Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things you don't discuss on a first date....

Now I haven't been on a first date in a while, but I have not forgotten the rules of dating. And I know, that there are certain things, you just do not share on a first date. First, there are the things you don't discuss because it will surely send your date for the evening, running for the hills:
  • How many kids you would like to have
  • Names for the aforementioned children
  • Any bad habits or fears you might have (excessive flatulence, nail biting)
But then there are the more subtle things that you do not discuss on a first date. They are not so much things that would send the other person running, but perhaps things that would make your date believe you had fallen a bit off the crazy train. I will use my husband and I as an example of this...
  • Jeremy should not share that he has OCD relating to the folding of clothes. Particularly white undershirts. I may have looked at him a bit differently if he had shared his folding technique and explained the direction which they must face in the drawer. 
  • I did not tell Jeremy on our first date that I have a completely irrational fear of birds. So bad in fact that the mere discussion of the animal sends chills down my spine.
  • And finally....the point of this blog post...I did not share with Jeremy, on our first date, that I have a slight obsession with crafts. Yes, like arts and crafts. I love a great craft project. Sewing, painting, cutting and pasting, making new things out of random objects. I'm fairly certain that if I had brought up my great love of HGTV, or shared that nothing makes me happier than a can of spray paint and a light fixture - we might not have made it to date #2. At age 21 (when we met) that was just not the 'cool thing to do'. 
And so...my latest craft project. I decided I needed a cork board for our office, but just any old cork board was not going to do. I need a  fun one. And so....I went searching. I found this really cool mirror at TJ Maxx in the clearance area because it had some scratches and dents on it....It was a bit of an ugly duckling just as it was, but I had visions of it's cork board beauty.
On the back of the frame, I noted that the mirror and backer were held on with brackets that could be removed. So, I removed the mirror, and backer....and with a little help from...

Red spray paint
And a little sandpaper...


The ugly, sad little scratched mirror in the corner of TJ Maxx became my fabulous new cork board!




Oh yes...now you are all jealous of my sweet crafting skills. I'm just a regular Martha Stewart. (Also something I did not mention on the first date....I adore Martha. Literally at age 8 I would sit at home sick from school and watch Martha Stewart all day long)



And now, this crafting hour has come to a close. Just watch out, you never know, at this rate, I may be the next big thing on HGTV.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Christmas

So if you have ever read my blog before, you probably realize that I don't celebrate Christmas. It seems like a lovely holiday and all, and I wouldn't mind a few presents from a big guy in red, but alas, I am Jewish. So we have our own fun on December 25, and it usually involves Chinese food (the only restaurants that are open) and a trip to the movie theater.

This year however, we had a bit of a different task. My husband and I are the very proud Auntie and Uncle to a new nephew, who was born last week. In accordance with Jewish tradition, 8 days after birth, it was time for the little guy to get ...well....chop, chopped. If you know what I mean. This past Sunday we celebrated his Bris, which we hosted at our house.

New puppy, Stan, tried to be a part of the action...but we let him know that this was one party....he REALLY didn't want to be a part of. Stan will have his own little, more aggressive chop, chop in just a few short weeks, so it's best he stay away from those things behind him.

In preparation for the Bris on Sunday, we spent Christmas day cleaning, unpacking, baking and preparing for 45 people to enter our new home. I made my new favorite, festive dessert for the occassion, cake balls. Seemed appropriate. Until I ran out of milk chocolate and was forced to use blue candy quik for the coating. Jeremy quickly sent this photo to our friends who unanimously decided that it was bad enough that I was serving something called, 'Cake Balls', and that it would not be appropriate to serve the blue version.
They were totally delicious. Consistently regarded as inappropriate, but totally delicious. So the guests enjoyed the milk chocolate cake balls, and were spared the blue variety.

If you want some blue balls, let me know. I have some leftovers.

All in all a lovely bris. And a completely adorable new nephew.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Uh...Merry Christmas

In my industry, it is common for my vendors to give holiday gifts. Typical gifts include candy, cookies, perhaps a gift card.

Yesterday, I recieved a box on my desk labeled, "Merry Christmas" and signed by a vendor I had never used. I was a little suspect, because it seemed strange to give me a gift, given I have never used them. It was a large box, big enough for a basketball to fit inside. I slowly opened the  box, wondering what could possibly be inside.

I slice through the tape and slowly open the box, like the winding of a jack in the box. I peel open a corner, look inside, and scream at the top of my lungs. Literally. Top of my lungs.

I thought I saw a head inside. I head or some other type of body part inside that box. A bloody head. Before I called CSI, I decided to open the box a bit more, and upon second look, realized that it was not a head, but instead a ham. Yes, a ham. Now this is the 3rd ham I have received this year, but this one was a bit more 'rustic' than the first two.

It had skin on it, and looked like a shriveled old head.

I promptly picked it up, thrilled that I was not mailed a head in a box, and gave it to a coworker.

"Here, this is not a head, but it looks like one...do you want it?" I asked
"Uh....umm...sure I guess" she responded

It is so nice that people send gifts for the holidays, but perhaps they could send less graphic looking gifts. I will now be forwarding my psychiatric bill for therapy on to them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He arrived!!!

Where there's a will, there's a way. That's pretty much my life's motto. When I get it in my head that I want to do something, I always find a way. And I wanted my new puppy a week early, so I found a way.

My best friend Stacy told Jeremy, "I wouldn't ask my husband to drive to Green Bay to get a dog, and Kara finds a complete stranger and convinces him to pick up her dog".

Yup.

I had a friend over for dinner on Thursday night and discussed my perils. This pup was just sitting, and waiting for us, and he needed a ride back to Minneapolis, because I couldn't wait another week. Lo and behold, a few hours later, she sent me a text message that her boyfriend had a friend who was in Green Bay for work, and would be heading back to the cities the next day. So....She sent me his contact information and I called him! I asked if he wouldn't mind just picking up my little dog.  

"He's tiny, and adorable....shouldn't be a burden at all" I told him.
And so he did. Nice guy Dave, whose wife happened to be a veterinarian, picked up my pooch in Appleton, Wisconsin and brought him home to me!!!!

THANK YOU DAVE!

Sometimes you just have to ask! Determination - I have plenty of that.

Stanley Muddy Frank has arrived....
 He is hilarious. And loves to be held. A total sweetheart. And is driving his sister, Punky, nuts.

But look at that face! How could I have possibly waited!?

Welcome to the Frank house Stanley!

As our vetrinarian likes to say: "I hope that when I die, I come back as a dog in a Jewish home"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good news....

STANLEY FOUND A RIDE!!! Well Stanley didn't really do much of anything, except sit there and look cute, but I found a ride for Stanley to Minnesota!!! So...he is being picked up as I type, and should be on his way back to Minnesota now!
Stan is on his way
He will be here to stay
Stan, Stan, Stan
He's gonna be our little man

Stan is on his way! I guess I can't change his name now, I've publicized Stanley a bit too much. Oh well.  I'll post pictures after he arrives!!!!

So....after yesterday's favorite things post...my sister asked to be a guest blogger and share her favorite things. So now, a post from Robyn Alison (my sister).... and maybe a few comments from me. I rarely refrain from side comments.

Here goes:



1. My husband Jason. Yes it's cheesy but I didn't find him until I was 26 so I appreciate just how lucky I have to him.  yup, Robyn...totally cheesy. Now lusting over a dog, not cheesy.
 
2. My family.  I lucked out here too.  I have two loving parents (well really three), an amazing sister and great in-laws.  Of course I have the best nieces and nephews in the world (the two legged ones and the four legged ones). Now this one is 110% true. Particularly the sister part.
 
3. My new job.  Let's just say I am a happier person since I started and leave it at that. And we're all thrilled about it too - no more complaining about the lady that wore crazy clothes
 
4. My kindle.  It was a birthday gift (see #2) and barely a day goes by that I don't use it.  How else can I start a new book without leaving the elliptical or missing a beat.  - this is a good one. I don't have a kindle, but they look cool.


5. Trader Joes. I just love it there.  The customer service is amazing and they always have new and yummy food to try. Gotta love the trader joes - gnocchi with red sauce - tasty

6. Super Target. Where else can you buy fruit and a cute new t-shirt? I swear I am not saying that because my brother-in-law works for them I truly do love it there. We love this one too. Ya know, keeping the husband employed and all is a good thing. And just because it's a generally amazing store.

7. Honeycrisp apples.- I do a happy dance when the season starts.

8. My mother-in-law's hummus. As a certain snowy bride can verify it is one of the best foods on earth. I also love her mother-in-law's nuts. Seriously delish nuts. Like cashews people, get your mind out of the gutter. Gotta love Marlene's nuts.

9. My friends. I have the most loving and caring friends.  Even the ones who live thousands of miles away still take the time to keep in touch. They are pretty awesome.

10. Coffee. I am not human in the morning until I have my coffee. It must be as strong as espresso, no milk, no sugar just strong. Or as my husband like to say so strong it looks like pen ink.  I am not kidding he takes it to work each day and then puts half coffee half water in his mug just so he can drink it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kara's Favorite Things

As a special request from one of my loyal blog readers - here is a list of Kara's favorite things! I wish I could say that I am giving them all to you - just for being my wonderful readers! And then that we were going on a trip to Hawaii at the end {cue the confetti and screams of joy}, but alas, I am just sharing some things I love, just to share. Maybe you will find something in here you love too! And please share a comment of something that you love...Or don't. Keep reading in total anonymity. Whatever you like.

1. My dog, Punky. I know you can't buy this one, but she's do damn cute you have no idea. Ridiculous. Greatest dog ever.


2. Lululemon Groove workout pants. I love them. I live in them. I would give my dog for them. Well maybe not, but maybe my husband. kidding. They are life changing workout pants. And they make your butt look amazing. And who doesn't need an amazing looking butt?   And gents...they have fantastic men's pants too. It's not just for the ladies.


3. La Croix Lime water. mmmmm. Cold lime La Croix water. I gave up soda several years ago, because it just didn't seem like it could possibly be good for me. I know there is a lot of controversy on weather it is bad or not, but there is no research to say it is GOOD. So, as Jeremy would say, "There are enough risks out there in the world...don't add another one". But this stuff is a great substitute.


4. Cetaphil Facewash and lotion. My friend Rachel says that I am a delicate flower, and just about everything bothers my skin. I get rashes from everything, break out with an ounce of scent and generally have skin not made for general life. So, I stick to Cetaphil, and this delicate flower stays in good shape.


5. Braeburn apples. So lately there are all of these fancy fruits in the world. First there were grapples, Pluots, Graperines, whatever, it's all a little crazy. And now, the new thing is the world's most genetically modified apple. It's a bit nuts. I think next year they will come out with an apple that flosses my teeth after I am done eating it. So I stick to my old standby, the Braeburn apple. Delish, and normal. Without a peach sticking out of the side of it.

6. The Room and Board outlet. So it's not so much a 'thing' more of a place, but I love it. You can find Jeremy and I on many a Saturday morning, waiting outside for the store to open. Highly discounted designer Room and Board furniture? YES. Sign me up! I'm sure I can fit an 8 foot dining room table in my mini-SUV. Totally.

7. Benjamin Moore paint. Yes, I'm a dork, but I love it. They make the best paint, and have the best colors. Check out the new Benjamin Moore Affinity collection. Pretty! Love!

8. Design*Sponge - now that I am in the home building, home living stage of my life, I am re-interested in all things home design related. I love this website. It has great ideas, and tons of eye candy relating to design: http://www.designspongeonline.com/


9. Cakeballs. Only the yummiest thing to hit the dessert world in ages. Delicious. Totally un-nutritious, but amazing. I love the cake balls. They are fun. Fairly easy to make. Adorable. Did I mention delicious? Recipe? http://www.bakerella.com/red-velvet-cake-balls/

10. The poster above. It sits in my office. I look at it about every 10 seconds. I need to. One of my vendors loved it so much that she made me 6 parody posters of my lifeline poster. Examples include...Make resolutions
AND
Break Immediately

Wear Saldals
AND
Pretend It's Warm

Eat Candy
AND
Regret decision

So...the combination of my 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster, with the parody, keeps me reasonably relaxed and refraining from calling my assistant in with my crisis du jour.

So those are my top 10 favorite things right now. What are yours? Leave a comment with your favorite things!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

OPERATION: Find Stanley a ride to Minnesota

As I have mentioned, Jeremy and I will be getting another puppy! This puppy is coming from the same breeder as our current dog, Punky, and we are very excited for his arrival. He has been ready for quite some time, but they have kept him as we were moving, traveling and involved in a wedding. Now...we are ready for Stanley(which is what we think we are naming him).
This is Stanley

However....Stanley is in Clintonville, Wisconsin (just outside of Green Bay) and we are in Minnesota.

And....Jeremy is 'risk averse' to say the least, and is not interested in driving to Clintonville to pick up our puppy.

The breeder's sister will be coming to the twin cities for Christmas on the 25th, and is willing to drop him off, but I'm sick of waiting for him...and I want Stanley now!

So, in lieu of leaving Stanley on the side of the road to puppy-hitchhike a ride to Minnesota, I am trying to find someone who is driving this way. We will even meet them part way. We will pay them. And...they get to drive 4.5 hours with our adorable puppy. Is anyone driving from the Green Bay, WI general area to Minneapolis or anywhere West this weekend?

Now look at that face. How can you not help FIND STANLEY A RIDE!


Monday, December 13, 2010

I know pronounce you...really freaking snowy





This past weekend we celebrated one of my very closest friends, and a frequent star of this blog, Debra and Alex's wedding. And in case you don't have a television, radio, newspaper or internet, it also snowed a bit in Minnesota. 17.1 inches in our city to be exact.  And, while Minnesota is excellent at dealing with snow, 17.1 inches is a bit beyond even this great state's abilities.

Debra does everything big. Huge. And this wedding was no exception. Big dress. Big hair. Big party. Big food. What we did not anticipate, Big snow.  I will spare you every detail of the wedding weekend, and will leave you with the top 5 highlights of the wedding weekend:
5. Seeing Debra, wearing her mom's wedding dress (altered) for her rehearsal dinner

4. Her nephew's speech at the rehearsal dinner, explaining his, "Top 5 parenting tips....#1 Let your kid stay up as late as they want. #2 Let them buy whatever video game they want   #3 Let them run around as much as they want.....okay well top 3"

3. The incredible wedding dress...made of about 99 pounds of ruffle and tulle
2. Watching the bridal party bus dig out of the snow at her parents house. 2 hours of digging by the videographer and the bus driver. Those two deserve a handsome reward for their dedication to that vehicle and the wedding. I think I would have given up and called a cab.


1. Dancing the night away, thrilled that we made it TO and THROUGH the beautiful ceremony and on to the reception.

As we were getting hair and makeup done, I jokingly mentioned that I am an ordained minister(the reason is for a whole different blog post) and could perform the ceremony at her parents house if the snow kept falling. Little did I know, that would become a real possibility for about 10 minutes. Unbeknown to the bride, there was a moment when we thought perhaps the wedding might be canceled. 17.1 inches of snow had paralyzed the vendors and left them stuck at the bottom of a hill approaching the synagogue. They were  unable to get in, and guests would soon be arriving and also could not make it in the synagogue.

Thankfully, we found a solution to clear the snow, so the vendors could arrive - but I would have made one sweet Rabbi if they couldn't clear the way. I could have googled a wedding ceremony, and doubled as both a bridesmaid and an officiant. No biggie.

Thankfully, my credentials from the Universal Life Church were able to stay safely in my wallet, and were not needed for the occasion. Though Jeremy was pretty sad that he could not be the singer. The bride and groom? Pretty pleased he could not be the singer.

All in all, a snowy, winter wonderland wedding. I could have skipped the OUTSIDE pictures. But do have to admit, they turned out pretty amazing (see above). Thinking of moving to Minnesota? I bet you just changed your mind!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting settled

As you know, if you read this blog, which clearly you do, since you are reading it right now, my husband and I moved into our new home just a week and a half ago. Three days after moving into the house, he had a business trip that he needed to make, to India for 8 days. Normally this would be fine. I would be lonely, and I would complain for days, but I would survive.

This time, we had just moved into a new house, and there are a few things you must know about me.
#1 - I hate being alone. Hate it. I love people. I love being around people. I don't enjoy personal space. I required a babysitter until about age 15 because I hated being home alone so much.

#2 - Strange noises freak me out. To a ridiculous level. When some people hear a noise, they assume it's the washing machine, or the plumbing in the home. When I hear a strange noise, I assume it is a home invader. I'm pretty much a 'worst case scenario' type of person. Whatever is happening, I assume the worst.

#3 - I am jumpy. Super jumpy. Like when someone comes around the corner unexpectedly - I am the girl who screams bloody murder.

Not a good combination when you are charged with staying home alone, for 8 days, in a brand new house that you do not know well.

Sunday night I was home alone, unpacking some boxes. I took the dog out on the side of the house to go to the bathroom. I looked out past the deck, and noticed footprints. A fresh line of footprints, in a fresh yard full of fluffy snow.

I quickly grabbed the dog, and pulled her inside. I ran to the rear mudroom door, turned out the rear outside lights and noticed more footprints, running from the other side of the house to the backyard. I shut off the lights, ran away from the door, brought the dog up to the master bedroom closet to hide, and called my Dad.

The conversation went something like this:
"Dad, I need help, someone is hiding out in my back yard!" I screamed
"Excuse me? They're doing what?" He responeded
"Yes, I have seen tracks, there is someone, possibly two people, they have walked into the back yard, and they are hiding out back there, I need help." I screamed, in a manner so fast most humans could not understand what I had said.
"I'm on my way over." My dad responds.
The dog and I continue to hide in the closet, waiting for the lights of my Dad's car, too afraid to emerge, worrying that the stalkers will choose that moment to attack.

My Dad emerges from his car holding a flash light, and a stick. He walks on the side of the house with his stick, and his flash light, ready to attack, the prospective attackers. I am inside at this time, shadowing his path on the inside of the home. Keeping low to the ground, in case of attack.

My Dad knocks on the side door, startling me. I cautiously open the door, and he asks me to come outside with him. Unsure that I want to die this way, I follow him, knowing that these could be the last steps I ever take, but also trying to rationalize that he would not put me in harm's way.

"Are these the tracks you saw, Kara?" He asks in a very concerned manner
"Yes, those are the tracks from the people, where are they?"  I ask
"Not sure where the people are, Kara, but these are deer tracks. Maybe raccoon, but probably deer." He explains
"People AND deer?" I ask.
"No, Kara, just deer. You have no people in your back yard, just animals." He responds
"Oh, right, right, I knew that. Deer tracks. Yep, deer." 

Fortunately I learned we have animals in our neighborhood, not home invaders.  Maybe I should turn off CSI, and turn on Glee. Or maybe Jeremy should just return from India, to continue to quell my neurosis.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Hannukah

It's Hannukah! Woo hoo. I really didn't even know it was Hannukah until I was visiting some of Jeremy's family and they pulled out the menorah. I knew it was coming up - and I was prepared and ready with a gift for my niece, but really, it's not a very important holiday. Just so you all know. It is very sweet that you all wish me a Happy Hannukah, and get so excited about it, but it would be as though I was calling you to wish you a "Happy Colombus Day". Significant, yes, I guess, but so much a huge holiday.

That's not to say I won't accept presents. I mean bring 'em on if you really want, but you can also give me a Columbus Day present. I wouldn't complain then either.

However, the one thing I do enjoy about this season, is decorating a Gingerbread house. You see, growing up  I was not allowed to do such an activity, because we are Jewish. My dad thought it was inapropriate. I'm not entirely sure what a house made of gingerbread and copius amounts of sugar has to do with the birth of Jesus, and thus what is inapropriate about a Jewish girl enjoying such an activity, but none the less, we couldn't do it.

So now, in my adult life, I will not miss an opportunity to build a gingerbread house, or decorate a cookie. Nope, not this girl, those are IMPORTANT activities!

So yesterday, we gathered with friends, to make the annual gingerbread house...

Debra's handiwork. Please note the spectacular work. This girl is on her way to Ace of Cakes. This house rocked.

Kara's Masterpiece. It started out a little challenged. I thought I would make a 'Green Roof' - like energy efficient, but also green...the color...get it? It was going to be cute, but well, they didn't give us enough green frosting, so it became a multicolored roof. 

Now look at those faces of glee. The face of glee, with a Menorah in the background. Woops. Should have moved that for the Gingerbread house shot. 

Find joy in the simple things in life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Garbage Day


Today was our first garbage day. Ever. And by our, I mean mine, because Jeremy is in Bangalore, India right now.

You see, growing up, my dad was on garbage day duty. Rolling the ancient metal garbage cans out in their wheeley cart to the end of the street. And since that time, I have lived in multifamily locales, where we just took bags of trash down to a dumpster or garbage can whenever we needed.

But now, we are real, grown, garbage day, homeowners. Which meant that this morning, and every Friday morning in the future, I will be taking the trash and recycle out, and bringing it to the corner.

This morning found me wrangling dirty, salt filled, carboard boxes, and stacks of styrofoam out to the curb, while trying my best not to fall flat on my face on the skating rink (aka driveway). Halfway down the driveway I realized that maybe I should use the trash can like one of those little kid ice skating walkers and push it, holding on for dear life. Well that worked for about 3 steps, until I started to slip, and had visions of the trash can, and all of its contents falling on top of me.

This is a huge, life changing day. My life has moved from bags of trash, into garbage day. As life moves on, so too does one's trash disposal method.

Things I learned from Garbage Day #1:
  • Take your trash out BEFORE you get dressed in your work. Garbage day is messy, especially in the middle of winter. Do not wear nice black pants while loading and bringing out the trash can.
  • Wear gloves when the weather is -40 degrees and you are trying to fill and schlep said trash can.
  • Fill trash can the night before, so in the morning, all you need to do is pull it out. I will not forget this one from now on.
Here's hoping Garbage Day #2 goes a bit smoother. 

Or that Jeremy takes over Garbage day upon his return, and for every consecutive Friday following. Garbage day, I don't like you.

And so begins the adventures of home ownership. Well I guess we've been in home ownership for a while, but home dwellingship. Is that a word? If not, it is now.