Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In Light of Family Birthdays

(Tomorrow is my Father's birthday so this post is a tribute to him and my family.)

I am a member of a tight-knit, well-oiled, loud, boisterous, wonderful family. I love each and every member of my family dearly and passionately. Trite maybe - but I am shaped by their existence, I am loved by each and everyone of them, and that knowledge makes my days a little a little easier and my step a little lighter.

My Father is the kindest man I know. He is generous, sincere and has room in his heart for all. He has taught me to be true to my word, to work hard and trust openly. I inherited my sensitive nature from him; I cherish that. I cry easily, I love deeply, and do everything I can to share my best with everyone. I really can't think of a better gift he could have given me.

My Mother is the bravest woman I know. She is calm, incredibly capable and fun (some might find it strange that I use the word fun as one of my Mom's defining characteristics, but that's what she is - she has a lightness of heart that always make her "fun" to be around). My Mom has been through a lot (especially in recent months) and through it all she has continued to be the rock of our family, immediate and extended, she reinforces in me the desire to be calm in stressful situations, the willingness to experience new things and the ability to be open to new approaches.

My Sister is the smartest woman I know. She is intelligent, articulate, and generous. My Sister is my mentor; I covet (although I know I shouldn't) her all-around "abilities". I strive to be half the debater, the professional, the generous, loyal, loving woman that she is. Someday I hope my big sister will be half as proud of me as I am of her.

My Brother-In-Law is the most ambitious man I know. He is dedicated, thoughtful and witty. He and my Sister make a good team, together they are what the general public might refer to as a "power couple". I admire his ability to persevere through all obstacles; his perseverance is what makes him the thoughtful, funny, fun man that he is.

My Brother is the most loyal man I know. He is spiritual, loving and truly knows who he is (something I find hard to come by in your average 28 year old bachelor)! I admire his honesty, his willingness to take care of any child that comes his way - known and unknown, met in the park that day - and I admire his unwavering dedication to those he loves.

My Richard is the the most thoughtful man I know. He is wise beyond his years, funny as hell and as kind as my father. I am lucky to have met him, I am lucky to share my life with him, I am lucky to be able to introduce him and include him in my wonderfully imperfect family.

And that's what we are - so wonderfully imperfect and perfect all at the same time. I am grateful that each of them have helped shape the woman I am and I hope with all my heart they are proud of me like I am of them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Farewell to the Old Me

I often feel like I am working way too hard to be optimistic because that's what people have to come to expect of me. The "former cynic" is now the uber-productive, positive, ever-efficient employee, coach, daughter....

I used to swear a mile a minute - now Richard laughs at me because I use "fudge" as an expletive rather than my former favourite.

I used to drink insane amounts of alcohol on a much too regularly basis and then make a fool of myself on the dance floor- now I have three beers a month. Maybe?! And dance?! I can't remember the last time I danced with no inhibition.

Bedtime used to be arbitrary, I was lucky if I made it near a bed by 2am - now if I'm not in bed by 10:30pm I feel anxious, I worry how I am going to be productive at work the next day, I worry if I am going to manage to get enough sleep because lord know what would happen if I didn't get eight hours of sleep a night.

My life used to be chaotic, mind-boggling to some...always off to the campus bar to meet friends for a pint, or to the library where I always managed to turn studying into happy hour...I was a social-butterfly (as my brother used to call me).

Now I am the anti-thesis of a social-butterfly.

And a part of me misses it... I know all this natural slowing-down is part in parcel the "growing-up" process, but I struggle some days with feeling like I've lost a part of me. I miss the old me, the natural social director, always ready for a good time.

I don't miss however, the hang-overs, the poor choices that always managed to make me feel even sicker than the brutal hangover. I don't miss the poor self-esteem associated with seeing my self-worth reflected in how attractive others thought I was or wasn't. I don't miss the knot in my stomach that this lifestyle left me with.

What I love about my life now is the security in knowing I have my self-esteem back, no more looking for love in all the wrong places...knowing my worth I was able to find and accept the most wonderful love of my life, without that moment of self-realization I never would have been able to accept Richard's affections willingly and lovingly. For that I am incredibly grateful...

Now I just need to work on getting over the grandma-syndrome, I don't want to be old before my time and I think that's what's worrying me right now. I know a part of all this is living in rural Ontario where the night life and the social circles are somewhat limited. But I just want to be able to swear like a normal 26 year old woman again, I want to go to bar and have a good time past 11pm, I want to have a "normal" social life...

So to start off the resolutions I am going to swear...

Damn you rural living, look what you've done to me!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Doozy

One of my gymnasts brought in some new music to listen to in the gym. I thought goodness gracious we have a smart kid on our hands - sick of the music, she brings her own.

Much to my chagrin, she had brought in a Hannah Montana cd. I put it in because I felt I had to reward the conniving little upstart!

After training, one of my eight year olds ran up to me and informed me she "believed" she had a lot in common with Hannah Montana. To which my response was "Oh you do, do you??"

It was all I could come up with....

Monday, January 21, 2008

100 Things

About Myself

1) I started wearing glasses at the age of 4; I had next to no bridge on my nose, so my glasses would slide down to the tip and instead of pushing them back up I would stare at whomever was talking to me over-top my glasses much to everyone's amusement and frustration.
2) Also at the age of 4, I decided I wanted to be a music teacher when I grew up.
3) At the age of six my favourite songs were "We Are The Champions" by Queen and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leopard.
4) I bite my nails obsessively, and strangely it's not a nervous habit, it's just simply an unconscious one.
5) I wore contacts from the age of 14 to 24 - My eyes couldn't handle it so I have gone back to glasses.
6) I learned my directions, North, South, East and West, before I learned my left and my right.
7) My Favourite junk food is ketchup chips, but it must be Humpty Dumpty Ketchup chips (no other ones will do).
8) I love Joni Mitchell.
9) I have 77 subscriptions in my Google Reader - please tell me people that you have more!!
10) I sang Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da in a grade seven talent show.
11) I like to think I am a good cook.
12) I have never broken a bone.
13) But I am often sick.
14) I'm asthmatic and because of that when I get a cold it usually turns into bronchitis.
15) I stick my tongue out when I'm concentrating.
16) I hate my handwriting.
17) I think most 12 year olds have better handwriting than I do.
18) I watch way too many re-runs of "What Not to Wear".
19) I watch way too much TLC as a general.
20) I have watched "Centre Stage", "Dirty Dancing", and "Circle of Friends" at least 20 times each.
21) I have read every book in the "Anne of Green Gables" Series at least 8 times each.
22) I cry reading particularly meaningful greeting cards.
23) I hug my significant other (Rich) at least 20 times a day.
24) I tell Rich at least 20 times a day that I love him.
25) My favourite candy are sour keys.
26) I don't really like chocolate.
27) My favourite carbohydrate is rice.
28) I could eat (good) sushi seven days a week.
29) I order the strangest pita ever when I go to Pita Pit - Chicken breast, cooked on the grill with green peppers, green olives and hot sauce - in the pita I get lettuce, cucumbers, sprouts, tzaitki sauce, feta cheese and a little more hot sauce. That order, to me anyway, is the perfect pita.
30) Rich swears I am obsessed with olives and hot sauce.
31) I have a huge family!!! Seriously! My Mom has 10 siblings, my Dad has 10 siblings. I have 32 first cousins.
32) On my Mother's side of the family my brother, sister and I are the 3 oldest grandchildren.
33) I am Canadian and obsessed with all things Canadian.
34) My heritage is half Portuguese and half Irish.
35) When I was 7 my Parents took our family to Portugal for the first time.
36) The things I remember most about the trip were riding my great-grandfather's donkey...
37) Going to a water park where lifeguards caught little kids at the bottom of slides (apparently parents let children go down the slides when they can't swim - this bothered me to no end because I was always a strong swimmer for my age)...
38) And getting up early with my Dad in the village where he spent most of his young life and visiting the bakers of the community (they baked their bread in a stone oven).
39) When I was 11 my Mother took my Brother, Sister and I to visit family in England and Ireland.
40) My Dad couldn't come because he couldn't get the time off work.
41) My favourite thing about that trip was going horse-back riding with my cousins in the rain.
42) I also loved playing laser-tag in London, climbing over a fence to visit a castle after visiting hours, and going body surfing in Cornwall.
43) I was a competitive gymnast for many years.
44) If you read my blog you well know I coach competitive and recreational gymnastics.
45) I would have an iv drip of coffee in me at all times if possible.
46) I like beverages as a general.
47) Throughout the day I can almost always be found with a drink in my hand.
48) My favourite drinks are coffee (obviously), water, pepsi, and red wine. (that one you would never see in my hand at work though! - the other 3 are almost always in hand.)
49) I twirl my hair.
50) When I was younger I used to cuddle with my Mom and twirl her hair.
51) My full name is Katrina Rose
52) My Parents always called me Katie, or Katie Rose.
53) Today most people call me Kate.
54) Rich's family calls me Kat because Rich knew too many Kate's and didn't want to confuse his family.
55) I have an absurd amount of nicknames.
56) Most of them are innapropriate! So I won't list them here.
57) When I was younger I would read about 3 books a week.
58) Most evenings you could find curled up in an armchair reading some sort of young adult fiction.
59) I still read an awful lot.
60) My favourite things to read are Canadian Fiction, Chick-Lit, Political Biographies, Historical and Political Non-Fiction...and some Kid Lit thrown in there for good measure.
61) Right now I am finishing the last Harry Potter.
62) I talk a lot.
63) When I was a kid teachers would have to cut me off rather forcefully to get me to be quiet.
64) I would end up sitting alone - a lot - or they'd just stick me at the front of the class.
65) I've been to New York City once.
66) I was sick the entire time.
67) The only thing that seemed t0 be wrong with me was I couldn't keep food down.
68) No, I was not pregnant!
69) On that trip, I was sick in the Empire State Building, on Ellis Island, in Central Park and in the MET.
70) Even though I was sick all over NYC, I fell and in love with the city and am aching to go back!
71) The first time I went to Boston I had bronchitis.
72) I fell in love with Boston too.
73) My favourite soup is Clam Chowder.
74) The best Clam Chowder I have ever had was at Legal Seafood in Boston.
75) Runner-up in the best Clam Chowder contest is a local restaurant here where I live - the place is called Molly & O.J.'s.
76) I have seen a lot of movies in recent weeks.
77) I was really suprised at how much I liked 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl.
78) I rented and watched The Namesake and loved that as well.
79) I was a big fan of the book.
80) The movie is the best adaption of a book that I have ever seen.
81) My favourite Canadian cities are Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
82) I also love Toronto.
83) I don't particularly enjoy rural Canada.
84) It's kinda boring...
85) I think my city would be a lot more exciting with a Starbucks!
86) And some fantastic new restaurants!
87) I am incredibly anal at times.
88) I HATE being late.
89) Because of that I am almost always 5 minutes early for everything.
90) I have a pretty decent memory.
91) I remember birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, what people were wearing when I met them, people's childrens names....and on and on....
92) Rich, my family, my close friends mean the world to me - if you're special to me I do my best to share that with you because I never want you to forget that.
93) I would do anything for any of them.
94) My Parents have been together since they were 15 years old. They have been married for 31 years and are the best example I know of how to make a marriage work.
95) I am thankful for everything they have taught me.
96) I think it's incredibly important to live life in the moment.
97) My hopes and dreams for the future are worn on my sleeve.
98) I'm excited to live my life according to my plans.
99) Thankfully, I am surrounded by the best people I know.
100) I honestly believe my life is about as perfect as it gets.


I have been really busy lately (work, coaching, volunteering, family responsibilities have kept me running at breakneck speeds) and this past weekend was the first weekend where I had absolutely no reponsibilities and believe me, I relished in that.

Friday night after I was done coaching gymnastics I rented four movies (yes I said, four - no, all four have not been watched! 2 though, have been). Friday after I coached I watched a movie with Richie - Saturday I spent most of the day in my pj's - I watched tv, almost finished reading Harry Potter, made a yummy dinner with Rich, and watched the second movie - Sunday I had brunch with my family, ran errands, went to the movies to see 27 Dresses with my cousin - and then my cousin and I tried out a new recipe - and three of us enjoyed dinner while watching The Amazing Race.

The weekend was fabulously indulgent and I loved every second of it. Honestly, I needed the release, I needed a weekend where I did nothing but enjoy myself. Rich and I ARE going away the first weekend in February for some much needed alone time. But this past weekend was all about simple indulgence...and boy was it nice.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

When He's Done Playing Politics

I think Dennis Kucinich and his lovely wife should move to Canada. I swear, this is where he belongs, Canada is his long lost home. (Just like Ireland is mine! - More about that another day)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cheers 2008

While I agree New Years Resolutions are bit of poo-poo; fodder if you will for the junk pile of broken dreams, I still try to put together a list of yearly goals. I try to ensure that my goals are manageable and to be honest, simple (otherwise I abandon goals shortly after instating them).

To that end; my manageable and simple goals for 2008 are:

  1. Find a professional mentor (I recognize this is easier said than done but I imagine there are loads of leaders in the non-profit industry just aching for a young, energetic, dedicated protégée).
  2. Start saving for retirement (I am a year and a half behind my goal of starting an RRSP; I had planned to start one on my 25th birthday and that did not happen. I think I kept imagining that I needed an extra $500 to get started ; armed now with information I know that is not necessary so I will start one with whatever money I can throw together).
  3. Increase my charitable giving (My goal is to each month eliminate an unnecessary purchase and donate those dollars to a charity of choice - I'm thinking $30/mon is more than do-able).
So that's the list; short, simple - highly manageable me thinks. Wish me good-luck people!