Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to...me

Today is my birthday. In case you missed the memo. It's a pretty big day. Except, I have to admit, this is the first year that I feel really old. It's the 10th anniversary of my 18th birthday. And 18 doesn't seem so long ago.

This year's celebrations included a day of fun this past Saturday, planned by Jeremy. We started the day with a Yoga Sculpt class, which was a real treat because Jeremy came along. He's not a big yoga guy. They say chaturanga dandasana and he just sits down, cross legged on his mat, feeling defeated because he doesn't know what to do. Or they'll say, Warrior II to the left, and he's facing the right. But for my birthday....he joined me at Yoga. Big stuff.

Then...we proceeded on to activity #2 which is also not Jeremy's favorite, but which Kara loves...horseback riding.

We drove out to the middle of nowhere (also known as somewhere near Stacy and Billy's house) and took a trail ride on horseback.
As we were signing in, the woman said to us, "Just check this box to say that you decline the helmet rental"
"Decline??" Jeremy responds
"I'm not declining, I want a helmet" he continues
The woman looks at him, quizzically, unsure if he is kidding, or if he really wants a helmet. There is an awkward silence and then she realizes that he's not kidding. This guy really wants his helmet. And so, she fits him for his helmet. While he is not looking, I eagerly check the "decline helmet" box, and off we go.
(Truth be told, if it was socially acceptable, Jeremy would wear a helmet at all times. One cannot be too careful, you know.)
Jeremy, on his horse, with his helmet

It was a lovely ride. At a pace of about 6 MPH, through a park. But regardless, I remain shocked and honored that the guy got on a horse and rode the thing for me. A real statement of dedication. 
The day was ended by a lovely dinner at a new restaurant. I think it was the promise of a nice dinner that got him through activities #1 and #2. He left the helmet back at the ranch for the dinner. But I think he was a little sad to see it go.

Good husband, this guy. Helmet and all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Yep, it's that time, the Minnesota State Fair. Adored by Minnesotans, and even many from surrounding states who clamor for the bizarre fried foods, the barns full of farm animals, the political booths, and the unfortunate outfits worn by Minnesotans. (that happens to be my favorite reason to attend the fair).

Now I have to start by saying that my birthday is August 30th. Which, every single year, for my entire life, and well, before I was born too, falls during the Minnesota State Fair. So every single year, friends and/or family suggest...hey...here's a great idea...let's celebrate your birthday by going to the State Fair!

Wow. Creative idea. Haven't done that for the past 28 years. Totally fresh idea that has never, ever been thought of before.

And so, every year, we go to the fair, to "Celebrate Kara's birthday". Though it doesn't involve cake, ice cream, singing, or really anything that I enjoy except for cows. The cows are pretty awesome, and make the State Fair worthwhile.

However, this year, I actually enjoyed the fair. My husband, who knows me quite well, has learned how to make the State Fair, "Kara-friendly".
Step #1: Start out with a snack
Step #2: Share foods. Kara likes to share foods.
Step #3: Find the healthy State Fair foods to mix with the terrible ones. (there is a peach outside of the horticulture building that is seriously life changing. "Washington State Sweet Dream Peach ($3) | Midtown Global Market Produce Exchange: No mere fruit, this ripe, juicy, richly flavored peach is a flavor bomb with a wholesome background. The antidote to all that is fried and meaty, the peach sounds dull, but, as its name suggests, eats like a dream."
 Step #4: Visit some farm animals, but do not eat their likeness before or after visiting their barn.
Step #5: Do not go when insanely busy or hot
Step #6: Keep Kara away from massive hoards of smelly people.
Step #7: Do not stay long. 2-3 hours is plenty for the Kara.
And so we followed steps 1-7 and had a successful visit to the State Fair. Though I refused to call it a celebration of my birth. Out of principle.

We also rode on the Ye Ol Mill Ride, which was touted as a romantic boat ride, but is actually a pitch black, horribly frightening ride through a cave of some sort. I literally lost my mind screaming. Turns out there's really no way off the ride. I tried. Didn't work. Sorry to the people before, and after me, who were hoping for a romantic journey. I may or may not have been screaming the entire time.
And finally, text messages that would only be sent while visting the Great Minnesota Get Together, also known as the Minnesota State Fair...
Have a great time at the fair!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bunnies Lounge?

Last night, we arrived home from work and I was relaxing on the couch after a long day of work, and an exhausting weekend at good friend's wedding. I was sitting on the couch, attempting to finish a book, and trying not to fall asleep, when I found myself staring out the window.

I looked outside.
Blinked.
Looked outside again.
Shook my head.
Looked again. I was fairly certain that my exhaustion had caused me to hallucinate.
And then shouted for Jeremy.

"JEREMY GET OVER HERE, THERE IS EITHER A DEAD, OR VERY RELAXED BUNNY IN OUR YARD"
Just so you know, the suggestion of a dead or very relaxed bunny makes Jeremy run like the wind.

He flies over to the window to see the following...
Please note this bunny's legs.

Outstretched behind him, it looks as though they've been run over. Or are paralyzed. Which is clearly, what I thought had happened to the poor bunny. I begin screaming that the bunny is injured, and we should help it.

Jeremy prevents me from going outside, insisting that this bunny has rabies, and this is a sign of it's disease. Apparently lounging is a side effect of rabies according to Dr. Frank.

We continue to stare out the window for about 5 minutes. Alternating between screams of sadness for the dying bunny, and complete amazement. Poor bunny. I was almost in tears, watching this little thing right outside my window.

Finally, we decided to call my cousin Jen, who is a vet tech. We were going to see how we could help the dying bunny. To ease it's pain in it's last moments.

I reach over to pick up my phone and call her. The bunny twitches. And runs away. (The move causing massive screaming by both Jeremy and Kara Frank)

Turns out bunny wasn't fatally wounded, or critically ill. It was just lounging. Who knew? Bunnies lounge.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Just Call me Martha

So I have this secret dream of being Martha Stewart.

Not like in the obstructing justice sense, nor in her reportedly awful personality type of way, but in the crafty/cook/gardener way. So I'd like to be Martha Stewart, but without all the baggage.

And in my qwest, I have created a garden. It's pretty impressive. Prepare to be wowed.

Wait for it....

Wait for it...


Yes, this is my lovely garden. (p.s. don't look in the background of my picture, where we still lack grass. That is very un-Martha like. She would totally have grass.)

Yep, I know you are all pretty darn amazed at the beauty of my garden. But really, it is pretty awesome. I planted this year in a 'raised bed planter'.  This serves a couple of purposes: it keeps the bunnies etc... out of my garden, it means I do not have to till up a section of my lawn and ruin the turf (that is assuming I had grass. For normal people, this would be nice.), and it is at my level, so there is no bending, for weeding and pruning. Brilliant. Love it.

We grew 4 varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, green beans, herbs and a couple of other things that didn't do so well. But seriously, this planter makes gardening for normal people possible (sorry Martha, I'm not quite there yet).

So let me know if you want some tomatoes, they're growing as fast as I can pick them. And they're amazing. Even the convict herself would be proud.

I may not be Martha quite yet, but I grew a mean tomato this year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lessons in parenting

We have 2 dogs. Punky Lynn Frank, age 4 years, and Stanley Benjamin Frank, age 11 months.

Shortly after we adopted spirited little Punky, we realized that we were in for quite a ride. This was not just going to be an experience in dog ownership, but also a serious lesson in parenting.

We quickly learned that Jeremy was the 'Primary Needs Parent' and I was the 'Affection Parent'.

These roles developed almost instantly, and we learned to divide and conquer. Jeremy ensured that she was fed, peed, and in bed. I ensured that she was hugged, pet, taken to daycare.

Now that dog #2 has entered the picture, we have learned more parenting lessons including how to divide one's time, share the attention, and break up fights.

And now, the most important lesson for "parents" to learn... 
Sometimes, you just need to pick your battles.

Case in point:
Stanley Benjamin likes to take his toys outside with him when it's time to go potty.  We think it is disgusting. Stanley would run outside with his stuffed monkey in his mouth, and, as soon as he was outside, I would do the "quick grab and throw", and toss the stuffed monkey back inside. Little spoiled Stanley would then suction himself to the glass door, standing on the stoop, entire body - at one with the glass, screaming for his monkey. He would lose all interest in the potty break, instead using the time to scream and flail, pining for the stuffed monkey.

Until one day I arrived home from work in a less than stellar mood. As usual, I took them out of their doggy area, and opened the door to let them out. Stan ran outside with his stuffed monkey, I reached to pick it up and throw it inside, and then blurted something along the very edited lines of:
"Fine, if you want to bring your fu*&#ng monkey outside to pee, do it. It's not my problem if it sits in the poo area. It's your stupid toy"
(I was having a hard day)
And so he set his monkey down, peed, picked up his monkey, and waited by the door to go inside.
Shocked, amazed, and pretty grossed out, this lesson in parenting was solidified. Sometimes your children (dogs) want to do ridiculous things. And sometimes, you just need to let them do those ridiculous things because it achieves the ultimate goal.

And so, with that, we may someday be the parents whose child goes to school wearing a Bat Man costume with a Tutu over it, but at least they'll be at school.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear Blog readers,

So my typical blog posts are a mix of complete nothing-ness, random stories, and happenstance information that I share for no particular reason. However, today's post is different.

I have volunteered for several years for an organization based in Minneapolis called the Jeremiah Program (http://www.jeremiahprogram.org/)   It is an incredible organization that works to break the cycle of poverty for young, single mothers. Jeremiah provides a holistic support system for women of high-potential seeking higher education, including affordable housing, Life Skills education, Empowerment training and early childhood education for their children.

I love the premise of Jeremiah, and I have enjoyed getting to know the mothers and spending time with their babies. They are completely inspiring and they are true examples of the power of education.

So...one of the things I do for Jeremiah is to help plan the annual Bullfrog Bash. This event is attended by 700+ guests and is held at the Depot in Minneapolis (November 12, 2011). I am planning the silent auction portion of this event for the 3rd year, and am looking for silent auction donations....

So...if you like reading my blog (which I hope you do), please donate to our silent auction! Even if you don't live in Minnesota, please consider donating. Out of state items (vacation homes, chef dinners at restaurants, actual items) are so greatly appreciated. Or, if you would like to attend the event either individually, or consider sponsoring a table, let me know and I can help you with that as well. 

The sky is the limit in terms of silent auction donations, think creatively...here are some ideas....
  • Private tour of a fire department with a fire fighter and a ride on the truck
  • Tech items (iPad, kindle, Kinekt etc...)
  • Donate your vacation home/cabin for a week
  • Gift certificates
  • Tour of a police department/government office/courthouse and activity with the person
  • Anyone know retired Gopher/Twins/Vikings/Wild/Olympic athletes? Lunch with an athlete
  • A round of golf at XYZ country club
  • Private Yoga/Pilates/spin class and cocktails for a group of friends
Okay, enough of the ideas, but please, please consider donating, or ask your company if they would consider donating! If you have an idea you would like to run by me - just post a message. It is an incredible organization and I am working very hard on this benefit. I would really, really appreciate your support.

(Did I say pretty please yet?)

Thank you very much,

Kara

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things that would only happen to Kara Frank

My lovely husband informed me last night that my blog content had been 'lacking' lately. Apparently he did not appreciate hearing about how my toes were squeezed to numbness.

And so, without further ado, I bring you, a super-embarrassing, almost-to-embarrassing for my blog, story of late.

A couple of weeks ago I had an afternoon off of work, and decided to do some shopping. I had purchased a gift certificate for a local boutique at one of those oh-so-popular half price sites that are pretty amazing. I was pretty stoked to use it, and buy something fun and new for fall.

I drive to the store, park and walk in. The time is mid-afternoon on a Friday, when people who have enough money to shop in this store, should be at work. And so, it is me, and the store clerks, and nobody else.

I begin to browse the racks, picking out two shirts to try. The saleswoman quickly pounces on me, asking if I wanted to try on some skinny jeans. (A. If I had wanted skinny jeans, I would have picked some out, and B. this girl, doesn't do skinny jeans. They're not my thing.)  Regardless, I am convinced to play dress-up and try on her chosen garments.

I put on shirt #1, and skinny jeans #1, #2, #3 and finally, #4 is decent enough to leave the dressing room. I walk out of the dressing room wearing the $165 skinny jeans she has chosen for me (truly the only reason I tried them on was because the style name was called: Kara), and the 4 inch spike heels she has picked out for me.

I contend that anyone's behind looks amazing in 4 inch spike heels, $165 jeans or not.

So I strut around the store in the skinny jeans, 4 inch spike heels and shirt (the only redeeming article of clothing on me). The sales ladies ooh and ahh at how great the jeans look (again, who doesn't look great in massive heels). They tell me to go in the dressing room and try on the other shirt with the jeans.

For some reason I do as they ask, though never before in my life have I done as I am told. Regardless, I proceed to the dressing room to try on the second shirt with the jeans. The jeans were mildly acceptable, and they were even kind-of growing on me.

And so, I think to myself, "these suckers would be a heck of a lot more comfortable if they were a little more broken in."
And then, I did what every girl in America does, but does not tell you, I went into the dressing room to do the "Squat and Stretch". The famous move where you move into a squat position to stretch out the jeans, and see what they would feel like if you could actually breathe in them.

Halfway into my Squat and Stretch, the incident occurs. The $165 jeans rip down the middle of the knee. Yes, the knee. Literally torn 6 inches, from seam to seam on knee of the jeans. And me, I am left standing alone, in the dressing room, freaking out. Sweating. Panicking.

What's a girl to do? It was a tiny boutique with nobody else in the store. I had to go and tell them. There was no getting out of it. They expected me to come prancing out of the dressing room any minute in these jeans, that now looked like they'd been attacked by a bear.

I walk out, with a look of sheer terror on my face, and tell the girl that, "I was looking at the jeans and noticed that they had a small hole in the knee. When I crouched down to look at it closer, it ripped even further!"  I panicked, it seemed like the most rational thing to say at the time.

And then we proceeded to stare at one another for what seemed like 10 minutes. We just stared, not sure what to do. Am I supposed to offer to pay for them? I didn't want them in the first place! And so I just stand there, looking like I have just been through a bear attack. Which, essentially, I was.

Finally, to end the stare-down, I pick up every shirt and accessory in my dressing and say, "I'll take these". I felt so bad, I bought them all. And, knowing I had the coupon, I didn't want to have to show my face in the store again. The loony-bin who ripped the jeans in the knee.

And so, I paid, literally ran out the door, ran to my car, and called my mom screaming at the top of my lungs, in shear embarrassment of what had just occurred. Would have been hilarious if I was not alone. Less hilarious when standing in a dressing room alone. However, worst case scenario would have been if Jeremy had been with me. In which case I would have been laughing so hard, I would still be in that darn dressing room.

Things that would only happen to Kara Frank.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Secrets women keep....

Hey, got the men's attention!  I might lose it shortly.

I was shopping with a friend a few weeks ago, and we looked at a cute pair of peep toe heels.
She said to me, "Ohhh, those are cute!"
I responded, "Yea, they're adorable, but I think my feet must be deformed because peep toe shoes make my toes hurt. My toes go through holes, and, a few hours later, I feel as through my little toes are being cut off. And, by the end of the day, I am certain that I have just lost my toes for life."

Interlude for the men...these are peep toe shoes...see the hole or 'peep' in the toes...
            


My friend responds: "Uh, yea Kara, that is just what happens in peep toe shoes. Your feet are not deformed, they make everyone's toes feel like they're going to fall off. They just don't all talk about it."
I looked at my friend, completely aghast.  
"Are you kidding me?" I responded. And then I continued blubbering on like an idiot, totally shocked that I was not the only human on earth whose toes were mutilated by adorable peep toe shoes. I explained how I wanted peep toe shoes for my wedding, but I also wanted to be able to walk, and asked why nobody had ever told me this before....
She looked at me, unsurprised, and just responded, "This is a secret women just don't share. The pain of peep toes."

Well I am here today to break the silence for all of those women living in pain. Peep toes hurt. But they are so darn cute. And that my friends, is a crying shame.

What other secrets are out there that nobody has told me???