Deena Remiel's Place

Author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance


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Coming out of retirement… at age 13!

tumbling

This time last year, Youngest was gearing up for the dream of a lifetime… going to the Junior Olympics National Championships for Tumbling and Trampoline. After going and placing 6th in the nation in Tumbling and 12th in the nation in Double Mini Trampoline, she decided to retire. Why? She’d been doing this all her life, she achieved her dream of going to the Olympics, and now wanted to try something new. Something that she’d always wanted to try. Cheerleading. It was a long arduous, heart-wrenching decision on her part. But she made it and stuck to it by taking classes and trying out. 

Alas, she didn’t make the cut – she didn’t smile enough and her voice wasn’t loud enough (truly surprising since I feel he need for earplugs at home). Down and dejected, she picked herself up and continued the classes throughout the school year. More and more, she sought out other venues that could appease her need for activity. We signed her up at a rec center and she ran, worked out, took Yoga. One evening, dinner time a couple of weeks ago, out of nowhere, she begins a conversation with me. It went like this:

Y: Mom? (she seems tentative)

Me: Yeah?

Y: I want to go back to Team. (bites lip, face reddens, eyes water, she swipes the tears away)

Me: You do? Wow! Talk to me. What’s going on? I can see you’re very emotional about this.

Y: I miss the motivation, the competition. I miss having something to look forward to everyday and a goal to challenge myself with.

Holy hopping snot, Batman! My heart ached for her and what she’d been living with all year by leaving what she’d loved and done most of her life. And how hard it must have been to come to terms with it all! Floating on a cloud from her success of the summer to rejection at the beginning of fall. Sometimes, it takes being away from what you love to be able to appreciate it relevance in your life.Of course, I said yes. But as any mom would do, I reminded her of the things that bothered her before, because absence makes us wax nostalgic, and I wanted her to be sure of her decision. I came to find out she’d been thinking about returning for a while and had thought through these issues. She was ready to accept it all. 

This past Wednesday, she returned to the team, the excitement of her peers, and the welcoming arms of her coach, who, when asked, readily said he’d take her back in a heartbeat. I hadn’t seen her smile so broadly since Nationals! She’s where she needs to be. She’s where she fits. She’s home.

 


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OMG, just tell me… WHEN did my girls grow up?!?!

So, there I am at the supermarket last Sunday when a new plateau in my life decided to give me a smackdown. I’d filled my basket with all the non-food and shelf items first, then made another trip around to pick up the frozen and refrigerated items last. Hey, don’t judge me. In Arizona, frozen things melt in a blink of an eye! Refrigerated items warm, and I don’t need my milk going bad after a day or two.

So I head over to the checkout line and proceed to put all the frozen food items together, all the refrigerated items together, and so on with the hopes that the person bagging will follow my line of thinking and bag these items together. Most of the time it works. Well, I’m all done and I’m happily leaving the store having saved $65 in coupons and in store sales. Yay me! I stuff the receipt in my pocket and find a few quarters. Bonus!

As I walk out, I see a Knights of Columbus table has been set up to ask for donations in support of Intellectual Disabilities. Having just found some change, I figured, why not? I tossed my coins in the jar and the lovely gentleman asks me how many little ones I have at home so he can give me a treat for them.

Now, at first, I’m extremely flattered. He thinks I’m younger than I am! Woohoo! And then… slam! New plateau smacks me in the face! I respond, “Oh, I don’t have any little ones at home anymore.” He smiles and says, “Well, here you are anyway. Thank you very much.” And he tosses a few Tootsie Rolls in one of my bags. I thanked him, but as I walked toward my car I nearly puked.

WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHEN MY LITTLE GIRLS GREW UP ON ME?! I do remember the passage of  time, the  cheers and tears over life and school events, and of course the clothes and shoe shopping. But, this was the first time I’d been asked about little ones at home, and they are decidedly NOT so little. In fact, Youngest is in Jr High School, as tall as her sister and nearly as tall as me! And Eldest is a Jr in High School. AL she talks about is driving and college! Stop this plane, I wanna get off! 

Well, not really. There are incredible benefits that come with my NO LONGER LITTLE ONES. We can joke around differently, we can have discussions, the three of us can share womanly events with each other (ahem, Dad really suffers now), and hubby and I can go out together without them!

A new plateau in our family’s history. Am I leaping for joy? Not especially. I do miss the fuzzy warm baby head days every now and again. I miss them falling asleep on my lap and the preschool years when Mama and Daddy rocked their worlds. I miss the sheer excitement of early childhood.

But I have to admit to loving the young ladies my girls have become. They are beautiful, smart, strong-willed, and have a keen sense of what makes a good person. Okay, so they drive my hubby and me bananas with their teenage personalities at the moment. But this too shall pass and we’ll be onto our next plateau. Lord help me! If that could wait a bit so my wounds have a chance to heal from this smackdown, I’d appreciate it!

Hugs,
Deena


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While I’m a away…

I’ve decided to post something each day from the archives of oldies but goodies. I hope you enjoy the hilarity I have in store for you!  So here’s the first one. It’s been 2 years since I wrote this piece. Eldest has added to my exclamations. The girl has a driver’s permit! Aaack! And I even have gotten in the car with her to teach her a couple things!

Who said you were allowed to grow up?

Eldest is going to be a freshman in high school this August. Excuse me… I’ll be right back. Okay! Just threw up, but I’m better now, thanks. Where the hell did the time go? I know, she’s only thirteen, but she’s gonna be fourteen and then thirty… someday! It’s actually exciting to see our relationship morph as she matures, even though at this moment I’m considered half parent/half mutant. But it doesn’t make it any easier letting go of the little girl who used to run into my arms when we’d say goodbye at preschool.

Now I understand why certain people have a lot of kids. No! Not just for religious reasons. There’s a yearning to recapture the innocence of youth, and the selfish desire to be the whole world to another individual. For as they grow, we become background and others take more prominent roles in our children’s lives. As it should be.

Well, I also have Youngest, who still loves to  hug and kiss and snuggle. Who still says, “I love you!” unabashedly. Thank heavens! I don’t know if my ego is strong enough to handle two children thinking of me as a toss-up between The World’s Most Embarrassing Parent and Queen of No Fun.

But in reality, how much longer do I have of this? My glory days are running out. Don’t get any crazy ideas, though. I’m not having any more children! My hubbie’s just gonna have to step up his game a bit, because my ego will need lots of stroking.

Eldest, I love her dearly, with every breath that I take. She is turning into a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. So, why do we argue over clothes? And why are you having crushes over boys?  And where the heck did that gorgeous figure come from? Hey, Eldest! Who said you were allowed to grow up?


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What I learned from my daughter yesterday…

We’d been talking about it for days. More like Youngest was complaining about it for days. She’s been playing violin for a year and now she wanted to quit. Why? I asked her. “I’m just not feeling it, Mom. Can you write a letter and put me in General Music?”

Given the fact that Youngest is a gymnast and goes to practice 3 days a week, 2 1/2 hours each day, I thought I could let it slide. I mean when does she have the time to practice? Pieces were getting more challenging, and I knew she wasn’t practicing nearly the amount of time she should. So I agreed.  I told her I would support any choice she made in this matter. I talked with her teacher at conference time, I wrote a letter, and thought that would be the end of it.

Last night, after dinner, I found her rifling through her music. She asked me for a binder, and proceeded to tell me she’s changed her mind. She’s going to stay with violin. I asked her why. And this was her answer…

“I can’t give up on things just because they’re hard, Mom. I didn’t give up on learning my Branny (a gymnastics skill), and I can’t give up on the violin. I’m no quitter! Quitters never win!”

She got it. She really got it.

 After moaning and groaning about her Branny  for WEEKS, and being so frustrated, she happened to have gotten that skill down on Friday. Took her all weekend, but she applied those same feelings and principles to her violin, reflected on her success and what could be her success in music.

Yeah, I learned a lot from my daughter yesterday. And maybe she learned it from me first, since she sees how hard I work at my craft and career. But it was a beautiful thing, hearing those golden words being said with such passion.

Hugs.
Deena


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Poor man, never stood a chance…

{ An oldie, but a goodie! Had to post this again because last night my husband got to do something very special. He took our daughter to buy a bra! That’s right folks! I was getting my hair done, and Eldest needed a strapless for Homecoming. He was thrilled… NOT. I’m chuckling the whole time my hair is processing, straight through to the blowout. Ah… good times, good times. I told him he should make it a tradition. Bra shopping once a year with the girls! Funny, he didn’t see the humor in that. *Shrugs* Oh well. Hahahaha. }

My husband lives in a house with three girls. He’s accepting condolences, thank you very much. Now, when the girls were younger, much younger, it was a lovely scene wherever we were. One man, flanked by his “women”, his harem, the girls who adored him like no others would. He’d be struttin’ around like a peacock, preening himself with the knowledge that no other guy had an entourage like him.

Well, just like in a soap opera, nothing stays rosey forever. The girls are growing up, damn it. Suddenly, he finds himself tossed aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Teeny-bobber boys have the audacity to usurp his coveted role in our household. Well, he’s handled that demotion pretty well, I must say. He even chuckles and teases the two of them. And they respond with the obligatory, “Oh Dad! Stop it! I don’t have a crush on Justin Bieber!” or “Ew!  I do not like so an so! Oh my God!” Nicely played, honey.

But now, something darker, more sinister, more frightening has entered our home. A new age is dawning in our household. It is the dawning of the age of HORMONES! Like the phases of the moon change man to werewolf, so too, do the hormones change us women into beastly lionesses! For so long, my honey  had only me to contend with every month. A lovely trip to an alternate universe, to be sure.  But now, as our girls continue to grow up, against our wishes, I might add, they are changing, too.

It’s not pretty. He tries to escape all the time, but we just keep throwing the net over him, and drag him back down with us. Ensnared, he is,  in the  unpredictable world of  erratic emotions. Wading through the muck and mire of screaming voices and slammed doors, he tries every time to sort through who said what and whose feelings are hurt and why. And every time his efforts are fruitless. Before he realizes what’s happened, he’s sucked into yet another hormone-induced cat fight, for which he has no defense. He hasn’t quite learned yet that he will never come out unscathed when mixing it up with three warring hormone-laden girls.

Poor man, he never stood a chance.

But there is hope! He is learning! The computer room is a great place to hide. Doing the food shopping is another brilliant tactic. Getting on the motorcycle for a ride, even better.

Unfortunately for everyone in our semi-peaceful home, darker days loom over the horizon for which there is no escape… menopause.


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I’m Guest Blogging at The Dusty Rose!

You know my humor. You know that I posted about my husband and me kissing in front of the kids, scarring them for life. Weeeell, let me just say, we’ve had another “incident” for which I saved for Leslie D. Soule and her blog, The Dusty Rose. Join me, won’t you, in the humor that only our families can provide. :D

http://www.falcondraco.bravejournal.com/

Hugs,
Deena


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Ew… Mom.Dad. Get a room!

My husband and I have been married for nearly eighteen years. We dated four years prior to our wedding. Now, we have two daughters –  14 and 11 years of age. Needless to say, we’ve kissed a couple of times.  Go figure! Lately, our kids, the proof that we’ve uh… kissed, have been quite vociferous about our PDA.

Now let me get something perfectly clear. Hubby and I hold hands wherever we go. When either of us leaves for work or gets home from the day, we kiss. Nothing major, you know, a few pecks on the lips. But the kids act as though they’re scarred for life!  Words like, “ew” and “gross” spill from their mouths. Youngest covers her eyes whenever she sees kissing on TV or in a movie, too. Eldest is the hypocrite.  She’ll watch movies that have men and women kissing in them and she’s perfectly fine with that. But when Mom and Dad do it… The two of them yell out, “Ew! Mom. Dad. Get a room!”

Luckily, we haven’t been caught making love yet.  I don’t even want to think of what could happen. Maybe their brains would implode? On the one hand, we think it’s hysterical, and any chance we get to exploit their embarrassment, we do. We’ve been known to egg them on with more kissing and hugging. On the other hand, they need to get a grip! They are both old enough to have had Sex Ed in school. They know how babies are made, hence, where they came from. So what’s so bad about a little kissing between parents?

So are you like us? Do you have kids that say, “Ew! Gross! Get a room!”

Hugs,
Deena


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Blinders Off! A Special Human Trafficking Simul-posting!

All across the internet today, friends of mine are helping raise awareness regarding Human Trafficking, a global, insidious crime. Everyday a child, a woman, a man is sold into slavery- whether for work, drugs, or for sex, it is happening all around us. Even to families we know. One young woman has been rescued from her years of captivity by a brave champion, Dottie Laster of Laster Global, Inc. To commemorate the 6 month anniversary of her freedom, and to bring about awareness, I present here today, FREEDOM IN CHAINS, a short story. Blinders off, people!

~Deena Remiel
www.deenaremiel.com
www.millionkids.org
http://lasterglobal.com/

Freedom in Chains
By Deena Remiel

I am born. Without forethought. Without intention. Without love. I am thrust out of a darkness so warm, sheltered, and secure. Thrown into another kind of darkness so cold, exposed, and depraved. I cry and reach out, instinctively, for a mother’s love that should be there, instinctively, and is not. I learn instead to reach inward. I learn to design my own world in a corner of my mind. I learn not to cry.

Bad things happen when I cry. Bad things happen anyway… when you’re not intended.

In my world, it’s best to be invisible. If She can’t see me, I’m forgotten for a while and safe from the brutal attacks on my fragile heart. I know She can’t help herself yet, and I forgive her… over and over. She is Mother. If He can’t see me, my body is safe from unwanted, unwarranted intrusions.  I just can’t be invisible long enough, though. I know He can’t help himself. He tells me so as He hurts me and cries… or laughs.

No longer a person, but a receptacle for other people’s basest desires, I exist. I am pissed on and passed on to innumerable faceless people who don’t see me, a precious child, but see me, a thing to be exploited. This is not my choice, but I have no voice. It was stolen sound by sound, thread by thread, each day sucked up more and more by the vacuum my family surrounded me with, veiled as “protection”.

My name is Freedom, and it was my birthday, once.

Freedom’s not my real name, but I chose it on that one birthday. The one that was actually remembered. The one that made Mother angry at remembering, angry at me. My birthday dinner was Rice Toasties and milk. My birthday gift? I got visited by Him and his friends. As my body was repeatedly invaded, I made plans for my revolution, my escape.

To freedom.

Today is the dawn of my revolution. Mother isn’t home, and He’s too doped up to lift his head when I walk into our apartment. So I gather my few belongings and walk right back out, never looking back. The streets have to be safer than where I have been for the past fourteen years.

I walk along the bustling city streets of my town, seeing everything just a bit differently than I had only minutes before. I see, for the first time, because my head is up and not turned down in shame. The store windows sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight, just for me. In upstairs apartments, window shades are pulled down and then up to let in more light. But I know they’re really winking their approval at my decision. My heart is light, my cheeks lift, and I touch them. I am smiling. What a strange feeling.

Awareness and attention to detail assault my brain like a battering ram. There’s an old lady with wrinkled tissue paper skin pushing a shopping cart, but I know she’s not shopping anywhere. I see her lips moving but nothing’s coming out. There’s a pack of boys, acting as if they owned the corner they were hanging out on, whistling after pretty girls walking by. Some of the girls give them nasty looks, while others ignore them altogether.

I notice the smells. The sweet, succulent aroma of the flowers from a flower shop is tucked away in a little box in my heart labeled “sweet things”. Next, I smell pizza. I know pizza. I eat it a lot. My nose wrinkles in defiance of the familiarity. No more pizza for me! I smell garbage. I know that smell, too. It perfumes my apartment. It creeps into my nostrils and lingers. I put my hand to my face and smell my skin. Anything is better than the smell of where I came from.

Darkness is inevitable. Hours fly by in a dizzying swirl of sights, sounds, and smells. More swiftly than I would think, the insipid darkness descends upon the city. I am tense, anxious. My stomach grumbles. I haven’t considered where or what I might eat. I haven’t considered where I might stay. I haven’t considered how I might pay for anything. I simply haven’t considered. My thoughts wander as I stand frozen in the middle of the sidewalk. I am now one of those people, the street people, who lay on benches or cardboard boxes on the ground. It’s still better than who I was before.

 An unnatural breeze, sour and rank, wafts over my face. I know that smell, and a shiver snakes its way up my spine and clenches hard at my neck. It is Him, and my stomach roils in abject humiliation. My revolution, only in its infancy, has been suppressed. I am tugged and pulled and squeezed by his cruel hands. And He smiles at the people we pass on the way to his car that He left parked in the middle of the road. He calls me an incorrigible teenager to mollify the onlookers while shoving me into the front seat, and they respond with an understanding glance. But they don’t understand! I scream that I’m being kidnapped and they shake their heads disbelieving me, believing Him instead. How can they believe Him instead of me? His right hand forms a manacle around my wrist as He drives one-handed all the way back to the apartment. I am barraged with insults and curses and threats meant to intimidate me.

They will work… for a while.

A closet, a very dark closet with some matted carpeting, becomes my home, and I am chained by my ankle to the floor. But not before my whipping, not before cigarettes are burned into my flesh, and not before I am reminded of what my only purpose is on this earth. I don’t know what day it is. I only know day from night when the door opens and I’m given a sandwich and water. And when They come to fetch me.

In the darkness I hear them scheming. I know they have to send me to school. It’s the law. But they won’t until I’m healed. Mother told me she called me out sick so the police won’t come. They’ve told stories to everyone at school about how difficult I am at home and how I’m a habitual liar. Mother told them she’s getting me into counseling because I hurt myself intentionally. My teachers don’t believe them. Do they?

I am scheming, too.

I am finally set free to go to school. I have no clue what’s going on in my classes and no friends to ask. I’m never there enough to string concepts or friendships together. My stomach is cramping, so I ask to see the nurse. Denied. I’m only allowed to have stomach cramps in between classes. I see my assistant principal at lunchtime and decide to approach her. Maybe she can help me. We go to her office and she leans back nonchalantly in her seat and stares blankly at every tale I tell. I even show her the scarring from the cigarette burns and the chain marks around my ankle. I’ll look into this, she says, as she walks me out. I turn around to see her shaking her head and tossing her notes into the waste basket. She doesn’t believe. They’ve gotten to her. She’s one of Them now.

The end of the school day brings no relief, as He is there, waiting for me in his car. He waves me on and I can do nothing but obey. Mother’s gone. On and on, my days blend together. Every day the same routine- chains unlocked, get ready for school, go to school, go home, chains locked. Sometimes He comes, sometimes his friends, sometimes it is people he doesn’t even know. I am His meal-ticket. I am His drugs.

 I am His.

He has a computer on the table in the kitchen, right next to the pizza boxes and dirty paper plates and cups and empty beer bottles. While in my closet I have been busy. I have found a way to get out of my chains and back in them again. Malnourishment has its advantages.

The front door slams shut and I wait. I listen. There is silence. Boldly, I remove the chain from around my ankle and I stretch. Reaching up for the doorknob, I hesitate. What if He’s testing me and He’s really laying in wait, ready to pounce? What if the door is locked and I can’t get out? Enough of the what-ifs, I scold myself. What if you just open the Goddamn door?

I do, and I am alone.

Energy hums through my body as I rush to the computer. Now what? I search for freedom. I had been in Civics class once where the teacher taught us about human rights violations around the world. He had mentioned human trafficking and children being sold into slavery as a couple of examples. I remember hyperventilating and being sent to the health office. I retched and dry-heaved for a while and then she sent me back to class. Only other people get to go home when they’re sick.

Human trafficking brings up 9,000,000 pages to view. I only need one to confirm that I am what is called a victim. It takes a couple more clicks and I find my savior. Someone actually saves people like me, victims of unspeakable human rights crimes. I quickly write down a phone number, put it in my pocket and return the computer to exactly the way it was before.

 I hear loud cursing and laughing coming from the hallway. He’s back, and he’s got company. Scurrying like a mouse, I scramble to my closet, close the door, reattach the chain to my ankle and curl up in a ball. I say my nightly prayer, “Please make me invisible tonight.” Tonight, it works. His company is female. Poor woman.

At school today, I skip out of English. I borrow some kid’s cell phone. Okay, I steal some kid’s cell phone and race outside to make the call. The call to freedom. My finger trembles as it pushes each number. It knows this is my last effort to be free. The thrumming of my heart threatens to drown out the voice on the other end. Hello?

I am born. Again. It is a long row I hoe with many ruts and boulders in my way. Nightmares and depression replace my former reality. But I have people in my life now who help me plant the seeds of strength and trust and happiness. People who show me what it is to be treated with human kindness. People who show me I am deserving of such. The evil that bought me when I was but a child has his own shackles to wear now in his own “closet” for the next forty years. It should bring a smile to my face, but that’s still hard to do.

My name is Freedom, and I had a birthday once. I named it my Freedom Day. My Freedom Day dinner was a real steak, a baked potato, green beans, and a Coke.

My Freedom Day gift? My new life.

©Deena Remiel, 2010. All rights reserved.


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My new home… it’s got good energy

I can finally rest easy! There are no creepy spots in my new home! Kids have gone over, around and through this new home of ours and have found nothing to giving them the heeby-geebies. Thank goodness! It seems the first house we ever bought and the last one both had creepy vibes that my kids were attuned to.  Both kids always felt “watched”. It made for endless nights of troublesome sleep for my youngest, and my eldest was consumed by all things security related  – whole house systems, guard dogs, weapons that can be used for protection. *Sigh*

I have to admit, I agree with my kids. This place has a real good feel to it. Yes, I can sense things, too, but on a very basic level. There’s good energy here, and that means calm, peace,  and good things can happen ’round here. They have already.

Have you ever gotten creeped out by a place you’ve lived in? Share your stories, I would really love to hear. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone when experiencing things like this.

Hugs and snugs,
Deena


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Moving Day:Remembering to Breathe

Moving day is quickly approaching and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a long struggle to make what my husband and I thought would be a better life for our family. We’ve been stuck in a three-year nightmare ever since the economic downturn swept us up and away. But now, there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can breathe again. Paring down, scaling back, refocusing our energies in different ways will make for a much more serene life filled with more opportunities for all of us.

I remember an earlier post I wrote that shared a fortune I thought worthy of keeping. I can truly say that through all of this financial mess and emotional turmoil, I always  made sure to “act as though it were impossible to fail”. Acting got me through the darkest hours and now I can feel the rewards slowly making their way to my doorstep.

I must say, too, my children have been wonderful throughout all of this. God bless them, when we talked openly and honestly with them, they didn’t blame, they didn’t become resentful. And they had every right to. We took them from the friends and neighbors we all loved and the only home they’d ever known. But no, they understood , stopped asking for things, and became even more grateful for what they got.

So the next time I officially post here, it will be from my new office in my new rented home. I will have a huge grin on my face and serenity in my heart. But for now, with moving day a day away, and more packing than I ever want to do ever again, I am far from serene. I’m a swirling mass of chaos! Calgon… take me away! ;)

Hugs and snugs,
Deena

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