Welcome to the Sweatshop

Mamalicious, if you happen to be reading, stop right now and look away–this one’s about you (mostly)!

It has been a literal fashion sweatshop at my house for the last week, with the weekend hitting fever pitch of sewing mania. Did I seem distracted?  Blame it on the sewing.  Did I write lots of typos?  Blame it on the sewing.   Did I eat the most boring food alive?  Blame. It. On. The. Sewing.

There is a reason for this all, though.  As a condition of my six-week sojourn at Chez Mamalicious (the longest since I left home nine years ago–eek!), a list of Laura Must-Do’s has been issued to me.  These conditions include:

  • The almost-daily making of delicious lunches to the satisfaction of Mamalicious’s taste buds and dietary requirements (we’re talking lots of salad here, people)
  • The clearing out and cleaning up of basement and attic (hi, like I didn’t hate cleaning the basement when it flooded with yuckwaters last Christmas!  However, the attic is fair game, since that’s where the material evidence of my pre-Britain and pre-Trinidad life is boxed up–did you know I actually have “good cutlery” up in thurr?  Yeah, I forgot about it too…)
  • The making of a wardrobe for Mamalicious to teach in and leave her students agog at her fashionable adorableness

The first has been tackled appropriately, with a list of good eats for Mamalicious now living in my wallet, ready to be whipped out each time I think of something nice to add to it.  I hope she has a discount with a local funky-lettuce grower because, like I said, Mama and I are eating more (well-embellished) grass than the cows out in the fields this summer.

The second?  Ach.  I’m bringing a bottle of duty-free rum and a bottle of duty-free tequila into Chez Mamalicious to deal with clearing out the basement and attic.  I’m much better (read: reckless) at tossing old junk when I’m intoxicated–in fact, that’s the only way to do this, as far as I’m concerned.

The third?  Well, Mamalicious is getting the wardrobe I would have made myself this summer, had I not been slaving over making it for her.

I’m hooking her up with this skirt:

In these patterns:

She’s also getting a gorgeous shift dress similar to this one (the sleeveless belted one, possibly made A-line in the skirt):

In this beauty of a floral explosion:

And a shirt-dress like my very own beloved Frankensteined dress:

In this enviable navy-and-white abstract floral/blobby print:

With such cute, painstakingly-selected buttons that I almost regret making this for her instead of for me:

She’s also netting a few A-line shift dresses like this one:

In some gorgeous saturated solids–I’m thinking orange, a magenta of some kind, and a green, with fabrics to be procured over the next couple of days.  It’ll be easy sewing to keep busy with while I’m visiting–and she has about a week’s worth of summery work clothes that I’ll have made to tide her over while I work on those for about a week.

She’s got me so busy that I’ve had to forgo reading my guilty-pleasure George Pelecanos crime drama in the interest of getting these  selfish sewing endeavors finished:

Dress turned into skirt, with the help of some nice orange from my curtains (literally snipped off before sewing)

A yet-to-be-finished dress that needs a zipper and a hem

In other words, I’m giving up Dexter and DC crime for my Mama’s dresses.  If that doesn’t earn me free passes to her Zumba class and unlimited use of her bike (to train for my Ride For Roswell), I don’t know what does.  There’d better b a grand reception at the airport, complete with tulips and champagne, for her seamstress.  That’s all I’m saying.

Do you get sucked into any particular tasks when you go home?  Are there things you volunteer to do for the family when you go home to visit?

One thing I will happily and easily provide is a tuna lunch like today’s:

Tuna mixed with spicy mustard, mayo, lime zest, tomatoes, pepper, and black pepper, served on crunchy whole-wheat pita.  We’ll be seeing a lot of this, modeled on her pretty plates!  I can’t wait to use her lovely collection of plates and I’m sure that you can’t wait to see different plates either, so watch this space…

But before that, stay posted for my Core Fusion Sport review tomorrow. If I can move in the morning, that is.

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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!