It's the annual family confab in Tucson, which has left my calendar a bloody mess when viewed from a distance--gotta switch from red ink to a more soothing blue--and my blog neglected in the corner, sniffling. What can I fling at you as I sprint by the computer between rounds of cards, grilling, and backyard birdwatching fueled by high-quality merlot and shiraz?
Meat! Meaty meaty meat meat. I have been a vegetarian off and on for the past twenty years or so, but right now am definitely peaking in the meat quadrant of the graph. Costco sells lovely slabs of top round that grill to tender perfection, which you might not expect from something with "round" in the title, but damn. Damn. I like to cover one slab with a rub of equal parts brown sugar, black pepper, hot ground roasted red chili, and garlic powder, with a half part of kosher salt and let it think about it for a few hours before hitting the grill, and then do the other with simple salt and pepper. And then some lovely thick rounds of onion around the edges until they caramelize. Nom. The grill is getting a workout this week.
Economy! I'm sorry, but at this point I am utterly confused. US auto execs are getting fired by the White House on the same day banking execs are invited over for tea? Meanwhile, my friends and I are coordinating those Costco runs for days when Tucson is not being invaded by family members who gleefully pick up the tab. Recommended bargain of the week: giant clamshell pack of Cherubs grape tomatoes, $4.49. That gives you a week's worth of salads, pastas, omelettes, and lovely snacks. A little olive oil, some basil, salt, and pepper, and bam smacky, you're eating like the king of your very own tomato patch.
Gardening! I suck at it. I know people who very successfully grow tomatoes and peppers and thus avoid that portion of Costco, but I am not one of them. High and subsequently dashed hopes in the past have included tomatoes, jalapenos, anaheim chiles, squash, red bell peppers, lettuce, and snow peas. This season I stuck to herbs and have managed to keep sage and mint alive; the cilantro, to my great chagrin, collapsed and died within three days. Oh, wait--I have had marginal success with potatoes, and am currently sitting on a harvest store of four yukon golds ranging in size from small grape to golf ball with a thyroid problem.
Basketball! My brackets are dead in both men's and women's, although I still have the Heels alive for the men's championship and UConn for the well, duh category in the women's. And the Irish rolled over and died in the NIT semis. That is all.
Arizona! Our esteemed Governor Jan Brewer (R-Harpytown) appointed the illustrious and beloved-by-Shakesville Mr. Benjamin H. Grumbles as head of the state Department of Environmental Quality, which is something akin to appointing a hyena as head of kitten welfare. Grumbles is a Bush EPA hack whose major accomplishment at the EPA was being concerned about pharmaceuticals in groundwater. Well, he was actually only concerned about nitroglycerin, and then only because it's an explosive. Anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories are apparently okay because--let's be honest here--they're making you feel better, aren't they?
Baseball! Pima County wants to build another stadium in hopes that maybe they can lure like three teams back from Glendale to Save Spring Training in Tucson, which will only cost about $137 million in a state that is shuttering state parks and firing teachers as fast as it can in order to fill exactly two sandbags that can be stacked up in front of the 75-foot tsunami that is the current $3 BILLION budget deficit. But it is important to soak people with an increased sales tax so that they can build a stadium that may or may not be used for an entire month every year if the teams decide to relocate to the cotton fields of Marana before bolting to the next sweet deal being offered by a municipality someplace else. Arizona: 49th in education, 2nd in teen pregancy rates, numero uno in short-sighted stupidity.
More to come! Later!