Monday, December 31, 2007

Ireland goes Ghetto

Well, the hoodies made it to Ireland. Husband bought hoodies for the Shinkins side of the family too. And here we are, all gangsta.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Today is our last day in Boston. Tomorrow we pack up and head to Ireland. I love Boston, actually I love cities, especially old cities. They have so much more character, history and personality then the shiny new ones. Boston also reminds me very much of Dublin. The layout is very similar, messy. There is no real logical grid system like that of New York, so I am guaranteed to get very lost. But it’s only through getting lost that you find yourself in places you didn’t expect or even think to go to.

This is what happened to husband and I on Christmas Day morning. We got up early to go for a jog…. crazy? Maybe, considering there was snow everywhere and it was cold. But off we went. We headed towards a jogging trail that ran around the perimeter of a reservoir. Once we got there, we discovered it was mostly snow and ice. There was the odd stretch of a dirt and grass path peeping through, but not enough to get a good run. So we decided to just walk. At one point we spotted a big football stadium and waddled across the ice to have a nose around.

It took us a minute, but we realized we were in fact on the Boston College Campus. Home of the infamous “Doug Flutey Pass”, this will only make sense to my American friends. As you would expect on Christmas Day, the place was deserted. We had the campus all to ourselves. Huge stone buildings, giving a very serious, intimidating impression of the type of people and education that might go on here.

Close to the stadium was a long set of stone steps, all clear of snow and ice. So this was going to be our workout for the day. Running repeat steps. Which was a great idea, until you are on your 13th run up, then your starting to question your own logic.

But I managed to get some nice photos, I rarely go anywhere without my camera these days. Love the camera.

(me trying to get in agressive football stance on Boston College
Football Field)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Big Pimp'n

Here is the 2007 Christmas Family shot. Well, it’s husband’s side of the family, so technically its half the family. But if your wondering why we are all dressed in hoodies, its cos husband thought it would be a perfectly good idea to get us all hoodies for Christmas and in turn, we thought it would be perfect to wear them in our family shot. So there you go, Doyle family, gangsta style.
Only thing is, he didn't get one for himself, oops, spot the odd one out.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Donald Trump'n It.

We are currently en-route to Boston but had to make a connection at Newark, New Jersey..... booooo. But to put a positive spin on things, I am tip tapping on my slap-top (lap-top) from the Presidents Lounge. Yes, I am a high roller for a brief minute. Husband travels so much, that he has accumulated enough air miles to allow himself and a "friend", me, access to all the fancy schmancy lounges all the airports have to offer. So at least for today, I am not sitting at the gate waiting for my flight with the "common folk". I am sitting on a big comfy chair, with internet access, snack access, beverage access (alcoholic and non) and reading material access, to help ease my transition through this grueling Holiday travel process.....nice.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Excess Baggage

Days away. Christmas is just days away and in true Shinkins style, I am last minute riddled.
Husband and I are taking our show on the road this year. Christmas will be spent with his family in Boston. Then it’s onwards to Ireland to spend New Years with my family.

We’re not actually flying up to Bean Town until Christmas Eve, so right now our plan of attack is to finish getting all the gifts for his family, then worry about my family after Christmas. That and we really don’t fancy lugging suitcases full of gifts from one continent to another. Especially me. I am a serial over packer. I have never, ever learned to travel light. Which is weird, cos I travel a lot. But I’m forever bringing stuff “just in case”. For example, I better bring 3 pairs of jeans, 1. casual pair, 2.skinny, fancy going out jeans and 3. comfy travel type jeans. Honestly I would bring more but I really try to limit it to 3. Then there’s the shoes and boots. They really need a bag all to themselves there’s just so many. I have to have the ankle boots with the perfect rounded toe for my casual jeans. Then the knee-highs, its winter, I need my knee-highs, in both black and tan and lastly my Ugg type boots. Perfect for traipsing around a mall or city, basically whatever will require me to be on my feet for long periods outside in the elements. Then I may throw in a token dress, just in case husband and I end up getting a last minute invite to something that requires me to wear a dress. But I also must pack a second option, just in case its too cold or the event is too fancy for casual, but not fancy enough for a dress. So this is how my brain operates when faced with the packing.

Obviously, I will end up over my weight limit when I check in and it’s for that reason I need to choose the person I check in with very carefully. Experience has shown, at least MY experience has shown, that the male check in persons have always been more inclined to turn a blind eye to the odd 10 lb over the limit than the female persons. The men will listen to the sob story and take pity. The women will sit there stone faced, lips pursed tightly together and mouth raised a bit in one corner, waiting for me to get to the end of my lies and pleading and then say “that’ll be $75 mam, have a nice flight”. Bitch. Wait till she needs something from me one day.

So that’s where we’re at, stress all round. Last minute gifts and packing panic. I just want Christmas to be here already so the build up just ends and it’s too late. What ever we have is what we have. Then I can sleep for a few days and get ready to do it all again in Ireland!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Tuesday has fast become my favorite day of the week. It’s a day off work, excellent start, but it’s also the day myself and my friend, Mike, drive down to Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s equivalent of Central Park and do a tough ass training session. And yes, I did mention that I am a “retired” athlete, so if that’s the case, why am I talking about training sessions?? Well, I have in fact retired from competing, but I’m not finding it as easy to retire from training. Initially, once I had actually decided to step away from competitive track (a horrendous, awful, emotional time in my life), I was able to hang up the runners, spikes and lycra and tell myself I was done, that I will never put that stuff on again, nor will I set foot on a track. Well, that might have lasted about 2 –3 months. When I started to lose the firmed and toned physique I had taken for granted for all those years of my career, then, I felt some sorted of action was necessary. That, and the fact that my “skinny” jeans were struggling to get past my thighs.

So out came the runners and lycra again, and living next to a National Park, I decided to start running some of the trails. Around this time too, Mike was flirting with the idea of getting himself back in shape, so we became training partners. Fast forward to today and we have competed in three 10k road races together and have plans to do some more, maybe even a marathon. So I guess you can say, Yes, I’m handling this retirement thing very well!

Anyway, on Tuesdays to mix things up a bit we head into the city and do a workout on a special half mile dirt running track they have laid out for all the active city folks. We do some repeat mile and half’s, followed by some 1 mile repeats, followed by some half mile repeats. Basically we work the crap out of ourselves, and we love it. We are not happy unless we are panned out on the ground with legs that give way once we try to stand. Adrenaline is so addictive. Parents, talk to your kids.

But as a big treat/reward for all our self abuse, we head to a little breakfast place called “The Flying Biscuit” and stuff ourselves full of eggs, pancakes and grits (creamy, sloppy, baby food type substance that I absolutely love. For all you Irish out there, it’s similar to porridge, but not exactly). We spend the whole brunch telling ourselves how much we deserve it and what an excellent, masochistic session we just endured. Once our buzz has settled and the reality of how f*#ked we are settles in, then we just wonder how we will get through the rest of the day? The answer is, in slow motion. We will be operating in slow-mo for the remainder of the day, cos all our energy was left in Piedmont Park.

But its our ritual and we love it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cyber Slap

If you've read my blog below, you will notice that I used a very festive picture to accompany my rant. Since I didn't have anything Christmas'y in my own photo collection, I did a "Google" search and was taken to a website where I found that adorable little Snowman, perfect, and without a second thought, I added the picture to my blog.
This morning I wake up and check my "comments". There I find the very first comment to be from a Mr. Rolf Hicker, giving me a good cyber slap for using his picture without permission.

Mr. Hicker, you are right, you absolutely deserve credit, if not an award for the cutest little Snowman I've ever seen. And know that in the future, if I need to "borrow" any other pictures for my blog, your website will be my first stop, but it will definitely have an accompanying shout out to the photographer.

So for all of you out there who love and appreciate good photos, I want you to go to and prepare to see some amazing shots.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Don't Do Crowds

So yesterday I finally made a start on my Christmas shopping. Yes, I know we are approaching the 1 week mark and its horrendous that I am not more organized, but this is the story.
I get so overwhelmed. The long list of people I need to buy for. What to actually buy for my long list. The traffic I’ll have to sit in just to get to the mall (shopping center). The parking merri-go-round I have to join in order to find a parking spot. The mall itself with all the angry, hostile people, just like me, who have left everything until the last minute. It’s a mare. My brain gets over stimulated and flustered. I lose track of what my plan of action was and I can’t think of one person or one gift to buy. All I know is I just want to get the hell out of there. Seriously, I don’t do crowds.

But I make an effort to breath and regain focus. I summon the people on my list to the fore of my mind. I then try to match that person with the perfect gift and from there, try to determine which store I need to head towards. Its sort of like one of the games they make the kids do on Sesame Street. If I am successful and by successful I mean, find the store and even manage to get the gift, then my confidence begins to take a turn upwards and my anxiety levels begin to dip and I feel like I am making progress. I can then, just about find the wherewithal to give it another go. So I think, think, “come on brain, who else is on my list”? I’m walking along at a pretty good pace, lost in my mental search, behind some ladies carrying loads and loads of bags, when all of a sudden the ladies decide to come to a sudden halt. I’m still inside my own head, so I don’t notice until I’ve already slammed into the back of them. I am so annoyed. I want to yell at them, “What were you thinking? You were in the fast lane, you can’t just stop, you need to put on your indicator and move off to the side so as not to disrupt the flow of oncoming persons. Honest to f*#king god.” But the ladies just turn and say “oh… I’m sorry”. Great, now I can’t yell at them without looking like a complete psycho.
I accept the apology and move on. I head into another store. Just gliding around the shelves waiting for the perfect gift for someone, anyone, to jump off the shelf at me. But I can see nothing but people. I’m getting clipped on the heels from strollers. I have arms reaching in front of me from all corners to pick up random items. I’m tired of hearing the words “excuse me” and “I’m sorry”. You know what, I’m sorry too. I can’t do this. I quit. I got one gift today. To me, in the moment, that sounds like an excellent start. So peace out y’all. I’m off to my car to sit in 7 hours of traffic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today is my Mother’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MA.
She is 54. I know some of you may be reading this and thinking, “why on earth are you telling her age”? Well its cos my mother has never made a secret of it. She has no problem announcing to the world how old she is. She is even guilty of actually adding on a year. I know! As a women who is very cautious of divulging my own age, I think its crazy. But she is adamant that her age has little to do with anything, it’s all about how she feels. And my mother is non-stop. She has boundless energy. Is excitable as a child and never runs out of conversation. That and she still has soft wrinkle free skin, bitch.
She and my dad have been married for 34 years and even my dad will admit that she is as reckless today as she was when they were 17 years old.

But anyways, Mam, have a great day. Remember, its all about you today.

I’ll see you in 2 weeks.

Love Ka.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Where's my girls at???

Today Fanz is headed back to Hungary.
Let us pause for a moments silence..........................................................................
Fanz, I really enjoyed having you around. Someone who shares a boot fetish like mine is very rare. Girls night will not be the same without you, the track will be less bright without your spontaneous off the wall comments. And the fact that you swear almost as much as me, well that just makes us a perfect match.

Have a Happy Christmas in the North Hungarian Pole and always remember, "boots with the fur" will never go out of style and you should "Get Naked" if and when the urge ever takes you.

Bye bye honey.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Farewell Dinner

So my friend Silja has been staying with us for 3 weeks. Silja, as the name suggests, is not a local girl. She is from Iceland. But we know each other cos husband was her coach, I want to say for 2 yrs, but I think it was only 1. Oh, by the way, she’s an athlete and runs the 400m hurdles and the point of her visit was to get her powerful ass out of the freezing winters of Iceland to a climate that would allow her to actually workout without having to wear clothing resembling a hunting caveman.
So anywho, today she heads back to Iceland and another friend of ours, Fanz, again as the name implies, not local, but from Hungary, well, she goes back to Hungary on Monday. Fanz is also an athlete, she does the pole-vault and 100m hurdles.

Ok, now that we are up to speed on the main characters, we can proceed. So myself (Ireland), Silja (Iceland), Fanz (Hungary) and Mike (a friend who actually is local) headed out for some dinner and drinks. We decide that tonight we are going to the fabulous places. The fabulous bars, the fabulous restaurants, the fabulous clubs. Right in the middle of downtown Atlanta.
We start at a place called “The Palms”. Rumor had it Bobby & Whitney (Houston) loved to hang out and have the odd domestic right there at The Palms. So we thought it would be an excellent idea to kick the night off with a few scoops (drinks) whilst chatting with our future best friends. However, there was no sign of the “happy” couple anywhere. So we had a cocktail, grabbed our purses and headed on to the fabulous restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was about 400m away so in a very un-American move, we decide to walk. Yes y’all, I said walk. We are strutting in a style very similar to the ladies of Sex and the City. The shoes I was wearing were not very foot friendly, really, really not made for walking, but they looked so hot and that’s all that mattered.

Dinner was soooo good. The server, not so good. Our chatty, girly vibe appeared to be the last thing on earth he wanted to deal with. We tried to be on our best behaviour each and every time he came to the table. But as the vino and cocktails made their way to our brain we were unable to hold back and Silja decided to ask him if he was having a bad day. He replied, “No, do I seem like I’m having a bad day?” In unison we all said, “YES”. From there Mr. Server stepped up his game and by way of apology brought us a free dessert and had the chef write “Farewell” in chocolate on the plate in honor of the girls. So sweet and more importantly, tip secured.

We ended our night at a fabulous club and now I’m just back from dropping Silja off at the airport. I’m sad to see her go. I live in a house, which is always full to the brim with men. Lots and lots of testosterone all the time. It was so nice to have another female around to laugh, talk and be a complete drama queen with. Husband has a big habit of being all “practical” when I want to get carried away on a drama queen rant. It’s a real buzz kill. But not my female friends, they totally allow me to indulge in this side of my personality. What great friends.

Anyway, bye bye Sil. I miss you. Have a great Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An introduction, of sorts.

Hey and welcome to my blog. Why you may ask do I have a blog? Well, a couple of reasons really.
1. The world and its mother (Irish slag for everyone out there) has a blog and are spilling the beans on their lives for the whole of cyber world to read.
B. I now live in the US but all my family and a lot of my friends remain back in Ireland. I know, can you believe they didn’t all up and move with me?? Selfish. So this is a great way for them to keep up with what I get up to.
2. Sending millions of e-mails per week in an effort to keep those near and dear to me up to date on my world can get pretty exhausting.
C. I have a lot of friends who have set up blogs and I absolutely love to read their posts. It’s so much fun and a great way to avoid doing anything productive on the computer.
4. Lastly and probably the real reason is I just love to talk about myself. I never get tired of it. I love to vent, chat, ponder, analyze, laugh, blab on and on about the biggest and teeniest things that go on in my world from day to day.

So there you have it. Four simple little reasons.
There is however something I’d like to mention right off the bat. Just so your not surprised when it happens.

I swear. I curse. I have a potty mouth. Whatever way you put it, its not great. I have been known to drop F-bombs, S-bombs, B-bombs and every other verbal bomb you can think of. I can’t help it. Its part of my DNA. Actually, I think its part of every Irish person’s DNA. Its not lady like, I know and I have tried to quit, but it never lasts. I am capable of controlling it when necessary. For example, family gatherings, weddings, reunions etc. Job interviews, formal setting, business meeting, you get the picture. But it has to be conscious and I must, must stay on top of it the whole time. As soon as I let my guard down and am among friends and family members where I feel safe and relaxed, then out they pop.

I will absolutely do my best to curtail any extensive use of my bad language, but just know that its going to happen. So you can choose to be offended by it, or you can just accept it in the tongue and cheek manner in which it happens. We Irish mean no harm with our swearing, it just helps us deliver our thoughts, feelings and opinions in a more passionate colorful manner.

You have been warned.