. He has the gruff exterior of a steelman come off a double shift of pulling molten hell into rolls of shiny cash for The Man. But I like to think he gives caramels to the younger fae when other adults are not around.

I will listen closer this afternoon to see if he is growling to the squirrels to get off his lawn!

Sky Feathers (Story Track #2)

Sky Feathers

Remnants of old gods
Thunderbird dreaming of better times
Delicate and elusive like sacred whispers

The Genesis of the Story Track

A few months back I was asked to participate in an informal photography challenge by my good friend Kim Rullo of
Mother Blue blog fame:
https://motherblue.wordpress.com/about-2/. Kim is an amazing designer and mom and wife and artist and soul. Seriously check her work out!

We have been doing little once a day images based on a theme and this was a challenge to take photos and add short poems or stories to complement the images.

I adore the concept.  My two favorite artistic endevours in one place? Sign me up.

Oddly it never occurred to me to share here with all of you. So I shall be adding to my blog any story tracks I create and share on social media. And in the last week I have had daily entries.

I posted them to my blog's Facebook page (search: Arden Raine) already so forgive the crossover.

I hope my photographs and writing please.  Some are truthfulness yet some are musing and whimsy. It's your job to decide which.


Requiem for Tinkerbell (story track #1)

My kidlet started crying this morning on our walk to school. When I asked her why she just kept saying: "She's Dead!" Confused I asked who is dead. Then she took me back a few steps and I understood.

In an attempt to console her I said: "Oh Sweetheart, that's just bird poop." And her eyes became dark pools as she pondered.

Then with a slight tilt to her elfin face she says: "Birds poop fairies? Cool."

Keep the magic in the everyday, my friends.

Friday, February 13, 2015

*dun dun dun* The Horror of Making Dates 'Evil'

So yesterday was February 12th. As you might know from the last two years this date has been a hard one for me for almost my whole life.

Major childhood trauma occurred on that date. And last year it was the day my pregnancy was officially over. (Though my body didn't fully return to normal until last month. It took until June for my heightened sense of smell to fade and allow me to eat mint, garlic, onion and tomato again. And my menses did not regulate in any kind d of perceived pattern until January 2015.)

So I had determined to try to not make anniversaries of hardships anymore.

Then my kidlet broke my heart.

She remembered last weekend that Thursday was the day we lost her baby 'sister'. And though we have spoken a lot about the pregnancy and what happened (filtered to what a little kid can handle) she was sad and needed to talk about it. So we did and we will any and every time she needs to process her loss.

So I spent the day yesterday battling my own heartache,  using meditation and EFT (Check www.emofree.com) to work through my own knot of emotions. And I am happy to announce I did fairly well.

We had a good night. Lots of extra snuggles and longer story time. She told me she loved me about a 100 times and I told her I love her about 200 times. It was a healing thing. What we didn't talk about was the miscarriage.

So I am proud of us with how we all dealt with the hard day.

But then...

Dun dun dun!  Traumatic crap phase 2 began.

Today is the 13th. A day that has a lot of superstitious baggage for a lot of folks. I am not one of those folks. But a year ago right now I was in a car accident.  Not a bad one but really traumatic for me. I still have issues when being in a car. (I don't drive. But I panic with each twitch of the car. ) So when my Kindergartener tells me she's suspended from her bus today (Told me yesterday evening mind you.) I was triggered. The seeds to panic were very lightly buried.

Panic attack and fury dipped me into a cocktail of adrenaline and sweat. I went from zero to wtf in less than a milisecond.

We have been having issues with her bus. I believe that the driver is taking it out on my kid whenever I contact the bus company because each incident lines up perfectly with a call. Or in this case a call I didn't make. ( She was 20 minutes late last week with drop off.  Normally I have called to just find out what's up. No biggie right? But that day the weather at rush hour was tricky and I never called because I assumed that the drop was delayed by the weather.) I told my husband that we'd get a suspension notice this week. But we didn't.  No call. No letter. Nothing.

So then the kidlet drops her news to me that an adult at school told her that Friday she couldn't ride the bus I went full on red gaze angry. Not a call to the parents?  A verbal messaged delivered via 6 year old. Are you kidding me?

So I immediately try to call the school. No one ever answers after 2:50pm. I call another number and leave a hot voice mail.  Then I email the principal.  No response At ALL last night. [Edit: The Principal waited until later today to contact me. She wanted to know what was the situation first.]

Our buses are not owned by the district they contact with several companies.  There is district wide issues.

I am not saying my child didn't do something to be suspended.  But since I daily talk to her driver shouldn't I have been told if there was bad behavior?  What I was asked was did I call to complain about the lateness of the drop off.

What I didn't receive at any time was a call from the school or bus company giving me any notice of suspension.
I have not yet received in the the mail a suspension notice. [The last suspension,  #2, I got the notice at 5 pm the day it was supposed to occur. My kid was out sick. I had called that week about a late drop off. The first suspension,  for kissing a boy on day 13, came after I complained about the drop off I missed because the driver was 20 minutes early for the the drop off (we have to be there 10 minutes before and wait 10 minutes after the drop time)] [Edit: Today is Saturday and no notice. They supposedly mailed them on Monday.  It was 6 kids who didn't get notice. The Principal is reviewing video before allowing the suspensions. ]

So there's a pattern of non communication and something fishy about the suspensions themselves.

But my real concern is for the Kidlet. I don't want her having bad associations with the bus. She was so sick with worry today when we put her on it.  ( No way we will allow this to go further without push back.)

Here we are almost lunch and no contact from the school.  So I hope that my child is now out of the loop. And the adults can fix the issues.  As we should have been doing all along. [Edit: I got the call during my editing of this entry. I then spent the day on the phone. The saga of this experience shall be sung another time as this is about not creating anniversaries of trauma. But I do want to pause and say how grateful I am that the Principal of kidlet's school is awesome.] I add all this because I fear my kidlet will hold this nonsense as a specific point in time. I want her to have memories of glad times and to remember bad times but not enshrine them and give the painful parts of her life such a dark hold on her personal calendar.

So that brings me to why do we waste so much time and effort memorializing awful things?

The ending via surgery of my missed miscarriage is something to think about and be sad a bit about and remember but to work together as a family to heal our grief if it is there. It's not a reason to dread a date.

My childhood stuff I have gotten enough closure that if I don't get reminded I can completely forget that 2/12 was once a painful day.

That's healthy. I decided last year to not enshrine bad moments of life only good. I hope that is a lesson I can instill in my child.

So if today being Friday the 13th gives you reason to feel uncomfortable or unhappy please don't let it.

To me today is Friday. Party day for kidlet where she gets to proudly give her classmates her hand made valentines.

Tomorrow is a day I don't celebrate but is important this year to the kidlet so we will do something nice a s a family.

And Sunday the 15th is a day to celebrate!  Clearance candy day!

Don't let a number on a page get you down. And have a Happy Clearance Chocolate Day Eve!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello Beautiful

Hello you beautiful baby!
I promise to gently wake you,
And I promise to not take a single moment for granted.

You're only five days old
But so important and precious as you are full of hope and promise for us both.
Time will go so fast and too soon we'll be saying goodbye so let me snuggle closer and breathe in your soft scent.

Last year's baby brought a lot of pain and loss. But I grew through each heartbeat and am better for it. One sigh, one giggle,  one minute at a time. But honestly I don't know if I can take another such long night.

And the loss and pain and rage seemed to be everywhere with the last baby. No one was left unscathed. 

So maybe if I can be more grateful and kind, you, my new baby will grow into a year of compassionate change and loving good will.

Happy Birthday 2015!

Oops!  I got your nose!