Swim? Sew? Neither–But a Girl Can Dream

It’s a day of almosts and hypotheticals around here.

My swim today almost happened, but didn’t.  I pranced to the pool, donned the new bathing suit:

And slathered up in sunscreen.  I went to grab my goggles and voila!  They were MIA (or rather, chilling in the drawer I moved them to a few days ago).  Frustration ensued, as did a questioning of the necessity of seeing where I was swimming–it was a yes, so the swim was a no.  Damn.  After working up the courage to show stomach to the two and a half other lunchtime swimmers I see…  Oh well, maybe tomorrow I’ll brave a double workout day, because it’s boiling hot and I’m dying for some pool time.

The sewing hypothetically could have happened, but I have a guilt problem, you see, and it is caused by this:

My clothes-to-be-fixed pile.

You see, I’ve told myself that no new sewing will take place until at least two nip-tuck-needing items are fixed.  And, given that I sew in twos (if not three or fours), it would take just one fitting and pinning to fix two entire items.   But fixing items would involve:

  • bringing out the machine and peripherals, which would mean finding another place to plug in the laptop, which is clearly more than I can handle
  • doing piddly little sewing stuff that I find heinous, which would lead to a bad disposition, which would lead to a decreased appreciation of the Law and Order SVU marathon that gives my TV life meaning each Tuesday night

So for now, I’ll dream of all the lovely things I’d like to be making were I not such a lazy madam about easy mending.

For starters, there would be the beautiful Alexander blouse from Burdastyle:

(Picture taken from the printed-out direction of the pattern, which I bought from Burdastyle.com)

Blouse sketch (from printed-out directions of pattern bought on Burdastyle.com)

With this gorgeous, slightly sheer polka-dot chiffon that I bought a few weeks ago:

Trinidad one-cent coin added for scale

There would also be more T-shirt dresses like my self-drafted tie-neck dress and low-back dresss, with other neckline and sleeve variations, as well as simple skirts like this one (snapped while taking pictures at the Old San Juan pigeon park):

And blouses like this gorgeous one from Colette patterns (picture taken from their awesome website):

This is the kind of blouse my new shorts are crying out for

Or some of the more detailed variations of this McCall’s pattern (of which I’d make all except the plain red version):

All in the big bright prints that I love or the saturated brilliant colors that rock my world, these things would make my closet a much happier place.

So, since neither swimming nor sewing rocked my world today, I depended on my food (and the ever-reliable Detectives Stabler and Benson) to do so, in the form of oatmeal banana pancakes from Sunday, warmed up and topped with kiwi, mango, and a sprinkle of syrup:

A black bean, tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumber salad with home-made mango dressing that hadn’t been made in years (and has been thoroughly missed–how could I forget how good this is?):

And African sweet potato, vegetable and peanut stew, which was made a few weeks ago and left in the freezer for the Husband to eat while I was in Puerto Rico for a rainy day:

And though my outfit was neither exceptionally colorful or well-planned (it was selected because it was clean):

It was a great blankish slate for me to wear the beautiful pin my grandmother gave me when I left Puerto Rico last week:

Which, in and of itself, pretty much made my day.

Which items are you currently coveting for your spring closet?

The Lazy Sunday Taskmistress: Reporting for Duty

I’m multi-tasking by blogging with freshly-painted nails–please excuse any errant typos, or just chalk them up to my vanity…


So, Sunday has rolled around and life is back to normal!  That means food shopping, and this week, namely farmers’ market, where I was reprimanded by the usual vendors for being late.  Um,  according to me, on a Sunday noon is late–9:15 am is positively virtuous, but the stallholders who sell out of the nicestvegetables by 8:30 don’t quite see it my way. In any case, I got all my vegetables and fruit and played the carnival card for my absence last week, which seemed to work–I even got a pity price of 2 TT (30 US cents) for two big bunches of bananas.

Given the banana bonanza, oatmeal banana pancakes just had to be made, topped with starfruit, and served with grapefruit on the side:

The rest of the day was spent making tomorrow’s lunch (a big batch of something Spanish, sassy, and freezable) and stitching my fingers and eye-sight away on said sub-24 hour dress.  It needs a hemming and one last handstitchy detail so I won’t show it until it’s done, but I’ll be nice and give you a fabric preview (as usual, I stuck my hand in for scale, despite the carnival-caused deplorably dry skin):

To the tune of “strike while the iron is hot,” I also started dress number 2, which is going to be a Frankensteining of a button-down blouse pattern and a skirt pattern to make a simple button-down shirtdress in this chaotic, medium-scale print:

I debated making it in a work-appropriate length, but I think I’m feeling more minidress minx than prim and proper about it.  I put the general thing together today (minus collar) and still need to do a lot of fitting and shaping, which I will do once the buttons go on, hopefully without incident, tomorrow.  My machine has a buttonhole setting and attachment, yet every buttonhole episode turns into an epic battle and the score usually ends up something like Machine: 5, Laura: 1.

In my state of sewing obsession, I did not put my sewing down for long enough to make lunch and wheedled The Husband into making it for me–a delicious peanut butter and apple sandwich and cup of ramen noodles made their way to me, for which I was VERY grateful.  Later on, I managed to put the sewing down for long enough to go for a walk and make dinner, which was a new favorite:

I am in obsessive love with this dish of coconut shrimp (tofu for the vegetarian gentleman) with pineapple sauce, brown rice, and garlic-soy sauce bok choi.  I will need a restraining order soon, just you wait.

So that was Sunday so far.  I’ll risk my already-dodgy nail polish job and finish the dress so I can show you tomorrow.  See?  I work hard for you, my lovelies, I really truly do.

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!