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Since we moved back to Los Angeles last August, it’s been a process of figuring out what old things that I wanted to pick back up and finding new things to take the place of stuff that no longer quite fits. One of the things that still fits, happily, is the Renaissance Faire. Which is unsurprising, given that it’s my 30th year.
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Instead of running my own show, I’m tucked into a corner at the OrtFaerie booth this year, at the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Southern California, with a few of my pieces up for sale. It’s nice to be working for someone else and helping them with their booth instead of worrying about all the details of my own. We have magic wands, faerie lures, wind chimes, flutes and magical hangings… it’s pure enchantment. The artist, Joyce Nunamaker McCall is wicked talented and her husband Fred McCall is there playing his wood flutes throughout the day.

Plus you can see some of the lovely new pieces that are starting to roll off my bench…

 

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I did a thing.

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Its’ been a year and a half since I touched a hammer or pair of pliers. I have no new stones, no new metals, I’m missing supplies, I’m out of butane but by golly, I did a thing.

It feels good to be back.

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And so it goes

Today was a little bit demoralizing when I got a nice email from a well known health food store chain, telling me that I wasn’t qualified to work in their store as a part time bakery assistant and barista.

See. No. That’s where you’re wrong, well known health food store. I’ve been self employed for 8 years. Managing client needs and expectations, producing inventory on a timetable, with meticulous attention to detail and customer satisfaction. Before that I was an ACTUAL BARISTA and also worked in a specialty food store. I’m basically PERFECT for your store, but let’s get real, I think it’s more that you won’t hire me because I’m 47 and I’ve been out of the “working for other people” sphere for 8 years. So a little ageism there and maybe some worry about entrepreneurs as employees?

So demoralizing and frustrating. Because I could basically do that job standing up and asleep (not that I’d sleep, I’d be so wide awake) and they would LOVE me, but I can’t get in the door for an interview. Online job applications are horrible.

I would say “This is why you need to go to college, kids.” except so many of my friends who did go to college are also under employed, or unemployed and hustling as entrepreneurs when all they really want is a 401k and health benefits.

On the up side, after some Facebook whining, I was reminded that I am surrounded by an amazing and supportive tribe of women in the doula and art worlds, and I felt really lifted up and not so scared and alone. Community is great. We’ll all get through this together. I’m grateful for tribe today. When my fire was low, they helped relight my match.

I’ve been at the bench all day today, in between bouts of resume updating, LinkedIn figuring-out-ing, and job searching. Writer’s strike is looming and our primary income is from film production. I just don’t make enough as a doula yet to cover the gap and jewelry sales haven’t picked up yet. Part time work for The Man it is. Sometimes that’s necessary too. Sometimes your side hustle has a side hustle and it looks like a real job.  To that end, I’m going to keep applying for different jobs at that well known health food chain until someone lets me in the door for an interview.

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Long live the Queen.

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Honey&Ollie was a rockety ride, completely exhausting, and it took me over some very rough road, I loved it, hated it, it taught me so much… it was hard. It spanned some rough years in my life, was bookended by the ending of one life and the beginning of another. I’m really glad I did it…

…and I am glad I let it all go because I needed to make room for new things to grow.

I’m launching a new venture.

Maia Rainwood Design

It will be launching sometime this summer, 2017.

Things evolve. People evolve. I’m ready to get back to the jewelers bench after stepping away for a while and I’m super excited about this evolution. Pure creative expression as my time and birth work allow. No pressure to sell, though things will be available periodically, as the spirit moves. No stress about branding, selling, marketing, blah blah blah.

I just get to show up and dance.

But why Maia Rainwood Design? That’s… well that’s a weird name, right?

Maia:  μαῖα (maia), a term for older women related to μήτηρ (mētēr) ‘mother’. I’m 47 years old and let me tell you, I am finally feeling like I’m stepping into my own power. I feel centered and clear for the first time in a long time. So here I am, right in the middle. I’m not a crone, not by a long shot, but I’m a far cry from the fecund mother iconography of the triple goddess.  There’s got to be something between the mother and the crone. Something that sits right about where I sit.

Maia also means “midwife” in Greek and let me tell you, I am ready to birth some powerful, epic, spirit-filled change and shit.

Rainwood? Well that’s me. Rain. Wood.

Smith. Doula. Artist. Grandmother. Queen.  Why the hell not? The road goes ever on, as the song says. Evolution is good. Buckle up, buttercup, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

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Paradigms shift.

Boy do they ever.

Earlier this month I took a fantastic labor doula training with Rena Koerner, and started my labor doula certification process again. I feel better prepared, with a better understanding of the physiology and psychology of birth, which is just huge when you consider that as a doula you’re a part of what is one of the most important events of a person’s life. Several people’s lives, really, the birthing parent, their partner, and the baby!

But the sad truth is, I just can’t afford to also retrain/recertify in postpartum right now. I want to, but I spent so much money on trainings with T-O-O-T-S-N-B-N* last year, there’s just nothing left. Which frankly, really SUCKS.  I just feel like there’s a lot more to learn so I’m trying to get in to skills workshops as I can. TO that end, I took advantage of a one day training with Giuditta Tornetta here in LA today, an advanced pp skills workshop. It really shifted a lot of my paradigms around new babies and their parents. She reframed so much for me.

I think the biggest thing I took away from today’s workshop was just a sense of reconnection to the humanity of it all. The spiritual and emotional sides of birth-work. The fact that babies are tiny humans and the importance of respect and connection in the way we relate with the people we serve. Which was always why I wanted to be a doula in the first place.

I think it’s not surprising that I completely lost my desire to make art and sunk into such a deep depression last year, it was kind of like I cut myself off entirely from everything rich and soulful and real, in some attempt to make myself over into… hell I have no idea what. But I see the connection and I’m glad to see it. It reminds me that I have a choice about who I want to be and what I want to bring to this work.  It reminds me that there’s something a lot deeper and I just forgot that I could tap into it if I wanted.

I feel so humbled and grateful to have essentially a second chance, to start over, and to be making connections with such amazing people in my local birth community.

(*the other organization that shall not be named)

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The rain rain rain came down.

Well, except today the sun came back out here in Southern California, and the plants all began to perk up and my mood got an instant +5 and that was basically amazing.

I’ve been rethinking my focus with work in the wake of some upheavals in my doula world. After the infamous Buzzfeed article (which has cost me, to date, 3 prospective clients) and some other things, I pretty much just unexpectedly went BOOM (like one of those science fair volcanoes), it ate up all my bandwidth for about a month, and that’s when I realized that I’m just… done.  It’s been exhausting, and it’s taken way too much of my time and focus away from studying and getting clients. Time to disengage, get a little distance, and refocus.

I start retraining with another organization this weekend. It’ll give me some other letters to add on top of the original trainings and I think that’ll help. Plus, it’s been a year, I’m happy to get a refresher of some skills. Expensive to pay for all the trainings and memberships again, but, it’s worth it to just… keep moving past the stuff that doesn’t support my goals.

I just want to work. Show up. Have professional credibility. Support some folks while they have some babies. Get paid. Give back to my community where and when I can. And at the end of the day, have enough room left over for my marriage, paint and cats and time to tend my little garden.

Which by the way? Succulents are awesome, hard to kill, and I might have a new obsession.

Sometimes keeping your eye on simple pleasures in the midst of upheaval is the only way to go.

 

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And then it was us.

We just wrapped up a weeklong visit with my mom, and we had a houseguest for a few days before that, so everyone here at the little white house on the hill is adjusting to having the house back to some degree of normal this morning. It’s been a busy week+ full of doctor’s appointments and vet appointments, plus all of the regular outings that one tends to enjoy to the utmost when company is in town.

I’m definitely just enjoying a chance to sit quietly in my pajamas and enjoy the stillness and some good coffee this morning. The kitties are curled into circles, snoring gently in their usual spots in the morning sunshine.

The @!#% Churchmouse Yarns linen stitch scarf is still in progress. So close to finishing. Soo close. Like, another inch and a half and I can cast off. It is looking doubtful that the birthday recipient will be receiving it on their actual natal day unless I can sneak in a hardcore marathon of The Wire this weekend.

I want to talk about politics and the world, but, I’m so heartsore about politics and the world right now.

The March on Washington was inspiring. The March here in LA was incredible, though we were not there in our pink hats due to sudden Cat Emergency Surgery. With 750,000 marchers, I don’t think our two bodies were missed, though I certainly missed being there. We’ll get the next one. I am pretty sure there will be plenty of marches in the next 4 years.

My heart is breaking today for the people who have been denied safety on our shores, for the visa holders who were so close to security and who are now detained in airports or seeking another safe haven for their families. For the families who are separated so cruelly.

This is not the America I want to live in. But it is the America I live in.

And so it goes, this weird mix of normal life, snoozy cats, birds, yarn, arguing about whose turn it is to wash the dinner dishes, and watching my country descend into madness. How’s your weekend so far?

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