Circle Back

How is it March 1st again? How?

This has been a year and then some. In these past twelve months of living the life COVID, it seemed to drag for so much of it. Yet, here we are again. I start this year’s Slice of Life Challenge, now my 5th year(!), as I always do, hopeful I will finish, but fully aware some days are going to be a close call, hitting POST with bare minutes to spare. I’ve been remiss on this blog, so I am also hoping this year’s Slife of Life Challenge gets me back into the swing of regular posting again. Also, to reconnect with a few of my fellow bloggers I’ve lost contact with in the craziness of this past year. I do and say this while working on a book of poetry, along with other challenges creatively and professionally. But such is life, no?

Day 1 – Back on the horse – let’s ride

Slice of Life logo
Slice of Life Challenge 2021

Not My Baby Anymore

Last night I participated in a wonderful group where we got to share stories based on the subject “The Wild Unknown.” When I was invited to speak I had recently spoken with my youngest son. At some point in the conversation between the now very adult and I, I was reminded of when I realized he was not my baby anymore and what an oddly emotional blow it was.

I remember I was sitting on the front porch as my youngest son, then in his mid-teens, was walking up the block from school. I noticed his walk had changed. It used to be something of a bop, this bouncy gait as he used to just short of walk on his toes. This young person coming towards me now had what could only be called a swagger. This was not the walk of the carefree. This was a strong, measured stride with purpose. This was a man’s stride.

“Man! He walks hard!” My eldest son who was on the porch with me apparently noticed this change in his little brother brother as well. Though they are only eighteen months apart physically, there was a subtle, unspoken my baby brother is growing up touch of pride to his assessment. Yet, all I could think was…

What broke my baby?

Both of my sons are very much like me. It had been their chagrin most of their young lives that I was sometimes one-up on them, able to predict some of what could get them in trouble and put a stop to it. It was generally my chagrin when they did something I missed and though I knew exactly why it happened, because it was something I did or would have done as a kid, I had to disciple them regardless. Sometimes I let them make mistakes, because it really is the only way to learn some hard lessons. But this did not fall into one of those categories.

My eldest took it hard when my mother died. Very hard. I knew the loss of the woman that tried her best to spoil him rotten, had broke him and changed him. I saw it happen and did my best to guide him through it and he was much better by this point, but I was cognizant of that change. I felt I had dropped the ball with my youngest as I watched him approach.

How did I fail to protect him? Where the fuck was I, who saw him every single day, while whatever this was was going on that it hurt him, broke him, and changed him without my noticing? What the hell had happened in his young life that ripped his spirit, his innocence to the point it had changed his very walk? What else have I missed? Could I find out? Should I find out?

I found myself once again into the wild unknowns of parenthood. Yes, there are guides and plenty of people who can give advice, whether you asked for it or not. There are some givens we all go through as children and as adults raising them. In the end, each child is unique and wild unknown and how one raises that child will be unique to that child.

I realized, they both were of the ages where the shift in dynamics of how we relate to each other changes. They will always be my children, and though they were not yet men, they were not in fact children. It felt like just last year I was teaching them to tie their shoes and only last month we had the condom talk, not a few years ago. I was losing them into the men they were going to be, another wild unknown…

When he saw his brother and I sitting on the front porch, he broke into this beatific smile (both of my sons really do have great smiles), and greeted us. More perceptive to my moods, than I had been to his, he looks at me at questioningly for a moment.

“You okay, Mommie?”
“I’m fine baby boy, you okay?”
“I’m GREAT! I’m having a great day!”

He then proceeds to regale us on just how great his day was. Naturally, with two teenage boys, the conversation eventually segues to video games and smack talk reigns.

I listen to and watch the both of them, but mostly my youngest for a long moment. Tall, though still a couple of years from his eventual 6’3″ height, his once high-pitched voice now very much a tenor. My silly little boy was very much still in there, but this man-child, now bounding up the stairs with his big brother, was anything and potentially everything, but he was not my baby anymore.


It’s Day 28 of the 2020 Slice of Life Writing Challenge – come see how others are slicing it up this Saturday.

Slice of Life logo

Message from the Universe: Live

Every now and then an inspired soul will randomly graffiti a sidewalk, or wall; tack a note to a tree; stick a note in a flowerbed etc. with a message that resonates with me. I call them messages from the universe. I saw this lovely message graffitied on a landing of my train station on the way to work this morning and had to post it to my facebook page.

Photo of sidewalk graffiti that reads: Today is a Good Day for a Good Day.

My added words: You know what? Yes, it's Monday. Yes, we're Living in the Time of Corona Virus, but we are in fact alive. Let's live people.❤

What I liked most about this simple message was its location. In order to see this you would have, presumably, paid your fare and be on the way up the stairs to the train platform level. That means the decision to get up, go through whatever your morning routine may be and then go where you have to go, to do what you have to do has already been made and put into motion.

That’s already a step in a good direction.

I mean no one purposely sets out to have a bad day. At least I hope not. I fully admit I am not a morning person. Yes, I get up bright and surly every weekday morning, but no, I do not get up with the thought that the day will be a lousy one and I am going to do everything I can to keep it so. I presume it is the same for most people.

That we do this out of habit, necessity, or boss’ orders is especially noteworthy in today’s climate where that decision to step outside your home means contact with others who have made that same decision. We are now hyper sensitive to what that can mean.

We have gone through mad cow, e-coli, bird flu and other medical scares. I am fully cognizant that this is a more virulent and wide spread strain of anything we’ve seen before, but as a species, we have survived and we will continue to. Some have sequestered or been quarantined in various levels before, but what we have not done is stop living.

COVID-19 has hit hard in Italy, among other places. Still, no one can deny the joie de vivre in the videos of Italians singing during quarantine. They are quarantined, not knowing what the next day will bring. Yet they sing. Why? Because they are alive, but above all they have not stopped living.

So yes, be safe. Take ALL the precautions: avoid unnecessary contact with others and yourself; sneeze and cough into a tissue or not partially above or partially under – but directly into the crook of your elbows; use sanitizers every where you can; and for God’s sake, please wash your hands!

Remember people that you are alive, so live! And in spite of it all…

Have A Good Day!

It is day 16 of the Slice of Life Writing challenge for 2020. Let’s see how others are slicing it up on this good day!

Slice of Life logo

Simple Joys

It is scheduled to rain this afternoon. It was overcast by my home when I got on the train early this morning to come to work. Thus, I was delighted to see El Sol was out and about when I came up from the subway near my job.

It’s the little things that bring simple joys.

El Sol giving me giraffe legs.

The Commons around my job have wonderful landscapers. There are seasonal plantings: various florals in summer and autumn, lights for the December holidays. Yesterday afternoon when I left work this plant box still held winter evergreens. This morning I am greeted by this unofficial but oh so important harbinger of spring: tulip bulbs! So come on rain and help out. I now look forward to seeing this and other plant boxes throughout The Commons ablaze in colorful tulips n a couple of weeks.

It’s the little things that bring simple joys.

It is Day 6 of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge for 2020. Stop in and see how others are slicing it up today!

Slice of Life logo

Be Grateful

The path on the bus from my home to the train station leads past several tenement buildings and projects.  A part of City life is the occasional appearance of memorials for the recently departed. I’m ashamed to say, they are so much so a part of the scenery that while I look at them, I really don’t see them anymore.  At least, until this morning.

This morning as I pass, I actually noticed the memorial, this was somehow different and as I looked closer, I understood why. The large portrait was that of a baby. This life could not have been more than a couple of months if I am gauging this infant correctly.  Someone lost a baby. Do we  even want to go into all the reasons why the younger a life is when it departs from us, the more tragic it seems? No.  It just is.

I was conversing with a woman on the train about the frivolity of some of the rich when she jokingly queried “What happens when you’ve been there, done that?”  I got the joke of it, I did and I smiled at it, still…

I think of my sons, my friends, others and myself. We spend so much time a’bitchin’ and a’moanin’ about the things we can’t do, the things we want to do, the things we have yet to do. We wrap ourselves in the dreams of the next big adventure we often barely appreciate the act of the things we have done once they become memory.  All the things we’ve already done even the truly regrettable ones, we at least got to do them.

So right now, right now, I keep thinking about this newest angel looking down upon us who didn’t get to do anything but brighten someone’s life for the briefest moment in time and think…

“What happens when you’ve been there, done that?” …

…Be grateful.

Today is Day 23 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
Come see how others are slicing it up this Friday.
Slice of Life logo

To Disappear Completely

A voice gone
In the nebulous
Thoughts faded
To disappear completely
Never felt again

I am lost
Much like the fog in
Morning sun
Just like dew
To disappear completely
In the deep vastness

In the words
Once heard in volume
Now slowly
Gone silent
To disappear completely
And no one noticed


dVerse Poets Pub | MTB: Phantom Form — Shadorma

Shadorma is a phantom form enshrouded in shadows and mystery. It is a syllabic poem consisting of six-line stanzas. The pattern is 3-5-3-3-7-5, and you may write one stanza, twenty, or anywhere in between.

In honor of its nebulous origins, pub tender Gospel Isosceles suggests the content explore the fog, the paranormal, the unexplained phenomena of life and death. Ultimately though, let the Shadorma lead in what one shall write…and reveal.

To Fall or To Rise

March 1st marked the twelfth year of my being a widow. I’ve had no serious relationships in the interim. A friend asked this morning if I think I will fall in love again. I told him I hope so, but I’d prefer to rise in love again someday. It sparked a discussion that the results of I thought would make a good post. So here goes…

We say we “fall” in love.


  • to come or go down quickly from a high place or position, to let yourself come or go down to a lower position, to become lower, to become less,  to lose value)

Falling is uncoordinated; a generally unconscious act. No one wants to fall. The body instinctively tries to reach out to brace itself against it. Falling is not something we want to do in any other circumstance. 

Why is it allowed in love?

Now to rise? That’s something different.


  • to move upward, to become higher, to advance to a higher level, to become stronger,  to be or become better, to make the special effort.

To rise. To uplift. To  elevate. 

Love should bring you above it all even when in the muck of it.  Does anyone remember a few ago during the Vancouver riots after the game – specifically the now infamous photo of the couple kissing on the ground? There’s chaos around them, you can see police in the near distance behind them. Yet they are kissing.

Vancouver Riots 2011 - Couple kissing on ground

Vancouver Riots 2011 – Couple Kissing

For all that was going on around them, in that moment it, was just about the two of them. It’s him giving her comfort in the midst of madness, still it comforts him as well for her to accept it and return it.

That was a moment of rising in love between two people who had no idea the moment was captured until it was shared across the globe.

Also note: rising in love is no guarantee of its reciprocity. Nor is it solely the providence of romantic love.

  • Ask the parents visiting their newly admitted drug addicted daughter screaming vindictiveness from her rehab room as they walk away praying it works this time.
    They rose up to keep loving her.
  • Ask the caretaker of the elderly sun-downing woman who no longer recognizes him as her son these days. He rises up to love her regardless.
  • Ask the classroom of children who shaved their heads in support of their teacher stricken with cancer. They rose up.

And because sometimes the love you have to rise up to, is the love of yourself:

  • Ask the man momentarily miserable, yet at peace as he walks out the door of an abusive relationship knowing he’s never coming back. He rose.

And that is the blessing, but also the crux and the curse of it.

Because falling in love is relatively easy. I said relatively.

Falling in love is that easy B-. It required very little effort on your part to pass the test. Now you have time for that Saturday Social with your B- and maybe even B+ friends. And if that was all you wanted, then okay.  When you see the Honor Roll and your name was not on it. You’ll always know you could have done better.

Rising in love takes work, compromise work and yes some sacrifice.

Rising in love is not being satisfied with that easy B-. You’re willing to work for it. You give up a couple, maybe a few Saturday Socials. Some friends may tease you. You see the pictures of what you’re missing, but you persevere. When you do show up at the Saturday Social again, you do so with a hard earned A, maybe even an A+ and your name on the Honor Roll.

Yes, rising in love is work, but the pay off is so worth the extra effort.

You do not choose who you fall in love with. However, you always choose who you rise in love with.

So yes, I do hope to fall in love, again.

But then I want to rise.


Today is Day 3 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge.
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
Slice of Life logo


LP & Me

I was asked if Metallica and Linkin Park had new releases and were touring around the same year, which caused them to have concerts on the same day which band would I chose.

The reality is I am surrounded by so many venues and both bands always play multiple days in a given arena, that this conflict would never really be an issue. The question would be which one would I want to see first? And that is a damned good question.

Ask anyone who knows me about my favorite band and all will unequivocally tell you Metallica. It’s hard to even write their name without wanting to scream it out loud, immediately follow by an expletive, at least one. My love for Metallica has been unflinching since the first chords of “Master of Puppets” entered my pysche. No, I was not there from the very beginning of their career, but I have been a loyal acolyte to the altar of James, Lars,  Kirk and Robert (with nods to Jason, Dave, Ron and a RIP to Cliff, of course). However, those who know me really well know I also have a thisclose second musical love and that is Linkin Park.

Linkin Park Logo

My adoration for Joe, Dave, Brad, Mike, Rob and Chester runs deep. They remain the only other band, besides Metallica, whose music I will preorder notes unheard simply on the faith of who they are.

When this began…

It was 3am and I was in the midst of a three day insomnia run. I had given up the ghost of pretending I was going to sleep and turned on the TV. I was flipping through channels when I came across MTV’s Insomniac Theater, or something like that. One would think with a title as such it would be something sedate right? But this is MTV, it was playing rock, hard rock, thrash rock, loud rock and I hit the channel just as one video was fading out and what faded in was the sound of water draining. Huh? My head popped up, and some of you LP fans reading this may have already known from that small descriptor the song was Crawling.

I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence)
(I’m convinced that there’s)
(Just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before so insecure

These lyrics described exactly how I was feeling about myself in the world at that time. It was a whole new thing for me, a place where I can find, or is that lose?, myself in.

The song hit hard and unapologetic. Chester Bennington, lead vocalist for Linkin Park, was unforgiving as he growled his way into my id, fucking trashed it like a drugged out rocker’s hotel room and by God I wanted more! When the video ended I immediately turned off the television hyperventilating, not knowing what the fuck hit me, but I remember I finally fell asleep and felt so much better upon waking. I could barely contain myself after work long enough to get to the record store, buy the CD, get home and blast it.  The CD? Hybrid Theory. And thus a new love was borne.

Hybrid Theory stayed in my portable CD player for at least, at least, two solid months. I mean I am pretty sure I listened to nothing else, but Lincoln Park for a solid two months. Even now when I hear certain songs from that album, my mind automatically starts playing the opening notes of the next track in album order.  Play One Step Closer and my mind segues into With You; A Cure For The Itch will fade into Pushing Me Away. If you have the extended version which I did, you also got to hear My December and that remains in my mental rotation as well.

But wait…

As happily stunned as I was by Hybrid Theory, the group’s next release Meteora simply floored me. You know how for many bands the sophomore release can be meh? Well, Linkin Park clearly did not get that memo.  Musically, it follows a similar vein as Hybrid Theory, but lyrically it hits the emotions harder.

Depression –

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you

Anger – 

Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored!

Recovery – 

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long
(Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)

I’ve quoted lyrics from Numb,  Faint, and Somewhere I Belong respectively here, but really the entire album simply works for me. There is a reason it remains their highest grossing studio release.  Chester’s voice combined with Mike Shinoda’s rap, and Joe Hahn’s sampling/mixing was a heady combination. If The Devil Went Down To Georgia were rock/rap based, Meteora would have been the din that did Mephistopheles in. And they didn’t stop there…

Their next album, Minutes to Midnight was released ten years ago – yet…

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
Both scared and angry like “What did he say?”

Now, replace “nightly news” with “Twitter tweets”. Sounds familiar? It’s their third album in and they are still speaking what’s inside my head, then and now.

A Thousand Suns

God save us everyone,
Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns?
For the sins of our hands,
The sins of our tongues,
The sins of our fathers,
The sins of our young.

Living Things

No, you can tell ’em all now
I don’t back up, I don’t back down
I don’t fold up, and I don’t bow
I don’t roll over, don’t know how

The Hunting Party

You’re guilty all the same
Too sick to be ashamed
You want to point your finger
But there’s no one else to blame

The Hunting Party marks something of a departure for LP in that it is their first album to bring in guest appearances with other artists to collaborate.

Now include their one off singles like New Divide (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Movie Soundtrack) and the hits keep coming. Another standout for me was Chester’s cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep that he performed live during a concert. In the clear opposite of the style that is the earmark of his general singing with Linkin Park, here it is stripped down and one of the times you get to hear him just sing. It is an almost acapella cover that showcases the strength and beauty of the man’s voice. There is a reason he did a short tour on lead vocals with Stone Temple Pilots – the man can sing.

Now, I am eagerly awaiting their seventh studio release – One More Light set to be released May 19th. In the interim I am enjoying the first single released, Heavy, featuring Kiiara. Heavy marks another first for Linkin Park with this song being the first studio release for them with a female vocalist. It’s a little pop-ish to me, but I like it. And there is the recently released Battle Symphony, lyrically more along the Linkin Park I know and love.

For all the brouhaha of the negatives some speak of rock and rap music, one would think that a band who has successfully, and consistently, done both well would be a monster. And yes they are, believe you me, but they are my kind of monster. These savage beasts sooth this beauty. I continue to listen to them, especially when seeking a way to ease my anger, or when I feel the stress about to overwhelm. All I have to do is put in my earbuds, or if home turn up the volume, and let myself drown in their music. To quote One Republic here – everything that drowns me, makes me want to fly. When I need to immerse myself in their music, they are my CPR and I am always resurrected in a better mood.


Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 15


A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

The Big If

What in the actual fuck am I do with my existence and time on this planet?? Do you know what you’re doing with yours? If you died today would you be happy?

This query was posed by a friend on Facebook.  Because it was Facebook I gave a quick one paragraph response.  Below is that paragraph expanded out.

The biggest problem with worrying about our existence and time on this earth is that we have no clue how long our ride will last. Therefore worrying about it takes some of that very finite time away from actually living it.  We all, well most of us, want to be someone grand, want to be a known quantity. We want to know we have a purpose in life.  My purpose in life is easy…

Don't just survive life, live it.
Don’t just survive life, live it.

I believe if I simply live my life to the best of my ability each day, everything else falls into place.

Within the past ten or so years I have rediscovered ME.  The me I am when I’m not being a semi-professional on the job, when I’m not being a mother to now two grown men, when I’m not being a potential someone’s significant other. I have rediscovered the me I am when I take away all the things I have to do and am left with only the things I must to do to make my soul happy. I had no clue as to how just badly I was lost, until I slowly started to find me. I am still learning, challenging and discovering myself, and it has been one heck of an exploration.

I may never be the next Poe or Renoir or Piaf. Especially Piaf,  because this Raivenne who ironically loves karaoke, can’t sing for shit.  Yet on a very small-scale my name is now somewhat known in many countries across this globe. I could never have imagined that ten plus years ago. That is not to say that, with hard work, ten years from now if my name is well on its way to being as recognized as say Angelou or  Chihuly or Adele (again, please see my caveat re: singing above), I will not complain; really I won’t. A few ago I posted in my blog how my life has done a complete 180 degree turn regarding the arts in my life- from it dearth in my youth to its depth now. My love of writing, music, painting, poetry, theatre – it is all so ingrained into me now I cannot imagine breathing without it. I have rediscovered not just my love for the art of others, but to also appreciate and love, nurture my own arts as well.

I have accomplished some things I could not conceive of doing 30, 20, 10 years ago. Imagined?-yes. Hoped and prayed?-yes. Actually thought I would get to do?-no. But I have done and it has been a marvel. I have so many wonderful people in my life, and I include some of those whom I have yet to meet face-to-face. Had you asked me years if I ever truly thought I would know get to know just people globally, outside of my best friend, that if I should ever step foot in their country and did not make a sincere effort to meet with them that I would be royally cussed out, I would have laughed heartily in your face. Heartily. Yet, I am slowly marking not just countries, but continents of my lists; this is where I am now.

I look in the mirror each morning and I’m glad to say the majority of the time I smile at what I see. (Queue Mary J. Blige’s Fine here.) Not just physically, but emotionally as well. I have my raw days, we all do, however I can honestly say I have never been so full of life, enjoying life, thriving in the art of simply living life as I am right now.

So, if I have to make that final exit today, I can say I would be happy.  Still, for as much as I have already accomplished, have I crossed-off even a third of my ever-expanding Want-To-Do list?-Nope. So forgive me if  I’m hoping for at least a few more decades to work on those, before I leave you guys, okay? Because I’m Happy!

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 14


A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

It’s Lamb Time!

Spring equinox 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere will be at 6:28 AM on Monday, March 20 EST

I cannot lie, with the exception of the previous week, Winter 2016 has been relatively mild temperature wise. Granted there will be a couple more fights twixt lion and lamb for the next few weeks before we really feel like spring in our bones, but boy I am very happy to officially be on this side of the equinox at last.

Central Park Promenade in early spring

Central Park Promenade 1st Day of Spring 2016

Like most seasons some signs of spring appear before the calendar states such. The days are noticeably longer, grass has started to show its first shoots – though last week’s snow storm may have done a number on them, any day now I expect the landscapers by my job to start planting their annual tulip bulbs, there’s even the tiniest hint of what will be buds on the cherry blossom trees. Starbucks have the new coffee cup sleeves for spring and the annual joking, but not funny memes requesting people to please, for the love of all that’s holy, please get pedicures before breaking out the strappy sandals. Ahh spring!

To all of my southern hemisphere people, now entering autumnal equinox: may your coming winter be even more gentle than our past one. And please take time for Hygge.




Let’s see how others are getting through their First Day of Equinox:

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 20