Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'll Never Grow Up!

Sometimes I wonder what young me would think of mature…well I’m not so mature so…older me. I never became the famous actress –stunt women- athlete- rock star I dreamed about as a kid. But let’s face it, that’s pretty unrealistic. And my real life accomplishments of licensed professional engineer, pro am Jet Ski racer, professional roller derby skater and balloon artist are quite impressive in their own way.

It’s funny how some of my big accomplishments were not even things I thought about when I was younger. I became a balloon artist since I was bored and looking for a new hobby. With my balloons I have been able to entertain people at parties for years now and have made some great Halloween costumes. This is not something I predicted as a kid but I am sure glad it happened.

Roller derby is another thing I never predicted. I knew nothing about this ‘sport’ when I overheard a coworker talking about her sister doing it for an up and coming TV show. I said it sounded like fun but I remember telling her ‘too bad I’m too small’. Well it turns out I wasn’t too small and I ended up quitting my first engineering job to pursue this fun career. It only lasted two years before the show was cancelled but I have no regrets for trying and the adventure and growth and lifelong friend I received from it.

Most importantly I still daydream, smile often, enjoy being silly and have a youthful attitude and energy much like my childhood. I’m good to my friends and always learning and growing as a person. Plus I drive a fast and fancy car. I’d have to think young me would be pretty happy with all of this. And if not than “piss off you young immature girl” since I like who I am just fine…just kidding there.

So I guess that it’s good to remember what you dreamed of in your youth but also to realize you never know what life will throw at you. Grab whatever opportunities you can and enjoy! Here’s hoping you are who you want to be or at least on your way there!

Cat “I’m a Big Kid Now” Cathy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I bought some new ‘barefoot’ running shoes the other day. I know this sounds like an odd joke but its true. They’re running shoes that are ‘barely there’ (reminds me of bra adds) since the shoes are light and don’t really provide arch and foot support. If you’ve seen them you would probably remember since they usually have the individual toes cut out so they stand out as rather peculiar looking.

I’m always looking at new inventions and ways to waste my money and I’ve had my eye on these for a while. The theory is that you don’t need all the support we currently use and your feet and legs will adjust to the barefoot approach. This seems to go against the current belief that you need loads of support for all the pounding and impact. I did a lot of reading up on the two schools of thought and neither really seems conclusive so I decided to find out for myself.

It’s actually quite interesting in my case since I love to go barefoot or in flip flops when ever I can. But when I buy running shoes the store employees always tell me I have pronation issues really badly and needed some highly supportive shoes. They always bring out extremely old lady looking shoes that I would never wear. Thankfully they always seem to have one or two that look ok. So now I have extremely padded shoes and almost the exact opposite barefoot shoes.

One of the first things I did with my new shoes was show my neighbor. He was excited and a wee bit jealous since I had the new lace up type which weren’t even available in North America until a few weeks previous…or so he informed me. He’s a big fan in case you haven’t guessed that.

The barefoot shoe company recommends a 90-10 split so you can get used not having support. I assume this was provided for some kind of liability issue. Since I hardly ever run I wasn’t sure this applied to me but I used them for working out at the gym, some off road running and a recent ropes challenge/zip line day. They were comfy and a great conversation piece. They worked well on the ropes challenge since I felt like I could grip better until I got to a metal cable I had to walk across. That one hurt a bit as did a root I stepped on when I was running in the woods.

I don’t run often and the jury is still out for me on these shoes…much like all the articles I found about barefooting. I guess they just want everyone to decide for themselves. But my next challenge for them will be rock climbing.

Cat “Ten Toes” Cathy

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I’m Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

I recently had a chance to do outreach for fifth graders and teach them a bit of engineering and science. I hadn’t prepared and I was more worried and uncomfortable about teaching this young age than the high school and college kids I’d spoken to in the past.

I planned on doing an old balloon experiment/trick my mom used to do with me when I was a kid. You put a balloon taped to a straw on a string then let go and watch it fly across the room. I remember this from my childhood but I didn’t know if it would stand the test of time. After all these kids had video games and computers and cell phones so what fun could a balloon on a string possibly be?

I arrived on campus with my string and duct tape to hold up the string. Somehow this struck me as funny and potentially hard to explain to authorities. But the ‘experiment’ worked well and was a big hit! It was a blast to teach young minds and I enjoyed the nostalgia from my childhood. I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her how well received her old science trick was.

The kids were adorable and I saw a few eyes light up when I explained the engineering behind the experiments and what I did for a living. I hope my small amount of time was enough to let them know Engineering is a career option and maybe encourage them to try it. Sometimes you just don’t know what your options are until someone informs you. So if you get the chance to teach young’ins I say go for it. It will be a fun day, good growth experience for you and I don’t think you can put a price on helping another person to learn and grow.

Cat “Class Dismissed” Cathy

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the Christmas holiday season! I know for many people there’s a lot of stress due to money worries and buying gifts. But I find the best gift of all is the gift of time. So instead of getting presents for everyone I just do my group events and spend time with friends and family. It makes for a fun stress free holiday and brings in the true meaning of the holidays. It’s not about what you buy for someone and what they give you. It’s about spending time together, having fun, being good to each other and making memories.

I’ll pick up a few minor gifts for my closest BFFs but I’ll be spending most of my time away from malls doing the Santa stumble pub crawl, tacky Christmas outfit party, Christmas lights skates and bike rides plus many other fun outdoorsy adventures.

So think about your planned holiday activities. Are you enjoying the true spirit of the season? Does the season mean a new big screen TV or fun times with family and friends? I’ve made my choice and offer it here as an alternative to consider. But only you can decide what’s best for you and your family. Make sure its based on what you want and not what marketers have told you should want to be happy…after all they only make money by making you not happy with what you currently have.

Cat ‘Deck those Halls’ Cathy