My Uncle Carlos

My Uncle Carlos.

I could go into his whole life of how he came to be, but I can already hear my Uncle cursing at me, so I won’t. But what I will tell you is who he was. For those who didn’t get the pleasure of meeting my Uncle Carlos, he was a bit of a Superman, Jack of All Trades kind of guy.Coming from a large family (and when I say large I mean 20 plus brother and sisters) he had to help the family. From working in factories, picking fruit, to some odd jobs he may have forgotten to mention, my Uncle learned from an early age how to work hard and educate himself. Although he never bragged about his intelligence or had degrees hanging on the wall, my Uncle was one of the brightest and smartest men I had ever known.

His tax return may have said one thing, but he could do anything. He was an Engineer, Carpenter, Therapist, Surgeon, just to name a few. But the titles I believed he held closet to his heart was Husband and Family Man. He was always there for our family. He raised his own two sons plus children that weren’t his own. On the surface, you wouldn’t call my Uncle the tradition nurturing type, but he always told you want you needed to hear, not what you wanted. He stepped up when necessary. He provided for his family beyond monetary value. He taught lessons far from the classroom, and put his life and soul on the line for his family. He lived by example.

And there was his wife, Norma. My Uncle acted like a hard ass, but he truly was a teddy bear, especially when it came to my Aunt. It was simply the way he looked at her that spoke volumes of love, passion, and admiration he had for her. Married 40 plus years, Carlos may have acted like a tough guy, never showing too much emotions, but he had a soft spot for Norma. Holding her hand, cuddling with her, even if acted too macho for it, and being a devoted husband. Even in his last days when he couldn’t do much, he would pucker up his lips to kiss his wife. That he knew.

On Friday, August 12 2011,after a hard fought battle with Prostate Cancer, Carlos became Chief Engineer for God. St.Peters most likely asked him to fixed his gate, and then had a beer with him. It is still surreal that I will never see my Uncle again, but I know he is not hurting anymore, and probably running the show with God.

If you didn’t get to meet Carlos, you missed out. But if you want to see his impact, look at his wife, his sons, his family, and his community.We live knowing the man whose hands showed the best of his hard work. We live with him by our side, watching, and probably saying “sal-es” and laughing with a slight smile. Carlos was truly a good person, not because he pretended to be, but because his soul was. When I leave this earth, if I am half as good of person as my Uncle was, I would be content.

I love you and thank you Carlos.

Carlos

Carlos

Women Equality?

For those who don’t know, in a former life I use to play basketball. Basketball was everything from sun up to sun up. I lived and breathed the game. I play on multiple teams with girls and boys, and was rather good at it. If it wasn’t for two knee surgeries, and my short jeans kicking in, I would have loved to make a career out of it. I had to deal with a lot of inequality as a female playing basketball in not only being told I couldn’t play to the sensitive nature I was treated in.

” I know you are only shooting 25 percent today,and let that girl get by, but honey you will get it next time.”

And that was my coach. Luckily my parents raised me not to accept great as you will get them next time.

This walk down memory lane leads me into an issue that has been bothering me all week concerning  US Women soccer coverage. All week we as a nation have been hyping up for their championship game against Japan, bringing up points of patriotism, sport, and equality. It seemed like for once our nation was standing behind a women’s sports team ready to show our pride. But *spoiler alert* they lost. And they didn’t lose based off not playing hard or being blown out, but rather in a joke job fashion of missing 3 penalty kicks. The pressure was on, and they lost. What followed were comments like “we are so proud of our girls,” but very few from major media outlets criticizing their last-minute play bad plays or blunders.Now I am all for looking at the positive end of life, but it bothers me that we in this country are almost scared to speak out in fear that it will offended someone in the minority, as well as the minority getting offended and mad when someone does. There are examples of it everywhere from women in politics to models to anything really. When Sarah Palin was “debating” Joe Biden in the 2008 vice-presidential debate, very few people criticize  her poor debating skills, or pointed out how Biden didn’t really argue her points when he clearly disagreed with them. In fact, he kind of watch her speak, and was like “oh that’s cute,” when in fact she did a horrible job of addressing anything.

That is not equal treatment. I am not saying we should start using racial slurs or sexist terms, but if you demand equality, then you should receive  the same treatment, both good and bad. Going back to sports, if a man led sport had the same result as the women soccer team, the majority of sports fans would be outrage, and frankly pissed off because we lost.  When the Cardinals lost the Superbowl a few years back, I was not oh well at least they made it. I was upset at our defense for allowing Number 7 to do work. If you look at it from a national level, the 2004 Men’s Olympic Basketball team got a bronze in Athens, and we as a nation viewed that as a failure.  In these cases we expected the best, and viewed less as not good enough and a failure.  Even soccer star Abby Wambach said before the game that just being there wasn’t good enough. She, and rightfully so, said winning was the only goal.

Today’s women soccer results were not treated the same. Second for any men’s sport would not be good enough. Missing goals would not be tolerated. Blunders would not be accepted. But for women it is. And then we go and demand equal treatment and same exposure as the men when clearly we accept good enough as our best. It does not work like that clearly. Why do you think the WNBA is not as successful as the men’s game? Because the acceptance of just good enough is alright. Some of those games, even from someone who played the sport, are hard to watch because it is a poor product compared to not only the men’s game, but international women’s basketball. However, you want me to watch your game and support your team when you are jogging down the floor, missing shots, and playing fundamentally poor? If any men’s sport was doing that, I would quickly move on. But because I am a woman, I should support it? Not happening.

We as women can not demand equal treatment if we can not take both the good and bad that comes with it. We can not accept just good enough, and then demand the best. This belief goes beyond sports, and into the classroom, work, and life in general. As a woman, I should not get a job because of my sex or because I am good enough, but rather I should get it because of my hardwork and  skill set. The fact I am a woman should not be a factor, or change how I am treated. If we ever want to be seen and treated as equal, we have to expect all that comes with it.

It is then women will be truly equal in all avenues.

Cribs Edition: Faro, Portugal

When traveling, you are not always going to stay in five star resorts especially if you do not have five star money like this girl here. However, staying in random hotels, hostels, and whole in the walls is not always a bad thing…well maybe. You are bound to get some crazy use out of it, if not a cribs edition video which is what we did in our hotel room in Faro, Portugal. It may not seem much, but hey I didn’t see any bed bugs. Although there was a foundation that clearly did not birds anywhere on it to destroy its beauty

Faro Foundation

Faro Foundation

In the words of the kool aid man…oh yea! Anyways onto our crib in Faro presented by Lacey and Matty

Oh Porto Portugal

The measure of a amazing place is if still like something even if it is not picture perfect. If you know this Arizona girl, I like my food, men, and weather hot. So it is a bit shocking to me when I am loving Portugal and it has been rainy, windy, and cold. This country is still winning my heart. The culture, food, and atmosphere is to die for. I am loving this tiny country, even I can not understand anyone lol

The last two days we have been in Porto, Portugal. Up in Northern Portugal, Porto is this cute little town of hills and water. We spent our first day simply exploring the area, and learn that in Portugal you can be on strike for a day, and schedule it days in advance. Main reason we can not leave Porto until Saturday. I think it like a vacation in my opinion. On the brighter side, our hostel is amazing here. They cooked dinner for us last night. Still not sure what I ate, but it had some form of hotdog in it.

Today we went to the little Venice of Portugal,  Aveiro. A small little beach town worth the day visit. It is nice, but to honest, go to Venice. It was still nice. We went on a boat ride, toured the town area, and went to a little island near by with stripe painted houses that look like this:

Homes in Aveiro

Homes in Aveiro

Lacey and I were also asked if we could take pictures with some randos. We are now in some tourist album somewhere on Facebook.After passing out on the bus back to porto we explored some of Porto. The city of six bridges:

One of the six bridges

One of the six bridges

was explored mostly by boat today. Although Porto is small, it has amazing cliff views of homes,monuments and of course its Porto winerys and cellars. We par took in one of the cellars, and took a tour of it. Pretty small because it was only the cellar, but still pretty cool to experience and taste free samples. We then walked across the bridge back to the main area of Porto and ate some Portuguese Pasta. Word to those traveling in Portugal. They will give you food to snack on before your meal…it is not free. Also, dinner will not be served before 7pm, but snacks are available. Do not ask me why.

We have another day in Porto, then it is off to Lagos. Until Next time…

On the boat tour

On the boat tour

Well Hello Lisbon!

First two days in Lisbon have come and gone. They both have been rainy and cold days, but at what seem to be the eleventh hour, the sun came out. Too bad it was already 6pm, but all is well. On the brighter side, my map reading skills have improved, but not my Portuguese.

My first two days here were I say eventful. I spent the first day doing a city tour where you can hop on and off. If you do not hop and off, it is about 90 minutes for each tour, so I spent literally my whole day getting a glance of Lisbon, and stopping at some of the sites. The city itself is a mix of history and modern (I saw a Starbucks), therefore it can give the city kind of dirty look. However, I think this maybe due to everything in the states always being refurbished. I guess that was the biggest surprise for me, but I still loved the culture even if does have a Starbucks. There is everything to see from parks, churches, ocean, monuments, and much more. Like I said, I only got a taste, but can not wait to go back to some of the places. Side note: You literally can see it all at once. I saw in a half a mile or so radius the following in this order: Ritz Carlton, Business Center, Residents, Prison…yea

Today was even colder, and rainer. I ate my usual pastry breakfast, which I am glad I do not have in the states. I maybe 800 pounds if that was the case. Anyways, after Breakfast I went to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian which is one of their biggest museums here. It is filled with art and artifacts ranging from Italian, Persian, Asian and a lot more. I decided to take the audio tour because a lot of the explanations for the art were in shockingly Portuguese! They did have some English, but I like to know what was going on.

After that I went to see the aquarium or what they call it Oceanario de Lisboa. I got to say one of the best I have been to, and you are able to sort of interact with some of the animals. I think it was some penguin or some cold bird was flying over us, you were able to feed the otters, and see the turtles. I got to say it was definitely worth the walk over. I tried to take some pictures of the animals, but they moved so fast, and without the flash, they looked kind of blurry. Apparently sea creatures are not fond of flashes.

My body is still trying to adjust to the time difference. I think by the time I do, I will be going home. Tomorrow I am off to Porto for a few days to do some more exploring. Apparently there are two trains to get there literally called the slow train or fast train…I do not know why you would call it that, but alright.

Until next time….

How to avoid getting a real person job; travel

I am currently writing from my hotel in Lisbon Portugal, or as the locals spell it Lisboa. Please forgive if this all does not make sense. It is the combo of an 8 hour time difference, no sleep, and writing on a computer with a different keyboard. I had to ask one of the hotel clerks how to make an @ symbol (it is alt gr 2. not sure about the apostrophe yet)

Why you ask am I in Lisbon? Because I can. After almost 6 years of college,undergrad and masters, a vacation was needed. So when asked my friend Lacey where she was going to be June 5-16, she said Portugal. And I booked my ticket. So here I am.

My first day was mostly traveling. I left the midwest with big hair. Got to London where the security guy told me 1) I had too many liquids(there is a limit now?) 2)  Almost lost my ticket and passport in the whole liquid debate (he put it to the side and another airline employee almost took it.) 3) In London you wait an hour before your flight for them to announce your gate which is great if half of that time is not spent trying not to miss your flight. But I got to Lisbon in one piece.

I spent the first afternoon just exploring the area around the hotel. A lot was close because it was Sunday, but few were still open. I wondered into an arena slash mall slash restaurant where I ate what appeared to be chicken, rice, potatoes, mussels, and something else, The picture looked good, and that is what I pointed to. It tasted very good and different from anything I have had before. I just hope it does not make me sick lol. Side note: not as bad as I thought eating a meal in a restaurant by yourself without a book or something as a barrier. Good time for people watching.

I then walked around, fell from my flip flops in the cobble streets, and explored a beautiful church, one of the few things open on Sunday. I have never seen this church before, but I have a thing for old churches, temples, and what have you. I probably sat there for a hourish. I tried to understand the services, but I do not speak the language. Side note….I understand I am in a different country, but I think this maybe one of the few times where I have met more people who did not speak English than anywhere else. I found it kind of cool, but hard to figure things out.

Well I am off.  I am going to try to see if I can watch the NBA finals anywhere at 1 am. Tomorrow is my city exploring, more trouble to cause, and more food to eat. Oh speaking of: I had this amazing chocolate cake from the bakery around the corner. May need to steal the recipe.

Until we meet again…

Week 13: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

The family that cooks together…

Like many families, food is a centralized part of my family. We eat when we are happy, sad, because it is Tuesday; we love food. And this week is no different. My cousin Mike has been trying to make many of his mom’s recipes for the last couple of weeks including salsa, carne asada, and other fine recipes. For this week’s blog Mikey talks about cooking his mom’s chile verde in the video and pictures below. We don’t have a recipe because most of this was done through hear say like “a pinch of this” and you make this with your hand, but if you really want to make it, you can google your own.

Chile Verde

Chile Verde

Just so you know, I decided to end this portion of the blog. If I find recipes I like, I will still post them, but not every week. I will still keep up my blog, but not just with cooking. Thank you to those that followed and sent recipes. I really enjoyed learning to cook, and have found a new love for it. It has helped me during a crazy semester, and couple months.So thank you for reading, enjoying, and whatever else.