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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Run for your life

This past weekend, I completed the Toronto version for Run for Your Lives.  This is a 5K, obstacle course, cross country run, complete with live (dead) zombies.  I was both a zombie and a runner.  It was amazing.

A couple of months ago, I blogged about it, and how excited I was.  And I was!  I started running, doing the Couch to 5K program.  I lasted 3 weeks, and then stopped.  I was still excited, but other things, like real life got in the way.

So, this weekend kind of snuck up on me.  All of a sudden, it was here and I was completely totally unprepared.  I hadn't been running, or even working out consistently.  I am still down about 65-70 lbs (depending on the day and what I had for dinner the night before), so I was feeling ok.  I knew it was going to be a struggle.

We had registered as team "Ground Bait"- me and Geoff, our friends Barb and Bill, my SIL Holly, her boyfriend Eric, my nephew Gage, his friend Derek and Holly's friend Shannon.  Nine of us altogether.  More than enough moral support to drag my fat ass around the course and hopefully make it out with a little dignity attached.
all of us ghouls
Geoff and I both had to work on Friday, but we planned to head up and camp overnight. My mom and dad took the kids for the weekend, so as soon as he finished work and we packed the car, we were off.  Since we were registered as zombies for the 8am shift, and all the paperwork tells you to be there at least 2 hours before the event, and it was located on the far side of Barrie (a good 2 hour drive from Niagara)- all of this made me want to be there the night before.  I didn't relish the idea of being up at 3am, just to drive and spend my day zombfied and running.  I wanted a little bit of sleep, and maybe some fun too.

Geoff and I finally got on the road about 6pm.  We made pretty decent time, and pulled into the camp ground that Bill had found at about 10 after 8.  It was full dark out, and this camp ground was creepy as shit.  Very dark, under populated.  Barb and Bill had reserved 2 spots side by side- one for Holly and the gang and one for us four (we stayed in B&B's gigantic tent, complete with huge, thick queen sized air mattresses!  Thanks guys!!).  Geoff and I were driving the roads of the camp ground, flash-light out the window, trying to find them.  We did eventually see the site (B&B had headed into Barrie for dinner, so there was no fire or lights to help guide us.)  Getting out of the car, into the black, black night- the bush right up to the edge of the tent...cold, wet...
Let's just say it started the weekend off on the right note.  

Geoff and I unpacked and got a fire going.  B&B joined us shortly after, and Holly and the gang rolled in eventually.  We had some beers, chatted a bit, and when it started to get really cold, we packed it in.  It was about 12:30, and we had to be up in about 5 hours.

I slept pretty well.  We had brought lots of sleeping bags, so Geoff and I were toasty warm.  But knowing that I have to wake up at a certain time always makes my sleep lighter, and I wake up often, afraid I am sleeping in.  When the alarm did go off at 530, I begged for 15 more minutes.  Finally, at 545, we all dragged our cold, tired asses out of bed, and got ready.

A short trek down the road and we arrived at the event.  There were a few anxious moments for us.  We had realized the night before that Geoff and I hadn't been receiving any of the update emails, nor had we received the promised parking pass.  I was getting a bit anxious that there was going to be a problem with my registration, but I tried really hard to keep a positive state of mind.  We got parked with no problem, organized the troops and headed up to register.  It was still dark and bitter cold.  It had rained all through the night and there was still a misty drizzle happening, just enough to chill you to the bone.  We all got registered and made sure that we were stationed together for our zombie shift.  We got our flag belts for the race too.  There were no problems with the registration, so I guess my positive thinking helped!!  
 It was a little surreal, standing on the hilltop, waiting to get signed in.  We could see the big field, laid out in front of us, where we assumed much of the race would take place.  We could see the big slide into the mud pit.  We all agreed that only crazy people would do that (more on that later!)  I had started shivering as soon as I stepped out of the car, and hadn't stopped yet (it only got worse!)  But I was excited and anxious to start.  It was something new and unknown.  I was with friends and family, and all was right with my mixed up, topsy turvy world.

After registering, we head over to the transformation tent.  Here, they make you look like a zombie.  We had all worn clothes that we were comfortable with getting dirty.  Barb actually came in costume- as the pylon headed zombie from Plants vs Zombies.  Even while people were racing, they would stop to admire and take pictures with her.  It was pretty awesome.

They ran the make up like an assembly line.  I got lucky, when we were registering, the man behind the desk put a "P" on my hand.  When I asked what it was for, he said it was so I could get a face prosthetic.  Geoff was out of the running because of his facial hair.  Barb and Bill got the P as well.  When Holly heard about it, and realized that she had NOT gotten a P, she promptly found someone with a sharpie and gave herself her own P.  :)  

We made our way through wardrobe.  They offer you Value Village clothes, precut and shredded.  Holly got a terry cloth tube dress.  I got a Paris t-shirt. Geoff got a white work shirt. If you wanted, they would shred your clothes for you, which Barb and Bill opted for.  Then you go for make up.
Step 1-3- prosthetic on, base on, contour air brushing done
I wish I could have this all the time, it makes my face look very thin.
I love my zombie cheek bones.
Step 5- they add the ooze and the blood
While I waited in line for my prosthetic piece, Geoff, Eric and the boys all got air brushed, paint flicked, blooded and mudded. They all looked amazing.  Slowly, we made our way through too, although it was getting tight for time.  They kept shouting out 15, 10 and 5 minute warnings, while we were at the mercy of men and women who took their time in making us all look amazing and undead.  In the end, they didn't leave without us, and we looked great.  It was worth the wait. 
End Result- Raging Zombie
Once you come out of make up, you go for "Mud and Blood".  They have sprayers, like exterminators use, full of mud.  You stand in front and two of them pump it and spray mud everywhere.  Then you move in front of a tarp, and a gory looking apparition, with blood on her arms up to her armpits, flings handfuls of red dyed KY Jelly, freezing cold and wet, all of you, front and back.  It is sticky and cold and very uncomfortable.  But it really completes the look.
being mudded and bludded

By now, we have been here for almost 2 hours.  I was shivering so hard, my teeth rattled.  The rain had finally stopped and the sun was actually coming out.  My fears that we would spend the day drenched and frozen were disapating with the clouds.  It was going to be a good day.

Next, one of the race organizers gave us a run down on the race and the expectations they had of the zombies.  SPOILER ALERT!!  To help people have a chance at surviving, we were instructed that we should only pull one of the runners 3 flags, depending on the section you were in.  If you were in section 1-5 (we were in 3), you could pull one flag, leaving the runners with 2 more life.  From sections 6-10, you could pull the 2nd flag.  Section 11-15, it was all game, pull them all, kill them dead.
We took that rule to heart.  Many didn't, and the runners suffered for it.  Too bad. :(

After that, they gave us water and a snack and led us out to our section.  We were in a section that we lovingly called the Gauntlet (we found out later that several other sections of the race were called the Gauntlet as well.)  It was a narrow path, couple of hundred feet long.  We had at least 15 zombies,  including 2 chaser zombies on that path.  It was treacherous, full of rocks, roots, twigs and barbed wire (seriously!)

We made ourselves comfortable and we worked that section for all it was worth.  I took my stumbler zombie role to heart- I rarely moved fast, but relied on my moans and swinging arms to intimidate runners.  I did, over the  course of 3 hours, snatch about 6-7 flags, but mostly, I concentrated on being a roadblock, a surprise to them when they looked up from the ground.  

Some of the runners took it too seriously.  They were dicks, punching, slapping, chopping arms.  Geoff, Holly and Barb all ended up bleeding at one point or another.  Holly got punched in the face by a flailing girl. We all had jammed fingers, pulled shoulders.  I had people ripping at my clothes and pushing me back.  It got very physical at times.

But the best were the ones that were into it.  The screamers.  The panickers.  The jumpers...oh how I loved the jumpers.  My very favourite was one man, fairly tall.  He was tall enough that when he jumped between Barb and I, his legs were as high as my head.  And as he jumped and dodged between us, he made ray gun noises.  You know "phew, phew, phew"- like a space ray gun.  I heard it and it made me break character and laugh right out loud.  I couldn't help it.  

We started noticing that some people were coming through our section (# 3 of 15, remember) with 0 flags.  ZERO!!  They were supposed to have only one flag taken between 1 and 5, and some of them were already dead.  Holly had the good idea to start giving flags back to runners that were unfairly dead.  So we did.  If they were decent, and not jerks about it, we handed them back a flag or two, just to keep them in the game. Many of them thought it was a trick, but most were very grateful and I hope it helped them stay motivated.  Maybe one of the flag we handed back helped someone finish the race alive.  I dunno, but I hope so.  

We were relieved from our section at about 12 o'clock.  We gathered up all our kills (aka flags) and made our way back to the "safe zone".  When you finished your shift, you checked in. They then gave you your swag- a zombie horde t-shirt, a medal, and a free beer ticket.  Then you got to try and take the make up off.  That was harder than I thought it would be.  I still have a red mark on my face, from where I pulled the prosthetic off, before it was ready.

We headed back to the vans and changed into our running clothes.  We were scheduled to run the 2pm wave.  We were all starving, so we bought some ridiculously overpriced food, and drinks and chilled out for a bit.  I was already very nervous about running.  I knew I wasn't in shape for a 5K, I had seen some of the people coming through all morning- the serious runners, the middle of the pack-ers, and the stragglers at the end.  I figured the last would be me.  I really just didn't want to embarrass myself, or my group.  I wanted to do my best to keep up and help everyone have fun.  

But as we sat and watched these people finish the race, I started to get more anxious.  Many of them were covered in mud, head to toe.  Some were limping and bleeding (real blood, not the shit I was covered with). The good news was, almost 100% of them were smiling, laughing.  I was still nervous, but getting anxious to get started.

We got ready to go, and joined the queue about 1:45.  I was still really cold, and I was having a lot of pain in my back and my hips.  I knew that my muscles weren't warm enough to do this.  I hadn't really stretched them, and I had allowed too much time to elapse since my zombie time in the morning.  I was cold and my muscles were super tight.  I was worried about hurting myself.  I promised myself that I would take it easy.  

When you queued up, you enter into one of 3 tunnels.  The tunnels are labelled "appetizer", "entrĂ©e" and "dessert".  Since we knew we would be slow, we picked dessert.  We were the end of the line, baby.  When we were finally able to go, I jogged out of the tunnel.  We ran past the transformation centre for the zombies.  They were awesome, leaning over the gates, reaching and lunging for us.  Not even on their shifts yet, but still working it.  Good job guys.

I was settling in for a bit of a run.  I was trying to work out my breathing and watching the ground at the same time.  The ground is super uneven, with lots of big rocks and grooves.  Then I caught up to Holly, Eric and Geoff.  They were walking already, and I joined in.  We decided to conserve our energy, until we needed it.  Barb and Bill caught up with us, and we worked our way into the course.

I won't give you a play by play of the entire thing, that would take way too long and would be hard to describe anyway.  But some of the obstacles that we encountered were:
- mud pits.  You could go through them, with mud up to your calves or knees, depending on how tall you are.  Or you could try and climb around them, hanging from the giant water kegs propped on the side.  Or you could do what Geoff did, and simply walk around the outside of everything.  That wasn't very fun though.  I climbed on the kegs.
- jumping walls.  Ok, Ok, I walked around these.  I didn't trust myself to get my butt over them.  
- a maze, filled with smoke, zombies and other screaming panicked runners.  I made it though without incident, oddly enough.  Not one wrong turn.  Weird.
- electric house.  A plywood house, with smoke billowing out of it.  You climb in through a "window".  There were what I thought were ropes dangling down.  Yeah, they weren't ropes.  They were electric cords.  I got shocked.  There were zombies in there too, by the way.
- Dead end.  Eric had been forewarned by two guys about it, so we knew not to go.  Lucky us.
- Barbed Wire crawl.  Yep, on your belly, in the mud, under barbed wire.  One girl ahead of us got her hair caught.  I wanted to just leave her there as bait, but 2 guys helped her out.  Whatever.  They would all 3 be dead if this were the real deal.
- another tunnel crawl.  This one was long, partially covered and extremely muddy.  
- Electric Fence.  Again, on your belly, under an electrified fence.  I got shocked at least 4 times.  My shirt was soaking wet, so it just conducted the electricity wonderfully.

the slide
The biggest obstacle we hit was the Mud and Blood slide.  It was a huge water slide, with hoses and jets of water spraying you as you go down into a giant mud pit at the bottom.  You then have to haul your ass out of the water/mud, into ankle deep mud outside of it.  Then you have a straight shot up the hill toward the last 2 obstacles and the finish line.  Oh yeah, that straight shot is full of zombies. 

All though the race, we knew about this slide.  We knew it was coming.  I hadn't decided if I was going to do it.  So far, the only obstacle I hadn't done was the walls, and that was no big deal.  I had wimped out a couple of times, when we were running through the zombies and had lost flags because of it.  It pissed me off.  I was angry at myself for not sucking it up and making shit happen.  But still- I didn't know if I was willing to be dunked in horrible muddy water, to be so cold and dirty.....I couldn't make up my mind.

We were all at the final water stop.  We could see the slide through the field.  We had a big gauntlet of zombies coming up, we could see and hear them down the path.  Geoff asked Bill if he was going down the slide.  I believe his answer, fast and sure was "Hell no!".  Bill got to hold our keys.  Barb too confirmed there was no way she was doing it.  Holly and Eric were a little less sure, but leaning towards no.  Geoff and I- undecided.  

We made our way though the last leg of the journey.   I lost my last flag (and essentially died) to a fast, sneaky little Asian zombie, that snuck up from behind, after I had already passed her.  We finally cleared the woods, slowed to a walk and made our way towards the slide.  

Geoff and I were in front.  Holly and Eric were a couple of hundred feet back, and Barb and Bill a little further back still.  I asked Geoff what he was thinking.  

He said "I think I am going to do it."

To be honest, I was shocked.  Geoff doesn't like water.  Not at all.  He's not a swimmer, doesn't go under the water.  He also is always cold and isn't normally a huge risk-taker.  So for him to say that he wanted to do this last, huge obstacle was really surprising to me.  But, it made up my mind for me.

My response was "Then I'm in too."

We grinned at each other and picked up our pace. The climb up was just an open spaced wooden trellis.  Geoff also doesn't like heights, but he said it didn't bother him until we were almost at the top.  By then, it was too late.  I climbed up as sure and as strong as I could.  I had made up my mind, and I wasn't going back now.  I waved to Holly and Eric and Barb and Bill, so that they knew for sure that we were up there.  I knew they wouldn't want to miss this.

Geoff and I noticed then that they had the huge jets of water.  We saw the mud everywhere, and the people struggling to climb out.  We didn't know that people had dislocated ankles earlier in the day, just jumping out of the pit.  It probably wouldn't have mattered, even if we had known.  

We sat down.  We grinned again.  

"Ready?"  I asked.
"Count of 3?"
"Yep.  1..."
Together now. "3."

And down we went.  

I remember hitting the water.  I remember my feet not finding purchase on the bottom and going right under.  Water and mud in my mouth and nose.  I remember popping to the surface, screaming obscenities.  I remember the cold like a vice around my chest.  I remember Holly and Eric laughing at the side of the tank.  

I remember being so fucking glad I did it.

Geoff hopped out over the side, instead of the end.  The end was blocked by two girls who were frozen, staring at me.  I think it was the black cloud of obscenities that were streaming constantly out of my mouth, at the top of my lungs, that had stopped their forward momentum.  I snuck past them, and slung my way out.  

We finished the race shortly after.  Geoff got shadowed by a jerk trying to save his last flag.  Geoff ended up getting chased down by a chaser zombie, and one of his flags was forfeit.  But he finished with one flag, meaning he was alive.  Holly survived too.  The rest of us were dead.

The rain started just as we were finishing.  It felt like hail.  Geoff and I stripped down in the parking lot and changed for the 3rd time.  Never has dry underwear and socks felt so good to me.  We decided against staying at the park, and made our way back to the camp site.  Barb and I showered, mainly to warm up, and for me to get the mud out of my hair.  Holly, Eric and the boys packed it in, and headed home.  Their tent has leaked the night before, so everything was wet, and they just wanted to get warm and have a good nights sleep.

B&B and Geoff and I decided to stick it out one more night.  I busted out this heater I had gotten from one of my parent's friends.  It is designed for use inside tents.  We tried it out, and sure as shit, it got the tent nice and warm.  Unfortunately, the propane wore off around 230am.  We were all too tired to change out the tank so we woke up to a cold tent in the morning.  Next time I won't be so lazy.

We went for a nice dinner, had some drinks and eats and rehashed the day.  We did make an emergency stop at Shopper's Drug Mart for Ibuprofen, for our aching muscles.  Then back to the camp site for a fire and more chat.  When it started to rain, none of us complained.  We packed it in, and went straight to sleep.  At least I did...I dunno about the rest of them. :)

Geoff and I headed home early this morning.  Geoff had to work, so the kids and I hung out.  I was planning on doing some OT, but honestly, all I wanted to do was rest.  Sawyer and I had snacks and laid in bed, snugly and warm.  We watched cartoons, and when she went for her bath, Sebastian tagged in.  He and I chilled out for a bit.  Now they are asleep, and I will join them soon enough.

This was amazing weekend.  On so many levels.  It was great to do something so different and fun, and with a really good group of people.  Pretty much everyone put their big girl/boy pants on and sucked up the hard stuff.  Sure, we were cold and tired and dirty.  We also had a blast.  It was a once in a lifetime (but you hope for a second chance) kind of thing.

But also, I learned some stuff about myself.  I always try to, every day, but circumstances like this really help, by putting it out there for everyone to see.  I finished the race.  Nope, I didn't run the whole thing, I actually probably didn't even run a third of it, but I did it.  Six months and 60 lbs ago, I probably wouldn't have done that.  I did that fucking mud slide.  I did it.  

me and Geoff at the end of it all
It was a great weekend.  I highly recommend it.  I will see you there next year. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next year, bitches."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sawyer's Great Adventure

Today was the first real school day for Sawyer.  She rode the bus to and from school, and since her school has converted to full day kindergarten, she put in a full "workday" including taking her lunch to school.

I have mixed feelings about this.  I don't know whether I should be celebrating or not.

First, I am so proud of her.  She got on that bus this morning like a trouper.  I could see the nervousness in her.  But she put her game face on.  I want to think she gets this toughness from me.  It's never something we have talked about- I don't ever tell her to "suck it up", or anything like that.  But I like to think my little shadow sees when momma pulls up her britches and keeps on keepin' on.  And she has decided it is something she wants to do to.  So, she got on that bus, unsure and a little scared.  She tried to sit with her friends, but you can't get 3 to a seat.  Our neighbour boy helped her get into a seat of her own across from them.  She sat there by herself, and waved out the window to us.  And then the bus moved.  And I saw her face change.  I saw it, and it broke my heart.  I knew she wouldn't cry, she's too tough for that.  She wouldn't let strangers see her break like that.  I know that is a weird thing to say about a 4 year old that regularly throws tantrums and fake cries to get her way.  But it's true- when it's real, when it's fear- she doesn't break.  And that's what I mean, when I say, I think she gets it from me.

She made it through the day, and came home on the bus, dirty faced, sweaty haired and happy as a clam.  She was starving and scarfed her way through grapes and pretzels, all the while telling my mom and I about the kids in her class, the ones whose names she can't "amember".  So, she had a great day.  And I am so very proud.  So proud I could burst.

And I gotta say- it was a *little* nice today.  The peace and quiet, that is.

But I missed her.

But then there is the other side.  There are about 30 kids in her kindergarten class. 30.  30!!!  That's ridiculous.  How do you teach 30 kids?  How to you wrangle 30 kids and get them all learning and engaged and making sure that everyone's needs are met.  How do you do that with a 15 to 1 ratio of teacher to student?

The answer is, you don't.  I know that.  I know that parents have been complaining for years about the growing class sizes and teachers don't like that they have to work with such large groups.  There is nothing about this situation that is conducive to learning.  I told Sawyer today to prepare for Sylvan Learning.  We will get her working and learning if it kills us.  We can't rely on the school board, 'cause really, they don't care.

And I hate that this is even a factor in my life at all right now.  My daughter is 4.  Only 4 years old.  Why am I putting her through this?  Because the government is telling me to?  I don't know if I am making the right choice.

I watched her last night.  My mother-in-law was coming over to help me (i.e. do for me) recover the cushions on my wicker furniture on the front porch.  I made dinner for the kids and then Sawyer played outside for a bit before she came over.  I sat on the porch and knitted, watching her play with the same neighbour boy I mentioned earlier.  And while I watched, I was thinking about her freedom.  How this was the last night of her life where she really wouldn't know about timetables and schedules.  Where she wouldn't be ruled by the clock, have responsibilities and expectations.  Was it the last, real, for true night of her childhood?  In my heart of hearts, I was really worried that it was.

I though it again as I put her little self on that bus this morning.  And again when I picked her up.  I have a feeling I will keep thinking it for a while.

Maybe I am just trying to keep her little.  I don't want her to grow up.  There is a 99.95% chance that she is my last baby (I don't want to say 100%, so don't make me).  She is so much fun.  She drives me bonkers. I don't want a single thing to change. And yet it is.  And so very quickly too.  Maybe I am just torturing myself, trying to find ways to delay this inevitable growing up.  I don't know.

Anyway, I was happy about Sawyer's good day.  I am happy she was happy.  No tears, no sadness- at least not from her (Momma was a different story, but she doesn't know that.)  And we will do this all again on Monday.  And Tuesday.  And the next week, the next month, the next year.

Forever and ever.  Amen.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not enough time.  Not ever enough."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Need a change

I have had a rough couple of days at work.  For a number of reasons, really.

First, I had a few days off in August.  And I was super productive and engaged in my home life during those days.  And they made me realize (or just reminded me) of what is really important.  My home, my family, my friends, my own peace of mind.  They were good days, happy days, and I want more of them.  It makes me wonder why I can't have them, and why the expectation in our modern society, is that your happy, fulfilled, contented days will be few and far between, limited only to the selected days off and vacation days that you might be allotted.  Why can't I live my life that way?  What's wrong with wanting, hoping and expecting that? Why does it feel selfish and self-indulgent to feel that way?  Anyway, these days off made going back to work that much harder.

Second, I have restarted with the laws of attraction/Secret purpose.  I am doing the work, reading the books and trying to make good things happen.  And they are!  Some of them are simply amazing.  But my big stumbling block is work.  I find it sooooo hard to be positive there.  There is alot of negativity in my team and all around me, it is very difficult not to be sucked in.  I struggle very much with that.  The good news is that one of my co-workers might be jumping on the Secret bandwagon, so having someone else support me in this would be very beneficial.  I have my fingers crossed.  One of my daily mantras and visualizations is " I do what I love.  My days are filled with  my heart's passion."  To be honest, I don't really know for sure what that is, but I know what I am doing ain't it.

Thirdly, I have been doing crafts and things at home.  I am trying to raise some extra money to help pay Sebastian's tuition for school.  It might seem tacky or weird, but the simple fact is, I need help.  I can keep us living on my salary- pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the roof over our heads.  But the extra hit of the tuition, it's gonna be so hard.  So, every little bit extra helps.  I won't take him out of the school, and if that means I sell my cars and my home to do it, I will.  I will do whatever it takes to get him what he needs.  I am starting small, doing wreaths, small crafts, a garage sale.  I am trying to be positive and draw abundance to me.  It's doing pretty well, and I am encouraged.  Everyone is being super supportive.  It has been fun to be creative.  So again, this makes the monotony and ridiculousness of my regular job that much harder to swallow.  You would think it would be the opposite (at least I thought so)- that with other distractions in my life, the day to day would be easier to bear and get through.  But it's not.  It's harder.  It feels like it sucks the life and light of of me.  I build it up, only to lose it again.

Fourth, the job sucks.  It really, really does.  At this point, about the only thing I like about it is the paycheque and the immediate people I work with.  It is frustrating in every aspect.  I feel as though I am treading water.  I am getting to a point that I had been successful in staving off for a while, but the dread I feel in my stomach when I walk through the doors is unmistakeable.

I need a change.

I am not making an huge announcements here.  I haven't quit, nor will I quit until I have a solid back up plan. I am first and foremost a responsible parent and adult.  I would never, EVER leave a job and impact my family negatively, just to make myself feel better.  However, I do recognize that as long as I am unhappy, I am not the person I should be and was meant to be, especially for my family, the people I most want to protect and cherish.

I am realizing, year by year, that life is short.  Very short.  I am where I am today, because of the choices I have made.  I understand that.  I really do.  So now, I want to make the choices to change it.  I started with my weight loss (and that journey continues!)  My next mountain is this job.  I guess it's time to start climbing.

Sorry if this was whiny.  It was on my mind today.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next step".

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Makin' it

So, like I posted yesterday, I have been working on the house and making some changes.  I have been doing some crafts and fun stuff.  I figured today, I could cover some of that stuff.

So, starting with the house: Obviously, we have been working on the back yard.  I have put some before and afters just below. Sorry, for the before shots, all I had was pictures from the White Trash Party last year.

coming through the gate

by the tree, facing the fence
During, by the tree, facing the fence
During, the walkway

During, by the house
After, by the house

After, the walkway

After, facing the fence

After, the side porch
These pictures really don't do it credit.  I wish I had taken the exact same pictures from the exact same spots.  That would have demonstrated the drastic changes.

Here are some pics of the fairy and pirate gardens.

The teacup waterfall

There are smurfs in the garden

look for fairy doors.

Papa made the covered bridge.  Fairies come and go.

coming down the river.

The pirate cove.  Yes, a giant squid has the raft.  Papa built the wooden boat.

shipwreck and pirates and buried treasure on the beach.
Look close, you can see the octopus in the water.

through the foliage, you can see the lighthouse.
So, I have made some other changes.

I painted my front door black.
This is my new litmus test, to see if we can be friends.
 If you know what this means, and why it should be on my door, you are welcome in my home.
If you don't, then you must be cool in other ways.  So, you are still welcome. :)
I did another craft for the front porch.  I had 2 rusty, brown wrought iron hanger for flowers.  However, I very rarely put flowers in them.  So, I found 2 fish-bowls at the dollar store, got some tea lights and some stones and some paint, and made them better (at least in my opinion.)  The light-switch my sister-in-law gave me inspired me.

I have a plant stand, that I want to fill with other various glass containers, with other spells, potions, etc painted on them.  That might be the work of the winter.  :)

These next pictures don't do justice to the front of the house either, but they are all I have.
In this one, I had already cut off the wild clematis.  But you can see the unruly garden and the rusty twisty  plant things from the previous pictures.  Maybe you can tell that the wicker furniture needs painting too.

Note the gardens, the trim around the door and the windows.  The bunny by the door is pretty blah too.
Gardens, cleaned up and beautiful.  Trim around the windows and door, painted in black and white.  Bunn cleaned up, with a new painted black hat and flowers.  Wicker furniture painted.
I am recovering the cushions on the furniture to black and white this week.

painted the garage door black.  Painted the space above the garage, with the black diamonds and new numbers.  The ferns and the milk cans (formerly green, now black) are a change too.
I also helped my mother in law around her house.  She is planning on adopting a rescued racing greyhound and needs to have a fully fenced yard.  She needed a gate and a small fence put up, to finish it off.  My friend Carrie, who is an amazing do-it-yourself-er, led the party and Kathy and I followed her lead.  In one day, we got'r done.
The work crew.

Finished product.

I have done some crafts for other people.

This is for me.  It's a shadow box that holds all the ticket stubs from the plays, shows, sporting events, concerts, etc that we go to.  Keeps them in one spot and when you open it, you have a million memories to go through.
Has an awesome quote from John Lennon in it.  

Started making and selling crayon wreaths to raise money to send Sebastian to school.
These are for a little girls room, back to school and fall theme.

For a baby boy.
I am starting to get requests for specially themed wreaths.  This was my first Halloween.
I have 3 more requests for Halloween now, 2 for Christmas and several others.
That's awesome. :)

Plaques for Geoff and Joel, to hang over their desks at the store.  I used the font that is going to be their signature.
Purple and green are the colours of the store (super villain colours.)
So, as you can see, I have kept myself busy.  It's been fun.  I have more projects started- working on the side porch, painting the adirondack chairs (thinking of making them look like a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader).  I am still working on the crayon wreaths, and will until people stop buying them.  Then I will move onto other crafts and other ideas.  I am going to recover my wicker furniture cushions this week, with the help of my mother in law. I am feeling inspired and I have plans, plans, plans.

So, now you know, if I am not blogging, I am still doin' sumpin.  :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new stuff, all over".

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Hey folks, I'm back.

So, for those of you that noticed, I did not post a single blog in the month of August.  That was on purpose (instead of due to laziness, as is usually the case).

I participated in the 31 day blog challenge in July and posted 31 write-ups in 31 days.  While I enjoyed it, it was exhausting.

So, for August, I put myself on a technology diet.  No  blogging, minimal Facebooking, minimal surfing.  No more than an hour, every other day.  At first, it was easy...I was worn out and kinda sick of the computer.  By mid month, I was starting to jones a bit, but got over it.  By the end of the month, it was habit.

So, what did I learn?  I learned that there is life without Facebook, and that life is pretty fricking sweet.  There is so much drama and self absorption on Facebook.  I find myself drawn into people's idiocy and wanting to fight with them about stupid comments, their un-ending depression or their false eternal and never ending optimism (no one's life is that happy all the time.  No one's.)  It is absolutely ridiculous to say, but my stress level went way, waaaay down without Facebook.  What does that say about me?  Nothing good, I think.

So, with the month over, I have decided to blog again.  Don't get me wrong, I love blogging and I like blogging often.  I spent much of the month thinking of things to write and topics to cover (most of them are already forgotten, but whatevs).  But I think I don't like having the pressure of a deadline over me.  I have enough of that at work, I don't need it here too.

Facebook has become something of a necessary evil in my life.  It is kinda unavoidable right now.  I sell stuff on there, and it is often a major form of communication between family and friends of mine.  So for now, I stay with Facebook, but in a very reduced capacity.

So, you might ask, if I wasn't blogging and Facebooking, what the hell was I doing?  Let me tell you:
- Went to the Kitchener Blues Festival
- Celebrated Geoff's 40th birthday
- Discovered a new restaurant- Memphis Fire BBQ Company in Winona.  AAAAAWESOME!
- Had the White Trash Party for Geoff's 40th.
- Finished the backyard patio (well, Adam did and I tried to help.)
- Painted.  Lots (the garage door, the front door, the window trim, the door trim, the wicker furniture, the railing, the plant stand, the space above the garage door, the Adirondack chairs, etc, etc.)
- Cut the trellis off my side porch and opened it up.
- Started draining the pool.
- Harvested (and keep harvesting) tomatoes and zucchini from my garden.
- Got Sawyer riding a big girl bike (training wheels still on, but still great).
- Hung a window frame as my headboard.  Looks awesome.
- Did some crafts for my SILs (one of them has it, the other doesn't, so I can't get into specifics)
- Did a craft for Sawyer's birthday ( I made her Rapunzel hair and I did a birthday questionaire. I plan on repeating it every year).
- Did a craft for Geoff for the store (I painted plaques in their store colours- purple and green- and used their  signature font to put their names on it. I figure they can hang them or stand them on their desks.  Sawyer helped me with the base painting.  Don't know if they like them, but I thought they turned out cool).
- Did crafts for me (made 2 Harry Potter themed candle holders for the front porch and tweaked my front door a tiny bit.)
- Took the kids to Zooz
- Started knitting.
- Went to see Bruce Springsteen.  Amazing.
- Got tickets for the next Bruce Springsteen show.
- Celebrated Sawyer's 4th birthday.
- Took Sawyer and her friend for a Princess makeover and out to lunch.
- Built a fence and gate for my MIL.  It looks great, if I do say so myself.
- Jumped back on the diet bandwagon.  Down to my lowest weight in 20 years. 1.5 lbs away from 70lbs lost.
- Started planning for next year's Supernatural convention with Dawn.
- Got Sebastian registered for his new school.
- Tried to figure out how I was going to pay for Sebastian's new school.
- Figured out a couple of ways to pay for Sebastian's new school.  One of them is to fund raise, and all of our friends are helping.  Love you guys.
- Started making crayon wreaths to help pay for Sebastian's new school.
- Kept the home fires burning while Geoff is getting ready to open his new comic book store.  We are essentially ships passing in the night (well, actually passing around 8am and 5pm.)
- Getting the house functioning and working in a way that I like.  Laundry caught up and dishes done every day.  Can you say "well oiled machine?"

I am sure there is a whole lot more that I am not remembering right now.  But what I basically found was that I was super busy and really productive when the lure of the computer just wasn't there.  I liked it.  I really really did.  So, I am compromising a bit, but sticking with what works.

I am back.  I missed you.

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