Accomplishment Saturday

You know that tendency that I have to list all the things I need to do–and then do none of them, especially when it comes to sewing, decision-making, and decision-making related to sewing?

No more, my friends, no more!

Your girl has had a legendarily fruitful Saturday.  After a good sleep-in and an even better breakfast of fresh orange juice (made with oranges from my tree, woot woot!), coffee from the recently-inherited coffee machine (ta muchly, Most Fabulous S and Dr. B), and eggs in the hole with basil-strewn tomatoes (learned from Mamalicious, who still makes them better than me):

Eggs in process

Eggs as gobbled

I got dressed in a sunny, bright hand-me-up top from Baby Bel, black Marks and Sparks jeans (narrowed from bootcut into skinnier jeans to get with the times), and new blue Target flatsies:

The whole shebang

The whole shebang

The cobalt-blue shoes, which I kiss before going to bed every night

And Mr. Man and I set off for an afternoon of exciting errands.

Mission 1: brave a crowded Saturday Pricesmart for a dry-goods stockup (and a DVR to tape American-TV goodies for Miz Woods back in Blighty, as said lovely lady keeps us sweetly and fully supplied with DVR’d British TV gems that she sends us regularly).  Status: see for yourself!

Pasta and tomatoes (purchased) and other sundry goodies (inherited) to keep me stocked till 2020 or so

Mission 2:  hit the supermarket out in West Moorings to get fancy stuff like, say, mushrooms and frozen cauliflower (oh, how I appreciate these when finding them requires shopping on the other side of Port of Spain…)  And yep, this too was accomplished:

Mission 3:  buy bra to cover in fabric and sequins for Carnival Monday wearing.  Status:  it’s been got–but sorry, I won’t show you 🙂  However, I promise you’ll get to see it once it’s actually done and no longer resembles an everyday bra.  Because really, everyone in Port of Spain and their mother will see me in it so there’s no sense in being bashful at that point.

Mission 4:  get fabric to cover said bra.  Accomplished:  yes, though I’m not going to start covering the bra with it until I check the color against the original costume at the mas camp (Carnival band headquarters, for the non-Trini) next Saturday.  Suffice it to say it’s a red satiny fabric, and fingers crossed it will match the Monday-wear boy shorts and the feathers from my leg pieces (which will be glued to the boots).

Mission 5:  get some fabric for fete-wear.  Status:  I am the clearance fabric queen!  Or rather, yes, I got it, and I love, love, love its gorgeous blue-hued splendors:

Keys added for scale. The colors are actually pretty accurate in this photo and look just a teensy bit darker in real life.

You can imagine that I was absolutely beside myself on the way home at the exhilaration of getting everything done.  If The Smurf (Mrl and Ms. Laura Mobile) had a sunroof, I definitely would have ridden home standing up,  half of me sticking out of the car, waving and whooping like a crazy person for all to see and hail me for being a good little accomplisher.  Thank heavens The Smurf doesn’t have a sunroof.

After a lunch completely conjured up by Huzzy B, who had the inspired idea to put our leftover Chinese omelette in garlicky-gingery tomato sauce inside a soft roll:

Oops, should've used the macro setting...

I settled in to the tasks at hand while the Mr. poked, prodded and took our TV apart to get the DVR set up (who thought it would be necessary?  It technically wasn’t, in the end, but watching him sure made me laugh).

I searched for online inspiration for my fete dress and, after getting together some ideas, got all Coco Chanel with my fabric:  I draped and pulled and pinned dress shape options onto myself, and came up with two contenders for fete wear (the outdoor all-day or all-night parties with live music, tons of dancing, and eating and drinking galore that precede Carnival).

For your viewing pleasure, then, we have Option A:

And Option B:

Please keep in mind that both are just roughly draped and pinned over me, and bear with me on the awful quality of the pictures–it’s nearly impossible to take a good picture, without flash, with my left hand, while holding fabric onto myself with one hand for shape/modesty/fear of pin-pricks.  Option A would be a cowl-necked top attached to a tight tube-like miniskirt, with short sleeves and possibly a lowish or U-shaped back.  Option B would have thin straps or be strapless, have a tubed top and empire waist (the better for belting, my dears), with darts coming down at the waist and either a straight or tulip-shaped (tighter at the hem) bottom.  I could wear both of them either with or without black leggings, and as I’m not a masochist my shoes will be flats (either silvery-jewelled sandals, or the cobalt-blue or patent pointy flats).

So, party peeps, please tell me:  which one should I make?  (I won’t tell you which option I’m leaning for because I would love to get some input.)

Since I can’t start cutting fabric until I get some input and mull over the options, there’s nothing left to do but have a fabulous Saturday night dinner of Trini stewed pigeon peas, sliced and pan-griddled plantains, and pastelles (cornmeal-dough wrapped around a savory beef, raisin, and spiced filling–a Trini Christmas staple, which Mr. Laura got from a colleaugue who makes them and sells them for the holidays):

A beer or two:

And some Law and Order: SVU reruns and Scrabble.  What can I say?  It’s a tough life (or a very lame Saturday night, depending on your view and youth–but for me, it’s heaven on a stick).

Sleep tight!

Your Girl’s First Ever New Year’s Resolutions

Is that me, making a New Year’s resolution?  Check me for fever, quick!

Lightly tapping myself with a rolling pin to make sure I'm awake--and not making any of this up

I have always been firmly of the non-resolutin’ kind.  I secretly scoffed at people who made resolutions and posted them to their fridges and, depending on how evil I felt towards the innocuously resolving person, I’d remember their resolutions so I could secretly gloat at my wisdom in not making resolutions if they failed at theirs.  What can I say?  Holidays and scheduled merrymaking occasions bring out the misanthrope in me.

More than my perverse desire to flout calendrically-dictated conventions, however, the real reason behind my resolution phobia is my fear of setting goals and not accomplishing them.  Make a list of Laura Improvement, let everyone know it, fail miserably, hate myself for the remaining months of the year, and provide fodder for other secret misanthropes to gloat at my shortcomings?  No ta, I’ll pass and wait to improve myself until April.  And so it went for years and years.

This year, however, I was shocked to find that not only did I no longer want to cackle whenever the dreaded three words “New Year’s resolutions” were uttered in my presence by well-meaning and kinder-than-me folk, I actually WANTED to set some for myself!  I came to this realization in mid-December and, like everything else I ever do, I mulled it over slowly for the next few weeks.  I mean, at the very least I have a Grinchy reputation to keep up, and this new development does not  fit my carefully cultivated image.

So ponder I did, and I started to get my head around the kinds of things I could resolve to do.  I wish I could be as cool about it as Little A, whose New Year’s resolution is to chew more slowly (I kid you not, and I kindly ask her to confirm in the comments, should she be reading, that this is so). But I wanted to do a bit more and aim higher, bolstered by the kind of teary-eyed and silly self-confidence that comes from having set some goals (completely informally and without telling anyone, mind you) this year and reached them. 

I wanted my resolutions to cut across all levels of importance and to carry through short, medium, and longer-term goals.  I wanted to be able to accomplish some of them on a daily or weekly basis (if only so I could ego-boost regularly) and I wanted to have some that would make me get sappy and emotional once I hit them.

So, lengthy preamble over, I unveil my first ever New Year’s resolutions, as finally penned in my bird notebook at JFK airport on Monday night:

  1. Put less sugar in my oatmeal. I gasp at the three teaspoons it takes sometimes to make me happy in the mornings.  I need to get over it.
  2. Train for a 10K in the fall–should no 10K races be on in Trinidad, I will train as if there was one on or by November 15.
  3. Manage my time better–but without giving myself stress over it, as I always have.
  4. Eat more crudites as snacks.  Carrots WILL be my friends.
  5. Organize my sewing stuff so the sewing area doesn’t look like it’s been freshly hit by a tornado.
  6. Be able to swim fifty laps in an hour by the end of the year.  I’m currently at 30 laps in about 50 minutes (or 1:15-1:20 per lap), so I’m aiming high on this one, as it’s a lap in a minute and a second or two.
  7. Write one page a day of prospective material at least three times a week (more at less busy times).  Mamalicious knows what I mean by this.
  8. Make one new recipe a week (I should aim for, say, six new recipes a month, but hitting one a week will do).
  9. Pitch some writing ideas (either for completed or tailor-written pieces) for publication in the great big Out There.
  10. Keep a clean, debris-and-rotting-fruit-free handbag at all times.
  11. Act like I’m New Stress-Free Laura on Christmas Break at least 75% of the time.  The world did not end when I did not cook/clean/etc. exactly when I wanted to over the break. Lesson learned–so I plan on digging the laissez-faire this year.

I think I can handle these, don’t you?  I deliberately set eleven because ten is a pretty standard number of resolutions, and even though I’ve succumbed to resolution-making, I’m still an anarchist at heart.  The Chosen Eleven will be printed on nice paper and stuck onto the fridge and an original copy of the scrawly list will be kept in my wallet once I use up the bird notebook.  The challenge is on…

The Last Holiday Mop-Up (I Think…)

In the madness of Christmas-doing, Christmas trying-to-post and Christmas failure-to-do-so-regularly, I completely overlooked giving my pre-Christmas trip to Toronto to visit my friend and fellow shortie Dr. Teeny with Mr. Man its bloggy due.  Dr. Teeny was Mr. Man’s fellow PhD student/sufferer (and a hangout-loving, good-temper-having, integral part of my Witch Circle) back in the Coventry days and no visit to the northern climes is complete without an old-school meetup.

We had a blast eating, drinking, watching the latest Almodovar (I heart big cities with art cinemas, le sigh) and, most of all, gabbing and gossiping about everyone we know and love/hate.

Best done in a few priceless pics:

My favorite ad campaign, featuring cheeky monkeys, on display at the Toronto Eaton Centre

The Rivoli, where we stopped for a surprisingly quiet drink after some shopping and freezing

Sake, sushi and crunchy soybeans (I think!)--that's how you start a Korean food feast

Kimchee soup

Beef bibimbap--rice with beef, vegetables and fried egg with spicy soy-based dressing and served in a baked clay pot. I NEED to learn how to make this.

No trip to Toronto is complete without a hot dog-stand stop for Italian sausage and all the fixins

Toronto walker

And now, back to our normal programming!

The day-to-day business of wearing:

Target boutique top, H and M pants, and foxy Target shoes (the only new thing I'm wearing here-sorry to bore you!)

Closer view of my new shoes--they are sweet suede flatties, since I feel no need these days to pretend I'm taller than 5'1


Bet you missed my oatmeal pictures--that would be cranberry oatmeal, eaten at work with some tea in a very unstylish cup

Salad with tomatoes, chickpeas, and peppers in a harissa vinaigrette over lettuce

Went to China with my wok tonight-white rice, omelette in spicy tomato sauce, and sesame soy green beans

And exercising:

Who did her 30th (and final) lap nine seconds faster than her average lap? And who now knows this thanks to her wondrous new heart rate monitor watch and its amazing lap-recording and chronometer wizardry, which she has yet to learn how to use properly?



Edited to note:  Little A has indeed replied below, and I hold her to both resolutions–next year’s Freezer 5K better have THREE Weapons of Ass Destruction on the road!