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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday morning

There's just something about a Sunday...

It's still in the 8 o'clock hour.  Not crazy early, but not really "sleep in" zone either.  I have been awake for a couple of hours, just laying and thinking, dozing occasionally.  I have been up a couple of times- to let the dog out, to go pee and do my morning weigh in (blech). But mostly I laid there, with my pillows and blankets, and tried to find the sun.  I tried to figure out the good that I am going to look for in today, and remember the good of yesterday.  (It's an exercise I do to try and maintain positivity and attract more good to me.)

Finally I was done.  Up I got, and headed downstairs.  I made my smoothie, got a blankie and my laptop and turned on the fireplace. 

The kids are at Grammie and Papa's.  It's quiet right now, with ticking clocks and munching cats.  Axle sighs and huffs beside me, as he squirms and struggles to move me that extra inch so he can be truly comfortable.  I give in and give it to him. 

I'm not hung over today.  That's a bonus.  The only reason I mention this is because we went to a good friend's birthday party last night.  Typically, I would be a tiche hung over today.  But because I am PINK, I didn't have anything but some diet Pepsi's.  So, I'm all good today.  It's a nice feeling.  I remember this from my first go around with PINK.  Waking up the day after a night out, and in that second before I open my eyes, I would pause, expecting the headache and the roiling stomach.  And when it wasn't there, being happy, and surprised and amazingly validated.  Huh. 

It is so grey outside.  I took down the outside decorations yesterday, finally.  Each time I meant to, we would get some freezing rain, or ice, or snow, or a wind chill of -47.  So, they stayed up much longer than I intended.  And now they are down, and the front of the house is clean again.  I miss them, a little, with their colour and fun, but it was really time to go.  But the greys and browns of the world outside don't do much to lift the spirits.  It's why I am not a fan of this time of year.  I miss colour.  I miss vibrancy and life.

I guess I feel a bit melancholy today.  Not depressed or sad or anything like that.  Just a little reflective and introspective.  I have a plan of attack for today- finish Sawyer's room, finish the basement, get the donations organized and start on my paperwork for the year.  Should be good and productive.  Oh, right, I have to get my kids first.  There's the potential kink in the plan.  :)

On a Sunday morning, I sometimes miss going to church.  I used to go, when I was a teenager.  Long story, and not one for here.  Anyway, the church was down the street from my parents house, and every Sunday, Adam and I (or sometimes just me) would get dressed, walk down and attend Sunday School and then church.  There was a routine to it, a comfort and after a while, when we became known to the congregation, a sense of community and welcome.  I miss that.  I think about it with the kids sometimes.  There always seems to be something else to do though.  It's all excuses, I am very well aware of that, but as with everything else in the world, that first step and starting is the hardest.

So, for now, it gets put into the file in my head, under "Maybe someday".

Sunday morning quiet.
Sunday morning peace.
Sunday morning smoothie.
Sunday morning bath?

That sounds good.  Let's do that.  Before Sunday morning comes down.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "nothing short of dying, that's as lonesome as the sound...." 

Rites of Passage

So, Sawyer fulfilled one of her missions as a little girl today.  She cut her own hair. 

As most people have said that have heard the story, we are lucky that this is the first time she has done it.   She is 5, and really, other than some colouring on the walls and in one library book, she has been pretty good.  So, I guess we were due.

She went to spend the first part of the afternoon with Geoff at his store.  I got a FaceTime call after about an hour.  Geoff wanted to show me what Sawyer had been up to.  Immediately I had an idea that this wasn't going to be good, and honestly, the first thing that popped in my head was her hair.  I had straightened it that morning (something that I don't do very often) and she had been paying extra attention to it. 

She had a happy face on for her new look.
She did ask if she would have long hair again tomorrow.
As Geoff tried to get Sawyer to stand up in front of the iPad and she kept hiding behind him, I knew it wasn't something good. Geoff kept telling her that she wasn't in trouble and that no one was mad.  I really wasn't comfortable with him making that commitment, since I still didn't know what she had done.

Finally, I just put it out there.  I wasn't angry, just irritated.  We had been growing her hair out for 2 years.  I was the one that brushed out the knots, that braided her hair, that washed it, and conditioned it, that ties it back, puts it up.  And now, she had a vicious mullet. 

I didn't yell, I didn't get angry.  I went and picked her up, took her home and cut off the rest of her hair.  It's in the garbage in the bathroom, her beautiful red hair.  It was smooth and soft and lovely.

Goof ball.
She is still beautiful, and her little pixie cut suits her.  I know it is a rite of passage for every little girl in the world.  All of them cut their hair at some point.  I'm not even irritated or upset anymore.  I can laugh about it now. 

I know for her, there will more, bigger, better and way, waaay worse rites of passage.  Breaking curfew.  Lying to my face, about something more important that gluing a sock to the closet door (yes, she did that today too).  Drinking.  Smoking.  Dating.  Sex.  Maybe worse things (fingers crossed that doesn't happen.) 

In the long run, short hair doesn't matter.  She is a goof.  She's cute and goofy and adorable.  And she is gonna keep doing stuff like this.  Me, as her mom- my job is to get on board, and handle this.  Clean up the mess, and move on to the next mini crisis. 

I look forward to it. :)  Kinda.

Sebastian is experiencing his own rite of passage. 

Thursday night, I dropped him off for his new Social Skills group.  It is offered through Bethesda, and he has done this program successfully before.  Typically, it is a smallish group, maybe 5-7 kids, all around the same age and skill levels.  They go shopping each week for food, help prep the dinner, eat it and clean up afterwards.  Each week, they have a different topic, and work through exercises that encourage appropriate social interaction.  He has always enjoyed them in the past and we have gotten good feedback.

Bethesda works with a pretty much constant waiting list, so they do the only fair thing that they can. Once you complete one session, you decide what program you want to participate in, and then you go to the back of the line.  That way, everyone gets a chance.  Sebastian averages about every 18 months in a program. 
My lunch date today.  Up since 5am, and asleep in his seat.
We got a call in the middle of December, offering us a spot for Bastian for the January/February session.  I jumped on it of course.  I had a few misgivings along the way, with little things that were mentioned.  The Bethesda worker mentioned that the age of the group was 11-13.  On the surface, this is fine, Sebastian is 12, so all good, right?  Well, that would be true, if his interests and actions were those of a typical 12 year old.  I hate to use the word, but he is very immature for his age.  He is coming around slowly, but he still is very interested in cartoons and characters that are aimed at kids much younger than he is.  I couldn't care less, but it does set him apart from other kids his age. 

In a follow up conversation, she mentioned that this group was for high functioning autistics.  Again, I paused.  Sebastian, while doing very well and making great strides, really isn't what I would consider high functioning.  He has issues with learned dependence, and has motivational issues.  He needs assistance with some basics and can be difficult to understand.  High functioning is a grey area, a term that can encompass a great deal of different activities and skill levels.  Because of this, I didn't heed those quiet little alarm bells going off in my head. 

So,  Thursday.  Our first night.  Sawyer, Sebastian and I head out to the school where they are hosting the evening.  We are a bit early, and I know from experience that they don't open the door until the exact time.  We sat in the car, chilled out, listened to some Pink on the radio and talked about what was coming. 

waiting for therapy
Sebastian was pretty grumpy with me.  I had started prepping him for the group a couple of days before, but he was still unhappy about the fact that I had pulled him away from his TV. He wanted to stay home, chill out in his pjs, and watch TV.  Like he does every night.   And now, I had thrown something new in the mix.  Instant grump. 

Finally, it is time to go in.  I am scanning the parking lot for the inevitable Autism Support puzzle ribbon on the back of a car, to show me how else might be heading in.  I see one mom and her son walking up.  The son is in neon green kicks, and has his hoodie pulled up.  He is radiating teenage angst from every pore. 

That niggling doubt in my head has now spread to my stomach. 

I pull the kids out of the car, and we head up.  Sebastian skips and hums his way to the door.  Sawyer flits around, alternating between yelling and extreme shyness.  We make our way in and sit to wait. 

There are 2 other girls there, waiting.  Their moms are not with them.  The one girl is as tall as me.  She is plugged into her iPhone and is texting away.  The other has her boots on, her mini skirt and is busy reading every plaque in the lobby. 
My instincts are screaming at me now.  Get out of here.  But I am committed.  There is a waiting list.  We took this spot, we have to see it through. 

The girl comes out to collect the kids.  I give them my money and my cell phone number.  Sawyer and I kiss Bastian good bye and leave. 

I have done this hundreds of times before.  It's always been fine.  This time it wasn't. 

I knew he didn't belong there.  I knew he didn't fit.  Even in this group of square pegs, he was a triangle.  This was not for him. 

I wasn't worried about his physical well being.  I knew there was appropriate supervision.  Things were going to be fine. But, it just wasn't right.  They were way more advanced then him.  They were bigger, older and on a completely different level.  My strange little boy was not going to fit in, not even a little bit. 

I had my mini melt down in the car.  When it was over, Sawyer and I went to visit Geoff's store.  Even Geoff picked up that I was worried, and consoled me.  We went home, Sawyer and I had a nice dinner together and I kept busy until it was time to get him.

When I picked him up, the therapist admitted tht while he had had a good night, he was on the lower end of the scale for the group.  She advised that there is a group on Tuesdays that might be better suited to him.  She was going to talk to her supervisor and see if they can get him shifted to that group.  If not, he is committed to Thursdays, and he should keep going. 

I thought about it all night.  I decided that if he isn't going to Tuesdays, I am going to pull him from the Thursday group. 

I know some people might question that.  I questioned it myself.  Should I leave him, and let him get exposed to some higher functioning kids?  Would it be good for him?  How much would he benefit from continuing in this group?  Am I sheltering and babying him too much by taking him out?

But then I think about what the basis of most of the social therapy is for kids with autism.  The mentality of putting an ASD kid in a normal class, and hoping that the skills that NTs have will be picked up and learned by the autistic kid is ridiculous.  These kids don't pick up social cues.  They don't learn the way the rest of us do, by observing and mimicking.  So, for me to hope that exposure to older kids will teach Sebastian to act more age appropriate is completely unjustified.  He just doesn't learn that way. 

He is quiet.  He will end up in a corner, looking at his pictures, isolated in his little world, since he can't relate to the one around him.  Pushing him into this situation will not improve his. 

I'm his mom.  Trust me on this. 

So, I guess it was a rite of passage for him and for me.  I have to learn to trust my instincts.  Being brave enough to be right the first time. 

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


So, here we are, one week into the new year.  Still trying to figure out where I am at, and where I am heading. 

 One of the leading themes in my head over the last couple of weeks of 2013 and this first week of 2014 is control.  More specifically, lack of control.

I am feeling distinctly out of control.  I feel like I have let my life and all it's accompanying parts slip out of my fingers like so many marbles, and let them bounce and spin and scatter out of control.  Sure, it was fun at the time!  Super duper fun!  Watch them go, let's laugh and kick them to make them spin. 

But now, it's clean up time. It's time to move the coffee table and couch and find all those little stupid fucking balls and pick them up.  I know that a couple are going to get sucked up in the vacuum, for sure, and some time, when I'm not looking I will step on one, the dog will eat one and the cats will find a couple to bat around in the middle of the night. 

You picking up what I am putting down here?  Basically, I just let life happen, and I didn't bother with the consequences.

Now, I have to figure that shit out.  I gots to clean up my messes. I mean this literally and figuratively.

Take for example, I am cleaning Sawyer's room.  I started yesterday.  I will be continuing tomorrow aaaand probably the day after.  I have 2 bags to donate already, plus a garbage bag.  It still doesn't look like I have made a dent in it. 

Someone asked me today why I let it get so bad.  It's totally my bad.  I let life get in the way.  For about a 2 week period, I chose to shut the door rather than clean it.  Unfortunately, this 2 week period co-ordinated with her time off school, so the mess was maximized by 24 hour access to the area.  It was Christmas, and I had other things to do, and think about and focus on.

I just got lazy and let it go. 

Don't get me wrong, I asked her to clean it.  Every day.  About 4 or 5 times a day.  And she tried.  She would move things around, pile them in new spots.  Usually when she did that, she would uncover something new and then the mess got added to.

these are my before pictures.
 I hope someday there is an after picture.
Basically, I lost control of it.  I let the control go.  I handed it to Sawyer, and let her run with it.  I am taking the control back, but it takes time. 

A sad side effect is that the time I am using to clean her room, means that the rest of the house is degenerating at an exponentially increased rate.  Sigh.  I am sure I will be able to catch up eventually.  I did double digit loads of laundry in the last 2 days.  That has to count for something. 

My 2nd example- ugh.  My diet.  Gah.  I don't even want to think about it.  I ate and drank and ate and drank and drank and ate my way through the holiday.  Oh yes.  I have lived in yoga pants for the last couple of days.  Mainly because I don't want to go anywhere near my jeans.  I think they are just going to disappoint me.  Yes, it is the jeans, and not me.  Anyway, because of my extreme disappointment in my wardrobe, I got back on the PINK bandwagon.  I have recruited a couple of helpers to motivate me, and I hopefully will see some results.

ate them.  All of them.  So good.
ate this too.  Not all of it, but some.
Drank this.  It's Bill's Johnny Walker Blue. 
It was ok.  He liked it, so that's all that matters.
Drank this too.  All of it.  Plus another one.
My 3rd example of loss of control is Sawyer.  I am starting to realize that I am losing control of her.  I adore her, she is my soul.  But, I am really afraid that she is becoming a bit of a brat. 

She is great out of the house.  We get nothing but good feedback from school.  Playdates go very well. But around here, she is a terror.  She interrupts every conversation she can. She NEEDS to be the centre of attention (so much so, even she calls her interactions with others the "Sawyer show").  She backtalks, she tattles on Sebastian constantly.  She whines to get what she wants, she cries at the drop of a hat.  She refuses to help around the house, she is pickiest eater I have ever met.   I think I still have the chance to turn this around, but I am very concerned about losing this control. 

There are other parts of my life that are out of control.  Well, out of my control.  I am working on them.  I am trying to bring that control back in house, as it were.  I am thinking about them, planning for them, trying to figure that shit out. 

So.  I have all that.  I know that I always have had this stuff.  But for a long time, I had a tight leash on it.  I knew where my shit was, what it was doing and how it was doing it.  If something dropped, I knew it, and I collected that back up and took care of it.  I juggled everything, maybe not well, but I did it.  I am realizing now why I did that. 

I held it all because it is so fucking hard to pick everything back up.  I have an armload and I am trying to scoop up more.  I know when I get it all back, I will be good.  It's the process of getting there.  It's easy to get tired.  It's easy to get distracted and to want to give up. 

So, it's a week into the new year.  I'm feeling overwhelmed.  I am feeling tired.  But I am feeling hopeful.  Ask me in a week, to see how far I've come.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "need control back.  Stat".

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Polar Bear

So, the other day, I posted about my goal for the year.  Fierce. I want to live fiercely. 

My first step towards that was to complete a challenge for myself.  I wanted to do a Polar Bear Dip. 

For those that don't know, a Polar Bear Dip is traditionally a charity event, where participants don their bathing suits, or costumes, or whatever, and take a dip into an open body of water.  The catch is that this dip usually happens at the beginning of January, either New Year's Day or (in my case) the first weekend of the new year.

Last year, about mid January, I saw an article in our local paper, about the Polar Bear Dip that took place in Fort Erie.  I read it and looked at the pictures and for some reason, it clicked with me.  I thought about it, and thought that this was something that I would possibly do.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.

A day or so later, I was going to a movie with my friend Bill (yes, the jerk that moved to Ottawa).  We were on our way, chatting about various things.  He turned to me at one point and said that he wanted to ask me a question.  Then he started talking about this idea that he had, this crazy thing that he wanted to do, and Barb didn't want to do it, but he was wondering if I wanted to...it's this thing where you jump in the water in January..

So, yep, I agreed in about 3 seconds flat and we committed to doing this completely ridiculous thing. 

Throughout the year, we continued to mention it, so that it didn't get forgotten about or move out of our stream of consciousness.  It was always there.

When he moved to Ottawa, there was a wrinkle thrown into the plan.  There is a polar bear dip in Ottawa.  There is also something else in Ottawa- crazy, ridiculous cold.  Like, -27 without the wind chill cold.  Plus, he was going to have to work New Years, and there was a million other reasons that this wasn't going to work.

Anyway, the universe lined up and things worked out and he was able to come down and we were good to go.

There were a couple of dips in this area- one in Chippewa and one in Fort Erie/Crystal Beach.  We had heard rumors of hot tubs at the Fort Erie one, so that decided for us. It was $5 to dip, plus they had a chili cook off. 

We talked a bit about what to wear.  The site recommended wearing something on your feet, since the ground is rocky.  My decision was pretty much solely based around what I thought I could get out of as quickly as possible, when it was soaking wet and my hands were freezing cold. I opted for tank tops and hospital pants that were cut off.  I wore my big Sorel boots, and brought big t-shirts and yoga pants to throw on afterwards.

For the morning before, I was feeling good.  I really wasn't nervous, but was excited and was thinking about how much fun it was going to be.  I had a small moment of worry when I let the dog out in the morning, and realized that it was really fucking cold.  Not as cold as the day before, when it was -17 degrees.  But still, -9, in a tank top, when you know you have to jump in a fricking lake, is cold.

We picked up Bill and he hung out for a bit in the morning.  He did ask me at one point, if there was any chance of him talking me out of this.  I told him no, he was free to back out if he wanted, but there was no way that I was not going.  Personally, I was starting to get butterflies, and a bit freaked out by the cold. But I do this thing.  I post the stuff that I want to do to Facebook.  Sometimes, people see it and get excited or at least respond to it.  And if that happens (and it did with the Polar Bear Dip), then I can't back out.  Even when I want to.  Even when it is really cold.  Silly, but effective.

Geoff's mom wanted to come out and watch too.  Geoff had toyed with the idea of doing the dip too, but he came down with a cold on the last day before the dip and figured it probably wasn't a good idea to dunk.  It was, as Bill put it, a one way trip to pneumonia. Even though Geoff wasn't doing the dip, Kathy wanted to come out and see us crazies do our thing. 

We picked her up, after bundling the kids up in their warmest clothes, and headed out.  Sawyer was very excited, and even brought her sand bucket, because she was bound and determined to build a snow castle.  I knew she was serious, since she willingly put on her snow pants.

We made our way out to Crystal Beach.  The whole way, those butterflies in my stomach got bigger and more active.  I was getting nervous.  I wasn't scared, I knew I wasn't getting hurt, I couldn't fail because I couldn't do it. But still...it got to me. 

Whenever it got bad, I would look over at Bill.  He would be looking out the window, or playing on his phone.  If he had ever looked up and frowned, or shook his head, or ever furrowed his brow, I might have asked if he was willing to forgo.  But each time, he smiled.  Just smiled, and I smiled back and it was all good again. 

Finally, we got there.  Gathered the kids, and trekked over.  Bill and I got registered and figured out where we were going.  They had change rooms set up so we each headed in and got set.  When I went in to change, there was a young girl in there, with her mom.  I started talking to them.  The mom had done the dip the year before, and this was the girl's first year.  They were both in bathing suits. At that point, all my nervousness was gone.  If this little girl could do it, then so could I.  When I saw the 80-something year old out front waiting, that sealed the deal. No more complaining. 

Before the dip
My good friend, Shannon, decided to come out and watch too.  Geoff had looked for her a couple of times, but I finally found her when Bill and I made our way out to wait with the rest of the lunatics.  She was excited for us, and practically hugged me a couple of times (this is a big deal.  Shannon isn't a hugger. :)  I love her for that).

Bill and I hung out in our shorts and crocs.  It actually worked out to our advantage, and helped us get used to the cold.  I laughed and remarked that I could see the hair growing on my legs.  I had shaved that morning, but the goosebumps were bringing it all back.

These were the moments that were the best and the worst.  I was crazy excited at this point.  I had adrenaline starting to pump through me.  I knew that it was going to be scary and horrible and awesome.  I love the anticipation of something.  The wait, however, kills me.  I knew it was coming.  And at this point, I just wanted to start.  I was cold and crazy, and I wanted to just do it.

Sawyer and Sebastian were confused by much of this.  Sebastian wanted to know what was going on, and when we could go home.  His biggest concern was that this event was cutting into his picture printing time.  He was thrown off by the crowd.  He is used to me being with him in these kinds of times, holding his hand and checking in on him.  But this time, I wasn't.  I was part of the crazy.  He didn't know what to make of it.

Sawyer was sad.  She wanted to build her snow castle.  I couldn't help her.  I couldn't focus on anything.  I asked her for a kiss for luck.  She gave it, but reluctantly.  Shannon actually took a picture of her following Bill and I down the ramp and into the water.  She too, is used to me being with her during whatever it is that we do.  For me to be distant and not right there with her, was a new experience.   Both of them were disconcerted.  I was vaguely aware of this, but was focused on what was coming. 
Sawyer following Bill and I down the ramp
They called the time, did the 10 second countdown and off we went.  Bill and I shucked off the extra- our boots and coats, and headed down the ramp.  It was completely slick and covered with ice, so we grabbed hands as we headed down.  It was nice, in the crowd and the rush, to have an anchor. 

We hit the water, and the shock I had been anticipating wasn't there.  My legs were already pretty numb from the cold, so the transition from air to water wasn't as drastic as I thought.  However, as we made our way in deeper, it became a definite issue. The cold water creeps up your body.  Unlike in the summer, when you get that instant shock and you gasp as it hits parts of you, this kind of cold doesn't relent.  It tightens and numbs as it works you over.  As you start to freeze, you start to lose focus on what is happening around you and become very intently focused on what is happening TO you.  Bill and I talked about it later.  It's a survival instinct, this tunnel vision.  You focus solely on what it is that is threatening you.  For us, it was the water. I understand now how people die in cold water.  It is painful and breathtaking and it becomes very hard to think and move and even feel.  As exhilarating as it was, it was a bit scary.

In order to get your certificate, you are supposed to do either 3 dunks under the water, or go out and back in 3 times.  Bill and I both made one dunk.  I went under, and had to push myself up and out of the water again.  It's incredibly hard to describe, this feeling.  When I came back up, I couldn't see Bill.  My hand was still in his, but I couldn't see him.  I could see the foot or so of space, right in front of me.  Since he wasn't in it, he was a little to my side, and I had lost my peripheral vision, I had no idea where he was.  He started walking, and pulled me with him. It was hard to walk, and hard to talk. As I was walking out, with Bill still grabbed tight in my hand, I realized I couldn't do it again.  I finally managed to ask him if he was done, or if he wanted to keep going.  All I got was a grunt as he pulled me out of the water and up onto the ramp.   I guessed that meant we were done.  I took about 3 steps out of the water, before I realized that I had lost a shoe.  One of the crocs I was wearing, borrowed from Barb, had disappeared.  I realized I should go back and get it.  I turned around, slowly and started heading back.  Bill grabbed me and hauled me back up the ramp, yelling the whole time to leave it.  I realized that he had lost a shoe too.  He wasn't heading back either.

Coming out of the water.  Notice we each have one shoe on.
 Sawyer and Geoff are there to greet us. Shannon is taking the picture. 
Kathy and Sebastian are just to the side.

as happy and as cold as you can get.

We staggered up the ramp, and back to our group of cheerleaders.  Everyone was smiling and happy.  I was exhilarated, but cold.  I had never been that cold in my entire life.  My hands and legs didn't want to work properly.  It was actually hard to think.  I couldn't feel my lower body, and I actually had no idea if my shorts were still on.  I kept checking, with fingers that actually couldn't feel, to make sure that I was still dressed.  I was trying to put my boots on, but nothing was co-ordinated.  We finally decided that we should make our way back in, to try and get dressed.   The change rooms were packed but we managed.  Frozen fingers don't work well, so it took a whole lot longer than I anticipated to get the simple act of getting dressed done.
Post dip.  Just before we changed back to normal people and not Polar Bear heros.
 When I came out, I noticed everyone mingling around, talking and smiling.  I think it was fun for everyone.  Well, almost everyone. 

Sawyer hung behind the group.  I squatted down, with frozen calves and toes without feeling, and talked to her.  Big tears glistened on her cheeks.  She was heart broken that she hadn't been able to build her castle.  I promised her, right then and there, we could build the castle.  Even on days when it's all about me, it's never all about me.

I sent Sebastian, and everyone else back to the car.  Sawyer and I squatted by a big pile of fresh snow and started to build.  Shannon came back in a minute or so, and helped us build.  She took our picture when we were almost done.  Sawyer was smiling again, and I had a good energy pumping through me.  All was right in my world. 

Snow Castle
After a bit, we headed back to the van, and then we all headed out for lunch.  I was tingling, with all my nerve endings coming back online.  I felt amazing- clear headed, and clean.  Purged and ecstatically happy. 

officially polar bears
After lunch, we headed home.  I had a nice hot bath, washed the Lake Erie water out of my hair (along with most of my hair colour).  I started to get tired, as the rush wore off and I started coming back to normal.

 So, what did I learn?  I learned that I can be fierce.  I learned that I can follow through, even when I am nervous.  I learned that a small amount of discomfort and even pain, can be worth the euphoria and memories that it spawns.  I learned that a good friend will hold your hand and pull you in, or pull you out.  Or both.  I learned it means the world to have people on the outside cheering for you. 

I'm a polar bear.  I am doing it again.  Come with me, if you are feeling up to it. 

I think Bill said it best.  His Facebook status that day was this:

There are times in your life when you step back, look at yourself, look at the situation, and think "What the hell am I doing?"
 The older I get, the more I realize that this is when you make some of your best memories.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new New Year's tradition, methinks."

Friday, January 3, 2014


So, it's a new year.  Hooray!

I really try not to be one of those people that are ecstatically glad that the old year is done, because it was so incredibly shitty, or terrible, or boring, or whatever else.  I try to remember that there were amazing things that happened in the year, even though it always seems to be so much easier to remember the bad stuff.  With that being said, I am a tiny bit, sorta kinda glad that I get to experience a brand new year.  I get to move on, I get to keep going and living and loving and moving. 

So, I will miss 2013.  But not too awful much.  Of course, as I look back through my year of blog posts, I wish that I had blogged more.  I really struggled with that, especially in the 2nd half of the year.  I wish I had taken more pictures, and done more things.  I wish I had reached out to more friends, and made new ones. 

But these are pretty common wishes.  I think everybody has them.  I have other, more specific...not quite regrets, but maybe missed opportunities.  I won't get into them here, but I think of them, and I carry them with me.  Hopefully I will get to learn from them, and correct the mistakes.

Yes, this is behind me, and I still have my thoughts and feelings and all of that.  But most of all, right now, on the 3rd day of a brand new year, I am looking forward.  I am feeling excitement and energized (well, not really, but I think if I fake it, I might actually start feeling it) at the thought of what might be coming. 

Nothing in my situation has really changed.  I have the same job, the same bills, the same responsibilities. I still have the same chores and the same to-do list for the house (in fact, it might have gotten a bit bigger).  But I think the promise of something new should be enough to carry me through the next couple of months, until the spring has come, and the world gets green again and I start to feel myself coming alive again. 

I don't really set resolutions, not in the traditional sense.  The last 4 or 5 years or so, I have been working on a different concept.  I like words, as I think I have stated before.  So, every year, I try and think of a word to define what I would like my year to form around, to aspire to be.  Last year, my word was Hope.  With Sebastian's surgery coming, Geoff's store opening, my work, my health, etc, I was all about hope.  It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I have spent the last day or so, thinking about what I wanted this year to be.  I thought about some of my goals, and more particularly where I fell down last year.  What did I want to do?  What do I want to be? 

So, I picked my word.  Fierce. 

I want this year to be fierce.  I want to be brave and strong and true.  I want to be honest and courageous.  I want to make the hard choices and figure out what is right for me and my family.   I want to love and work and learn and play as hard as I possibly can. 

Of course, there are specific things that I want to do.  Fiercely, if I can. 

I wrote them out, by hand.  There is something intensely satisfying about handwriting things.  It is a concrete commitment, with the time and effort it takes to make this real.

Writing this, today, is a step in the right direction.  Tomorrow, I go back on the Pink Method.  I have pulled out the Secret and my Happiness Project book ( a gift from a good friend, signed by the author and personalized.  Yeah!!)  I took my pills today.  I was planning on going to bed early, but midnight should be good enough. 

At the end of the day, I have one ultimate goal.  I want to be happy.  Ridiculously, unfailingly, unapologetically happy.  I want to smile, and laugh and find myself grinning at odd times.  I want to feel that glow in my stomach that comes when I know I have had a good day, done good things and been surrounded by good people.  I want to see my kids smiling and learning how to feel joy from me.  I want things to be good.  I want to focus on the positive and attract good things to me.

I know it isn't realistic to expect that to be the case every day.  I know that it can't be, that there will some down days.  But more often than not, what I want, what I need and what I plan to work my ass off to get is happiness. 

So, from me to you, Happy New Year.  I wish you nothing but good things.  I wish you smiles and love. 

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