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Quote of the day

January 28, 2013

from my secret kung fu teacher:

“Grit your teeth. We’re not doing yoga, girl.”

That was yesterday. Today, hopefully, I won’t need to lift anything, because ouch, my arms, ouch.


This is a post about body odor

December 14, 2012

checking for BO

So, after a memorably stinky phase in early adolescence, for many years I felt that I had my armpit situation well under control. I even switched to that Tom’s of Maine hippie deodorant and I live on a sweltering tropical island and managed not to stink unless I was doing some kind of organized sporty activity, in which case I think it’s socially acceptable to be smelly.

My new master’s program changed that. I don’t know if it’s the stress of being in school again, or being nervous about seeing clients (wait, they let me do therapy already? with, like, real people and their problems?!) but in the past couple of months I’ve started carrying the deodorant around with me, and I had to reapply it several times throughout the day. This was no good at all. So I asked the internet for recommendations on other natural deodorants I could try. And then I found a recipe for homemade deodorant.

It is: 3 tbsp cornstarch, 3 tbsp baking soda, 4 tbsp coconut oil (melted), 10 drops essential oil of your choice (I used ylang-ylang, because I like it). You slowly stir the coconut oil into the dry ingredients and then add the essential oil at the end. According to the recipe, this results in a “creamy” texture, and you just spread a little on your armpits and go about your day.

Now, I know that even the phrase “homemade deodorant” sounds like a bad idea. But I had all of the ingredients in the house, and I didn’t have a very long day ahead of me, so I decided to give it a try. And it works! It works really, really well. It works better than Tom’s ever did. (okay, except for the “creamy texture” part. Because it’s too warm here for the coconut oil to re-solidify, the texture is more like “slippery goo.”) The first day of the homemade deodorant test, I saw two clients, did some work in the library, and then met up with some people for an end-of-semester-happy-hour-thing. I smelled awesome all day. There were some chalky marks on the inside of my sweater (the air conditioner was too cold), but they went away. I raised the stakes on homemade deodorant test day two: nervous-making meeting with professor, last day of my research methods class, then I took a POLYGRAPH test, which is extremely nervous-making. Again, I smelled awesome all day. In fact, I still smell awesome and it’s the next morning. Further testing is needed, of course, but so far, I’m giving homemade deodorant an A+.

(In case you’re wondering why I took a lie-detector test: my supervisor at the clinic where I’m doing my internship is a licensed polygraph administrator, and she has to do practice ones to keep her license. In case you’re wondering what it’s like: it’s weird and stressy and uncomfortable, and takes at least two hours, and you have to wear an inflated blood pressure cuff for a really long time. In case you’re wondering how I did: the polygraph confirms that I am very honest and also a terrible liar.)

It’s beginning to look a like Spam-mas…

December 8, 2012

I think the Spam tree probably falls into the “only on Guam” category, but I could be wrong.

The best thing about this time of year, though, is that classes are finally done for the semester, hooray!


You will enjoy this banana sherbet

October 16, 2012

It’s ridiculous I haven’t posted this before. It’s really easy and I make it all the time. It will probably improve your quality of life, if that isn’t too much to say about a frozen dessert.

1. Thickly slice several ripe bananas until you have about 3.5 cups. This is probably three or four standard bananas, or about eight of the little “boonie bananas” we have here (photo above).
2. Spread out the slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze for several hours.
3. When you’re ready to make your sherbet, take the sheet pan with the bananas out of the freezer and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes.
4. Next, put the banana slices in your food processor (a blender might work, I haven’t tried it, though), along with 0.5 cup sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla (or the seeds from a vanilla bean, if you’re feeling decadent), a tiny pinch of salt, 3 tbsp honey and 3 tbsp agave nectar. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy like soft-serve.
5. Taste and adjust if it needs extra sweetness.
6. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

1. Did I mention I love this a lot? I even used it as the basis of my birthday cake (but I roasted the bananas first). See?

2. You can use whatever sweetener you like. I like a combination of honey and agave nectar, because the honey flavor can sometimes be overpowering if you just use honey. If you want to use sugar, I’d recommend superfine sugar or powdered sugar, so it will dissolve quickly.
3. This does work with other fruits! I’ve tried mangoes, raspberries, papaya, and pineapple, all with delicious results.
4. For another nice variation, omit the vanilla and use some lime juice and zest, or a few sprigs of fresh mint.

U.S.S. George Washington

September 24, 2012

You guys! There’s an aircraft carrier parked in the harbor on the Guam Naval Base right now. And we got to go on a tour. How cool is that?

Some thoughts:
1. Although the carrier is very, very large, it seems awfully small when they told me that they had about 5,000 people on it.
2. It is confusing to spend time with something that is both an engineering marvel and an instrument of destruction.
3. The planes and helicopters fold up like origami to save space.

Some photos:



Planes are ominous!

In the captain’s chair on the navigation bridge! I apologize that this is not a great photo, in terms of the exposure and whatnot. Also, since looking at the pictures, I’ve realized that shirt is not my friend, and we should spend more time apart.

So I guess my water is unamerican…

September 19, 2012

The girl in my class who brought this said that it’s for “when you’re feeling patriotic, or at the golf course.”


A large spider

September 16, 2012

So, this morning I went outside to bring in some laundry from the clothesline. Then I saw this:

For scale, I invite you to consider the clothespins near the spider. Also for scale, the sports bra upon which the spider is resting is not, like, for toddlers. It is an adult American lady size medium. I also invite you to notice that the spider seems to be carrying something under its body (it looks beige in the photo), which I can only imagine is some kind of egg sac and DEAR GOD THE GIANT SPIDER WANTS TO LAY EGGS IN MY SPORTS BRA AND HATCH AN ARMY OF GIANT SPIDERS.

So, I tried to discourage the spider’s location with a stick, but the spider would only move from one side of the sports bra to the other. After that, I decided that the laundry probably needed more time to dry off.

After a few hours of schoolwork and a leisurely lunch, I figured the laundry was probably all the way dry and the spider had probably found something better to do. I was right about the laundry being dry, but the spider was still exactly where I’d left it. I went inside and said to John, “That giant spider is still totally on my sports bra. Do you want to see it?” So then John and I are both staring at the giant spider. “Obviously, the first thing to do is to take down some of this other laundry so that I can get a good picture,” I suggested.

So then, since my previous work with the stick was unsuccessful, I decided to try throwing rocks at the spider. A spider large enough to throw rocks at! Augh! Although my aim was surprisingly decent, giant spider was not giving up its new home. Eventually, we managed to convince the spider to live under the deck with the help of the SEVEN-FOOT BAMBOO POLE I keep near the front door. One pair of underwear was a casualty, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to keep the giant spider army out of my fitness apparel.