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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just like a Bat outta....

So, I have done a couple of posts in the last little while with songs that remind me of my dad.  This one is all about my mom.

I CAN NOT ever listen to Meatloaf, without thinking about my mom.  I love Bat out of Hell.  It's one of my favourite albums of all time.  I can remember being a kid, and looking at the picture on the cover of the vinyl.  it's a naked dude (you don't see anything, pervs!) riding a motorcycle out of a flaming pit in a cemetery.  Very 70s.  VERY awesome.  My mom always played the album on our hugely gigantic record player (the thing had to be 4 or 5 feet long, and at least 4 foot high) when she was in a good mood and cleaning or otherwise occupied in something.  I could curl up, with my feet off the ground so that she could vacuum everywhere, and look at the album.  Study it.

There were 2 other pictures on the album.  I can't remember if they were on the back and the middle, or both in the middle.  They were of Meatloaf and a woman.  In them, she was in a red (I think) dress and he was in a ruffled tuxedo shirt.  He had a scarf.  On second thought, maybe his scarf was red.  Anyway..in the one picture, Meatloaf is facing the camera with the woman right in front of him, facing him.  All you can see is her back and her hair.  He had her hair in his fist.  In the other picture, he is walking towards the camera, and she is again facing away.  His one hand is down and on her ass.

There was something about those photos that struck me.  I don't think too hard on it..I just remember and enjoy it for what it was.

So, anyway, my mom likes to listen to Meatloaf.  It always meant that she was in a good mood.  It meant that she was focussed and driven in what she was doing, whether it was crafting, like knitting or sewing or cross stitching, whether she was cleaning or cooking, or whatever else it might have been.  She was loving it, whatever it was.  The music would fill the air, and I would get to hear her sing along, usually softly, because she is so self-conscious about it.

She still listens to Meatloaf.  She has an iPod now, not the old vinyl, and a CD for the car.

The times may have changed but the music hasn't.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now, I'm lying at the bottom of a pit, in the blazing sun....."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Run for your life!

If you read my sister-in-law, Holly's blog, then you already know what I am talking about.  But I am gonna tell you anyway.

I have signed up for a 5K run.  My first ever.  If that isn't intimidating enough, it is a 5K run, with army-style obstacles (think running through streams, climbing wooden walls and army crawling under ropes).  And if THAT isn't enough, now imagine there are zombies chasing you.  Yep, I said zombies.

So, it's a run called Run for Your Life.  And it's a race with zombies.
Rednecks can be zombies too.

I figure this is the motivation I need to really get my ass in gear.  While I am already nervous and a little bit scared, I am also really excited, which is more than I have ever felt about running.  Like, EVER...as in for ever and ever, the last 39 years that I have been alive, I have never been excited about running.  Until today.

I am excited enough that I am going to try and tackle Couch to 5K again.  Last time I stuck with it for about 8 weeks (although I only ever made it to week 5 in the program, because I kept repeating weeks, because I didn't think I was ready.)  One thing I have learned from my Pink Method exercise program, if you wait to be 100% ready, you will NEVER move on.  You have to push yourself, trust that your body can do what it needs to do, and you will get results.

That will give me about 2 and a half months to prepare, or 10 weeks.  Even if I don't finish the program, I should be in a much better place that I am as of today.  If I can drop another 20 or 30 lbs between then and now, so much the better.

So, not only am I looking forward to running the race, we have all signed up to be zombies too.  So that means, that Geoff and I, Barb and Bill, Holly and Eric and Gage and 2 of his friends will all head up super early in the morning (we are supposed to be there 2 hours before our zombie shift.  That means we are supposed to be there for 6am.  Which likely means I have to be up at 4am.  That sucks.).  We will get put into our makeup and ward-robe and then get our assignments.  We are all stumbler zombies, which means we can't run after people, but (I hope) can hide a little bit, and pop out at the most inopportune times for the racers.  We grab their flags, and try and turn them into more of us.  We do this for just over 3 hours, then we get a bit of a rest; to eat, drink and be merry.  Then we get our race on at 2pm.

After that, there are bands and drinks and camping.  We get to hang out with some good people, discuss the day and all the fun we had, try and rinse as much of the mud and gunk out of our hair as humanely possible and maybe even tie on a little buzz for ourselves.  I think it is going to be a good day.  It is certainly motivation for me to try something new.  To push myself a little harder.   To do a little better.

I am just thinking...5 months ago, I wouldn't have done this.  Oh, I would have wanted to.  Maybe I would have agreed to sign up to be a zombie.  But I wouldn't have raced.  I wasn't capable of it.  Now, I am actually looking forward to not only racing, but getting ready for it.  I have spent the night, trying to think about how I can actually work a running workout into my already full days.  Planning, for me, is the key to success.
Celebrate Zombie Success!
When we first started talking about it (which was only a day or 2 ago, really!  This happened fast!), my first thought was that I would go and watch, and then maybe next year.  But, immediately,  my next thought was- if I am there, and see that it is so fun, I am going to be so angry and upset with myself for not even trying, that I should just suck it up and try it now.  Just do it, Anita.  Don't be a puss. 

Rule #1- Cardio.
So, I said yes.  Not just for me, but for Geoff too.  And then I pushed Barb and Bill into it.  If we go down, we are going down together!
 So, anyway, wish us luck.  Holly and I sat down together tonight and actually worked through the registration process and came up with our team name.  We are Ground Bait.  As in, we are on the ground and easy targets for the walking dead.  I love the name.  We should get t-shirts.  Holly and I laughed about how we plan to be completely selfish, and make everyone wait and help protect our slow asses.  If it were a real apocalypse, I would hope that I would be selfless enough for the whole "No, go on without me" routine. But Holly and I both agreed- for this race, it's going to be a whole lot of  "you muthaf*****s better not leave me behind!"

Look at this fucking clown.
It's probably more like what I would be like, when the real zompocalypse goes down.  I am kinda selfish about living.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now the countdown begins!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walking for Kit

Last weekend, Geoff, the kids and I participated the Relay for Life in Windsor, in memory of Kit.  Geoff and Sawyer did the walk last year, Sebastian and I didn't, because he had surgery that same weekend.
the gang, waiting to light the luminaries
We drove up with Dawn.  Geoff's mom headed up earlier in the day.  There was not a little bit of trepidation about this day.  Geoff's family has a whole lot of craziness going on right now, so there are lines being drawn in the sand.  Most people, with a few exceptions, seem to be picking sides.  And depending on whose side you are on, that seemed to determine whether or not you were coming to the event.  Drama.  Non-stop drama.  I tell you.

G and D
Anyway, we all headed up, not really know if anyone would actually show up.  Geoff's other sister, Holly had opted out, along with all her family for a whole list of reasons.  Geoff and I were determined to tough it out, whether or not anyone else was there, whether or not there was tension or anger or drama or anything else ugly and unpleasant.  We were there for a reason, and we didn't want anything to distract from that.  We felt we were doing the right thing for us, and that was really all that mattered.

As it turned out, however, there was a good showing.  Lots of our favourite people were there, and everyone was happy to see each other.  There really was no drama to speak of, so the air of tension gradually lifted and we all got on with the night.

Like I said, I wasn't at last year's event.  From what I heard, it was very raw and poignant.  Lots of tears and emotions.  Remember, Kit had only been gone a couple of months at that point, so wounds were still wide open.
Bastian in his Grandpa shirt
This year wasn't like that at all.  Sure, there were emotions, a couple of tears.  How can there not be?  But for the most part, I saw smiles and laughter.  And that was ok with me.

I did my first lap and a half with Aunt Nadine.  I adore her.  We held hands, oh so very tight, and chatted and caught up on things.  She is always so interested in my kids, Sebastian in particular.  She has her own struggles, but she was so sharp and wonderful that night, I was honoured to have spent the time with her.

Dawn and I did more laps through the night.  Sometimes we had the chiclets with us, most times we didn't.  Dawn and I always talk.  So, we did what we do best.  We remembered, and discussed and gossiped and bitched.  We planned and laughed and bitched some more.

Geoff and I did a few laps together.  But mostly we walked separate.  I know that this is his chance to catch up with his family.  He wants to walk with his Uncle Terry, and his Aunts.  He wanted to have time to himself, just his music in his ears and his thoughts in his head.  I let him do what he needed to do.
Me and Bastian, chillin' in the tent

Kit and Rusty's luminaries
Who was Snaggle tooth again??

goofing off, being bad

contemplating wickedness

enjoying the tent, they really didn't leave much after this
We brought a tent for the kids and I to sleep in.  We didn't have much of a plan for the next day- a couple of visits, but knew that someone had to drive us the 4 hours home.  I knew that person would be me, and because my kids were in the car, I knew I needed some sleep.

waiting patiently
Once we had the tent up and the air mattresses blown up, you pretty much couldn't get the kids out of there.  It was like a trampoline and the dance party they were holding with just the two of them in there went on pretty much non-stop from about 830 to 1230/1am, when we finally got them to sleep.  I crawled in with them about 300am.  We were all back up around 530, and packed up and ready to go.

We paid a visit to Geoff's Aunt Lana and Tom the next day.  It was a lovely visit, bitter sweet at times, but we always love to see Lana.  And even though we woke her up (we did wait 2 whole hours, until 8am to finally knock on her door!)  she was gracious and inviting.

After that, we went to visit Geoff's grandma.    We haven't always been as diligent in the past about visiting as we should be.  Sometimes it's hard, since she isn't always the nicest person in the world to spend time with.  I don't mean to be mean by saying that, it's just true.

However, this day and this visit was LOVELY.  She was gracious and kind and was great with the kids.  Even though they were both exhausted and a little on edge, she handled them with grace and ease.  We got some lovely photos of everyone together.  The home where she lives was hosting a strawberry social, so we all got strawberry shortcake as well.  The visit was nice enough that I know we will visit again the next time we are down that way, and that it made me feel incredibly guilty for not visiting more.
Strawberry Social
Yes, Sebastian is wrapped in his blanket. No one even looked twice.

Grandma, Geoff and Sawyer

Grandma and Geoff.
Sawyer took this, and it's a beautiful picture

Sawyer and Grandma

Sebastian (a little nervous), Dawn and Grandma

All in all, it was a nice weekend.  Exhausting and draining, but nice.  I don't know what's happening in the future with the Relay.  It will likely fall by the wayside, like so many other things and eventually be forgotten.  Not the intent behind it, or any of the emotions, but the event itself.  It's a shame really.  But, that's life, I guess.

Anyway, I was glad I could participate this year.  Kit, I know you were watching, and wondering and probably shaking your head a a bit.  But I am sure you smiled a little as well.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not too bad, in spite of it all".

Big Girl Now

Sawyer graduated from nursery school on Wednesday of last week.  She is finished now for the summer and starts JK in the fall.

Just the thought makes me want to cry.

Oh I know it won't be as hard on me as it was when Sebastian went to school.  I was a blubbering, sobbing, hysterical mess that day.  Seriously.  It was bad.  I don't have the same fears for Sawyer as I had for him.  But trust me, I am still scared for my little girl.

She holds her emotions so close to the surface that I worry about her.  I worry that other girls will tease and bully her.  She likes to be funny and do crazy things.  I love it about her, but what if the other kids think that she's weird?  Have I raised her, my little 3 year old, to be strong enough to stand up to that?  Why should she have to be, for goodness sake?  But I digress...back to the story

Certificate with Miss Lisa and Miss Alana
We went to her graduation ceremony.  She has been asking us for a month if we would go to her "concert".  I told her that nothing would stop me. I meant it.

I almost had a huge client meeting at work that very same morning.  I had to have a bit of a tense conversation with my brand new boss, when I spelled out that no, I wouldn't be attending because I was going to watch my daughter sing her fucking heart out.   He took it well, but luckily, the meeting got moved, so it became a moot point.  But, hopefully, I have set a precedent for him and he knows where I stand when it comes to stuff like this.  I had already missed Sebastian's Special Olympics performance the week earlier, so I wasn't missing anything else.  No way, no how.

So, Geoff and I went.  So did my mom and dad, and Geoff's mom and his sister, Dawn.  Sawyer was so excited that everyone would be there.  When the kids starting walking out to music, you could hear some very unhappy littles in the back room, just wailing their hearts out.

And for a moment, my stomach lurched and I wondered. But I know my girl.  I know how excited she was.  And I know about that iron control that she has.  When she wants to, she can cause a scene like no one else I know.  But when it's real...when she is really, really scared or sad, she is so private.  She holds it in, like she's an adult.  It makes me amazingly proud and not a little sad.  So, even though I had that split second of doubt, in my heart of hearts, I knew that Sawyer was ok.  A moment later, I caught sight of that beautiful little apple-cheeked face, and all was well with the world again.

on stage, pretty as a princess
I know about that wailing child.  That was Sebastian.  He has gotten a gajillion times better, but his own nursery school graduation was an exercise in torture, both for him and me.  So I get it, totally.  Trust me, moms, I didn't judge you or your kids one iota.  You do the best you can, and keep on keepin' on.

Sawyer made it to the stage, and saw all of us in the front row.  She played it cool, but did blow me a kiss.  I started getting a little welled up at that point.  Don't worry, I held it together.

Pretty much.

The group sang a bunch of songs.  I recognized most of them.  Sawyer has been belting them out from the back seat, for the last month, since she had been practising them at school.  It was wonderful to see her sing, and clap and dance with all the rest.  Every time I made eye contact with her, each of our smiles got a little wider.  It was one of the best feelings I have ever had.  That pride in her, the love I felt, the intense joy that was just coming off of her in waves- I took it all in and revelled in it.

so excited that everyone was there
She played her instrument, and rocked it.  Even when it broke half way through the song, she just soldiered on, until the teacher fixed it for her.  At the end of the concert, she was dismissed to come sit with us, and wait for her diploma. She ran to us with all the enthusiasm and joy that a 3 year old can hold in her soul.  She hugged Geoff first, then me.  Again, pure undiluted awesome.

They played a beautiful montage of pictures from the school year, and this was my real bitter-sweet moment of the day.  There were pictures of her and Geoff from the trips they had taken- to the Pumpkin Patch at Halloween, the Sugar Bush in the spring and the grocery store just last month.

I wasn't in a single picture.

I am so thrilled that Geoff has this time home with her.  I am so happy that she loves her daddy and that he is involved in her life.  But in my soul, there is a little pit that is angry- angry that I have to make choices that takes me away from those experiences.  Because really, at the end of the day, those experiences are part of the reason I had kids in the first place.  They are the reason I wake up in the morning and do everything that I do.  It's not fair.  In that pit in my soul is my own 3 year old, kicking and fighting and screaming, "it's not fair!" over and over again.

The time I lose with her is time I will never get back. And it's not fair.

Anyway, after that, we moved out for treats and presents.  Sawyer and I had built really cute little gifts for her friends (a sand bucket and shovel, with a bottle of bubbles, side walk chalk and either a frisbee, a pom-pom or a ribbon toy).  She and Papa walked around, handing them out to her friends.  She really liked that.

She had some treats and then took some pictures with Auntie Dawn and Grammie and Papa (Grandma had to go back to work- much like Mommy!)  She was the star of the day, at least for us, and like any true star, she was gracious in the glow and admiration from others. :)

Friday was her actual last day of school.  We made gifts for the teachers, gifts I had seen on Pintrest and thought I would try.  It didn't turn out as wonderfully as I would have liked, but I have learned a lot about doing it, and if I tried again, I think I could do better.
homemade crayon wreaths
Miss Alana
Miss Lisa
So, that is that.  My little girl has one year of school under her belt.  This September the real challenge begins.  She is so smart and wonderful, I know she will do well.  It doesn't keep the worry away, but it helps. 

 But this summer, I think I am going to try and continue to enjoy my little girl.  She still cuddles in my lap.  She still calls me Momma.  She plays with my ear, when she goes to sleep beside me.  She wants to be picked up and rocked and held.  I don't want that to stop.  I don't want it to go away.  I want to enjoy it all, while I still can.  
me and her.
I don't want her to be a big girl.  Not just yet. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not yet".

Monday, June 25, 2012

Positively Negative

So, in continuing with my updates on our little life here, I thought I would bring everyone up to speed on my positive thinking journey.

I will admit, I have struggled with this lately.  Like I said before in a previous post, the last couple of weeks have been very challenging at work.  It feels like I have travelled back in time to 6 months or a year ago.  I feel like I am in the exact same spot, with my leadership team having learned nothing and done nothing to improve our situation.  We are still understaffed, we still have inept people on the team, just to have butts in the seats and our processes are still not sufficient and worked through.  It is incredibly frustrating. Before you ask, yes, we- the actual team- have tried to implement and change as much as humanely possible.  But some things you absolutely need management to do- like hire more people in a timely fashion and manage client expectations to realistically reflect what 4 people can do, when they aren't working 60 hour work weeks.  

So, with this big negative cloud hanging over me, I slipped out of my positive thinking.  I try and try to get back into it, but I think I might have to do the exercise again and commit to the 28 day cycle of thankfulness and gratitude each day.  It was much easier when I had someone (well, a book, really) telling me what to do.  So, I think starting tomorrow, I will be back on that bandwagon.

'Cause really, the crazy thing is that it worked.  It really did.  I mentioned before about how we had all these people finding Cracked Lens on Facebook.  That died off as soon as my gratefulness did.  Sebastian's stutter had petered out significantly.  Sometimes, he didn't stutter at all.  I noticed last week, his stutter is coming back.  Not as bad, but still not as good as it was.  Money, while not pouring in, was a tiny trickle, and enough to keep the wolves at bay. :) (dramatic, I know!)  Plus I felt better, and lost weight more.  I was just a happier person. I don't like the negative nelly that I have become.

So, like I said, tomorrow I get back on the horse.  I have much to be grateful for.  I just need to remind myself of that...every day.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new lease on gratitude".


I carry a lot of anxiety with me.  I always have.  I am trying to work on this, so that I won't always.  I try to be self aware enough to know when my anxiety is getting out of control and when it begins to impact my life in negative ways. It sometimes gets away from me, but for the most part, I think I am doing better. 

Except when it comes to my kids, and Sebastian in particular.  

Over the past couple of weeks, I have really become aware of this anxiety, because of a couple of different situations that we have been in.  We have been socializing a bit with him and some of our friends and their neurotypical children.  And we have had him around other auties.  

And while we were in these situations, I could feel my stress rising.  That feeling in the pit of my stomach would start building.  My head would pound and my whole demeanour changed.  By the time we left for home, Geoff would be asking what was wrong, what had happened to make me so mad?  And the answer was, quite honestly, nothing.  Nothing had happened.  Except that I was there, trying to control Sebastian and help him fit in.

Now believe me when I say, that in no way did any of our friends induce this in me.  I do it to myself.  Pretty much everyone in our lives is very understanding about Sebastian and his quirks and behaviours and issues and struggles. Sometimes it seems more like tolerance, rather than understanding, but I will often take what I can get.  And if you don't understand the difference, then count yourself lucky...you don't live in my shoes. 

So, if the anxiety that I feel isn't because of other people, then it must be coming from me.  And I know that. I feel tremendous pressure to try and fit Sebastian, the epitome of the square peg, into the round holes all around us.  I know that if he can't get along, and fit in, at least a little bit, he will have a really, really rough road ahead of him.  I know he's different.  I know he seems weird.  But if I can help minimize that, I will do everything I can.

When we are out, I stress manners.  I make him say please and thank you.  I make him say excuse me and clear his plate.  I make him sit at the table, as best I can.  I make him keep his hands out his mouth, his pants up around his hips, and ask him constantly stop humming.  I try and make him respect the rules of the home or building that we are in.  I keep him away from TVs, and computers that he shouldn't be touching.  And even if he can touch, I still keep him away, because he never knows when enough is enough.  He will do things that aren't appropriate (looping the TV constantly, pulling apart DVDs and playing with the discs, watching movie after movie on YouTube).  

And I try to do all this, without you knowing.  I know I don't always succeed.  But I do try.  

I don't want to make you uncomfortable.  You have invited us into your home.  And I don't want you to know how hard it is for me and Sebastian to be there.  I want to be invited back someday.  There have been times when we haven't been invited back.  There was a couple that we were very close to.  The last time we were at their house, Sebastian was 7.  He's going to be 11 this year.  We haven't been invited back.  He wasn't even that bad when we were there.  He was just different.  I was still learning (and still am) how to deal with him.  Maybe I explained too much.  Maybe I didn't explain enough.  All I know, we aren't friends anymore.  

I know that I am vocal about Sebastian and his autism.  I do that for a reason.  I don't want you to be surprised.   I want to give you a heads up.  I don't want it to shock you when he does something strange.  

But then, I am anxious the whole time we are together, because I know you are judging.  Even if you don't mean to, I know that you are.  I probably would be, if I were you.  

Lately, the anxiety is coming faster and harder.  I have started declining invites, just every once in a while, because it is easier to stay home.  It's easier on me and on Sebastian and probably on you. As he gets older, and more defiant, and more set in his ways, I can see the writing on the wall.  And yes, I worry about it. 

I know the advice that most people would give would be to not worry about it.  Why worry about what other people think?  Just do your thing.  We understand, you don't have to worry about this kind of stuff with us.  

I appreciate it.  I really, really do.  But I truly believe you would change your mind if I let him run loose in your house.  And I don't think it would do him any good, to not have rules and expectations.  And as long as I have those rules and expectations, and as long as he pushes back against them, I will continue to worry and be anxious.  So you see...it really is unavoidable.  It's the circle of my life. 

So, why am I writing about this?  I'm not sure.  I think it has a bit to do with the fact that I sometimes want to scream it from the rooftops. When I lose my temper with him, and yell or bark or talk in that fast, harsh whisper with a tight lock on his arm, I see the looks you give me.  It doesn't fit with the image that everyone wants to have- him, the complacent, slightly left of centre oddity, and me, the long-suffering but ever patient mother.  I want that image.  The reality is messy and not always nice.  And it makes me want to yell out to everyone that sometimes, my life sucks.  Sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes, I don't feel like getting out of bed, getting dressed.  Sometimes I don't feel like pretending that everything is ok.  

Maybe it has to do with the fact that Sebastian is changing.  He is becoming harder to control.  He is acting out more.  Like I said, I see the writing on the wall.  I know that sometime, he is going to say or do something at your house that is wrong, or bad, or weird.  And I want you to know that I really, really tried to stop it.  Even it happens 2 years from now- today, tomorrow and every day, I am trying my hardest to prevent it. 

Maybe it just has to do with the fact that I feel the anxiety strongly.  And I want to talk about it.  I don't want you to think I am a crankypants.  I want you to understand why sometimes, I end the night early, I get headaches, and I don't want to do the things that everyone else wants to do. 

And maybe, it's a reminder to myself.  I worry about my worries.  And sometimes I need the reminder that, as hard as it can be, most days are good.  Anita, your kid is a good kid.  He is awesome, really.  And you are doing a good job.  Your worry, your vigilance, your hyper awareness, they are worth it.  You have both come so far.  You are raising an amazing kid, and you are doing good things for him.  The worry just keeps you sharp.  It's a small price to pay.  So pay it.  Keep paying it.  It is so worth it.  

Sorry, this was a weird one.  They happen from time to time.

Ok, it's 1am.  Kiddo's up.  Time to deal with reality.  Again.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nothing new, just real life."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Starting Over

Hello all my favourite people (of course, anyone that reads my blog instantly become one of my favourites!)

Yes, I have been absent for a while.  There has been other demands on my time and energy lately, and I found that I had little to spare for writing.  With that said, I am specifically focussed on writing tonight, to try and catch everyone up on some of the little things that have been happening in our life lately.

If you have done any back reading of my posts, you know that a major focus of my life lately has been my weight loss journey.  The past month has been a bit of a wash for me.  I am about 10 lbs lighter at this point that I was last month around the same time, but that progress seems very slow, compared to what has come before.  I understand that it is natural for the weight loss to slow down and even plateau.  Unfortunately, I also know that some of this is due to my own counter-productive choices, rather than a natural delay in my body's ability to reset itself.

I have had a couple of days, where there were activities or events that involved food.  I have struggled to make the right choices.  Often, I don't.  I have had some beers, I have had some munchies.  I have eaten carbs and sweets.

Overall, my choices are still better than they have been for a lot of my life.  I choose fruits and veggies.  I limit my carb intake.  I drink water like it's going out of style.  But, I am still on that slippery slope.

When it comes to exercise, I have been doing...well, ok, I guess.  My lovely sister in law got me some Jillian Michaels DVDs.  I started using the one I was most interested in, the 30 Day Shred.  Basically, there are 3 versions, and you do each one for 10 days.  By the end of 30 days, you are supposed to be completely "shredded".

Yeah, ok.

So, I started.  I was actually very proud of myself.  The very first night I started, I did the level 1 workout.  When I finished, I realized that while the work out was good, it really didn't challenge me as much as I would have liked.  It is only 20 minutes long, so with one that short, I need to make sure that it is doing everything that I need it to do.  So, I decided that I would do the level 2 workout right then and there.  It was much harder and I worked up the sweat that I really wanted and needed.  So I was off to a great start.

But then, work happened (I will blog more about this later).  And basically, I started working crazy hours again, and exercise just flew out the window.  All my good intentions fell by the wayside, and my sleep really suffered.  Once of the best things of my health and wellness journey has been the fact that I was getting a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.  I had stopped dragging ass all day long, and actually started dreaming again. And last week, it just went back to where I was 5 months ago- exhausted, stressed out, angry and bitter.

So, in light of all this, I have done some soul searching.  And what I have discovered and come to realize is that I need to start over.

What I think one of my major issues was, was that my weight loss was more successful than I ever thought possible.  I have lost 60lbs.  I have hit milestones that I thought I would never see again.  I don't know that I ever thought that this would really succeed.  I know that it is strange to say that I am struggling now, because I was too successful before, but it's true. I think what has happened is that because I never thought I would get to where I am, I am getting complacent. Why try and loose another 10, 20, 30, 40 lbs, when I am already at a place that I am thrilled to be at??  It's difficult to explain, and I know I am not doing it very well. I am still just figuring it out myself.

So, what I need to do, is get out of my complacency.  I have to drop that smug feeling.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't think that I look that great.  I still have too much weight on my body.  I now have all new problems of crow's feet, turkey neck and loose skin everywhere to deal with.  I am still not happy with the size of clothes that I have to buy- even though it is 5 sizes smaller than it was.  So, while things are good- better than ever- I do recognize that I still have a long way to go.

So, to my way of thinking, the best thing that I can do is start over.  Reset the clock.  Basically accept that what has happened up to today is done, and this is my new normal.  And start over.

So, as of now, I have lost 0 lbs.  I have lost 0 inches.   This is my starting weight, my starting size, my before picture.

This doesn't mean that I am not proud of my journey so far.  The complete opposite, I am thrilled.  But I am also really worried that if I don't do this, this might be the end of my journey.  Or- God forbid- the beginning of my journey back up.  Please, anything but that.

So, today is my new day one.  Today, June 24, I am embarking on a weight loss journey.  I will try and get to my goal weight, to be healthy and well for myself, for my family and for everyone around me.   Wish me luck.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new day dawning".

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lowest of the Low

This past week, Geoff did me a solid and downloaded some Lowest of the Low to my ipod.  He had mentioned how they were playing a FREE (!!!!) show at Art Park and one of his friends was going.  It got me to thinking about how I had their one album on cassette (yes, cassette) but didn't have it any longer.  I missed them, and wanted to hear them again.

He downloaded "Shakespeare, My Butt" for me.  I love this album.  It would probably rank up there with some of my favorites of all time.

As I worked yesterday, I listened to the album, start to finish 3 times.  Then I went back and listened to specific songs over and over again.  And the memories...oh the memories just flooded back.

It reminds me of being in college.  I went to college in Lindsay, ON, at Sir Sandford Fleming Frost Campus.  I took Fish and Wildlife Technology.  I am sure I have talked about this before. 

There are certain smells and sights and sounds that will instantly take me back to that time.  The smell of wet wool, certain beers (anyone remember Wildcat??) and especially songs.  There was a feel to the time that I spent there.  Not all of it was great (hello, room-mate drama!), but a lot of it really, really was.  It was the first time I had lived away from home.  I was doing stuff that I really loved.  I met amazing people, and had so many adventures.  I felt independant, and developed alot of who I wanted to be in those months and years away.  I learned what I liked (boys with big arms, flannel, frozen eyelashes, draft beers, night fishing, The Grand chicken wings and 241 Pizza) and what I didn't like (high maintenance anyone, doing dishes, skeezy boys, and Heavy Equipement class.) 

These songs seem like they were written for that time and that place and those people that I was around.  I saw myself in the songs and I could faces to the names.  Some of the lyrics still resonate with me. 
"Everything I learned about you, I learned through the pit of my stomach, anyway."
"There is something coersive, in the way some people smile.  Wide open as if to say, come on in and browse awhile".
"Let's take a walk down to The Only, and drink until our kidneys fail".

Just fun and awesome.  I can't do them justice here.  I can't seem to get my point across, what is rattling around in my head, down on (virtual) paper. 

Suffice it to say, I love Lowest of the Low.  If you love them too, next time we are together, let's throw some on, have some beers and sing along.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now, it's all I am listening to".

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Right now

Right now, there is a full moon outside my window.  The cloud and storms from today have pretty much blown away, and what is left is clean air and a bit of chill in the wind.  It's a dark blue sky, and a silver moon.  There is a smell of summer in the air, to remind us all it's coming.

The dog is sleeping on my bed.  He sighs and his feet begin to twitch as he starts to dream.  He's had a hard week.  It's been a week since Morphie died and I think he misses him.  I miss seeing them together, back to back, sleeping and making their small, animal content noises.  I just petted him, and he cracked his eye and grinned his wolfy grin at me. 

I am looking at my hands as I type.  They look smaller to me, more like a lady's hands.  Sure, I have my rough spots and calluses. My nails are broken and short.  But the fingers are a bit thinner and the knuckles more prominent.  More like lady's hands.  It almost makes me want to get nails and make them pretty.  Almost.

I can smell a smell in the air.  I don't think it's real.  It reminds me of the smell when I am cooking Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  That combined smell of gravy and turkey roasting.  The smell of baking and good food.  I don't know why I smell it.  It's in my head, and it makes my heart warm, but I know it's not real.  I'm not questioning it too much, just enjoying the feeling it gives me.  I am thinking of home and family and warmth and food and comfort and love. 

That's alot from an imaginary smell.

Right now on my bedside table, there is a Sawyer-made craft.  Her red handprint is the flower and there is a poem.  I look at it every morning, along with the picture of me and Sebastian together.  Then I close my eyes and say thank you, for one more day.  Thank you for every possibility under the sun.  Thank you for everything I have and everything I need.  Then I get up and start my day.

Right now, my feet are a bit cold, and I am thinking about warm baths.  Of bubbles and sugar scrubs and reading in the thick, misty air.

I think that is just what I am going to do. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "night, all".

Just fishin'

Someone posted a link to this song on their face book page.  I am not a Trace Atkins fan, but something about this song speaks to me.  It's not very deep, I guess, it just reminds me of my days with my dad, when we were "just fishing".  When my mom would be working weekends, and my dad was stuck with me and my brother, lots of summer afternoons were spent fishing.  We would go to Queenston and climb sand dunes all day long.  We would go down to the Whirlpool and build traps with discarded fishing line across the paths.  We would then race my dad, who was carrying everything, up the million steps to the top.  And oh how we would gloat when we would win.  We fished in Grassy Brooks, Chippawa Creek, and a hundred other ponds and streams all over the region.  We got mosquito bit and sunburned.  One of us usually fell in, or came damn close to it.  We would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed from home and stop for Pop Shoppe pop. 

Even as the years passed and Adam really stopped going, me and my dad would still go fishing.  When I was in college and had to build a minnow collection, Dad knew just where to take me to try and catch minnows.  We would go ice fishing in the winter, and freeze.  I would cry when I pulled up mud puppies and would spend much of my time, walking around and trying to subtly kick them back in the ice holes, when the other fishermen would leave them up to die.  We would hit the smelt runs in the spring and the salmon runs in the fall. 

And don't forget, last year, I took him salmon fishing on the lake.  That was a good one. 

So this song makes me remember all of that.  But it makes me think of my little girl too.  My dad has taken Sebastian fishing every summer since he was about 3 years old.  He took Sawyer once last year, but I think he is planning for more this summer.  And honestly, I think I want to take her too.  Both of them. 

We can spend a little time just fishin'.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nothing like fishing".

Travellin' Man

I love to travel. I like going new places and seeing new things.  I like the intimacy you get when you travel with good people.  I like the times when it is just you and them, away from the regular world.  I have had some of the best talks with people, when we have been on vacation.

There is a certain amount of guilt wrapped up in any travelling I do without the kids.  I have to leave them with someone, whether Geoff or my parents, and that always makes me feel bad.  I hear the stories from home, how they miss me, or they cry on the phone and it breaks my heart.  I try not to leave too often.  But, I think it is important to have time to yourself, or for Geoff and I as a couple, away from the kids.  I think it's good for all of us.  Doesn't mean it's easy though.

Lately, I have been offered a couple of opportunities to travel.  I really, really want to go.  One is to Cuba and the other is Las Vegas.  Both are crazy cheap prices and with good people.  I am so tempted.

I am trying to find ways to make this work, financially.  However, I think I know, in my heart of hearts that it's a no go.  At least, as of this very moment, with the situation being what it is, it's a no go.  If things change (and I hope they do), then it's a maybe.  And a maybe is just as good as a yes. 

I sacrifice alot for my family.  I really do.  I go without quite often, because I think that is what responsible parents do.  I don't buy or do alot of what I want to do, because I need to make sure that my kids are taken care of, and that they get to have fun.  But at this point, we are all making sacrifices, and we are all having to tighten our belts.

So, in light of that, how do I possibly say yes to a trip?  It is the height of irresponsibility.  It is a ridiculous notion to entertain.  So why do they keep bobbing around in my head??  Is someone trying to tell me something?

Here's to things changing.  Here's to vacations and get aways and fun in the sun.  Here's to no more rambling posts from me, like this one. :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not now, but maybe soon".

Cycle for Autism

Yesterday, Geoff and I set up a table at a local fundraising event for our local chapter of Autism Ontario.  It is a cycle/walk/run/stroll event.  To set up a vendor table cost $25.  It was money well spent.

I was iffy on whether we were going in the morning.  It was black and rainy and cold when I got up and I really didn't relish the thought of standing out there for 4 hours, and being wet and cold.  But, little by little, it started to clear, and even when it was overcast and rainy at my house, when I looked in the direction of Welland, where it was being held, there were little glimpses of blue sky.

Geoff and I had decided to take the kids with us, to get them out of the house, but also to show them a little of what we do.  They were both good for the most part (with a few instances where they would run for the parking lot and Geoff would have to stop talking to potential customers mid-sentence and run after them.) and I think it helped people relate to us, when they realized that Geoff and I are ASD parents and we do get what they are going through.

It started off a bit slow, but after the actual event was over, and everyone was getting their BBQ, we started getting people coming over.  EVERYONE we talked to was very supportive.  Most of them were amazed and thankful that we existed.  Lots of them have little to no professional pictures done of their kids.  It was the exact impact I was hoping for. 

I had done tons of my positive thinking building up to this, thanking the universe for the magnificient results (before the event had even occured), visualizing the warm welcome and good reception we would have, and thinking of the results that I wanted.  While we haven't had any bookings yet, we have had 5 new people like our page, and tons of good feedback.

Just a side note, I had ordered business cards for TaCL for the show.  We have cards centered around the horror side of the business, but I figured a black and white card with a skull on it was likely not the best thing to hand out.  Of course, our cards weren't ready for the show, so we handed out alot of handwritten slips of paper with our contact information on it.  When we got home however, there was an email, from about 5 minutes earlier, saying that the cards were now ready for pick up.  Talk about irony!!  :)  Oh well, we have them now, so we are good to go.

Just to touch on the positive thinking one last time.  I have been writing out my universe wish list- things that I want to have or have happen to us.  Of course, success with the photography businesses is one of them.  I was grateful for the opportunity to have occured so that we could participate in the Cycle Event.  The timing was perfect and the event was all we had hoped for.  But the weird thing is with Cracked Lens, the horror site.  We haven't done anything to promote it in a couple of months.  But all of a sudden, this past week, people have started liking the page.  Strange.  How they found it, I have no idea.  First it was one.  Then a couple of days later, another.  Today, it was 2 in one day.  After 6 months of no growth, to have these random people start finding us....it's strange and spooky and wonderful.  It is inspiring.  I am starting to find a new drive.

Thanks universe.  You came through again.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new business".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Still the same

The last couple of days have been tough on my weightloss journey.  I have had too many carbs, and it has been reflected with a bit of a weight game (about a pound, but still).  I had skipped my workout yesterday, because I just wasn't feeling it, and I was tired and grumpy.  It happens, I know.  I also know that it's not how hard or how often you fall, but how you recover that counts.

I recovered today.  After a full day (out the door at 730 this morning, spend the day volunteering in Toronto, back in the Falls at 8pm, actually in the door and home by 920pm), I did manage to squeeze in my full work out (40 minutes) tonight from 1040 to 1120pm.  Crazy I know, but it has to be done. 

As I said, the days have been a bit rough.  Just a bit of a downward swing.  I will work through it, when I have a bit of a weightloss again and will feel better and more motivated.  Plus, I had some motiviation and external validation today.

Three separate people today told me they didn't even recognize me.  It ws to the point that one of the girls asked me if there was something she could help me with, while I was standing in the front entrance of work.  She thought I was a visitor.  When I spoke to her, thinking she was just being polite, she started laughing and told me she had had no idea who I was.  :)  I should have known better!  The others weren't as bad, but rather doubletakes, because they didn't really know who I was at first glance.  I am taking that as compliments. 

The best part though is the people who are deciding to try PINK Method because of Val and myself.  That I could possible inspire someone else to try one more time, and to try something new is remarkable.  It is helping to give me that extra motivation that I am needing right about now.  I don't want to let them down.  I want to hit my goal weight, so that I can show them that if I can do it, LITERALLY anyone can do it.  I was a worst case scenario.  If I can get healthy and thinner, then anyone can.  And I am kind of proud of the fact that I can help people get there. 

This week alone, I emailed out the PINK Method website 7 times.  I know not everyone will stick with it.  Not everyone will even try.  But if one does, and succeeds...well, that would be the best thing ever. 

So, while I might look a little different, and maybe I don't act the way you remember, I am still the same.  There is just a little less of me.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new outlook".

Friday, June 1, 2012

What is she thinking??

Yesterday, I had to run out to Walmart to buy a white shirt.  Sawyer wanted to go for the ride, so along she came.  She was good as gold while we were out, so when we were done, I asked her if she would like to take a short drive with me. 

Both the kids love going for car rides and this was a special treat, since it was just her and I, so she could pick the route and destination with no chime-in from her brother.

As we were driving, I asked where she wanted to go.  She said she had to think about it for a minute.  We rode in silence for a short while and then she said,

"Mommy, are you thinking what I am thinking?"

Not having a slightest inkling of how her mind works, it was very likely that I was not thinking what she was thinking.  I responded "I don't know, sweetie.  What are you thinking?"

She grins at me and says " I....am.....think....ing.....that....we....SHOULD CHANGE OUR HOUSE INTO A CASTLE!!!"

Yep, I can pretty much guarantee you that we weren't thinking the same thing.  Trying not to laugh (because she takes herself very seriously) I responded.

"Sawyer, that is a really cool idea.  But I think it might be a little hard to change our house into a castle right now.  Maybe we can talk about that another time, or draw some pictures at home.  But for now, do you think you can think of a place you might want to drive to?"

She was quiet for a few minutes.  I watched her carefully in the rear view mirror to make sure that I hadn't hurt her feelings.  She didn't look hurt or sad, but thoughtful. 

After a few minutes, she said " You right, Momma.  We can do an igloo instead."

How can you not love this kid? 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new igloo, coming right up."