Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Grand Canyon and Other Things

These are just a couple of pictures from my recent trip to the Grand Canyon with Team in Training. It was an amazing experience--one that I can't fully put in to words. The hike was awesome-having done it I can't imagine visiting the Grand Canyon and not going below the rim, but people do it. 99% of visitors do that, as a matter of fact. So there you go. Oh and there are no color filters on these pictures-I just snapped and went. So the blues really are that blue, etc.

In other news, I'm taking Middle Welsh this summer. It's a reading group of some students and professors at UConn, and my advisor emailed asking if I'd like to join in. So I figured, why not? It's a chance to meet some new people and get my head in the game for the fall. This last Monday was the first meeting, and it went pretty well on my end, I though. The main hang-up is that most everyone there, from what I can tell, has had some sort of Irish and they keep comparing the Welsh to that. This is all fine and dandy, but as I haven't had Irish I end up tuning out a bit on those points.

R and I worked on the garden last weekend. I'm hoping to upload some photos of that at a later date. We're doing raised bed gardening this year, and he and I built the beds together. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I got poison ivy YET AGAIN. I don't know why they don't call it Satan's weed, as that's what it is. It's all over my arms and my face this time. Ugh. And I got some sort of crazy bug bite-infection thing that requires 10 days of antibiotics. Ugh again.

Oh well. Gizmo just fell on an old flourescent light in the office in a place he can get in but not out. He was freaking out, but luckily he's ok and I'm ok and everything's cleaned up. Woot.

That's all for now. I've got to preach Trinity Sunday, so I need to solidify my thoughts about this one. And do some Welsh. And try not to scratch.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Awesome. Awesome to the Max.

I don't usually cry at news articles. I'll cry at movies no problem, and usually cry at books as well (I'm a huge cry-baby, it's just that most people don't know it). But this article had me all misty-eyed. People are amazing. Read it and weep. Literally.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Pardon the Smell...

I'm a sweat-er. No, not a warm woolly jumper, but a person who sweats. Part of it may be that I grew up in a humid climate where the summer weather report is consistently "hazy, hot, and humid." Part of it is also that I'm just made that way. Sweaty Betty, as my brother likes to say. There was a time when this might have embarrassed me, and I'll admit that I avoid certain color long sleeve Oxford button downs because I know it will be apparent I'm sweating, but for the most part I'm over it. Whatever. It's how God made me, and that's that.

Anti-perspirant would seem to be the obvious answer to sweating, and from about ages 12-21 that's what I used. I found out later my brother and dad couldn't use it because they're allergic, but I never had a problem, until my senior year of college. I broke out under my arms and it suuuccckkked. It's bad enough having a rash anywhere, but under your arms is ridiculously painful and annoying. Knowing the men in my family were allergic to anti-perspirants, I figured the same was true for me. I looked for women's plain deodorant, and it was impossible to find! I'm not sure what companies even make it. I did wear men's deoderant for a while (Speed Stick, usually), but to be honest I don't like walking around smelling like a man. The first time I said this to R, his response was "What, you don't like smelling like sweat and engine oil?" Ha. No dear, I don't.

Anyway I switched to Tom's of Maine. Then Tom's changed their formula to this long lasting protection thing, so I switched to Arm and Hammer, which caused me to break out as well. Then I found Tom's sensitive skin deodorant, and that has been my solution thus far. However, I'm finding it increasingly hard to find (for example, the Tom's website says that my local Target carries it-which they usually have in the past-but when I stopped by today it's been replaced by the new Tom's roll-on deodorants). I hate that it's harder to find, because the stuff really works for me. I broke out last summer before the wedding (about a month before-luckily it was gone by wedding time!) because I couldn't find it. And like a doofus, I left my workout bag at work last night, in which I had put my brush and deodorant, not realizing until I got home that it was in my office (1.5 hours away) and not in my car, so I didn't have it at home. I had an old stick of Tom's I'd never used, but it was the long lasting stuff. I put it on, not wanting to be smelly, and within 10 minutes it was burning. LAME. As I won't be in the office again until Sunday, I went to Target to look for some more, and well, I just talked about that.

So. What to do? I could order it online, or make a trip 2 hours north to the outlet store in Maine. It may end up coming to that, but it's not cheap. Running around 4.50 a stick, buying in bulk isn't really an option. My solution? I'm going to enter the world of make your own deodorant. I've found one simple recipe that's 1 part baking soda to 6 parts corn starch, and I'm going to start with that. I've recently developed a sensitivity to some natural fragrances (like lavender, which is too bad because I love the smell of lavender! The Trader Joe's laundry detergent made my clothes smell sooooo good. Oh well), and have been using unscented Tom's for a while, so I'm not worried about the lack of fragrance. Besides, no one's sticking their nose in my armpit so there's nothing to worry about that. I'll let you know how it goes. If it works, this will be awesome, as baking soda and corn starch are super cheap and super natural-not containing the crazy chemicals in so many deodorants.

I'm also contemplating making my own shampoo. I'm just tired of paying so much for something that literally goes down the drain. So far I haven't found anything that seems like it will work on thick, curly hair. If you know of anything good, point me in that direction!

In the mean time, pardon me if I smell a little funny. I'm trying to figure this whole home-made thing out...