"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Monday, February 21, 2011


I am sick.  I hate being sick.  I especially hate sore throats.

My throat is so bad, I can't swallow.  I literally have to collect the spit in my mouth and spit it into a kleenex.  It is incredibly gross.  I have the post nasal drip of a pack a day smoker.  Everytime I swallow, pain shoots through my neck and right up into my ear.  It is horrific.  I hate it.  HATE IT!

I finally agreed to go to the Walk In Clinic today.  That has to tell you hor horrible I feel, since I never go.  I have been to the point where I thought I might have broken bones, and I will wait "just one more day" to see if it gets better.  Usually, it does.

So, last night was horrible.  I don't take meds.  I rarely take tylenlol for headaches.  I will take some when I am sick, usually just to help me get a good night's sleep.  Over the last couple of days, I have been taking 2 extra strength Advils every 3 hours, daytime cold meds, night time cold meds, and sinus meds.  Finally, I couldn't take it much more.  I can't even talk today, my jaw and throat hurts too much.

I have to say, the clinic was fast.  I don't even know the name of the doctor.  I was third in, and I was completely done within 15 minutes. I now have anibiotics that will take about 36 hours to work. 

So, I have another day and a half before I  start not feeling like a big bag of crap.  I can't eat or drink, but don't really want to.  I can't sleep, because I involuntarily swallow in my sleep, and the kids won't let me.  I have to work, and clean and get groceries.  It is also Family Day, so I feel an inherent need to do something meaningful and fun with my kids.  More than just not yelling at them.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for now.  As in "Kill me. Now."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Hearts Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  I usually decorate, but this year, we were in Windsor all weekend, and I have been feeling remarkable un-ambitious, so no decoration was completed.  In fact, I actually forgot it was coming up, until my mom reminded me last week to pick up valentines for Sebastian for school.

So, since we really didn't make any plans or discuss it in any way, imagine my surprise when Geoff got me prezzies! :)  I got a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers- my favorite! I love the mix and the colours in the mixed bouquets, as compared to just roses etc.  I also got presents- Supernatural DVDs, a case for my camera, chocolate/pretzel M&Ms (my favorite!!) and the Season 2 Glee CD.  Score!! 

I had asked Geoff to stop on his way home and pick up something for the kids.  He did great, and got Sebastian a copy of James and the Giant Peach, and Sawyer got a set of colour books, which she was thrilled about.

The best part though, was the fact that Geoff bought 2 roses for his Rosie.  He told me later that he wanted to be the first boy to buy her flowers.  That made me cry.  :)

So, even though I totally dropped the ball, and didn't get Geoff anything! (I know, I know...I am horrible!!!) he gave us all a great day. Thanks, honey!!

Just as an aside, Geoff also gave me my favorite Valentine's day gift ever.  Back when we were dating, Geoff bought a package of valentines, like the ones that kids give out at school.  He literally filled out each and every one of them, with little things.  Sometimes it was just a bit of poem or song, and some were coupons- like letting me pick the movie or the restaurant.  It was just so creative and thoughtful.  It showed effort, that he had taken the time and sat down and writen them all out.  I still think about it. <3

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for hearts 'N flowers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I kind of just realized that I haven't ever really talked about our photos on here.  Not in any concrete way.  This will be remedied, right now.

Actually, in a minute.  Sawyer just stomped her way out of her room, and it is bed time.  One moment please.

Ok, I'm back.  But I think I am going to move to bed.  One more minute please.  So sorry. :)

Ok, for reals, back now.  See?!?  This is what happens.  Life interferes!  But I digress...

Our logo (by Kurt) and our slogan
"Picture what scares you."
So, for those of you that DON'T know, Geoff and I have a little side business, called "Through a Cracked Lens Photography".  Geoff thought of the name.  Good, eh? :)

After I had Sawyer, and I was on maternity leave, I had a bit of free time on my hands.  I remember distinctly when it happened.  My mom and dad had asked if Sawyer and I wanted to go to Costco with them.  Not having anything else to do, I said sure.  So, off we bundled, into the van and off to the store.  This was probably February/March timeframe.  Somewhere on the ride to Costco, as I rode in the back and made goofy faces at Sawyer, I thought about horror photography.  About some cool ideas for photos, that would be scary and creepy.  Photos that I would geek out about if I saw them.  It was just a pebble of an idea, but it really clicked with me.

I mulled it over in my head for a couple of days.  I wanted to talk to Geoff about it, but I was worried that he would think it was weird or silly or stupid.  Or worse, that I was, because I had thought about it. :)  I know that Geoff would really never think that about me...but you can't help thinking stuff like that.  I knew this was an idea that I liked.  And I was worried that he would stomp all over it.

3rd photo in Jump
We were out for a drive, with the kids asleep in the back.  I don't remember how I broke the ice, but the next thing I knew, I was spilling the beans, explaining some of the ideas that I had (one of the first ones was Jump- one of our best sellers).  And he was talking back, totally digging on it.  And from then, it was a go.

I started working on stuff slowly but surely.  I really wasn't sure what to do, or where to go.  If we ever become rich and famous, I will be one of those people that took the long way there.  I am basically trying everything, to see what works, and what doesn't.  I started looking online, googling horror photos and stuff like that, to see if we could find stuff.  I didn't know what I was looking for exactly- I was worried that the market would either be saturated, with tons of junk out there, or it wouldn't exist at all.  Luckily, it was a happy medium.  We have found 2 or 3 other photographers that focus primarily in horror, but that is really about it.  So that tells me that there is a market for it, but that it isn't totally saturated.  Yeah for us.

Next, I started thinking about where we would sell these photos.  The first place that came to mind was the Fan Expo/Rue Morgue show in Toronto every August.  It is HUGE.  HUGE.  I can't express how big it is.  People everywhere.  Sweaty, smelly people.  Awesome people.  It is alot of fun.

with Adam and Holly

I applied right away to be a vendor.  It was already sold out, so I got on a waiting list.  After about a month, I was contacted and told that there was a spot.  It was crazy expensive, but after talking to Geoff, we decided to go for it.  It was going to be our trial run.  Our hit or miss. 

Problem was, we didn't have any pictures yet.  LOL.  Slight problem.

Geoff and I had a mad scramble to start taking photos.  I laugh when I think about some of the early ones.  They were horrible.  We really had no idea what we were doing.  We started with some ideas that I had, and not much more.  I was trying to tell Geoff what I wanted, and he was trying to take what I wanted. 

We use people we know as models.  Adam, my brother, Geoff's sisters, friends like Barb and Bill.  People that get what we are trying to do and are excited about it.  Adam features large in alot of our pictures, and we want to keep using him.  We want to build a mystique around him, and have that cool link through all the photos. 

We also started taking the photo stories.  They are sets of 3 pictures that tell a story.  We have 2 right now- Jump and Visitor.  They are, without a doubt, our best sellers.  But it is difficult to come up with ideas that work with that style.

Geoff with our first day set up at Fan Expo 2009
So, by the time we hit the show in August we had 7 photos, I think.  Everything was guess work.  My dad had helped us build this awesome display.  I wanted it to look like the inside of a killer's cabin, and it did.  I love it.  We didn't know how to display the stuff, we didn't know what to charge, we didn't know how much to bring up to sell. We were just excited to be there.  Geoff was totally geeking out about being there before hours, and I was stressing about what to do, how to go, what to set up.  We were literally picking up pictures the morning of the show.  Our one photos, Homemade, was cropped wrong.  Stress, stress, stress. 


But, once we got there, and got working, that all slid away.  The very first picture I ever sold was Respect.  It is a picture of me..well, my legs, in a cemetary.  It was a framed 5x7, and I sold it to a woman in her 40s.  She was thrilled with it.  Over that weekend we sold a bunch more.  Our most popular single print was (and still is) Workshop.  It resonates with people.  It's my favorite too. :)

with Dawn and Adam

Geoff's sister, Dawn, came up to visit and help work the booth on the Saturday.  She brought up Joel with her, so Geoff had someone to talk comics with.  We used Joel's house to shoot Visitor.  We also had my old friend Jen come up to support us, Kurt and Amber, and even the daughter of a girl I work with showed up.  It was a great show of support for us.  We are eternally grateful.

We also learned the great joy of being friends with the people around us.  We had great vendors as neighours.  We chatted and bought stuff off them, and they bought stuff off us.  We traded and bargained.  We complained about food prices and crowds and sore feet.  They are just good people, and we were glad to know them.

All in all, our first show was great. We learned alot, set price points, made contacts.  We got to meet another horror photographer, Joshua Hoffine.  He is totally our hero, and gave us some great feedback on the photos. 

with Dawn and Adam

The next year, we did 2 shows- Wizard World (another comic convention) and Fan Expo again.  We got smart last year and applied for Artist Alley.  Not only is the table a 3rd of the cost of a vendor's table, but the people in Artist Alley are looking for art.  They are more our crowd.  We met AMAZING people and artists, both at Wizard World and at Fan Expo.  We are looking forward to this year's show, just so we can hook up with these great people again. 

a 2010 release with Bill

As a first, we offered calendars.  I thought they would be a great seller, but they were lukewarm.  No worries, we are still figuring things out! :)  We released 4 new photos.  We  brought great big blow ups of photos.  They were good at attracting attention.  It was a good weekend.

Fast forward to this year.  We are confirmed and booked in 2 shows.  We have approvals for 2 more, we just have to pay for the tables.  We have leads on 3 more.  Again, we don't have any new photos taken.  LOL..we seem to work well under pressure.

What is different now?  Geoff is a better photographer.  He is becoming more instinctive.  I have the idea, but he is able to work with it, and make it happen.  We are going to look at clearing out our old stock, to make space and keep the inventory moving.  We want to look at t-shirts, and getting our photos in stores, galleries.  We are working on getting the website set up, and get that working for us.

I love doing our photos. I even like planning and the paperwork.  I think we are moving in the right direction.  I would like to move faster, but any movement right now is good.  :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new photos, new horizons."

Brick by Brick.

Yesterday was our initial assessment with Brick by Brick.  This is the place we are going to be paying ridiculous amounts of money to, for therapy for Sebastian.

We had contacted them before Christmas, but due to holidays and such, and conflicting schedules, we couldn't get an appointment until this week.  Geoff was able to get an early out from work, so he came along for the ride.

We met with Camille, who (I think) is the owner, and the senior therapist etc etc.  She does all the intakes, and assessments, and helps design the programs for the kids.

We weren't sure what to expect.  Sometimes they want to meet with the kids one on one, without the parents, to see what they are like, without undue influence.  Sometimes they just want to talk to the parents.  This was a bit of a mixture of both.  Sebastian was there, in the room, but basically she talked to us, and observed his interaction with us. 

She actually impressed me a couple of times.  When we tried to get him to do something (I can't remember what it was now), she watched and learned how we went about getting him to complete the task.  She listened when he talked, to learn what he said and how he said it.  She had insights on a lot of the things that we told her, and had some thought (not very nice ones :) about the school and the things that they do there.

I started to feel bad that we hadn't gotten him in sooner, but like Geoff said later, when we were talking- you can't do everything all at once.  We have been concentrating on other things, and it is just time now for this kind of therapy.

The one thing that she was shocked by was that no speech therapist has been actively working with him on his pronunciation.  I was glad to see that.  I used to bring it up all the time with his therapists and his doctors, but no one ever seemed concerned or bothered by it.  Geoff and I are just used to it now, so it was good to see her kind of indignant about the fact that no one has tried to fix it.  She said one of the first things she wants, is to have a ST assess him.

All in all, we were there for about 2 hours.  I left feeling really good about it.  I think this is going to be money well spent.  I am very excited about where this is going to take us, and I can't wait to start!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nervous, but excited."

I am stealing this from someone else.





Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nirvana".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


me- today

It is my new favorite word.  It is the one that Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang used to use all the time.  It so succintly expresses how I feel right about now.

Work is...challenging.  Difficult.  Depressing. 

I am having thoughts that I hoped I wouldn't have to have again.  About how money really can't be everything, and how it isn't making me happy in my job.  About what else I would like to do when I grow up. About how I think I might be wasting my life, doing something I don't like and don't want to be doing.

Don't get me wrong, the work is fine.  I just don't really enjoy it- it doesn't enhance my joy.  I am not following my bliss.

Now, my parents and their generation would likely say "Suck it up, buttercup.  You have a bills and a family to take care of.  Bliss- schmiss, what you need is coin."  And they are 100% right. 

But I can't help thinking that there should be something more.  Does everyone feel this way?  Do we all settle?  How do we live with that?  How do I get through my days, when I am not happy?  How do I do something that takes me away from what makes me happiest- my home, my family, my dog, my photos- my life!- when that thing that takes me away, makes me so very sad?

I am having trouble reconciling this in my mind.  Geoff is worried, I know.  He is being super supportive, telling me things will get better, telling me that I have been here before and I always make it through and end up happy in the end.  And he is right.  I do. 

I think I am just getting tired of having to do it over and over again.

People I have talked to say that this is just how it is now- the corporate world is constant change and upheaval, constantly having to prove yourself to everyone around, having to be better than everyone else, and making sure everyone knows it.  You have to network, make contacts, keep your face and your name in everyone's mind.  That's what you have to do, to get ahead.

But I don't really want to get ahead.  I was happy right where I was. 
I already have friends, I don't need more, especially if it is just to have contacts.
I don't want to have to "business-speak" and be politically correct all the time.  I want to swear and laugh at inappropriate times.


I sound like a whiner, even to myself.  Other people have it so much worse.  My mother works a job she hates, and has done so for 40 years.  She did it, because she had to.  She found a way to make it work for her.  She got through it, and continues to get through it every time she walks into that place. 

I should just shut up and do the same.

But ...

I keep thinking there is something else out there.  Something waiting for me.  Writing this blog has reminded me how much I used to love to write.  Doing the charity work has introduced a whole new world of organzing and giving back to the world that I didn't know before.  The photos have given me a creative outlet that I needed for so long. 

But none of that will pay my bills.  At least not now.  Do I gamble everything on a chance?  Or should this buttercup just suck it up?

I know what I will do.  I don't even know why I am asking.  I will suck it up.  I will wake up every morning, and sigh, and stretch.  I will smile for my kids.  I will say hi to everyone I meet.  I will talk, and work, and negotiate.  I will play my games, and I will get played.  I will come home and try to forget the day and concentrate on what is happening now, in front of me. 

Tomorrow, I will get up and go to work.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not enough for me".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just good ole boys..

Just good ole boys, never meaning no harm...
A week or so ago, Geoff and I went to see John Schnieder and Tom Wopat at the Fallsview Casino.  My mom and dad got the tickets for Geoff for Christmas.  I knew they would either be a big hit, or a colossal fail.  As it turned out, it was a great night, not just for Geoff, but for me too.

My mom and dad had offered babysitting services overnight with the tickets, so that in and of itself was a good deal.  We started with dinner at Jack Astor's, since we had gift cards left over from our anniversary, from Geoff's parents.  Yeah presents!!  I had the ever yummy buffalo chicken fingers, a huge favorite of mine.  We saw Christa and Craig there, great people that I really miss seeing often.  We seem to run into them fairly often though, so we chatted for a bit, before Geoff and I had to leave.

We headed to the casino and parked.  It was Friday, so it was packed, of course.  The show started at 9pm, and we got to our seats with about 10 minutes to spare.

Our seats were awesome!  Three rows back, and dead centre.  Geoff had a crazy uber fan beside him, who brought her photo albums with her, full of pictures of her and John and Tom.  She also knew how John's mom was and kept waving at her.  I don't think she was actually a family friend. I think "stalker" would be more accurate.

The show started right on time.  They had a horn section from Toronto, a piano player and a guy that played the stand up bass and guitar, I think.  The horns started up.  Geoff turned to me and with a huge grin said that he felt like he was 10 years old.  He was so excited, it was a great thing to see.  Tom and John came out and started singing the theme song from the show.  That was pretty great.  I was worried that they were going to try and be "artists" and maybe ignore the show and all the history there.  But they didn't.  They totally embraced it, and mocked it and were awesome.

The show itself was good.  They sang a lot of country, which was fine, and showtunes, most of which I didn't really know.  They sang a funny duet to "Baby, it's cold outside", and changed all the words.  It was very funny.  Tom sang a song a capella, without the microphone.  He projects very well- both his words and his saliva.  He is a spitter.  Geoff is convinced that it is because he is on Broadway and has to project and strain all the time.  All I know is that I really felt bad for the people in the front row.

Cutie Patootie

They interacted alot, with John making fun of Tom's age, and Tom, trying to be serious, but having fun too.  I have always been a Luke Duke fan.  He was cooler, he shot the bow and arrow.  But watching John Schnieder and his antics and his interaction with the audience, I started getting a major crush.  They have both aged- it's been 30 years since the show was on.  But when John smiled, you could see the young John in there.  He was super cute!  And when he lost it during one of the songs, with the giggles, to the point that he couldn't sing- I could totally relate.  He won me over completely. 

Just a note- Our seats were great.  GREAT.  But I felt alot of pressure being in the front couple of rows.  I felt like I had to make eye contact, and look receptive.  The theatre was a bit cool, and I had my arms crossed, and I literally worried that my body language might offend them.  Geoff agreed, and said he was worried that he might be looking at one of them longer than the other, and didn't want to offend them.  LOL...it was an unexpected side effect of being that close to the stage.

They sang a song by Waylon Jennings (I can't remember which one now)- which I loved. They sang a 3 part harmony, old time country song- a style that I am a total sucker for.  It give me goose bumps.  They sang a bunch more, including a request shouted out from the audience.  They were talking, and this guy just yells "Who cares!!"  Right away, I got super offended, on their behalf.  As it turns out, however, it is a song that John wrote and released years ago, and it is the audience member's wedding song.  John sang the first couple of verses, which is all he could remember, just for this guy.  I thought was pretty cool.

They closed the show with another rendition of the "Dukes of Hazzard" theme song.  Awesome.  We all filtered out into the lobby.  There was a huge crowd, right in front of the bathrooms.  Geoff and I tried to make our way around, so that I could use the facilities, but realized there were tables set up, so we figured the boys were coming out to sign autographs.  I really had to pee, but Geoff had a funny look on his face.  I knew Geoff really, really wanted to stay, and at least see them, so I handed him my camera, and went to use the one near the entrance.  After I made my way back, I realized that they had capped the line and shut down the lobby.  They weren't letting anyone back in.  I texted Geoff and told him, and also told him to sit tight and get his autograph.  I had pulled money earlier, for just such an occasion, so Geoff was well prepared.  When he made his way out of the lobby, autographed picture and ticket in hand- he was like a giddy school boy.  Geoff has said since that those autographs are the holy grail of his autograph collection.  He can't think of anything or anybodies that he would want more.  I am so glad for him. :)

Not a good look.
Leonardo DiCaprio
looking like a douche
Oh, I forgot to mention that John's stock when down a bit when he came out from behind the microphone and I saw that he had Ugg boots on.  They are not for men.  I think they look dumb on men.  But, he was still sweet and charming, so he stayed in my good books.

Good night.  :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "Night of the Dukes".


This is my sincere apology to anyone that reads my blog on a regular basis.  I apologize for neglecting you.  I am in my typical mid-winter funk, when I don't want to do anything that I don't have to do.  But that is no reason for me to take it out on you.  My bad.  Please forgive me.  Let's hug it out, bitch.

So, just to keep you up to date on what is happening in this life of mine:

- for me, and every other student in Niagara, it is a snow day.  That means, I stay home and work, while the kids run around and go crazy.  It means that by the end of the day, my house looks like an episode of Hoarders.  Fun. 
- Sebastian has an appointment next week for his initial assessment with Brick by Brick for therapy.  G and I decided to bite the bullet and make it happen.  If I have to give stuff up to help him, that so be it.
- We had a mouse in one of our traps today.  Relax, the trap is on the front porch.  My dad saw a mouse the one day, so we laid the traps.  Caught him.
- I am still going to kettlebell.  It is pretty good.  I don't want to throw up anymore.  I didn't go on Tuesday, because I am coughing enough that I throw up a little. 
- I am currently addicted to "Biggest Loser- Couples", "The Dog Whisperer" and "River Monsters."
- I actually got Geoff to come outside and help shovel snow today.  First time in I can't remember how long.
- I had to work a 2am-10am shift yesterday.  Yippee.  I have also lost my desk.  So I am homeless.
- Sebastian starts gymnastics on Saturday.
- In the past couple of weeks, Geoff and I have gone out a few times.  First we went to see John Schnieder and Tom Wopat at the Casino, and it was surprisingly good.  Then we had a poker night at Michelle and Kevin's house.   Fun.  Tomorrow night we are going to see the Headstones.  Should be a good time.
- Geoff and I have started trying to get a year's worth of paperwork in order for tax time.  I even took a day off of work to get it done.  But we only got part of the way, so there are papers everywhere in the basement.
- Geoff and I are thinking about getting a new dog.  A free one. I mean really free.  Like food and vet and everything paid for.  For the first couple of years, anyway.  Hmmmm...thinking, thinking, thinking.
- My mom started stripping wallpaper off the walls of my bathroom, and it looks good.  So I am encouraged.
- Sebastian is sleeping like crap.  He goes to bed fine, but gets up super early.  It is impacting him at school, which totally sucks.  We have him on supplements, and it is supposed to take some time to adjust, but I am starting to get discouraged.
- I got my Kindle.  But I am not reading it.  I have a couple of books that I have borrowed or got for gifts, and I want to read those first.  Plus, I need a case for it.  I have finished the Paul Magrs books from Barb, and am now in the 2nd story of the new Stephen King  book I got from Holly for Christmas.
- Geoff and I have started talking about moving.  Maybe.  Someday.  No time soon.  But I want to move rural, and Geoff is becoming more open to the idea. 
- Sawyer has been discharged from Speech Services Niagara.   She is pretty much equal to her peers with her speech.  A little difficult to understand, but willing to make the attempt.
- Just found out my nephew had to go for an EKG for a hurting heart.  For reals.  Worried, worried, worried.  Hopeful, hopeful, hopeful.
- I have been baking bread every Sunday- 1 loaf for me, Geoff and Sawyer, and 1 loaf for Sebastian.  I think I have found a good recipe for the GF/CF bread, it is best on the first day.  I made Dawn try it, and she thought it was really good.  Yeah me.
- Just had an awesome hot chocolate.

So, now you are pretty much up to date.  Congrats.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for neglectful, once again.