The Carnival Recovery Plan (And Too Much Fun With Bulletpoints)

This morning I woke up to the unhappy realization that, one week from now, what will possibly be two of the most fun days of my life (yes, really!) will be over.  I have a feeling, nay a certainty, that I’ll be going through the kind of let-down that kids get after Christmas, where you can’t BELIEVE that it’s all over…. sigh.  I mean, I’ve been bigging these two days up since last year, when I decided to play mas.  Here’s how the big-up/unbearable excitement built-up went:

  • Early January 2009:  Hmm, this carnival thing looks fun.  Maybe I should have done it this year. Fun with feathers–all about it.
  • Mid January 2009:  I definitely should have signed up to play mas this year.  I want to wear a ridiculously big headpiece.
  • Weekend before Carnival:  What de ass were you thinking, not signing up, gyal?
  • Jouvert (Monday AM):  I’m too drunk and I’m reverting to Spanish, but must kick myself hard for not playing mas– once I can kick a target and not miss or fall over.
  • Carnival Monday:  My head hurts.  It would hurt less if I could Hair-Of-The-Dog it on the road with a mas band and some rum today.  Husband sprained foot, good thing we didn’t sign up to play mas.  (Naw, I’d leave him behind and go anyway).
  • Carnival Tuesday:  If I spot a girl of my approximate height and size, Imma grab her costume and run!
  • Ash Wednesday:  Only six months till I can sign up!
  • March, April, May, June:  Weep a bit every time the 2009 Road March gets played on the radio.  I’m picturing feathers and jewels as I get myself back into running and swimming (as in, I picture a costume ahead of me and me giving chase during the first two months of running).
  • August 2009:  I signed up to play Rubies of Mumbai in Spice!  Abs moves, here we go… Lose sleep for a week from the excitement of signing up.

Etcetera and what have you…

But back to my plan.  Given the steady pitch of buildup to Carnival this year, I need to acknowledge that there will be a significant Carnival tabanca (state of depression with withdrawal symptoms, check Saucy’s post for more on this) and gloominess to contend with.  The Husband and I discussed it this morning (boy, does that man know me or what?) and he got me thinking that a plan must be put in action, with goals and pluses to look forward to once the soca (and my inevitable sunburn) die down.

There ARE things to look forward to after Carnival:

  • No paranoia about getting injured or sick (therefore missing out on the full, optimal Carnival experience)
  • No more paranoia about the dog getting at my costume and going to town on it with his teeth
  • No more problems with conflicting tan lines (I use SPF 80+ but swimming three times a week in an outdoor pool WILL get you, this close to the equator)
  • More free time and sleep (less time spent fussling at costume, obsessing over costume, or talking about costume); that translates to more reading! More sewing! More good TV and movie watching!

Therefore, after Carnival and a full post-mortem of it, you’ll find me:

  • At my sewing machine with gorgeous fabrics and foxy patterns, doing some desperately needed wardrobe improvement
  • With my head in the pile of books I brought back from Buffalo–I didn’t stuff my bag to within a half pound of the baggage limit to let the main offenders (books) collect dust
  • Catching up on Mad Men/Flight of the Conchords and starting Dexter
  • Going to see the giant leatherback turtles nesting at Grande Riviere beach
  • Planning some trips home and elsewhere…. Secret secret!
  • Starting up a 10K training plan–I’ll hold my own race if none are scheduled!  The main thing is training for the distance.

I say this all now with good cheer and all confidence that it’ll cheer me up come next Wednesday.  But we all know how it will go…it’s up to you to hold me to this when I’m wiping my tears with feathers and crying into my Carnival cup next week.


Obviously, Carnival is not acknowledged through office-wear, hence my dress for the day:

Target dress (from the clearance rack–it was $3.49 or something ridiculous like that! I was that color this morning when I was done with my run, which was great and good, though not dog-free), Target shoes (again), Trinidad mosquito bites. It’s a lovely dress and I’d like to keep it fresh by having more like it in the work rotation, hence the need for serious wardrobe improvement sewing.

On any given day, a soon-to-be Carnival diva will eat oatmeal with bananas for breakfast:

A Mediterranean chickpea salad (chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, capers, harissa (North African chili paste–check out a good version here), olive oil, vinegar, cumin, etc):

And Monday night’s chilaquile leftovers for dinner:

She enjoyed ALL of it (though she probably would have enjoyed her lunch salad more had she been less stingy with the harissa, which she’s treating like gold as it came “from foreign”, as they say round these parts).  She will also admit to having been tempted by a KFC sandwich brought in by her coworker–until she realized that she was only tempted by the red, which is reminiscent of her Carnival costume’s color, and not by the chicken itself, as she has NEVER been a fan of KFC (proud ownership of her race-blingbag KFC/Scotiabank Breast Cancer Awareness 5K bottle notwithstanding).

Glue, Feather, Stitch, Repeat

I spent yesterday resting, shopping, and then in a frenzy of glue and glitter activity.  By the time I went to bed, I could see red when I closed my eyes and kept finding little globs of UHU glue all over me. For the sake of my keyboard and not getting glue and gunk in it, I stayed off the laptop.  I hope you understand…

All of the above can only mean one thing:  more carnival prep!

Sunday:  Lazy No More!

First things first, though, I’ll hit you up with some food pics lest you get the idea that carnival prep is so all-consuming I forget to eat–yeah right:

Since I decided to sleep in and forgo the market this week, I didn’t go grocery shopping in the morning either, so I had no eggs for breakfast pancakes, scrambles, French toast…  Oatmeal it was, spruced up by this sweet mango that the Eagle-Eyed Husband spotted waaaay up in our tree last week (it was so high up that I have to wonder:  does the man climb the tree to fetch them?)

Then I made like a Refrigerator Vacuum Cleaner and sucked up my leftovers in a most cross-cultural fashion:

Voila some West Indian red beans with Chinese pepper beef and vegetables, an unholy combination unless you’re in super-diverse Trinidad, where this combo actually could turn up on a table. (Donkey candlestick courtesy of my stylista grandmother, who gave it to my other/sweetie grandmother, who kindly bequeathed it to me.  It’s not political–it came from Spain.)

OK, back to the good feathery stuff….

I was my usual procrastinatin’ self and couldn’t bring myself to make a decision on my Monday wear bra for weeks, so I did up my boots first, by attaching the costume leg pieces and some purchased feathers to the gold-sprayed boots.  I then UHU’d the hell out of the entire nonsense and gloated at how cool it all looks:

Sorry so blurry--it's hard to hold them upright and snap at the same time

Then I tackled Monday sneakers.  I had planned on wearing my boots for both days, but idea of having the legpiece decorations fall off on Monday (or, conversely, of having to decorate worn, possibly drink-splashed boots in an intoxicated state on Monday night) was just way too much for me, so I got a pair of cheap tacky Converse fauxverse at Francis Fakes Francis Fashions and got down with the spray-paint again.  Note the endearingly horrid sneakers before The Spraying:

As you can see, I covered the rubber parts with masking tape to keep the stripes and white parts, then sprayed and sprayed some more with gold paint before leaving them to dry:

I then crossed my fingers and pulled back the tape, and wouldn’t you know?  They came out AWESOME–white parts preserved, skulls covered, only a teensy bit of unavoidable pink left!

I may or may not attach some feathers to the back.  Either way, I think the gold sneakers will be in rotation long after carnival is over (if they survive…)

After the sneakers, I realized I was ready as I would ever be to deal with the Monday bra issue.  I had bought a perfectly decent bra to cover up and decorate.  However, I was concerned about covering the back and the straps, which would need to stay elastic for it to fit properly and comfortably.  In the end, I decided to keep the bra for regular wear and covered up an older strapless bra; that way, I wouldn’t need to mess with decorated strap nonsense and could use clear straps if necessary. I also decided to leave the nude-tone back uncovered to prevent any shrinking/elastic issues.

Voila my handiwork:

I looove it.  It matches the Monday boy shorts perfectly and I’m digging its Indian maharani-dressed-as-Wonder-Woman vibe. (Also in the shot are some armpieces with feathers and gems and a feathery hair barrette for Monday, which I’ll wear in the back of my head in combination with the leftover bra trim as a headband.)

Whew.  And while that was all going on, I tested wearing a gem on my face, stuck on with eyelash glue, to see if it would hold up (it did–but I looked quite silly wearing it during dinner).

Now left to do:  the carnival bag.  I’m not so much concerned about construction as about size (and where I’m going to put/pin it, given that my costume has about fourteen inches squared of strong pinnable material–just sayin’).  The way to go will be to decide what I want to take, how much of it I can wheedle the husband into carrying in his pockets, and then making the bag to fit the rest.  Coming with me for sure are sunblock, tiny tube of eyelash glue, extra gems, lip balm, oil blotting sheets, perhaps a bit of glitter or mini eyeliner. The camera does not need space in the bag–it’ll be chained to my wrist ALL DAY LONG.



In non-Carnival related news, I finally wore pants to work (for the first time in almost a month):

See why I don’t wear my pants? I like these striped linen-blend pants, I truly do.  But I’d like them even better if they did not give me that sexy SpongeLaura SaggyPants look. They need a visit to a tailor.  They cost twenty pounds–in 2006.  Verdict: I think I’ll let them be and haven now retired them.  Sigh… At least I felt cute in the necklace.

I also ran my usual 5K loop in 30:15 this morning!  I can just about smell that under-30 minute 5K time–and I will soon, if I can pace myself better in the last 400 meters.  At the moment, when Nike+ says I have 400 meters I gun it for about 250 meters, then have to stop and breathe so as not to puke in neighborhood bushes, and then floor it for the final 150ish meters.  It’s not good for my stomach or my self-respect to be spotted running in such a psycho way, so I’m working on that.

As for food, I forgot to defrost both strawberries and pumpkin, so it was another bowl of banana oatmeal eaten at work (as a girl who ate apple oatmeal every day for about two years, you can imagine I’m not bored of it yet, but I can see how you may be) :

For lunch, I ate up the leftover African peanut stew.  I froze the last two portions and, upon defrosting, the veggies have all gone a bit fuzzy and indistinct (eggplant, sweet potato,onions,  green peppers, tomatoes, red beans), but I don’t mind and the salad of tomato, peppers, cucumbers with vinaigrette made up for any texture smooshiness issues:

For dinner, I decided to put the tortilla chip bag to good use (because eating them two or three at a time after climbing up on a chair and batting them down with a long spoon to get at the high shelf where I put them hardly qualifies as good use.)  Chilaquile (a Mexican lasagna-like casserole with tortillas, salsa, and any other tasty tidbits you can find to throw in) is the best use I know of for those demonically addictive chips:

I could say that the chips’ unhealthiness is redeemed by its fiber-rich (from black beans) and nutrient-rich (from tomatoes, corn, and spinach) content.  But I won’t because I am not apologetic about this dish.  The tortillas could be made of little nuggets of butterfat and I’d still slam two dishes of it–it’s that good.  (I know, yet another plug for the wondrous Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which recommends baked tortilla chips that I can’t ever find here).

I’m off–Mad Men Season 2 is calling my name and I’m answering, even though the ladies don’t wear feathery…