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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

31 day challenge

So, I did it.

31 posts in 31 days.  Sure, not every post was on a different day (I did 5 today, but trust me, I was thinking about them for the past couple of days, I just didn't sit down to write them until today).

So, what did I learn?

- that I can write pretty much every day, if I put my mind to it.
- sometimes, when you have writer's block, you just have to start typing and trust that what comes out will be coherent and potentially enjoyable to yourself and others
- look for the little things, the funny things, the quirky things and write about them
- I enjoy getting comments on my posts.  A lot.  I like knowing that other people are reading what I wrote and like it enough to tell me so.
- that I want to write more.  I want to make a living writing.
- that I like to read what other people have to say.  And that even the blogs that I don't think I would be interested in often have a hidden jem in them.  And the ones I love, I will keep going back to.
- that being recognized for my blog by people that I am not related to or friends with in real life, carries more weight than I ever thought it would.  Don't get me wrong, I love that my friends and family read and enjoy my blog. I can share with them in a way that I might not have, if I were just talking out loud.  And I love every time one of them reaches out to tell me that something I wrote touched them, made them laugh, made them cry.  But hearing it from a stranger- well, that's a whole different kind of special.  So thank you.
- I like getting new followers.  I am up to 25 now.  I am kind of a rockstar.
- Blogging is cathartic for me, and I would miss it if it were gone.

So, thank you to everyone that has read my blog over the last month.  Thanks to everyone that is now a follower, or at least checks me out semi regularly.  Thanks to everyone that has commented.  Thanks for linking to me, thanks for the funny awards and the recognition.

Mostly, thanks for the inspiration to keep going.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next up- August and 2 year anniversary!"


So, here is my controversial post for the month.  Be prepared.

So, last week at the campground, I had a lot of fun  with the kids.  We did the playground every day and the beach usually twice a day.  We would watch a few movies, play some memory, fly kites, play with toys, go for walks, go fishing, read stories and anything else that we could think of.

When it was just us, everything was hunky dory.  Sebastian was extremely overloaded on gluten last week, but he just got hyper and goofy.  His stims came out hard- so tons of humming and he was getting obsessive about some of his toys, pictures, movies and stuff like that.  But nothing super bad.  A couple of meltdowns, but nothing I couldn't handle.

By day 3, however, I was starting to notice a disturbing trend whenever we did things in a public setting, like the beach or the park. Sebastian was attracting a lot of attention from other kids.  And not good attention.

I know Sebastian is different and can act that way.  But I was really shocked by the blatant stares and reactions he was getting from the other kids.

I am used to this from adults (I lie, I am not "used to it", you never get used to it, but I come to expect it more from adults).  Kids have always seemed more tolerant.  They seemed to roll with the punches more, and just accept that he was different.  There have been exceptions, but the norm has been just fine.

However here, for this week, it was starting to get out of control.  Or so it seemed to me.  There was the day at the park.  Sebastian likes the feel of the sand, or the rocks as they run through his fingers.  He craves deep pressure, so he will sit on his knees until the rocks dig in, then pull his knee up and brush the rocks off his skin, one by one.  He isn't loud when he does this, except for the humming.  It's harmless, in every way.  But this one night, as Sawyer was on the swing and pushing her, I noticed the group of kids ride up on their bikes.  I waited a few moments and when the chills started heading up my spine, I stopped Sawyer's swing and walked to the other side of the play set, where Sebastian was sitting on the ground, just outside of my eyeline.

There he was, loosely circled by these kids.  What disturbed me the most was the way they all stood, blatantly and overtly staring at him.  Not talking, not looking out of the corner of their eyes.  Just standing and staring.  And slowly tightening that circle.  Moving in towards him.  They weren't there yet, but it was moving that way.  I walked over, got my hands in his armpits and pulled him to his feet.  I broke the spell and they started to drift to the slides and swings.  I put my arm around him and held him tight.  I gathered Sawyer and we walked away slowly.  I couldn't speak, for fear that I would cry.  I don't know why, but they were close to the surface.  Maybe it was the feeling that I was running away from kids.  Maybe it was the feeling that I had narrowly avoided a situation that could have gone bad very quickly.  Maybe it was just the end to a long day of heat and sweat and I was tired.  Either way, my emotions almost got the better of me.

Over the next couple of days, we kept encountering 2 boys and their father. The first encounter was a morning when the kids and I went over to fish off the dock.  The oldest boy was there with his dad.  When I was putting the worm on the hook and getting things ready, Sebastian, unbeknownst to me, reached into their tackle box and pulled out a lure shaped like a fish.  I heard the boy telling Sebastian to put it back, that it didn't belong to him.  I looked up and made him quickly put it back.  I apologized to both of them, they didn't acknowledge it or me and that was that.  I only stayed for a few minutes more- things felt uncomfortable, and the kids and I headed back to the trailer.

Later that day and the next, we kept running into them.  At the beach the next day, I noticed them in the water.  Why I noticed them, is because they were noticing Sebastian.

Again, Sebastian is very much about texture.  He liked to sit in the water, on the sandy bottom and pick up handfuls of sand, to let it run through his fingers.  Sometimes he throws it, and I tell him not to every time.  He continues to hum, and talk to himself, acting out stories and playing.  And again, he is sending off these vibes to every bully in the area, just begging them to come and check it out.

Geoff was with me that day, and I finally mentioned something to him.  I watched these kids watching Bastian.  They circled him like sharks, moving in closer and closer.  When I would call to Sebastian and tell him to move closer to his sister or me, they followed him.  That's when I pointed them out to Geoff.  Geoff, while thinking that I was over-reacting, picked up on my feeling about this, and went into the water to stand with Bastian.  He made it subtle, playing with Sawyer and splashing around.  And these kids still didn't back off.  They kept their distance, but stared and stared and stared.  And I stared at them.  I didn't trust myself to speak, especially when they hadn't done anything...yet.

Finally, their father showed up in his pyjama pants and high topped sneakers and called them home.  Geoff left the water then and asked me if that had helped.  It did, but I was still shaken by what kept happening.

So, with all of this, I started thinking about normal.  What is normal?  Why can't my son just be normal?  Anyone special needs parent that tells you they don't ever think about that is lying.  I think about how much easier it would be in my life, if he didn't stim. If he didn't hum.  If he didn't think, talk and act funny.  While I love my son with every single fibre of my being and I would never trade a single solitary second of my life with him, I do sometimes wish, more for his sake than for mine, that he could be normal.

Whatever the hell that means.

I was going to write more, but this has been hard enough.  Maybe another time.

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

A mini adventure in Sawyer Land

Geoff and I had a nice talk on the last day of our camping trip.  We talked about my future and what I could do for a living and more importantly, what I WANTED to do for a living.

While there are lots of things I am interested in, and thinks that I would love to do and earn money at, one of the major ones is and always has been writing.  I would love to write for a living.  I was never disciplined enough, and confident enough in my abilities to try.

This blog was an attempt to test the waters.  To see if I could still write, since I hadn't done it with any regularity in a whole lotta years.  So far, it's going pretty good.  I think I am doing well, people seem to like what I have to say, and I am enjoying myself.

What I do need to do, however, is find my focus.  I need to figure out what it is that I want to say.  What people would like to learn about me and mine.  I don't want to be super focused and narrow in my scope, by only focusing on one aspect of my life (like, say autism).  But it would be nice to have an overall feel for the blog and my communications.  I feel very likely that my family will be much of that theme.

One thing Geoff has recommended is keeping track of all the little crazy things that happen around our house.  The little day to day things that always seem to slip my mind when it comes time to sit down and write my blog.  So, moving forward, I am going to try and track these things and write 2 blogs a week- one dedicated to Sawyer (Adventures in Sawyerland) and one dedicated to Sebastian (the title is to be determined! :).

So, I do have a funny story to share.  Of course, it involves Sawyer, my crazy red-headed 3 (soon to be 4) year old.

My brother has been working in our yard for the past month- mainly on weekends, but occasionally through the week as well.  Sunday night, he and I were sitting on the patio, after he had worked most of the day in the yard.  I had helped as much as I could, but had been busy through much of the day working in the house, trying to get the household in order, now that I am the primary caretaker (Geoff is moving onto the store as his primary focus).

So, Adam and I sat and chatted.  It was nice, and shady and breezy and cool.  Sawyer came traipsing out of the house to interrupt (that is her latest party trick, interrupting people.  She does it on purpose and I am trying very hard to hold my patience and teach her not to do this any more).

Adam was facing her and caught sight of her first.  When he quickly averted his eyes, I knew just then what she was wearing.

"Sawyer", I said, "why are you naked??"

She was already laughing.  She knows how exasperated I get with her willingness to shed her clothing as quickly as possible.

"Momma, I have a problem".

I turned to look at her.  She had turned around at the top of the porch stairs and her little bum was on full display.

"Something's stuck, Momma.  Can you help?"

Even Adam couldn't resist checking for himself.  We turned and sure enough, an empty ziploc sandwich bag is firmly wedged between her cheeks.  She is laughing and wiggling so much, it's making funny noises as it flaps in the breeze.

I love that the first full blown belly laughs from me and Adam on my new patio were courtesy of Sawyer.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new story every day".

I know all the words

I have talked before in the past about some of my favourite things.  I am a creature of habit, so when I find something I like, I stick with it.  Year after year, I will re-read the same books, watch the same movies, listen to the same songs.  I do cycle new options into my repetoir once in a while, so I don't stagnate, but my true blue favourites tend to stand the test of time.

A little while a go, I had a chance to rewatch one of my favourite movies from college- Last of the Mohicans with Madeline Stowe and Daniel Day Lewis.  When I was in college, my roommate Carrie and I would watch it pretty much every weekend, usually when we were hung over on Sunday, and didn't want to get out of our pyjamas all day.  We would eat chips and dip, drink pop with ice, maybe order a pizza and watch our favourite movies.

I had a HUGE wall sized version of the movie poster in my room, that my friend Tony has scored from me from a video rental place.  Carrie and I knew the entire movie off my heart.  I mean, the ENTIRE movie.  Every word, every beat.  We even had jokes and things that we would interject to make each other laugh. We would do some of the lines using the accents of the people in the movie.  There was one line, from Madeline Stowe's character that we HATED.  "The whole world's on fire".  We would groan or make noise through it every time.  We would phonetically pronounce the aboriginal language, while the other would do the translations.

Yeah, we were incredibly lame.  But to us, it was funny and fun.

The movie itself really isn't that great.  Sure, it's good, but it's no classic.  I loved a lot of the visuals about the movie, and the soundtrack is amazing.  I walked down the aisle at my wedding to "The Kiss" from the Mohican's soundtrack.

So, a little while ago, I noticed that Last of the Mohicans is on Netflix.  I was knitting or working or doing something else, so I figured I would put it on and have some background noise.

From the very first moment, I was right back there.  I still know all the words.  I remember the jokes.  I made the noises and the comments and did the accents all by myself, there in my bedroom.

It was awesome.  And it made me miss my old friend, Carrie.  I haven't seen her for ages, and we haven't been close since we left college.  But in that moment, I missed her with every fibre of my being.

And I think, whenever I see this movie, I always will.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "Nathaniel Poe was my boyfriend".

Read like the wind

As you know, last week I spent time camping with my family.  It was a time to relax and a time to do fun stuff with the kids.  My kids being who they are, I didn't have a ton of time to relax and unwind, but I did manage to squeeze in a little reading.  That is my version of relaxing, 9 times out of 10.

Now, I am a fast reader.  I can read a book in a day, depending on the size and how into the story I am.  From the Monday to the Friday, these are the books that I read:

The Sisters Brothers- this was the July selection from my virtual book club at work.  I really enjoyed it.  It was more of a "boy" book than I normally read, but I liked the writing style and the relationship between the brothers.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang- I have a bunch of Chelsea Handler books on my Kindle, but had never read any of them.  I don't even really know who she is.  I have never seen her show or her stand up.  But I have heard good things about the books and how funny they are.  So I checked this one out first, because I liked the title. So funny and engaging- I loved the pictures through the book, backing up stories that you constantly think are too farfetched to be true.  Until you see the photo.

Are you there, Vodka?  It's me, Chelsea- So, I read the first Chelsea Handler book and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I quickly moved onto this one.  It didn't disappoint either.

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands- yep, another Chelsea Handler book.  Not quite as funny as the other 2 (I think it is her first book, so she was still catching her groove) but still a good read.

If I Did It- Yeah, I know, I know.  I read the stupid OJ Simpson book.  I had it for free.  No, it's not worth it.  Yes, he describes the crime (and he claims to have blacked out during the actual commission of the murders- but remember, it's only hypothetical!).  Yes, he blames most everything on Nicole and her crazy, drug induced sluttiness.  NO, don't bother to read it.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee- Since I enjoyed Chelsea Handler's books so much, I thought I would check out Sarah Silverman's book.  Again, I don't know much about her (I have never even seen "I'm f*cking Matt Damon"), but thought it might be good for a laugh.  Her's has more serious parts to it, than the Chelsea books, and she focuses alot on being Jewish (I guess I don't understand or have a frame of reference for why it is such a hardship, or why it's a big deal.  But then, I'm not Jewish, so what do I know?).  It was ok, and I would have probably enjoyed it more if I had read it first.

So, all in all, not bad for a week's worth of vacation. Found some hidden jems, read some trash, and basically wasted a little time in a good way.

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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Last Note (and I'll stop cheating now!)

This is the last note to come over from Facebook.  I really like this one.  Still.  Maybe because I am moving back to this world, of nights of just me and them.

Originally posted Tuesday, June 8, 2010.

I watch my babies sleeping...

Tonight, it's just me and them.

I move from room to room. Sawyer, as messy and active asleep as she is when she is awake. Flip flopping, she kicks her blankets down, lets her bottle slip down and soak her pillow. I straighten, tuck in, clean up. I smooth her crazy hair down and out of her eyes. Just looking at her makes my heart ache.

Everyone says she is truly my daughter. That makes me proud, and scares the living shit out of me. I don't want her to live my life. But I can see the amazing potential in her. I worry already about the situations she will put herself in. Her heart will be broken. Since she is so much like me, she will feel so much, and so deeply. She will have days where getting up is the hardest thing she has ever done. She will have days where she doesn't think she can go on.

I pledge to myself to teach her- how to deal with the thoughts and feelings that overwhelm. To be confident and not bend. The dangers of settling for "good enough". How to fight. How to play nice. How to be a girl, and to never need a man.

She sighs in her sleep.

I move to Sebastian. He has fallen asleep in my bed again. Eventually, I will move him, but for now, he is fine. He has the remote control tucked tight in his fist. His obsessions even infect his sleep.

I don't think about the future with Sebastian. Not any further than a few months. He is my moment, my present, my here and now. My worries with him are missing the moments, the glimpses, the breakthroughs. Where is the benefit in knowing that he will likely never bring home a girlfriend? That I won't attend his high school graduation, or see him off to college? That I won't have a mother-son dance at his wedding, or hold a grandbaby that looks just like him? Those are useless thoughts, and they have no place here.

Here, right here. Warm breath, soft breathing, a mind finally at rest. That is important. That is my focus.

As I finish up my day to day, my mind is split, focused here and now, and planning and worrying about then.

And as I finally lay down, to rest my own weary head, I feel a nudge. The dog. He lays down beside me, almost as long. He rests his head on my arm, and licks my face. He trusts me, and tells me so, in his way, before settling in to sleep.

He makes me happy. And he is someone, something I don't have to worry about.

And for a change, that's nice.
Oh, I miss her being this small.
My furry baby

Don't look directly into his eyes.  He's trying to hypnotise you.


This is another old note from Facebook, making it's way over to my blog.  Enjoy!

Originally posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009.


I am not a religious person. Sure, I went to Sunday School as a kid, I have read (most of) the bible, I know the Lord's prayer, and Sebastian and I say his prayers together every night. My belief, however, is a nebulous thing, ever changing and stretching. I believe God negotiates, that animals have souls and that fate is another aspect of God's plan.

And I also believe in Angels.

I believe in lots of things. When I say believe, I mean BELIEVE. I don't mean that "I like the concept of", or that "I believe in the spirit of"...I mean, I believe, with my whole heart that different things exist. I believe in fairies, aliens, ghosts, monsters, unicorns, sea monsters, dragons, elves, goblins and all the others are out there. I believe in the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, the Bermuda Triangle...

and Angels.

The reason I keep mentioning Angels, is that I have had occasion to think about the people that have come in and out of my life. Mostly when it comes to Sebastian. I think these people are drawn to him. It sounds corny, and strange, but I am starting to think that it is absolutely true.

I have, for a while now, thought of Sebastian as a standard bearer. When we meet new people, who don't know about us, or him, or autism, he becomes that image. While he has his flaws (lots of them), his good points are enough to inspire love, and faith and hope. I have seen it happen, over and over again. People who would rely on ignornance and bad taste, embrace him and his different-ness. He changes people. He changed me.

So anyway, back to the angels. Because of Sebastian's basic, intrinsic goodness, not tainted by the influence of others, but instead making his own small impact of the world around him, he is attracting angels.

Don't believe me?

Sebastian's first speech therapist, Maria. On the day we started working with her, she hugged me, and told me she would help us on our path. On the day we left her care, she hugged me harder and told me "Your son is buried in there somewhere. I have faith that you will find him." I think of that often, when I am discouraged, and it pulls me through.

Sebastian's first swimming teacher, Judy, and his second, Beth and his third, JP. Judy hugs him everytime she sees him. Beth, when she came back to work on March Break, traded a shift so that she would be there on Thursday to see Sebastian. JP just shrugged and smiled when I told him Sebastian was autistic, and said "I just think he's cool." They see my son for 1 hour, once a week, and yet love him, deeply, and inspire a huge trust in him, for them.

Sebastian's beaver leaders, Sunshine and Hawkeye. They created a whole new level of Beavers, just for Sebastian. Just because they don't want him to leave. Because they know he won't be ready for Cubs and they want him to have someplace to go. Because they love having him there.

Sebastian's kindergarten teacher, Catharine. To this day, she and I email. She cried when Sebastian sang a solo in his Christmas play last year, even though he had been out of her class for 3 years. She wants him to be friends with her kids.

And so many others. I hear horror stories from other parents, about the roadblocks and ignorance they encounter. While we have had our share, overwhelmingly, these are the type of people I have found. Does Sebastian attract them? Do they pull us in? I don't know, but I think of it often.

It is the latest angel, that really made me think...

Cierra, a 9 year old in the cooking class I took with Sebastian last week. Sometimes I forget what "regular" kids are like. I am never around them. So when I integrate Sebastian with them, he stands out so much, and is so different. I feel it, and he feels it. He starts to act out, he starts stimming like crazy. He vibrates like a tuning fork, I feel it come off him in waves- anxiety, tension, fear.

Cierra, with absolutely no prompting, took him under her wing. Everything Cierra did, she offered to Sebastian first. She took his hand and pulled him up to the front to stand with her. She gave him praise when he did even the smallest task. No one told her to do it. No one else did it first to show her. She just felt it. She knew what he needed and she gave it to him.

I told her mother after the class that she should be so proud of her daugther. She thanked me and gave me a confused smile. I cried the whole way home, because I met a 9 year old angel.

Angels. They come when they are needed, and when least expected.


Sebastian and his woman, Alyssa.  He still misses her.
looks grouchy, but just squinty, really
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for 'nother one that ain't new, but still good". 

Just a l'il cheatin'

Ok, so, I warned you that I would be away from the computer for a week.  And I was.  Now I am back and super far behind on my blog challenge.  I have to get 6 posts done, in order to catch up- wait, make that 7 posts, because now, it is officially the 29th of July.  *sigh*

So, I am cheating a little in these next few posts.  I am posting notes that I had written to Facebook.  Now, now, before you get all up in arms about it, I really have wanted to do this for a while.  I am worried that Facebook is going to do something goofy and I will lose these little notes forever.  And I like them.  These notes are what got me started towards blogging in the first place. 

So, I am moving them here, to a more permanent place, so that I can have them forever. 

So enjoy some of my thoughts from a couple of years ago.  Here's hoping they are still good and stand up. 

Originally posted Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just when you are ready to give up...

So, most of you know about Sebastian and what we are going through with him. We have been gluten and casien free (well, mostly free, there have been a few slips) for about 2 months now. At first, we were going gangbusters and seeing results almost overnight...literally. It was easy to stick to, and for the first time in about 7 years, I began to feel hope...hope that things might, just might be different.

This has been a bad week/month. Geoff's home now, my job is more than uncertain, I am behind on everything, from school work, to house work. We are trying to start 2 business simulataneously, and Sawyer is teething...again. Add on top of this, a new pediatrician, new orthotics, new diet, running out of supplements and money at the same time- life is rough. Not that I am complaining- it's just a simple fact.

I have been feeling low, and discouraged. I hate that feeling. Sebastian has stopped making progress. At night, I close my eyes, and try to remember how far he has come. Then I think of a little girl in the grocery store, probably 4 years younger, describing her dreams to a mother, that isn't even listening. I think about the little boy, that ran up to the group of kids in the playground and fit right in. I think about the grown man that gave me a funny look, because of the way Sebastian sounds. I think of all that, and suddenly how far we have come becomes insignificant. I am so overwhelmed with how far we need to go. I don't want to take another step. I'm tired, so very tired.

Today, I was reading my usual contigent of autism books. All of a sudden, recovery stories make me sad. I just can't read anymore. I don't want to know about the people that have pulled their kids back. Right now, I hate them...every one of them. I want to smack Jenny McCarthy's face. Not fair, but there it is.

Sebastian came down, and asked to go to Happy Rolph's. Normally, I would be thrilled. It is something new, not the routine he has memorized, and there isn't the normal fight to pry him away from whatever he is currently obsessed with. The drive is good, the fresh air helps with my funk. Walking around, it smells like manure, and french fries. That just reminds me that I have to cut vinegar, and grease from his diet. No more packaged fries, handcut or nothing.

We finish the walk, and head towards the car. I am a little surprised when Sebastian does his goofy funny run to the playground, but he had fun last time, and he has a memory for things like that. He expects it to be fun the same way, every time. Geoff follows and walks him through, showing him how to play. What comes natural to other kids is an exercise in patience for mine.

I take Sawyer to the swings, she loves them. It makes my heart a little happier to hear her laugh. I make goofy faces, to make her laugh more. Then, all of a sudden, behind me, I hear Sebastian. He's talking. Not a big deal, except...it is. He is not talking to himself, or Daddy. He is talking to another little kid.

"Hi. Who are you?"
"I'm Ben."
"Oh. Hi Ben. My name is Sebastian."
"Hi. Do you want to play?"
"No, I want to go home."

I didn't hear Ben asking Sebastian over and over what he had said, because he couldn't understand him (well, I did hear it, I chose to ignore it.) What I heard, over and over, was my autistic 7 year old boy STARTING a conversation with another boy.

It has never happened before.

Now, I believe in miracles. I am walking my path, and while it is still far, it's not so far that I can't see the end. Even if it is still just in my imagination.
Getting smooches from his girls, Wonder Woman and Star Sapphire

Daddy and Sebastian excited for Wolverine at the Drive In
Sebastian didn't even make it through the credits, before he was asleep.
My heart
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not new, but still good."

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Just a bit of a head's up to everyone- my blogging will be irregular this week.  I am on vacation and have activities planned (I won't say specifically when or where, so all you house thieves out there can't plan your break and enters. :)

We are taking the littles camping this week and I am soooo looking forward to it.

Now, part of that is simply because I work for a living and I am looking forward to not working for an entire week.  That in itself is glorious.  If only that happened and nothing else- no camping, no day trips, no nothing, that would be enough.  Just the idea of not having to get up and be somewhere, to lose myself in the daydream that this someday could be my life, it fills me with hope and rejuvenates my soul.

Sawyer got pre-occupied leaving the tent
Plus, I get to spend time with my family, Geoff and the kids.  I understand the sacrifice that Geoff is making. He has his new comic shop and they are trying to do all these renovations and get it ready.  It will be hard for him to be away from that.  I know that he will probably skip out on us a day or two, to go and play with his friends.  I understand.  I don't like it, but I understand.  See, I need this vacation- I need it.  He doesn't.  He has been home for years at this point (with a couple of breaks in between).  I know being home isn't a vacation, but it also isn't full time (and sometimes more than full time) work, the pressure is a bit less and the freedom is a bit more.  So, I appreciate that he is trying to understand how much I need this break and he is trying to work with that and his own wants and needs as much as he can.
camping breakfast is the best
Thirdly, we are going camping.  I love camping.  I love the smell of camp fires and of pine trees.  I like hearing the cicada bugs and hunting for fireflies at night.  I like cooking over a fire, living out of coolers and watching the stars at night.

We haven't been camping as much as a family since Sawyer was born.  And this time, we are doing it a bit different.  We are actually borrowing a trailer from a family member and using that, instead of roughing it and tent camping.

While I think it is going to be great, I am a little disappointed.  

I like wilderness camping.  When I was pregnant with Sebastian, I would daydream about taking my son or daughter wilderness camping with me.  I thought that if I did it from the time they were little, they would grow with the appreciation of nature and learn the skills they needed naturally and develop this everlasting reverence for the interaction we have with the earth.  I had grand plans.
Daddy and Bastian, by the fire
Then reality set in.  Sebastian was born with his issues and camping and portaging and canoeing took a back seat.  Geoff really, REALLY isn't into that kind of camping experience, so it got back burnered.  Sure, we took Sebastian tent camping a couple of times, and he always seemed to love it.  It is a cheap(er) family vacation, and can be lots of fun too.  But, as always, life gets in the way, and things get shuffled to the side and then get forgotten.
happy camping boy
Then Sawyer came along.  I started thinking about that wilderness camping again.  But by now, it's been years- YEARS- since I have camped like that.  Since college and that is creeping up on 20 years ago.  Crazy, I know.  But I think I might want to give it a try someday.  I think it would be amazing, me and her, under the stars, her learning, me re-learning everything together.

But for now, we will start here.  A trailer with a microwave.  Ipod hook up.  Indoor kitchen with cupboards nicer than my own kitchen at home.  We will see how it goes and then take it from there.

Anyway, enjoy your week, and I will touch base as soon as I can...

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nature loving, tree hugger".

Happy Opie Day!

One of my very favourite shows on TV is Sons of Anarchy.  In my humble opinion it is the best show on TV.  It is smart, has excellent stories and is constantly surprising me.  I can't stand shows that go with the easy out, or wrap up a story line in 30 minute increments.  SOA can be very violent, very graphic and often disturbs me, even when the show is over.  But I keep coming back for more.  I am well and truly addicted.

I don't often reccomend shows or movies to other people.  Most of my friends and family have extensive and diverse tastes and what I love, I can guarantee some, if not most, of them will hate.  So I just don't do it.  SOA is the exception.  I reccom, end it to everyone and so far, NO ONE hasn't liked it.  And not just liked it, LOVED it.  I lend them season 1 and 2 days later they are back for Seasons 2-4, having had no sleep, because they "just couldn't stop watching".  Yeah, it's that good.

Anyway, on this fabulous show, it is all about the characters.  I have my favorites and the ones I love to hate.  Gemma, played by Katey Sagal (yeah, Peg Bundy!) is amazing.  I wanna be Gemma when I grow up.  :)  Clay and Jax, played by Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunam, are the focus of the show, and rightly so.  But even the supporting characters like Tig, Chibbs, Happy, Bobby Elvis, Uncer, Piney, and all the rest have their moments of shining greatness.

But my very, VERY favourite is Opie.  *sigh*  Opie.

Opie is played by Ryan Hurst.  Apparently he was in Remember the Titans, which was a pretty good movie. I haven't been back to watch it though, because I don't want to taint my image of him.  LOL...yeah, I am that big of a nerd.

So, Opie and I have this lovely relationship.  He does bad, biker things on TV and I secretly love him for it.  But, what throws a wrinkle into this?  What is the one black cloud on the horizon of my unrequitted love for a fictional character?

Apparently, according to everyone in my life, Opie looks just like my brother.

I know.  Ew.

I really try to keep this out of my mind and I daydream about my lovely.  But even I have to admit, I can see the similarities.  And it's harshing my mellow.

Today, Ryan Hurst is going to be signing autographs at the Niagara Motorcycle show.  I am going with my sister-in-law to try and see him.  I am really concerned about lineups, so I don't know if it will happen, but fingers crossed it will.

Anyway, that's my story.  Not much of one.  Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Opie Day!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now bring on Season 5!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Clowns- FAIL!

Ok, ok, it's pretty much a cliche anymore, but I am going to say it.  I don't like clowns.  Never have.  Never will.  I don't find them cute, or funny or appealing.

John Wayne Gacy made it bad, with his creep factor of dressing like a clown for kids in the hospital when he was raping and killing men and boys in his home and burying them in the basement.  And the creep carried on when he continued to paint pictures of himself in full clown garb and sell them from his jail cell.
Pogo the creepy ass clown
Then I watched Poltergiest when I was probably about 10ish.  The part with the clown, and the kid throwing his jacket over it, and then it ends up under his bed....yikes.  Triple yikes.  It was enough to scar me for life.  I still have trouble watching that part.  And I still don't let body parts, like hands and feet hang off my bed, partly for that reason.
instant nightmares
And the last nail in the coffin?  IT.  I read it when I was in the 8th grade, when it first came out.  I love it, it's one of my favourite Stephen King books.  It speaks to me of remembering when I was young, and it was summer, and school and fall were a million years away.  When all you had was time and your friends meant everything in the world to you.  When I read it, I was pretty close to the same age as the kids in the book.  I got it.  I related.  It was me in those pages.  And Pennywise...well, he just scared the f*ck out of me.  

ok, the movie was bad, but Tim Curry is great.  
I remember being up late at night, and my mom coming in for the 3rd or 4th time, because she could see the light under my door.  I would put the book down, and lay awake, thinking about the horrible thing I just read, but DYING to know what comes next.  So, I would risk the wrath of mom, flip on the bedside light and pick it up again.  I am a fast reader, but I finished that book in record time.

From then on, clowns and I had no business together.  None at all.

My friends know this about me.  Barb and Bill got Geoff and I a book for Christmas a couple of years ago, full of creepy clown photographs.  I can only flip through so much of it at a time, without getting the heebie jeebies.  They think it's funny to freak me out.  They are kind of jerks.  ;)

So, why am I talking about clowns?  Cause this weird thing happened to me today.  I had to got to the big  city of Toronto for a meeting today.  Val, who I work with, and I went up together.  We take the Go train most of the way, but it means a relatively short walk from Union Station to the office and then a walk from the office back to the train station.  Not a big deal, we can usually do it about 10 minutes or so.

So, we finish our meeting today in record time, and end up being able to catch an earlier train.  Val and I are hoofing it down the street, chatting as we walk, but making good time.  It's a route we have taken a bunch of times before, we know it well.  It's bright and sunshiney, and there are lots of people out and about.  It's the business section of Toronto, so there are suits and skirts everywhere.

Now, when we walk on the street, I really try to avoid walking on the grates.  You know, the big ones that the subway runs under?  I am always afraid that I am going to crash through and die a horrible death (irrational fear #21).  Sometimes though, I will force myself to walk on the grates, to try and prove that it is irrational.  Today was one of those days.

So, along we walk, her on the sidewalk, cobblestone and all, and me on the grates.  I didn't wear heels today, so I wasn't afraid of my heel slipping through and tripping me up.  I was watching where I was stepping though, and didn't lift my eyes off the sidewalk very often.

So, then I saw something.  In one of the grates.

It was purple, with a gold trim.  It was ruffly, like a big pouffy clown collar.  It was up near the top of the grate, and for all intents and purposes, it looked like a clown's upper back, with it's head just out of view.

Remember Pennywise?  He lived in the sewer.  No shit.
I did this weird prancy type jump, and skipped my way, not so gracefully, right off that mother-effing grate.  My breath caught in my throat and my heart did this weird skip beat thing.  My anxiety jumped from a non-existent 1 to a full blown 9 in about 2 seconds. I don't think Val noticed my weirdness, or if she did, she didn't say a word.

I know that there wasn't a clown in the grate.  I know that.  I KNOW that.  But I didn't look back, because I didn't want to see the white gloved fingers coming though.

I stopped walking on grates after that.  I stopped watching the sidewalk.  I don't know what was really down there.  I don't want to know.

All I do know is that I don't like clowns.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "no clown is a good clown."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Healthy Update

I realize with the Blog Challenge going on, I haven't really posted about my healthy living choices and how all that has been going lately.

If you recall, in our last episode, Anita had decided to reset back to zero.  She was getting complacent and was getting sloppy in her eating and exercise.  The cliff hanger ending was- would she be able to get on track and continue to lose weight?  Or was she back on the gravy train to the land of FatAss?

Well, friends and neighbours, I am happy to announce that I am doing just fine.  I have lost almost 10 lbs since my rededication (so about 67 lbs total, if you keep track of those kinds of things).  I completed Phase 3 of Pink for the 2nd time, introducing both Couch to 5 K running and Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.  I am taking a week long reset, to try and jump start my metabolism, and as of Saturday, I start working out again.

I did get to a point where I was very, very tired.  I had stopped making sleep a priority.  That always seems to go hand in hand with overtime for me.  I wait until the kids go to bed to work and work out, so by the time I am ready for bed, it is sometimes 1 or 130 in the morning.  I don't fall asleep until 2, then I am up when Sebastian wakes me up at 6am.  This doesn't make for a happy Anita, but for an Anita that wants to eat brownies and white bread.

This past week I have finally tried to get back on track for sleep.  It sounds incredibly selfish, but it is something that I have learned that I need, if I am going to be effective and good for myself and my family.  I need to get 7 hours of sleep or more.  Last night I went to bed at 10pm and didn't get up this morning until 8.  That was 10 hours.  And I felt ok today.  And I dreamt last night, which is a good sign.  My naturopath said that not dreaming is a sign of sleep deprivation.  I went for a 3 year span without dreaming.  What's that tell you?

I am trying to get back on track with healthy eating for the family.  We have all succumbed to the summer time curse of BBQ and snack food.  I am trying to keep healthy food in the house.  Geoff, with his excitement over the comic book store has pretty much vacated the premises, so the kids and I have been on our own for dinner.  I realized that this is likely the new state of affairs for us now, so I will own dinner and find things to make for us, that are good and healthy and fit into my diet plan.  I plan on baking GFCF bread tomorrow for Sebastian and I.  Tomorrow is payday, so maybe I can get some shopping done, before Geoff leaves for the night.

So, like I said, I am doing ok.  I am still more lax than I should be, but since the scale is moving in the right direction, I cut myself some slack.  I ate cake tonight, that I made with Sawyer.  Oh well.  Life goes on.

But I have collar bones now.  I bought a size clothes that didn't have an X in it (that's a biggie for me!)  I can almost see that indent in my wrist at the base of my thumb.  I have weird boniness in my shoulders, where it was once soft.  My flip flops are too big on my feet.  My underwear fall down sometimes.

These are all good things.  Motivating things. Things that I appreciate so much, because I didn't have them before.

Keep the good things coming.

Rosie. N. Grey
The N stands for "next up, 75 lbs.  Fingers crossed".

Phone Chats

I realized something about myself today.

I HATE to talk on the phone. I really do.

Oh I don't mind a quick chat, a "how do you do", a check in to see what's what, or to ask or answer a quick question.  None of that bothers me.  And I don't mind long phone calls, heart to hearts, reaching out to touch someone.  All that is good too.

But I think work has ruined the phone for me.  Conference calls, touchpoints, daily summaries...all of it makes me hate the phone.  I cringe when my phone at work rings.  I let it go to voicemail whenever possible.  We have an online communicator tool.  When I get asked to chat on that, shivers go up my spine.  I don't know why, I just simply dread it.

Geoff and I screen our calls at home all the time.  It is pretty rare that we actually answer the phone.  Geoff yells at me all the time, because I will text, when it would be easier to call.  But I can't help it.  I am much more comfortable that way.

I guess I really don't have a point to this post.  It just kind of hit me out of the blue today, as I was doing all that I could do to avoid phone calls and conference chats.  I don't know when the phone phobia started, but I really don't see an end in sight.  Maybe if I stop recieving more work load and bad news on calls, then I will stop avoiding them.

But it might take me a while to recover.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "no call is a good call".

I heart Cesar!

I know I have talked about this before, but I LOVE Cesar Milan.

I have read one or 2 of his books and  back when I had TV, I watched his show all the time.  I love his philosophy of calm assertive energy, and being the pack leader.  He makes it look so easy and so logical, but I can attest to the fact, it really isn't.  When you are in the heat of the moment, and the dog just ripped open the garbage all over the floor you just mopped, it's hard to stay calm.  But I hearken back to it more than I ever thought I would and those moments of "not calm" are becoming further and further apart.

As you know, my brother has been working like a rented donkey in my back yard.  He has just gone to town and has done it willingly and cheerfully, with a song in his heart and swear-words on his lips.

I wanted to get something for him, to say thank you.  But he is IMPOSSIBLE to buy for.  Whatever he wants, he just gets.  He buys it himself. Plus he can be picky about things- if he doesn't like it, he doesn't like it, and you can't do anything to change his mind.  He gives gifts like a champion, but isn't fond of receiving them.

So, today, I saw that Cesar Milan is coming to Toronto.  I was sad that I missed him last time around and now I had a shot a pre-sales.  Adam immediately sprang to mind.  He loves Cesar too.  I got him the full set of Cesar DVDs for his birthday last year and he really, really likes them.

Now the dilemma...would Adam actually go to see Cesar?  I dunno.  Neither did Geoff.  Or my mom and dad.  Everyone I asked had absolutely NO IDEA if that was a gift that Adam would actually like.  The tickets cost enough that I wasn't willing to take a chance that he wouldn't like them. I wanted to get him two, so that he could take someone if he wanted, or I could go with him.  Since no one seemed to know, I decided to go straight to the source.  I just flat out asked him.

Tonight when he came to check up on his work in the backyard (he has been away on a job for a couple of days) I mentioned that Cesar was coming and if he would be interested in going.  He said he was already planning on it.  I said that I wanted to go too, and that I had a chance for presale, was he planning on going with anyone?  He wasn't, he had seen the presale himself and that was what put the idea in his head.  I told him I would snag the tickets and we could go together.  He agreed and it was a done deal.

How's that for a master manipulator at work??  LOL...Adam's not big on subtly, so I figured the direct approach was best.  This way, I got to buy him his ticket, and I get to go see Cesar.  Win/Win.

Even if I never say that it's a thank you gift (like I said, he doesn't like them), in my heart, I will know that it is.  And for now, that's good enough.

Can't wait for Cesar!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next up, Cesar Milan"!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Growing up and growing apart

Tonight, I realized my son is growing up.

As many of you know, Sebastian has autism.  His autism manifests in many different ways: speech and language difficulties, obsessive behaviours, interests and abilities well below what would be considered typical for his age (he will be 11 in November).

So, when I realized tonight that he has outgrown Sally, his beloved dolly, it felt like a kick to the stomach.  I was proud of him, but it made me oh so sad too.

Sally has been with us for many, MANY years.  Sally is from the movie "A Nightmare Before Christmas".  When Sebastian first watched the movie, probably about 7 years ago, he immediately loved it.  He wasn't frightened by it at all.  And he just fell head over heels for Sally, the main girl in the story.  Sally is a rag doll, put together by the mad scientist.  She is in love with Jack, the Pumpkin King, but he doesn't return the feelings until the end, when he finally realizes how amazing she is.

This is Sebastian's absolute favourite picture of Sally.
He would show me and tell me over and over again,
"The wind is blowing her hair!"
At the time, Nightmare wasn't quite as popular as it is today.  It was very, very difficult to find anything with Jack or Sally on it.  So when someone (for the life of me, I can't remember who bought her for Bastian.  It might have been Auntie Dawn, but I'm not sure.  Forgive me) found the long limbed and beautiful Sally doll, it was a real score.  Sebastian loved her from day 1.  He rarely went anywhere without her.

Through all of Sebastian's surgeries, Sally was there.  She would be wheeled into the operating room, tucked tight, tight, tight under his arm.  He would pull her in close to his face as he cried, when he was scared and frightened by the doctors he constantly had to see.   Therapists would always ask him to tell them about the pretty little doll he had with him.  His response was always to hug her close and whisper "It's Sally".  When he began to learn and explore imaginative play, it was Sally he would swing around the room, who would fight Wonder Woman.  Sally would walk and talk for Sebastian, when he was still just learning himself.  Sally travelled to PEI with us, held tight in his grip, when the plane made him nervous.  Sally went to Great Wolf Lodge for all the overnight stays.  Sally was the first in the suitcase for sleepovers at Grammie and Papa's. Whenever we went out for a drive, the last thing he would grab was Sally.  Sally went to nursery school and the NPCC with him.  His teachers knew Sally as well as we did. 
Well loved.  Her eye is worn off, her skin is bare in patches.
She is stained and worn.
I think every child's toy should be so lucky.

She was his constant, his comfort, his solid.  In a world he can't control and can barely understand, he would hold Sally to his face; smell her face, hold her corduroy hair, brush her velvety dress across his mouth and nose.  And Sally would help him block out everything he couldn't deal with. 

Next to Mommy, Sally was probably one of the most important girls in his life.

Tonight, I was tucking Sebastian in before bed.  We have a routine: pjs, bathroom, meds, bed, story, prayers, nightlight, music, sleep.  I was just putting the music and the nightlight on, when I spotted Sally, laying on the floor, just behind his toybox.  I scooped her up and went to hand her up to him (he is on a top bunk).
"Here buddy", I said, "I found Sally.  She must have fallen out of bed, when I changed the sheets yesterday".
Such a pretty lady.

Sebastian didn't even look over.  Just rolled over and yawned and said "No, that's ok.  Good night."

And that's when it hit me.  He doesn't need her any more.

I started to remember all the things that he has done lately, and Sally wasn't there.  All the nights that he had gone to bed, and I found her later, tucked in a basket or a corner somewhere.  I tried to remember the last time he had actually asked for her, and I couldn't remember.

It makes me happy that he has outgrown her.  It really does.  I won't have the awkward conversation when he is 16 and going to high school and wanting to take Sally along for the ride.  :)

But it makes me sad too.  Sally was so much a part of all of our lives.  She deserves to be loved and cherished for so many more years to come. I keep thinking of Buzz and Woody and all the forgotten toys from the Toy Story movies (I bawled my eyes out in the last one, when Andy gives the toys away.  SOBBED!).

Of course, Sally will always have a home here.  I will never, ever give her away.  I will keep it for the day that I maybe have grandchildren of my own.  They can know that Sally was Uncle Sebastian's, and play with her, just like he used to.  Until then, I will keep her safe and warm and loved.

But I don't think I can ever replace that pure, sweet love that he gave her.  I can't ever duplicate that.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new life for an old toy."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Because Nice Matters

I have the title of this post on a decorative board in my front hallway.  You see it as soon as you walk into my house.  I put it there as a reminder to myself and also as a reminder to people coming to visit.

I believe it with my whole heart.

I recently participated in leadership training at work.  It was 6 sessions long, and by the end of the sessions you had to complete your own journey line and TPOV.  What is a TPOV, you might ask?  Good question, because I had absolutely NO idea either when I started.

Basically your TPOV is your Teachable Point Of View.  It is a quick summary of your beliefs and ethics and motivations when it comes to your leadership and work style.  It's an interesting concept.  Every session we would have Senior Executives come in and present their own journey line and TPOV.  That was always the most interesting part of the session for me.  It humanized them so much, it was amazing sometimes.

Anyway, I mention this because one of the points in my TPOV was "Nice Matters".  And what I mean by that is this:  too many people take pride in "telling it like it is" or "having no filter".  They enjoy "sticking to the facts, and not letting emotions get involved".  They think it makes them better leaders.  I call bullshit on this.  Most people use these phrases and attitude to be mean and selfish.  They have given themselves a reason to not be concerned with the thoughts and feelings of others. By being nice in leadership, this means that you can still deliver the message that needs to be said, to manage the issues and the people that are underachieving or overwhelming.  But you can do it nicely.  You can have respect.  You can use empathy.  You can be nice.   People want to continue to work with nice people.  People try to avoid bitches, no matter now good they are at their job.  No one wants the drama.

I do know some people that can be truthful without being mean.  That number however is very small (2 that I can think of right now, off the top of my head.)  One of them, my friend Michelle, can be VERY blunt and will say things to you that everyone else will pussyfoot around.   But somehow, she doesn't ever make me feel bad or like I have been put down.  I think because, in her heart of hearts, she is not being malicious.  She is being truthful.  When she tells you that your interview was bad, or that you aren't suited for a job, or what you just said or did made no sense, she isn't doing it with a bad feeling behind it.  She isn't saying it with a hidden, secret agenda, about making you feel worse and herself feel better.  It isn't said in a mocking tone, she doesn't laugh at you afterwards, and she doesn't share it with everyone else.  She honestly will tell you that because she wants you to improve and become a better person.  And I respect the sh*t out of her for that.  She inspires me to be more honest.  (Thanks doll, for the inspiration! <3)

Anyway, Nice Matters.  I truly believe that it does.  It makes me sad that to many people, the word nice has become synonymous with wishy-washy, spineless, docile.  People think of the whole "nice guys finish last".  Wimps and nerds are nice, but no one wants to date them.  Everyone wants the bad boy.  The one that makes you feel bad, and pushes you aside, but deep down, you know he is really a good guy, if only you could just reach him (I know this is true, the whole "Twilight"/"50 Shade of Grey" disaster is based on this mentality.  It makes me weep for the future of our girls).

Whatever.  Give me the nice boy any day of the week. I have enough scars, don't need any more.

I don't believe that "nice" means that you are wishy washy.  I like to think that I am a nice person.  I am considerate to other people's thoughts and feelings.  I won't argue a point, just for the sake of arguing.  If someone has made a mistake, or said something incorrect, I won't correct them and embarrass them, if it is really no big deal.  If someone likes something that I don't, I will never let them know.  I will certainly never mock them or call whatever it is that they like or are interested in "boring", "stupid" or any other of a number of deroatory terms.

I will talk to them about their interest or whatever it is, because it's important to them, and being right, or different, or having my opinion be the only one out there- that isn't important to me.  I am not so insecure in my self worth or my own point of view that I would have to demolish someone else, to make myself secure, more sure of myself, and happier.  It wouldn't make me happy; it would embarrass me to act that way.  I would rather that person walks away feeling good about themselves and the conversation, than for me to have coldly and blindly dismissed what they were saying, since it was different than what I thought.

Now, don't think that this makes me docile or passive.  When I want something bad enough, I will move mountains to get it.  When I get angry enough, or feel attacked or threatened, I will stand up for myself, my kids, my family, my friends.  You won't like that.  I will not allow others to be bullied.  I will not put up with incompetence, laziness, prejudice.  If you push me hard enough and long enough, I will go toe to toe with you. You won't like that either. The first time people see me angry- really, truly angry- I think they are shocked.  It is definitely not the norm, and it can be a little disconcerting, especially for me.
I will promote myself relentlessly and make sure that my contribution and efforts are recognized for what they are.  Being nice just means that I won't put you down to make myself look better.  I will work on myself, to make sure I stand out, even when you might already be a superstar.

Anyway, I have had some examples lately of people being "not nice" and that is what prompted this blog post.  It weighs on my mind.  It bothers me.

It bothers me because they don't see anything wrong with it.
It bothers me, because they justify it in their own heads.
It bothers me that they are supposed to be adults, grown and responsible, and yet still act like teenagers, with no control over emotions, their mouths or their actions.
It bothers me that they won't take responsibility for what their nonsense does to the people around them.

So, tomorrow, the next day, this week, this month- try and be nice.  Try to think about others.  Try to look at something from someone else's point of view.  Try to zip your lip once in a while and just listen.  Try to bite back the sarcasm, the witty retort, the criticism, the complaint, the swear word, the anger.

Try and be nice.  You might be surprised.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "Nice matters".

I am Fabulous!!

 Thank you Paula!!

A wonderful blogger that I have recently "met" and love to follow, Paula D'Andrea has granted me the  Fabulous Blog Ribbon.  I ran into Paula and her blog during the Ultimate Blog Challenge (which is the reason for all the posts this month- you can thank them or curse them!)  

I am truly honoured to be thought of and granted the gift, so I am gladly taking part.  I am following the rules as they were laid out for me!

Rules for the Fabulous Blog Award:

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.

See above and the post to Facebook- done!

2. Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.

 - Having my kids- everything about that, from finding out I was pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth to them and finally meeting them, and being a part of their lives right up to today.
- Having a good partner in Geoff- the million connections and moments between the beginning and the now.
- Taking my dad fishing last year for his birthday
- The day I spent with my mom- I went to pick up the kids, she gave me tea, and let me nap on the couch, after we talked about knitting and cooking and changing jobs.  It is just indicative of a million similar times I have had with her over the years. :)
- Any travelling- Key West last year with my mother in law and sister in law, PEI with the inlaws, Dominican with the girls, then with Barb and Bill, Denver with Geoff, Calgary and Ann Arbor for work, Mexico, Disney for the honeymoon....any and all travel is simply amazing!
- The first time I sold a photo- a framed 5X7 Respect.  :)  Good day.

3. Name 5 things that you love.

- My family- kids, Geoff, parents, brother, in laws, extended family
- My friends
- clean sheets
- cottages up north
- my dog

4. Name 5 things you hate.

 - inane TV and movies- such a waste of time and money
- mean, self centred people- see above
- tomato juice- just the smell turns my stomach
- warm water/pop/beer- if we were meant to drink these warm, God wouldn't have invented ice and refrigerators
- The R word and the C word- no explanation needed, I hope.  Love the F word though.  Maybe I should have listed that above!

5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

- Katrina Davies Hutchesson- http://katrinaatkatsplace.blogspot.com.au/

Thank you again, to everyone that reads and follows or just visits.  It means so very, very much!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now, I am a weiner...er, I mean winner!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dream a little dream

So, I am posting this without permission from my husband.  I don't *think* he will mind, but you never know.  I just don't feel like waiting and he isn't here right now, so I am going ahead and doing it! :)

I think I have posted before about Geoff and his dream of opening a comic shop.  Well, friends and neighbours, hold onto your hats!  'Cause Sketchbook Comics and Games is a-comin'!!

Geoff and his business partner, Joel have secured a lease on the building, got the financing in order and are ready to finally move ahead with what is, quite literally, years worth of work.

Geoff and Joel started talking about opening a comic shop years ago. They had tossed around the idea of having a virtual shop, but really never took it much farther than picking a name (Sketchbook Comics) and creating a fan page on Facebook (check them out here).  Both of them were working full time at that point, and it was more pie-in-the-sky, maybe-someday kind of thoughts.  On bad days at work, it became more real.  But when the work was ok and the money was flowing in, it stayed right there on the dream shelf.

Then life changed.

Through a series of unfortunate events, some out of his control, some within, Geoff lost his good paying job.  Good bye security.  Good bye benefits and pension and bi-weekly pay cheque.  I was on maternity leave for our daughter at that point.  The day he came home and told me it was coming (as of the end of the week) I emailed my supervisor and told her I was coming back early.  Did I mention we both worked at the same place, for the same client?  So, essentially it was my boss that let him go?  Yeah, fun times.  So, basically his last day was Friday, and I walked back in the office on Monday.

At first, it was fine.  Geoff got to be home with Sawyer, who was only 9 or 10 months old at the time.  It was June, so summer was coming and Geoff got to be home with Sebastian.  I felt ok, because I was making decent money and Geoff had severance.  After the initial shock, we knew we would be ok.

In that time frame, a couple of other things happened.  One, Sebastian was diagnosed, officially, with Autism.  That led to much research and activity on my part.  We started with the naturopath, started eating casein free and gluten free.  We started looking at therapies and other avenues for him.  It was a stressful time, but I was learning lots and was very, very busy.

I also had my initial ideas for Cracked Lens Photography, our horror photography business.  Geoff used the time off work to go back to school casually and start to learn how to take pictures, which was a long time interest of his.  It was an added expense, but I felt it would be worth it in the end and this was a possible solution to Geoff's new unemployment situation.

By September, we had a whole new set of problems.  My client at work was leaving.  This meant my job was eliminated.  Panic started to set in.  I was applying for jobs, trying to find something within the company that would work for me.  The only things they were interview for were managers of people.  There were 9 of us, interviewing for 3 jobs.  Can you spell STRESS!!

I still remember the day I was told I didn't get the job.  As I was told, it wasn't that I wasn't qualified, I was over qualified.  I was told that I wouldn't like the job, that I would find it boring and unsuited to me.  I remember sitting in the room, very aware of my face.  I was keeping my eyes wide so I looked interested in what was being said, and to keep myself from welling up.  I kept my hands and fingers loose in my lap, because I knew if I clenched them, someone would read that sign.  I kept my mouth with a slight upturn at the corners, like a mini smile.  I tried not to clench my jaw.  I made constant eye contact.

The whole time, all I can think is- how dare you?  How dare you tell me I won't like this job?  I KNEW I didn't want the job.  I knew I wouldn't like it.  But I also had 2 kids and a husband at home.  I have a mortgage and bills.  I have doctors to pay, meds to buy.  And if I decide that I want to do a job that is boring and frustrating, then by God you had better give me the opportunity to do it.  YOU have no right to decide that for me.
And while I thought that, I tried to let nothing show in my face, except friendly interest.

Shortly after that conversation, a new position came up.  My old boss told me she told them (whoever "they" are) that I had to get it.  That it wasn't fair to let both me and my husband go.  So they did.  That's the job I have today.  That was in September of 2009.

Fast forward a couple of months, into the new year.  Geoff's severance and then  his EI run out.  He was still taking photography courses, still talking about the shop, but nothing is moving quickly.  In November of 2010, Geoff took a job at a call centre.  Nothing great, but it was money coming in.  I am still plugging away, doing what I do.

Then April 2011 comes.  Geoff's dad dies.  Everyone's world turned upside down.  Geoff admits now that this was really the catalyst in getting the comic shop going.  He looked at his dad, who was still young and vibrant, and realized that no one has guaranteed time.  No one knows what's coming.  And he decided that he wanted to do something different with his life.  He wanted to work for himself, doing something he loves.  He wanted to open his comic shop.

2011 was a sad year, and things moved slowly.  Geoff, while feeling a lot of the above sentiments in the back of his mind and heart, didn't express much of it.  It came out in different ways.  His interest in work waned.  He was there as little as possible.  And in August 2011, he quit.  He asked me what I thought, I told him it was a job and not a career and to do what he needed to do.  He was feeling the physical effects of the stress and there were other health concerns.  So, he walked away.

I kept on, keeping on.

Geoff and Joel started talking in earnest at this point about the shop.  They worked on a business plan, finances and looking for space in Niagara Falls.  Unfortunately, they kept hitting barriers.  Either the space would get rented out from under them, the finances wouldn't be quite right, or a million other things would come up.  Over Christmas, they decided to take a break and step back for a bit.  I think they were both thinking that if it was this difficult, maybe it wasn't going to happen.  Maybe it wasn't meant to be.

The break lasted months and into 2012.  I continued to work, grabbing as much overtime as I possible could, to keep us afloat until we knew what was happening.  The plan the whole time was that Geoff, without a current job, would be the full time employee of the store and Joel would help on evening and weekends and keep his current job (Joel and I work at the same place, too.)  But until that happened, there was me, and that was it.

Finally, in April of 2012, the boys reconvened and got to work.  The plan had changed slightly.  They were now going to put the store in St. Catharines, which is larger than NF, and has only one comic store, to the 3 in Niagara.  They found a great space.  They figured out a way to get the financing and make it work.  So, for months, they have been working away, chipping away at the roadblocks.  And now, it looks like we are good to go.

So, in the very near future, come and check them out.  They promise you a good experience.  They are fans, first and foremost.  They know what's good- for you, for kids, for women, for anyone.  They can talk to you about DC, Marvel, Top Cow, Image and a million others.  It will be clean and organized and easy to navigate.

It will be a labour of love and it will be amazing!  Congrats guys!!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new comic shop coming!!"