Back In Business–A Playlist To Beat Laziness

I almost gave in to laziness and fear and sleepiness and ridiculousness this morning–but I didn’t.  Ladies and gentleman, I went for my first post-Buffalo Trinidad run!  And to celebrate the occasion, there’s a new playlist involved…

When the alarm went off at 5:45, I was all “Hells no.”  I hit snooze.  When it went off again, I hit snooze, wanted to cry at the prospect of leaving my cozy bed, and negotiated with my half-asleep self that I’d run in the afternoon instead.  When it went off the third time, I decided I was not going to feel any better about this first run back in Heat Central, shook off my ridiculousness, and went out for the damn three-mile run.

One word for it:  amazing.

I thought the heat would be unbearable, as it was when I left in May, and I was concerned that the sun would be a bit much for my late-ish start.  No such thing.  It was sunny but not frying weather, there was a breeze (which was actually cool!), and the mosquitoes weren’t nearly as nippy as I expected them to be.  I broke a sweat before I was even breathing heavily and was practically exuding a river as I ran, but it actually felt great to sweat so quickly; it was like running in my own personal shower bubble.

So yes, I had to sacrifice about twenty seconds per mile of speed compared to my Buffalo times, but it didn’t matter in the least.  It was too awesome of a run for me to care.

And did I mention the scenery?  It was breathtaking on my route, now that the rain has pounded the island and greened up the mountains and trees and bushes, and I could smell all kinds of seasonal flowers all along the way.  It was as idyllic as running in Trinidad gets.  This picture is not of the route, but you get the idea:

Those are the mountains I see on my morning run

Misty gingers of the kind I see on my morning runs

So, in honor of today’s awesome run, I’ll give you my Guaranteed Laziness-Busting Playlist, which is sure to generate big-time badassery at even the ungodliest hour of the morning:

  • Rihanna–Hard
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Laba Laba
  • MIA–Stepping Up (*her entire new album kicks and thumps, I can’t recommend it enough)
  • Mapei–Public Enemy
  • Anjalie–Boom
  • DJ Waxfiend/Busy Signal–Sound of Sirens
  • Lazerproof–Tigerlily
  • Lady Gaga–Dance In The Dark
  • MIA–Born Free
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Bondo Kallay
  • Thunderheist–Jerk It

There’s no way you’ll be able to sit still through this mix, I promise.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Trini Tales Thursday: Slang… And Sushi, Too

When I first moved to Trinidad, I was a bit worried about understanding the accent here.  I had listened to some Trini radio online before and, well, sat there dumbfounded while trying to figure out what was said three sentences ago.

It took a bit of time (and quite a few embarrassing repeated “What?/Say that again?/Sorry?”) to get it down, but I can understand most people now.  However, what I’m still amazed at is the extent to which Trini slang differs from anything I’ve ever seen before–and how easy it was to fall right into using it.

So, in honor of me steupsing in traffic, giving cut-eye to bad parking jobs, and going bazodee at sushi today, I thought it might be time for a Trini slang lesson.  Get your notebooks out or I’ll ketch your tail….

  • cuteye/stinkeye–fairly self-explanatory; to give a mean look.  Example:  “I gave cuteye to the pervy man on the bicycle who was staring at me during my morning run,” or “the cashier gave me stinkeye when I asked her to pack my groceries into reusable bags.”
  • steupse (pronounced “stoops”):  a sound made by sucking your teeth in disapproval or dismay.  Example:  “Every time I see the price of strawberries, I steupse.  I’m not paying US $6 for a pint of berries.  Steupse.  Steupse. Steupse.”
  • ketch your tail: to get someone in trouble or give them a good telling-off/hiding.  Example:  “Next time I see the water pump repairman thiefing my mangoes, I’m gonna ketch his tail REAL good.”
  • hear dis nah: a way of prefacing a story, preferably a salacious or gossipy one; like using “so….” or “you won’t believe this.”  Example:  “Hear dis nah:  I saw the neighbor kissing her gardener, and her husband was in the house!  Yes, girl…”
  • bazodee (pronounced “BAZ-uh-dee): going really, really, maniacally crazy for something or someone. Example:  “I go bazodee for nacho-flavored Doritos.”
  • bacchanal: any general or specific craziness.  Example:  “The start of the Clico 5K race was total bacchanal, people  lining up anyhow and taking off before the whistle.”
  • macco: to gossip about others.  Example:  “I have no patience for people who go to the pool to macco and not to swim; they take up my lane and I want to bop them over their gossipy heads with my swimming board.”
  • bamsie/bumper: the booty.  Example:  “If I do my Core Fusion for a month, I’ll have a REAL nice bamsie for so…”

So go forth and spread the good Trini word…  and, if you don’t, at least do a little steupse at anything that bothered  you today.  I guarantee it’ll make you feel much, much better.

Missed previous Trini Tales Thursdays?  Check out Office Life–insights on air conditioning, tea, and the correct way to open a door with a buzzer…

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Foodery today included an out-of-body experience with the new oatmeal (steel-cut oats after weeks of quick Quaker crap?  Be still my heart!):

Plus grapefruit, coffee, and email catch-up

And a green monster with about 1/3 cup of coffee added in (which, oddly enough, blended with the banana, soymilk, and spinach to  turn my smoothie into a refreshing mix  of chocolaty green goodness):

Green monster and water--all beverages enjoyed from bottles due to my bad tendency to spill EVERYTHING around my electronics

However, the key foodery event du jour was the sushi at More Sushi on Ariapita Ave. in Port of Spain, for which I dressed thusly:

Dress by me, finished five minutes before heading out the door; shoes Target; earrings were a sister gift; necklace is granny bling

And, speaking of that meal, Lord have mercy! I wish I could go around flaying fish for every meal, but until then, More Sushi will have to do–it was a pile of crazy, but a supremely inspired pile of crazy with chunky tuna, jalapeno, cucumber, some kind of roe, and a spicy chili sauce on top:

Trinis are great cooks, no matter the cuisine they make.  How they manage to improve on regular ol’ sushi is beyond me, but boy oh boy… Trini cooks have a sweet han’ fuh so (great touch in the kitchen).  May I live and learn…

Food Pilgrimages: The Bulk Shopping Excursion

Remember when I went on a wild goose chase for real oatmeal last month?  Today, I went on another pilgrimage, braving traffic and rastas selling all manner of cheap goods on the highway, straight across the island and out west…

This time, to Pricesmart.  Because today was ALL about the canned tomatoes.

Let’s back it up for some context, shall we?

Though my student days are over, my cheap budget days never will be.  I used to be motivated to penny-pinch by shoe lust; now, it’s fabric-mania and Target trip lust that keeps me and my wallet on our toes.  So, when I moved to Trindiad, I was more than ready to do as I had done everywhere else, and shop in a few different places to make sure I got all my deals.

In Trinidad, that means:

  • Sunday farmer’s market (at least twice a month):  for 90% of my veggies, plus fruit
  • Dodgy roadside veggie man:  for mid-week vegetable top-ups or for full veggie shopping on weeks when I’m too tired/lazy/hungover to get up early on a Sunday
  • Supermarket: for basic dry goods, eggs, etcetera once a week (if I’m organized).  I vary between two:  one has lower prices and frozen spinach/berries and HUGE lines to park the car, get through the damn store, and pay, plus I always seem to catch them on Very Surly Cashier Day.  The other one is closer to home and I don’t usually have to wait for a parking spot, but it has terrible selection and lots of freezer-burned items; also, they really hate packing my stuff into reusable bags (but get most surly if I try to pack them into the damn bags myself.

And then…. There’s Pricesmart.

The first time I went with The Most Fabulous S, it was love at first sight.  How could I have lived without a 10-lb. can of corn before?  And how did no one tell me that the way to buy beer, toilet paper, and deodorant was by the dozen? Oh, be still my heart.  We walked out of there like we’d just seen the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus all rolled into one and they’d commanded us to shop till the back of the car dropped.

However, after subsequent visits, I realized that buying my vanilla creamer in liters was not exactly cost-conscious, unless I planned on drinking it straight up with every meal before it went off (or didn’t mind using three-month-old creamer, beating the lumps out, and risking food poisoning in the process).  Nor was buying 25 apples that went mushy AFTER I ate them raw/in oatmeal/in cobblers/in muffins/in my sleep.  And the corn?  Let’s just say that a ten-pound can (or ten one-pound cans) were actually the same price as buying (cue gasp) ten one-pound cans at Freezerburnmarket.

WHAT?

Yes, my friends, I was a victim of the Blind Bulk Buy Syndrome.  EVERYTHING seems like a deal when it’s in army-feeding size—but it not always is.

Since then, I taken a very good look at what I buy in bulk by weighing the cost difference between the bulk and smaller packages and by asking myself if, really and truly, it’s worth plunking a big amount of money down for a product I may not use all that much or really even need.  I’ve finessed my cheap-girl, bulk-buying habits to a beautiful, artful science and I even did enough math to make my head spin and reach for a whiskey to show you!  I’ve listed TT amounts; if you’re curious about how much that is in USD,  just divide the TT amount by six.

  • Canned tomatoes (10 14-oz cans for 56 TT=7 TT a can, as opposed to 11 TT a can at the supermarket.  That’s a whole 54 TT less at Pricesmart.  54 TT gets me enough fabric for a skirt—a very nice one.
  • Pasta:  32 TT for four boxes of any pasta, or 8 TT per box.  Much better than 13 TT per box at the supermarket.  Twenty TT gets me enough phone credit for a month (I don’t talk much, granted) or two lovely, bright n’ garish nail polish bottles.
  • Olive oil:  A gallon goes for about 120 TT.  A half gallon goes for that much at the supermarket.  120 TT gets me enough fabric for a shirtdress with a flouncy skirt, or a manicure (should I ever go back to the mean yet competent manicurist).
  • Shampoo:  same case as the olive oil.  I get twice as much of a good brand as I get of the paint-stripping cheap kind I (admittedly) buy otherwise. I told you, I’m CHEAP.
  • Cranberries:  Same as olive oil and shampoo.
  • Oatmeal:  OMG, I hit the holy grail today!  Steelcut oats, in flood-protecting-sandbag size, was finally found.  The price doesn’t even matter.  I’d give away my future firstborn (and my favorite red wooden platform sandals, the ones I can barely walk in but still kiss each day) to have non-mush oatmeal again.

All in all, I went in with the definitive list and came out with a few extra great deals (did I mention wine?  Decent wine for the price of the grape juice fermented in a microwave that passes for wine at the supermarket?  Yeah, I got wine!).   Best of all—I didn’t make the back of the car drag down low:

The Most Fabulous S would be proud indeed.

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In other happenings around here:

I had a pretty good 4-mile run!  I didn’t die, didn’t swallow any mosquitoes, and even ran into a few friends on the way.  Might this be a signal that 5 miles are coming soon?  And should I just keep that to myself so I don’t set myself up for embarrassment when I make it into the local papers for fainting/biting a dog/drinking out of the rain gutters from run-induced desperation and mania?  Oops.  Y’all know how I can’t keep these things to myself… So yes, expect me to log five miles soon.  (Just don’t expect me to live and tell the tale).

I tried my hardest not to look like a West Moorings housewife (read: expat white, filthy rich, deathly bored) by going channeling Puerto Rican charm (I hope) in a ruffly and booty-hugging getup today:

Blouse Kohl's, jeans Old Navy, shoes Target, earrings from street vendor in Salamanca, Spain

And I reveled in the freedom of working from home by making muffins this morning—apple and dried cranberry, full of (quick) oaty goodness:

Muffins plus mango. Plus dog--Umbi ALWAYS has eyes for breakfast.

So what if I forgot the sugar?  I gave them the slightest swipe of maple butter and that was more than enough.  It goes to show that most recipes call for WAY too much sugar (for my taste, anyway).

And, for the grand Cinco de Mayo dinner, an old favorite came out:  Drunken Bean Tamale Pie!

Carib beer isn't Corona, but it'll more than do...

So tasty.  It’s been too long, my old friend.

How do you food shop?  How do you determine what’s worth getting in bulk/paying more for/traipsing halfway across the city/state/island to get?