Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Self Sufficiency

My Dad got us the ice cream maker for my birthday in June. In the six months we've had it, we haven't bought any ice cream. And everyone knows how much ice cream Kennedys can go through.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finger Rock Hike

Finger Rock is a landmark on Tucson's northern skyline (did I mention the city is surrounded by mountains?). Since we moved here in January, I've wanted to get on top of one of these northern skyline peaks. This way when people ask, "where did you hike this weekend?" I can just point.

Finger Rock looks like the formation making a fist with the index finger pointed up. To the left is Prominent Point and to the right is something else. This is the view on our way back down to the car. We made it about two thirds up the right side of the pinky knuckle. I have no clue how tall it is, but if I had to guess I'd say 290,000 feet.

I met up with my hiking buddy, Ross, at 6:30 am as the sun was coming up because we had no idea how long this was going to take.

We shuttled to Pima Canyon Trailhead and started up that way for an hour or two. Then it was off the trail up a side canyon. The trail quickly disappeared, and it was a hard, painful scramble that got harder and more painful as we went on. Here is the progression.

At the start of the side canyon, there was boulder hopping.

Then we saw where we were headed. Ouch. This one's gonna hurt.

Then we come to this stuff. 10-15 foot waterfalls. "Technical Scrambles," if we fell though, it'd be hard terrain to have to drag somebody out of. On the upside, I like this kind of thing, and it was breathtaking the entire way.

This is what the view looked like back down the canyon. These pictures were taken nearing the top in pretty close succession. Check out the change in perspective on the horizon.

I took this one like ten minutes and 800 vertical feet later.

This is as high as I got.

Getting close to the top of the peak we saw the base of Finger Rock. It's rougher than it looks. It's saying, "don't mess with me, boy; I'll straight whoop yo ass."

We didn't get up to the base of the finger. I thought I'd be more disappointed this catastrophic failure, but I am even more excited to go back next time. It was scary up there. I saw the route to get up to the base. It didn't look to hard, but I was worried about getting down. That, and getting up. This isn't the environment to test out your abilities sans rope. From where I took this picture I would have fallen only twelve feet; I'm sure I've fallen twelve feet when I used to skateboard, so I thought, "no big deal." But a fall from any higher, and who's covering closing costs on our house is no longer the biggest of Em's concerns... You can pry tell I was lying when I said I wasn't disappointed.
I'd like to come back here with rope and know-how and get up on this beast.
I feel like I made the responsible decision.

Looking south over the city. Santa Ritas to the south on the left edge of the pic. The Tucson Mountains are the hills on the right edge. The look puny from up here, but they are legit mountains. The canyon in front is Finger Rock Canyon, and our car is parked at the base of it.

It was a beautiful day for hiking. We hung out up here for fifteen minutes then headed. back down.

This was a great day of hiking, all 8 hours, ~50 cactus spines, 7000 calories, and I haven't been able to move my legs for three days of it. I want to get Em to come out with me, but she'll have none of it. I think I have some of the glutton for punishment left over from my skate rat days.

"Chad is out there wrecking his body for this video," Toy Machine ad for Welcome to Hell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Best Ice Cream

Cinnamon Banana with a Cinnamon Caramel Swirl!!!!!!
This tastes kind of like bananas foster.
Willow Tested and Approved.

If you have a Kitchen Aid and like ice cream... you need this.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Growing up

Em and I went biking today. We went to the farmers market where we met up with some friends, and we all went to get lunch at a nice cafe (atlantans think henri's). Then biked around looking at houses--not like spectators but as buyers. We will be buying a house soon, which isn't as daunting now that we've been saving and looking.

So there we were riding through some nice urban neighborhoods thinking to ourselves, that house is at its potential, and it hit me that I'm not a little kid anymore. Moreover, I think in lots of ways I've become the grown person I hoped to become when I was a little kid. Even moreover, When I looked up and saw Em on her bike, hair blowing in the wind, pants rolled up over her high purple socks, her purple softshell, and her eternally radiant smile, I knew had married the girl of my dreams.

So, in short, it's strange to me how I had this image of my future in my head, and years later through many a toil and snare, I see that it has become a reality.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." My main man, O. Wilde.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthday Camping

To celebrate Em's 26th bday we went camping in the Santa Ritas. This is the range to the south of Tucson. The base of the range is 2000 feet higher than Tucson, and this is evident in the friendlier flora of the area relative to the angry desert succulents. We've been camping together a few times with variable success. We have the goal to camp more and become more efficiant with it (read: stop forgetting things like tent poles...).

Our first camping trip together, pry 3 years ago... hopefully our last without tent poles.
Of course, we're both too tall to fit in the back of Troop-Troop.

This trip was a great success. We made it to the campground in time to get the last spot, get the tent set up, fire lit, and dinner cooking with a some dusk. Our smores were delicious. It is so dark out here, and the stargazing is amazing. So good in fact that there is an observatory on the next mountain over. When we moved here our landlord told us the there aren't many streetlights in Tucson because of all the observatories nearby. Cool. We are at the stage in our lives where it's time to replace our aging handmedown camping equipment. Everything works... but our sleeping bags are almost as old as we are... I got Em a new bag and pad for her bday, and she slept like a dream. In the morning we had coffee and headed out for a hike.

I've been hiking down here a few times without Em, once to the top of Mt. Wrightson; it's an amazing area. Fifty feet from our campsite there was a trail head that made a 6 mile loop up to a cool springs and back. This was a tough little hike. The way up was a rocky double track that was super steep. It had some awesome boulders right off the trail. I don't know much about bouldering, but it looks like fun so we checked it out.

In other news, we made the best ice cream in the history of the world. We both love cookie dough but sometimes wish the choclate chips weren't all crunchy in there. So we made some cookie dough sans chocolate chips. Don't get us wrong, we love chocholate but melty chocolate like in hot cookies or really good dark choclate at room temp... So we decided to add the chocolate in the form of ganache. So it's vanilla icecream with plain cookie dough and chocolate ganache folded into it. It's as dangerous as it is delicious.



Willow like the ice cream too:

"I scream cream; you scream; we all scream for ice cream." -Willow

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The holidays are coming soon! YAY!! Tommy and I are having my parents and brother over for Thanksgiving and we are so excited! It's our first time to have family over for a holiday meal :) It makes me feel grown-up. My little grown-up self will be going to bed before 10... Now I just feel old...:) good night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


:( This is a sad day for Georgia Dawgs... A sad season actually... I guess we were in need of a building year after losing 3 really good players to the NFL... I am scared for Mark Richt's job right now, though he is a GREAT coach! We'll just have to see I guess... Florida will be a HUGE game! Well, I had better stop whining now... :) tata.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Staying Centered

Em took me to a yoga class at Rubber Soul almost three years ago.

I went because I was mountain biking a ton and my body was tight. At first, I thought this is for women; I might get a good stretch but pry not any appreciable workout.

I was so wrong. I pretty much got hooked on yoga since then. I went from thinking it was silly to respecting as a workout to respecting it as a way of life.

Warrior 3 on a boulder atop Mt. Lemmon.
Yoga is huge in Tucson. I go to Tucson Yoga

Em looks so elegant when she does anything, even though that's not the point of yoga. Tree pose.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever. Our photog asked if there were any pics we wanted him to take... The best part about this pic is the corners of our mouths.

"If one practices yoga twice a day, they will start a revolution," C. Clements.

A song from an amazing album!

Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise

There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what's wrong and what's right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I'm frightened by those who don't see it

When nothing is old deserved or respected
And your life doesn't change by the man that's elected
If you're loved by someone you're never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it.

There was a dream
One day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage a broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid, with a head full of doubt
So I scream till I die and don't ask for those bad thoughts to find me out

There's a darkness upon you that's flooded in light
In the fine print they tell you what's wrong and what's right
And it flies by day and it flies by night
And I'm frightened by those who don't see it

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hug O' War

Hug O' War

by Shel Silverstein

I will not play tug o' war.
I'd rather play hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls in a rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

Our adorable cat :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We went to Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon. Most accounts of Cabo sound like a UGA sophmore's account of his weekend: I was so wasted... Em and I have thankfully outgrown that phase of our lives and were able to get a clearer picture of a beautiful corner of the world.

When we got out of the airplane and looked around, it looked exactly like Tucson, angry brown desert. It looked like home to us, but I can't imagine if we'd come here (to a tropical paradise) from greener parts of the world (GA or MO) and seen this. Only when you get close to the ocean (resorts) does the color green emerge. Our hiking tour guide told us that the resorts have massive desalination plants that they us for landscaping purposes. They did an incredible job too. We brought some cute outfits just in case we went out, but people here got dressed to the nines every night. So we decided to fit in. The food and service were outstanding.

Cute Couple!!!!

This is the best trip I've ever been on. The entire time was the perfect blend of R&R and activity. We typically like to be more active than lounging poolside for five hours, but this was our honeymoon, not a regular vacation. After months of unending wedding to-do lists, it was a relief to leave the little notepad and pen at home and just be.

This is our balcony. Looking out over the western edge of the Sea of Cortez at Land's End and Lover's Beach. You can see the pools down there.

We had fun haggling for this sarong. There were giant Hibiscus flowers everywhere.

The beach was not nearly as popular as the pool. I think because it doesn't have a swim-up bar. I love the ocean and had fun swimming around in it. The waves here crashed directly on the beach with no chance to body surf; they were some big waves too. A few beaches over there was a surfing beach that we're saving for next time.

Playa de los Amantes. We took the water taxi across the bay to check out this natural wonder. We are on the Sea of Cortez side with the Pacific side behind us. This side is calm and called lover's beach; the Pacific side is fierce and dangerous and called divorce beach.

This is looking west along the beach from our place to the marina.

I like taking yoga pictures wherever I go. Up on a rock on Lover's beach.

The water taxis are on the verge of scary and invigorating. This guy was posing for tips.

This is the famous Arch. It's famous for a reason. This is looking through the arch out to the pacific. From the water taxi.

From the snorkeling boat.

These are some waves on the Pacific side.

After a few days of lounging we were itching for activity. We went snorkeling one day. The next day we hiked in the Canyon de la Sora. Fox Canyon is a natural spring in the middle of the desert with waterfalls, pools, and cliff jumping. It was beautiful.

That is the stream down a few hundred feet below us with a 30something foot waterfall. If you haven't been to Tucson yet, that's pretty much what it looks like (minus the water). This tour is not very popular: Our guide took this picture of the entire group daring enough to brave the harsh landscape.

Em is swimming in one of the majestic pools. The water was cool and clear, and there were no fish. From the pools, you can look up the steep and lush (by Tucson standards) canyon walls, awesome feeling.

Em in Mountain Hardwear's summer hiking line next to a strangler ficus tree. These are cool trees that don't grow in Tucson.

This is the waterfall from the first picture. Pardon me for not sucking in. The guide told me the best way do this is to relax... I went totally zen on the way down. It can be dangerous to tell a yoga person to relax. This was a rush and an incredible picture taken by an incredible woman.

Now we are back in Tucson smothering Willow with our love and getting back into the swing of things.

"There ain't no law in Mexico. It's just a pack of rogues." C. McCarthy

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Yesterday was the hardest day that I have had at work so far. Here was my schedule:

7:45-8:30am - Stretching and meditation class
8:45-11:45 - Rock climbing
12-1 - Lunch
1-2:15 - Challenge Course with adolescents
2:30-4:30 - Kickboxing

I had a long day... After kickboxing, I went to the adolescent unit to pick up my bag from the challenge course and things fell apart. A patient threw a HUGE tantrum and cursed and screamed at the staff from her bathroom. I was concerned for her and what she might do but I was also concerned for the impact this had on the other girls. It was REALLY tough. The other patients began to cry... and then so did I. I really had trouble holding it together!! I sat with the other patients to talk about the incident and what they were feeling. After 2 hours of this, I was EXHAUSTED! My water works would NOT turn off! I just could not stop crying... and it was embarrassing for the other patients to see my like that. They showed concern for me, but I was trying to redirect them back to how it affected them. I finally got home at 8pm... what a day... I have got to find a way to think different thoughts or something to keep from crying, because I know there will be more incidents like this in the future...

What a day...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Life on Mars

I took this picture when we first set up the office, where I'm sitting now, but never posted it. The building in the foreground is the other building in our complex (ours is two stories). The northern part of the city secretly unfolds for about 10 or 15 miles behind the sparse trees until the dramatic rise of the Catalina mountains. With little exception, the city is flat and surrounded by mountains that dominate the skyline. From any mountain around the city you gain enough elevation to see all the way across the city to the mountains on the other side, and the dust that rises throughout the city blurs the bottom of the mountains into the city, making the mountains look like they are just floating in space. It's too surreal for me to appreciate.

Mary and Michael were our first visitors. We had a great time with them. We did tons of cool things with them like mountain biking, hiking, concert, brewery, and in typical Mattimoe fashion we had to cook and eat (and take pictures of the process).

They are scared to be outside of Tech's library for too long, but they were brave and did great.

Ceremonial chickens grilling themselves on Em and my $25 craigslist charbroiler (the same one my parents had when I was a boy). I put diamonds on all my food. My Mom got me that veggie grilling pan a few years ago, and I recommend it. The leftover peppers and onions make the best pasta sauce I've ever had.

Dinner is served! I love the way food looks on our peacock fiestaware plates, and they're durable. We are getting to where we have a respectable house - a far cry from all my other wartorn apartments. If you didn't know us better, you'd swear we were grownups.

Roast chicken is my new favorite meal. It's healthy, cheap, delicious, beautiful, and cetera. Between the two of us, we eat like royalty and have leftovers for under $10. My favorite part is saving the carcasses and making Chicken Stock; my chicken stock is so good, I drink it by the glass.

Emily hd to hold the chicken still while I took this pic. I follow Jacques Pepin's recipe from La Technique, the best cookbook and the final word on preparations of classics.

I season the bird with lavender, grains of paradise, ground bay leaf, and some other stuff for heavenly citrusy floral overtones along with the solid base of classics like S, P, garlic, celery salt, and cumin. I would freak out if there weren't parsnips in that pan too; they give the dish a wonderfully clean earthiness (I think the earthiness the have is more like what mountains would taste like rather than the forresty taste of good fungi).

This is the worst range in the world. I hate induction tops because they get a film of grease on them and look gross, they heat in a nonlinear fashion, and we can't use our tin-lined copper on them.

This is what's for dinner. I've been experimenting with using yogurt instead of butter or cream sauces. After working in a French kitchen and gaining twenty pounds in a matter of months, I don't care what traditionalists say. I make a concentrated flavor sauce base, blix it into the warm yogurt, and then sieve it. They are getting delicious. The main consideration is the acid in the yogurt; I deglazed this sauce with white wine before adding chicken demi and if I'd used butter or cream to thicken it would have been balanced, but it had too much edge with the yogurt. Still a delicious.

Pretty bird.

Not bad for $10.

Em and I are currently busy with work and wedding planning. We are running like dinner with our heads cut off. That's life, and it's made palatable with good cooking and delicious with good company.

"There are some people who lived a lifetime without finding the one who relieved the heart's overflow." -E. Welty