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January 23, 2006

A Karl Moment

A True Karl Moment (as told by John Linger)

Tim, Felicia, John and I are once again beginning our training for the MS150 from Houston to Austin in April. John has been having serious hip issues and, even though he has registered, he wasn't sure he will be able to ride. We had our first training ride on Saturday and the planned route was 28 miles (ride 14 miles out, eat breakfast at a Mexican restaurant, and ride 14 miles back.)

We left the parking and had ridden approximately one mile when John told me his hip was bothering him and he didn’t believe he would be able to handle the route. So, he decided to turn around, return to the truck, and act as our SAG driver for the ride. He followed the pack (approximately 15 of us) all the way to the restaurant and, while we were eating breakfast, Tim, Felicia and I decided we were going to ride only 20 miles. (Tim and Felicia haven’t ridden since last May and I haven’t ridden since October.)

We finished breakfast, went outside to get on our bikes, and Felicia announced that she is quitting – 14 miles is enough for her – and she doesn’t want to be tired the rest of the day. Tim and I look at each other and agree to complete the 20 miles. We mount our bikes and, as we are pulling out of the parking lot, John announces, instead of following us, he and Felicia are going to drive down the road to the Exxon gas station. He estimates that will be the distance of our 20-mile ride.

Tim is riding faster than I and he arrives at the gas station first. As he arrives at the gas station, John and Felicia are waiting outside the truck. As Tim approaches, he looks down at his computer and says, “I’ve gone 19.8 miles. I’m just going to ride up and back until I reach 20 miles.”

About a minute later, I am now approaching the gas station. I see John and Felicia waiting outside the truck and notice that Tim has ridden past them. I look down at my computer and it registers 19.8. As I pass the truck, I say, “I’ve ridden 19.8 miles. I want to ride 20….I’m going to keep going. Please pick me up in a minute.”

Of course, I didn’t know Tim had just said the same thing. John shared this little tidbit with me last night at dinner and laughed about the Karl Moment he and Felicia shared.

Posted by Kathleen at 07:42 PM | Comments (58)

February 20, 2005

The Coveted Green Bag

We were shopping at Surfside and Cynthia and I were the first to tire of the shop into which we had wandered. We walked outside the shop and found a table for two; we sat and started our conversation. We had been there only a short time when a young man approached and asked if we would be willing to take a survey. Cynthia & I, neither one being the type who complied with these types of requests, communicated with our eyes that this definitely was not what we wanted to do while we waited for the others to exit the shop. However, before we had a chance to respond to his initial question, he held up this green canvas (?) shopping-kind-of bag and said, for our cooperation, he would give each one of us one of these bags.

It was a nice bag; it was a pretty shade of green, and the screen print on the side said,

“SPRING 2004 Wine Festival Seaside, Florida”

But, I think it was the wooden handles. Normally, these kinds of bags have handles made out of the same material as the bag, but this one had really nice wooden handles that complemented and contrasted with the deep green of the bag. Simultaneously, we each decided we wanted that bag and we, like the young man, knew it was the bag that would clinch the deal.

So, Cynthia and I agreed, but then he told us he had only one of these green bags and the other person would have to accept this really tacky run-of-the-mill off-white bag. That would not do for us! So the young man, who really wanted to take our two surveys, offered to run back to his apartment (?) where he had more of the green bags, would return in a few minutes, and take our surveys. So, we said “Sure, we would be waiting.”

Off he ran and we remained seated, discussing how odd it was that we had agreed to take a street survey. He returned, we took the survey, received our bags, and had a very pleasant chat with this young gentleman. He was a college student, studying to be a Youth Minister (?) (Cynthia may remember this better than I.) and a very interesting pleasant, and funny young man.

Cynthia and I discussed these green bags at a recent (Christmas?) family gathering and she asked me if I had ever used mine. The answer I gave was, “No.” She, too, said, that she had never used hers and wasn’t it funny how we both wanted it.

The reason for this entry is that I am now using my bag. Beginning my triathlon training for 2005, I needed a bag to carry my swimsuit, cap, goggles, towel and shampoo to the pool. I have been using my “Spring 2004 Wine Festival - Seaside, Florida” green bag with the very nice wooden handles for over a month now. And, every time I grab it from the truck to go into the pool, I think of that hot August day in Surfside, Florida, when Cynthia and I tired of shopping and went outside to wait for the others.

I am so glad we did!

Posted by Kathleen at 04:27 PM | Comments (94)

January 13, 2005

Come Dine With Us Vicariously

Since Matthew and Courtney have moved off to college, we started a new tradition; upon their return each semester, we pick a fabulous restaurant and John, Courtney, Matthew and I enjoy a wonderful evening of fantastic dining together. The two restaurants we visited last year were Lynn's Steakhouse and Mazraff's.

Last Friday, on January 7, we experienced our third and best dining experience in Houston at Brennans. We made special reservations to sit at the Kitchen Table, which is as it sounds and is located in the kitchen, with lots of interaction with the waitstaff and all the chefs.

And, here is a picture of Courtney and Matthew seated at the table.

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Of course, no one in the Karl Family can go to dinner without ordering wine with the meal and Chris, who they referred to as The Wine Guy (he is also a sous chef) suggested Dry Creek, a wonderful wine from California.

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Once seated,

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we were invited, after our first course (Turtle Soup)(The sous chef said since soup was served at an exact temperature if we were walking around when it was served, he was afraid it would be cold when we sat down to eat it.), to walk around the kitchen and talk to the chefs. We could ask them questions, watch what they were doing, and make ourselves at home.

Second Course - Crawfish & Fried Green Tomato Salad
Boiled fresh Louisiana crawfish meat tossed in a creamy ravigôté dressing atop Southern style fried green tomatoes ~ paired with microgreens of Arugula

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Sixth Course - Cheeses from around the United States produced by small dairies paired with local honey comb.

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And, now, for dessert! Joe appears at our table with a chafing table and we recognize the ingredients for Bananas Foster. We were delighted with this choice because, except for John who can pass on any dessert, Bananas Foster has always been one of our favorite desserts. It is always fun to watch anything made flambe and John was having fun taking pictures of Joe as he poured the brandy and dashed the cinnamon.

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As Joe was putting the finish on the Bananas Foster, several waiters appeared from behind the wall and placed seven other desserts around the table. Brennan's calls this presentation of all their desserts - The Bomb. I think Courtney's expression captures rather nicely what we all felt. There were four of us, we had just completed six courses already (8 if you consider that we shared both the fish (redfish/salmon) and the meat (veal/lamb), and now we have eight desserts to taste!

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I had originally made our reservations at Brennan's for New Year's Eve, but Courtney and Matthew both took exception to that particular evening. When I made the reservations, with John's birthday on January 2, I mentioned that we would be celebrating this. When I changed the reservations to the 7th, I had forgotten all about the birthday and, of course, it had come and gone and been celebrated at home. When they brought the desserts, they brought a special one for John with a candle and "Happy Birthday, John" drizzled in chocolate around the perimeter of the plate. As he took a picture of his "birthday dish," one of the waiters approached him from behind and placed this delightful "Celebrate!" chef's hat on his head.

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Doesn't he look happy and pleased with himself?

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The desserts you see around the table are:

Bananas Foster
A Brennan’s Family clasic flambeed tableside

Crème Brûlée
a creamy baked vanilla bean & Grand Marnier with a crisp caramelized sugar top

Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé
the richness of Creole bread pudding whipped into a light, fluffy soufflé served with rye whiskey sauce

Homemade Pecan Pie
a Southern classic – chock full of pecans and finished with milk caramel & vanilla bean ice cream

Medley of Sorbet
A trio of housemade seasonal sorbets topped with fresh berries & served in an almond tulip shell

Chocolate Molten
A warm, molten chocolate cake unmolded onto a bed of white chocolate sauce

Brennan’s Peanut Butter Cup
Better than Reese’s ~ layers of rich chocolate mousse & creamy peanut butter mousse in a chocolate shell, paired with homemade peanut butter ice cream

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At one point during the meal, Matthew said, "I need to have one meal each day like this!." I replied, "Stay in school and you could.!" Courtney just loved it and reflects this in this picture.

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I shared our dining experience with Mother who said, "I want you to take me out to eat a dinner like that one time before I die." So, we are going to see if Mother can come to Houston to visit in the near future and John, Margaret, Mother and I will visit Brennan's Kitchen Table. Since we now know how wonderful it can be, I wonder if they can raise the bar on our next visit to their fantastic restaurant.

Posted by Kathleen at 12:57 PM | Comments (1053)

December 10, 2004

Departing Germany Cont...

October 21, 2004

It was our third trip to the train station in Mannheim. The first one was to see if we could find it; the second one was to purchase our tickets; this, the third, was to travel from Mannheim to Frankfurt Airport. Our seat assignments were in car #34, Seats 23 & 24.

Cynthia, Patrick, Margaret, and I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to prepare for our departure to Mannheim. We arrived with time to spare and waited patiently for our track number to be displayed on the board. Our train was finally added to the display and we headed toward Track 3. Right on time! The train arrives; Margaret and I kiss Cynthia and Patrick good-bye, and we board our train.

Our seat assignments were in car #34, Seats 23 & 24 We squeeze through the sea of standing passengers trying desperately to locate our seats before the train pulls away from the station. Finally, we locate #23 and 24, only to discover two travelers "keeping our seats warm." We politely explained to them that our tickets were for their seat numbers and they graciously (?)relinquished.

At that moment, Margaret & I looked out of our car window to see Cynthia and Patrick standing there, watching. Cynthia, in her leather jacket, looked a bit cold; Patrick, in his own leather jacket and stylish British cap, had the more concerned look upon his face and looked relieved that we had found our assigned seats. The couple we had displaced were American tourists from Wisconsin. Even though they stood on the way to the airport, they stood near us and we chitchatted.

Margaret and I arrived at Frankfurt airport and immediately went to the First Class Lounge. Margaret had her usual Bailey's and Coffee with a pastry; I tried to have a cappuccino but, alas, in trying to flavor my cappuccino with cream, pressing the button twice resulted in a HUGE overflow. While my cup runneth over, Margaret was exclaiming to me, "Kathleen, the cream is OVER HERE!"

It was time to walk to the gate, and Margaret and I found the way. The flight was a bit late boarding, all the seats in the pre-board area were taken, and we sat in the waiting area on the grillwork for the air-conditioning system. We were observing all the people and we noticed Susie sitting in the third row. Susie had been our flight attendant on our Houston-Frankfurt leg with whom we had established a beautiful rapport. Susie had given Margaret a bottle of wine before deplaning which Cynthia, Patrick, and we enjoyed the first night in Germany.

To Be Continued - My lovely mother is visiting and we went shopping at Memorial City Mall last night, searching for the perfect Christmas gifts. We visited L'Occitaine and mother purchased some exfoliating massage rub. I am going to exfoliate her feet and then massage her feet with 60% Shea Butter Massage Cream. This will be the third time for the 60%, but the first time that it will be preceded by the exfoliating foot rub. She has LOVED the attention to her feet and, I swear, one night she fell asleep for a few minutes...so gotta go, but will finish my $100 story at a later date......

Continue reading "Departing Germany Cont..."
Posted by Kathleen at 03:17 PM | Comments (5578)

October 28, 2004

Arriving in Germany

Upon Margaret's and my arrival at Frankfurt airport, Pat and Cynthia were patiently waiting. P&C had already arranged for the rental car, so it was off to baggage claim and then off to the country. Our first stop was Kaiserslautern so Margaret and I could visit an ATM machine and get Euros to pump up the economy.

Margaret goes first! She enters her card, selects an amount, enters her pin, and receives the message "Could not validate this card." The card is returned; Margaret tries again. She enters her card, selects an amount, enters a different pin and receives the message "Could not validate this card." She is undeterred...She enters her card, selects an amount, enters yet another pin, and receives the message, "Your card is being held; please enter the bank." Patrick, big brother and, more importantly (at least during this trip), interpreter, and Margaret enter the bank to resolve Margaret's ATM problem.

Now it is my turn. I enter my card, select an amount, enter my PIN, and receive the message "Could not validate this card." Well, I'm no dummy, so I go directly into the bank to find out if Patrick and Margaret are being met with success. Margaret has her passport out and, while she and Patrick are talking to the gentlemen behind the counter, I look at the card I am holding only to discover my American Express card in my hand. I tell Cynthia what a stupid thing that was to do and Cynthia and I proceed back outside and see I will be able to get Euros with my ATM card....of course, it worked!

We never found out why Margaret couldn't use her ATM card....she tried all her PINS! Big brother came to the rescue and sold Margaret some of his Euros.

More German stories to follow.....

Posted by Kathleen at 05:26 PM | Comments (1145)
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