Island Babe

Sweat beads on my upper lip. Then my entire face seems to break out in moisture, followed by my neck and the middle of my back. We moved from Olalla, Washington on the 47th parallel, to a tropical island on the 19th. We’ve lived in Hawaii 4 months now, 2 months in this house. I haven’t sweat like this in 35 years.


“There’s mildew on my suitcase,” I say to the Bearded One, who sits on a folding chair beside the pile of solar panels in front of a fan in the dining room. When it’s hot, the secret is to sit still.

I’ve just come from the storage room where our friend worked this week on the new electric breaker box, and where all our clothes are stored, as well as the twin inflatable mattress that I just yesterday cleaned the bejesus out of. I did that while the guys – the Bearded One, our friend and our son – installed the solar framework on the roof.

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The plan is to put the panels up this week, weather permitting.

“Oh, there’s also a pile of suspect mainland clothing in the storage room,” I add. “We need to just chunk ‘em.” I look my sweetie in the eyeball. His instinct is to hoard. “We need to move them on.”

“What about when we go back to visit?” he protests.

“Wearing mildewy clothes?” I say.

“Good point.”

I’m still feeling a bit gritchy after the generator and water pump conked out last night and showers (or even spit baths!) seemed to become optional.

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The Bearded One got it working again, thank the Goddess of Generators. I’m all for natural, I tell him, but even birds take baths! I have standards, I say. We may be hippies, but we aren’t dirty hippies. I’m learning how to live in this climate with 130 inches of rain a year. Which lessons include no upholstery, no enclosed cabinets or storage, hang as many of your clothes as you can, and get wool futons for bedding. Wool doesn’t absorb the moisture. It’s full of natural lanolin.

“And then there’s all these new tops,” I say and point to six lightweight, brightly colored frocks my sister, the Goodwill Goddess, mailed this week.

“Fash-un show! Fash-un show!” chants the Bearded One, grinning from his folding chair.

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“Okay,” I say, a smile slowly spreading across my sweaty face, “as long as we sort your clothes, too.”


And so it begins, me parading around in feather-light cotton tops, mixing and matching with equally breezy bottoms. You need so few clothes here, really, I say, as the Bearded One heartily agrees. But it’s when his eyes twinkle and he tells me that he likes how I’ve gained some of my lost weight back that I start to have fun.

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I like the weight back, too, I say, and then add, “Your turn.”

He has no trouble jettisoning the pile of undershirts and three precious wool sweatshirts, or two of his three long-sleeved dressy shirts, or even two of his three pairs of jeans. It’s not until he gets to his stocking hat, dickie and gloves, the staples of his life for the past two decades, that he is stumped.

“What if we go hiking up on Mauna Kea?” he says.

I look at him. “A dickie?” I say.

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In the end, he puts them all in the give-away bag.

“I love to get to live with you,” he says, twinkling again. “You’re such an island babe.”

A drop of sweat drips from my nose, and I lick it off. “Yep.”

22 responses to “Island Babe

  1. Runway Island Babe! So glad you liked the frocks 🙂 Wow…what a project installing the solar panels….it’ll be awesome. You’ve had so much change and you both are an amazing team of love embracing them all….role models 🙂 And, the sweat is your natural neutralizer…island heat bath…body cleanser. We’re cooking here in the Emerald city….almost 90. Fans are good. And, I’m definitely one of your biggest fans, Seestor 🙂 xoxo

    • Mahalo, Leslie aka Goodwill Goddess. 🙂 I’m keeping 5 of the 6, that’s how good you are! Wow, Seattle at 90 degrees is tough. It’s just 80 here, but 1000% humidity. We have all three fans going. Stay cool, my Seestor, from me and the fan man. Love and hugsxxoo

  2. Ha! Sounds just like menopause to me – I had all that without the thrill of a tropical island 🙂 Glad those days are over!! And you will be keeping your body soooooo healthy with all that sweating – just keep taking in the water and the minerals 🙂

    I love the thought of the two of you holding your own private fashion show – and the thought of wearing all that light and blousy apparel makes my heart sing – I’m still hunkered down in boots and jacket and scarf and gloves when out walking puppy. But we have sunshine and rising temps and no wind today ……. spring is acomin’!!

    Okay Island Babe, have a great week, I hope those generator thingies stop playing up for you. Sending big hugs as ever xoxo

    • That, too, I’m afraid, Pauline. It will never end. 🙂 I’m 57 for heaven’s sake.

      Sweating is healthy, and I never minded it as a kid, but somewhere along the way, maybe in my make-up wearing days, I stopped enjoying the sensation. And boy, I am not complaining about lack of cold. Even though it’s not the cold that gets to me as much as the steel-gray overcast sky day after day without a ray. Cheers for the sunshine in Dunedin! And for the sunshine here! And for fans and solar electricity fountains on the roof! 🙂 You have a great week, too, my friend…and your dangler is almost in the mail. hee hee 🙂 Love and aloha xxoo

      • Ach – I remember it all so well! I have no idea when mine finally disappeared for good as for years it would just appear after an 11 month or thirteen month hiatus…….. I love living my life free of the reproductive side of womanhood!! 🙂

        I am SO excited about my dangling bits – dear old Fran is such a honey to have even thought of it!! Can’t wait to see what arrives and is melded into a ‘Dangler of International Happiness’ 🙂

  3. Borrow jackets–go to Mauna Kae! The sky up there! Love you both.

  4. Ooh I can’t wait to see your solar panels Christi :). Doesn’t it feel good to clear out unneeded clothes? You must be glowing with all that sweat! You will be cleansed for sure 🙂

  5. Yay for the solar panels, loving encounters with twinkly eyes, fashion shows and new clothes! Y’all are too cute together!! When a man tells me he appreciates my weight gain I instantly like him! I do need to lose weight though, unlike you! HA! Fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow! I still have hot flashes and I’m 53, started menopause when I was 37! Sheesh! A wise yogini once told me that a successful day consisted of sweating and belly laughing! You are in a great place! We’re grateful to remain in the 80’s and 90’s this week in Dallas. Hugs!

    • Aloha Susan! I had a mini epiphany about the weight gain comment when it happened, because I honestly was happy to have SOME of it back. When you lose it because you can’t eat or keep food down, it’s a less positive experience. Plus I’ve seen some fairly extreme examples of skinny old white women here and it ain’t pretty. A little flesh is a good thang! 🙂 Thanks for the good weather wishes, too. Hugs back, Christi

  6. Yes, I totally agree! I haven’t been too upset or nervous to eat in years. Now that I am older it doesn’t look as good. Aloha, Susan

  7. Christine Widman

    Hi Island Babe. (The Bearded One is the best for making smiles for my day.)
    Sweating there. Sweating here.
    Here – thank yous to every monstrous cloud in our sky. Rain!! Monsoon time in the desert soaks the air. We’ve been working outdoors on the property and my love is a walking waterfall.
    Amazing our life connections…we are having twin experiences in completely different environments.
    I remember how I fell in love with muu’muus. You know how clothes for me can be an enigma. Muu’muus meant easy choices…like hippie clothes. 100% cotton. Heaven.
    Have you and the Bearded One considered a daily swim in the ocean? It is a great cooling & cleansing device. We were in, by & at the water constantly.
    Can’t wait to hear how your solar panels work! We should have ours installed within the next couple of months. We can exchange notes on solar power. WOW!!!
    Big hugs…no…maybe I’ll just blow a kiss through the night sky.
    Less sweaty.

    • Aloha Christine,
      A swim in the ocean, ah! There aren’t too many swimming beaches on this windward, rocky cliff Puna coast, but I’ve got a plan to go with a friend to Pohoiki Bay, about 30 minutes away, and swim. Maybe the Bearded One will come, too. Swimming isn’t his thing as much, but I love it. Love you, and thanks for your lovely here/there updates. xxoo

  8. Ah the humidity! Always something isn’t it? We suffer the humidity as well. People lust after our low 30C temperatures in summer but they don’t factor in the humidity…I sweat with you in solidarity my sister in Hawaii (how exotic it is to type those words still…the novelty hasn’t worn off one iota 😉 ) but not quite yet. At the moment it is still in the low C’s and even though the fruit trees are putting on their blossomy frocks this little black duck is in complete denial that winter is anywhere near over…”Nope, not happened”! ;). Soon you will be less humid and cooler and back to being less twitchy and those cotton clothes are going to help get you there sooner. What is a dicky?! (Or should I ask!) I am with you on the swimming and was just about to suggest it. Something about salty sea on your skin makes the humidity all that much easier to bear 🙂

    • Aloha Fran! Dickie or dickey is a fake turtle-neck shirt, just the neck part, that you wear under other shirts. And I know it is a weird thing to say…last time I shopped for a dickie for the Bearded One in downtown Seattle is the last time. No one knew what I was talking about! The B.O. loves them, though. What can I say? He doesn’t need it here. 🙂

      Hurricane Iselle is supposed to hit here tomorrow afternoon…we’re hoping to see 16 foot waves down at the ocean tomorrow morning. The B.O. is psyched. And then we’ll hunker down. Hugs to you and the guys. xxoo

      • Hunker down well Ms Christi…maybe you could put the sacrificial “dicky” on a long pole and offer it to Ms Iselle? I am thinking that she might see it as a token peace offering and whisk it away to colder climes for a poor down-on-his-luck wallstreet banker tramp to find and remember the old days… 😉 Please take care!

  9. Thinking of you two and a scene from Tempest. I do dearly hope you have no weather related issues.

  10. Me too! Button down the hatches. xo P

  11. I’m awfully glad you aren’t dirty hippies. I held a moment of silence for the dickie. 😉 Thinking of you!

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