Traditions are put to the side

The friendlies and qualifiers are all over at last and the League is finally under way again. Time to play out the last seven weeks of the season.

And I feel better. Is it only because football is back again this weekend? Maybe. But I think the second weekend with no London travel to plan turned out to be just fine. Spring break was on its way. I helped my daughter make final preparations for her trip to Costa Rica and got her off to the airport on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, I got my husband and son to the airport to visit my in-laws in Florida. But mostly I got some things done around the house. I studied a bit to complete continuing education for a professional license that renews every two years. And once I had worked my to-do list to the best of my ability, I completed the favored indulgence of my single days: I had popcorn for dinner and watched a movie. Not my usual Easter, not a trip to London, but it was just fine.

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Cherry blossoms in Washington, DC

On Monday, I was off to Washington, D.C. for work. It turned out to be cherry blossom time in D.C. I’ve always wanted to see them blooming, but never happened to be there at the right time. I took a long walk along the water where droves of people were out, enjoying a lovely evening and walking through the trees that line the basin. The trees produce that amazing phenomenon of beauty that just cannot be captured by a camera. I took dozens of disappointing pictures before deciding to simply enjoy the walk. I returned late Thursday and my son and husband returned from Florida on Friday.  Our daughter is still in Costa Rica. She is having a great time. It was well worth all that hard work at the pool last summer to fund the trip.

Arsenal played today against Watford, who knocked us out of the FA Cup competition the last time I was in London. As a match day it was most unusual. I barely felt nervous at all. Everything was pretty much smooth sailing. Nice, crisp passing, clean tackling, shots that landed. Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal, a scrappy one, within the first 10 minutes, but it took nearly until half-time for the second one to arrive. That was scored by 19-year-old Alex Iwobi and assisted by Alexis Sanchez. He has had a sensational few weeks.

alexis-sanchez-troy-deeney-watford-v-arsenal_3365097
Alexis in a tangle with Deeney. Source: Indoberita.com

The third came after halftime. Young Hector Bellerin hit a shot into the Watford defender that looped up out of reach of the goalkeeper and into the net. Near the end, Arsene Wenger substituted, adding Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, and Joel Campbell. Joel Campbell is probably the biggest victim of the effective new defensive midfield partnership between Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny and the pairing of Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck. They are clicking and it’s hard to imagine much playing time for any of those three substitutes if the starters today stay healthy. When they came on, Arsenal weren’t nearly as effective. But Joel Campbell got in a good cross near the end of the match and Theo Walcott put it in the net. It was fun to hear the home fans at the Emirates urging Arsenal to go forward in the last 30 seconds. Everyone wanted a fifth goal. It’s been a long, long time since we left a match with a big scoreline.

It was a tough match to pick a best player to celebrate in our Gooner Triumphal Feast. All of the starters did a magnificent job. At least five were contenders. We consulted player ratings on Arseblog, as always, to determine the celebrant. We usually select the player with the highest Arseblog rating and if there’s a tie, we use the Arseblog readers’ rating to break it. Alex Iwobi would have been the man of the match by that metric. But we felt that Alexis Sanchez was the best player today, scoring one goal and assisting one and just all around being a handful. He’s not been himself lately and it was awesome to see him have the kind of day he is capable of. So we broke tradition and celebrated Alexis Sanchez at the Gooner Triumphal Feast.

chapWe had chapaleles with our dinner and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. The chapaleles were also a break with tradition. Our previous rule was that the celebratory dish needed to be something we’d not made before. We’ve had this dish before when Alexis was our hero. My son really enjoyed the chapaleles that time so we made them together today. He has taken a sudden interest in cooking lately. He and a school friend made homemade pierogis for a project right before spring break, and when he came home he announced “that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

The last time my son took a strong interest in cooking was when he was in first grade. He had created a recipe in his head that he named “woge.” He was determined to make woge and could speak of nothing else until I finally took him to the store and we bought the ingredients. I recall it involved marshmallows, a peppermint, and graham crackers. We made the woge and he was exercised of the obsession at last.

His earlier cooking forays, as a toddler, involved putting a mélange of water, ketchup, salt, pepper, carrots, and Pillsbury biscuit dough in a mug and microwaving it. Then he would present it to me and insist that I eat his creation. I had a rule that the baker had to have the first taste of any dish prepared. That rule almost always saved me. As I’ve mentioned before, my son was a selective eater. Food is not normally allowed to touch other food. The dish I just described involved a surplus of touching. Thank goodness.

The chapaleles were delicious and the Chilean wine was good enough.

Tottenham only managed a tie against Liverpool so Arsenal made up two points today. Still a four-point gap from our place in third to theirs in second, although they have played one more match than we have. Leicester City, still in first place by a long shot, play tomorrow.

My husband asked me if I would watch Leicester City. I’m afraid to, because when I watch them they win. But when I don’t watch them, they also seem to win.

It almost seems as if there is no correlation between what I do and what they do.

That just can’t be right.

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