Monday, August 31, 2009

Hope you enjoyed this past weekend's holiday.

Labor Day? Not yet

Christmas? Thank goodness no

Halloween? Lovely, but no

Kara's Birthday. Yes.

This past weekend was filled with fun and celebration in honor of my birth 26 years ago. I'm modest, I know. But it truly was a great weekend, filled with visitors and friends, and a wedding where I was serenaded with happy birthday.

A short recap, because you must pretend to care:

Friday - wonderful Shabbat Dinner at Dave Wile's mom's house. She made an assortment of salads from my new favorite thing. 101 fresh summer salads from the New York Times. They were amazing. Here is the link. Try them all. All 101 of them.


Saturday: State Fair with Adam and Sally, our visitors for the weekend. It was wonderful, and animal and food filled. Sally and Adam seemed pleased with everything but the bloody cow in the Miracle of Birth barn. Bloody as in just gave birth. We could have skipped that one. Instead we just moved on and found some pronto pups to forget about it.

Saturday Evening: Great dinner at Barrio with my fantastic husband!

Sunday: Yoga, brunch, Lisa and Dan's Wedding. Now most of you have heard me complain for months about attending yet another wedding on my birthday. However, this like the one last year, gave me nothing to complain about. The lovely bride announced during her speech that it was my birthday and asked the band to play happy birthday. That made for a happy Kara.

However, the bride announced me as Kara Weinblatt. Fine. Until a woman comes running across the room like her pants were on fire towards me. Now Jeremy is new to this who marriage thing, so he has some things to learn, and here is a prime example. This woman runs up to our table and literally shouts, "Whose the Weinblatt?". Everyone looks at me. I sink into my chair. I am fairly used to this as my uncle is well known around town. I said, I am Alan's niece, Jay's daughter. This woman stares at me quizzically and literally grabs my arm and drags me across the room. Jeremy just watched the kidnapping occur with wide eyes as I was yanked away. He did not follow.

This woman drags me over to her family and finally explains the situation. Her Grandmother's last name was Weinblatt, and she had never met another. She quizzed me on my family genealogy and who was who. Well, I can hardly keep track of who is actually related to me and who my parents/grandparents call aunt/uncle/grandma but whom is not actually related. Therefore, when she probed. I froze. I froze and just said, my dad's email address is I don't know anymore! I ran away, and proceeded to explain to Jeremy that, in the future, if anyone comes up to me shouting, follow me. Do not leave me unattended.

All in all a great weekend. I wish I was not born at such a popular wedding time, but you can't complain when 250 people sing happy birthday to you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Less Cancer, More Tutu's

We did it! This past weekend was the Breast Cancer 3 day, and Debra and I successfully completed every single one of 60 miles. (More if you could the circles around the snack booth, the runs to the bathroom. I mean, it was for sure more like 100 miles)

I could wrap it up in a paragraph form. I could summarize the event, and where we walked. I could also put you to sleep. Therefore, I'll spice it up a bit. When I was in my sorority (AOII in case I haven't shouted it from the rooftops enough), we played a game at dinner each night. High/Low. We each went around the table and restated our 'highs' and 'lows' of the day. So I will do a Breast Cancer 3 day version of High/Low.

Here goes....

(This is us resting after day 1)

HIGH: The moment opening ceremonies were done and we began to walk, the skies cleared and the rain ceased.
LOW: When I say rain ceased that means that up until that point we stood in cold freaking rain while we loaded our bags onto a truck and hid under a tent to avoid being soaked before we walked 60 miles.

HIGH: Day one should have been named Kara Frank, this is your life because we passed each memorable point of my life, the site of our wedding reception, the chain of lakes I have grown up around, my high school (The Blake School), the sculpture garden, my condo, Jeremy's office and my sister's office, a big development I am working on at work, and finally on to my office! And I like telling people about my life, so let me tell you, the walkers around me knew all about how these places impacted me.
LOW: I was starting to get sick of the string cheese snacks at each pit stop

HIGH: Rosemount High School football players who were waiting at the campsite to put up our tent for us. Let me tell you, I almost cried when they offered to put up my tent. You think I know how to put up a TENT?!
LOW: I then slept in said tent, and inside the tent, I slept in a bag. A sleeping bag. And woke up declaring that humans are not meant to sleep in bags.

HIGH: I made it through a night of CAMPING!!!
LOW: There seemed to be an overarching theme of cancer throughout the walk. The signs, the discussion. I was thinking, more people in tutu's, less of the cancer talk (okay, that's a joke, in case you didn't' pick up on it)

HIGH: Our INCREDIBLE cheering section! In all we had 37 people come out and cheer for us over the weekend. That is unbelievable.
LOW: I had to shower in a truck.

HIGH: It was a truck with warm water
LOW: I had to shower in a truck.
HIGH: Walking next to women who were currently undergoing chemo, radiation, or whom had undergone radical surgeries.
LOW: I couldn't find a way to complain because they had been through so much, my complaining was unfounded. And we all know I like a good complain session.
HIGH: This was an unbelievable experience, that pushed my boundaries and forced me to be in new situations. We raised over $6.1 million dollars last weekend, and walked with some incredible men and women. It was the experience of a lifetime.
LOW: I slept in a bag, inside a tent, and showered in a truck.
It was a lot of training, a lot of work, a lot of fundraising, and worth every single second. (and every single foot disease I gain from showering in the aforementioned truck) My wish is that none of us ever have to suffer from breast cancer, or any other disease for that matter, but if we do, let me tell you, there is an incredible support team out there, fighting like hell to get rid of this disease. So let's find a cure, because I for one, would rather not shower in a truck. But if I have to, I will.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today I almost died

Let me start from the beginning. (and keep in mind, as a hint, typing this is quite a challenge right now)

I found a cooking class at Whole Foods that sounded fun. It was a class on making a variety of different burgers. Who doesn't love a burger, right? So we signed up with Debra and Alex.

The class schedule is as follows:
#1 - an awesome lamb burger. Yum.
#2 - a buffalo jucy lucy - obviously great.

#3 - ginger pork burger (I swear, I didn't even try the entire delicious thing and I did not enjoy it immensely)
#5 - Salmon burger. Thought I'd hate it, but it was actually quite good. My mom would like it.
#6 - homemade veggie burger. Fabulous

And my favorite of all?
#7 -
I'm not even a cake person and this was delish!

I digress. Somewhere between #2 and #3 our instructor shared with us a little tip about cutting onions. It was a way to bisect them, and then chop them to get a better chop. Lovely! Brilliant! And this is when I decide that I am clearly a professional chef.

This morning, in an effort to use up extra tomatoes and basil from our garden, I decided to make a crock pot tomato sauce. How Martha Stewart of me, I know. I chop the tomatoes, done. I take out the onion. I chop it in half. My mind races back to the class and the exciting new 'technique'. I slice. I scream. Instead of just slicing the onion, I have now also taken off my finger. Well maybe not off, but it certainly felt that way. I looked at it, grabbed a towel and pressed. I swore, I screamed, and then swore some more.

If you know Jeremy, you know that you do not want to call him in a crisis unless it really is a crisis because he will make it a crisis. And this is why I love him, but this is also why I waited a while to call. Finally, I looked around and noticed my house looked like a war zone, with blood everywhere, and decided to make the call.

Kara: "Uh, Jer, I cut myself. I'm bleeding"
Jeremy: "Put on a band aid"
Kara: "Like soaking through the cloth towel bleeding"
Jeremy: "I'm on my way we're going to the ER"

And so he did. And 3 minutes later, the panic set in, and so did the pain. So I called my dad. He called my mom. And 10 minutes later my fleet of vehicles arrived to escort me to Abbott hospital at 7:30am.

I walked into the hospital with my bloody rag, looking like I'd been shot in the finger, and explained my story. I left out the part about the cooking class, feeling it was an unnecessary detail. However, it soon came out and the entire hospital came to look at, 'that girl that thought she was being cool'. Note to self: You have not been to cooking school, you have never worked in a restaurant, you're not even particularly coordinated, don't try 'special techniques'.

End Result:

No worries, I asked each and every doctor and nurse that came to stare at the idiot, and I can still walk. Apparently smart moves like this do not hinder ones ability to walk 60 miles.

Feel free to send your pity in the form of a comment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Maria Mendoza Frank

In the mail yesterday we received news from our newborn child, Maria. Well not exactly from Maria, it was more from the "adoption agency" of sorts.

Remember when you didn't like your siblings so for their birthdays your parents had to pick out a gift and put your name on it to make you look nice? You didn't want to get a gift for them, so they had to force it on you. No? Okay, maybe that's just in my family. Regardless.

That happened to us this time. But not with our siblings, rather with our adopted daughter.

In response to our lack of letter or gift sending, we received a letter in the mail.

This is Jeremy reading the letter. (duh.)

The letter stated that Maria had been sad because we had not yet written her. 8 month old Maria was sad. She was so distraught that they were sending us an activity and all we had to do was put it in an envelope and mail it to Maria.

They sent this map:

And we were to forward the map on to Maria so she could play with it, along with the enclosed stickers. We were told to mark where we live, and they had marked where Maria lived on the map.

So, I have an 8 month old niece, and, as bright as she is, if you gave her stickers, she would try to eat them. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if we sent maria the enclosed map and stickers, she would likely do the same. I'm just guessing that Maria would prefer something along the lines of smashed peas to stickers of people working out. Again, just a thought I had.

While I held the map, looking at it, guilt building, I turned to Jeremy and said I thought we should send it to Maria.

Kara: "Look, they spent a ton of money on this freaking publication, the least we can do is mail it to Maria" (note the Jewish guilt that is building inside of me at that moment)
Jeremy: "Kara, it is significantly possible that Maria does not exist. And if she does exist, she is likely 18 years old. And if she does exist, and by some miracle this map does reach her, I'm thinking there are things she would rather have than a map and stickers"
Kara: "oh, yea"
And before I knew it, the map of our home, and Maria's home, as well as stickers of bar bells, and people in workout clothes was in the garbage. (why the aforementioned images, that I still cannot figure out)

I still think we should go on a mission to find Maria. After all, she is our baby. Maria Mendoza Frank.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The walk that should have been uneventful

In our final long-ish walk before the actual Breast Cancer 3-day (Aug 21-23) we set off to walk from our condos downtown, to Debra's parents house in Minnetonka. They wanted to be a part of the oh-so-fabulous idea we hatched early on to walk to friends/families houses. We left early and they were making us breakfast as we had to leave that afternoon for my sister's bachelorette party.

We walked. And walked. And thought how sick it was that this 11-12 mile walk was a cakewalk and seemed unnecessary compared to the long ones. We walked some more.

We arrived at the entrance of the Fiterman neighborhood development.

Debra states to Kara: "Pick a Direction, we can go left or right, they both take us to the same place, same distance."

Kara: "Lets go right"

Debra: "Okay"

Fatal mistake. Turning right meant that the beautiful paved sidewalk would soon end and we would find ourselves walking through the previous night's downpour on a road which had just been torn up to pour new drive lanes and curbs. We moved on to the curb and tried tight rope walking the curb as the street was muck, and the grass was no longer.

Soon, we find that the curb ends. Our options: #1 Walk through the 3 inches of water that sits in the street. #2 Walk on the mud on the side where grass should be.

Mud it is.

We walk, Debra in the lead. After a short while, I look ahead and notice my co-walker is going down. Fainting? Falling? Nope, sinking into the mud. Before I know it she is past her ankles in quicksand-like mud. As the fearless and loyal teammate that I am, I looked at her, screamed, and ran away. I didn't say I was stupid. I ran, as she lifted each leg with her arm, to pull herself out of the quicksand/mud.

Reference: image below

We laughed, and laughed. I laughed particularly hard as I stood, bone dry and perfectly clean. Hilarious. Because I'm not the filthy one!

And then, the critical mistake, she turns around.

And I once again start laughing. I turn to Debra and tell her that it looks as though she has just had a violent diarrhea, down her leg. She cranes her neck to see the remnants. And once again falls on the ground laughing. This time however, the long walk, significant water consumption, and lack of restrooms caused another fatal mistake. My teammate begins to pee. And then lets me know, she is currently wetting her pants. Yes, filthy, wet, and now wetting her pants. For an extensive period of time. Not just a little, but full blown peeing. Her boyfriend is a lucky man.

Sorry Debra, it just had to be told.

So now we continue walking. Kara - perfectly clean, looking forward to breakfast. Debra - a royal mess.

The walk that should have been uneventful, turned into the best one of all. I really wish she'd pee her pants more often, it certainly would make walking more exciting. Just a thought.

And when we arrived, 50% of us a giant mess, 50% of us sweaty but otherwise clean, there were some wonderful decorations awaiting our arrival:

Note the bra hanging from the flag:

A truly eventful walk.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Uh, did you miss the memo?

Picture this:

I am driving out of my office this afternoon on the way to one of my buildings. Our office happens to sit next door to the Saint Paul Saint's baseball stadium. This often causes significant congestion during summer afternoons, so I know to be careful and drive slowly down Energy Park Drive. (except for the day the officer found me, but moving on)

Today, I am driving, minding my own business, when I come accross the following:

Oh yes, to my right, what should I see but the Titanic. I drive by, and then, pausing a few moments, say to myself, out loud, in my car, alone, "Wait a second!". Eureka! Did I just see what I think I saw? I pull over. I turn my car around, and I drive back, now this I have to see again. Yep, confirmed it.

What I passed was a replica of the titanic made into a giant blow up slide. You've got that right. The unsinkable ship that went down, killing over 2,000 people has now been turned into a giant slide. I am so sorry Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet that your tragedy occurred, but look at all the fun it has created for small children.

Think of the possibilities for disasters turned into children's play things...

*The World Trade Towers monkey bars
*The Sri Lankan Tsunami wave pool
*The United flight 93 flume ride

Sick, I know. But I'm not the one who created the Titanic blow up slide. This photo really does not do it justice, but at least it should give you an idea of the hilarity that I just witnessed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Photographic journey....

Of this past weekend's death march. Or "training walk" as Debra calls it. Please see the map below for the almost 22 miles we marched, I mean walked. It is sick.

Saturday was a nice little 9 mile walk. Not nothing, but not insane. Did some lakes. Came home.

Sunday was to be a big kahuna. It was scheduled to be one of our last long walks. So, we decided to continue with our plan to walk to family/friends houses and allow them the great honor of cooking lunch for us. This time, it was Debra's sister Ann who had the pleasure of our odoriferous company. Let me take you on a photographic journey of this walk.

We started our walk at our condos, 317 Groveland Avenue...DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS at 6:15am.

We walked down Minnetonka Boulevard. Through Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park, Hopkins, met up with my parents for a bit and into Minnetonka.

We turned on Plymouth Road and continued on through Minnetonka, to Plymouth.

We then turned onto County Road 6 and this is where I lost count of cities. When roads start with 'county road' you know you are freakin' far away.

Once we arrived in Plymouth we felt pretty darn good. My toes were hurting a bit but we really felt we had made progress. Now this is already not a short drive, let alone walking! We stopped at a gas station because we were starving, and moments from our death. We raced to the bathroom and found this sign along the way.

And you know me, all I wanted to do was grab a banana and bring it into the hallway and scream, "LOOK, I HAVE A BANANA IN THE HALLWAY". Seriously, one of the stranger things I have ever seen.

We continue walking another 78 miles and I start to have to pee again. Really bad. And we are in the middle of Maple Grove, or Osseo, or who the heck knows where, but I have to pee, and my feet hurt and I can't think about anything else. Finally, I make the decision that I have to squat. Debra helps me scope out an ideal tree and I go for it. That's right - this girl is outdoorsy. Okay, that's a giant lie. I'm not outdoorsy, but I peed on a tree.

We continue walking, no more than .6 miles, and what should I spot, but the following sight:

That's right. A biffy. Sick irony. And after 17 miles I did not find it very funny.

We walk a bit more, and I we begin to see this...

We walked, from our houses, DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS, to a place with cows. To farms. Now that's ridiculous.

Walking some more, and we see the best sight of all. Well almost. A car passes us honking and we notice it is Ann, Debra's sister! She stops...

We walk closer, and notice signs...

Our cheerleaders had arrived with cheering signs! Ann and her daughter Eve were there to cheer and give us the best gift of all, Popsicles!!!!!!

Hot and tired, we continue to walk for what seemed like ages. Below please find a list of activities we crafted that we could have done in the 7.5 hours it took us to walk to Osseo:
1. Flown to Europe
2. Read a book
3. Slept an entire night
4. Flown to Florida, arrived at our location, put on a swim suit, get some food and drink, and be sitting by the pool
5. Worked a full day

But we chose to walk 21 miles to train for the breast cancer 3 day. And again, I ask, please cure cancer, my feet/knees/back/legs/butt hurt.

Big thanks to Ann for the wonderful lunch, and amazing cheering section! Thank you to all of our supporters, we couldn't do it without you. But seriously, my feet hurt.