Posts Tagged ‘sunscreen’

Mind Block

29 January 2009

Dear J-

Funny thing about sunsets here — lately they’ve been so regularly spectacular (and being on the west coast, working in spitting distance of the ocean means that every night this month we’ve watched that bloody orb slide into the sea) that I start to gloss over how impressive its been.  So it goes; the slightest rain sends us into timid sulkiness, and temperatures lower than fifty are greeted with grumbling about how global warming can’t come soon enough.  The “Kurt Vonnegut” (really Mary Schmich) Wear Sunscreen speech from a few years ago advocated living in both Northern and Southern California, but leaving before the North made you too soft, and the South made you too hard.

We believe that whatever our faults may be down here in the South, surely everything else must offset those faults:  the laid-back attitude compensates the risk-taking, you’re regularly stuck in traffic but at least you can roll down the window and enjoy the weather, sure there’s earthquakes but at least no hurricanes.  I suppose it comes down to weighing your trade-offs, and what you find important.  With the forest of rumors and the current economic climate I actually find myself weighing options I wouldn’t have guessed at six months ago.

We have the question of relying on public schools — that’s at least a decision that can be deferred another four or so years — or hoping that figgy qualifies to go to a magnet, or contemplating private school.  This leads to the idea of moving for a better district, but trying to sell in this market is akin to cutting off your leg.  For fun.  So if not moving, perhaps a more secure job?  Or am I secure enough and just regretting the commute more with each day?  When I was little it seemed like the more you grew up the more answers you had to all those whys and hows.  Maybe it was just a shell game, this balancing the sheer terror of overwhelming choice with irresistible forces of change.  I believe it was more a simple prioritization and then fitting the pieces into place around that skeleton.



Wear Sunscreen

15 June 2008

Dear J-

I got my first significant sunburn at 13 or 14 after spending a week in the sun, sans sunscreen, at Lake Roosevelt, which formed behind Grand Coulee Dam once that mass of concrete was completed.  Before that, we honestly didn’t spend enough time outside (for the most part, it took roughly four or five days of sun-up to sun-set to induce that first burn).  That was one of the advantages of growing up Chinese in a 95% Caucasian zip code, J-; while it felt like we all spent that first week in September judging each others’ hard-earned summer tans, I could always throw my hat in that ring without too many worries, as it was nearly impossible to not get tan in the normal course of my summers.  And of course we had the PE teacher in junior high who regularly cured herself to the brink of leather; the kids who were lucky enough to escape someplace warm over Christmas break, coming back as cocoa marvels amongst the rest of us snow-pallor folks.

Now we live in a place saturated with sun and tans and it’s all we can do to stir outside without slathering on the UV-blocking lotions; I’ve learned more about the damaging properties of the sun’s rays since being told over and over what a healthy tan meant.  Every bit of exposure means damage; I see my boss going in to see his dermatologist regularly, coming back with ever more pieces of his flesh excised to strike out precancerous lesions.  It’s only taken thirty years, but I’m starting to get the message:  all sun exposure is a risk now.  Wear your sunscreen out there; we’ll argue the merits of helioplex and other mystery ingredients later.