4th Annual Carlota Acosta Parcheesi Tournament

Parcheesi Board
Seems this Parcheesi tournament thing has really become quite the event in our family. We now play more often throughout the year in an effort to get some practice in (or decode our opponents’ strategies), and if we’re not playing, the conversation will still often stray to various related topics. Those topics will usually revolve around general gameplay, ways to improve upon and expand the tournament party, who we should invite for the next year, and reminiscing about past “I-came-THIS-close!” games. One of the themes of these Parcheesi conversations has always been the names of those who have managed to get their names up on the Golden Caldero — most notably, the fact that all the names were Latino, and none of them were women.

ParcheesiPartyNow, I can guarantee you there’s absolutely no exclusion of other nationalities or of women. Our family is Puerto Rican and represents the majority of players, but the remaining players who have married or befriended someone in our family have been mostly Scottish, Irish, Canadian or a Russian/English/German/Native American mutt, and the skill levels have pretty much run the gamut on both sides of the ethnic fence. The genders are also pretty much a 50/50 split, and women have always been a part the final game. Despite these facts, we couldn’t help but wonder, “When will the first gringo or first woman get their name up onto the Golden Caldero?”

This innocent observation would usually lead to an episode of trash talking and taunting back and forth, as my non-Latin relatives swore they would get their chance, and my sisters, mother and I insisted that next year was OUR year. There was also the small conundrum of whether my or my sisters’ not-so-hispanic married names would count as gringo names on the Golden Caldero, nevermind the craziness that would ensue simply because we were women. Certain patriarchs of the family also went as far as to VOW that there would NEVER be a gringo or woman’s name on that caldero for as long as he could help it! (All boastful pride and good-humored ribbing of course!)

Finalists2015This fourth year, after three rounds of preliminary games and much food, spirits, teasing and, of course, Larry coming so close to a win (he does this so often, we now call this particular type of choking larrying), the final Parcheesi game promised to change things forever. The finalists included (left-to-right) my sister, Lisa; my brother-in-law squared, Bryan; Bryan’s wife, Joyce; and my brother-in-law (and also Joyce’s brother), Jim. If the winner was my sister, the Puerto Rican streak would technically still remain, but regardless of who won, a gringo name would be going up on the Golden Caldero.

In the last turns of the game, Bryan had one piece left to go all the way around the board, and Jim had the same plus another piece about halfway around. However, Lisa and Joyce were in a dead tie for first, each with one piece left and each needing only to roll a 3 to win everything. Eventually Joyce was the one who rolled that 3 and took the title. And just like THAT, the Golden Caldero would bear a name that was both gringo AND a woman’s… all in one shot.

Congratulations, Joyce! Your pioneering Parcheesi win has blown the door wide open for gringos and women everywhere, and you’ll never be forgotten! Just don’t think for one second that anyone, whether Puerto Rican or non-Latin, or man or woman, is going to go easy on you in next year’s tournament just because you’re a girl. And seeing as she has known you since you were little, I’m pretty sure Mamita is damn proud of you too. 😉

Last year's winner, Chuck, passing the Golden Caldero to our 2015 Parcheesi Tournament winner, Joyce.
Last year’s winner, Chuck, passing the Golden Caldero to our 2015 Parcheesi Tournament winner, Joyce.

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Etsy Treasury: Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday (Every Day is a Holiday)

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Today, New Orleans, Louisiana is in full-on celebratory mode, because it’s Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday)! This holiday is best known for its debaucherous nature, as people line the streets to catch “throws” from passing parade floats. There’s music, there’s dancing, there’s drinking and eating, and many people simply going with the flow. Costumes and masks abound, and things are bound to get… interesting…

Mardis Gras signifies the last day of the carnival season between the Epiphany (or Kings Day) on January 6, and Ash Wednesday, which heralds the beginning of Lent. Since Lent is a time of repentance and fasting, the celebration the night before is meant to “get it all out of your system.” It started in the US as a much calmer French Catholic tradition in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the LeMoyne brothers to defend their claim on the Louisiana territory. As the city of New Orleans grew, so did the tradition, and with the mixing of the cultures in the area, the holiday became closely tied with the city.

The colors of Mardis Gras are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice; green represents faith; and gold represents power. The traditional cake of the season is a king cake, a braided or ringed cinnamon cake usually iced with the traditional Mardis Gras colors, and often with a small plastic baby hidden somewhere within. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket inside will usually earn some sort of privilege or prize, or perhaps be obliged to do something (like host the following year’s party).

Mardis Gras is a very festive day, steeped with tradition. My collection touches on some of them, while celebrating the vibrant colors. Remember to visit the shops and “throw” them some love and favorites, and you can visit some of my other Every Day is a Holiday treasuries here!

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Click on the image to see the treasury on Etsy, complete with links to the featured shops and items!

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“Every Day is a Holiday” is my Etsy Treasury project for 2014. I’m hoping to find unique and beautiful items that exemplify the holiday of the day—the sillier and weirder, the better! What’s better than finding something worth celebrating each and every day?

Etsy Treasury: Margarita Day (Every Day is a Holiday)

(I promise, no Jimmy Buffett tunes.)

Today is Margarita Day! And good thing it’s the weekend, so you can celebrate properly by tossing back a few of these classic Mexican cocktails. Margaritas are the most popular beverage made with tequila. It also has triple sec (an orange liqueur) and lime juice, and often has salt around the rim. It’s a tangy sour drink, and they can go down easily. I guarantee most of you reading this have had at least one (or two or three) of those nights where margaritas were responsible for that hangover you’ll never forget.

This treasury celebrates the Margarita, along with it’s two most famous ingredients. It certainly creates quite the striking color palette too, with all that lime! So take a look at the treasury, share the love, and go out tonight for a few margaritas! (But drink responsibly and have a designated driver!) Remember to have a look at the rest of my Every Day is a Holiday treasuries here!

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Click on the image to see the treasury on Etsy, complete with links to the featured shops and items!

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“Every Day is a Holiday” is my Etsy Treasury project for 2014. I’m hoping to find unique and beautiful items that exemplify the holiday of the day—the sillier and weirder, the better! What’s better than finding something worth celebrating each and every day?