Welcome to A Meaningful Existence!

27 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

Tree in High Park, TorontoEveryone says that you should be personable on your blog. It makes you seem more like a real person.  As if there’s some robot or something behind my site. :-)

I don’t particularly like sharing personal details about myself, because, you know, there are some crazies out there on the internet.

Plus, what you put out on the internet is going to be around forever. 

But I did want to try something different for a post and to get out of my comfort zone.  So, let’s get on with the sharing…

Here are 27 things you probably don’t know about me.

1. I’m the youngest of six children. I have 4 sisters (two are twins) and one brother.

2. My Mother is Italian and my Dad was Ukrainian. I took Italian for one semester in high school (my Mom was so happy!) and I also took Level I and II night courses in Spanish last year because I want to spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country sometime in my life.

3. I’m a firm believer in continuous education (I have a 4 years Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in GIS/Geography, a 1 year after-degree certificate in GIS, a 3 year Diploma in computer programming, and I spent 3 years of night school to obtain a 2nd certificate in GIS, another 2 years in night school for Project Management (obtained the Project Management Professional designation), among lots of other night classes and weekend classes). I like to think that I’m pretty technical.

4. I won a medal in college for graduating first in the my computer programming program (of about 30 people). There was a ceremony and everything. I was pretty proud since I beat out this other older guy for top marks. I can be pretty competitive sometimes. I found college to be fairly easy especially after attending university for four years.

5. I went back to school at 27 after being unemployed for 3 years (I graduated during the recession and thought I was so skilled. Having skills didn’t matter when no one was hiring) and I graduated at 29 as a computer programmer analyst. Everyone in high school had said that computers and programming was where the jobs were – they were right. I’ve never been laid off my entire IT career and even survived 3 rounds of layoffs at one company. 

6. I’m the first person on both sides of the family to graduate from University and work in a ‘corporate’ job and have a career.

7. I’ve had my own domain and namesake email address since 1997. I will probably keep them both until I die. I admit to ego surfing sometimes and I love knowing that my name comes up first on Google search results.

8. I’m an avid reader. I would rather be reading books than writing. I have literally thousands of books and don’t like to give them away or donate them. I usually buy new because when I tried using the library, pages were ripped out of books and they sometimes smelled bad. Although, I practically lived at the local public library when I was younger, I haven’t been back for years. I like to re-read books and if I remember a passage, I have to go and re-read the book again otherwise it will drive me nuts until I do.

9. I took Tai Chi Chuan lessons every Saturday for two years. I would love to take some kind of martial arts training. I admire people who have the discipline (and are in shape) to do that. I love watching Jet Li, Jason Stratham, and those tough guys in their action-fighting movies.

10. My favourite movie for the longest time was Romancing the Stone (now, it’s The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Fifth Element). I’ve seen the last three movies about 50 times each. Seriously.

11. The Ender’s series by Orson Scott Card are my favourite Sci-Fi books. I have read all of the Xanth books by Piers Anthony, too.

12. I took archery lessons during university and still have some of my bulls-eyes. I loved the sense of power using a bow and arrow gave me.

13. Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta series is my favourite mystery series and am addicted to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R.Ward. I will pay hard cover prices for J.R. Ward books because I usually can’t wait for the books to come out in paperback.

14. I’m most happy when I’m in a classroom learning something new.

15. I’m an animation-aholic. I love watching The Family Guy, Futurama, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, South Park (not so much anymore). I love the Disney and Pixar animation movies and have most of the Disney movies in VHS still. They used to release the older copies every ten years and I would snap them up as soon as they were released.

16. Have a touch of agoraphobia and it can be hard to leave my place sometimes. If I didn’t have to go to work every day, then there would be many days where I wouldn’t leave my place at all. I still struggle with it sometimes.

17. I started blogging in 2005 and wrote for 1.5 years. I stopped blogging when I broke up with my boyfriend and I couldn’t write about happy things when I was feeling depressed. It took a while to get over the break-up and by then it felt like it was too long to get back into it. Things have really changed since then in the blogosphere. It’s interesting to see who’s still around from back then. My other blogroll shows that most of the people are still blogging. I find that unbelievably interesting and I wonder where I would be now if I kept up with my site, too.

18. I was a Junior Ranger when I was 16 and spent a summer working at several provincial parks in Southern Ontario. This got me interested in the environment and I developed a passion for geography.

19. I wanted to marry a carpenter when I was younger because I was addicted to This Old House and renovation shows.  Actually, I still love watching shows having to do with home renovations, flipping, house make-overs, etc. I love HGTV and sometimes put the channel on and leave it on all day.

20. I don’t believe in guilt. People trying to guilt me into doing something almost never works. Either I will do what they ask because I want to or I won’t do it.

21. I’ve never owned a car. I’ve never really needed one since I lived on the subway line or I took the bus (or walked) to work. Plus, I’d rather put the $400+ monthly cost into my RRSPs and save for my future. I drive about once a year. I do admire people who are not intimidated by driving on those 8-lane major highways with tons of traffic. I do like to be a passenger though and would love to do a road trip across Canada.

22. I’m still friends with people that I met at university. Same with college. I’m ‘friends’ on Facebook with people from high school and even grade school. It amazes me how people can recognize me after so many years.

23.  I love chocolate and I don’t care who knows it. I think it’s the perfect food :-)

24. I’m not a natural blonde. My Mom had been telling me for years that I should ‘go blonde’ since blondes have more fun. I finally broke down and dyed my hair a few years ago and have never looked back. I should probably listen to my Mom more often :-)

25. I wanted to be a lifeguard and was a total water-baby when I was younger. I was told by a career counselor during high school that being a lifeguard wasn’t a viable profession. Then in university I wanted to be an volcanologist. I would love to go to Hawaii – not to spent time on the beach but to see the lava flows up close.

26. I swear a lot in real life. And, I talk with my hands. This probably has to do with being Italian and passionate about a lot of things. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself :-)

27.  I’ve never been married and I don’t have any children so you won’t get any marriage/kids stories from me. I don’t believe in settling in relationships and I probably value my independence too much. My Mom says she’s wants me to ‘settle down’ before she dies. I think she’ll still be around for quite a while :-)

Why 27? It seemed like a good number of things to share.

Speaking of not settling, did you know that Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The Art of Non-Conformity, came out today? I’m sure you’ve heard of him from around the internet, if not from my post recommending his Empire Building Kit. I also have bought some of his Unconventional Guides, including his Unconvential Guide to Working For Yourself and his Unconventional Guide to Freelancing 301. Plus,  I was also in his inaugural $100Biz forum class back in February. I believe in Chris’s message and I think it will resonate with you, too. He’s definitely not settling in life. Check him out, if you haven’t already.

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54 comments… add one

  • Yay! Thanks for sharing Karen. I would really love to get together one day and go through your books, swear up a storm and watch Family Guy. Haha. Seems like we still have a few things in common. Can there be booze involved though ;)

    I loved reading that!

    Reply
    • Hey Tracey,

      Yes, we definitely should get together before I head back East. Nice to know that we still have some things in common from when we were ‘much’ younger :-)

      Of course there can be booze involved :-)

      Reply
  • Hi Karen,
    It was a pleasure learning more about you. I may consider doing this on my site one day. ;)

    I am with when it comes to books. I love, love reading and books. I purchase my books new too. I like to write my name and the date of purchase inside the book.

    Thanks for sharing the info about Chris’s book. You know I’ll have to check it out! :)

    Take care,

    Evelyn
    .-= Evelyn´s last blog ..Always Follow Your First Mind =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Evelyn,

      Thank you. I felt a little aprehensive about sharing so much, but it’s kind of freeing, too. It’s nice to see the positive responses.

      Yes, check out Chris’s writings – he’s very motivational.

      Thanks,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Well, I feel like I know you a lot better than before. That’s a good thing – I love reading about people. Sometime we’ll have to talk about archery. I shot at the state level in target archery, umm many years ago.
    Thanks for sharing this Karen. You are quite an accomplished person.
    .-= Hal Brown´s last blog ..Those Darn Christians =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Hal,

      That would be interesting discussion. I can barely remember taking the lessons and practising. Neat that you shot at the state level. That must have been pretty tough competition.

      Thanks for the kind words,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Hi Karen,
    Thanks for sharing. I love your attitude about continuing your education — you are a real student of life! Life is really about creating ourselves anew and continually expanding. Realizing our superlatively creative nature is the highest plateau of living.

    BTW… I have a proclivity for a good curse word too.

    Reply
    • Hi Rob,

      Yes, I’m a firm believer in education, since it has afforded me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I think it’s important to go out and discover things and be exposed to new ideas, as much as you can.

      Thanks!
      Karen

      Reply
  • Now the info is out there… let the stalking begin. Actually these ‘get to know you’ pieces are very nice.

    I always love to hear what people are reading because of my love for reading myself. I have read both series you talked about, too. Ender’s Game was one of the best Sci Fi books ever. The rest of the series was decent but a little letdown IMO. I was really into the Scarpetta stories for a while, but haven’t read the last 3-4 books.

    I am of course looking forward to reading Guillebeau’s new book.

    Anyhow thanks for a very nice piece. :)
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Info Income Coaching Class Week 10 =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Scott! It looks like we’ve got a lot in common :-)

      Reply
  • hello karen,
    how are you?
    you’ve certainly gone beyond your comfort zone and it’s great to know the lady behind the blog.
    and for the degrees i salute your dedication and intellect
    even if you didnt state your were slightly competitive, your hardwork makes it obvious lol!!!
    i love jet li and i find it hard choosing between him and jackie chan.
    i really enjoyed reading this karen.
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day
    .-= ayo´s last blog ..The Eighth Edition Of The Life Skills Magazine Is Out Now!! =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Ayo,

      I’m well, thank you. It’s almost the weekend – Yeah!

      Yes, I can be pretty competitive. If I don’t think I can win at something, then it’s not worth competing :-) I do love Jackie Chan movies, too. He’s an all-around actor that can do many genres, not just martial art movies.

      Thanks and I hope you are having a fantastic week so far.
      Karen

      Reply
  • How fun to learn more about you and bravo for moving out of your comfort zone and sharing such great stuff here. Rewarding yourself with a one ounce square of organic dark chocolate sounds like a pretty darn good idea to me. :)
    .-= Clearly Composed´s last blog .. Nutrition Spotlight- The Autumn Salad =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Emma,

      Is it okay if I had some Russel Stover chocolates instead? :-)

      Thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot :-)

      Karen

      Reply
  • Hi Karen,

    It’s great to learn more about you! I’ve had similar feelings about being too revealing. Well, you can always use your tai chi chuan ;) I especially enjoyed #27 – I’m right there with you. Don’t you just love explaining it to people? “No really, it’s a choice, I’m okay!” LOL. Thank you for sharing.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Creative Artist Spotlight on Stacy Basner =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Kim,

      I don’t bother explaining it anymore. I think my family knows me well enough not to ask all the time anymore and everyone else – it’s not of their business :-)

      Yes, there is definitely a fine line between sharing too much information. You need a realistic view of the internet that there are some people who don’t have the best of intentions so being careful is only prudent.

      Thanks for dropping by,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Thanks for sharing these things Karen.

    I guess we’re on the same boat when it comes to swearing and watching animation.
    .-= Julius´s last blog ..How Do Blind People Tell the Time =-.

    Reply
    • Hey Julius, glad to see that I’m not the only one who swears while watching Family Guy :-)

      Reply
  • Hi Karen, I admire you putting it out there! My husband thinks I should blog about some of my health challenges but I’m not ready yet. I am also a lover of chocolate, not a natural blonde and currently learning Spanish. I can’t explain things without using my hands although I’m 0% Italian. I used to be a water baby too but no longer :(
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Is College Worth It =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer,

      Me, too. I haven’t been swimming for years and I miss that time in my life when I was carefree during the summer months and would spend all day at the community pools.

      I don’t think you should write about anything that you are not comfortable sharing with thousands on the internet. There’s no code that says that you have to bare your soul, just because you have a blog. That’s what diaries are for! :-)

      Good luck with the Spanish. I wish I could have continued with the lessons but other priorities reared their ugly heads. Still, I’m proud that I did learn as much as I can and took the classes in the first place.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Karen

      Reply
  • I’ve been coming back to this site regularly ever since I first read it last week…you inspire me and I’ll be coming back for more!

    Reply
    • Welcome Karishma! I’m happy to see you here and I’m glad that you are being inspired. I’ll try not to disappoint :-)

      Reply
  • Thanks for sharing yourself this way, Karen. I love your independence and your conviction to live on your own terms. Awesome!
    .-= Jean Sarauer´s last blog ..Don’t Let Your Blogging Boat Sink! =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Jean. I think you’re pretty awesome, too :-)

      Reply
  • Karen,

    I appreciate your reservations about sharing on the internet, that’s for sure. Still, it was great to learn all these different facets of your life and being. I don’t like books that smell either! I love movement arts like Tai Chi too. Your passion for learning and growing is so clear! Thanks for getting your toe wet with the sharing thing. Oh, and I love the photo too!
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last blog ..Buddhist teacher warns of impending environmental catastrophe =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Sandra :-)

      Reply
  • Karen, that was soo interesting. I’m glad you opened up and shared. I know how you feel about having a “touch” of agoraphobia. I love to stay home! I have so many books – it’s the most difficult thing to deal with when you move a lot like I have. But I can’t part with them, I did get rid of a lot of books the last 4 times I moved and I ended up buying some of them again, plus more! It’s good to see you hug a tree too!
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..Who Creates Your Economy =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Angela,

      That’s why it’s really tough for me to get rid of books, too. I’ll probably end up buying them again so why pay twice for the same book?

      It looks like at this stage in my life, I’ve really become a homebody. Glad that I’m not the only one :-)

      Thanks,
      Karen

      Reply
  • This is a generous sharing of yourself Karen. One thing I share with you is that I’m also an avid reader and I’ve got library of books. When I’ve learned that you have blogged before I become curious of why you’ve stopped, and now I know why. To be frank, your progress is very fast and I believe this is due to your previous experience of blogging.

    By the way, I know Chris Guillebeau and he’s one of my inspiration. I have even download his free ebook and learned a lot. :-)
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..The most worthy investment in life- Self awareness =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Walter. Yes, I used to blog before but things have really changed since 2006 in the blogosphere.

      It’s interesting to see people say the same things now as they used to say before (as if it’s all new and profound somehow). The truth is that there are a lot of cycles that repeat so nothing is really “new”. It may be just new to you. Nothing wrong with that – it’s just interesting to observe.

      Yes, Chris is an excellent source of inspriation and his books are top-notch. He provides a lot of value and I really like his 279 Days ebook and his Break out of 9-5 ebook.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Key Karen,

    This is really cool and I learned a few things about you that I never knew — that’s the best part! :)

    I also like being a passenger and not driving too much at least in unfamiliar places. I think I have driving anxiety when it comes to places I’m just not used to, it’s very hard for me to drive around the first time, with or without someone else in the car. Now if they’re driving and I’m just riding along, no problem.

    I also swear a lot in real life and need to get out of that habit myself. Either way, it’s who we are.

    And it’s funny you mention not blogging because of the break-up you had considering I started blogging because of the break-up I had and then we got back together and I’m still blogging.

    Take care, thanks for sharing! :)

    Reply
    • Hey Eric,

      Yeah, it’s interesting to see that we each have our own reasons for starting to blog. I couldn’t write about happy and feel-good articles when I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, and yet you used writing on your site to gain perspective on your relationship. Each to their own ;-)

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing. I appreciate your support :-)

      Karen

      Reply
  • Thanks for sharing these pieces of information with us. Even though I was nearly convinced you weren’t a robot before this post, now I can be certain! The archery interest really stuck out as unique and is probably something I will think about every time I read one of your posts!
    .-= Earl´s last blog ..The Day Blueberry Yogurt Saved My Life =-.

    Reply
    • Nope, definitely not a robot :-)

      Archery is pretty cool. It’s funny because one of the guys at work today was talking about bear hunting with a bow and arrow. I’ve never done that, but can probably still hit the side of barn door (if I had to) :-)

      Reply
  • Hi Karen,

    Well, now I am knowing you!!! Great to know this list!

    I too feel good being a passenger and enjoy the fun lying in it. Books are my friends, and the of course I don’t leave in my mind any doubt that troubles me after reading, I find out a solution and make it clear as soon as possible.

    Reading your post, it makes me feel that if I start to list out about myself, the list would turn out to be a huge one just as you said. An awesome list anyways…!

    It would have been a nice experience and fun for you while creating this one!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Sangita.
    .-= Sangita´s last blog ..In search of happiness =-.

    Reply
    • Welcome Sangita,

      I’m sure that if we sat down and wrote about the mildly interesting stuff about ourselves that many people online don’t know about our lives that it would be longer than 27 things. I could have kept going and admit that I’m tone-deaf, can’t sing a note and don’t play any instruments. I could have also admitted that I love Sherlock Holmes (watching and reading), my favouite TVs for the last few seasons is House (did you know it was based on Sherlock Holmes?), and that one of my favourite foods is cabbage rolls.

      It was fun deciding how much to share. You should definitely write one and share what you’re comfortable with sharing, too.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Hi Karen,

    The first post which got me here was the 7 Links Challenge and now this the 27 Things You Didn’t Know. Thanks so much for sharing who you are but at the same time preserving your offline life that it doesn’t define your blog.

    Posts like these reveal a lot but they also rally together bandits of bloggers who will indefinitely follow you! :) Great on a marketing level but also addictive.

    Not only did I learn more about you but I find your ideology on life with your independence, consumption of knowledge and competitive nature a breath of fresh air. Especially now that I read back on older posts.

    So thanks you for sharing a piece of yourself with us! I can definitely put a picture to the greatness in each post I read now.

    Cheers!
    Thu
    .-= Thu Nguyen´s last blog ..Remembering September 11th- Before the Aftermath =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for saying that, Thu.

      There’s a fine line between sharing too much in your article and not being perceived as having problems or challenges just like everyone else in life. We all have things that make us unique and are interesting to other people. It’s easy to forget that we’ve had a lot of life experiences that other people haven’t had and that they may find it interesting to read about.

      It’s also easy to forget that your readers may be coming to your site for the first time and they don’t know your background or experiences or authority since they haven’t been exposed to the other, older articles yet. Thanks for that reminder. I’m probably guilty of assuming too much in some of my articles.

      Reply
  • BTW, great picture! Just in time for autumn and you look fabulous! :)
    .-= Thu Nguyen´s last blog ..Remembering September 11th- Before the Aftermath =-.

    Reply
    • Thanks! That photo was taken during my first time to High Park in Toronto.

      Reply
  • Hi Karen, thanks for shring these insights into the ‘real you’. You were a serious early adopter with your domain since ’97!
    .-= Matthew Needham´s last blog ..September’s Reading List =-.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I’ve been online for a while, Matthew. I still remember using 1.44 MB diskettes and having 4400 baud rate dial-up connections. We’ve come a long way since then ;-)

      Reply
  • Wow, what a personal post. Loved reading it. Your college/univ. career is might impressive. I would love to get into some sort of martial arts but don’t feel fit right now. Hopefully soon :)
    .-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..The Tool that Could Bring You Exposure By the Thousands =-.

    Reply
    • Hey Moon,

      You should add martial arts training to your 101 Things To Do Before You Die list to motivate you to get into shape. (I should take my own advice!) :-)

      Thanks and I’m glad that you enjoyed learning more about me.

      Karen

      Reply
  • Karen
    This was a really good read. We share books, chocolate and bottled blond hair. Some how I didn’t see you swearing. I had an angelic picture of you in my mind :-)

    Thanks for sharing this
    .-= Marion Anderson´s last blog ..Financial Freedom – What I want my daughter to know about money =-.

    Reply
    • Oh, Marion, if you only knew how un-angelic I really am!

      Thanks for making me smile with your comment :-)

      Reply
  • I must say, you really have an interesting life Karen. Going back, Having a twin sibling was once my dream. I find it to be so awesome. I also love Chocolate. We are so much guilty about that. I also agree and a firm believer that Learning is a continuous process. Once you stop, I believe you will likely lose a greater thing.

    Reply
    • Welcome Abbie,

      I’m not a twin, two of my sisters are, but I can appreciate your sentiment. It would be kind of cool to have a doppleganger. It’s funny how even now people can’t tell my twin sisters apart from each other. It’s made for some funny moments throughout the years :-)

      Thanks for dropping by,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Karen,

    It is great to know more about you, pretty neat stuff. I am also avid reader and have/had lot of books, I finally give away and donated quite a few though. When I was 21, I had a dream to be super rich and have a huge library in my house with comfy over sized sofas to curl up and read books. I still love to read but I guess there is small minimalist was in me, which has came out and made me donate a lot of my movie dvds and books! :-) I still have book case load of it!
    .-= Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last blog ..Top 10 reasons why I am not on Twitter =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Preeti,

      If you only have one bookcase load of books, I would consider you a book mininalist :-) I would have to seriously cull my library before I could get down to only one bookcase. I know I probably should donate some books, but I like to re-read my fiction books and my non-fiction books are often used for reference materials. They are really hard to give up, but I have cut down on spending a lot.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Karen

      Reply
  • Heh… I framed houses in Austin Texas for years. Loved the work. Not a great “career.”
    .-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..Why 2 Quarts of Vanilla Ice Cream Means You Get a Good Deal =-.

    Reply
    • Hey Dave, no I would expect not. That kind of manual labour gets real old, real fast. Plus, it’s not that great on the body once you get older. Still, it would be nice to meet a guy who knows his way around tools :-)

      Reply
  • Thank you so much for sharing Karen. I felt like I knew you before and this just, well this just confuses me more. NO its awesome and I especially love #15.
    Most of my favourtie movies of all time are Pixar and my favourite TV show has got to be ‘Family Guy’ so I’m totally loving you there

    Giggidy
    .-= Alex@nichesitemarketing´s last blog ..4 Essential Blogging Tools to make life easy =-.

    Reply
    • Hey Alex,

      Somehow I just knew that you and I would have a love of animation in common. Maybe because you have such a great sense of humour? :-)

      Thanks,
      Karen

      Reply

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