Archive for the 'Kim or Matt related' Category


July 23rd, 2014

My parents dropped Riley off today for the beginning of his week-long visit. He’s with us until Friday, when Kevin picks him up for the weekend, and then will be back when Kevin goes back to work. Today, Riley met the big dogs (he wasn’t thrilled) went out to lunch with my parents and me at Jack’s Urban Eats, and walked to the Tupelo’s to get coffee with Matt and me in the evening. With all the excitement, he’s all tuckered out.

That’s not to say there haven’t been some hiccups along the way. Riley hadn’t had much to drink today; he didn’t have any of the water I put out for him, although he did have some ice at Jack’s. I knew he was thirsty after the coffee walk, but he only had a few sips. That is, until I got my own water.

Apparently Riley prefers filtered water. So that’s what’s in his bowl now, which he has, naturally, not drunk.

Happy birthday to me

June 3rd, 2014

Happy birthday to me
I’m getting a greyhound
And then we’ll have three!

The original meeting was scheduled for the kennel in Auburn two weeks ago (why, yes, that was 5/24). And, in fact, the dogs, Matt, and I met our possibly-third dog that day, as scheduled. Not exactly as scheduled, however; he was wearing a cone. Apparently, another dog in his foster home decided he wanted the toy, and opened up a scrape on Blackjack’s nose. Which would have been fine, except that dogs never leave well enough alone, and the next thing you know, he needed two staples and the cone of shame to ensure they stayed in.

Now, Blackjack didn’t seem to mind the cone at all. He would just amble along, banging the cone into things (fences, trees, you name it), completely indifferent. Sophie, on the other hand, was (surprise!) afraid of the cone. She was already on edge being in Auburn! in the daytime! surrounded by people! who wanted to pet her!, so we didn’t want to make a final decision on Blackjack until we could do a cone-less meeting. We rescheduled for the following weekend.

But. Blackjack’s staples didn’t come out until Sunday (my birthday!). And his foster mom wanted to keep the cone on for a few more days, just to be on the safe side. Honestly, I completely agree with the logic, but. . . I want my dog! We’re scheduled to revisit/pick up Blackjack on Friday evening. In the meantime, I’m busy collar shopping online and picking out names. Stay tuned!

It’s Spirit Week. . .

March 8th, 2014

. . . and that means Kim in costumes.

Monday was Black and White Movie Day — we were to “dress like an old-fashioned black-and-white movie.” I don’t have a lot of Hollywood-worthy fashions, but I do have a lot of black and white clothes. A whole lot. Like, I’m turning into my mother a lot. So that was an easy day for me.

Tuesday, by contrast, was Colorful Day — “wear lots of colors.” (Since I work in the ‘hood, the sign was later amended to read, “NO SOLID RED OR SOLID BLUE.” Sigh.) Another easy one for me, although I will admit to buying the tights specially.

Spirit Week MT

Wednesday was Gender Swap Day — “girls dress like boys, and boys dress like girls.” Predictably, more girls than boys participated. I bought the jacket and tie at the thrift store for around $5 total, found a pair of match-ish pants and a shirt, and borrowed Matt’s belt.

Thursday was Hippie Day (as if my kids had any idea, although the school did smell suspiciously like weed all day). Matt and I had to dig around in the garage last night to find the bin where I’d stashed the skirt I made the last time this was a Spirt Week theme. (In fact, since the costume is exactly the same and the last picture is so good, I didn’t bother to take a new one.)

Friday, as always, is School Colors Day. You would not believe how much I hate our school colors. Orange and green, really? Really? Also, fake flowers in one’s hair are poky.

Spirit Week WRF

And now, with Spirit Week finished, I have a weekend of blessedly minimal grading and a whole normally-dressed week to look forward to. Yay, I guess.

I want a puppy!

March 2nd, 2014

Mom and Dad came up this weekend with the super-adorable nine-week old Riley. In addition to giving everyone a chance to savor the new-puppy smell, Dad and Kevin were installing screen/security doors. I, naturally, was mostly concerned with the puppy. (Duh.)

Riley, equally naturally, was mostly concerned with treats. As Mom says, “Nothing wrong with his nose.”


It didn’t take him long to cotton on to the fact that he got food by sitting, not by trying to eat my hand.


Okay, so in this picture he’s only sit-ish. But by the end of the evening, I had a sitting fool on my hands. Matt, Kevin, and I were all in the kitchen, making soup, cooking the delicious Alaskan salmon Kevin brought back from (as you might guess) Alaska, and reheating vegetables, respectively, and Riley was following all of us around in turn and sitting. He was very much in the way. (But still super-cute!)

And even though he didn’t eat dinner, he’s just a very small dog, so he couldn’t eat too many treats. (“Kimberly,” my mom said. “You’re going to make my dog fat.”) All the same, he was very disappointed when training time was over.


I was, too. He is really just that cute. Mom said I could have him for the next three months (she wants him back potty-trained, able to pee on command, and leash-trained), but Matt said no. I’m sad now.

Of course, Mom is plotting to leave Riley with me while I’m on spring break (“I’ll need a break by then,” she said), so. . . I can haz puppy?

Broken. Fixed. Lost. Bought. Built. Broken.

February 22nd, 2014

So, do you remember how Matt bought a radio-controlled airplane? And got it stuck in a tree? Twice? And then broke it?

Well, he fixed it. And ordered some replacement parts. So when the replacement parts arrived in the mail, I thought he’d be excited. Not so much. ”Well,” Matt said, “that would be useful. If I still had a plane.”

Turns out he took his repaired plane out to fly in the park where he got it stuck in a tree the first time. The wind was minimal down on the ground, but stronger higher up, and since the plane is really light (styrofoam!), it got caught in a breeze and stuck in a tree. Again. But this time, about 60 feet up.

There wasn’t going to be a soccer ball savior this time.

So Matt decided to invest in planes built with modular parts, rather than buying another all-in-one and risking losing all the electronics if the plane were to, say, get blown off course 60 feet up into a tree. (Admittedly, he did buy a little plane when we went to Berkley with Kevin, but it was $35, and he’s only flown it inside.) Guided by non-stop Flite Test videos (I am so tired of Josh and Josh), Matt’s been turning dollar store foam board into a pretty cool plane.

Matt's new plane

The plans for the Flite Test planes all have a removable power pod, which houses the motor, receiver, and battery. So Matt can build a bunch of different models, and just fit the power pod to each. Or he could.

If he hadn’t broken the power pod.

With three nose dives. On the first three launches of his newly built plane.

“User error,” Matt said. “The humidity from the kitchen warped the poster board, and I didn’t properly check the ‘trim’ (air quotes his) before launching. Resulted in nearly catastrophic failure.”

So now he’s rebuilding the power pod. Good thing balsa wood and dollar store foam board are cheap.

A very kitchen weekend

February 17th, 2014

I could really get behind this three-day weekend thing; I’ve had two in a row, and that extra day helps my productivity enormously, especially in the kitchen. Last week, Matt and I got chard and spinach at the farmer’s market, and, miracle of miracles, actually used it. We made a gratin with rice, and  I had high hopes — the filling was delicious. I was disappointed, however, to find that the final product tasted more of rice and egg than greens. (Matt disagrees, but I’m sure I’m right.)

So I spent the week plotting how I could make better use of the filling, and came up with a lasagna. Layers of pasta noodles mean less starch compared to greens, and a white sauce to bind rather than egg (I don’t really care for eggs). In order to get a head start, Matt and I opted for the Saturday market, rather than the bigger Sunday market. We went out in search of chard and spinach. . .

. . . and found romanesco! I haven’t been able to find any this year (or last year, for that matter), and I love it. So we snapped it up (figuratively; no pic, as it wasn’t very pretty) and added my Jamie-Oliver-inspired casserole to the weekend cooking list.


(By the way, we only have one well-lit place in our house for food photography. . . and it isn’t in our house.)

food photography

We did the romanesco yesterday, and the lasagna Saturday. The lasagna prep took forever — trim the chard, parboil for two minutes, ice bath. Wash the spinach, parboil for 30 seconds, ice bath. Squeeze out excess water and chop greens. Chop chard stems. It doesn’t sound so bad that way, but it takes a really long time to process two large bunches of chard and a large bunch of spinach. And I actually cheated and used a box of frozen chopped for half the spinach (fresh tastes a lot better, by the way).

The lasagna itself went together in a snap, since we’re pretty good at cheese sauce (well, Matt is, anyway). Even with a sticky lasagna noodles problem (not enough water), the assembly was quick, and the lasagna itself is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.


Inspired by our culinary successes, we decided to tackle something new, and, in retrospect, a bit ambitious. Kevin’s brought us cupcakes from his favorite place in the Bay Area a few times, and the s’mores flavor is our favorite. So when I ran across a recipe for marshmallow frosting, our next baking project seemed like a no-brainer. We chose an Alton Brown chiffon cupcake recipe, since Matt prefers a lighter cake, and made an easy graham cracker crust for the bottoms.

The batter came together easily enough, and the graham cracker crust was predictably simple. We had logistical problems, however, in that we could only find one cupcake pan (we’re not sure whether the other is lost in the disaster that is our kitchen or lost in the disaster that is my classroom, still waiting to come home after Pi Day last year).

We decided to bake the cupcakes in batches, even though I feared (correctly) that the egg-white leavened batter would deflate. As it turned out, baking two batches was a blessing in disguise, because the 30 minutes of cooking time the recipe called for was way. too. long. The finished cupcakes were dry, dry, dry (think desert, rather than dessert), and the graham cracker crust was burnt. Very, very burnt.


For the second batch, we set the timer for 20 minutes, and then checked the internal temperature of the cupcakes. The recipe says it should be about 205-210; ours were only at 200, but I pulled them anyway. That turned out to be a mistake, too. But the graham cracker crust is perfect, and the cupcakes themselves are much better, if rather flat.

Since the cupcakes turned out so poorly, we didn’t bother with the frosting. So now I’m looking forward to a whole additional round of disasters.

Maybe s’mores cupcakes weren’t such a good idea after all. Maybe I’ll just stick with macarons.

Planes, and their relationship to soccer balls

February 8th, 2014

(You wouldn’t think there was one, but just wait for it.)

For Christmas, Matt asked for a small radio-controlled airplane kit. It didn’t work out quite as well as he hoped; it was missing a part and there was something wrong with another, plus he found the assembly instructions unclear. So last week, when Kevin and I were out furniture shopping in the Bay Area, Matt went to a local hobby store and bought a different kit.

The Champ RTF is apparently the plane to learn to fly on; it’s inexpensive, lightweight, highly customizable, and has replacement parts available (more on that later). It was easy for Matt to put together, and he was out flying it the same day he bought the kit.

And promptly got it stuck in a tree.

(No pictures; I was in the Bay Area and Matt was mortified. How did he get it down? Neighborhood kids threw a soccer ball at the tree until the plane came loose.)

Well, it was his first time out. And there is a learning curve. So the second time he took the plane out, when I was taking a nap, he tried a different location.

And promptly got it stuck in a tree. Again.

(Again, no pictures; I was napping and Matt was even more mortified. How did he get it down? More neighborhood kids and another soccer ball. Now you see the relationship, don’t you?)

When Matt took his plane out today, for the third time, he managed not to fly it into a tree. Although there was kind of a close call.

flyin toward the trees

Having learned his lesson, Matt is now launching the plane from the middle of the field, well away from any trees.


And he’s getting much better at flying, such that the plane often does what he wants it to do.

flying the plane

Until it didn’t. In Matt’s words, “So, I figured out how to do loops, where you take the plane pretty high up, and point it down to the ground and gun the engine, full throttle, pull up on the stick, and it will do a nice long loop. But you have to get it going pretty fast; hence the dive. So, in this case, coming out of the loop, I pulled the stick the wrong way, which meant that the airplane, instead of righting itself, was now flying upside down. So it was about 10 feet off the ground, and flying upside down, which I was thinking was pretty cool, since I had never gotten it to fly upside down.”

plane crash 1

“And so I wanted to right it, and so instead of pulling up on the stick to come right side up, I pushed down, and it was still on full throttle, and so it did a nosedive straight into the ground.”

plane crash 2

“At which point, catastrophic failure. The wing broke off.”

You’ll want to ponder, at this point, the excellent forethought on the part of this plane’s manufacturer, in making available replacement parts. Matt’s ordering some right now. In the meantime. . .


. . . it’s superglue and straight pins to the rescue.

Forget gold. It’s more like platinum.

February 1st, 2014

First of all, and I just want to make sure this is clear up front, I love Philip.

Everyone loves Philip. He’s very easy to love, after all. He’s charming, affectionate, fearless. He is also very, very, very expensive. Matt and I used to joke that Philip was worth is weight in gold. Literally. As he’s gotten older, though, and the total expenditure has skyrocketed up, well, I think gold is undervaluing him. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a brief summary of Philip’s medical history:

  1. Worms. Weeks and weeks and weeks of worms.
  2. A dermatologist. Months of dog food rouletteYears of IVD Rabbit and Potato.
  3. Foot surgery (twice)
  4. Back surgery

And now, Philip is adding to his lifetime totals with:

  1. Old man stuff

Philip, lest we forget, is eleven. He doesn’t act like it, but he is, and he’s slowed down noticeably in the last few years. Oh, he still barks at squirrels and demands walks, but he sleeps a lot more, is much lower key, and gets tired a lot faster. Also, he has arthritis.

At its worst, the arthritis got to the point where Philip could no longer jump on the bed. Matt and I discussed various remedies (get a ramp — no room; get a lower bed — sigh) and took him to the vet. Philip went on twice-daily NSAIDs, which helped, but even then, he was reluctant to jump on the bed. Matt was lifting him up every night, and lifting a 75-pound dog up onto the bed multiple times a day gets really old (or so I hear). Matt’s colleague Carole recommended we try acupuncture; she thought her senior dog really benefited from it. So off went Matt and Philip to the Center for Integrative Animal Medicine.

Philip acupuncture

At around $150 a visit, it’s not cheap. But it does seem to be helping; Philip is now back to living on the bed, having gotten there under his own steam. Of course, to start out, treatments have been weekly, though now we’re able to spread them out a bit more (every 2-3 weeks), and we’ll be able to go down to once a month eventually. In the meantime, though, ouch.

And that’s not including the NSAIDs ($80 for a 30-day supply), or the blood tests we have to get to check liver function ($150 every 3-4 months) to ensure Philip is healthy enough to take them. Nor does it include incidentals, like the biopsy on one of the random skin tags that pop up every so often ($50) or the visit to the opthamologist to biopsy the frankly disturbing growth in Philip’s eye that had been there forever but then got red and inflammed (don’t ask).


But I’m pretty sure if we totaled it up, he’s worth his weight in platinum.

Grapefruit and keys

January 25th, 2014

This is a story of grapefruit and keys, and while those may seem an unlikely combination, I cannot really tell the story of one without the story of the other, so both stories it is, then.

Once upon a time, my keys looked like this:

keys 1

(Sorry about the blurry photos; I had to take these shots in a hurry because Matt needed to take Philip to acupuncture (itself a whole other story) and my car was parked behind his in the driveway, and thus, he needed my keys. Could I have retaken the pictures later? Yes, but it’s a blog, for heaven’s sake, and they’re pictures of keys, for heaven’s sake, and I decided if I don’t care, you shouldn’t, either. Anyway, back to the main story. . .)

I keep my school keys on a wrist coil, so I only had the car key and my house key. And then Kevin bought his not-even-a-mile-away house, and I got a spare key. Knowing my fondness for Phineas and Ferb, when he saw a P&F key, he had to buy it. . .

keys 2

. . . even though it was ginormous. And I love it, so I kept it, even though it dwarfs all the other keys and doubled the weight of my keychain. I kept it, that is, until today. Kevin has a grapefruit tree in his backyard that is (a) raining fruit and (b) feeding rats, and he wanted to harvest the fruit so as to stop both (a) and (b). So off we went, to East Sac Hardware, in search of a fruit-harvesting solution that didn’t involve purchasing a taller ladder. We found it, in the form of a fruit picker, but Kevin had a Home Depot gift card, plus he wanted to look for a pole that could fit different types of accoutrements in addition to the fruit-picking basket, so he didn’t get it. I, however, got several items (a toy rake for Sophie, as she’s afraid of raking noises and Nancy thinks smaller raking noises will help her adjust; a Microplane grater, as the handle of ours, which Henry chewed up a while back, just fell off; and, most importantly to this story, a new key.)

keys 3

While Kevin was browsing hardware, I was browsing keys. And when I found this cute panda key, it seemed like a no-brainer to make the Phineas and Ferb key (which I really do love, but it’s so heavy!) into a spare and carry the panda key every day.

So that’s what I did. And then off we went to the Home Depot, where it turned out the fruit picker was more expensive (ha!) and the multi-functional telescoping poles did not come with fruit picking baskets anyway. Which meant we would have to go back to East Sac Hardware, which was good for me, as I was thinking about how unfair it was that the key to Kevin’s house was cuter than the key to my house, meaning I needed to find a cute key for my house, too, and Home Depot’s supply of keys was vastly inferior to that of East Sac (double ha!) So off we went, again.

keys 4

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I got a ladybug key for my house, and possibly how cute it looks with the panda key. You, however, are wrong. I got a ladybug key for Kevin’s house, and a panda key for my house. Why? Because the panda key is cuter than the ladybug key, and it didn’t seem fair for the cutest key on my ring to open a house that wasn’t even mine (although it might as well be, because I swear I spend more time in it than Kevin does at this point). So, long story short(er), I gave the panda key to Kevin to give to Mom, cut a new (ladybug) key for his house, and cut a new (panda) key for mine. Good thing keys are cheap.

Kevin bought the fruit picker, and we headed back to his house (finally!) to harvest grapefruit, which wasn’t nearly the dreadful chore I thought it would be, and was actually rather fun.

picking grapefruit

It was a little dangerous, though, as many of the grapefruit were so (over-)ripe that they came tumbling down at the slightest provocation, meaning you had to duck to avoid being clobbered by, well, grapefruit-sized missiles. Also, did you know grapefruit trees have thorns? I did not, although I do now, and to add insult to injury, I also got grapefruit juice in my eye, which hurts, by the way. At any rate, we managed to harvest most of the accessible fruit and trim some of the branches hanging over Kev’s roof, and he has friends who apparently really like grapefruit, so he even has a way to get rid of the boxes and boxes of grapefruit we harvested.

eating grapefruit

I like grapefruit myself, but not boxes and boxes of it. I took home four. Although I do have to admit that the grapefruit was pretty darn tasty.

Kevin now believes he owes me dinner again, because dinner last night was bribery for the Ikea trip that preceded the Great Hardware Store Odyssey and did not take into account two hours of making sure he didn’t fall off his roof and break his pelvis plus grapefruit harvesting. I don’t really figure he owes me anything (he has helped us so much in the past that it’s kind of nice to be able to do stuff for him), but if it makes him happy, well, I’m hungry. Besides, one can never have too much family togetherness. Or something.

Post-Christmas in Monterey

January 3rd, 2014

Matt and I spent a low-key Christmas at home this year, with exactly the same menu as the last time we did this. It was a very relaxing holiday, which was really just what I needed. Besides, there was no shortage of family togetherness, since Kevin just bought a house near us, and the whole family helped him move in on the 26th.

Fox and Goose family photo

(Matt took this frankly frightening photo of us at breakfast the next day, at the Fox and Goose, which has, bar none, the best corned beef hash I’ve ever had. I also strongly recommend the scones. With Devonshire cream.)

After that, Matt and I took Sophie to boarding. Why did only Sophie go to boarding, you ask? Because she has become, as insanely improbable as this may seem, still more crazySince last I wrote, she started refusing to go outside. No walks, no car, no dog park, no, no, no, no, no. Finally, we just gave up, Sophie became a shut-in, and frankly, all of us were happier. (I did call Nancy back in, and she did have some recommendations, and we are working on it, and we did go back to the behaviorist, and Sophie is on new meds, and this is really a story for another time.)

Long story short, Sophie was going to have to be boarded for New Year’s anyway, as there was no way she could: a. travel to Fresno, or b. deal with the Fresno family gathering. So Matt and I decided to board her a few days early and take a Philip-only vacation. We chose Monterey because it was on-the-way-ish to Fresno, we haven’t been to the aquarium in years, and it’s pretty dog-friendly.

So we got a nice little hotel room off the main drag, and spent a few nights in Monterey. Matt and I were happy because it had a refrigerator and microwave. Philip was happy because it had an extra bed.

Philip's bed

Every morning, we’d get up at our leisure (except for the morning we got up before sunrise because Matt wanted to “catch the nice morning light”) and wander down to the harbor, stopping for a coffee along the way.


Matt liked the harbor for the boats.


I liked it for the seals.


Philip liked it for the opportunities to sniff and pee.


We spent a few afternoons in Carmel, on the off-leash city beach, where Philip proved he can still run (albeit slowly, as I can keep up with him now).


And after a few days, Philip was so exhausted, he would sleep just about anywhere.

Matt and Philip


When we got to Fresno, Philip slept for two days straight. “Kimberly,” my mom would say. “I think your dog is dead.” But he wasn’t. He was just really, really tired. He is old, though, so we’re glad we took this little one-dog vacation.

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