There is a long and involved story behind Cinco de Mayo for my family. It involves an insane woman I had never met before and an assault on my husband. The results were many fold. That day, six years ago, the immediate result was police involvement, a standoff, an arrest and hours in the emergency room. Short term, there was the loss of a good job, recuperation, paranoia, fear, anger, and restraining orders. As time went on there were court dates, lawyers, guilty verdicts and arbitration.

The long term result, in my opinion, was the loss of my husbands grasp on the life we had forged for 20 years. Something about the event, whether it was the trauma itself, the depression from losing his job after being assaulted (by a woman, no less. and yes, that is a big deal for his psyche), the paranoia that comes from not being able to make sense of the event, or if it was just the catalyst for something that was coming anyway, I will never know. I just know that was the beginning of the end. The end of life as we knew it.

After a few years, we being who we are, tried to make the anniversary of the date something else. We began to celebrate Happy Stick Day. We would ply Mr. Vixen with margaritas, fill a pinata with candy, blindfold him and let him whack the crap out of it. Retaliation. Anger management. Putting a fun face on a sad day.

Last year we missed Happy Stick Day. This year I felt the need to mark it again. Even though it is a weekday. (That really doesn’t matter to me right now, being unemployed, ha ha…sorry kids). So we have a pinata and a big stick. We will be making margaritas. As always, I decided I wanted to take it another step further this time. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I am an over-achiever. So I am making tamales. I don’t know anyone who has made tamales. I have never made tamales. I read all about it yesterday and cooked the meat last night. This morning by 8am, I was walking to the local tortilleria down the street to purchase husks (yes walk, remember: dead car).

It is now Day 2, Hour 3.5. I will tell you what this little Irish cook as learned: It looks hard on paper. BUT IT IS HARDER in real life. So far, I have broth, meat and soaked husks.

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The meat was cooked overnight in the crockpot with 2 onions and 6 cloves of garlic. While the meat cooled I pureed the onion/garlic in the food processor and added it back to the broth and seasoned with some chili powder and salt. I then shredded the meat (can you say, time consuming?) and seasoned with a bunch of chili powder, some cumin, some salt and some of the broth (with most of the pureed stuff). I have no idea what I am doing. I am sorta (not) following a recipe. I am off now to attempt the tamale dough and the creating of the tamales themselves. I am highly enjoying myself, but I do have doubts that there will be anything to eat tonight.

Wish me luck!