Monday, June 28, 2010

Mendota Heights

When I was growing up my Aunt and Uncle lived in Mendota Heights. When we made our trips out there from Minnetonka, it was a true road trip. We packed snacks, Diet Coke, comfortable clothes, planned in advance for weeks. A Weinblatt family road trip.

Well this past weekend, we went to Mendota Heights. And yes we packed snacks, and wore comfortable clothes, and water instead of Diet Coke this time...because WE WALKED! Yes, that's right, Debra and I walked to Mendota Heights this week as our training walk for the breast cancer 3 day!

(If you have not donated, you can do so here:

Debra's fiance, Alex's family was nice enough to volunteer to be our walking host of the week! We walked from Downtown Minneapolis, to Mendota Heights in about 4.5 hours. With one slight detour.

As we walked, we decided to stop by the new Highland Park Farmer's market, which I have helped initiate though the Leadership St. Paul program. We stopped by to visit, you know, just stopped on by Highland Park on a little walk to Mendota Heights. And as we walked through the Farmers Market, I had a moment of walking brain. This is defined as:
Pronunciation: \ˈwk ˈbrān\
Function: adjective
Definition: The complete inability to make rational, or otherwise normal decisions, speak, or listen properly due to heat and excessive walking.

And this time, walking brain told me to buy snap peas at the Farmers Market. An entire tray of snap peas. And I had another 9 miles to go. We each ate about 10 and then looked at each other, unsure of what we were supposed to do with the remaining 3 lbs of snap peas.
 (Me, less than pleased with my decision, induced by Walking Brain)
What was I to do? Entire bag of snap peas in hand. I decided to pick the house I liked best and drop them off on the front stoop. They were either perfectly pleased, or horribly confused and annoyed to find a bag of peas on their steps in the morning. Blame it on the Walking Brain. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We then continued to walk. And walk. And Walk. And then followed our Google map into the Big River Regional Trail. We walked about a mile into the trail and came across the following:
Debra charged to action and harnessed her orienteering skills. We looked at the map. It said nothing about a fork in the road. We called Alex. He had no clue where we were. We called his parents, they could not think of a trail near their house. She asked bikers passing, and they all seemed to be from out of town. Who comes to Mendota Heights on a biking trip?
I sat on a bench. Ya know, she seemed better at the, 'Figure out where the heck we are' task. I was pretty good at resting. 

We finally found a woman who could give us directions and she informed us that we never should have come into the path in the first place (we were already a mile into it). Convinced she was wrong, we said thank you, and planned to ignore her message. However, our stubbornness subsided and we realized she was right. Google had done us wrong. And let me tell you, after a 15 mile walk, you are not so interested in getting lost and walking 2 more miles out of your way. Not when you've been walking for the last 4 hours. 

But we made it! And had a lovely lunch, and really, quite a beautiful training walk. Minus the Big River Regional Trail, which I never, ever recommend traveling upon.

15+ mile training walk - DONE!

If you are interested in hosting us as a walking destination - we would be happy to arrive at your home completely filthy, exhausted and hungry. It's a pretty enticing offer, isn't it?!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Living Without

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog post about trying, for certain periods of time, to live without certain things, just to see how easy/hard it would be. For example, they are going to start by trying not to eat past 8:00, as nutrition experts recommend, for 2 weeks to see how hard it is. Or, try to go for a month without using plastic bags or bottles. Or, try for one day, not to buy a single thing.

Jeremy and I are trying that as well. But more because of ability rather than desire.

Picture this:
Kara is sitting on the couch about a few days after moving into the new tiny apartment. Jeremy is standing in the kitchen. 
Jeremy: "Kara, uh, Kara...we don't have a microwave!"
Kara: "What? Sure we do!"
Jeremy: "Uh, where?"
We both look around and ponder, for an necessarily long period of time, and then look at oneanother and say:
"Crap, we don't have a microwave"

Now if this apartment were more of a permanent situation, I would have run out immediately and purchased a microwave.  However, I am stubborn, and unwilling to do so given the circumstances. So, we decided to try to live without.

People lived for millions of years without microwaves and did just fine. Vegetables can be steamed in a pot with water, tea can be boiled in a pot, eggs can be cooked in a pan like normal people.


I needed room temperature butter for a recipe. dun da dun (that's supposed to be intense background music)
What to do. I have frozen butter. I need room temperature butter. I have no microwave. And the stove top will melt said butter. And I am the single most impatient person you will ever meet, so clearly I could not wait until the next day when the butter would thaw.

So I did what any industrious girl would do, and I took out the hair dryer. Heck yes, I warmed that sucker up with a hair dryer, and it worked out mighty fine.

This girl is succeeding in living without! But not so much enjoying it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The steps of doom....

I know I mentioned this during my Italy post, but I now have evidence to back up my statements. When we visited Cinque Terre, my awesome husband tried to find a nice place to stay. You see, Cinque Terre is a hot spot for students and young travelers, who are perfectly content to sleep 14 to a room and in bunk-beds, on floors and in bathtubs.

I however, am not one of those people. Never have been.

So, he found Casa de Limoni, a little B&B nestled into a lemon grove. Perfect! While researching hotels, he came across a Trip Adviser review that complained of the large hill and steps up to this hotel. Lazy Bums we thought! You seriously wrote a Trip Adviser review complaining about the hill to the hotel? Ha Ha, Lame-O. 

And then we arrived in Montoroso, Cinque Terre. After traveling 4 hours in a train. The directions to the hotel were as follows:
Walk out of train station and walk towards the new parking structure. Arrive at Casa de Limoni.
We walk out of the train station and see no new parking structure.
We see water, beaches, a road. No parking structure.
Jeremy asks a shop owner for directions and they say turn left, walk.

Okey. Guess Cinque Terre is not real hot on directions!

We turn left and walk. Walk and drag. At this point we are carrying my 47 pound suitcase, Jeremy's 52 pound suitcase, a gym bag full of things that did not fit into those bags, and a poster I bought on the street in Florence. Hot, sweaty, dragging bags.

And then we arrive at the following. Please view the attached video to fully understand the hike to our hotel:

I guess they weren't kidding. Now just imagine that hike with the aforementioned luggage. And two small Jewish people. Let's just say we wound up and a giant laughing heap about 4 times during our summit to the top.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Successful weekend!

Success #1: My best friend Stacy had her beautiful baby boy, Hank Vossberg over the weekend! I am overjoyed to be an "Auntie" to this little one. He's already easy going, just like his parents, but came into this world with quite a bang. Mom and baby are happy and healthy and should be going home today! I wish they didn't live in freaking Ham Lake (you cannot say Ham Lake without the preceding 'freaking'), but nonetheless, I will be making the trek to visit little Hank often.

Success #2: We sold our condo! We closed on Friday, after a bit of drama - but we closed. Done. We are no longer condo owners. This comes with both happiness and sadness, but on to bigger and better things!

Success #3: Debra and I completed a 13 mile training walk this past weekend. We walked to my sister's house this time, where we arrived to cheers and a delish lunch. Anyone want to host us another day? Who lives approximately 16 miles away from us...
Success #4: We had a very fun birthday weekend for both my sister and Jeremy. We were able to celebrate with friends, with each other, with Dad's for Father's day...celebrations abound!

Tonight - the actual birthday. Chill celebration just the two of us.

Success/Failure #5: My first Kettlebells class and I think my abs may fall out of my body today. Literally fall out. Guess it was a good workout. Woops, abs just fell out of my body. I hurt.

Success #6: I have inadvertently converted my husband into a workout clothing fanatic along with me. He asked to go to Lululemon to look at their men's stuff, and fell in love. Well as much as any man ever falls in love with clothing I guess. I have created another monster.

Success #7: I received my first week of my farm share! This year we signed up for a farm share, so every Friday I pick up a box of fresh fruits and veggies that were ready that week. Each week it is filled with different things, and each week, it contains the most local, freshest produce. Stacy is convinced that they go to Cub Foods and buy the stuff and stick it in a box, and that it is all a scam - but I disagree. It smells amazing and I am excited to figure out how to cook some of it. And no Stacy...there will be no Chiquita Bananas in my farm share.

Success!!! Anyone else have a success this week?? Share in the comments section!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Busy weekend

Busy weekend ahead of me...

I be unfortunate enough to have my two favorite people's birthday's on the exact same day each year, and possibly a third favorite person. My sister and husband, Jeremy share the same birthday, June 21, and my best friend is pregnant and due June 20. But Jeremy is pretty convinced she'll deliver on the 21st just to add complexity to the day! Baby's 1st birthday would be Jeremy's 30th....
Happy Birthday Robyn and Jeremy!

More reasons to celebrate! So the weekend will be full of birthdays! I do love my own birthday a lot, but I have to say, I quite enjoy others as well. And if you have a hankering for cake - you know who to call.

We will also be having friends over for the first time to our large, luxury, quaint, freaking tiny apartment. We'll see how that goes!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I like plain fruit.

Have you donated yet? Please donate. Save the boobs. Please.

Moving on, but I am warning you, if you don't donate to the 3 day, I may become totally un-funny and talk about things like work and politics. Unlikely, but it's a threat.

Upon returning from our trip, Jeremy and I decided to go to the grocery store. We have been on  a bit of a grocery boycott during this move as we were trying to use up the things we already had. However, after a week of pizza, pasta and meat. I was dying for some fruits and vegetables.

While meandering through the fruit aisle at Byerly's, I come across the following:
Peacharines, eh? Peaches and Nectarines bread to make Peacharines? What was so wrong with Peaches, or Nectarines? I guess someone just could not live without a centaur version of a fruit. Hmph, I think and walk further down the aisle.

And find...
 Plumcots? Now that doesn't even sound appetizing. Plum and Apricot mixed? Another centaur fruit? Really? You have got to be kidding me. Plums are lovely. Plums are fine. They are plums. Who had such strong feelings about plums that they demanded they were mixed with apricots?

Now apirums? Now I don't even know what these things are! I thought Plumcots were "Plum/Apricots", now you rock my world with the Apirum!??!?
Imagine teaching kids fruits if banana, apple, orange, grape, grapefruit (which is not a grape), and now: Apirums, Peacharines and Plumcots? For real?

What has this world come to. And not to mention the obvious - $4.99/pound!? Is that going to be the new celebrity trend: Britney Spears carrying her Voss water and Apirum. This cannot be healthy. You might as well eat a Dorito if you're going to eat genetically modified fruit!

Fruit is fine!
Leave the fruit alone!
Thanks, I'll stick to apples, oranges and bananas. But if you came up with a hybrid Dog/Bunny, now then I'd listen. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

We moved!

This past Friday, we successfully moved out of our wonderful condo and into a teeny tiny apartment temporarily while our house is under construction. We anticipate staying in this apartment for 6-8 months until the home is ready for us...but any sooner than that would be GREATLY appreciated! As much as we enjoy living in a 550 square foot 'alcove' apartment....BUILD OUR HOUSE FAST. PLEASE.

I plan to provide updates on my blog throughout the construction process. This is a pretty foreign process for most people, so my hope is that you will all learn a bit about construction and the process of building a home. And will inspire you to look at that great old house a bit differently. Or finally complete that addition you had hoped to do since you bought your home. Or cause you to run screaming from construction for the rest of your lives. Which could happen.

But now...I need your help! As I have mentioned, Debra and I will be participating in the breast cancer 3-day event again this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the walk, it is a 3 day, 60 mile walk to fight breast cancer. Each participant must raise a minimum of $2,300 in order to walk. Last year, thanks to everyone's support, we exceeded our financial goals, and had a great walk!'s time to do it again! Debra and I have been busy completing training walks each weekend, but now I need all of your help.

#1. If you can...please donate! Below please find the link to my fund raising page, you can donate online, or if you would rather send a check, email or post a comment and I will help you with that process.

Your support of breast cancer research is appreciated more than you will ever know.

  • Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of death among women worldwide.
  • Somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer every 68 seconds.
  • Since its inception in 2003, the Komen 3-Day for the Cure has raised nearly $500 million
If you can, please donate. Any amount helps.
You donate, we walk our butts off. Seems like pretty good deal for you. 

#2. As you may remember from last year, training walking can be boring. Therefore, we decided on a fabulous idea to involve all of our family and friends. How excited would you be if we walked to your house? You would be thrilled. You would decorate. You would cheer us on. You would make lunch. You would feel like celebrities were visiting. Or so we envisioned at mile 13 of 15. 

But it actually worked very well! It gave us a new place to walk each week, and allowed us to break the monotony of walking each of the chain of lakes ten times. So...if you are interested in hosting Debra and I at your home, apartment, etc...let us know! We would love to come visit. We typically start walking early, 6:30-7:00 on Saturdays or Sundays and finish somewhere around 11-1 depending on the mileage. 

Thank in advance for your support. We appreciate everything you do.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bathroom incident

A final Italy story for you, and then I will move on.

Day 8: Rome

Though Jeremy and I are both Jewish, we made the decision to visit the only Synagogue in Italy on a Saturday. Knowing full well that this is the Jewish holy day, and we would not be allowed to tour, we went anyways. Clearly we were not allowed in so we decided to eat. Because that's what you do in Italy, you eat.

We found a cafe next door and sat down and ordered lunch. I excused myself to the restroom which was in the lower level of the restaurant. I walked down, entered the bathroom, which was more of a tiny cell, and then locked it with an actual key, which was what they used to lock it.  I did what you do in restrooms, and then turned the key to exit the miniature stall.
Click, click
I turn the key backwards and forwards
Nothing. Turn it left, nothing. Turn it right, nothing. The door is stuck.
I panic. It is hot. I grab a wad of toilet paper and begin blotting my face. It's getting hotter.
I am still turning the knob. Nothing.
I am stuck in the basement bathroom of an restaurant in Italy. This is how I die, I assume. Clearly, that is the logical answer.
Time passes, I am still stuck.

And then I hear footsteps, so I begin to pound on the door. And then I shout.
"Help, I am stuck in the bathroom. I need help. Get me out of here"
The woman responds in very fast Italian.
"I don't speak Italian!" I scream
Again, she responds in very fast Italian words
This continues for quite some time until I scream..
"Do you speak Spanish? Can you tell me in Spanish? Can you find my husband? Mi esposo...find mi esposo"
By the time I finish this sentence I hear more rumblings outside my locked cell. More loud Italian, and then I hear it...
"Uh, that you? Are you....hahahha.....stuck in there?"

Apparently he was sitting at the table for quite some time, and when I did not return he became slightly concerned. And then he looked over and saw a restaurant employee carrying what appeared to be an Ax and came down to investigate. It was true, his beautiful bride was stuck in the potty. Locked away in an Italian bathroom.

Between bouts of histaric laughter by my husband and the restaurant employees, they manage to tell me how to get the key out to them and then they open the door from their side to free me from my cell. Dripping sweat and with toilet paper all over the place from blotting myself while in this fully enclosed bathroom cell, I step out.
Pride shattered. We return to our table for lunch.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We're back!!!

Okay, since I fully recognize that none of you care about our trip to Italy, but I clearly feel inclined to share, I will find a happy medium. I will share with you a few, selected stories from our trip.

The first was just a day into our trip. We started our journey in Florence, Italy. We stayed in a wonderful hotel that was recommended by our friend Rachel. The location was amazing, the room, fantastic, and most importantly, the soap smelled nice.

Evening Day 1: Jeremy showers, gets out, changes. Kara showers, gets out, begins to brush her hair. The phone rings.
Caller: "Mr. Frank, Mr. Frank, are you okay?"
Mr. Frank(aka Jeremy): "Uh, yea, thanks for asking"
Caller: "We were just alerted that someone pulled the emergency cord in the shower, do you need immediate assistance" 
Mr. Frank "pause, pause..Uh no. She's fine. Thanks (in a very stern voice)"

Kara: "Who was that?"
Mr. Frank: "Kara, did you pull the emergency cord in the shower?"
Kara: "Emergency cord? No, I pulled the red handled string a bunch of times, but the light would not turn on."
Mr. Frank: "Kara..that is not a light. That is a help button. They just called to see if you were dead in the shower"
Kara: "Whoops!"

I guess cords in the shower in Italy mean HELP. In America, we only have help buttons in the shower of nursing homes. It's really not my fault.

We also really enjoyed the Gelato in Italy. Really enjoyed it. I am starting a campaign to convince my parents to take a trip there. I seriously cannot believe my mom has not been. If you know my mom, you know that her entire freezer is packed with an average of 9 types of ice cream at all times. Some people have freezers full of things like...chicken, not her, frozen veggies, nah. Ice cream in every flavor, cool whip and gigantic bags of chocolate chips? YES

Please help me with my campaign. Bring Beth to Italy. I can be quite convincing though. And the photos of Gelato that follow may just do the trick. If not, my second weapon, convince my dad. And he's an easy sell. He will drive her nuts until they go!

Convinced yet mom?