Family

Just show up

Just show up 3

After a nearly a week of wearing ridiculous pajamas, eating various forms of candy for breakfast, and indulging in more than my fair share of fruitcake, I’m back to blogging. While I always enjoy celebrating Christmas with my family, it feels good to return to my everyday routine after six days of sugar, sleeping in and…well…more sugar.

It also felt good to get back to the gym. Let’s just say my “healthy holiday habits” involved swapping the eggnog I typically pour over my Christmas Crunch cereal on the morn of December 25th for a somewhat lighter option.

You may know it as whole milk.

(See why I used “somewhat”?)

And so, when my sister Hayley encouraged me to join her at the gym for a Saturday night workout, I knew I couldn’t (and more importantly, shouldn’t) say no.

I didn’t want to go. I was tired, sluggish and didn’t like the idea of messing up the hairdo I had so painfully styled just a few hours earlier. My exhausted body was yearning for some sleep, but even I realize that that going to bed at six-thirty on a Saturday night is completely effing ridiculous.

“Fine,” I told her, “I’ll come with…but I’m just going to walk on the treadmill. I haven’t worked out in four days, and I need to ease my body back into things. Plus, I don’t want to get my hair sweaty.”

We arrived at Hayley’s training gym (she’s a competitive rower), and were delighted to have the space to ourselves. Hayley plugged in my iPhone and blasted my Spotify workout playlist at full volume. I slowly schlepped over to the treadmill, wishing I had opted to stay home and get some shut eye.

And then I heard it. The song that for some reason I’m still unable to pin point, motivates me unlike anything else.

(“Let’s Get It Started” by The Black Eyed Peas. Please, no judging.)

It’s virtualy impossible for me to “just walk on the treadmill” while that song is playing. I let out a knowing sigh. So much for not getting my weave sweaty.

Sixty minutes, 150 “wall balls” and a whole lotta kettle bell swings later, my hair was a hot mess. But the rest of me? The rest of me felt fantastic. I could practically feel the eggnog draining from body in the form of sweat. I was reminded of that “you never regret a workout” mantra.

I also realized that in life, sometimes the most difficult part of a challenge is simply showing up to face it. How many times have you dreaded going to the gym, only to get a phenomenal workout after forcing yourself to just get it over with? What about not wanting to go into the office, only to have a productive and fulfilling day after you arrived?  And who hasn’t procrastinated on cleaning out the garage or sorting through a messy closet only to realize the process and end-result were enjoyable? I find this concept particularly true in blogging — not all my posts are off-the-walls amazing, but I make a point of posting five days a week, whether I feel like it or not. Ironically, the days I don’t want to write have spawned some of my most popular entries. Go figure.

Success in all areas of life is typically the product of consistency. You don’t always have to be at your best. You don’t always have to feel excited or motivated. You don’t even have to like it. You simply have to show up. Consistency produces momentum that leads to results. Period.

As I think of my New Year’s Resolutions (which I’ll be sharing tomorrow), I’m realizing that every single one of them can be achieved if I “Just Show Up”. I’ve been wanting to learn a new language for years. Yet have I researched tutors or booked any classes? Nope. While becoming fluent in a new tongue isn’t the easiest task in the world, could I do it if I committed to a one-hour class once a week? I’d sure like to think so! If I take the time to book the classes and “Just Show Up” I should be butchering another language with confidence in no time.

It’s incredible the things you can learn about yourself from something as simple as a trip to the gym. In fact, I think “Just Show Up” might just be my new mantra for 2014.

(It’s between that and “Say No to Egg Nog”.)

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Katranss

Katranss 2

Out of all three of my siblings, my younger brother Janss and I undoubtedly bear the most striking resemblance. Our baby photos are identical, as are our profiles, hair color and — as much as I hate to admit it — tiny little teeth.  Perhaps most terrifying is when I get ready in the morning only to look in the mirror and catch a glimpse of Janss–wearing mascara–staring back at me.

(Perhaps the most ironic piece of this entire story is that Janss looks nothing like our other brother, who just so happens to be his twin.)

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who notices our sibling likeness. While visiting Seattle this summer, I posted a photo to Facebook of Janss, eating Chinese takeout in Gasworks park with his bare hands. (Not by choice — he’d forgotten to grab utensils.)

janss

When I returned to ‘Sota, one of my friends mentioned the photo.

“I didn’t know you had a brother!” she exclaimed. “You guys look exactly alike! When I first saw the photo, I told my boyfriend, ‘Whoa!! Katrina cut her hair off and got glasses!’ It took me a good ten seconds to realize it wasn’t you.”

I took this as a compliment–mostly because Janss is really skinny and has better eyebrows than me.

(And let’s face it — eating sweet and sour pork on a park bench with my fingers is clearly something I would do.)

This week, Janss’ girlfriend had us over for a lovely dinner party. (With utensils.) My siblings and I quickly found ourselves discussing the matching faces of Janss and Katrina. As is typically the case, my sister Hayley — the brains of the family — experienced a stroke of genius.

“Katrina — you should do Janss’ makeup and see how much you can really make him look like you. We can do it when everyone’s together at Christmas!”

I’m not sure who was more excited…myself or Janss. I mean…what better way to celebrate the Messiah’s birth than slathering my younger brother’s face with tinted moisturizer and high pigment eyeshadow!? Christmas can’t come soon enough.

The following morning, Janss returned to the topic. “The best part is that I can probably fit into some of your clothes!” he mused.

This? This right here is exactly why I love my family.

(And in case you’re wondering…no. I will not be getting a pixie cut and glasses come Yuletide. This is operation Katranss….not Jatrina. Duh.)

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A senior with a sledgehammer

A senior with a sledgehammer 0

Over the weekend, my father Mark turned 65. Being that I was back in Seattle for work, I had the privilege of planning and attending his celebration of senior-hood.

Mostly, I was just excited to witness this.

Señor Senior

Señor Senior

And this…

pinata

True Story: Mark broke the sledgehammer on the piñata.

And, perhaps most memorably, this:

ducks

See where I get it from?

Happy Birthday, Dad!  And thank you for giving all of us hope that the road to 65 can be paved with tequila and duck calls instead of dentures and prune juice.

P.S. Sorry for filling your piñata with Werther’s originals. It just seemed…well…appropriate, given your age and all.

 

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Squirrel Tail: Part 2

Squirrel Tail: Part 2 3

I’m picking up where my last post left off, so if you’ve somehow missed the story of how I discovered I live next to a taxidermist, or the unfortunate account of my father Mark trying to salvage a decomposing rodent from the middle of our road, you might want to spend a few minutes catching up. This post may seem extremely bizarre otherwise.

(Although let’s face it…the whole thing is strange regardless of whether or not you know the back story.)

The moment I realized Mark had shown up on the neighbor’s porch against my will with an expiring squirrel carcass in hand, I was irate. It’s a very good thing Scott’s dad and stepmom had come over for dinner — the whole ‘don’t act up in front of the company’ rule kept me from going BSC (Bat S*** Crazy) and launching into a roadkill-themed family feud for the ages.

Instead, I calmly picked up the phone and dialed Mark’s cell.

(But only because my in-laws were present.)

He answered after two rings.

“Hi, Katrina! What’s up?”

“Dad,” I asked sternly. “Where are you?” This was merely a formality. I knew precisely where Mark had ventured off to.

“Oh, I’m just over at your neighbor’s place!” he responded cheerfully. “He’s helping me with this squirrel I found!”

“I hope you’re not embarrassing me, Dad.” I muttered with calculated control. My blood was boiling.

“Of course I’m not! We’re having a great time! We’ve been talking about Alaska, and he even gave me a house tour! You should see some of the cool stuff he’s got over here!”

“Okay,” I responded coolly, “But do you think you could make your way back home now? Supper is ready and Scott’s family is already here. He’s pulling the first pizza off the grill as we speak.”

“Oh, yep! Sorry, Trina! I’ll be right over.”

Sure enough, the promise of fresh pizza had him back on the Taylor premises in a flash. Breezing through the front door, he greeted Scott’s Dad before launching into an extremely disturbing version of show and tell, featuring the squirrel.

“I found out it’s a female!” he bragged. “I think he might be pregnant…I mean…just look at how squishy his belly is!”

“Her, Dad. Her.” I corrected.

“Sorry. Her. But seriously…feel his belly! It’s completely bulbous and swollen. I think he might have been pregnant.”

Mark began massaging the poor creature’s torso vigorously to illustrate his point. Scott walked by with a steaming pizza, rolling his eyes.

“Mark…I think the swelling may be due to the fact that the animal has been lying dead in a hot garage for over twelve hours.” Scott’s Dad quietly offered.

*******

Mark later informed us it was too late to save the squirrel. “Would have had to put him in the freezer right away.” At this point, I gave up on correcting him in regards to the critter’s gender.

While the squishy abdomen couldn’t be saved, Mark was delighted to discover the tail was salvageable. I learned this the hard way when I caught him wandering around our kitchen the following morning, a limp squirrel tail delicately resting in his left hand.

“Dad! What are you doing in our kitchen with that thing?!” I shrieked. Visions of contracting Mad Squirrel Disease from my Keurig flashed through my germophobic imagination.

Relax, Trina,” he crooned, “I did everything outside and have been very careful. I just need a little pouch and some salt to pack the tail in so I can bring it home with me.”

I groaned in disgust. While I’m normally not an accomplice to such ill-fated endeavors, I knew the alternative was a kitchen full of rabies.

Don’t move!” I snapped. “I’ll get everything for you.”

I fetched a large ziplock bag and heaping portion of kosher salt while Mark looked on eagerly. I couldn’t help but grin. How in the world are these the genes that created me?

On second thought, please don’t answer that.

“I sure hope they don’t think this salt I’m curing the tail with is cocaine when I go through airport security,” Mark mused.

“Trust me Dad,” I warned, “TSA confusing you for a drug smuggler is the least of your worries.”

“I don’t know…” he muttered skeptically, “This is probably going to look pretty suspicious.”

I’m counting the fact that he realizes that as a very, very small victory.

(Along with the fact that no one in the house appears to have rabies.)

(Yet.)

*******

I’ve since learned that the tail made it back to Washington State without incident.

Still trying to decide if whether I’m horrified, or impressed with that.

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