Showing posts from November, 2006

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…