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…

Hello, New Blouse! Nice to Finally Meet You

I finally wore it! What “it,” I hear you ask?

Why, the Alexander Blouse!

Let’s go back in time, shall we, to get a full sense of how shamefully I should wear the Procrastinating Queen Crown?

I started the Alexander blouse back on, oh, March 19!  See? Here it is, with the pattern laid out for cutting:

That same day, I work on it for long enough to find out that I’d cut the top in four pieces rather than two (what’s with the putting both together at the shoulder to cut business?  Sheesh. Thank goodness for seam allowances.  And seam rippers, of course.

Then I put in the darts, take them out and redo them to make them line up better with my, um, anatomical proportions.  As in, I close the darts higher lest it look like my boobs start at my waist.

Then I put the peplum ruffle on, pin the back shut (why oh why must you have buttons on the back, Alexander Blouse?  Don’t you know how impossible that makes you to fit properly?), try it on, screw up courage, and look in the mirror.

I look in the mirror.  I make horrified face.  I rip it off and cry a bit.  Because ladies who wear the Alexander Blouse style do not go  around showing off their stomachs in their lady blouses.  I made the whole shebang too short.  Cue expletives.  I dry my eyes and pretend like nothing happened when Husband asks what all the door-slamming two minutes ago was all about.

One day week later, I pick it up again, remove the ruffle, and draft an extension/midriff piece thingie (see?  I told you I’m totally self-trained, hence I have no idea what that part is called in sewingspeak.  And, being bilingual, I already never know what anything technical is called in eitther English or Spanish). I attach it.  I try the blasted thing on again.  I have my doubts, but it’s workable and I don’t need to slam any doors (I do a long-suffering sigh instead.)

A few days later, I pick up the blouse to add the buttons.  I realize, as anyone with no sense would, that I’d rather start a new dress–fresh project, no problems to fix, better procrastinating strategy.  I toss Alexander Blouse into the To-Finish pile  in the Room Whose Door I Shut And Pretend It’s Not Where Half-Finished Sewing Goes To Die , where it languishes for I’m-not-saying-how-long.

About a week later,  I dig out said Hellblouse and hem the bottom and the sleeves and put in the buttons.  I ask myself where the buttonloops should be attached.  I realize I should have put them in with the interfacing.  I swear some more, but less hair-raisingly than before.  I have a cup of tea and go at it gently with the seamripper, put in the loops, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

I put on the buttons–all minus three at the bottom, because I’m lazy and worry that the buttons won’t line up (never mind that there’s a button guide piece to tell me where loops and buttons go.  Do I trust it?  Yeah, right. Plus, I’m half-assed and forget such a thing exists.)  I put the Alexander Blouse on the third dining room chair, to guilt myself into attaching the last few buttons during a Law and Order binge, a Dexter binge, or any other crap TV binge.

More days go by.  Yes, I know.  I’m more into doing my nails and Core Fusion during TV time–no buttons get attached.

Last weekend, I catch a marathon of The Hills.  It coincides with preparing outfits for my last week of work.  I realize that I am not about to start wearing pencil skirts and heels when I start working from home from next week, that the Alexander Blouse DESERVES a proper 40’s-inspired outing–lipstick, hair waved, and all.  I also feel the need to counter the trash I plan on watching all day long with the modesty and ladylike accoutrements of times past.  I finish the damn thing before Heidi Montag gets her supaboob job.

I wear it today.  I accessorize with blue granny and mommy bling, red lips and nails, and plenty of insouciance.  I deduce that Burdastyle made the Alexander Blouse solely for ME.

In other words, I rocked the shiznit out of that blouse:

Now I can wear it with shorts.  And not slam any more doors over it.  What a relief!

__________

Not going to bore you with any more than the basics of the day–I had an awesome breakfast:

The weekend's vegan muffins with coconut, banana, kiwi, and pineapple, plus pineapple and papaya on the side

And a fierce dinner–a quick and easy Indian Sweet Potato Hash (the recipe now posted at the Chomping Shop):

And 32 laps were put down at the pool.  I swear the last two extra laps made extra goggle indentations that lasted for a couple of hours after the swim, but I don’t care!  I like having battle blemishes, anyway.  Even ladies like to feel hardcore sometimes…

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.

Run? Swim? Both, Please–Because A Girl Can Dream

I am about to explode with excitement!  I have successfully done a double-duty run-and-swim day.  My legs are still attached and happy, I did not fizzle in the water, and I think I can allow myself to dream big now.

The details:

This morning, I questioned going on my scheduled four mile run (love the sound of “scheduled four mile run”–it makes me feel so official and hardcore).  My stomach had been displeased with me the day before, and I had the slightest hint of headache, and the room was hot already at 6 am despite the AC being on high….  You know, garden-variety excuses.

But I strapped on all necessary equipment anyway–knee sleeve, heart rate monitor and chest strap, band-aids in case new sneaks rubbed, i-pod, nike+, ipod holder, safety pins to attach the keys to myself–and headed out the door, not expecting much.

The first mile dragged a bit and, because I knew I had taken it too easy, I thought I’d make myself wait past a mile and a half for my usual walk break, until mile 2 rolled around and I realized I had yet to take a walk break–woot woot!  So I thumbs-upped myself and took a short walk break, and then ran the other half fairly incident- (and walk-) free.

Unlike my last four mile run, once I hit mile three my feet didn’t instantly hurt, nor did my stomach wobble, nor did I start thinking of how great it would be stop.  I actually thought of how great it would be to keep going , if only because I would feel majorly kick-ass and smugly entitled for the rest of the day, both of which are number one reasons for doing stuff as far as I’m concerned.

So, in the end, I ran four miles in 40 minutes, with only two walk breaks.  No mean dogs or dodgy men were spotted, and I lapped twice around the morning garbage truck (take that, Mr. Staring BubbleBelly Driver) and twice around a crew of workers pretending to dig at some plumbing near my street. By the time I got home, I felt like the Queen of My Domain (For Shizzle).

As I was also hip-and-knee-twinge-free and aware that I would not be able to swim on Thursday during lunch (doctor’s appointment), I decided that the day called for a double–that easy swim I didn’t do yesterday was in the cards indeed.

So, armed with my foxy new swimming bikini and a shot glass’s worth of SPF 85 sunblock, I dove into the pool for an easy 20-lap swim.  Which turned into 25 because the water was so nice, and the sunblock so effective, and I felt so shockingly OK after the run and the first twenty laps.

Which makes me think that my semi-secret goals of doing a half-marathon and a triathlon in the coming year may not be so unattainable after all.

The half-marathon “tease” goal has been on my mind since my visit to Puerto Rico.  You see, I have a wonderful jolly uncle:

That's my tio in the rooster mask!

He recently walked a VERY fast 10K race.  Not a big deal for many, but this wonderful uncle of mine has a tracheotomy from a bout of throat cancer he fought through about twelve years ago, and has lost about 100 pounds in the last year after a serious lifestyle overhaul resulting from a diabetes-hospitalization scare, AND did all of this after having dealt for years with excruciating back pain from a very badass motorcycle accident in his early twenties.

Said wonderful uncle of my heart just had laparoscopic surgery on his knee for a meniscus-related injury, but I caught him coming off the 10K race high last week.  He told me excitedly that, if his knee allows, he will be walking (or walking-running) the NY Half-Marathon in April 2011.  I was floored.  I tried to pretend I wasn’t teary so I wouldn’t appear wimpy in the presence of the uncle who was about to give me some VERY good, big-girl-style whisky–and then I vowed to him that, if he could get himself and his knees to NYC for it, so would I.  We shook on it and had a glass of the aforementioned whisky to seal the deal.

So that’s my secret half-marathon teaser goal.  I REALLY hope he can do it, and I’m petrified of training for it if we end up going for it. But fear not, my friends.  I’ll do it, even if my knee falls off afterwards and I end up confined to my couch (with bonbons and Maury Povich, for weeks afterwards) because I’d do anything for this crazy uncle of mine, and because my dad would have wanted us to do a crazy thing like this, and because I’m guaranteed a great glass of whisky at the finish line and a slammin’ night out in NYC with him afterwards.

Let’s just cross our fingers the Family Knee Issues are resolved so we can both get our NYC glory….

In other news, this time of a sartorial nature, I brought back the yellow:

Apologies for dark shots--it was dark by the time I got home and around to taking these

Ditto

Which is now shockingly close to my year-and-a-half-in-Trinidad skin tone.  If only I could get cosmetics labeled “mustard” rather than olive, no?  Whatever–I take great pride in my ability to be described in terms of condiments.

As for food round these parts, I had the standard banana oatmeal (with coconut today–how very daring, eh? not) for breakfast, as well as an aloo pie (fried dough with spiced potatoes and topped with pepper sauce, curried chickpeas, and mango chutney) which was given to me at a meeting.  I seem to lack all feminine genetics when it comes to ice cream and chocolate (as in, I could swear them off for life without caring less), but when it comes to hot, spicy, tangy, fried stuff…  All I can say is I hope I come back as a sumo wrestler in my next life so I can eat these to my heart’s content, but since a sumo wrestler next life isn’t a sure thing, I’ll indulge wherever possible in this  one (and I’ll do it so greedily I’ll forget to take a picture, too).

For lunch, I had the second batch of my black bean, lettuce, tomato, green peppers, cucumber, and green onion salad, topped with homemade mango dressing.  The light was awful for pictures when I ate, but you can check out yesterday’s version if you want to see the real deal at its best.

As for dinner, the late afternoon errand of picking up The Smurf from the straightener (where they removed all the horrid scratches, bumps, and dents!) made for a hurried dinner-time.  What would have been lentil soup and pita pizzas turned into pasta with bottled sauce courtesy of Matouk, topped with baked breaded eggplant and fresh basil:

My peeps, the workouts have totally squashed my energy level.  I have crashed.  I will crash (into my bed).  I’ll be back tomorrow!

Letter To The Green-Shorts-Pool-Boy

Today I went for a swim.  Here’s the note I should have left behind on my way out.

Envelope addressed to: Young Man with Neon Green Trunks and Too Much Cologne

Dear Young Man with Neon Green Trunks and Too Much Cologne,

I’m very glad to see that you have discovered the pool as a way to cool off in the middle of the day.  However, I don’t think you should also use the pool to try and heat up your love life.

I swam in the lane next to yours  because there was a contingent of fat hairy men in the middle and at the other side, not because I was putting myself out there for you to gawp at me or sweet-talk me.  I thought the fact that I said hello brusquely and swam away at killer shark speed dispelled any notions of flirtation on my part.  Also, please note that your cologne was so overpowering that I’d rather inhale chlorine than your brand of smelly stank (hence my instant underwater immersion).

I appreciate your concerted efforts at making eye contact with me while I turned around at the end of the pool and hit the chronometer on my watch, but I really didn’t appreciate being asked the time three times when you could CLEARLY see the clock over my head.  That’s when your cover was truly blown.

Now, I understand that you may not be a hardcore swimmer, but if you have splashed across just twice by the time I’ve done fifteen laps, I think you may want to re-evaluate your exercise routine and weigh it against the sunburn you’re getting and the chlorine you’re soaking in just standing there, staring at the lady/ies.

However, all that is small change and gentle advice.

What I most definitely mind is being stopped and asked how I ” swim so.” I do it by SWIMMING– first a little, then gradually a lot, but always more than you.  That’s the best answer you’re getting after your gawpfest.

And, when I start to swim away, what part of my dashing off underwater gives you the impression that I want to chat about what’s my name (um, Ana or Betty or Refrigerator to you/I don’t care), where I’m from (Puerto Rico/where men get my not-so-subtle-hints), or how you don’t “habla espanol” (too bad–sign up for Spanish classes along with the swim ones you obviously need)?  Or that I want you to flag me down going “hey, hey”  as I swim off?  I truly don’t appreciate stopping just to tell you to leave me be.

Child, you need to go back to kindergarten (and re-learn lessons of general politeness, such as not yelling “hey” or staring at girls) and to high-school (and re-learn lessons about how girls rebuff boys and mean it).

You may also wish to read a few women’s magazines to appreciate no woman ever heads to a bar to pick up men wearing a grey swim tankini, black cap, and goggles.  Take note:  we don’t wear it to the pool to get picked up, either. So cease and desist.

And, while we’re on the subject of how hideous I feel in my swim getup, might I add that said getup makes guessing my age impossible?  Boy, I bet you I’m old enough to be your (ultra-young) teenage mom, and you need quit staring at me already.

I’ll take the fact that you hightailed it out of the pool when I told you off as a sign that your pool time was over, and not as a sign that you had no reason to be there in the first place.  I’m just charitable like that today.

So, next time, please wash off your cologne before polluting my water and please leave your chick magnet in the locker-room, because you ain’t pulling me.

And don’t be offended if I don’t say hello back–I just know better now.

Most sincerely,

The Girl Whose Swim and ‘Tude Kicked Your Ass Today

Signed, sealed, but yet to be delivered…

_____________

See?  Eat as much fruity vitamin C as me today and I think you’d be full of swing in your step and lippiness too:

Breakfast was leftover oatmeal banana pancakes, starfruit-topped and grapefruit friending on the plate (in other words, Sunday’s breakfast).

And, post young-man-tellings-off, I had some delectable black bean and citrus salad on lettuce and tomatoes for lunch.

As for dinner and its picture… I could lie and say that the camera ate my picture, but the truth is I ate my dinner while watching some Law and Order: SVU marathon, which turns me into a bumbling moron and made me forget to take the picture.  It was yesterday’s spinach potato soup with a grilled ham and tomato sandwich (and you’ve seen the very tasty soup before).

I almost left off the outfit posting today, because you’ve seen this combo a lot recently and though I like it, I’m getting fairly bored of it (and of the whole white-blouse-embellished-somehow thing I’ve got going lately).

Let this be a warning for when I next go clearance-raiding and I’m tempted to buy two of each:  don’t.  I’ll get sick of it. However, I’ll still share.  Perennial black skirt is from Marshall’s boutique in Puerto Rico, striped shirt from Kohl’s (probably $7 US), cardigan from New Look in Britain (10 UKP), shoes from my dear Target ($15, I think?).  Go on, tell me to go shopping.  No wonder I’m happier lately in my housebum getup:

Yep.  Just sayin’.

Working the Brevity Tip

Work, work, more work… I. AM. WIPED.  It’s hard to beam any kind of positive energy or love towards the world at the moment because all I want are my SVU marathon, a cup of tea, and a big pillow for sleeping on. (Oh, yeah, and to become independently wealthy so I don’t have to go to work unless I want to, but I’ll settle for the previous three wishes).

Worn today:

Holding a coconut that plopped out of my tree

I love this top (from Dorothy Perkins in the UK–it was under 15 pounds, so reasonable in my book) and those shoes (from Spain–they were 15 euros, I think, and I’ve gotten every last cent out of them). I wore the top and shoes to work with a straight black skirt, but I changed before I went to run an errand in Port of Spain after work (hence the jeans).

Running my errand involved exchanging some carnival paperwork for a friend and replacing my cell phone (after finding half of the keys stopped working!).  The drive to Port of Spain was totally justified, though, when I rocked up to MovieTowne Plaza to the sight of this:

It’s Socacize!  Apparently, Soca aerobics are held in the MovieTowne parking lot every Tuesday and Thursday in January and February before carnival.  Behold the sight of people getting down in the surreal parking lot/mountain scenery…  As the cell phone salesgirl quipped, “Bless them–it’s a bit late to start now.”  True–but it’s still a quirky sight to see.

Eaten today:

I had a bit of time in the morning, so I made some French toast with pineapple on top:

For lunch, I whipped up tuna salad on top of a big leafy green salad (with tomatoes, carrots, scallion, and green peppers–not that you can see any of that under the mess of lettuce):

And dinner saw the appearance of a Spanish-influenced lentil soup with potatoes, carrots, spinach, smoked paprika, and a touch of cumin:

Bootiliciousness worked today:

I went for a swim (and felt surprisingly un-sore after yesterday’s fast run–miracle of miracles!) and took it easy, given that the last thing I want is an injury before Carnival next week.  Twenty-five slow and easy laps, plus an extra one done fast and furious just to prove to myself that I could.

My zonked self is going to commune with the SVU team on TV now.  I promise I’ll be back to my happy chatty self tomorrow….

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!