Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tough Medicine

It was never my intention to be born before the invention of sunscreen. And, in fact, if I had it to do over again, I would do things differently.

We had back then, of course, "Suntan Lotion". Our mommas shook it out of the Coppertone bottle and slathered us - and themselves, while they were at it - with the stuff, so that we would be as cute and berry-brown as the little girl on the label. The topless one, with the dog pulling her bottoms off. I think today that would be classified as child porn.

"Suntan Lotion" was some combination of sunbeam intensifier and cooking oil; which kept us nice and moist as we baked. The theory was that we would "tan", not "burn". That worked OK for my Italian and Greek girlfriends; but this freckled, reddish-headed, baby-blue-eyed, white-as-a-marshmallow body of mine, like a defective chameleon, turned only one color. Red. Very, very red.

Luckily, we didn't spend a great deal of time in the great outdoors while I was small. And when we went to the beach, my cousin and I were so scared of the legendary "undertoe" (gads!!! loose feet parts in the water that would haul you out to sea?) we usually stayed indoors gluing shells to tissue boxes and shopping at the 5&10.

However. My "sun-days" became numerous as I approached my teen years; thanks to an earthshattering new product which Changed the Course of Humanity. At least in the 12-year-old world. The introduction of Sun-In. Spray it on, sit outside for hoursandhoursandhoursandhours; wash your hair, wait for it to dry, and LIKE MAGIC! It would be at least a half a shade lighter! Repeat as necessary, until your mom decided your hair looked like vermin-infested straw and forbade you to buy another bottle (Which, of course, you did, when you went to the movies at the mall the next weekend. And we know now, Mom knew exactly what we were doing.)

On a side note, by the time my children were preteens, Sun-In came in a super-strength version. You could pretty much sit under a light bulb and end up with peroxide blond hair. A giant leap for boy- and girlkind, in terms of sun exposure.

But, once again, I digress.

Fast-forward to present:

NOW they tell us, because Sanjay Gupta and all his TV doc friends and Surgeon Generals and Oprah and, I think, Billy Graham, have read Very Important Studies About Teens Who Sat Outside Trying to get Their Hair Blond, we shouldn't have done that! Well, where were all those Einsteins when we needed them? Someone should have passed an Anti Sun-In Resolution ages ago.

And here is why.

Yeah, I spent most of the summers of 1969 and 1970 in the sun; buttered up, smelling like coconut and bleaching my head. But, as soon as it was cool, I was on the Sunscreen Wagon. I slathered. I didn't bake between the hours of 10AM and 4PM, and I didn't "work on my tan", which I never would have achieved anyway.

And yet, I am now in the middle of 21 days of hell, Carac treatment for facial skin cancer. My face burns/itches/hurts/burns. I have sores in my mouth, nausea, and a throbbing headache. I look like I fell headfirst into a fire ant hill. People at the grocery store stare. Every half hour I put an ice pack on my face.

And I am supremely grateful to my dermatologist; who, during a "skin scan" discovered my face full of "micro-lesions"; each one of which could have grown into a world-class problem. And will now be an EX lesion. Eventually...

Moral of the story: Get checked now. Get checked later. Do the time. You might look like this for a while:

And you might, like me, want to cry. But don't - it stings. And you'll be able to cry, and laugh, and live and love for years to come.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I weekended at the Country Estate; and, as usual, took a wander around the grounds with my morning coffee. It was a soggy, muddy venture. The edge of the driveway looked curiously muddier than expected, however...closer examination revealed:

displaced mulch.
scratchy marks in the dirt.
some poke-y holes in the ground.
funny footprints.

And there was some kind of snuffling/scuffling noise down in the ravine...

And then:


So much fun to see! Especially alive, and not mooshed in the middle of a road!

So I did a little armadillo research, and learned:

Armadillos are mammals. Not marsupials, not lizards.
They are related to anteaters and sloths.
There is only one type of armadillo in the US - the Nine-Banded Armadillo.
Armadillos live 12 to 15 years.
The Giant Armadillo is 5 feet long.
They are beneficial because they eat icky things, like fire ants and termites.
They are in constant motion while grazing, which is why all of my photos are blurry.
They grunt as they eat, and are so focused that you can walk right up to them.
Since they sometimes eat roadkill, they often become roadkill.
Armadillos give birth to 4 identical babies, conceived of 1 egg cell that divides.
If you find an abandoned baby, you must bury its food, so it learns to forage.
You can feed the baby armadillo cat food and lettuce.
Armadillos sink in water. They can cross streams by walking on the bottom.
Or, they can suck up a bunch of air, and float across the water.
Armadillos sleep 16 hours a day.
People eat them. In some locales they are kept as edible pets.
They taste like pork. (Hearsay. I will not be testing armadillo recipes.)
But you should cook armadillo meat well, because they can carry leprosy.
(The only other mammal that carries leprosy is...humans!)

Armadillos are really, really cute. And I would rather photograph them than eat them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Results are In!

We received the results from the DNA test on our odd little dog, who is something reminiscent of a Keeshond. This is what we learned:

The above is 100% Keeshond.

Apparently so is:


Which is proof to me that someone almost always manipulates the data.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

I never cared for math, so a TV show called "Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht" with its embedded numeral (obviously a trick question) held no appeal for me. Wouldn't "Ten" have been so much simpler? And more user-friendly for the equation-phobic, as well?

Also, my idea of a great night of television is watching severe weather on the Weather Channel radar; and occasionally looking out the front door for tornadoes.

Now, it turns out, as I suspected, "Ten" isn't the right answer, after all. I think it has something to do with that embedded numeral. (Haha, embedded. I crack myself up.)

And money. Lots and lots of money.

I have seen snippets of the show. It seems to involve a lot of screaming. And the kids scream a lot, too. The amazing thing is that the kids always have BOTH SHOES on their feet when they are outside. And NO SHOES on their feet indoors. Even with only two children I only managed that scenario occasionally. For each of mine, we dedicated approximately 3 of their Formative Years to seeking lost shoes, and another 3 to scraping dog poop off the ones that were not lost.

So I had a feeling all along that this show was bogus.

Plus. They had one actress play the mother in the first show, and now there is the one with the Hedgehog Hair. And we are supposed to look the other way, and go along with that? We're not stupid.

But, what's really weird to me is that - unlike stories about that Spears chick going commando and the lady with the big lips who has 14 kids and Madonna and Jesus (is THAT a coincidence or what?) and Paula Abdul swearing on Taylor Hicks' new crossover country album that she never took a single pain pill through 21 back surgeries - I READ the stories about Prickly Mrs. Hedgehog. What's up with that?

I'm beginning to think it's the Sudoku. My Number Tolerance is improving. In fact, since the weather isn't at all interesting, I think I'll rent "With Six You Get Eggroll" tonight. And tomorrow, I'll break open the "Complete 'Eight is Enough' Gift Set."

And, perhaps, as I feel numerically stronger and stronger, I can watch a few J&K+8 reruns over the holiday weekend...and by the time the new season starts next week I'll be all caught up. I wonder how I'd look with Hedgehog Hair?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There are Moments...

When you know you are in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time; with exactly the right people. And everything is, as Goldilocks would say, "Just Right."

Like the moment your brilliant and beautiful granddaughter is baptized in front of family and friends; in an historic and achingly pretty church. And, for that moment, there is no discord. Or turmoil. Or recession, or drought or flood, or flu. Just peace, joy, and the knowledge that life goes on.

And you can't help but count your blessings.