Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Long Night...

Last night was one of those evenings that just wasn't long enough to get everything done, but yet seemed like it dragged on forever. Have you ever had one of those?

I went to a going-away-lunch for a co-worker, so was completely full and thought I'd just make Rob something easy for dinner before starting in on the tasks I had on the list in my head (am I the only one who makes lists in her head?!). Those included:

  1. Make spinach dip for Thursday's work potluck
  2. Make peanut butter torte for Thursday's work potluck (my mom taught me to always bring two things to a potluck, because there is invariably someone there who brings nothing and eats a lot!)
  3. Walk - preferably outside, but likely on the treadmill
  4. Feed the hungry husband with the (easy) dinner of his choice
  5. Wash, dry, fold and put away a load of whites and the load of jeans
That seemed like an already busy night, especially since I've just switched to the "flex work" schedule at work and am getting home an hour later each night (the bonus is that I get every other Friday off).

So as I'm driving home, I called Rob to complain about my busy night ahead and ask him to throw in the load of white clothes. "No problem," he replies. "But we also need to go jump my car. I left my lights on today and my battery died, so I just walked home." Ugh, I say. Add it to the list. Oh- and make your own dinner. :)

That he did, and I made the spinach dip while he ate and the clothes washed. Then we loaded up our portable car jumper/light/battery charger my parents got us and headed the 1.5 miles to Rob's office. Luckily, the car jumped easy and we headed home. I tossed the dip in the oven to cook and spent 30 minutes on the treadmill. I also managed that second load of laundry.

Next up, peanut butter torte. I'd never made this before, but had a sample of it when my mom made it for a church potluck. Delicious! I'll share that recipe soon. It's not difficult at all and looks great. Let's just hope it comes out of the springform pan okay.

After the laundry and car charging and dip making and walking and torte making, I was whipped. At about 10:30 p.m., I headed up to bed and watched Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic Convention in Denver. I had no clue on his back story - it's tragic and you can read about it here.

So, that was my busy night. Needless to say, I'm ready for the weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Coconut Kisses

My good friend shared this recipe with me, and it's delicious. The only trick is getting them off of the cookie sheet. I haven't tried them yet with one of those silpat mats, but next time I will. Enjoy!

Coconut Kisses
Yield:24-ish cookies

1 c. brown sugar
2 stiffly beaten egg whites
2 c. corn flakes
1 c. moist shredded coconut
½ c. chopped California walnuts
½ tsp. vanilla

Beat sugar into egg whites. Fold in corn flakes, coconut and walnuts. Add vanilla. Drop by teaspoons onto well-greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Place pans on damp towel, remove cookies immediately with spatula. If cookies stick, return to oven to soften.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Need a Good Book

Any recommendations? I read "Same Kind of Different as Me" last weekend and absolutely loved it. I have a couple of reads in my stack, but nothing is calling out to me.

Read anything lately that you'd recommend?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Potato Gratin with Asiago and Bacon

This is an absolutely new favorite recipe! It's an awesome side dish for grilled steaks. I made it a few weeks ago when we had a small dinner party, and it was a hit. Plus, it looks (and tastes!) way more impressive than the true effort, which is always a plus. Hope you enjoy!

Potato Gratin with Asiago and Bacon
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds peeled Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside and keep warm.
3. Heat a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sprinkle flour over shallots. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 9 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, Asiago, chives, pepper, and bacon.
4. Arrange half of potato slices in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour half of cheese sauce over potato slices. Top with remaining potato slices and cheese sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. (I put it under the broiler for about 2 minutes, just to crisp the cheese on top.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Social Media

Despite your politics, you have to admit that this presidential campaign has taken advantage of social media more than ever. Maybe it's because online networks have exploded during the last couple of years, or politicians are realizing that Gen Y spends more time online - for leisure or work - than watching TV.

Forrester Research says that 72 percent of Gen Y mobile phone owners send or receive text messages, and 42 percent of online Gen Yers watch internet video at least monthly.

In case you haven't heard, Obama is expected to announce his running mate any minute now. And, instead of telling it to Brain Williams or Matt Lauer, he's going to the people first and sending it out via text message. You can be one of "The First to Know" by signing up here. I signed up out of curiosity, just to see how he did it. Of course this means I'll be getting Obama e-mails for the rest of my natural life. :)

John McCain is using online tools too - his online ads are effective and attention-grabbing, and his Web site is full of opportunities to engage.

For me (maybe I'm just a communications nerd), it will be really interesting to see how these two candidates rally and motivate the online world to support them through November and beyond.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Weekend Down

It's Sunday evening, I'm still blissful about Michael Phelps and we are home and relaxing. The only bad news is that we have to go back to work tomorrow!

We headed up to the lake early Friday afternoon. It was cool, but nice. There is some strange seaweed-thing going on in the lake - something about not having enough rain this year. Whatever it is, it's gross. I don't care to swim in seaweed!

Rob's sister and her husband came down on Saturday, and we just hung out. Matt brought the beach family photos, and they are great!

Saturday evening, we went to a wedding reception for my best girlfriend Tessa's brother and his new wife. They were married in Virginia a few weeks ago, when Rob and I traveled to babysit. It was a really nice dinner and we enjoyed catching up with old friends, including three of my teachers from elementary and high school - so fun to see them! I added a few photos from the night on the right.

We stayed Saturday night with my parents and headed home today. Waiting on our front porch and mailbox were my Longaberger order and Rob's new Xbox game. We were both happy!

Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eat My Words

Believe it or not, my treadmill is fixed. The oh-so-friendly repairman called to tell me he was here--not that he would be here in 30 minutes, as promised. To boot, he yelled it me like it was my fault he didn't call! Regardless, I hopped out of work, came home (Rob came too, given the gracious history we have with this company), let him in and he did his thing.

He wasn't pleased that as soon as he turned the treadmill on, AJ the cat hopped up to walk. He yelled, "Down cat!" and pushed her with his foot. Easy, repairman. I picked her up and put her in the bedroom downstairs. Probably should have done that as soon as I got home, but honestly, what can a cat do to him?

I'm glad it's fixed and am off to walk on it now -- hope I don't see any error codes!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dinner Out at RWDC

It's Restaurant Week in D.C., which basically means that a bunch of great places have a special menu, with three courses for $35.08 per person. We usually try to go some place that we likely wouldn't normally go, and some place where a three-course dinner would be way higher than 35 bucks. Last time, we went to 1789.

Tonight we went to Oya, based on a recommendation by a co-worker. It was very interesting decor - one wall of chain link; a long fireplace built and flaming along one wall; another wall of silk roses, with a waterfall in the middle. Tres chic.

We met our friends J&N, after we finally found a parking spot on the street and Rob paid the bum manning our corner $2 to "watch the car", or as Rob puts it, "not vandalize the car." We were in a good part of D.C. and wouldn't expect that to happen, but as Rob was examining the parking meter while I parked, the bum started talking to him and, of course, asked for cash. Good thing my hubby had a generous moment!

Anywho, the food was pretty good. For my courses, I had the (appetizer) goat cheese timbale with caramelized apples, Asian greens and walnut vinaigrette; (main course) scallops with pad thai noodles, hen-of-woods mushrooms and truffle jus; and an awesome dessert called "Chocolate, Chocolate and Chocolate" -- chocolate mousse, hazelnut biscuit and strawberries. Mmmmm. Rob's calamari appetizer looked awesome, as did his filet. We picked the same dessert!

I know lots of cities do Restaurant Weeks - Boston, NYC, Baltimore, Philly, San Diego, Denver, etc. If your city does it, take advantage and treat yourself to a great night on the town.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Catching Up

I headed up the the 'burg on Sunday afternoon (with a side stop at the outlets-don't tell Rob) to spend some time with my parents and see a few girlfriends who I've been trying to catch up with all summer. I even snuck in a great visit with my grandparents, which was great.

Sunday night, I had a nice evening hanging out with my parents and enjoying a great dinner of steamed shrimp. Yum. My mom and I stayed up gabbing and watching the Olympics until the wee hours of the morning. That men's 4x4 relay was so exciting!

Monday morning, we met one of my good girlfriends and her mom for an early breakfast, so we spent 1 1/2 hours talking and chatting. After a trip up to the mall and accomplishing a few other errands, we went to lunch at my best girlfriend's parents' house (my friend and her daughter are up from Texas visiting her folks). What an amazing lunch! My friend's mom is an excellent cook - we had a delicious quiche Lorraine, a beautiful fruit salad and yummy banana bread. Mmmm mmm mmm. We really loved talking with both of them and appreciate the hospitality!

Rob held down the fort here, and back to work for me today. So glad I was able to head up there for a visit!


I am loving these 80-degree temperatures in August. What's happening in DC to deserve this? I won't complain. It's been great to walk outside in the evenings.

On a good note, my broken treadmill is scheduled to be fixed on Thursday. Given the level of service I've already had from the repair company, I'm not holding my breath.


We have been staying up way too late watching the Olympics. Hope we make it through the week with short nights of rest. I'm doing my best to avoid any Web sites during the day that could spoil the results that night, although I think it's great that the major events are happening in the morning in China, so they are actually prime time here. Smart thinking!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Home for the Weekend

We are spending this weekend at home, which is unusual for the summer. Usually we are at the lake or hitting the road to somewhere. To be truthful, I'm really looking forward just laying low.

Tonight we're meeting a big group of friends (mostly Rob's former co-workers and their spouses) for dinner at Gordon Biersh. The gal who made the reservation asked for a table where we could see the TVs, so hopefully we'll catch some of the Olympic opening ceremonies. I can't wait!

I imagine the rest of the weekend we'll soak in some Olympics, maybe grill out dinner Saturday and catch up on our zzzzzzzs. I'd almost convinced myself that today was Saturday when my alarm beeped at 6 a.m. Ack.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Life, According to Google

I saw this on a college friend's blog and decided to give it a whirl.

Here's how it works: Type in the following and choose the first choice that appears on the list (that goes along with the question).

1. Type in "[your name] needs" in Google search
Kathryn needs pieces of cheese.
I just had some cheese and chicken fajitas for dinner, so I don't need any more cheese today!

2. Type in "[your name] looks like"
Kathryn looks like the little mermaid when she sleeps.
Ha ha - I seriously doubt that!

3. Type in "[your name] likes"
Kathryn likes to bop to music.

True...I bop down the road on my way to and fro' work.

4. "[your name] says"
Kathryn says good-bye for the first time.
Um, I'm not sure what this means. I say goodbye a lot!

5. "[your name] wants"
Kathryn wants the camera by Yanov.
What on earth is Yanov?

6. "[your name] does"
Kathryn does Rwanda!
No clue what this means, but it's not as bad as I worried it would be. :)

7. "[your name] hates"
Kathryn hates waking up so early.
So true! I'm used to getting up at 6 a.m. now, but despise it any earlier.

8. "[your name] can"
Kathryn can help!
Kathryn can help - I'd do anything for my friends.

9. "[your name] goes"
Kathryn goes to a Receivers Anonymous Meeting.
Never heard of "Receivers Anonymous", but it sounds interesting.

10. "[your name] is"
Kathryn is a very beautiful name.
I have to agree! It was my grandmother's name, and while I probably went through phases where I wish I had a trendy or popular name, I really do like my name.

Now it's your turn to give this a go - :)

Paris for President?

This is hilarious and a GREAT reason why you should never use someone's image in an ad campaign without their okay.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Beach Bums

We're home from four days in Ocean City with Rob's family. As you can see above, we posed for the official "white shirt and khakis" beach family photos. Our brother-in-law Matt is a great photographer and did all sorts of shots, which I'll share when we receive them. This one is our typical product of Rob's long arm!

We headed down at lunchtime on Friday and arrived at 3 p.m., in time to spend a couple of hours on the beach. That night, we walked the boardwalk (2 1/4 miles) in both directions and were whipped! We spent the rest of the time on the beach and eating good food. It was relaxing and fun!

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Little Frustrated

About two weeks ago, I was on the "cool down" minutes of my treadmill walk (it was nearly 100 degrees and way too hot to walk outside), when the thing started beeping and flashing "error 13" on the screen. Huh?

I got off, took out the little magnetic key, put it back in and got the same code. So I unplugged it and restarted the whole thing - same error. I got out the instruction manual, and the chapter marked "Error Codes" merely directed me to call the store where I bought it. Very helpful.

(And mind you, this is not a cheap treadmill. It was a hefty purchase that should have a very long life.)

So, the next day I call and am referred to their repair company as the only people who could fix it under warranty. I call them and the woman has no clue was "error 13" means. She looked it up and called me back, informing me that the whole membrane (keyboard) panel would need to be replaced, since I apparently had a stuck key.

Oh, and it's $150 for their house call fee (per hour) to repair it. Terrific.

That was Friday, July 18. On Monday, July 21, I called and asked them to order the part. She said it would be a week. Yesterday (July 31 - 10 days later), I call them to inquire. She told me it hadn't actually been ordered until July 24 and still hadn't arrived. They'd call me when it got here, she cheerfully informed me. That really didn't satisfy me, and I wasn't shy in letting her know, although equally (maybe sarcastically?) cheerful.

So, in summary: forced to use this company for repair; delinquent in placing an order and absent in notification of this fact; $150 charge to come to my house. Did I mention that includes the repair man's "travel and repair time?" Goodness knows what they'll charge me if it takes him longer than an hour to drive to my house and fix the blessed thing.

My advice to you: buy the $300 treadmill at Wal-Mart. When it breaks, buy a new one (if you really use it). Don't invest in a quality one that will still likely break, but cost you two weeks and at least $150 to repair.

Thanks for letting me get that out. I feel better now.