Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Things I Can't Get Enough Of Right Now!

1) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
In all honesty, I don't want the book to end. Without even finishing it I feel comfortable recommending it. Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies. The Namesake is her second piece of work and her first novel.

2) Playing Scrabble online
I added the Scrabulous tool on Facebook and I am very much enjoying playing scrabble with family and friends. Scrabble is hands down my favourite board game which is why I avoided adding the tool on Facebook. I knew there was a possibility of me getting a little insane.

3) Breakfast Television and Cityline!
City TV programing has grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. I wake up in the morning and turn on Breakfast Television to get my morning news and find out what's new and hot. I don't live in Toronto though, so it feels a little strange some days to be listening to very specific Toronto traffic news. At ten o'clock I continue the what's new and hot trend by watching Cityline. I am watching Marilyn Dennis right now! They are showing fantastic ways to decorate for Christmas! I am loving the designs and can't wait to get started on my decorating next month.

4) The latest Beck album
Enough said......

Please let me know what you can't get enough of right now, anything to help me pass my day is welcome!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Throne Speech, Liberals Playing Politics and a Bemused Kate....

The Conservative minority government had designated this evenings vote a confidence motion, meaning its defeat would have triggered an election. And to that end the Conservative Throne Speech passed much to my chagrin....

(Anyone who knows me notes my inability to refer to Mr. Harper as Prime Minister...he will always be Mr. Harper to me!)

Conservative MPs rose in the House of Commons in support of the speech, the Bloc Québécois and NDP members stood in opposition, while Liberal MPs all remained seated. The motion passed by a vote of 126 to 79.

I must admit I am quite displeased with what I see happening in the Canadian House of Commons. The Conservatives and the Liberals are playing politics. By making the Throne Speech a confidence motion Stephen Harper is attempting to bully the Liberal party into saying the Conservatives are the official government. And well they are not! They are a minority government and continue to require the help of other parties to govern. The Liberal members by abstaining from the vote are attempting to make a statement, a weak statement I must add. They are attempting to say "we are powerful as a whole, we matter, and we won't take this sitting down" and ha-ha they are sadly! The Liberal party doesn't have the strength, doesn't have the leadership (or rather the leader hasn't shaped up the way the party was hoping) and plain and simple they don't have the polling numbers.

I'm sad because I was hoping for a Fall election (this fall!!), and now it doesn't even look like a spring election will be happening. If things continue to play out in this manner we'll be lucky to see an election next fall!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Having Trouble Coming Up with Blog Content!

How do people blog everyday, let alone a couple of times a day?!? I want to blog more but the trouble is coming up with content that someone might be interested in.

Here I am a news junkie, blog junkie, pop culture junkie and all I can think to blog about is the hospital trip this household made on Saturday. My cousin is currently living with Rich and I and she's allergic to shrimp. She ate something on the weekend (while working a banquet) that had been on the same platter as shrimp and she immediately broke out in hives. She came home to get changed and let us know she was going to the hospital. She wouldn't let us drive her, so she drove herself while in anaphylactic shock, little did she know the intensity of this reaction. By the time she got to the emergency parking lot she could barely walk or breathe. Thank goodness a paramedic was heading out to the parking lot while she was coming in.

She called us once she was all checked in, hooked up and in need of some company; so we hightailed it over to the hospital with some mags, slippers, and other things we could think of that might make a hospital visit more tolerable. Because it was such a bad reaction she was immediately admitted so we made it through the experience in record time. She went in at 10 and was out of there by 12:30...

In Nina's defense she thought she was just having a regular reaction; she didn't realize how bad her allergy had become. So now she is a proud owner of an epi-pen and Rich and I will never let another friend, family member, child living with us drive themselves to a hospital ever again!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My 5!

I like to think everyone has innate love of music. Having been raised in a musical family has been both a blessing and a curse. I find myself particularly judgemental of music I consider to be bad. But at the same time I have such a love of music that my favourites span genres and decades. Mock my choices all you want, but here are the 5 songs that always cheer me up, that I can listen to over and over and over again and never get sick of, the songs I don't hesitate to recommend to my friends.

1) Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
I fell in love with Joni Mitchell much to late in life. I was 23 when I learned the genius that woman spun. Both Sides Now is plaintive, achingly beautiful and makes my heart sing!

Damien Rice - Cannonball
Thank you Soraiya for the introduction. If you don't know the Irish artist, check him out.

Serena Ryder - My Heart Cries for You
This new Canadian artist blows me away. Her talent is ageless, her artistry reminds me of Joni and she's only 23.

Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
Cheesy I know but the song makes me soooo happy.

5) Teenage Fan Club - Your Love is The Place Where I Come From
I love TFC, they are quirky, fun and incredibly sweet. And for whatever reason their music reminds me of me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

10 Things I've Learned from Coaching Gymnastics!

I have been coaching gymnastics for four years; I was once a competitive gymnast many eons ago; and now I am an assistant coach in the competitive stream at my old gym. I love coaching! I find so much joy at my gym...and I have learned an incredible amount from the kids around me. Here are a few of the lessons the kids have shared with me.

1) Children are sponges - Ok so I know everyone talks about how children of a certain age can learn and retain information quicker than their adult counterparts, but until you watch a 6 year learn to do a round of back handspring in two weeks you aren't visually attuned to the capacity. Grab hold of children from the age of 2 on and share everything you have with them...read, talk about life, go to museums, science centres, just learn! They will absorb it and it will affect their future!
2) Never bring your personal life to work - When I am upset, or frustrated and I let that come through at the gym I see it reflected in my gymnasts. They don't listen as well, they act out, they obsesssively attempt to get my attention. So I leave my day at the door of the gym, and I can not tell you how much easier that makes my work!
3) Children will be what you expect of them - Related to number 2; if you expect good things out of children, if you bring enthusiasm and vibrancy and you expect your kids to work hard, do their best, they will. Reflect what you would like to see!
4) Kids are really interesting; Listen to them - Kids are funny, they have stories and lives and they love to share it. So listen to the children, get to know them and you will build relationships that are meaningful and will last a lifetime. I have one gymnast who insists on calling me Stephanie, my name is Kate. This gymnast knows my name but she thinks it's funny to call me Stephanie. She makes me laugh on a daily basis and it's great to share laughter with others. I'm just happy I am not Emily, one of the other assistant coaches, she gets called Shakira!
5) 26 young gymnasts are really loud - The Head Coach at our gym has some fantastic tricks of how to quiet a gymful of noisy gymnasts. He claps his hands in a specific pattern, the girls job is to repeat it and stop talking. When you hear that clap you know the gym is too loud, and that Scot needs some quiet to get a message across. You also know that you could be in some trouble...eek!! I love watching the girls after the clap...their reactions are priceless.
6) Ibuprofen is a gymnastic coach's best friend - Between the loud gymnasts and the shoulder, arm, elbow, lower back pain from spotting 100's of back handsprings a day ibuprofen has become a coaching necessity.
7) Global Warming is a reality - I have never seen a roomful of kids sweat in the middle of October like I have in 2007! Last week we had 100 degree weather, second week of October and our kids were lethargic and somewhat dismal. Our competitive gymnasts take the month of July off because we know they can't handle the heat, I never imagined we would be having similar issues in October.
8) Children are incredibly resilient - I have seen kids fly 10 feet off the uneven bars, I have seen kids fall on their heads attempting challenging tricks. It's the life of a gymnast. I have seen these things happen and children immediately bounce back up and try again. Adults could learn so much from this sort of perseverance.
9) Life should be fun - The more fun we incorporate into practice, the better the kids train. If we laugh, enjoy ourselves, smile with the girls they train better. Making things fun for them makes our lives easier and makes the coaches calmer and happier while at the gym! I know my stress levels are significantly lower when I'm happy and having a good time, so lets find ways to keep ourselves content, happy and excited about life!
10) Children have so much love to give - So let them give it. I love watching when we introduce new young gymnasts to the competitive stream. The older gymnasts gravitate towards these kids, they love helping them, showing them the ropes, teaching them skills. Sharing our skills and being joyful towards others is such a positive thing to do. And so few of us remember to do it when we meet new people. We should though...share love and you will see it returned.

These are just a few of the lessons that I have learned in my years coaching. I often reflect on my experiences coaching, the lessons the kids have shared with me and the joy I take home. Please share the lessons you've learned from children; being a parent, coaching like myself, teaching...I would love to know your kid stories!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Definitely Worth Checking Out!


Lily is a two year old geography genius (she'll give most of us a great world geography refresher course) - watch the video - you'll be blown away.

I promise.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Understanding the Adult Connection

Just over a year ago Richard and I bought a house together. We made a very conscience decision to only buy items for our home when we found the perfect piece. This has lead to quite a few rooms lacking the pieces we need to finish them but we figure we've got loads of time, a lifetime really, to find the perfect pieces.

Yesterday we finally made some inroads in bedroom furniture. Our master bedroom is too small for a bedroom set and we're not really in to the matchy-matchy bedroom look so we held off on purchasing items for that room. We managed to find and agree on bedside tables recently so as of yesterday we now officially own some.

Why does this matter you ask?!

It matters because this random Pier One purchase has made me feel more like a real adult than any other purchase Richard and I have made over the last couple of years. Even buying our house didn't make me feel like this.

I have never in my life owned a bedside table. Let alone matching bedside tables! I always had a dresser beside my bed to throw my books on. When I was young I had a childs room complete with the stuffed animals and the trophies from sports camp; away at school I had a university students room with the messy computer desk and the James Bond "To Russia With Love" poster on the wall; and for the last two years Richard and I have shared a room that has been a mish-mash of our previous lives. Yesterday our bedroom started to come together. It is incredible how bedside tables create some cohesion in an otherwise disorganized room. I can see our bedroom coming together. Give us another year, we'll have purchased all the pieces we want and our room will be the vision I am currently having, and that day I will walk through the doors of our bedroom and into adulthood.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Google Reader is my New Best Friend!

I love Google and all Google Products! I can spend hours playing around on my customized Google Homepage. This fascination was spurred by my techie boyfriend who keeps me abreast on all the fun new Google tools, so what did we do one fun Saturday afternoon, customize those pages together.

He started using Google Reader about six months ago, I didn't though.

( Google Reader, for those of you who may not know the family of Google Products all that well is basically an internet inbox, you tell Google Reader which website you would like to track, Google Reader tells you when something new has been posted on said website)

At the time it looked a little confusing so I didn't sign up, didn't do the online tutorial, didn't think much about it afterwards. I have been spying Richards activity though, and since watching him was basically a six month tutorial I threw caution to the wind and signed up for Google Reader today.

I love it!!!!! In a matter of 15 minutes Google Reader has changed my life, no more manually going to my favourite blogs to see if anything is new. Google Reader will tell me automatically whether or not there is a new post of any of the blogs I visit regularly. How unbelievably wonderful!! Yea Google!!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The First of Many...

I love to read. More importantly I love to share my love of books; I hand off books the minute I'm done in the hopes that others find joy in the loves of my life (Richard you're the biggest love, books however are the distant second). So here's to sharing!

Today I recommend...

"Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood" by Alexandra Fuller
I came across a review in magazine, thought the the book seemed interesting. I forgot about the book all together but randomly noticed it on the Biography table in a local bookstore. I decided fate was playing a hand in the book deciding process and bought it. Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight is a diary of an unruly life in an inhospitable environment. Fuller finds humour and laughter in the most unlikely of places...her diary is candid, unsentimental and captivating. I barely put it down.

If you wish to pick it up I hope you enjoy...