Week 19: Tampa: Vacation twerking with Lolita and a Croque Monsieur

So, this is the first week I’ve broken from my initial schedule (aside from the titles I haven’t gotten to: Sorry Gullivers Travels and Great Expectations!) and done a swap.  Initially, I had scheduled to do Catch 22 right after A Farewell to Arms, I think because of the military connection. However…

With the new car we got last fall, I’ve been basking in the glow of Sirius Satellite Radio.  But let’s be real:  There’s only so many times I can hear Uptown Funk and Love Me Like You Do.  So, I decided to pick out a couple of audiobooks from the library and stumbled upon Reading Lolita in Tehran.  I got nearly a disc in when I decided that I wanted to read Lolita before I read it in Tehran.

It also fell the week before vacation and the swimming pool had just opened up.  I bought a bunch of lollipops and tried to cater my entire week to the subliminal pedophilia inherent in behaving like a “girly girl.”

PS: Kindle Fire does NOT read well in sunlight and rum does not mix well with Crystal Light.

The Workout: Tampa Twerk

I googled “teenage girl workouts” looking for something to compliment Lolita.  There…aren’t any.  I googled some other things, including “Lolita workout” (stumbling upon some all-too-brief videos of a yoga instructor named Lolita).  Then, because it was the last teenage girl thing I could think of, I googled “twerkout” or “twerk workout” and found this.  I thought, “Hey!  I’m going to TAMPA this/next week.  This is perfect!”

Because I was so busy preparing for vacationing and then actually living in the vacation, I didn’t actually have time to do the Tampa Twerk til I got back from vacation.  BUT…(BUTT.)

I think I can say with confidence Keaira is the most compatible instructor for me since Tianna Rose with the bellydancing.  It’s by no means a professional grade video, but neither was Tianna and I think that’s what I like.  There’s no plastered grin, no phony baloney “You can do it!” chant throughout, though she does encourage you several times to GET LOW!  She jokes around, laughs at herself if she messes up the routine, even acknowledges her baby cooing just off camera (saying, “That’s my little mama…” FEELSIES!)…she’s real.

And so I did another one of her workouts the following week.  Stay tuned.

The Recipe: Martha Stewart Croque Monsieur


A day or two before departing for Tampa, I googled teenage girls’ recipes.  That search also ended pretty fruitless.  (I mean, I know how to make spaghetti).  So, then, because Humbert speaks French so frequently in the novel, which was initially published in Paris, I tried for French recipes instead.  This fancy ham and cheese wound up being a…pretty big hit for our household.

It calls for gruyere, but I used regular swiss because that shit is SPENDY for just a ham and cheese sandwich.  I also neglected to waste time standing at the deli counter and just served up some Hillshire Farms realness.  BUT, the one area that I did splurge on was the bread.  I stopped by Panera Bread on my way home from the grocery (admittedly at Jason’s suggestion) and got a fancy-fancy loaf for three or four bucks.  It was totally worth it.

Look how yummy!

The Book: Lolita

And now for our main attraction.  I’ve always found the idea of books about sex/perversion rather salacious, in a just-can’t-resist kind of way (Lady Chatterly’s Lover is on the schedule later on, initially slated to precede Lolita). I am happy that I read this book at this stage in my life.

If you’ve never considered yourself a feminist, Lolita might convert you.  I found the book more challenging the further it progressed.  As I said in the last post, the flowery language was a breath of fresh air after sparse Hemingway.  But, as Azar Nafisi points out in Tehran, the narrator’s vocabulary choices are meant to seduce the reader, to draw us in to Humbert’s truly wicked point of view, the way he is seducing his TWELVE YEAR OLD STEPDAUGHTER.

Sigh.  I just can’t with this book.  I loved it, but hated it.  Once Humbert takes possession of Lolita, most of the rest of the book is spent describing their tedious two-year affair (read: imprisonment).  And by tedious, I mean…it’s hard to read.  Not in a horrified-trapped-in-the-foxhole-with-the-dying-German-solider kind of way you would see in All Quiet on the Western Front, but more like being trapped in an elevator with someone who wants to tell you how truly and sublimely satisfying it is to slowly choke a puppy to death. Humbert is loathsome, but when it comes to the story, he’s your only in.  So you’re stuck with him, just like Lolita is. Brilliantly written.  Super uncomfortable.

I have the Kubrick film on loan from the library and am enjoying the first chapters of Tehran.  More on both later.  (PS: If anyone has a copy of the Jeremy Irons Lolita…hook a sister up).

The Vacation: Tampa and a Good Friend

My best friend graduated from Yale and I had to use my vacation days up, so we set out on an impromptu vacation, which I twitter-dubbed mfa-cation.  (Cause he got his MFA.  And I’ve had mine.  Aren’t I clever?)

We flew into Orlando on a Monday night, arriving at 9pm and driving to the place we were staying somewhere in the vicinity of Tampa.

This was taken at about 3am after we had arrived in Tampa from Orlando and opened up the condo. Sheer Bliss.

The best part of the vacation was the HOA’s 24 hour pool.  We went pretty much every night, no earlier than 10pm.

Talk about feeling like a kid again.

On Tuesday, we got stocked up for the trip with plenty of groceries and saw Mad Max: Fury Road.  I left feeling like I had tetanus, in a good way.

Wednesday: A trip to the nearby Weeki Wachie Springs for the live Mermaid Show.

They breathed through these hookah-looking tubes. Sometimes awkward, but always cool.

2 for 1 fajitas at Cody’s Roadhouse after a long day hunting from orange soft serve. This is when I realize that MFA-cation reads more like M-Faction.

Thursday: Our most active day.  We finally found the orange soft serve, visited the Chihuly Collection (glass art), the Dali Museum and dined at Hamburger Mary’s for their (somewhat underwhelming) drag show called Dining with the Divas.

It’s Abraham Lincoln. But it’s also a naked lady.

Friday:  saw Woman in Gold and had a crying fit.  Dined at this really neat place right on the beach.  Met a potential crackhead as he tried to move his boat away from the shore.

Saturday: drove to Jacksonville, where I got to visit my father and brother for the first time in many years.  On the way back to Tampa? Nearly killed in a rainstorm.  Kudos to Shawn for some expert driving.

My brother Shawn, My bestie Shawn, me and my Father Patricia

There were actually two rainbows, but the other one was very shy. Five minutes later, we were driving through a maelstrom.

The trip ended far too soon on Sunday, when we raced back to Orlando to catch corresponding flights.  I am having midnight swimming withdrawal.  Many thanks to Shawn’s family for letting me crash at their place.  I had a much-needed blast.

This week:

Book: Jurassic Park and its sequel

Recipe: Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

Workout: Reggae Dancehall Workout by Keaira LaShae


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