Big News!

Oh my dear peeps, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.  But it’s now official…. I’m a Hollaback Health blogger!

When I first came across Hollaback Health (from Rachel’s blog, I was most really impressed that a group of bloggers–and some of my favorite ones–were getting together to talk about how to improve health blogs and be better bloggers. I really wanted to join from day one, but I  honestly wasn’t sure I fit the “health blogger” profile.  I mean, I write about my workouts and my recipes, but beyond that, I don’t do the information posts that these ladies do so well, nor do I think of myself as a “health blogger” per se   I haven’t come across any other health bloggers that wax rhapsodically about a blouse turning out or the wonders of their new pins.

However, after following HBH for a few weeks, I came across a post that generated quite a stir, in which Elisabeth (one of the Hollaback bloggers) spoke out about feeling different from other health bloggers. The post launched a bazillion comments and started what became, ultimately, a really valuable discussion on how bloggers perceive the blogosphere and their place in it.  And wouldn’t you know, but most of the numerous comments it generated were along the lines of  “I feel different from others too” and “I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel this way.”

Without going into my own response to the post (which I commented on in the post itself),  Elisabeth‘s HBH post made me realize that I wanted to be a part of HBH for sho’,  and that the fact that I don’t write only about health issues doesn’t make me any less of a health blogger.  In the end, I run and I swim, I do pilates and the occasional Core Fusion workout, I eat new foods and I’m concerned about what I eat and how I feel after eating it (goodbye, pastries, don’t need the bloat you give me), because I want to be healthy and feel great and live to a ripe old sassy age of 100.  And the legs/stomach/muscle tone that I get from healthy pursuits and living definitely keep me motivated to sew and dress well and generally show off what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

I also know what I like about blogs and what will keep me reading one (and going back to read the blogger’s entire archive), and I want to improve what I put out for y’all to read.  On top of that, I think a Puerto Rican girl with a big booty and a full passport could add to the discussions that HBH generates and provide yet another different perspective to the already multidimensional, diverse, and intelligent group of ladies on the blog.  And, finally, I want to be forced into looking at how I’m blogging and how I can make it better–for me, true, but mostly for YOU.

So I took the plunge, asked about joining the blog, bounced some ideas around… and the rest is history.

Don’t worry, I’ll still write up a storm, and write about the stuff that keeps my typing fingers tapping.  I just hope to make it better and engage with you, and with the rest of the blog world, in different ways.

_______

As for minding my p’s and q’s today, I had a short morning run (2 miles) and a wonderful 40-minute lunchtime swim, plus I threw in a 10-minute Core Fusion arms workout, in which I admit to doing some swearing and, um,ladygrunting during the last bit of tricep work.  If this doesn’t get me Michelle Obama arms, I don’t know what will.

I wore real clothes again (so what if I did it because the water pump repairman was coming?):

Skirt by me, anonymous tank top, Target shoes, Most Fabulous S-given necklace

And ate some pretty tasty meals, such as a lunch egg wrap with spicy BBQ sauce:

And coconut curried rice noodles with bok choi, green beans, carrots, onions, and plenty pepper sauce:

This week is shaping up to be one of the best food weeks ever!  Stay tuned for some (hopefully great) Cinco de Mayo eats tomorrow…

The Ten Pool Commandments: What Not To Do at the Swimming Pool

Some days are pool heaven.  The sun is shining  (ok, it shines every day from January to June, but still), the water is debris-free, the palm trees are gently swaying, the smell of toast is in the air. I might even have the pool all to myself.

And then there are days when you wonder what exactly takes hold of people when they take to the water in stretchy fabrics.

Today was a fine example of the latter, but rather than give you the splash by splash, let’s go straight to how NOT to deport yourself in communal water:

  1. Do not do laps on the pool width-ways.  The lines are there for a reason, Mr. Splashing With Your Face Up In The Sun.  Maybe, if no one else is in the pool, you can go the short way and feel like a hot shot for doing more laps that you can brag to your friends about.  And I know that, if you’re a new swimmer, you might not be able to go the entire length of the pool, or you might be pretty scared of the water, period.  That’s fine.  But trust me,  my heart almost busted out through my ears the first few times I hit the pool with my board last year.  I just got a board and a spot by the edge until I was convinced I wasn’t going to drown.
  2. Don’t swim directly next to people when there are a million open lanes or, worse yet, no one else in the pool.  You creep me out.
  3. It goes without saying, but please shower before dipping yourself in.  If I can smell your disgusting sneeze-inducing smell-coverup cologne when you hit the water, you haven’t showered enough.  You need a sponge and elbow grease–get to it.
  4. I’m usually not in the water to chat, so please leave me to my laps.  However, if you stop me mid-push-off to ask me an inane question like “where are you from,” I might bite you (and hope that you showered appropriately beforehand).
  5. It goes without saying, but pretty please don’t sqroak into the water.  If you need to expectorate, you need to turn your ass around and come back another (phlegm-free) day.

And, just like there are rules of deportment to be observed in the water, there are a few that should be observed in the dressing room.

  1. Ladies, please flush the toilet.  Why is it that the pool toilet is always unflushed?  I’ve tested the flushing many times, and it works just fine.  Humidity plus unflushed toilets equal unholy stink.  Surely we are better than that.
  2. I know that it can be awkward to change in front of other people, but don’t sigh and harrumph and carry on and give me the side eye for being in there when you want to get changed.  Don’t sigh because the family shower is in use.  Don’t shoot me evils because you “need” to change in the toilet stall because I’m there.  I know there are body image issues and cultural issues that create discomfort for people, but goodness, my back is turned to you.  And I KNOW you have no problem flashing your goodies (the same ones we share) to all and sundry for carnival.
  3. Do not spend ten minutes grunting in the family changing room.  Swimming can be hard, but unless you’ve just broken a Michael Phelps record there is no need to alert the world of your physical exhaustion.  That, and I have no idea what you’re up to in there, and it’s just a bit gross.
  4. Put a towel down if you’re going to be sitting butt-nekkid on the bench.  Or, better yet, don’t sit butt-nekkid on the bench.  Sheesh, you wouldn’t share water with me so what makes you think I want to share THAT with you?
  5. Gauge carefully who you want to talk to while in a state of butt-nekkidness. I’m not a prude in the changing room, but I also don’t start face-to-face conversations with fully naked folks, so I expect the same.  Wait till I have at least two undergarments to stand in front of me and expect a response.

I can safely say that I saw Pool No-No’s 1,2, and 3 today (and averted what was clearly a No-No Number 4), and that I saw Dressing Room No-No’s 1,2,3, and 4 today.  And it’s not like the pool was that busy.  Oy vey.

If only the kind pool men could wake from their worktime slumber to put up a Miss Manners-type sign and make all naughty rule-breakers do a Walk of Shame (or two minutes in the outdoor shower for all to see), pool time would be much happier indeed.

____________

Of course, I always dress like a lady after ending a great four mile run with every joyful expletive in the book and when I am preparing to dispense etiquette tips for all and sundry:

Working my skulking creeper pose

Skirt made by moi and revived a week ago by some nip and tuck action, t-shirt from Charlotte Russe (can I admit that this was $3 now?), white cardigan from Britain days (New Look, I think) and the same old Target pointy shoes I love so much, this time in pewter.  Surely grown women don’t own three pairs of the same shoes.  I have never claimed to be a grown woman.

Speaking of etiquette, I had to dispense with most strictures of etiquette (and the white cardigan) to eat my lunch, which was a gorgeous–and very staining–combination of the weekend’s chipotle chicken (the last bits!) and leftover Tibetan salsa (tomatoes, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions, pinch of sugar) over green salad:

Followed by the absolute last bit of the lemon bars that I will eat (I mean it this time):

As for dinner, the day called for something fast and relatively hands-off, so I made a batch of Little A’s peanut sauce and tossed it with thin spaghetti, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and green onion:

Cue happiness at having finished the day’s second shift before the hands-off dinner, after which cue delight at having the time to devise a new 3-mile playlist to dominate tomorrow’s run, after which cue realization that I can watch TWO episodes of Dexter tonight if I stop cueing everything off–and now cue goodnight.

A Proposed Swimming Pool Improvement Plan

I had a very invigorating, zesty swim at lunchtime today, and returned to the office starving, thirsty, and so de-stressed I barely had a pulse.  I had just enough, in fact, to think of ways to further lovelify my swim experience and that of others (because sometimes I catch myself being nice).

I don’t go around looking gift horses in the mouth:  I am really, really lucky to have outdoor pool weather year-round and a pool about 400 m from my desk.  I know this full well.  I also appreciate the quirkiness of the pool-going experience here (e.g. “lifeguards” watching a TV stuck inside a box) and recognize that the pool is fully functional.  Therefore, these little pool improvement tips would be the icing on the cake, and I’d very much like to see the cake iced, please (not that I like real icing–just the figurative kind).

So, should the pool folks care to make my experience positively heavenly, these are the key points:

“Lifeguards”/pool guardians: You are all very nice and friendly, if somewhat quiet.  It would be even better if I could experience said niceness and friendliness more often, which would necessitate you being awake during my swim.  I know I should take it as a compliment that you think I’m such an ace swimmer I don’t need an awake lifeguard–but I sometimes forget to get rid of my gum and I swim with it, so please wake up and keep an eye on me, ok?

Changing rooms: We ought to have lockers for our sundry valuables, or at least to hide our toiletries–I don’t want people seeing that I use anti-aging face wash, you know?  (And, since we’re on the privacy tip, I’d love it if the door to the changing room closed fully and were peep-proof. Same with toilet doors.)

Sunblock spray dispenser: Can we get one of these, please?  So I stop having uneven accidental tanned streaks all over me?  It could work like those awful spray-tan booths, pumping out SPF 80+ sunblock and keeping all its pool users sun damage- (and awkward tan line-) free.

Hot water in the shower: I appreciate that it’s a hot country and I don’t mind the occasional cool shower; however, cold water does not rinse shampoo and conditioner out of hair. (And, on the water tip, how about putting in a sink so we can wash our hands?  I don’t want to go there, but… the current situation is just yuck).

A Personal Toast Assistant: I would be in the pool 24 hours a day if there was a personal toast assistant who would make me toast, cut it into little fingers, and feed them to me at either end of the pool.  I always smell toast while I’m swimming, so it’s only fair.  And it would make me hustle back and forth much faster if I got fed toast, dolphin-style, at each end.

Monday and Friday Swim-Up Bar: It needn’t be a full swim-up bar, just barely functional: a man and a cooler at the ladder into the deep end will do just fine.  (The cooler can remain for the rest of the week, but for the sake of discretion the bartender has to disappear; we can’t have people thinking I only swim for drinks–or for toast, see above).

Have I missed anything?  What would your own slice of pool-going heaven entail?  Let me know and I’ll put it in the list.

I’m going to print and deliver this to the pool men tomorrow (and hopefully they’ll notice when they wake up from their intermittent slumberings).

__________

Now, onto matters non-pool, like today’s outfit:

A big snooze, even with the fact that I love that shirt (which is from Kohl’s).  You see, this skirt (from Marshall’s in Puerto Rico–I’ve gotten my US $9.99 worth) used to be a pencil skirt.  Until it stretched and I shrank.  Now it’s more dusty librarian that sexy librarian and looking at it now I see why it’s gone out of the regular rotation.  Either I tweak the fit or it’s out–that’s my promise.

For breakfast, oatmeal banana pancakes were had, topped with reheated and smushed (not Jersey Shore smushed, actually fork-flattened) strawberries:

While I was making yesterday’s lunch, the big loaf of this new fancy-schmancy whole grain/whole wheat toast kept taunting me.  So, in the interest of wasting less bread and varying the routine, I had a tuna sandwich (tuna, mayo, spicy mustard, celery, seasoning peppers) with a huge side salad (lettuce, tomato, peppers, vinaigrette, dash of hot sauce):

And, for dinner, I went to the beloved Malaysia of my Divanis (the coolest sister duo around) and made my closest approximation of hawker noodles, which may not be all that Malaysian but which sure hit the spot:

Can you believe how good noodles, egg, onions, cabbage, garlic, ketchup, soy sauce, and curry powder with lime taste in this? Me neither. (There was going to be tofu in this, but the tofu turned out to have spoiled–no big loss to the dish).

I’m off to mull over the finer points of tonight’s Law and Order SVU marathon episodes.  Night y’all!