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Part III ~ Palace Hotel Grand Finale!

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(Dear Readers, again, note that this is the final chapter in a series of three. Please see the two entries below this for parts I & II)

5:23 a.m. PP awoke with a raging headache. Where was she? Wasn’t she at the Blue Palace swimming with Daryl Hannah? Yes, and Daryl had invited her over for a cocktail and when PP got out of the water, Daryl giggled, turned around and then dove into the bright blue sea. Vanished. Like a flying mermaid. Hey wasn’t she a mermaid in another one of her movies? That Daryl. She’s definitely part of PP’s swimming faith.

The headache pounded in her ears. Temples. Back of the head. Neck even. Where the hell was the Advil? Glancing around, PP remembered where she was. Not at the Blue Palace but at the Real Palace. With a nasty sickness. And no swimming!

Tottering into the bathroom, she retrieved the Advil and gulped two down. Then glanced over at the curtain drawn across the window in the dark stillness.

The pool opens at 5 a.m. Wonder if anyone’s swimming? Pe…

Part II ~ Palace Blue

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(Dear Readers, please see entry below for Part I—PP is still not quite sure how to handle the organization of chaptered entries since the blog automatically places the most recent entry first. However, she’s certain that you, Dear Readers, will figure it out, yes?)


O Glorious Christmas morn at the Palace Hotel. Room service (Hey, it’s Christmas and everything’s closed. Perfect excuse to spring for the $25 coffee and puny pastry basket. But the little individual jams are cute—blackberry and orange marmalade!) A bit of frisky play on the King-size bed, then PP runs to check out the pool! Yes! Their room has a view of the pool’s domed top and if you look closely, you can see if anyone is swimming! Can you believe that? Only a swimming kitty would get a room with the check-out if it’s crowded in the pool vista!

But this Christmas day, it’s so lovely. The San Francisco Skyscraper sky is a bright vivid blue. The air in sunshiny crisp. And yes, there are some splashers in the pool, so why not …

Part I ~ Full Disclosure

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Finally! PP is well enough (though admittedly still not quite back to 100%) to write about the ‘Undisclosed Location’ for Christmas. Did anyone guess? I bet some of you did!

Well. Here you go: The undisclosed location was The Palace Hotel! (Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend’s Genius Idea for their Christmas getaway)

Was it everything she’d fantasized about?

Oh, yes and more! Of course she expected it to be exquisitely enchanting. But little did she know how much.

Donning the requisite white hotel robe and rushing down the royally carpeted hallways in bare feet and swim garb, PP was bursting with excitement. Here she was at last! The Palace Hotel Pool, lying hidden on the 4th floor, overlooking New Montgomery and Market, glowed turquoise in the late afternoon light. Stupidly, PP had forgotten to eat anything before boarding BART, so when they arrived, she was too hungry to swim. It being Christmas Eve and all, everything was closed. The little pizza place across the street. The Boulangerie So…

Christmas and Pools

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As many of you may already know, PP is heading off for an 'undisclosed location' for the Christmas holiday. Of course, any destination she chooses will have a pool.

Do you think the pool will have a floating Christmas tree, too?
PP can only hope so!

Stories to come after Christmas!

Till then, swim swim swim!!!

PP

Everybody Got a Blow Job

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So much was happening at the pool today. The last day at Mills before the long winter break, that PP can’t write it all down what with JL, and the Lovely I and DHBF not to mention many Random Swimmer’s Commentaries and Asides. So, she’s gonna try something a little different and try to write her blog ala Frank O’Hara’s ‘Do this Do That’ style…..

Of course, she’s no Frank O’Hara.

But he’s dead, so he’ll never know that his name is going underwater.

For you Frank:

You’re not gonna like the water today. It’s really COLD!
I was in the Hot Tub the other day and these Sport Jocks were complaining about the Cold Water and then I got in and it wasn’t so bad.
There were tons of empty lanes but she had to choose mine!
Lane Stalker.
I like the Middle of a Relationship. Not the Beginning. Not the ending. That’s why I’m still single. How do you get to the middle without a Beginning?
Not me! I love the Beginning. The Chase! I miss That!
And then it turned out that this woman who insisted on getting in my l…

Have a Happy Hello Kitty Hair Day!

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"We got you a little something. It's NOT a Christmas present! We don't DO Christmas! D found it cheap at Target. Of course, it is swimming related. But I hope you don't already have one!"

The Lovely I retrieved a paper bag from her stash of swim stuff. PP loves it that the Lovely I and her GF don't do Christmas and has decided to embrace this doctrine herself this year. Why? Is it just PP's naturally Grinch-like personality? Perhaps. Or is it her perpetually Cheapskate inclination? Could be. Or is it simply that she'd rather spend the dough on a Pool Trip than participate in the always fake feeling 'Spirit of Giving' that is the season? Yeah, that's it. PP is just so selfish! All she really wants to do is swim and write and swim some more. Forget shopping. PP LOATHES shopping! And while it does feel a little strange to not be heading to Moe's to pick out books for her friends and family, a bigger part of her is relieved that a trip to …

in lieu of swimming

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Since PP has been odiously under the weather and therefore, unable to swim, she’s had to find other activities that don’t demand too much brainpower since her brain is mucus land.

Charming.

So what has she been doing in lieu of swimming?

Watching lots and lots of daytime TV, what else? Any oh, my! What a lot she has learned!

Tyra taught her ‘How to recognize a fake!’ Now PP can tell the difference between fake hair extensions and human ones (The human ones BOUNCE!) between a REAL Gucci Bag and a Knockoff (the real one has soft leather lining that feels like “Charmin”--Oh that Tyra, she has a way with simile) and between the Real Tyra and the Fake One. (The Real one is Taller, Fatter, and Stupider!)



What else has PP learned from daytime TV? On Oprah she learned all about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Charmed Literary life and how she’s become a literary rock star cuz of her new book ‘bout her spiritual journey from the bathroom floor to Italy to India to New Jersey. She calls her book, “Eat, Pray, …

Oh! Those Devious Professional Swimmers!

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Finally! Capt. G was coming to the Y as PP’s guest for a much needed indoor swim—what with the cold windy grayness of December, an indoor swim seemed purrfect.

Oh dear. PP is just too wretchedly sick to write this story. Damn! And it’s so funny! Maybe she can write it in summary form? Or a delirious fevered rendition might just work for the story to unfold in all it’s devious glory? Yes; this will work. Or if not, who cares? Not PP, whose fever-induced boredom has made her turn to the only other passion she has when she can't swim: Writing!

Waiting for Capt. G to arrive, PP had picked up a copy of Rita Mae Brown’s Sneaky Pie series. Again, since she’s so sick today, can’t remember the title, but yet, she’s always loved the idea of the cat and corgi detective helpers. Plus, she’s been intrigued by the YMCA’s book shelf here in the lobby for months, but has never had the time to peruse its contents. Mostly the usual suspects. Mysteries. Romances. A couple New-agey titles about finding…

Thanksgiving--it's her 'Season'!

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“I think you hafta resign yourself to a Pool-less Thanksgiving,” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend sighed as they sat in the post Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon traffic through heinous San Rafael.

It had been one pool disappointment after another this last weekend. First the Divine Arcata Pool. Then the closed Benbow Inn Pool. Now the out of reach Marin YMCA.

Was a swim for the holiday asking too much?

Evidently.

PP hated that. Why the hell can’t all the pools be open all of the time? Who the hell decides that pools must be closed for holidays? Or the‘season’? It just was not right. And there was a part of PP that was heavily in Denial about the reality of ‘closed pools’. Any sane person, who tried calling the Acrata pool 3 times with no answer on the day after Thanksgiving would just assume that the pool was closed. It was a holiday after all. But no. PP had to conjecture that it was just those good for nothing lazy lifeguards not answering the phone as is their want much of the time. PP h…

Perfect Day for the Campbell Pool

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“You must go at Lunch,” the Lovely I asserted after listening to PP’s whining about how she couldn’t swim at the Campbell Pool after her shift at WWU. It would be too late. After 8 pm. Then the swim till 9, then the shower, rinsing off, toweling off, hair drying. Now it’d be 9:30 or maybe even 10 pm. PP was so damned slow. Then the drive all the way back to Oakland without any dinner. The hunger factor. Always a problem. If PP didn’t eat by 8 pm or so, well…..fainting was a distinct possibility and fainting on the 880 freeway at 10 o’clock at night sounded like more than Odiousness to her.

But then PP had another idea. What if she did this evening swim and then went and stayed at the Campbell Inn? Ordered Room service. Watched Cable T.V. She divulged this fantasy to the Lovely I. Confessed how she’d never done anything like this by herself. The Lovely I had sighed and confessed the same, “Me neither. I’ve never done that by myself.” This sorta surprised PP. The Lovely I seemed so worl…

Blame It on the Time Change

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ARRRGGGGHHH!!!
What the hell is up with the YMCA tonight? Is there such a thing as Organized Anarchy?

Trying not to drown in the washing machine wakes of a gazillion circle swimmers was not PP’s idea of a swim. And after she’d just been going on and on to her friend MC while walking round Lake Merritt about how restorative swimming was.

“Sometimes I get outta Therapy and I’m so wrung out, I wonder what the hell is that all about? Like I’m more depressed after Therapy than before it,” MC had lamented as they turned the corner next to Children’s Fairy Land, making there way back toward the Bird Sanctuary on the West side of the Lake.

PP had nodded, knowing exactly what MC was talking about. What was it about Therapy that made you feel worse?

Hell, swimming never did that. Unless, you timed it wrong. Like on aMonday night at 6 p.m. when all the after work swimmers were pouring into your lane causing circle swim overload.

PP hates circle swimming. It just sucks. It can work out for a little…

Ghost Woman

She felt her before she saw her. Heard her. A chilling voice echoing in the darkness. Words indecipherable. A form unseen for moments.

Spacey. Hungry. Relaxed. PP ambled down the steps of the YMCA toward Broadway. Not really paying attention to her surroundings. It was early. Only 7:30 or 8:00 pm, yet it was dark. Cold. Windy out.

And there She was. Appearing out of nowhere. Or so it seemed. Completely startling PP out of her spacey reverie, she stared up at PP, her gnarled, wrinkly dark face targeting PP as she stepped down the stairs.

Stopping PP in her tracks. Chills running up and down her spine. Heart racing. Mind suddenly alert and on guard. Cliché, but true-- all of a sudden PP was on High Alert.

Calling up to PP, the slight woman stood staring her down as PP stood still, poised at the top of the stairs. What was she saying? Where had she come from? PP glanced around. No one else was on the street at the moment. Of course. The Y was bustling inside with the pool filled to over…

The Coolest of the Cool

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She was the type that PP has always felt intimidated by. You know her. Weird colored hair. (Hot pink in this case) Lots of intricate tattoos. (Hissing snakes and intricate Celtic designs adorned her arms, legs, and back) an aura of coolness that permeates from every pore in her porcelain white skin. She works for some groovy Bay Area non-profit and hits the YMCA on her lunch break between hot quickies with her equally cool girlfriend.

How do some people do it? PP wonders to herself. Maintain that Bay Area Chic Coolness all day, every day? It must take a lot of work! But then again, probably not. It’s just who she is at this point. She probably doesn’t even think about the black fishnet stockings, silly (but on her cool) black leatherette knee high boots and catholic school girl pleated skirt topped off by a very non-catholic school girl spandex black t-shirt.

So, when Miss Coolness turned to PP with a shy, apologetic smile, PP was secretly thrilled. She could do this. Pretend to conver…

The Pool Plot for the Palace Hotel

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So PP got to thinking about this supposed policy she has about swimming in every pool that she discovers and you know what? It’s just not so. However, she can only think of one pool that she’s discovered that she hasn’t (yet!) swam in.

The pool at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Did you even know there was a pool in that fabulous old establishment?
Well, there is.

PP had discovered it one evening after drinks in the bar of the hotel with a colleague at FFU.
“Hey,” KP had exclaimed after a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio. “Have you seen the pool here?”
PP almost spit out her Cabernet Franc. “There’s a POOL here?”
“Yup. Wanna see it?”
“Are you kidding? Of course.”

And so, KP had gulped down her wine, paid the bill and off she led PP to the 4th floor, easy as you please. Like she owned the place. (Or the Palace.) PP really admires her friends that can do this. Waltz into any establishment, money and reservations aside, and act like they belong. No one questions them. Just cuz of t…

Campbell is a'Callin!

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The excitement is building, but will PP have the energy to swim after her long day at WWU?

She does have this policy to swim at every pool she discovers even if it means only once. Sometimes, once is enough. (Remember the Heinous Unpleasant Hill YMCA?)

~Stay tuned for her swim at the Campbell Community Center POOL!~

Custard and Hearts

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She smiles at PP from across the gym. PP’s in the hot tub. She’s getting undressed at the lockers directly in front of the tub. The smile is shy, yet familiar. PP thinks, do I know her? Perhaps. PP chats with lots of women here at the Oakland Y, and while this ample
African American Woman in her sexy lacy black bikini ensemble doesn’t upon first glance, seem familiar, you never know. Could be that PP’s smiled at her in the pool, or here in the hot tub or in the dark hot confines of the sauna.

Sometimes it’s just hard to keep track of all the people that she kinda knows. And at the Y, post swim, blissfully soaking in the hot tub, it’s even harder.

PP closes her eyes and drifts off into Hot Tub space-out land. Ahhhh……till she feels the Presence next to her. Opens her eyes, and yes, it’s She—Smiling Woman from across the way, now seated next to her in the tub, her own bliss oozing out of her in a happy grin.

“It feels so gooood,” she sighs, giving PP another shy smile.
“Oh, yeah,” PP agrees…

Baboons, Menopause, and Antidepressants

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“They say that we’re more like Chimpanzees than Gorillas,” New York Times Guy (PP will make it clear why he’s called this later on) nodded, serious and informed. PP sinks into the hot tub, grinning mightily. This is gonna be good! While she enjoys the Women Only Hot Tub Talk at the Y, these Mills College Guy Talks are definitely missed. Esp. when the Guys are talking about Chimps and Gorillas.

“Why is that?” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend asks, completely serious.
Guys. Apes. It’s Manly Hot Tub Talk. (Though Guys at Mills College hits her a bit strangely still even though they have been around the campus for years now.)

Out of the corner of her eye, PP spies AO, locally (maybe internationally?) famous Jazz Pianist, dipping into the tub right as NYTG makes his Gorilla Assertion. PP can’t look at AO. For some reason, she thinks he’s laughing. But this could just be her projection; he’s probably just nodding in Serious Guy Bonding Unison.

NYTG thinks for a moment about DHBF’s question, then…