The Swim to My 50s – Eat, Pray, Love, Slurp & Lounge Your Way Through Puerto Rico

I was born in this Enchanted Island back in the early 60’s…

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When I was nine years old, my parents decided to move my three siblings and I from Puerto Rico to a small town in the northeast to live.  Why, you ask?  Believe me, we asked and protested!  It had to do with a wonderful job opportunity for my father.

 It was quite the challenge (to say the least) since we did not know English very well.  But we soon adjusted, learned the language and have stayed in the States ever since.  All except for my mother, who moved back to PR.

Do you know how lucky I am to first, have such a wonderful mother, but also to have her live in this beautiful, spicy, warm and hospitable island?

I try to get there at least once a year, but it does not always work out that way.  However, when I do, watch-out island!  I EAT, pray (really, I do), love, drink, and enjoy every single minute of it.

If you have not been to PR, what are you waiting for?  No passport needed and a quick flight from most major cities!  There truly is something to do for everyone!

images-7 images-8 images-9 images-10 (None of these people are me) 

I am not going to pretend to be one of those tourist sites showing you the major attractions in Puerto Rico.  You can go to, http://www.visit-puerto-rico.com, for that.  

I will be showing you MY experiences in Puerto Rico and let me warn you, they have mostly to do with food!  {LOVE}

Although I stay at my mom’s place in Condado (a wonderful part of the island in San Juan filled with restaurants, hotels and beaches), my favorite place to lounge at is,  The Caribe Hilton.

 

Caribe Hilton Pool

Caribe Hilton Pool

DSCN5600  It’s so tough…being me.

My 'crib' at Caribe Hilton

My pimped-up ‘crib’ at Caribe Hilton

 

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Need I say more? Need I say more?

AY! The dragon iguana!

AY! The Dragon Iguana (harmless)

The Hilton has a safe private beach, hammocks, a swim-up bar, drinks delivered to you at your request and, yes, iguanas – but don’t worry, they don’t show up very often.  It is heavenly to lounge around there.  Trust me.  {LOVE}

Now, for some of the most scrumptious food.  It is amazing what one can make with Plantain (looks like a green banana but bigger) .  Check it out:

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Before – Picture. Mofongo! Mashed plantain stuffed with seafood! Total food-gasm!

After Picture.

After – Picture
Yup, I finished the whole thing!

TOSTONES! Fried Plantain

TOSTONES! Fried plantain with a little salt and garlic

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Pinon! It’s like a lasagna except with delicious seasoned ground beef, green beans and plantain instead of pasta. We will kill for this!

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Churrasco with chimichurri sauce, rice and beans, avocado and sweet plantain!

Rice and beans are a must! 183896_1702795364636_8325964_n

Bistec with onions, rice and beans

Steak with onions, rice and beans

How about a grilled cuban sandwich (we borrowed it from that island near by) on a sweet roll sprinkled with confectioners sugar?  Mallorcas! Deliciosas! {LOVE}

Now, for the sweets and desserts:

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Puerto Rican Coffee-Mousse

Piragua de Frambuesa -Raspberry Snow Cone

Piragua de Frambuesa Raspberry Snow Cone

Flan!

Flan! Melts in your mouth.

Guava with cheese

Guava Paste with cheese

These… are just a few of the many wonderful indulgences to enjoy.

Moving right along to the beverages I love to slurp:

Piña Coladas

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Sssssllllluuuurrrrpppp!

 

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DSCN5578 You can learn some history while there…

Other slurpable drinks:

 

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Rum Explosion, with Bacardi Rum made on the island!

You go can visit the Bacardi Rum Factory while there!

Sangria!

Sangria!

Fruity and refreshing!

 

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The best Margarita in town (Super Strong) @ Auroritas

*Have a designated driver when visiting Auroritas.

I know what you are thinking — besides, how fast can you get to PR, why doesn’t she weigh 300 lbs. and will she make it to her 50th birthday?–  You have seen pictures of me eating, loving {everything about PR}, drinking and lounging, but what about praying?   

The truth is, I have no pictures of myself praying.  Only, because praying is a very private affair.  As long as the Big Guy upstairs knows I am praying, that’s all that matters. Right? Oh wait, is He also watching me doing the other stuff?

I hope you enjoyed my little tour and that you plan a trip to Puerto Rico in the very near future!  

Adios & Buen Provecho!  

Swimming to My 50s – “I like Big B— (Goudas) and I Cannot Lie”

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Have you checked your tail lights lately?    It was time to inspect mine to make sure they were not out and that I didn’t get a ticket.  I know they are not perfect or new or shiny or firm or bright but they are mine nevertheless, and I am attached to them – literally!

As you may remember, I am ‘traveling’ throughout my body in preparation for the day I turn 50.  Just making sure all is in check and in no need of a tune up.  I have found a few (well ok, a lot) of parts that are in need of replacing, but after comparing prices at different shops, it is way too costly.  I am stuck in my clunker of a body for 50 more years.

So I dove right into checking out my backside to make sure it’s ok.   You know, my tail lights.  But (note, only one t), it occurred to me that I have used the word, butt on several occasions throughout my blog.  Like when I blogged about telling butt jokes while in the middle of surgery or when I described my beautiful butt chin.  

Well, I decided that I don’t like that word and that you have had more than enough of having to see it.  From this day forward, If I find myself having to discuss the word butt, I vow to replace it with another word with the same meaning.

Ay, Dios Mio!

Ay, Dios Mio!

Let’s take a look at my options:

Rear or rear end, ass, booty, trunk, bottom, tookus, derriere, bum-bum, buns, fanny, behind, seat, hind end, tush or tushi or tushy, glutes, hiney, tail lights, buttox, backside, buttocks, rump, arse, caboose, pooper, posterior, buttcheecks, dupa, bumper, biscuit, cheeks, skids, butter beans, suitcase, shelf and my new fav, gouda!

I’m sure I have missed some other names and welcome your suggestions.  In the meantime, gouda is today’s choice!  I love it!  Not my gouda, but just the word.  

My gouda, it turns out, is just fine.  Not too sharp, or mild or….aged.  I am happy to report that it will definitely take me through another 50 years, providing me with continued padding and comfort.  

imagesConsequently, I will sit my big gouda down and have myself a glass of wine.

The Swim to My 50s – Take THAT, Bully!

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I hate bullies.  They can be so cruel and evil and make your life hell. The sad truth is that even at almost 50 years of age, I am bullied almost every day.  Wether I step out of my house or not, the Bully is present.  He lives with me and will not leave me alone!  I have complained to the authorities but there is nothing anyone can do to make him leave me, once and for all!

I am not alone, though.  Many people (too many), live with an autoimmune disease where your own body attacks itself!  Imagine that?  You are going happily along living your life, relying on your presumed healthy immune system to attack any foreign and damaging intruders, when suddenly and often without warning, the rules of the game change!    Somewhere along the way, your body gets very confused (WTF?) and decides that you are the enemy.  It even goes into overdrive and attacks you with a vengeance!  Such betrayal… 

I have introduced my own personal Bully (Rheumatoid Arthritis), to readers of this blog in earlier posts.   I don’t let him intrude or influence my outlook on life very often except when he reminds me that he is in control!  Grrrrr!

The good news is that some days, he does not bother me as much as other days. Don’t know if he’s distracted or maybe hung over from previous attacks, but you can imagine the happiness I feel on those occasions!  Sometimes, it’s more of a tease because I falsely believe that I am cured and that my diagnosis is just one big mistake. But soon enough, he wakes up, shakes his head at me and resumes his attacks.

Yesterday began as a tough day.  My wrists, hands, fingers and knuckles were complaining.  Maybe, I’ve been writing on my blog too often and my joints are not very happy about it.  Or, maybe my Bully prefers I stay in bed and do nothing, as he often does. But, I did not let him win.

I decided to take a walk with my 17-year-old daughter who stayed home from school.  It was my suggestion.  The day was too gorgeous and warm not to enjoy.  I figured, my hands were hurting, but not my feet!  

It was a wonderful walk.  Every single step I took (and there were many) meant the world to me.  I never take walking for granted, but instead, see it as an incredible gift.  And, to be able to do it with my daughter, even more precious!  Take THAT, Bully!

I know that during the next couple of days, I will be hurting.  I know that I overdid it yesterday.  But, do I regret it?  NO WAY!!  I will deal with my aching body as I always do, but my mind and spirit feel only joy.

The Swim to My 50s – Only One Latina Allowed

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Salma HayekMark HarmonKeanu Reeves,  Ernest Bromley.  Who cares, you say?  I do, because they all share my birthday  [September 2nd}.  What?  You don’t recognize the name, Ernest Bromley?  Everyone should know the famed, Ernest Bromley!

I am certain that you know who Salma {or as my husband calls her, Oh, Salma Baby…}, is (now, Andy from http://ourlifein3d.com/ please try to control yourself) Ok, she is gorgeous, voluptuous, latina {Oh wait, so am I} and although she has not gotten rid of her Spanish accent, is a great actress.  This September, she will be turning 47 {the Be-atch}.

Mark – Oh Baby– Harmon will be turning 62.  He is most definitely invited to my big 5-0 bash.  

Keanu, whose first name means, ‘cool breeze over the mountains’ in Hawaiian, will be 49.  Thinking about him is making me feel a cool breeze over my…precisely why he is first on the invite list.

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My old friend Ernest Bromley, is actually just a random person I chose from the list of people I googled who share my birthday.  He was born in 1912 and was quite the Australian Cricketer!  Who Knew?  He will be at my party – in spirit.

I have also made a list of CELEBRITIES who will be turning 50 this year, that I am cordially inviting.  I better get those invitations out ASAP.

Here is the list so far.  Mike Myers and Rob Schneider are booked to do stand-up at the event.  Jennifer Beals, who will be in her leg warmers, is in charge of the dancing.  John Stamos is bringing 20 boxes of Oikos yogurt.  Brad Pitt can just be, Brad Pitt, sans Angelina and their 20 kids.  Quentin Tarantino said he would rub my feet all night long {wink,wink}.  

I will make sure to give Kathy Ireland the wrong date and time of the party.  Larry the Cable Guy is in charge of the electronics.  Seal said he was available, but as we all know, ‘one day you’re in and the next day you’re out’, so we shall see if he shows up.

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 Coolio, will be rapping throughout the night and I have asked GeorgeMichael to wake me up before he goes goes.

So as you can see, my party is shaping up quite nicely!

Sorry Salma, I’m at full capacity.

 

The Swim To My 50s – I Prefer to Belly Laugh

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When was the last time you belly laughed?  I mean, really laughed?  The kind of laughter that results in peculiar noises coming out of your mouth, nose or any other orifice, that you can’t believe can come from your body.

It had been a while since I had one of those times, that is, until last Thursday.  I will spare you the long details but let’s just say that my girlfriend and I could not look at each other without bursting into a hysterical seizure-like fit consisting of coughing, wheezing, snorting, choking, passing gas (not me, my friend) and crying.  It came over us like a tsunami and there was no stopping it.
 
Let me tell you, my abs were aching for the next couple of days.  That’s when it came to me.  Who needs sit ups {I wasn’t going to do them anyway} or swimming when you can laugh hysterically 3-4 times a week?  Yes!  What better way to welcome my 50s in September, than with tight-ass abs!!
 
As I continued inspecting my body in preparation for the big day, I had to address my mid-section.  It’s definitely been through hell and can be called a war zone  The first battle occurred at the age of 10. 
We had just moved to Amherst, MA from Puerto Rico, after my father had gotten a position at Umass.  We understood some English but were not even close to being able to form intelligible sentences.
 
My siblings were all playing inside and I wanted to play outside.  I went outside and saw that my next door neighbor whom I will call Steven {because that was his name} was also playing.  I believe he was a year or two older than me.  I decided to approach him and for some incredibly bizarre reason I’ve yet to understand, ask him if he wanted to fight me.  In my broken English, I dared him to hit me first.
 
Now, before you go judging me, I was very much a girly girl growing up.  I loved my Barbies,  my Easy-bake oven and everything pink.  I have no idea where this tough tomboy-ish persona of mine had been hiding and why it decided to come out on that day.
 
Steven was terrified.  Probably because he knew of his demise once his very strict German father heard that his son had hit a girl or equally terrified by the realization that my two very protective brothers and strict Puerto Rican father, were nearby.  But, I continued to egg him on.  Com-on, es-Steven, ju no hit me?  He kept shaking his head no, but after a while, I could see that he was considering it.
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Finally, after my relentless harassing, he took a strong (and may I say quite painful) swing with his fist and punched me right in the stomach.  I stood there in paralyzing pain, wanting to double over, but did everything in my 10-year-old power NOT to show that I was hurt.  I simply smiled at him and told him that I had to get something in my house but that I would be right back.  I walked calmly towards my front door, opened it, stepped in, closed the door and gave out a screeching earth-shattering wail, from the intense pain I felt.  Needless to say, I never went back out.
As predicted, poor Steven got quite the talking to by his German father and my brothers and strict Puerto Rican father, did run out to yell at him after seeing me so distraught.  Even after admitting to everyone that it was my fault and that I had started it, he was punished for hitting a girl.  Oops.
My other mid-section battles were not brought on by any tomboy-ish tendencies.  One battle in particular was brought on by the complete opposite.  It was inspired by a strong maternal, womanly desire to make babies. After three pregnancies and two beautiful children, the scars speak for themselves.  These are not scars from a C-section since I did not have one, but scars from the dreaded stretch marks! Just so you know, I am first on the list at my cousin’s plastic surgery practice, to go under the knife when they figure out a way to get rid of them!  
To add to my diverse looking stomach, I have since had gall-bladder surgery and a splenectomy (removal of your spleen).  Yes, you can still live without these two organs.  But, can you live with the scars?  🙂  The splenectomy scar is a doozy and takes over my entire abdomen.  Not a pretty sight and the main reason I do not have a belly button ring!  I feel so deprived of this right to bear rings!
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Above is a picture of me during a Halloween party sporting my one and only, ‘belly button ring’ (nice bikini, huh?).
I have come to accept the looks and shape of my mid-section and will continue to belly laugh all the way to my grave.