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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Tomorrow, my little girl turns 5.  Five years old.  That is almost as long as it took me to have her.  She has been with us almost as long as I dreamed about her. 

Pretty Princess Sawyer
I talk a lot about Sawyer in this blog and on Facebook, and in person and...well, kinda all the time.  She amuses me to no end.  I always have Sawyer stories.  She is hilarious and awesome and I am just inspired and annoyed and infuriated and in love with her every single day.  I would not be who I am today, without her. 

So, in celebration of her birthday, here are some things that I always want to remember about Sawyer.

She put this outfit together herself.  Giddy'up.
 1. The way she was born.  I had a home birth for Sawyer.  I didn't even believe I was in labour for most of the day, until it got to be round about 7pm, and I started having trouble walking and talking when these cramps would come on.  I asked Geoff to not bother the midwife, even though the contractions were only 4 minutes apart.  When she was finally born, at 10:30pm exactly, the midwife put her up on my chest.  I cried and cried and kissed her goopy, gross head (it really wasn't that bad).  I couldn't look at her enough.  She had dark hair, and stork bites on her neck.  It was probably about 3 or 4 minutes before either Geoff or I thought to even check if she was a boy or a girl.  When I saw that she was a girl, I couldn't believe it.  I cried more.  That very first night, I nursed her for the very first time. It was like nothing I had ever done before, and felt like a miracle.  I fell asleep with her in my arms. 

 2. The way she falls asleep.  Sawyer, from the time she was a little tiny baby has loved to rub people's earlobes to fall asleep.  I don't know how many times I have held her, with my head craned all the way over to one side, so that she could rub my ear lobe between her fingers as she drifts off.  She still does it, occasionally, to this very day.

3. The way she reads books.  When Sawyer concentrates or reads or does anything with intense passion (so, basically when she does anything) she pulls faces.  I used to be (and still am, a tiny little bit) worried that it was something like Tourette's Syndrome, which my nephew has. But I have been assured that Tourette's is mostly prevalent in boys (like autism) and really doesn't manifest until they are much older.  Turns out, she is probably just a weirdo. :)

4.  The way she dances.  Well, and truly, she dances like no one is watching.  Full body, unself conscious.  She doesn't do it once she notices that you are watching her, but if you can catch her in the moment, when she is singing to herself or acting out a play or an imaginary ballet, you can catch magic in movement. She is wonderful when she dances.

Little Miss Blue Eyes
 5. Ketchup.  Forever after in my life, ketchup will always make me think of Sawyer.  She eats it on pretty much everything- at one time or another I have seen her dunk the following in ketchup: chicken fingers, pasta, pancakes, French toast, bacon, toast, gummie bears, pineapple, apple, strawberries and so much more.  She pretty much constantly has ketchup somewhere on her body; on her face, in her hair, on her hands or her shirt. Her kisses often have a distinctive ketchup scent to them as well.

6. How she talks.   Oh my.  I wish I had a tape recorder running constantly for this kid.  She comes up with something new, every day, that makes me laugh.  I try and temper her outrageous statements with some real life lessons.  As funny as it was to hear her tell me today that I was getting a knuckle sandwich if I kept (fill in blank here) up, I did explain to her that it wasn't appropriate to say that anyone, especially her mother.  She is very aware of language right now, and tries out new words and phrases that she hears and overhears.  We have a list of "bad" words, that she knows that she is not supposed to say.  Call me old fashioned, but I don't like to hear certain words come out of the mouth of a 5 year old.  She isn't allowed to say things like "oh my God", "shut up", "I hate...", stupid or other things along those lines.  But lordy- does she love pointing out when you do it.  She is starting to understand a little that some people are allowed to say those things- like grown ups and older kids.  She understands that even her friends might say them.  But she also understands that Mommy doesn't like it, so she promises me that she tries "really, really, really, really, really, really hard" not to say them.  I believe her.  

 7. The way she loves me.  As open and expressive as she is, her affection isn't always worn right on her sleeve.  Sebastian actually spontaneously tells me that he loves me more than Sawyer does.  But how she does show it is in her absolute and total dedication to me and her family.  She will scream my name and come running when she sees me.  She insists on hugs before anyone leaves the house.  She has to have smooches and good dream talks before bed.  She has to hold hands when we are out.  She insists on super tight bear hugs, snuggle time, and tickle monsters.  Love flows out of her in a constant tide.  She is the epitome of the fact that love is in the actions, not the words.  If she never said that she loved me again, I would always know, without a doubt, that her love for me is far and deep and wide.
She is eating peanut butter off her feet.  Seriously. 
She wanted me to take a picture of it.
So, happy birthday, Sawyer Bean.  Your mommy is so very proud of you. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "never enough Sawyer".

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just a tiny thing

Ok, you have probably already figured this out about me.  I am a word person.  By that, I mean, I like words.  Like say, over actions, or pictures, or whatever.  Don't get me wrong- I like the others too. Everything has its place.  I understand in some circumstances- actions DO speak louder than words.  For some people, words come too easy- promises made, declarations pronounced- but there ain't nothing there to back it up.  Saying you will do something, and ACTUALLY doing it are 2 very, very different things.  I totally get that. 

But, when all is said and done, I like words.  I like the nuances and flavours of words.  I love to read, and I get literal shivers when I read a well-turned phrase.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, ah...the bliss. 

I like articulate people.  I like people that can speak, and speak well.  This does NOT mean that I like people that use big words- on the contrary, for most people, that just comes across as douchey.  There aren't a lot of people in the world that can pull off a pretentious vocabulary.  I think one prerequisite is that you have to have an English accent.  Otherwise, don't even try.

No, I mean that I like people that can express themselves, plainly and simply. People that can string their words together in ways that can calm you down, or jack you up.  People that get their point across, without muss, without fuss.  People that know the meaning and impacts of the tiniest little words. 

I had a conversation the other day, while at lunch with the one girl I work with (who I adore, by the way!)  We were chatting about books and other amazing things that we both like.  We talked about movies that we had seen (The Conjuring and Wolverine were at the top of that list.)  Somehow we got onto the topic of comic books.  Sigh.  No matter what, I can't get away from them.  :)

Anyway, we were talking about comics and she said that she really didn't enjoy reading them.  As the wife of a comic lover/store owner, I felt the need to try and sell her on them.  But I realized, that while I very often really, really like the story in a comic book, I don't always like the act of reading the comic itself.  I struggle with it.  I read the words, but I often miss the nuances of action in the pictures.  I skim the pictures.  Geoff will give me stories to read, ones that he thinks I will enjoy, and at the end, when we are talking about it, I have often not taken the same message and meaning out of the story as he has.  And that's because, almost exclusively, I am focused on the words.  Shannon understood completely what I meant and said that it is likely because I am a woman.  Women tend to be driven by words, while men are more visual.  Sweeping generalization, but for me at least, some truth to it.

So, with all of this, I have been thinking about words.  What they mean.  How the smallest words can make the biggest difference.  The best example I can think of is the word "in".

For my cats, the 2 most important words in the word are "in" and "up".  That is all they want in the world.  Every need they have, every want in their bodies, can usually be summarized in one of those 2 words.  Hungry? Rip at the bag of food, until you get in.  Lonely? Find the closest person and just get up.  Bored? Look for the highest up you can find, or the tightest in you can see, and effing go for it. 

But the best example of the impact of this word, is the difference between love and in love.  Ah.  You all see what I mean now.

Tell someone you love them.  See the reaction.  Tell someone you are in love with them.  See the completely different reaction. 

To me, that is the magic of words.  This is the stuff I think about, when it's 5 in the morning, and Sawyer has her feet firmly planted on my kidneys.  When my cat is scrambling towards his latest up.  When the world is thinking about waking, when the day is deciding what it wants to be, when I am liquid and soft and sleepy.  I think about words.  

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not a lot to talk about today, obviously".

Friday, August 16, 2013


Go watch this video.  I will wait.  When you are done, and have dried your eyes and blown your nose, come on back and read the rest.

Welcome back.  All good?   Been crying a bit?  A little choked up?  Welcome to my world.

My son, Sebastian has autism.  Unless this is your very first time at my blog, you know this.  I mention this all the time.  It is no secret.  My daughter Sawyer had known the word autism from the time she was 2.  Sebastian knows he is different.  Different, not less, as is the motto of Autism Speaks.  

 Both my kids love, love, love Katy Perry, or as she is known in my house, Kerry Perry (rhyming words are way more fun.)  Katy Perry sings a song called Fireworks.  To me, this song is no more or no less that the anthem for autism. 

I listen to this song all the time- Sebastian loves it because it is in Madagasar 3, one of his favourite movies, and Sawyer and I have dance parties to this song all the fricking time.  We usually have our best dance parties before a big cleaning binge. 

The problem is that I can't listen to this song without crying.  Really, I can't.  Pretty much every time, unless it is the 4th or 5th time in a row that I have heard it.  I cry, every single time.  I can't listen to the words, and I can't sing along, without thinking about my son. 

My life is pretty fricking great.  I have a lot of amazing things going on.  But the relationship I have with Sebastian, me as his mom, him as my son, me as an advocate, him as a boy with autism- very few people can understand that.  My parents are probably closest, since they watch him a great deal, but even then, they aren't there every day.  They tend to get information secondhand, when I tell them I have this great idea to try GFCF diets, and to put him in private school.   They support me, they empathize with me, but at the end of the day, they get to go home.  I live a life only a few people know, and each of us autism parent walks our own path.  None of them are the same.  We all travel a road, overgrown with brambles and weeds, with glimpses of sunlight periodically available through the leaves.  If you are lucky, sometimes there is someone available to help you walk, to hold your elbow when you stumble, someone to lend you a hand up, when you lay down.  Sometimes you are tired, and really don't want to keep walking.  A good partner will help you keep going.  And sometimes, that good partner will help you detour a bit...take you off the path, and into that clearing in the woods.  You know the place- the sun shines there.  There is a breeze, that smells like clover and spring time, that moves the sweaty hair off your forehead and puts a small smile on your face.  It is a respite, a breaking place.  A place to catch your breath, to rest your feet.  A place to let you look somewhere else, somewhere that isn't the next footstep in front of you.  Soon enough, you will be back on your path.  Soon enough.  But for now, enjoy. 

I am lucky.  I have lots of people that help me get to that clearing.  As Sebastian gets older (he will be 12 in November), our autism journey is getting tougher.  It is hard, sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, this kid is fricking amazing. He doesn't trash stuff, he doesn't hit or fight.  He tells me spontaneously that he loves me.  He hugs me and will put his forehead on mine and stare into my eyes (he did this tonight in front of Bill, so I have a witness).  He will tell me about whatever it is that is amazing and awesome to him today- Finding Nemo, Jimmy Neutron, the Incredibles, or whatever.  He loves me, and in his own way, he shows me constantly.

But he is also growing up.  He isn't always willing to have me tell him what to do. I am about 5'5", or so.  Sebastian is slowly creeping up on me.  Soon, he will be my height, and soon after that, he will be taller.  The physical stuff is starting to happen- I try to take something out of his hands, and he takes it back.  It can quickly become a wrestling match.  I don't want this.  I stop it before it happens, but it is always there on the verge.  My word was always good enough before.  Now it's not.  He is becoming his own person.  I am so happy to see it happen, but I am also so very, very nervous.

Don't get me wrong.  My son is not violent.  He has never hurt me, or his sister or anyone.  He isn't a sociopath, or anything like that.  He is sweet and kind and gentle.  But he is also starting to know his own mind and to want his own things.  It is a struggle, for both of us.  We are both walking new ground, trying to find our footing.  We are trying to figure out how we can walk this path together.  Some days are better than others.  Some days, we just call a truce and move on.

But at the end of the day, there is Firework.  There is Katy Perry. 

"You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road."

Judge all you want.  This song was written for Sebastian.  I will believe that, to my dying day.

I love my little firework. Me and him, against the world.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "never underestimate my son".

Thursday, August 15, 2013

10 things

Here are 10 things you might not know about me:

1. I wear glasses.  I had 3 people tell me today that they had no idea that I did.  I come from a family of people with glasses- my parents, my brother, my grandparents, aunts, uncles.  I am one of the only ones that doesn't.  About 2 years ago, though, I started to feel a bit of strain when I was reading or working on the computer.  They are a mild prescription and I really only need them for reading or computer time.  I sometimes go weeks without wearing them, but lately I have been getting headaches again, so I started wearing them.  The one side is missing the screws, but I McGyvered them with a paperclip.  So, in case you didn't know, here is me in my glasses.

yep, nerd me.  Notice the zombie hands in the background. 
That is my pillowcase.  I know you are jealous.
2. I am anemic, bordering on seriously anemic.  After I caught mono earlier this year, I had to go for multiple blood tests to make sure I was clear.  I am fine now, my liver function is back to normal, but my red blood cell count remains noticeably low.  I have to take high level iron pills and try to have red meat and spinach as much as possible. Hopefully soon, I will stop being tired and lethargic, once the iron gets back into my system.

3. I love the 70s.  I love how the people looked and dressed.  I love the lampchop sideburns and the feathered hair.  I love the tv shows, I love the concert tshirts and I love the music.  I was born in the 70's but I remember the 80s better.  I enjoy my memories of the 80s (mainly because they are my memories) but the 70s have my heart.  "Dazed and Confused" and "Devils Rejects" are some of my favourite movies and some of that is because they are both based in that decade.

4. I like country music.  There, I said it.  I grew up listening to a lot of old school country- Pasty, Waylon, Willie, Johnny.  I can still sing Charlie Daniels songs, and Johnny Horton.  At my wedding, I danced with my dad to Kenny Rodgers, and with my brother to Hank Williams Jr. Adam and I went to see Bocephus this year and it was AAAAmazing.  I loved it.  I don't know much of the new country, but I lots of times like what I hear.  I have no hate for country.

5. I rarely have to pee.  LOL...seriously, I have a large bladder and can hold it like anyone's business.  If this grosses you out, sorry, but I think it's funny.  Some of my best friends, boys and girls, have to pee constantly.  Where ever we go, we have to find a bathroom first.  Not me.  I have never peed on an airplane.  I can lots of times go an entire work day without having to go.  When I was young, I had 2 surgeries on my bladder, where they stretched it out, since it wasn't growing fast enough.  Apparently now, I have a freakishly large one. Or maybe not.  I dunno.  All I know is that I don't spend hours every day in the bathroom.  I live my life, instead. 

6. Even though I am an old lady, I still get crushes on celebrities.  My ongoing and never ending crush is, of course, Rob Zombie.  I heart him so much.  Geoff knows, and understands.  I also crush on Jason Segel.  I love him in "How I Met Your Mother" but it was "Freaks and Geeks" that sealed the deal for me.  And really, after the Muppets, I knew we were soul mates. From time to time, I develop other crushes.  Some come and go.  Some last for years.  I love my crushes.

7. I prefer baths to showers.  Like 110% of the time.  I will have a shower if I have to..if I am in a rush, or extremely dirty and sweaty.  But I love my baths.  If I am sick, or sore, or tired, nothing soothes my soul like a bath.  However, with kids in the house, I sometimes forget what it is like to take a bath by myself.  One of the first things I tend to do, when my kids are gone, is to have a bath, all by myself.  I like my baths super, fricking hot, so that my skin gets red, and it takes a long time for it to cool off.  My bathtub right now is small, short and shallow.  I kinda hate it.  When I re-do my bathroom, someday, my goal is to have a big, deep, soaker tub.  I will probably not get out of it for days.

8. I am shy.  Painfully so.  I find it difficult to talk to people that I don't know.  I find it hard to look people in the eye.  I don't enjoy small talk.  I often plan for social events, thinking about the people I will see there, what I can talk about, how I can not sound like an idiot.  But I do force myself.  I have made a lot of friends by talking to strangers,  but every time, it was hard.  Every time it was an effort.  And almost every time it was worth it.

9. Even though I can watch horror movies, and blood and gore, and terror and other horribleness, I cannot watch a rape scene.  Graphic or not, it makes me sick.  I literally got up and walked out of Pulp Fiction in the theatre, when the "bad" scene came on.  Same thing for Rob Zombie's first Halloween movie, and American History X.  It turns my stomach like nothing else can. 

10.  I have never had blonde hair.  I have had pretty much every other colour, literally, but I have never been a blonde.  I don't know how that would look.  I might challenge my hairdresser at my next appointment.  She is always up for a challenge. 

So there, 10 things that might not have known about me.  You know now.  I am sure your life is that much more full now, because of it.  :)

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "never knew that about you".

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ferris Bueller kind of day

I had a Ferris Bueller kind of day today.

No, I didn't play hookie from work.  I showed up (for my version of showed up, read yesterday's post) and worked my day.  But it felt like a day full of distractions, kind of really awesome one, lucky coincidences and a good soundtrack (I heard a new song today.  I fricking love it.) 

It started this morning.  It was grey and overcast.  The last couple of days, almost a week, I have been waking up really early, like 430 or 5am, and being unable to get back to sleep.  I lay here, thinking that I should log in and start work early, but that feels like I am giving up on sleep altogether.  And I am a fighter, I won't give in that easy. 

But this morning, as I lay there on my side, watching grey clouds drift by, watching the waves of wind blow through my favourite maple tree, thinking deep thoughts and believing I am the only person in the world awake, I got a text.  I had sent one last night, and the person had just received it this morning.  So I ended up having a lovely little chat, in the grey light of this morning.  It was enough to settle my brain, and I went back to sleep again.  Just for a little while.

When I woke up again, the sky was still grey, threatening rain.  The breeze coming in the window was cool.  My dad had thought about taking the kids fishing today, but I wasn't sure if that would happen now, with the sky looking this way.  But he called after a while, and said the plan was still on.  I was excited for them, they hadn't been yet this year.  And I was excited for me.  I love my children, but I see them a lot.  All day, pretty much.  Every day.  I wouldn't say that I am looking forward to school starting, but I certainly am not going to be sad about a bit of alone time.

I took Geoff into work, and had a nice drive in and back.  Good tunes on the radio, singing along.  Blue skies, occasionally peeking around the clouds.

Because it was cool, I got to dress the way I love- shorts and a sweater. I swear, it's probably my favourite thing ever.  I wore my old cutoffs, that are big and fall off sometimes now, and my comfy green sweater.  It is stretched out and old, but I love it.  Dressing this way makes me think of the fall, of outdoor festivals, of good times.  So, right off the bat, I was happy and comfortable.

After I got home, my dad came and picked up the kids.  They were a little crazy, but excited to be going.  I dumped the rest of the cupcakes, left over from Geoff's birthday yesterday, on my dad, for my mom and brother.  I was glad they were out of the house, so that I wouldn't be tempted by their carby deliciousness, since I am trying to be keto again, and had already broken yesterday. 

I worked in between all these adventures, but try as I might, I couldn't focus on one particular task.  Some of it was because the work itself won't allow me to..as soon as I start something, someone pings me to ask a question.  I start investigating an issue, and discover another problem altogether.  I talk about something with someone, and it reminds them of this whole other thing that they needed to tell me.  It is pretty much the nature of the beast.  Some of it was just this restlessness inside me.  Jumpy butterflies in my stomach, for no good reason, other than I had people and things in my brain.  My thoughts would wander, and I would start to smile big goofy grins. 

This morning, my boss called me.  I love my boss, he is a great guy.  Bill and I used to work together, very closely, just before I went off on maternity leave with Sawyer.  We were peers and we got along great.  I brought a sense of reality to the job- with my swearing and coarse ways, with my constant tangents and my ability to get angry and not show it to anyone.  He brought the levelheadedness in- he can talk the talk and walk the walk, and can calm the most frazzled nerves.  I knew I had hooked him when our morning conversations both contained the word "fuck" within the first 2 sentences.  Ah, the good old days.  Anyway, when he came back and became my boss, all was cool.   We aren't as close as we used to be, and that's fine, but we are still comfortable with each other, and I still like him a whole lot.  He's a good egg.

Anyway, my point in all of this is to say that while I like my boss and I am in no way afraid or intimidated by him, I still get nervous when I get invitations or requests to speak with him.  I seem to have this pessimistic streak in me- no matter how hard I fight it, it always appears, whispering naughty little things into my brain, making me think that I am likely on the verge of being fired.  Even if I have no idea what I might have done wrong. 

My fears, however ridiculous, were completely misplaced (at least today!)  We had a lovely chat, and things went swimmingly.  All was well with my world, maybe even a little better than they were before we talked.  And I like those kinds of talks. 

I had made a lunch date with one of my very favourite people in the world today.  Teresa and I haven't been in touch as much this summer.  With Sebastian's surgeries and vacations on both sides, it has been kinda crazy busy, and we had just fallen out of touch.  I was feeling the loss.  So I was very excited to have a chance to chat with her today.  We went to one of our favourite restaurants, and had a lovely time.  She looked incredibly beautiful and was so lovely and gracious and I just realized how much I missed her in my life.  T- I promise.  No more slacking.  No more bad friend.

Back home quickly and back to work.  I had meetings through most of the afternoon.  But on my ride home, I again noticed that blue sky.  The clouds were gone now, and the sun was out.  It was not warm, but wasn't as cold as it was this morning.  As I drove, I had this amazing feeling in the pit of my stomach.  It was all about possibilities.  It was about hope, and wonder and magic, and just feeling kinda fucking awesome.  Nothing was going wrong today.  Even when things did, it didn't feel like anything bad. 

So, back to work.  Meetings, meetings, meetings.  Chats with people about today's emergencies, personal issues, questions on process.  Trying to fit in some of my actual assigned work in between.  And again, through all this- no stress.  I am normally feeling pulled in different directions, not sure what emergency should be tackled first.  Today I didn't.  Jeez, I would say that I was actually zen.  It was freaky, and crazy, but so great.

Even when I got told, late in the day, that I have to actually go into the office tomorrow, I was all good.
When I found out, after a particularly smelly episode, that I was all out of cat litter, I was smiling.
When I looked in Sawyer's room at today's disaster, I just shook my head and cleaned it up. 

I swear, you couldn't shake me. 

So what caused this?  Shit, I wish I knew.  I would bottle it and sell it, after keeping a healthy dose for myself. 

I know some of it is the relationships around me.  I spent the night last night with some of my best friends in the world.  It was lovely and amazing and everyone was gracious and awesome.  The conversation and SteamWhistle flowed constantly, and I felt encompassed by warmth and love.  Is that silly?  Is that trite and reeking of Hallmark?  Don't give a shit, it's true. 

Some of it is conversations I have had lately.  Some of my relationships had been growing strained.  It was me- all me.  I was letting the stress of my life creep into every aspect of my interactions with other people.  I was pushing people away, isolating myself, building this safe little bubble where I could exist.  It was safe and sound, but it was dark.  It was regular and routine, but it was getting a bit boring and very, very lonely.  Lately, I have been talking more.  Telling the truth, no matter how hard or scary.  Pushing myself to tell people the things that I am thinking.  How crazy is it that it is hard, really fucking hard, to tell someone that you think they are great?  That you love them?  That you think they are amazing, and that you admire them and that you want to be around them more?  That should never be a hard conversation, but it is.  Because there is always the chance that they are not going to feel the same way.  So, people....be prepared- loving Anita is out and on the loose!  You have been warned.

And today, I received compliments.  Yes, I am shallow.  I can admit it.  But someone telling you that you are pretty, or smart or funny, or whatever- it can just make your fricking day.  Especially when that person is a boy.  ;) 

Seriously, though, I think it proves- when you have that confidence, when you have that glow, when your head is higher and you are just fucking owning it, it shows.  People are attracted to it.  Life just gets a little bit better.

So to you- those people that are making the difference right now- thank you.  I will do my best to deserve this.  I will do my best to return it. 

But for now, I am just going to enjoy it, a little while longer.  I honestly kinda don't want today to end. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nice effing day."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My secret life

I am blessed in a lot of ways.  Great friends, loving family, a good job, amazing children,  good health and a happy dose of luck and good fortune (although I tend to forget that sometimes).  I find it is easy to take the amazing, magical things in my life for granted, and it often takes a comment from someone else to remind me of how good I've got it. 

Yesterday, someone told me that they were jealous of my ability to work from home.  To my everlasting chagrin, I was surprised by that.  And then I remembered how much I wanted it, before I had it. And I know how much I don't look forward to disruptions in my ability to do that. 

But I do want to show the reality of what working from home is like.  It is constant disruptions (kind of like being in the office, but since I gave birth to these disruptions, they are harder to ignore) and a real and ever present danger of distraction.  I see the messy floor and I want to sweep it, vacuum it, mop it. I see the pile of clothes, I want to wash them, fold them, put them away.  I see the sun outside, I want to sit in it, garden, swim in the pool.  I see the bed, and I want to nap.  See what I mean?

When I work from home, I often don't get out of my pjs until the afternoon.  I wear a lot of hats and hairbands.  When there is nothing to drive you to be up and out of the house, there is no need to worry about early morning showers.  It gets easy to be a little antisocial, when your only communication with other people is via the computer.  After days of this, I sometimes don't want to be a real girl anymore, but am happy being the troll living under the bridge.

My good friend, and fellow work-from-homer, Lynn, had one of the best qualifiers.  If you have different levels of sweats, as in casual, stay at home sweats, and dressy sweats that are good enough to wear to Walmart (and they hopefully won't land you on the pages of "People of Walmart"), then you know you work from home too much. 

I admit, I do have dressy sweats.  :D

But it also means that I don't have to drive in the snow in the wintertime.  It means I don't have to do my make up, and if I am having an ugly or fat day, I don't have to shine it on for anyone.  It means that I can take my lunch hour and snuggle with my babies, throw the ball for the dog, or even take a walk around the block. 

So, because I am a glutton for punishment, here is what the reality of my working from home looks like.  Please, be kind.  :)

me, in my comfy clothes, and hat.  My bed isn't made, and the purses beside me have all my VPN tokens, cell phone, date book, and other planners.  The ever present can of almonds is almost buried underneath.

yep, that's the dog, sleeping at the end of the bed.  My stack of notebooks and the laptop is literally on my lap.

And here is the reason I am working on my bed and not at a desk or table.  Sawyer wants to watch My Little Pony.  The ensuing disastrous mess is what follows her basically everywhere that she goes.
  So, that's what I live, pretty much any day.  The mess, I know, will dissipate a bit when the kids return to school.  I shoo them outside in the afternoons, or in between the rain showers, so that I can sometimes shovel a path through it. 

I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  I'm a lucky girl.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "never leaving again".

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I collect souvenirs. 

I don't really mean souvenirs of places I've been, or trips I have taken, although I do have a few of those as well.  I mean things that I keep with me, in my heart and soul that are reminders of times and experiences I have had, and people I have known. 

Some of these souvenirs are physical.  The most ridiculous (or awesome, depending on what you think) was a pair of boxer shorts, green plaid, that I had from a boy I knew in college.  I had gone for dinner- NOT a date- and being my typical awesome self, spilled something all over myself.  He loaned me these shorts to wear, so that we could eat and chat and I wouldn't have to be constantly aware of the spaghetti sauce or pop or whatever it was all over me.  I kept them until they, very literally, fell apart. I am not sure why, but it was always a good memory for me.  I thought of him whenever I put them on. Nothing romantic, nothing mind blowing, just a warm fuzzy memory.

Some of them are not so tangible.  Sometimes it is a smell- a whiff of a particularly yeasty beer will remind me of a certain time, smelling BBQing chicken another.  Certain perfumes, even my own favourites (if you are wondering, my favourite is still White Musk, from the Body Shop) will bring waves of memories back to me.   The smell of a camp fire, the taste of Red Nib licorice, or a particular band of draft beer...God, sometimes, I am taken right back.  If you are with me, and I am lost in thought, I am probably being overwhelmed with the specific stimuli that is pounding through my brain and body.  No wonder Sebastian stims, he got it genetically from me.  The difference here is- I welcome mine.

The most powerful and poignant souvenirs I have, though, are songs.  I think that is true of everyone.  There are always certain songs that will remind you of a person in your life, or a situation.  Of course, my wedding song (The One by Elton John) reminds me of Geoff.  There is also the first one we danced too (She talks to Angels by the Black Crowes) and one of the many songs he put on mixed tapes for me (In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel is a big one.  But then, what girl my age doesn't have something associated to that song?  It's just usually John Cusack with the big ass radio.  Ahhhhh, Lloyd Dobler, how I love you.  But I digress).

Most of these songs are not songs that I hear that often.  I guess that's good.  To hear them over and over would make them not so special. I think the impact- that blow to the gut, the one that makes my breath catch and hitch, that makes it feel like a shot of whiskey is glowing low and hot in my belly- that feeling would go away.  And I don't ever, EVER want that to happen.  I want to be 80, sitting on my porch, with my grandkids climbing all over.  I want my oldies station to be playing in the background and I want the song on the radio to still take my breath away.  I want to still be able to think about that person, or that place, or that thing, and smile my secret quiet smiles. To feel that same burn in my old bones.

I very seriously doubt that the people wrapped up in the memories of the following songs will see themselves in them.  And that's ok.  These are my souvenirs, not theirs.  It would be amazing if they had their own versions of these memories, but I really don't need to know that.  I think my fear is that the memory that I hold close and dear was nothing special to them.  When it is just mine, then I get to remember it the way I want to.  I can rub off the rough corners, smooth it down, so that it fits comfortably in the palm of my hand.  I can ignore the dark spots, and focus on the light.  But then, I am a girl, in case you have forgotten.  I think this is a girl thing.  We obsess, we assign meaning, and we remember.  Oh yeah, we remember.

But if you do see yourself, right or wrong, be flattered.  Seriously.  Be flattered.  It means you shaped me into who I am today.  It means in those quiet moments, early in the morning with the sun playing across my bed or in the car, with the radio cranked and the tears on the verge- I am thinking about you. 

About you. 

I can think of no greater compliment than that.  I would be thrilled to know that sometimes, somewhere, I cross someone's mind.  That they feel a tug in their heart and their gut when they think of my smile, or my laugh, or the way I fell on my ass that one time.  If a song came on the radio, and the kids in the backseat and the spouse beside them fell away for a second, and they remembered how my hair smelled. 

A word of warning:  I am not going into details with the memories.  I am not naming names, or places or anything like that.  It's private, and even I, the divulger of all things secret, have my boundaries.  But understand, these memories are not always about boys and girls and the things that boys and girls can sometimes do.  There is no need to feel horrible for Geoff when you read these.  I am not a whore.  At least, I don't think I am. :)

This song takes me to the summer just before my last year of high school.  It makes me think of hot summer nights, long days at the beach.  I can feel wind in my hair.  It also makes me remember a time when I didn't believe or understand my own worth.  I didn't ever believe that I would be good enough.  I did, however, learn to be surprised by people, who were gentle and kind, when I didn't expect it.  I learned that boys will be boys, especially when that is all that you ever expect them to be.  If you want more, you have to expect more.  And you can't expect people to believe in you, when you don't believe in yourself.

This one is around the same timeframe.  Late high school and a bit after.  It's not the best or the most touching of songs :) but it still makes me think of the people in my life at that time.  When I listen to this song, I can smell bonfires, and beer and sun warmed leather.  I can hear a certain voice in my head.  I think about the shock of finding out that something that you thought was out of reach, something that you hoped for but never dared think you would ever get, might, might actually be in your grasp.  And how being a chicken shit coward can take all of that away.  It doesn't sound like a happy memory, but it is.  It has made me much stronger.  And I miss you.

Jeez. This one was a toss up.  There are a lot of songs associated with this time and the people wrapped up in this souvenir.  This was college.  A good time, but also a really hard time.  Being away from home for the first time.  Being a grown up, sometimes, and sometimes, making really stupid choices.  This makes me think of being presented with choices- big ones.  Life changing ones.  About taking chances.  Do you go with what's easy?  Do you pick what you know?  Shit, who knows?  This song, when I hear it, is all about the "what ifs" in life.  This song smells like beer and clean sweat and cold fall nights.  It smells like Arby's and awkwardness, and really being scared of doing the wrong thing, but so much wanting to try.  Again, it is about how you block yourself, and how not making a choice is really a choice that you make. 

Still at college.  This one is just fun.  It is a rare one for me, because this song reminds me what it is like to be wanted.  To have someone look at you, that certain way.  For someone to feel a bit of jealousy over you.  This song is about being at the bar, drinking like the boys.  It's about dancing until you are sweaty, and then a slow song comes on.  Sometimes, if the mood is right, and you are looking ok, there is someone to share the slow song with.  Nothing big.  No expectations.  No frantic grabbing or roaming hands.  Nothing like that.  It is the pressure in the small of your back, maybe fingers playing with the ends of your long hair.  It's about the unspoken offer, the unasked question.  It's not about the answer, but the lingering possibility.  This is about being young again.  I really hope every girl out there has a song and a souvenir like this.  Like I said, it is a rarity for me.  Maybe that's what makes it so special for me. :)

I'm older now, but still a bit lost.  Hell, just for the record, that still describes me today. No more school, but no kids yet. I am stumbling towards a future, with no idea about whether or not it is what I want, or where I am really going.  And sometimes, something comes along to pull you along for a bit.  Sometimes it is so fun and gratifying and exactly what you need.  And sometimes, it becomes too much.  Too real.  Again, it's about choices.  Do you change direction and throw out what you know?  Not me, as you can now probably tell.  I stick.  As much as I talk about moving, or changing, or everything else that I talk about, at the end of the day is responsibility.  I think of words that I would love to have used in my eulogy.  But I think the most accurate one would be responsible.  That's what I am.  I understand that.  It's not flashy, it's not always fun.  It's steady and constant.  But, sometimes, I throw it a little ways from me.  It's always there in the background, flashing a steady homing beacon at me.  Sometimes, I ignore it for a while.  This song is from when I ignored it.

There are others in my life.  Ones about my kids and my life as it is now.  I think I have talked about them before.  But lately, these songs have been swimming in my brain.  I think I know why, but it's nothing I can verbalize.  I think it is enough that I have put them out there.  That I have caught them in time. 

And yes, I am thinking about you.  Right now.  If we have a song, or if we need to find one, I am thinking about you.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new songs, old songs".

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The King and my decisions.

As you might remember, Geoff got me a great gift for my 40th birthday back in April.  He got me tickets to go see Stephen King to a speaking engagement in Hartford, Connecticut, to support the Mark Twain House and Museum.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our road trip to see him.  It was about a 7 hour drive down, with us taking our time and stopping whenever we felt like it.  It was a beautiful day, perfect for driving.  We drove with the windows down, even on the highway.  I am that type of girl.  Unless I am going somewhere special, I really don't mind the wind in my hair.  In fact, I prefer it.  Turn the radio up loud so I can hear over the wind, stick my feet out the window and let's hit the fucking road. 

There is something that happens to me, when I go on vacation.  I make decisions.  Sometimes little ones, sometimes monumental ones.  I think it is maybe the distance, both physical and emotional, from my day to day life that makes me see clearly.  I can sometimes see opportunities where there were none before.  Sometimes, I see my failures.  Sometimes, I just finally get the balls to say yes, or no, to whatever it is that has been waiting patiently for me to make up my mind.

This trip was no different.

Geoff found a hotel within walking distance of the theatre.  It was just a regular Holiday Inn, clean but nothing special.  So, basically- perfect for us.  The first night, we walked down the road to a restaurant and bar called Black-Eyed Sally's.  They specialized in southern style food and had live blues music.  It was right up our alley.  We ate jambalaya, and corn bread, red beans and rice and fried catfish.  I drank Bud light, Geoff had sweet tea.  It was here that we decided that someday soon, we need to go to Memphis.  Geoff really wants to see Graceland.  I really want to get drunk slowly, listening to real blues men play real music.  So, someday, fingers crossed, we are going.  If this sounds good to you, let me know.  Maybe you can come along.

The next day was Stephen's talk.  We had all day though, and nothing planned.  We perused some of the brochures we had found, but nothing really jumped out at us.  Geoff thought of touring the actual Mark Twain house, and I was all on board with that.  We are both glad we did.  The tour was great, the house was phenomenal.  Here, I decided that I needed to read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.  I haven't read either.  They seem important to the world.  So, I am going to read them.  I started Tom Sawyer a couple of days ago.  So far, I like it.

There is something special about touring old houses.   Geoff and I both love it.  That voyeuristic glimpse into someone else's life is something that I can't resist.  Hearing the inside story of the normal life of someone famous is fantastic.  We did Hemmingway's house in Key West, Mark Twain's in Connecticut.  Maybe I will try and collect famous author tours. :)  That sounds like a worthwhile pursuit.

We spent the rest of that day just toodling around.  We stopped to eat at a Mexican place, where I had a giant margarita and enchiladas.  We visited 3 different comic shops.  We found the Target, and the poor section of Hartford (Geoff has a knack for finding that, no matter what the city).  We basically took our time and relaxed.  It was lovely and fun.  Believe it or not, we even held hands in the car.  :D  I know, weird.

Geoff and I had a playlist for the weekend, 4 discs.  We listened to them over and over.  I am still listening to them.  Why not??  They are all my favourite songs.

That night, we got dressed and went to dinner and the show.  Dinner was Italian, right beside the hotel.  We ate at the bar, and were surrounded by other Stephen King fans, waiting for the show.  Geoff and I bonded by making fun of most of them, and chatting with others.  Then we walked through the park in front of the state capital and over to the show. The heat wave was on, so I absolutely wilted in the stifling heat of the city.  Once I start to sweat, I can't shut it off.  My hair, when we got to the theater was plastered to my head.  Before that, though, I looked pretty good.  :)

I had a beer before the show, and Geoff bought me Stephen's new book, Joyland (I really enjoyed it, I read it the day we came home.)  I had brought a first edition hard cover of Salem's Lot with me, just in case there was a book signing (there wasn't, sadly.) 

Stephen's talk was great.  He is so relatable and down to earth.  He swore all the time, made cornball jokes and wore jeans.  He is getting older and he looks it.  He talked about his addictions (booze and cocaine were his favorites, and oxycotin was the easiest to kick).  His view on God (Why not believe?  What have you got to lose?  If there is nothing after, then you are dead and no one cares.  But if He exists, then you have hedged your bets and should be good to go) and the sanctity of childhood (basically, kids, if they were adults, would be clinically insane) were just wonderful.  I could have listened for hours. 

Of course, I made one of my final decisions here. I listened to him talk about how, when he was 27, and he first sold Carrie, and he was able to finally buy groceries and a car.  I listened to him when he talked about sitting at a folding card table in his laundry room, and just pounding out stories.  I listened to him.  I listened.  As he spoke, I listened. 

And when I stopped listening, I knew.  I want to write. 

Do I think I can be the next Stephen King?  Why the fuck not?  LOL..sure, it's a long shot.  Sure, it's lightening striking twice, and winning the lottery all on the same day. But if Nicholas Spark's piece of shit books can be best sellers, can't I do that to?

Since that day, the universe has been sending me my signs.  Telling me this is the right choice.  This is a smart choice.  The universe, I am convinced, wants me to do this.  So I will.

I am not saying that I will try.  I am not saying that I am thinking about it. I am using definitive words here.  I am set in my mind. 

I am 40.  I know what I want to do when I grow up. 

I am doing the things I need to do, to get there.  I am thinking about my story.  Do I want to do fiction?  Do I want to write about Sebastian?  Do I have a book in me?  Or are they short stories?  Where do I begin?  How do I want this to end? 

This feels right.  In every bone of my body. 

Don't count on updates.  Don't count on excerpts.  This is private. This is really fucking hard. Maybe I am making a mistake here, posting it, making it public.  Maybe that makes me like every other twat out there that grandiosely announcing that they are writing a book (the great American/Canadian novel, or the next Harry Potter/Twilight, of course).   But since you guys- all of you that have commented and reached out to me to tell me that you read, that you like what you read, that encourage me, and think I should do more- you guys are part of those signs from the universe.  So thank you.  All of you, thank you.

Thanks Stephen.  It was a great weekend.  A great vacation.  Thanks  to Geoff, who made it happen. 

The first one will be dedicated to you.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now what??"

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I watched a video today, that I just absolutely loved.  You need to watch this.

I can't watch this and not think about my little girl.   And myself. 

I am a nerd.  I hope to God Sawyer grows up to be one.  Seriously.

I married a geek.  A full fledged, card carrying nerd.  We carry out our nerdiness, in completely separate ways.  Geoff is into comics, and superheros.  Video games, and role playing.  Much more traditional.

I have crossed over into his world occasionally.  I do read comics, things like the Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Robert Kirkman.  I read and owned Killing Joke.  I saw all the Star Wars movies, the original 3, in the movie theatre with my dad and my brother. I remember being lined up around the block to see Return of the Jedi.  I am pretty sure I even saw Wrath of Khan at the drive in.

I played roleplaying games- D&D, ShadowRun, and Vampire and Werewolf.   Sure I brought beer and vodka to the table, and most times, I got drunk and was too distracted to finish the game, but I still played.

I read science fiction and fantasy.  David Eddings, Orson Scott Card (although that is hard to admit now, with all his hate mongering),  Robert Jordan.  Mercedes Lackey, Anne McAffery, Piers Anthony.

But my real geekiness comes in non-traditional ways.  I like horror- b-movie, cheesy, slasher horror.  I like romance novels.  I like 70's rock music.  I like knitting and cross-stitch and crafting.  I like my TV shows, like Supernatural, and even go to the conventions.  I love Harry Potter and Stephen King. 

When I watch this video, I realize how much these passions in my life have shaped and continue to shape me.  And I think about how judged I have felt.  I remember what it feels like to explain something I do, something I love, to someone that thinks it is ridiculous.  I know what it feels like to have someone laugh, to make fun, to judge.  I am an adult now, and it still happens.  I went to a Supernatural convention this March, and when I explained that to people,  they joked and mocked.  Not all, but some. When I would explain to someone about the horror pictures that we took, I could see how they would disregard it, dismiss it out of hand.  I hated that, more than I hated the disgust. 

But I also realize how much it doesn't matter.  How when you love something, when you embrace something with your whole heart and passion, the judgers don't matter.  Maybe you don't talk about it as much as you normally would, you don't bring it up in mixed company.   Maybe you drive the few people that you can talk to about it, absolutely bananas, because sometimes, when you have a few too many beers, that's all you talk about.

And you dream about it.  You think about ways to make it a part of your life in a permanent way.  You build it into your life, your family's life.

Tonight, while I was watching this video, Sawyer painted herself green.  She was fingerpainting, stripped to her underwear and painted her whole body green. She did it, because the colour was beautiful.  She did it because it felt good.  She did it, because she is 4, and she didn't think about the consequences.  She did it because she wanted to.  She was proud.  Her smile was huge and wide and shining like the sun. The mother in me thought I should be mad, but I couldn't be.  I was proud of her too.

I want Sawyer to have this in her life.  I see these girls, directionless, passionless.  The driver in their life is pretty hair, and a new boyfriend.   I want Sawyer to wait for the next book from her favourite author to come out.  I want her to sit with her friends, and talk about Firefly, and whether Kaylee or Zoe is the bigger badass.  I want there to be a very real part of her that hopes and dreams that someday, someday, her letter from Hogwarts will come.  I want her to knit, or sew or rebuild car engines.  I want her to love something with all of her heart and soul.  I want her to want to be something, so that when she is 40, and married with kids, and stuck in a job, just for the paycheck- that she still dreams about what she is going to be when she grows up.

Like me.

I want her to be a geek.  Like me.

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