Saturday, January 22, 2011

1.25.11: Wear Your Watermelon Sneakers

I got a letter last weekend from H&R Block with some sad news:
I am sorry to share with you that your tax professional, William Sommer, has passed away. William's professionalism, knowledge and friendship will be missed by clients and colleages alike.

Here's the remarkable thing about Mr. Sommer, who died in September from complications following a heart attack: Getting your taxes done with him was actually kind of enjoyable. Yes, it probably took twice as long because of his long anecdotes about the tax code and how they relate to real life, but it was fun.

Before I even met him, I knew he was a quirky character, and I had great admiration for how he walked his own path in his Watermelon Sneakers. In fact, he had been featured in the New York Times City Room blog, "Must Be the Shoes (Those Watermelon Sneakers)."

(Photo by Corey Kilgannon/New York Times)

Corey Kilgannon interviewed Mr. Sommer about his unusual shoes.

Mr. Sommer told the reporter that he found the shoes at a shop at Chelsea and decided he must have them. At first he was afraid to wear them, worried they would get ruined.

Then, he decided he would wear them 13 times a year -- on "Watermelon Days" to mark obscure holidays such as Red Ruffing Day and Bloomsday. They were meant to be conversation starters, he said.

Even without the shoes, you would have wanted to talk to Mr. Sommer. He was interesting, informative and brought delight to drudgery, even taxes.

My challenge to you today is to add bring delight to others' days and to walk your own path (even if you don't have a pair of Watermelon Sneakers).

Here is a link to the New York Times City Room Blog

1.22.11: A Mysterious Photo

My brother Bryan had a surpise for me when I visited him last weekend in Vermont. He just bought a new house so he has been spending time at garage sales and Burlington's Recycle North trying to find things to furnish and fix it. In his search, he came across a real gem for me. It was an old photo of Kilimanjaro, which came along with a mystery. The date on the bottom is 6/10. I am not sure if that means June 10 or June 1910. According to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the first documented attempt at the summit was made by Baron von der Decken and Charles New in 1861. Hans Meyer reached the top in 1889 (it was his third attempt). So 1910 would not be out of the question.

The photo, by Dr. Michael Weidman, is inscribed to Betty Bandel, "who has known many heights." I will spend some time in the coming weeks trying to find out who they were and what connected them to the mountain that I love so much.

My favorite part of the photo (other than the plentiful snow on Kilimanjaro) is the silhouette of a hiker, embarking on this great adventure. It makes me think of the possibilities for the dozen hikers who will be joining me up the mountain August for the docu-series. What a wonderful journey we have ahead of us!

Hope you can join me at my upcoming appearances:
Jan. 28-29 at the Chicago Travel Expo, Chicago, IL
March 12 at the Vermont Women's Expo, Burlington, VT
March 22 Interweave, Summit, NJ
April 15 Somerset County United Way Women's Initiative Luncheon, Bridgewater, NJ

Happy Trails!

Where have you been, Kara?

Please forgive my absense for much of these past few months... I have been in cyberspace, just not here.

I wanted to share a few places I visited on my Blog Tour, as well as some awesome awards that have come my way:

Outside Magazine's 127 Defining Moments Finalist.

Here are some of many Blog stops on my tour... I am so grateful for the online hospitality for my book:

And of course, my television debut on NJN News.

I hope to see you around here more often!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1.1.11: A Clean Start

I admit it. I got a little naughty when it came to holiday eating.

I had a stressful November and December. There were so many special parties with wonderful friends between Thanksgiving and New Year's. The leftover hot cocoa from my gingerbread decorating party snuck into my coffee each day. I even used extra candy canes as stirrers! I even volunteerily picked up and ate a slice of a Natale's Bakery Yule Log at my friend Suzanne's Solistice Party. Christmas cookies appeared on my stoop!

I kept up with my workouts but I needed a clean start for the New Year. It is a great time for new beginnings and with my next Kilimanjaro trek coming in August 2011, I needed to get back on track

I decided to let my refrigerator inventory dwindle right before we left for our Christmas long weekend. Then I cleaned the whole thing out, letting go of every last little high-caloric crumb.

When I returned I made sure to fill it back up again with healthy foods -- salmon, salad, fat-free milk and more. I gave myself a clean start for health success in the New Year.
What can you do to give yourself a clean start this year?