Showing posts from 2006

Goddamn Lions Pool!

Is Lions the most goddamn insane pool in the world for crowds? Okay, maybe not in the world. Lord knows that pool in Paris was like a French Waterway Freeway, complete with rules and regulations galore. And what about the pool in China? Hell, that was an adventure in maneuvering the Children Rule Obstacle Course.

But Lions? What the hell is up with that place? I mean! Granted it is a holiday of sorts. Though why everyone and their grandmother is swimming on goddamn New Year’s eve is a complete mystery to Pool Puss. Don’t they hafta go out and buy their 16 cases of champagne to party till the midnight hour? Evidently not. They’re all swimming at Lions complete with every conceivable type of accoutrement!

Hell, there was a lady in the slow lane (or is it really the Chatting Lane?) with a goddamn wool ski hat on. PP kids you not! Dirty brown with little white snowflake designs. PP kept wondering what happened to all that wool when she went underwater. Thankfully, she didn’t.

And the Mammoth…

Julianne’s Triathlon

PP is so thrilled to be swimming again in the daytime thanks to her new swim tights! Shielding her from 98% of those deadly UVB Rays! (Not that it seems like any rays get through the cloud cover 5 days before the shortest, darkest day of the year!)

Now it’s back to afternoon Hot Tub Talk, complete with JL, the Lovely I, and Serious Swimmer Cat Woman, who’s talking about training for triathlons. An activity that completely eludes PP.

“Yeah, so a lot of it was these Transitions,” SSCW laughs, stretching her long, bare freckled leg on the edge of the tub. (PP is gonna be so hyper aware now of everyone’s exposed skin at the pool since she can’t expose any!) “And I don’t know. It was a cross between Utter Boredom and a Complete Waste of Time. A lot of time was going from one activity to the other with these Transitions. Like we’d get outta the water and then walk to the car to get changed for the Bike part and eat a Snickers bar and hang out for 45 minutes and…..”

“I like the Snickers Bar par…

The Spirit of Bianca

“I can’t believe I’m up before 10:30. I never get up before 10:30. Sometimes I get up by 9, but that’s unusual.”
“And it’s so cool swimming in the morning!”
“Yeah, I never get up before 10:30.”
PP yawns in a grin, “What time do you get up?”
10:30 Girl stares right at her. “2 or 3 a.m.”
“Ahh, well, that explains it.”

PP sinks deeper into the steamy tub. 10:30! Hell, she’d love to sleep till 10:30! Students! They are so goddamn lazy and spoiled. Why look at them, lounging about on the hot tub ledge. Bet they didn’t even swim! Lazy good for nothing students.

“And then it was after 3 a.m. and I heard Trudy close her lap top and then start sobbing hysterically.” 10:30 Girl comments matter-of-factly.
“What was wrong?” Non-10:30 Friend asks.
“I dunno. It was after she’d been trying to write this paper for her IR class, and then I think she had just emailed the professor. And then I heard her crying. Maybe she’s having a torrid affair with her and …..”

Did PP hear that right? Or is the spirit of Bianc…

The Hotel Lafayette

“I visited San Diego over Thanksgiving. I like it.”
PP nods as she watches Dancer Woman tuck her hair into her navy cap.
”Yeah, me too. My sister lives down there.”
“I found a great hotel if you ever want one. With an Olympic Sized Pool!”
Of course, PP cries out in delight, even though it is only 8:30 in the morning and it’s so damn cold that her kitty fur is standing on end. “WOW! How cool! What’s the name of it?”
“It’s called the Hotel Lafayette.”
PP nods. “I can remember that.” She doesn’t tell Dancer Swimmer the reason why she can remember is because Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend plays Mr. Lafayette, the Hit Man, in a horror film in progress.
“And all the rooms are named after Hollywood Stars. I got to stay in Cary Grant’s room.”
”How classy!” PP exclaims, wondering what other film stars have rooms named after them. Betty Grable? Marilyn Monroe? Jimmy Stewart? Mae West? Humphrey Bogart? Jean Harlow?

PP likes the idea of staying in Jean Harlow’s room. Tough, no nonsense and Blonde.


Swimming again with the Lovely I. Oh my!

“Hello? Swimming Kitty? Are you allowed to swim on the darkest rainiest day of the year so far? I don’t think any UV rays could possibly come through…..”
PP stops her plodding through Beethoven’s Sonata in F minor to interrupt the Lovely I’s phone message. “HEY! Hello!”
“Hey? Can you swim today?”
PP thinks she can. Hell, if she can’t swim in a driving downpour when the heavens look like a dark wet gray blanket, when can she swim? (Of course she knows the answer to this, but c’mon!)

And so the Lovely I takes PP to the Pool.
And tells her many stories.
Of which, PP will now narrate the best.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” PP asks as they traipse through the rain up the steps to Club Mills.
“OHMYGOD!” The Lovely I exclaims. “You would not believe it! D’s sister had this total meltdown over the George Bush Toilet Paper.”
PP grins. This was gonna be good. “Why?”
“Oh my god. She just went off on D about how it was so inappropriate to give as a gift in front of the children.”
“Why? Don’t kids need to …


Willits, California. Gateway to the Redwoods. Home of Seabiscuit. Start of the Skunktrain.

What a place to vacation!

Well, actually, it’s a great halfway point between the Bay Area and Eureka, where PP’s folks live. And while it’s not an impossible drive to make in one trip (about 5-6 hours) if you can stop halfway, it’s so much nicer.

PP had spied the billboard for the Beachtel Creek Inn on the way up for the Thanksgiving Feast. Had been sorely tempted to stop as they’d been sitting in traffic for the last 3 of the 4 hours of the journey so far. Yes, everyone and their mother were headed to Grandmother’s for Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. And the Inn by a secluded creek right offa 101 seemed so tempting.

Alas, they plowed on. But yet, the billboard stuck in PP’s mind. “Come to Beachtel Creek Inn! Your oasis nestled next to a quiet creek. Pool.” (Imagine PP’s excitement!) “Hot tub, cable T.V., and spa.” (PP could do without the spa but everything else sounded heavenl…

These Cats Need a Pool!

Hell, they’ve got everything else here at the San Mateo Cat Show. Little pink hammocks to relax in. Matching purple bowls to eat delicately out of. Fancy Feathered Toys always waving for them. It’s Cat Heaven.


I stare at the sign and think, hell these cats need a pool, no matter how great the Promenade is. Emergency bathing for so many cats? Only an Olympic sized pool would do the trick. Or at least it would seem. Even though cats hate the water, I bet one of these special breeds is a Water Cat.

“Are you from Europe?”
I glance over at the Insane Cat Woman who’s just plopped down in the seat next to me to watch the judging for the Maine Coon cats.
What do I say to the Europe question? Something in German? “Nein, Ich bin auf California, bist du?” But I resist this temptation just in case she is German.
“No, I’m from California, not Europe.”
Insane Eur…

The Euphoric Bubble

“Hello? Are you there? Ooohhhh! It’s you! I just got outta the pool and I feel so much better!”

PP can’t help but eavesdrop. (Not that she’d want to if she could; think of all the lost stories!) But here in the Mills College locker room, one relieved woman on her cell phone takes over the entire situation!

“I don’t know why I have to work so hard to get here….” Feels Better Now Woman exclaims. “I just have to keep in mind how much more alive I feel after a swim. It’s incredible.” (Okay, PP might have just made up that last bit of dialogue, but it’s the genuine drift.) “Oh, it was wonderful. And then I got in the hot tub and did some little ballet over the bar stretches (PP isn’t making that up since she doesn’t know what it means—she can guess, but not absolutely, esp. in the context of the hot tub having no ballet bars.) “Well, did you take your temperature? And….? Yes….Where does it bother you? In your chest? Throat?....”

PP turns back to the getting-dressed-before-the-next-millenniu…

Janice Gilles

“So, Carol, (This is PP’s real name. She thinks she’ll use it for this particular blog.) “You remember Janice Gilles, don’t you? She coached our team way back when at Temescal.”

I nod to my former swim team member, Brian, who now coaches the Mills Masters Team. “Of course.”

Brian shakes his head sadly, “ She passed away.”

I gasp even in my shivering wet get in the pool state. “Oh, no," I murmur.

Whatever are we supposed to say at such news? I knew her, it’s true, but not well. And I suppose the most upsetting thing about not knowing her now, is that I remember her 20 years ago. Bright, funny, passionate, enthusiastic. She was such fun as a coach. And that team! Lefkowitz and Oppenheimer,(Yes she was related somehow to That Oppenheimer), Jennifer and David and Brian, of course. Janice playfully yelling at me, “Let’s see ya put some hustle into it Jameson!” And Lefkowitz and Oppenheimer cracking up. “She has the purrfect stroke, but it slows her down!”

Sometimes, Janice would don a su…


How many times have you been in a women’s (or men's--tho this phenomenon might be more common in the male domain) locker room without any talking? I’m talking (no pun intended) utter silence? No one even saying ‘excuse me’ when they walk in front of you getting out of the showers. No one asking to borrow a smite of conditioner. No one commenting on the water temp being too hot or too cold.

No one talking. Period.

PP has been thinking about it for the last 24 hours after her silent swim at the Bay Area’s renowned Albany Pool. A pool she’s been hearing rave reviews about for years!

Yet, no one spoke to anyone in the locker room. It was just weird.

And when PP thinks about it….well….she just can’t think of another instance that was quite so dramatically oppressively silent. And PP’s been swimming all over the world.

Was there talking in the women’s locker room in Dalian, China? Hell yeah! Lots of chatter and gossip and giggling and ogling and touching and scrubbing and sheer boistero…

Hazards of Morning Swims

8:10 am, PP is trying to get on the stupid freeway in the stupid commuter zone to swim in the stupid morning before the stupid sun is at its stupid zenith.

Glancing down Hudson Street, she sees the carpooler cars lined up, collecting passengers for their heinous commute across the Bay Bridge. The signal is red, so of course, PP is waiting till the coast is clear to make her turn. But it’s hard. The carpooler cars are crazed and spastic. It’s difficult to tell whether they’re gonna go on their green light or keep idling in line for their passengers.

So, PP waits. And waits. And waits. Seems like over a minute, but probably just 30 seconds or so till…..

Goddamn it. Some idiot has just rear-ended her! PP feels the thud, her neck snapping back minutely.
PP glances in her rearview mirror. A crazed caffeine deprived (obviously, or he wouldn’t have hit PP’s geo) is gesticulating wildly behind his windshield. Are they gestures of apology? Anger? Frustration?

It’s hard to tell. PP…

Dogged But Determined

Of course PP hates the goddamn time change. Except in the morning. Now that she hasta swim at the crack of dawn, well, for her 8:30 is dawn, that extra hour is vital. But yet, this morn, when she thought she’d have more energy cuz of the extra hour, she didn’t. Blame the grey malaise clouds? (Although as Capt. Gwen B pointed out, that cloud cover is ‘awesome’ for us delicate skinned cancer victims.)

Speaking of which, does PP’s skin know about the time change? Should PP be going at the same time in the morning? A.k.a. 7:30 am. instead of 8:30? Damn. Maybe so. It’s all so stupid. It’s just time and clocks and sun and pools and cute girls.

The girls do help. PP waits patiently at the desk check-in as slim pale never in the sun cute girl studies some diagrams of gross organs. Livers? Lungs? Intestines? Disgusting, especially at the crack of dawn.

“Are you taking Anatomy?” PP asks politely, trying not to stare at cute girl's own anatomy. Well, not trying too hard as CG yawns and stretc…

Come on in!

PP has been heinously sick. How the hell can a kitty get so sick with a stupid cold? It’s astounding. PP can only surmise that the well gods are against her lately, but thankfully, a smiling health goddess blessed her this morning with only a minor sinus headache and a yucky nose. Ok you don’t need to know those details!

Suffice it to say, that PP FINALLY got back in the water today! What a difference to her brain a swim makes! (As all of you swimmers do know!)

So, really no stories today at Club Mills other than a Snarky Swimmer that didn’t want PP joining her lane. Okay, PP gets that. She didn’t want to join her lane either. She hates circle swimming, but hell, she was freezing. Standing there shivering in the goddamn shade. (Yes, PP did make it in the morning. This is still highly cranky. And what happens next week with the stupid time change? Does PP’s skin know that it’s now what? 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m?)

PP doesn’t think so.

Anyway, the Snarky Swimmer relented after PP stuck her …



PP’s little sis ( whose nickname for PP is ‘snart'—actually both sisters call each other snart just to confuse the identity issue even more) is pointing at an exceptionally mammoth black slimy clump of dark disgusting mound of hair? Isn’t there a more odious word to describe it? In any case, there it sits, covering most of the drain in the hospital green showers of The Golden Bear Pool, the soapy water swirling it around in a slow whirlpool vortex.

PP wrinkles her wet nose, trying not to look, but of course, thanks to her sister, can’t help it.
“IT’s ALIVE!!!” C. Sue cries out, delightedly giggling.
PP dives in to the fray. “And it’s moving!”
“OH! SNART STOP IT!” Lil Sis cries.
“And look, Snart, there’s another one, there, right next to you, in the empty soap holder, clinging to the white porcelain.”
“Look over there!” CS continues, “On the wall! It’s crawling up and toward you. It’s gonna get you!”


“And there, on the other side. S…

“You know Coach I if I told her that once I told her that 1000 times and she still don’t listen.”
“Wait till she’s a teenager.”
“I hear you! I got three preceding her.”
”Haa! Then you’ve been down that road before.”
“Oh yeah.”

PP grins to herself as she dries off in the deserted locker room. Remembers her own tennis life. Did she really ever play tennis? It does seem like another person all those years ago. PP sighs, listening to the soothing whack whack of the ball.

“12…..13……14…….15…..16…….17….18…..”Good! You almost made 20!”
“You do wonders with her, Coach!”

PP hears the Coach begin to count again. What the hell is he doin? She doesn’t remember doing this exercise with Mr……??? God she can’t remember her coach’s name? But she had such a crush on him when she was 12! How can that be that she’s forgotten his name? How amazing the aging brain process is.

PP shakes her head as she pulls on her top. It…
Captain GB’s Swim Team

“So, I got a call from the principal’s office today.” Capt. GB sighs wearily.
PP grins from behind the sumptuous Hot Tub bubbles, “Really?”
“Yeah, J bit someone.”
Giggling, PP nods. “That sounds like a good story.”
”Oh, yeah.”
”Why did he bite someone?”
”Turns out that this other kid had him in a choke hold and it was the only way, according to J, that he could escape.”
”Sounds like biting the kid was a good idea.” PP laughs.
“Yeah, you know I thought the same thing. Thing is, I can’t let J know that I think it.”
”Why not?”
”It’s just not a good thing when your kid goes around biting other kids. Even though I’m not surprised. J told me a few weeks ago that there was a Bully in the class. And I saw this kid. He’s big. “
“And mean!”
“Where did it happen? On the playground?”
”That’s what I thought, but then when I finally talked to his teacher, she said it was in the classroom.”
”Where was she?”
“Oh, she was there. She just turned around for a second and then WHAM! The B…
Farewell to Mills?

PP’s just about had it with Mills. No, maybe this is not really goodbye, but hell, she just has one question? Don’t we lovely paying patrons get the very short time of 15 minutes to shower and change before being rushed outta the locker room? Isn’t that why the pool ‘closes’ at 4:45 instead of ‘5’? It’s a sneaky way of gyping us outta our swim actually. If the schedule said till 5 then….wait….PP is getting off the mad track here. Let’s start this again.

PP is goddamn sick and tired of being made to feel like a piece of guncky slimy hair on the shower floor if she takes one fuckin minute over the allotted 15 minutes to get dressed. PLEASE!!! What is the goddamn big deal here? Last Sunday, PP thought she’d try Mills at 4 after the sun’s zenith was gone. Consequently, when she swims her 45 minutes and then gets a paltry 5 minutes in the hot tub she understands that she’s gonna hafta shower and change more quickly. Yet…. But…… Suffice it to say that when she and another…
Mario’s Pool Story

"You wanna hear a pool story?" PP always wants to hear pool stories!—plus it takes the pressure offa her to always come up with one so….. here’s Mario’s:

"I’ll tell ya a pool story. This one is a doozy. J and I really needed a swim after the plane ride up here, so D told us to check out the SFU pool, which we’d been to before. Really nice indoor pool. 50 meter. Not too crowded. So I get in the car and we drive through the hellish rush hour SF traffic to SFU and round and round the parking lot looking for a spot and finally aha! There’s a spot and so I grab it, but then it’s not really a spot it’s actually permit parking for the goddamn faculty or some such privileged parties damn! so I have to move the car and we drive around again for like hell 15 minutes and then finally another spot. Great. And so we get outta the car and hafta hike like I dunno 15 minutes up and around this big hill and we can't find the goddamn pool there was a sign but the si…

Are We Awake Yet?

Tell me fellow swimmers. Is the concept that difficult to grasp? I mean, hell, there’s 2 people in a lane, splitting the lane and then two more people, making 4, are you following me? get in the lane and now what? Gee! Let’s all just tread water at the wall and freeze our butts off at 9 friggin a.m! So, PP takes control in her inimitably cranky way. “Are you joining our lane?” Confused looks thro foggy goggles as one of the intruders in her spry little red and white bikini stares at PP. Hello? Am I speaking English? Do you speak English? Actually this could be the problem. Confused interloper is Asian, young and pretty. Maybe her youth and good looks keep her brain at bay? In any case, she just blinks at PP. So PP presses on as the goose bumps accelerate their progress. “Okay, well, if you’re both gonna swim here, we need to swim circles. Do you understand?” More confused looks but she nods as her friend gulps for air,treading spastically in the choppy water. “Up the right side” PP mo…

An Amazon Doctress

“Ahhhhh…I feel soooooo goood!” Amazon Thong woman sighs blissfully as PP approaches the sink to start the heinous detangling process of her too long hair. She was feeling a bit cranky at the prospect, but now ATW is cheering her up with her blissed out orgasmic sigh.

Maybe mornings aren’t gonna be so bad after all, she tries to tell herself for the 5th time in in as many days trying to swim in the morning. But, if ATW is gonna be a regular part of the experience…well……

PP smiles to herself as she starts in on her hair, thinking how she really knows what ATW means when she exclaims like this in that post swim glow, but it’s more fun to think that she’s happy so see PP!

Okay, pp knows this is a bit far-fetched, her being a middle aged shriveled up cancer light survivor . But glancing over at ATW, and then nodding in agreement, she gets a shy smile. “IT’s just so good to be done! And here!” ATW continues to gush.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” PP agrees as she tugs at a huge rat’s nest ther…


“Your eyes become like petrie dishes.” PP is still contemplating this weird remark as she climbs into the hot tub, freezing, tired and spaced out. How can eyes become pietry dishes? How the hell do you even spell pettry? Granted the woman who’d made the comment while getting dressed in the locker room was chatting about not wearing contacts anymore. But peetree dishes? (PP likes this spelling the best!) Does this mean that the contacts trap all sorts of live little amoeba and bacteria on your eyeball?


And so, this is what is going thro her brain when the head of Mills College English Dept pops into the Hot Tub. Gives her a hearty smile. Asks how she is.

“You teaching this fall?” Head of Dept asks.

“Yeah….” PP is trying to form some response in her morning post swim haze surrounded by peetree dishes. Opts for a question instead. “How about you?”

”No, I’m on Sabbatical”

PP tries not to sigh and glare too loudly. Can you glare loudly? PP can so she'd better be careful. But a…

Go to Calistoga! Drink Milkshakes!

Suffice it to say, PP is NOT a morning kitty! Any activity before 10 a.m. makes her more than slightly nauseous! This includes swimming. How the hell can all these swimmers be here, at 8:15 in the morning, working out with the goddamn swim team?

It is beyond her!

Sticking her toes gingerly in the shady water, she lets out a kitty shriek as B.S (Does he realize his initials are this? He must!) swims up to the wall, giving her a hearty smile! “HEY!!! How are you?” He stops for a moment, sparkling handsome eyes on her. This might not be so bad, PP thinks if cute B.S, the vivacious conductor of the S.F. Chamber orchestra is here, eyeing her up and down.

“It’s COLD…..” PP whines to him, taking her toes back out.

He nods, grinning up at her. “You need more body fat. You could gain about 20 lbs. Go to Calistoga. Drink Milkshakes!”

Nodding, PP smiles, drink milkshakes in Calistoga? How odd. But she does have her ear plugs in. Maybe she missed something? PP likes to partake of fine red wines while…

A Try Of The Oakland Y

“What language are you speaking?” Crooked Swimming Lane Sharing Woman asks as she climbs naked into the hot tub. All the women are naked here at the Oakland Y Hot Tub, a distinct advantage over Mills? PP is unsure as she watches the two Mystery Language Women smile in wonder.

“Is it Ethiopian?” CSLS Woman persists, smiling sweetly, her sagging breasts submerging into the bubbling water.

Nodding and smiling in delight, Mystery Talking Women grin widely, “Yes, yes it is!”
PP stares in admiration. Sure CSLSW couldn’t swim, but she could identify mystery languages. A rare talent. Especially after a swim!

Wow! Maybe the Oakland Y might have some good stories after all.

PP climbs outa the hot tub, worried about the meter. This is the major drawback to swimming here. She’d had to put $3 worth of quarters in the meter out on Broadway Auto Row. Why the hell did they rename it Broadway Auto Row anyway? Isn’t it obvious to anyone driving down the road that that’s what it is?

So, PP is trying out th…


Swimming in the foggy dusk at Willard Jr. High, PP stops and pauses to put on her fins, spacing out at the far end of the pool. Spies a gray round scurrying fuzzy ball under the benches next to the ivy hillside on the opposite side of the pool.

Shit. Is that a RAT?
PP slips on her fins and swims to get a closer look. Reaching the end, she pulls herself up slightly onto the deck and ….yup…it’s a BIG RAT!

Should she say anything to the always distracted lifeguards? (One is haphazardly sweeping, the other is messing with his goddamn cell phone.)

PP sighs. Decides against notifying the authorities as “Willard” slithers under the bench and into some secret hideaway in the rocky wall. (Remember that movie? ) O H brings it up later that evening. All those RATS on the wild; lose & killing and maiming small children? Or is that just PP’s fantasy? Anyway, it’s pretty funny that she’s swimming at Willard Pool and Willard the Rat is the pool guardian.

As she swims back to the other s…