Trini Tale Thursday: When It Rains…

It REALLY rains here.

You’ve probably seen me mention the rainy season and wondered why I had my panties in a twist about it, unless you’re Trini, in which case you know all about the rainy season and how to deal.

But, for those of you who haven’t seen the madness that is a tropical rainy season, let me tell you ALL about it and how it affects your entire life–your food, your workouts, and your hair.

Basically, Trinidad has two seasons–dry and rainy.  During the dry season, it’s 93 F with zero humidity and it rains once in a blue moon.

During the rainy season, it’s 93 F with 90% humidity and it rains constantly.  It pours. Buckets and buckets and buckets.  No sweet April showers here, folks; we get black skies and heavy, low-hanging clouds:

Why, is that a fat rain cloud posse in the distance?

See that cloud? It totally soaked me and all the other wonderful Emancipation Day festivity viewers

Oh yes you CAN get rained on at the beach--and I did

The rain is absolutely torrential–you could wash your hair under a downpour in less time that it takes using a good-pressured showerhead, I am certain of it:

I'm taking cover on my porch

A curtain of rain hanging down from my roof

The rain most certainly brings things into bloom.  They look so pretty that I usually don’t mind how it takes two Zyrtek, two doses of eye drops, and two doses of nasal spray each day to keep me from ripping my face off from seasonal allergies (which last–you guessed it–all rainy season long).  See how gorgeous?

I want that red flamboyant tree, and I want it BAD.

I'd like these, too

However, the rainy season also brings power outages (which would not vex me nearly as much if they didn’t mean being fan-less and sweaty) and floods, like the ones I had to wade through on my way back from the airport last August (thanks again, Mr. Neighbor with the Pickup Truck for hoisting me and my goods onto the back of your pickup truck and getting me home safely!):

Yuck.

The rainy season also brings the scourge of bugs all up in your kitchen business, nibbling away at anything in a bag and therefore surprising you when you open the rice and find bugs and rice dust.  It also brings the scourge of mosquitoes all up in your joint, nibbling on your legs and other tasty areas (but mainly my legs–freaks) and inducing general paranoia about dengue fever in the bitee.

I had dengue when I was ten.  It sucked.  Can’t they just move along?  (I tried as hard as I could to get a picture of my currently-mosquito-colonized legs, but I’d rather not have readers passing out from grossness).

Of course the rainy season makes your skin nice and glowy, but it also makes your hair resemble a nest of sloppy crackhead birds.  No, I’m not showing you a picture of my frizzy head because you might not come back to my blog.

The rainy season also makes a Blindy McGoo driver like me terrified of being caught out on the road when the skies open up (and, of course, of getting my hair and feet wet when I eventually get out of my car).  Traffic stops when it rains heavily.  The wipers can’t handle it.  It’s a bonafide acceptable excuse for being late here.

And that, of course, means that getting to the pool becomes rather difficult–should it even be open on a very rainy day, since the slightest threat of thunder is enough to send the lovely pool-managing dudes running back home and hiding under their tables (or just not letting me or anyone swim if a thunderclap was heard in the last twelve hours).  Thank goodness for Core Fusion DVDs and Zumba at home, or my fitness would take a serious hit from the weather, sheesh.

As for the beach–ha.  You pack up your car, you hope for the best, you drive an hour to get there… and if the rain starts pounding down:

Oy vey

At least you can be grateful for a bit of cover at the beach’s bar:

Why yes, that is indeed a makeshift ladder contraption with a man on it, back left

Where you can enjoy an awesome beach lunch:

The best stewed chicken, macaroni pie, salad, rice, and callalloo lunch ever had by woman, from Las Cuevas beach last Sunday

But do I complain?  Nope (well, except for the mosquito bites).  I’ll take biblical downpours over wimpy British misting and butt-freezing cold any day.

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A Lazy Holiday Observed

I had great plans for today’s day off from work (thanks to Spiritual Baptist Day here in Trinidad).  I was going to cut and paste a new dress pattern, delete and organize pictures on my computer, make a batch of veggie burgers to freeze, and maybe even finish my book (Temptations of the West, by Pankaj Mishra, in case you’re interested in reading about modernity and rebellion in South Asia) so I could start a new one.

None of that happened because lazy holiday malaise struck–in the best possible way.

So, instead of spending my day scrubbing stuff, I dressed like Swiss Miss would if she went to Sweden for a holiday (and forgot her skirt):

Top from the Indian expo in 2008 (50 TT, or approximately $8 US), shorts from Old Navy last month ($19.99)

Then had a leisurely breakfast of cornmeal pancakes with strawberry jam and mango:

That might be the last of my tree's mangos until July, sigh...

And got to slooow work on the test Alexander blouse, inserting and then fixing both the button loops and the peplum flounce:

Fidgety button loops

After which time I stuffed my face with the sole purpose of clearing the fridge of leftovers, hence the chipotle chicken and red bean hummus wrap (and, um, some tortilla chips, which I have no idea how got on my plate–my life will be better once I don’t have to resist their kryptonite appeal, so I hope the Husband eats them all soon):

I will never again cook that much chicken at once--but it's still tasty

I had also planned on making a soup today, but watching Dexter and doing blouse work kept me so busy that I decided to have a British Throwback Night of jacket potatoes, the Husband’s with baked beans and cheese and mine with tuna and a huge green salad:

Mmmm.... The taste of Coronation Street, student poverty, and happy days

And that’s how the day was spent.  Did I even fold the towels that I put in the dryer this morning? But of course not.  I may not have grown up with Shouter Baptist Day in my holiday repertoire, but I know how to observe a holiday–oh, and I’m scared that the Shouter Baptists might come and scream at me if I do too much on their special day.

Good night!

Big Race Announcement (Times Two)!

After the excitement of last Friday’s post (where I announced that I will be quitting my office job at the end of the month and finally confessed to having been working two jobs since January), I can finally start to look forward to life post-office work–and, now that notice has been given and I’ve come clean about work, I can finally make yet another exciting announcement:

In June, I will be participating in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5K Run and the 20 mile Ride for Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bike Ride!!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new Cancer Research Fundraising Queen.

Needless to say I’m beyond exited for both races.  The Susan Komen Race for the Cure will be my first summer race ever in Buffalo.  It goes through beautiful Delaware Park–the best place to be on a June morning in Buffalo–and, of course, it benefits breast cancer research.  My grandmother is a feisty, fabulous, and sweet breast cancer survivor and I ran my first 5K race (for breast cancer research as well) for her, so I’ll be doing it again with extra pizzazz in my step–AND a 30 minute 5k race time to smack down.

As for the 20-mile ride… Oooh, cue chills and nerves and giddiness.  I will be riding as part of Team Papa’s Pedallers with my sisters and a bunch of friends, all of whom have been affected by cancer in some way.  So we are racing for those we’ve lost (my dad, Linz’s dad, John’s grandpa) and for those who’ve given the disease ten shades of what-all and are here to tell the tale (my fabulous Linz, my ridiculously funny and kind uncle Lali, and Alli’s dad, among others).  AND I don’t own a bike.  AND I haven’t been on one since last year.  AND I can’t ride in a straight line.  But I’m sure between now and then, I’ll figure it all out.  Or just lose my fear of scabs and scrapes.

Once I hit the register button, though, I had a bit of a shock that had nothing to do with the actual race training I’ll need to do.

I realized that I would have to raise money for TWO races–eeeek!  Though they are both for excellent causes and I can honestly say that both causes are equally important to me, I’m still conscious of the fact that I’ll be hitting up all my nearest, dearest and known for some fundraising love, and doing it twice.

But I’m making myself a Cancer Research Fundraising Queen crown (from leftover red carnival feathers, because I need to use them up) and, over the next few weeks, I’ll be working on some very devious schemes interesting ideas for fund-raising for both races.  Hint:  there may be giveaways…. and more.

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Now that I’ve given my notice, I feel I have an extra spring in my step–quite literally.  So, despite sleeping terribly last night (word to the wise:  maybe getting engrossed in a drama about a serial killer before I go to sleep isn’t such a great idea–hello, Dexter nightmares) I still hit the pavement this morning with a special zing to my booty.

Four miles were on the agenda and four miles I did.  I felt light and speedy, and I must have been, too–I actually beat my best 5k time by a minute and change, without even trying!  29:04, holla at me… And 4 miles in 40 isn’t too shabby for me, either.  I could have sworn I felt like death during that last mile, but I know now that I was being a total drama queen, as I’m wont to do when the sun is in my eyes and I smell sewery nastiness at 7:15 am on the extra mile loop.

And, since tomorrow is a national holiday here in Trinidad and Tobago (it’s Spiritual Baptist Day, or Shouter Baptist Day in more common parlance), I knew that a good swim had to happen given that the pool would be closed tomorrow and I need that swim to keep me limber between run days.  So, hair still wet from the morning’s shower, I hit the pool at lunch for 36 minutes of blinding sun and sweet whooshings before going back to work with the biggest smile on my face.

Needless to say, I can watch ALL the Dexter I want tonight–I’m going to sleep like the dead after today’s quest for bootiliciousness.  I hope the Spiritual Baptists don’t take to my street in the early am, though, or I may turn into a Shouter Laura right back at them.

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Today’s style snippet, brought to you once again by my fall 2008 trip to Puerto Rico:

Not so close, for full effect...

Closer...

Closest--the trim deserves admiration, no?

The skirt is Marshall’s boutique, the blouse is from Kress.  I was able to wear that blouse for about two months after I bought it, and then I couldn’t wear it without popping buttons.  It’s nice and loose now.  This realization will keep me from devouring all the remaining lemon bars in my fridge.

And, speaking of food…

Today’s lunchtime salad of chipotle and garlic chicken on green salad with tomatoes, green onion, and peppers, with salsa for dressing had its portrait deleted (a shame too, because it was most delicious), so I’ll give you a shot of the Tibetan burritos instead:

Another odd but tasty concoction, courtesy of the Moosewood Restaurant peeps–these have a soy mince, onion, carrot, and cabbage filling sauteed in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, and topped with a fresh tomato salsa of tomatoes, scallions, cilantro and mint (if you have it–I don’t).  Fusion Mexican-Tibetan food served on a Trinidad table by a Puerto Rican girl, how very fitting!