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

Friday, July 12, 2013


It's 10pm.  The house is silent.

But it really isn't. 

The dog is asleep on the floor.  I can hear him whimper in his sleep, his feet pedalling as he runs after something in his dreams.  He yelps occasionally, and even wakes himself up.  Not for long, and he settles back with a heavy, contented, dog-happy sigh.

It's Friday night. There are fireworks at the Falls.  I can hear the bangs, but can't see the show.  It is a comforting sound, a sound of summer I have gotten used to, and helps me remember the days of the weeks, even when I forget.

The fan overhead is making an almost imperceptible hum.  Constant, rhythmic.  I wonder how this sounds to Sebastian, with his constant bombardment of stimuli, that his autism won't let him keep out.  Maybe this is why he hums.  I don't notice it, until I do. And then I can't NOT notice it.

The highway is close.  I can hear a motorcycle rev its way along.  Cars drone and drone and drone.  It is the heart beat to a city, and it never ends.

Birds outside the window chirp occasionally, even in the dark.

A mosquito hums.

The curtain flaps slightly, and sighs with the breezes that lift it. 

These sounds are so different from what I hear all day.  I hear Sawyer's voice, non-stop, asking and yelling and talking and playing.  I hear the TV downstairs, repeating and repeating and repeating, as it soothes Sebastian's need to control the world around him.  I hear him hum and skip as he travels for more juice, more snack, for pictures, for Kleenex.  I hear the crash as the cats once again tumble into something or someplace they don't belong.  The feline grace inherent to all cats seems to have not blessed these two yet.  Maybe when they are older.

I hear children playing in other yards, radios playing in other cars, other lawns being cut by other people with their own lawnmowers. I hear everything. 

Right now, I am enjoying my silence, which isn't really quiet.  My full, round, complex silence.  It is a summer silence.  Winter silence is different; it is stark and beautiful.  Summer silence is humid, and thrumming, on the verge of bursting. 

My silence has stopped.  Little feet pad to the bathroom.  Lights are flicked on, and a questioning face appears in my doorway.  My silence is going to be filled with little girl sighs, and soft snores.  Flip-flopping limbs and sweaty brows. 

Good night, silence.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Excuse me, Miss. There's a bunny in your oregano.

For reals.

Actually, there are 3.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "newborn bunnies".

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pool Drama

I love water.  My kids love water.  Geoff tolerates water.  Last year we got a pool when the kids finished school (and they were on sale at Walmart).  We set it up in the beginning of July and had a nice summer of swimming.  But where we had put it, it wasn't optimal placement. We weren't too worried about it, since we were working on other parts of the yard.

This year, however, we are working on that part of the yard.  We are building a beach area, with the firepit, we have ripped out the old garden and put new boxes.  We moved the trampoline and the kids' playset.  Adam redid the river, and we have planted some new plants.

We picked a new spot for the pool.  Adam helped out and laid some peat moss in a nice circle.  I spent one night with Sawyer put it up, and the next night cleaning out the accumulated gunk from a fall, winter and spring of storage.  Then, we started filling it up.  I told the kids they would be swimming by Sunday.  This was Friday.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early, and got ready to head out and pick up some chemicals to get the water off on the right foot.  My dad was already here, putting a new load of sand into our beach area.  He told me that we had a leak in the pool.  Sure enough, a hole the size of a dime was in the bottom of the pool on the low end (I knew one end was a bit lower than the other, but not by more than an inch or so).  So Geoff and the kids and I went out looking for a patch kit.  My dad remembered that there were patches you could get that would work underwater.  We looked and looked.  Couldn't find it.  Finally after a couple of hours (we did other things too, it wasn't just a patch hunt!) I found some at Canadian Tire.  Trouble was, they aren't underwater patches. 

The instructions said to clean and dry the spot to repair.  How do I do that when it is under a foot of water?  Easy, I don't.  I patched the outside.  Easy Peasy (sorta).  It was a mess, I had to bury my hand in the peat moss (and the bugs that were in there too, I'm sure) and there was toxic glue all of the damn place, but I eventually got 2 patches on.  It seems to have held.  I say seems to, because after Sunday, it was hard to tell. 

So, Saturday.  Patch is on.  All is well.  I had my book club gathering that evening, a lovely night with my ladies.  We sat on the beach, had a fire, roasted marshmallows and had some bevvies. The whole time, I have the hose running, filling up my now intact pool.

Sunday, I wake up and travel outside, a little hung over and thinking excitedly about taking a dip and washing the headache away. What I encountered was a pool with a very, VERY distinct lean to it.  Like, a lot.  I had maybe 2, 2 1/2 feet of water on one side and over 4 ft on the other.  The legs on the pool that had been straight up and down the day before were completely shifted and some had even lifted a bit off the ground.  Son of a B.  This isn't good.  The weight of the water had shifted what was a slight variance in level into a major one.  Now, we dealing with it potentially collapsing, hurting someone, and causing tons of damage.

I tried to think of a way to save it.  I googled "leveling a pool with water in it".  Yeah, apparently you can't do that. So..so...sadly, I had to pull the plug.  Literally.  I pulled the drain plug out of the high side of the pool and started the long slow process of getting thousands of gallons of water into my lawn.  And my neighbours' lawns.  Thank God for good drainage. 

We had Geoff's family for dinner on Sunday night, and the dogs got to enjoy running through the muck and the mud and the drained out water.  It was gross, but good fun. 

This afternoon, my brother and I started repairing the damage.  The pool had drained enough that the water had dropped below the drain.  We used 2 gallon buckets to bail out some of the water on the deep end.  Once we got it down enough, we pulled part of the pool apart, and folded down the side, and drained the rest. We picked  it up and moved it off to the side.  By then, my lunch break was over and I had to go back to work.  Adam got to dig out the dirt, in 37 degree heat, and started rolling it out and using his ingenious leveling tool. Tonight, the ground is settling, and tomorrow we will lay down some more peat moss, or sand or something, level it out, fill in the gaps, and then the pool can go up again.  Then we start the filling all over again.

Oh, I know, these are totally first world problems.  Rough life to have. And it will all totally be worth it in the end, when we get to have the kids in the pool, playing and learning to swim.  It should be fun. Once we finally get there.

Thank again to my brother for making shit happen.  I don't know what we would do without him.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stand for "not easy, but worth it".

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kicking Keto Ass

Geoff and I, in an attempt to be a bit healthier, have started eating keto. Now, before you freak out and tell me horror stories about the person that you know who's liver and kidneys exploded and their eyeballs melted, and they gained 40 lbs instead of losing, just save it.  First, whatever...why you being a hater?  Why sabotage me?  Trust that I am an intelligent person, have done a bit of research, have talked to people and have decided to go into this with an open mind.  Trust that if I start feeling horrible, I will stop.  Trust that I am still using common sense.  And trust that if you are feeling bad about yourself and kind of want to knock someone else down, I totally get that.  I have been there.  I have done that. 

But seriously, just cut that shit out.

So, we are keto now, for just over a week.  I have lost about 10lbs, Geoff has lost a bunch too. We try and eat 20 g of carbs a day or less.  Not easy, but doable.  And we are doing it.

Anyway, the other day, we were jonesing.  Geoff wanted chips, bad.  And something sweet.  He is a big time snacker, and is really not at all used to restricting what he eats (other than dairy, since he is lactose intolerant.  He gets to take pills for that though, that help him out and let him eat it, in moderation.)  I, a life long dieter, can do deprivation in my sleep. :)  I messaged our keto friends, Barb and Bill (who have been rocking this out for a while now.  Both of them have lost a bunch of weight and look amazing!) for help and advice on snacking.  They gave us some great ideas.  I also turned to Pinterest.

I found a couple of ideas there, and wanted to show you one that I implemented the other day (and again today, for my dinner/afternoon snack.)  They are basically mini pizzas, made on salami slices instead of bread.  You have to like salami, and as we have discovered, you have to use a sharper cheddar, or other equally strong cheese, to be able to compete with the strong salami taste.

Here it is:

Put your salami slices in a muffin tray, or flat on the baking sheet.  I prefer the muffin tin..it curves the meat a bit, so that it has some shape and holds the toppings better.  But flat is fine too.

Put your salami in an oven, heated to 350 degrees (I just guessed at this.  I don't know what a higher temperature might do, so feel free to experiment and see what happens!)

Cook the salami for about 5 minutes.  This will drain a bunch of the grease out of it, and hopefully crisp it up a bit.  If it isn't crispy enough, cook it a bit longer.

Take it out of the over and dress your pizza!  A little bit of sauce (I used left over spaghetti sauce, because a) it's all I had and b) I don't know that there is a difference between that and pizza sauce.   Add a pinch of your nice strong cheese, and add toppings. 

I put some small mushroom bits on mine.
Note: if your salami has drained a bunch of grease, you might want to clean some of that up first, or change your salami to another muffin tray/baking sheet first.  Cooking it longer in the grease really doesn't help the grease not be in your food.  :)

Put it back in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until your cheese is nice and melty and your edges are nice and crispy.  I haven't tried the broiler for this part, but it would probably work great!

Take them out, let them cool a bit and enjoy!!  My carb count on these was very small.  The salami pieces I used had 0 carbs in them, the sauce had 8 g per 1/2 cup ( I used maybe 1 or 2 tbsp. for 8 slices) and the cheese has about 1 g per 1/4 cup (I maybe used this much for all of them).  You are using such small portions of everything, that the carbs really stay minimal.

If this is your thing, give it a try. If you think of any great alterations or alternatives, be sure to let me know...I am sure we will hit a new snacking crisis in another week or so!

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new recipes"!