Tamales and Family

Spent the weekend in the Phoenix area. It was the first trip down there for my new dog, Duke. He traveled well, but, boy oh boy, he didn’t make friends and influence people when he found a mud puddle and then spent time on the couch. He also wasn’t too excited by my nephew’s attempt to keep petting him. Ah well.

The family birthday party was fun, as was our planned activity: making tamales. My sister-in-law, Mona, brought all the makings. She had cooked up the red chili with pork, plain masa, and the green corn masa for making the two types of tamales. We just had to clean the corn husks, spread the masa, add meat if making that type, then wrapping in paper. They were steamed for an hour, and they were so delicious. Great idea for a party.

Richard brought agility equipment to work with Sophie, his dog. I didn’t get a chance to try it all out with my dogs — hey, I was wrapping tamales! It looked fun.

I’m glad to be back home. It’s much more relaxing than being a guest at my sister’s. Sure, I’m comfortable at her place, but there’s something about the ability to walk around in nudie-bears without offending brothers-in-laws or nieces and nephews.



This afternoon our office closed shop early and headed to Bushmaster Park for a BBQ. I think a good time was had by all. The little kids had the playground to romp in, the adults had good food and great company, and the dogs, including my new dog Duke, got to do plenty of wrestling and roughhousing with each other.

Family Fun – Let them Eat Cake and Being a Kept Woman

Went to Phoenix area this weekend for the “quarterly” birthday party. That’s the four-times-a-year party where we celebrate the birthdays that occurred in the quarter. This time it was actually a “halfly” as we combined the 2nd and 3rd quarters, as we never could get the parties scheduled to meet everyone’s availability.

Held at my nephew Jason’t house, we swam (finally got to wear my new swim suit), played Apples to Apples (my brother Steve beat us all), and watched the chocolate cake plop into my niece-in-law Maria’s lap. Don’t ask, it was definitely an accident. Of course, nothing stops my family from chocolate cake — we ended up eating it anyway.

Today I stayed longer so I could join my niece in watching Gigi, the 1958 musical. She found the first part a bit of a bore (just like the character Gaston), but once the romance part began she was into the story. There are some adult themes, so explaining the concept of “mistresses” or “kept women” to a 10-year old took some clever wording, but the word “sex” was involved, which dismayed my niece. She was relieved that Gigi ended up marrying Gaston, as that is what people in love should do.

A good weekend with family. Now it’s a week of crazy work as the semester is about to begin. I really think that I would rather have a chocolate cake in my lap.

Julie & Julia & Food

I enjoyed Julie & Julia. A group of us women went to see it and we all had a good time. Meryl Streep is marvelous as Julia Child and Amy Adams is a delight as the blogger who attempts to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook.

I’m reviewing it and had a devil of a time trying not to use any food comparisons as part of the review. I succumbed to the temptation and finished my review with this:

Two wonderful actresses with one good character and one larger-than-life character, a lighthearted script, competetent direction, and you have the ingredients for one tasty dish.

You will be thinking of food when you leave the theater. It’s hard not to. We see the two main characters love their food, so how can we not feel the same?

After the movie, three of us went out for dinner and drinks. I tried Oysters Rockefeller and Steak Diane. Not a cheap dinner, but trying new food seemed the Julia thing to do.  The dinner was delicious and the company good. I wish more movies inspired this kind of activity.

Baseball Night – Brian Matusz

Sure, the last few days have been all about the Arizona Cardinals and their stay here in Flagstaff for practice camp, but other sports are happening too. Tonight it was baseball. But I wasn’t watching the Diamondbacks (well, peripherally maybe). I watched the Baltimore Orioles.

Why would I head to one of the local sports bars, Granny’s Closet, to watch a team that I usually don’t care about? To watch the debut of pitcher Brian Matusz. There’s an Arizona connection. Shoot, there’s a family connection!

My nephews, Brian and Christopher, both played with Matusz at St. Mary’s high school in Phoenix. My brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Mona, hung out on the stands with Matusz’ parents. So when Mona tells me that Brian is coming up from Phoenix and wanted to watch the Orioles game to see Matusz pitch, well, I had to join them.

Matusz’ parents got plenty of camera time as the announcers discussed Matusz’ first major league appearance. Matusz certainly got plenty of time on TV. He pitched five innings and did a decent enough job — 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 run, and the win. He’s now got himself a lovely 1.80 ERA. Nice.

I also enjoyed hanging out with Steve, Mona, and Brian. So it was a lovely evening to conclude my five-day weekend.

Long Weekend Ahead

I’m happy. I don’t go back to work until next Wednesday. Relaxation, a few projects, go to Arizona Cardinals practices, hanging out with a friend, and meeting up with my brother and his family are on the agenda.

Let the weekend begin!

Having a Good Time

Doing the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. thing these last few days. My feet are tired, but I’ve seen a lot. This morning was a visit to the Capitol building and the Library of Congress. The Smithsonian museums are on the docket for tomorrow, hit the memorials on the mall (including the Lincoln Memorial) yesterday.