Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Much to my old personal trainer's dismay, I have spent most of my life watching Diet Coke prices.  I religiously check the grocery ads each week to see if it's a "Coke Week" or a "Pepsi Week."  Both brands are rarely on sale in the same week.

Back in the day, twice a year - on Christmas and 4th of July - Diet Coke would go on sale for 99 cents a 6-pack.  I remember one year we bought about $100 worth and we built a fort in the garage.  Ahhh, childhood!

The days of 99 cents a 6-pack are long gone, and for a long time, the standard "good deal" was 5 12-packs for $10. 

 I used to think of Diet Coke pricing in terms of a 12-packs, so if there was a sale on 24-packs, I would divide it and think of what it would be for 12 cans.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago the industry switched to 20-packs instead of 24.  Did they think we wouldn't notice?  Anyway, this made math a lot harder, so since they made the switch, I've started calculating down to the can level.  In case you're wondering, a good deal today is if you can find Diet Coke for around 25 to 27 cents a can.

What does this have to do with Thankful Thursday?

Well, for several weeks, Safeway has been doing special deals on Fridays and Mondays, and surprisingly, one of the days has included a $5 20-pack of Diet Coke.  It became so common for about a month, that I started to think it would always be there and I had no sense of urgency to go buy any.

Then it snowed, and I couldn't get to the grocery store....then the next week I fell asleep early and didn't make it to the grocery store.  I only made it in for 1 of the special $5 days's quite sad.  Last week, even though the $5 special was gone, there was a decent deal in place and I was running low on DC.  I planned to go the grocery store on Tuesday.  In fact, the next week's grocery ads arrived that day and alerted me to the fact that there would be NO good Coke deals in the coming week, so I definitely needed to make it to the store.

Then of course I fell asleep....and woke up at 11:30pm.

Dragging myself out of bed, I made it to Safeway.

When I got in line to pay for my Diet Coke (+ apples + a lemon + parmesan) at 11:52, there were 4 people in line in front of me.  Why were there so many people at Safeway at midnight!?!?  On a TUESDAY!!!

One guy in front of me must have realized that he didn't have his wallet, because he put all of his items back in his cart, swore, and left his cart by the cashier.

I checked out at 11:58pm - 2 minutes before I would have lost out on getting ANY sort of Coke deal.


I am very thankful that the man in front of me forgot his wallet. :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Year Is Finally Starting

No, the title of this post has nothing to do with the lunar new year (Go Dragons!) but I do feel like this year is starting its engine.

Maybe it's because the snow has finally melted and we've all crawled out of our snow covered caves.

Maybe it's because we've been rehearsing for a flash mob (which always makes life better).

Maybe it's because Melissa's here and we're planners - so we keep talking about all the things that are coming up.

New York feels like it's right around the corner (it totally is)!!! The dance calendar will be filling up soon too, thank goodness.  Glee rehearsals will start before I know it and so will Dare to Dance.

Glee will be our third annual Glee flash mob.  For more info, check out my 2010 recap.  Sadly, this year it will not be held on my birthday like it has been for the past two years - but that's a good thing, because my birthday is on a Tuesday and that would be silly.  This year the mob is on April 21st, which is fantastic because it's after both Western and Orthodox Easter.  I was very worried I'd have to figure out someway to jump back and forth between Seattle and Portland if it fell on Easter weekend.

(What's that?  You'd like to dance with us this year!?!  Please do! Check out

Dare to Dance is a dance showcase that's organized by someone in the FMF (Flash Mob Family).  He did last year in December for his birthday.  The idea being that it would be an opportunity for his friends to choreograph and perform original dance numbers on stage in a theatre with a paying audience.  It turned out to be quite a success, so he's doing it again.  Last year it fell on the same night as my Christmas party, so I didn't participate - but this year it is a spring event, so I will be dancing in one or two numbers.

With D2D in mid March and Glee in mid April, it pretty much means that within a month I should [hopefully] be in constant rehearsals.  I am very much looking forward to this time.  Plus, it means that spring and longer days are on their way. :-)

Expect to hear a lot about dancing in the next few months.

....or maybe you won't.  It's hard to tell.  This is ALMOST the best I've ever done at journaling, but that could change at the drop of a hat.  (Ew, I don't like hats.)

So let me put it this way.  I'll be dancing a lot soon.  You may or may not hear about it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday

Here are three pictures related to the weather we've been having in Seattle:

This was actually on a post next to my parking spot at home.  The writing was facing away from my car.  I wouldn't even have seen it but I walked around the passenger side to get into the trunk.  I think it's fairly new (as in, new vandalism)...but what's interesting is that this appeared BEFORE any of the really bad weather came in.  Whoever wrote it must have known what we were in for.

On Wednesday night, most of Downtown Seattle shut down early.  Jeremy flew into town that day and we met for happy hour to catch up at Sazerac.  Walking over there from work was spooky.  Even though it was 7:30pm, it felt like midnight - EVERYTHING was shut down...............except.......URBAN OUTFITTERS!  They had this sign on their door letting everyone know they were still open for business.  I felt bad for them!

Snow to Ice - Icicles spotted on the way to work.  I really didn't take too many pictures of the snow...mainly because I felt like it was too cold to keep taking off my gloves, but I did stop on the way to work to snap this shot because the icicles were exceptionally pretty (to me).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This week I have been incredibly thankful for two things:
  1. That I live close enough to work that I can walk
  2. That I didn't lose electricity
We are experiencing a "snow event" here in the northwest.  Typically we see snow a handful of times a year.  Generally it's an inch or two, and it doesn't REALLY stick around.  It may screw up rush up traffic for a day, but usually there's not even enough to close schools.

However, this week Western Washington saw a TON of snow.  My neighborhood had, at one point, around 3 inches (based on my non-scientific estimation).  This IS a lot of snow for where I live, but it didn't feel like a lot to me because other people had SOOOOO much more!!!  A co-worker of mine had about 10 inches of snow in her driveway.  Olympia had around 14 inches at one point.  We are DEFINITELY not used to snow at these amounts.

This brings us to TT #1.  Remember, I live in a city of hills.  It does not take very much to screw up traffic on these hills.  When so many buses are out of service and roads are shut down, it's reassuring to know that I will never be stuck at home or at work because of snow and ice.  My bus routes were actually running pretty well throughout the week, but I did walk a couple of times.  (It's good to have options!)

After our first big day of snow, the temperature dropped and we ended up covered in ice.  Tree snapped and broke from the weight of the ice and fell on power lines - lots of them.  I think at one point there were over 350,000 people without power and lots of people won't have electricity back until this weekend.  Remember, it's REALLY cold, so I'm super thankful that I have not had to deal with losing power this week.

Good night!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Christmas Decorations Are Still Up

My Christmas decorations are still up...for several reasons.

  1. I ALWAYS leave them up until after Russian Christmas.
  2. To put them away I need to go to the storage unit.  That is ALL THE WAY down the hall!
  3. Putting decorations away is one of those projects that explodes in the process...things get a lot worse before they get better.
  4. Because of #3, the entire apartment must be clean before I begin putting away decorations.
  5. I want to change the way I'm storing some of my ornaments. Last year I outgrew the 2 Rubbermaid totes I use to store Christmas things in.  I added one, smaller, clear plastic bin for some ornaments, and I think I'd like to add at least one more.  This will free up room in the totes for other things...maybe some holiday dishes.  Anyway, I need to go to The Container Store before I can start putting anything away...can't put things away if I don't have the right containers.
  6. They're so pretty!

What I should be doing is at least working on #4. Especially because I have Melissa visiting later this week!  What am I doing instead?  I watched the last half of Julie and Julia on Tivo (as in, I never saw the first half, but came in part way through the other night and decided to hit record).  In true Katrina fashion, I started researching Julia Child and the book while I was watching the movie.  The book Julie and Julia has been sitting here waiting for me to read it for months, but now I know that it's a true story.  Or at least...I'm fairly certain it's a true story (I guess it could be a really well set up fake story).  Apparently, I didn't spend that much time researching.

Ugh - I'm so behind on reading...but that's a different story!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday

Photo Friday time!  This is where I post random, unedited pics from my cell phone.

First up - in honor of Friday the 13th:

This is a pin I bought at Disneyland when we were there in May.  I've purchased pins while traveling for a LOT longer than Disney has been on the whole pin trading band wagon.  I'm not into trading, but I like that there are always so many for me to pick from while I'm there.  I like to pick up one or two per trip, so it was fun to come across this limited edition Friday the 13th pin! (I believe Jill and I bought the last two in the store!)

January 7th was Russian Christmas and Erik always hosts a Russian Christmas party that includes a white elephant gift exchange.  My first gift, a Lego torch (as in, flashlight) was stolen, so I brought home this little cactus from Arizona/California instead. (Grown in AZ, purchased in CA.)  It is now living at work.  I'm actually surprised at how "well" this picture turned out.  Pretty vibrant colors for a quick shot  in Erik's living room.

On the day of the Spring Awakening preview, I lost my bus pass.  It's the first time that's ever happened - I used it to go to work, and then when I went home it was gone!  Of course on a night where I was rushing and trying to make it to the preview in time.  I figured the best thing to do was order a replacement right away so I wasn't stuck using REAL MONEY for the bus for very long.  Well, when I ordered my replacement card on that Friday, I was told it could take up to a week to receive it...and it arrived on Monday!!  (Ummm, in case it's not obvious - that's what this picture is - my replacement bus pass.)

There you have it!  You were blown away by these amazing photos, right??  You can't WAIT until next Friday???  Yeah....good luck with that. :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I received FANTASTIC news via Facebook this week.  Starbucks is bringing the Chonga Bagel back to the Northwest!!

Photo Credit:

Here is my Facebook post from September 29, 2011 - when I discovered it was being discontinued:

This is me, mourning the Chonga Bagel from Starbucks. :-( Good bye old friend. I'll always be thankful that my old manager was given an extra bagel one day and that he decided to give it to me. That was when I learned how delicious you are


I will treasure the years we had together.

Gone too soon.....I'll miss you!

You can tell I was extremely distraught.

Truth is, I have gone to Starbucks a LOT less since the Chonga went away.  I can tell because I don't use my debit card there, I just continuously load money on to a gift card.  (I do this because the I use their (red) card, and every time I used a charitable donation was made.)  I think I've only loaded the card once since September.

When you don't drink coffee, there are significantly less reasons to go to Starbucks.  I only love one other food item there (The Greek yogurt parfait with honey, granola and cranberries - PLEASE don't get rid of it!!!!) and it is often sold out at my usual Starbucks so....why risk going there if I have no back up food option?

This is a great time to mention that by "usual Starbucks," I actually mean "the Starbucks I try first" because I have 4 within a block from work, and this number grows exponentially with each added block.  (Tip: Never suggest that we meet at the Starbucks across the street from my work - we'll never find each other.)  I have been known to go do three different Starbucks to track down a bagel or yogurt.

Despite not drinking coffee, and despite the fact that some days I think it's trying to ruin my life, I do love Starbucks - a love that has grown even stronger with the return of the Chonga!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Barre3 Love Hate

Sara and I have been taking Barre3 classes - sucked in by a Groupon deal.  I was intrigued by the use of a barre - dancey, right!?  Well, it's a little different than I expected and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

It's primarily a strengthening class.  Yes, they attempt to raise your heart rate a bit, but the majority of the class is spent on core, arm and leg work - lengthening and resistance training using the barre, a mat, a ball, and a yoga strap.  It's meant to feel sort of yoga-y and pilates like.

The first class we went to was a "foundations" class where they "go a little slower."  I was not a fan.  One of the reasons I don't like yoga is that it's too slow.  I know it's a good work out to hold something for 5 minutes, but I'm not interested.  Plus I felt sick because I hadn't eaten anything.

The second class we went to was a lot better.  We ALMOST didn't go in because we were late, but the instructor came out into the waiting area and physically dragged us into the room.  We really liked her, AND we liked the class a lot more than the first.  I particularly enjoyed that we went through things a lot quicker.

Today we took our third class and both agreed that we liked it less than the second.  It may have been the teacher's style.  This class ends our Groupon, but we have ANOTHER deal that we bought for 5 classes through Plum District.  That deal worked out to about $5 or $6 a class - how could we not do it? The classes are too expensive (for me) at full price, so I'm glad I've been able to find these promotions.

Here's the thing about Barre3 classes.  You spend the whole time thinking "I could do this at home - why am I paying to be here?"  The movements are small, and yeah we use the barre sometimes, but a lot of these things you can recreate at home.  ESPECIALLY since Sara and I both bought the DVD (which came with the ball!).  What's hysterical is that neither of us has actually used the DVD at home yet....which I guess is WHY we pay to go to class.

I get frustrated that these "simple" moves can be REALLY difficult!!!  Oh, I forgot to mention that we also use weights.  Well, I don't...(because it's too hard!!) but other people do.  I really do make an effort to push myself through some of the things that I think are too hard.  I imagine my old trainer is there pushing me through (Hi Jeff!) - he'd be so proud.  (Or not...I used to be much better at lifting weights).  I do realize that eventually these moves will become easier as I become stronger - right?

I did realize today that I DO need to be better about eating before going to class.  I've definitely had moments in the class where I've felt that my lack of strength was because I hadn't eaten.  It reminds me of how I used to feel at some of my old training sessions when I would rush straight from work and not have time to snack. (I guess some things don't change, huh Jeff??)  Of course, the problem now is that I'm taking these Barre3 classes so early in the morning, I "forget" to eat because I'm not really awake by the time I leave the house. *sigh*

Before January is over I WILL try the DVD at home, and I'm going to make an effort to remember some of the things we do in class so I can do them at home too.  Today it was this weird diamond leg thing that you do while laying on your side.  I can't even really describe them, but trust me - they were killer.

It is also worth mentioning that one of the best things about Barre3 class, besides hanging out with Sara, is going to Eltana Wood Fired Bagels after class. :-)

Photo from the Seattle Times

P.S. With this being my 4th post in 2012, I have now doubled the size of my blog - yay!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday

And now it's Photo Friday!  I wish my theme days weren't right next to each other, but oh well!

Here's how Photo Friday is going to work.  I take 100s of photos on my phone that never get used for anything or seen by anyone other than me (plus a friend or family member or two).  Now, I don't have an iPhone, so I don't have "fancy" photos - these are plain, unfiltered, and in most cases photos I would NEVER post on Facebook...or even Twitter (I'm a little more lenient about what goes on Twitter...but not by much.)

But HERE!!!  Here is different.  Here I will post unedited snapshots of my daily life, so you can see what I find funny, worth remembering, or things that I snap to send via text to friends or family.

I can't stress enough that these are unedited and in most cases, taken with little (if any) consideration of composition or lighting.  If I ever switch to an iPhone, that may change, so enjoy these while you can!!

Lovely warning on the outside of one of my Christmas presents.  Warning from the manufacturer...not my parents.

Little penguin figurine at Jill's - how cute is this!?!?  He's dancing!!!

I bought a #16 scoop a few days ago to use when making muffins and cupcakes and I LOVE IT!  Check out these identically sized banana chocolate chip muffins - heavenly! :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Welcome to the first Thankful Thursday post!  I thought that having themes would help keep me on a blogging schedule, which I know is important for all of my faithful readers. (I'm looking at YOU Inventory Bear!!)

Thankful Thursday can be serious or silly - just anything in the world I'm feeling thankful or grateful for.

Tonight I was fortunate enough to view the preview performance of the first regional production of Spring Awakening.  What a treat!  I already have tickets to see two of the regular shows, but I was really excited for this sneak peak. :-)  For starters, I was able to sit in the front row, which is great because for the other shows I'll be sitting on the side of the stage.  I enjoy stage seating, but the sound is better sitting in the front.

Some elements (that were different from the touring production) were really enjoyable.  I liked some of the staging and choreography choices that were made.  The ensemble is large(r), and used on stage a lot more, which was very interesting (especially during Touch Me).  I really enjoyed Ilse's monologue - a LOT - which is something I'm really picky about.  All of the group numbers sounded great.  As for the few things that weren't so great (in my opinion) I'm excited to see how/if they change or grow on me when I see the show again.

After the show I was able to chat with Justin - he was on the second national tour as the cellist and is now in this production as Hanschen (and cellist).  It was fun to surprise him, quickly catch up and chat about how the show is different.  He snapped a super cute pic to post on Twitter:

I don't feel compelled to go to every performance, but a nice solid 3 shows will do me good.  How fitting that it is my first show of the year.  It is almost the anniversary of my Spring Awakening journey from last year - which started in Tacoma on January 22nd.

I'm very thankful that I was able to see the show tonight, and grateful that a friend put me in touch with her friend who is one of the stage managers - and that he was kind enough to invite me to the preview.  It never hurts to ask! :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Kat Recap

I will remember 2011 as a year defined by Spring Awakening and travel.  I traveled a LOT this year (for me) and while I like to pretend it was in honor of it being my 10 year anniversary of Semester at Sea - a lot of it happened...almost by accident.

In January I saw the 2nd National Tour of Spring Awakening in Tacoma, WA - sitting on stage for the first time.  I watched the show twice in one day (hey, they were only in Tacoma for one day) - I LOVED IT!  I already knew that I loved the show, but I fell in love with the cast and a couple of weeks later, I realized I needed to see them again, so I flew to Phoenix and then drove to Tucson to see them two more times.

 I thought that was the end, I really did, but in March I found myself in Charleston, SC for two more shows.  It was the farthest I had ever traveled completely by myself, and I had a blast.  I adored Charleston and could've easily stayed longer than the 3 days I was there.  After the second show I said my good byes to the cast (again - since I had already told some of them that Phoenix was my last show) and went home, content with my little mini tour of the US.

However...the day I got home I saw that Broadway in Chicago was holding a contest - the prize being 2 on stage tickets to the opening night of Spring Awakening, plus a meet & greet with the cast.  My immediate reaction was that I was *not* going to enter - you had to make a 1 minute video about how you were the biggest fan of the show.  Well, *obviously* that was me, but I was NOT going to make a video of myself pleading to be picked as a winner - plus, I had never made a video before. But....what if I didn't enter....and then other people won....people that weren't "good enough" fans?!?  How could I live with that!?!?  Over the next few days I came up with an idea that would allow me to create a video without actually filming myself and ran with it.

 My Ultimate Guilty One Contest Entry:

Thankfully, I was chosen as one of the winners and that's how I ended up going to Chicago for a week in May with Lindsay!  Oh...My...Goodness - I LOVED Chicago!  What an amazing trip! We saw everything we wanted to see and then some!  Chicago was REALLY the end of my Spring Awakening Tour - but what a perfect ending it was.  We actually extended our trip by a day to see the cast perform a benefit cabaret.  It was totally worth it.  It was great to see them all in a relaxed environment and gave us time to chat and say proper good byes.

Spring Awakening Cabaret:

Other trips this year included:
  • Disneyland twice (once with my mom, my aunt Laurie and Jill and another with just my mom)
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa for work
  • Las Vegas for Lily's bachelorette party
  • Sitka, Alaska for my Goddaughter's high school graduation
  • Maui with my parents
Here are some other stats for the year:
  • Weddings Attended: 3
  • Spring Awakening Performances Attended: 7
  • Other Live Performances Attended (Dance, Concerts, Plays, Musicals): 21
  • Flash Mob Performances: 15
  • New [to me] books read: 18
  • Number of weeks it took to watch all 6 seasons of Bones on Netflix/HuluPlus: 5
  • New [to me] shows I started watching: 7 (Mostly Sara and Jared's fault!)
  • Miles Flown: 26,936
Flash Mobs continue to be a huge part of my life.  I'm so grateful for this hobby and the wonderful people I interact with as a result.  A highlight of this year, in addition to the Glee Flash Mob being on my birthday AGAIN was being able to assist with teaching at some rehearsals, which is something I've always loved to do!

No year is free of trials, but I feel blessed to look back upon so many great experiences and memories of 2011!

This is [almost] everyone who sat with me on stage at Spring Awakening in Tacoma!

The gifts I delivered to the cast of Spring Awakening in Charleston "Fans From a Fan" :-)

Saying good bye to cast members Devon and George at the Spring Awakening Cabaret in Chicago

Chicago - The Bean

Pondering things in Disneyland with Jill

Angels in Sin City!

Flash Mobbing at PrideFest

On a boat celebrating Byron's birthday

AJP on Ice!

Christmas time at Disneyland. This may be my most favorite picture EVER of my mom and me.


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