Monday, August 27, 2012

AJP Email - Sunscreen

AJP is the name that Jared, Sara and I go by as a group.  As in "Let's have an AJP night" or "Is AJP going to make an appearance at the birthday party?"  The letters stand for Alice (me), Jace (Jared), and Sara (Pippa).

December 2011 ~ I took AJP to Disneyland

Someday I'll explain how it all came to be, but it's no different than any other nickname story.  (Ok, that's not true, it's probably much better than most - on the number line of nickname stories.) ;-)  Sara and I, without Jared, are Team Satrina.

Sara, Jared, and I often have long group email discussions that are beyond hilarious to the three of us.  Sometimes I think they'd be amusing to others as well.  Below is an example of such an email string, presented for you in more of a chat format.  This was after our day of mobbing in Kirkland.  The day was one of or sunnier, warmer days of summer.  MUCH warmer and sunnier than we are used to dancing in for sure.

That night Jared's arms were bright red.  This email string took place two days later:

Jared: This is the strangest sunburn I've ever had.  It hasn't hurt hardly at all and it already seems to have significantly faded.  Is this what it's like when normal people get a sunburn?

Katrina: Sounds like it just wasn't much of a sunburn.

I'm bringing my sunblock to AJP time so you can see if you like it ON YOUR FACE!

Jared: But you saw it!  I was *very* sunburned!

Sara: When did this sunburn happen?

Jared: Saturday.  During the mob.  When I was under my umbrella

Katrina: Maybe you need a special sun protective mom has one of those.

Jared: I was kind of joking, but do you think that I actually got burned *through* the umbrella?

Katrina: I like this answer:


A more probable real answer would be:

You were using a black umbrella, so you avoided MOST of the suns direct rays.  It is more likely that you were burned in the time you were not using the umbrella.

Sara: Obviously that umbrella didn't work well for you Jared.  I'm sorry you got burnt.  Jared, were you wearing ANY sunscreen?

Jared: perhaps not...

Katrina: He was not - even though he brought some "for other people to use"

Jared - you are not getting skin cancer on OUR watch!

I don't like wearing sunblock either, but even I wear it on the days that we're going to be outside dancing all day.

Nostalgic Side Note: The smell of sunblock always takes me back to the zoo - from when I would put sun block on in the car as my mom drove me to the zoo for work. 

Sara: Hmm.  Then it's really odd that you got burned seeing how it was 80, you weren't wearing any sunscreen and your complexion is fair.  Odd.

Jared: I was under an umbrella MOST OF THE DAY!!  I really thought I'd be fine.

Sara: The smell of sunblock takes me back to being a kid, swimming all summer long in the pool in the backyard and hanging out with my sister.  I thought of it on Saturday when I put on sunscreen before I went to the mobs.

An umbrella is not sunscreen.

Jared: An umbrella is quite literally a sun screen.

Sara: But it is not sunscreen with SPF my friend.  Umbrellas don't prevent cancer.  I'm pretty sure on that.

Katrina: But only against certain rays.

Other rays are bouncing all over and reflecting off things that an umbrella can't block.

Jared: #UmbrellasAreInadequate

The umbrella is disappointing...*

Sara: Let this be a lesson to you Jared.  Here are your takeaways from this conversation:

The sun can cause skin cancer.

Umbrellas don't prevent cancer.

Sunscreen lotion will help you not get burned.  It can also make you nostalgic for other times or bring up childhood memories.

Jared: noted.

Sara: The sun "screen" was way disappointing.

Katrina: (This is so going on the blog)

*"The umbrella is disappointing" is a reference to this video/book "The Baby is Disappointing" - an AJP favorite:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Runners in Concert

On Monday night I went to a reading of a new musical called The Runners, put on by Balagan Theatre.

The music was written by high school senior, Bryan Gula, who was in both runs of Balagan's regional production of Spring Awakening earlier this year.  I found out about The Runners at Balagan's season preview night and was intrigued - a good song and interesting story.  A boy/young man finds himself employed on what he THOUGHT was a fishing vessel, but it turns out that it's a rum running ship during prohibition.

Bryan had approached Balagan about working on his musical and they paired him with a writer and the company's Executive Director to get the project rolling.  Remember...high school senior...18 years old.  Yep.

The reading was $10 a ticket and done with no costumes or sets.  The actors walked up to music stands when they were in a scene; one read the stage direction.  Several of them were familiar faces from Spring Awakening, including Mike Spee as James.  It was great to see him in a lead role, I liked him in Spring but didn't realize how GREAT his voice really was until this reading!  Accompaniment was done entirely by the musical director at the piano (which I find incredible by itself!).

The show had already changed from what I knew of it before the reading.  James isn't tricked onto the rum running ship, he joins their crew willingly to escape his home in Canada where he feels trapped supporting his alcoholic mother with a dead end job.

The show was funny - sometimes intentionally and sometimes as a result of it being a reading, like when one actor throws a punch at one music stand and an actor at another stand falls to the ground. There were a couple of times where actors lost their place or missed a cue, but it was handled well.

In addition to being was good.  There were parts that were funny and parts that were touching.  About half the songs were solid starts, some of the duets showed a lot of promise, one song was hilarious (in a good way)!  The story kept my attention, I cared about the characters.  The wrap up at the end dragged a little, but I'm sure that will undergo several re-writes before I see it again.

At the end they took questions, comments, and suggestions, furiously scribbling notes.  During this time we learned that some of the songs were finalized on Saturday night and that some of the actors had two days to learn their parts.  Comments were thoughtful and interesting to hear.  One woman said "I really wanted to see the relationship between the brothers established earlier..."  The reply was "Yes!  We didn't know they were brothers until 3 days ago, so we'll definitely work on that!"

"Bring the female melodies down, define this character more, maybe a song exists here to highlight and contrast these two characters, find the balance between the comedy and the drama"...all sorts of things that will drive the development of this show.

I'm so excited to see where it goes next.  More songs could disappear - others added, characters completely changed!  It's a glimpse at the beginning of a process that can take years.  We see a lot of pre-broadway in Seattle....but this is pre-pre-pre-pre-broadway...and I'm thrilled to witness it.

Good luck to Bryan and team - I can't wait for the next show! :-)

Listening to suggestions from the audience. Front L to R: Matt Smith, Bryan Gula, Jake Groshong

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

#KBChat - Death by Whole Foods

In an earlier post I mentioned that I don't blog much because my life is heavily documented in other places.  I decided that what I could do is bring some of those more memorable tid bits here and share them with you [aka no one] to keep the highlights in one place.  You know, so they're easily accessible for my memoir.

I'll start with a Gmail chat between Byron and me.  We've come up with the term #KBChat when we're referring to our Gchats.  Trust me, there was a need.  Mostly because excerpts are sent to others in emails.  As in "this is from today's #KBChat"....just go with it.


4:11 PM me: Byron
  after work
  everything was out to destroy me
 Byron: haha
  oh no!
  when ice cream attacks
 me: no - ice cream was the only good part
4:12 PM Byron: he
  First Stop: Whole Foods
  (+) Almost missed the SLUT, but didn't - yay!
4:16 PM Byron: (yay)
 me: ( - ) Pesto Pasta from the salad bar, that USED to be everything I ever wanted in cold pesto pasta has been changed.
Is now pesto pasta salad...with peppers, and mayonnaise
  Is death
4:17 PM Dinner plan has vanished at the beginning of a long line of errands
  (oh - I went to the rack first, which took 30 minutes longer than planned...silly jewelry - so am already WAY behind schedule)
  Blood sugar plummets - am wandering around Whole Foods trying to not have a nervous breakdown
4:18 PM Byron: :/
 me: angrily eat some mac & cheese
 Byron: haha
 me: get even angrier at the $@#$@^ lack of Diet Coke options
  realized I hadn't had diet coke since lunch at me-hi-co
  blood sugar low + caffeine low = DyingKat
 Byron: :(
4:19 PM me: mac & cheese gives me enough focus to buy what I needed at Whole Foods...well, half of what I needed
  Grow angry at Whole Foods not having all two items on my list
  realize I should eat more food
4:20 PM get small scoop of mashed potatoes and 1 chicken strip from hot food section
  is almost $10
  realize that between mac & cheese, potatoes and chicken
  this non-dinner is not only NOT what I wanted to eat
  but also cost more than lunch
  which included magical chips
  and ALLtheDietCoke
4:21 PM (still have not had anything to drink at this point)
  Stumble out of Whole Foods vowing to NEVER GO THERE AGAIN
 Byron: im not sure i understand how you didn't just die right there at the grocery store
 Byron: :(
4:22 PM me: go to Bed, Bath & Beyond....find...almost everything I need....but am still suffering from lack of focus...
like...put my stuff down and am running back and forth at the giant utensil wall (wall is giant....not the utensils)
  Oh - they're right in front of me
  buy things, leave store
4:23 PM Oh - left phone in store
  go back
  crawl to downtown cupcake royale
  eat ice cream with the angels
4:24 PM Byron: hahaha
  oh jeez
 me: realize last downtown errand will probably not happen as it's after 8pm and the store is probably closed
  run for bus
  9pm get home
  inhale life source (Diet Coke)
  sit on chair in the dark
4:25 PM Byron: haha aw

6 minutes
4:31 PM me: realize I still need to go to the grocery store
  Walk into grocery store and through the produce "LIVE IS SO MUCH BETTER ON CAFFEINE - YAAAAAAAY!!!"
  * "WHY IS THERE NO MILK!?!?!?!" *
 Byron: hahaha\
4:32 PM me: WHERE IS THE MILK!?!?!?
 Byron: ...are you asking me right now? or was this last night?
 me: (I called my dad every time a store tried to kill me - by the time I was at the grocery store, he was just laughing at me)
 Byron: haha
  oh dear
4:33 PM why do you call him? do you expect he will magically fix the grocery store?
 me: turns out...they had more another spot
 Byron: ...
 me: they also didn't have something else I needed
  which prompted a 10 minute call to my dad
  "what do I do instead?!"
  thought I was doing better because of the caffeine
  today I realized
4:34 PM hey, I didn't unpack xxx last night - I could've SWORN I bought some...
  Check receipt....not on receipt....
  was it in the cart?
  did I not pay for it...AND leave it in the cart when i went to the car?
  Is the item still in the cart?
4:35 PM When I was at Whole Foods
  I sent Sara the following text:
  Whole Foods is destroying my soul. I hate everyone and everything
4:36 PM She told me to think happy thoughts and fight off the dementors
4:37 PM Byron: ...
 me: It was really bad in wholefoods
4:38 PM Byron: do you need a hug?
4:39 PM me: Oh, I'm fine today
  Really it was the change of dinner plans on top of the no caffeine
  it was poor planning
4:40 PM Byron: tsk tsk
 me: well
4:41 PM I do blame Whole Foods too though
  who tf puts mayonnaise in the pesto pasta?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Cookies

I love to bake.  I usually say "I can't cook, but I love to bake!"  To be clear, I probably can cook.  It's just a pain to cook by myself.  I've tried it and it's a lot of work for 10 minutes of eating.  I think baking is more fun, tastes better (in my opinion) and usually provides me with something I can easily share with others, which I like.

In the past week, I've successfully attempted 2 different cookie recipes using lemon.  I didn't necessarily plan for this to happen, so I thought I'd share the outcome, for the one person a month who randomly stumbles across this secret blog.  (Update 10/29/12 - Hey, guess what!  There actually is about one person a month who lands here by googling "Nordstrom Lemon Ricotta Cookie"!  If that's you, you'll want to scroll down a bit, because it's the second recipe listed.  Also, let me know how yours turn out!)

First up - Gluten and Dairy Free Lemon Drop Cookies

I had a game night last week to break in Dixit Odyssey.  Christine is gluten free and I like to try and have fun new gluten free option at our gatherings.  I was googling....I think it was something like "gluten free drop cookie" and found this recipe for Lemon Drop Cookies.  Perfect!  The first thing that attracted me to this recipe was that it used Gluten Free Bisquick.  This meant I did not have to go find all sorts of fancy gluten free flours.

About half way into my excitement I realized "Oh, right!  Christine is also dairy free - whoops!"  This is how my first experiment with vegan butter came into existence.  Looooong story short, I think the cookies were a success.  I didn't like them at first.  The texture was drier and crumblier than I preferred/expected - I think that clouded my judgment.  Everyone else, including Christine, seemed to like them.  They're incredibly light and the icing is delicious.  If you try the recipe, don't skimp on the icing!  An added bonus is that they look really pretty!  Take a look:

I really appreciated the video that the blogger included with the recipe, especially since I'm not used to using gluten free flour - having a visual of what my dough was SUPPOSED to look like was helpful.  Not that it looked that different from regular cookie dough...but still!  It was nice to know I was on the right track.

This weekend I made another new [to me] recipe for Lemon Ricotta Cookies.

The Cafe at work sells Lemon Ricotta cookies and they are seriously addictive.  The cookie is like more cake like in texture.  I think that's why I like them so much.  The texture sort of reminds me of a black & white cookie (which I love) although I think black & whites are a *little* drier.  I've actually been trying to find a good recipe for black & whites, because it occurred to me day that I COULD just make them, instead of bemoaning the fact that you can only get them in New York (...and apparently Utah.  Lindsay brought one back from SLC for me.)  After singing the praises for this lemon cookie at work, I realized I could try to make *them* too!  (I'm a real quick study.)

Jared offered to be my baking buddy and we set to work last night making this recipe.  We head to the grocery store to buy lemons....and there was one left.  Seriously.  Apparently if lemons are discounted by 10 cents, they fly off the shelves.  It could've also had something to do with the fact that it was 11:30pm.

We ended up buying a 2lb bag of organic lemons, and it's a good thing we did, because we needed 3 tablespoons of zest, and that one sad little lemon couldn't have handled that.  We learned that one medium sized lemon yields approximately 1 tablespoon of zest.  See, you learn new things every day!

I was so pleased with how these cookies turned out - I was giddy and giggly - I kid you not!  I was so ridiculously happy.  Some things of note:
  • They are really flat, and I think they even deflate a little bit once you take them out of the oven.  They're still delicious, and it doesn't really bother me, but I may try to see if there's any "solution" for that later.  
  • They are the antithesis of a dry cookie, and are likely to fall apart if you don't handle them gently.  It's just a side effect of their yumminess.
  • There are many recipes out there for lemon ricotta cookies.  I went with this one because the blog claimed that they were the Nordstrom Cafe recipe.  I don't know if it's from the cookbook, but the taste is an exceptionally close match (the ones in the Cafe are just 5 times bigger).
  • Many of the recipes out there use a glaze (similar to the glaze on the gluten free cookies).  A lemon glaze is all kinds of delicious, but I recommend using this recipe for more a frosting.  It goes well with the cake like texture of the cookie.

Gorgeous! (and dangerous!)

What a lemony week!!! Now I have all of these left over lemons, so I'm sure I'll be attempting one or two other lemon treats before the next week is out.

Happy Baking!

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