Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday link round up

Have you ever noticed how everything hurts more in the morning? I had to get some blood drawn and it was just awful. Usually I have no problem with needles but something about getting stuck in the arm before I've even had my coffee felt particularly cruel.  And the fact that when I finally got my hands on a mug, I dropped it on the ground. Sigh. This week is going down swinging.

I hope you're having a lovely, caffeinated, Friday. Some links to get you through the day:

For the Serial obsessed: Undisclosed digs deeper. Hosted by Rabia Chandry, the lawyer who contacted Sara Koenig and started the madness in the first place.

Did you know a volcano in Chile has erupted twice this week? Watch a time lapse video of eruption.

Yet another reason to eat more vegetables. The Bacteria is good for you and your digestion.

The Perfect Body. On body image, cyber bullying, and societal expectations of the female body.

Best friends going to prom in 2015.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Surviving in a sunny state when you have no melanin

I am pretty sure if there were a way to measure melanin in the body, my content would barely register on the scale. I'm a blonde haired, blue eyed, freckle-and-burn-in the sun, kinda gal. I CANNOT under any circumstances, get a tan.

This is me with a "tan"
I did an unwilling 5 year stint in South Florida as the Palest person in the state, (well tied for first place with my siblings) before absconding to the North where I easily blended in with the pasty masses. And then I unwittingly moved to one of the sunniest cities in the country. Fortunately my time in the sunny prison that was Florida taught me a thing or two about surviving in the sunshine as a person whose collective ancestry is FAR from the equator hidden under a cloud somewhere.

  • First and foremost:  Don't be a pale denier. What's a pale denier? Someone who looks at their tan friends and thinks "yeah, I could do that" despite all evidence and past sunburns to the contrary,  and eschews sunscreen.  I was once a pale denier. Trust me, it only ends one way:  sun poisoning. Colorado has been easier than Florida because it's not a sun worshipping society. They like the sun, but they aren't interested in becoming the crispiest piece of toast on the breakfast table, and most everyone covers up in lieu of baking in it.
  • Collect and wear a diverse selection of wide-brimmed hats.
  • Always have a witty comeback on hand for the inevitable time when people ask you why you're so pale. Some of my old standbys? I'm allergic to the sun. I'm part albino. Rampant vitiligo.
  • Various pairs of dark sunglasses for your presumably light-colored, light-sensitive eyes. (Cat theme optional)
  • Sunscreen stashes in your car, on your key chain, in your home, in your friend's homes...You can't rely on the melanin-ed to have the proper Sun Protection Factor. "I have SPF 15, will that work?" To which I say "you might as well rub baby oil on me and put me in a tanning bed" Please, SPF 45 or bust.
  • Seriously consider the merits of carrying a parasol.
  • Continuously seek job opportunities in notoriously cloudy parts of the country: see Cleveland, Seattle, Portland.
  • And finally, while not necessary, it is helpful to have a friend who is also pale. They know how to apply sunscreen properly. They'll hide under an umbrella with you at the beach without asking questions. They understand your struggle.
PS There is a way to measure melanin, it's called the Fitzpatrick scale ( Fitzpatrick? You just know a pale person made this up.) I scored 5 out of a possible 40 points. I think that means I fail? With summer coming up this is the most dangerous time of year for those of us low on the scale. Stay safe out there my pale brethren.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Things I've learned from my grandpa

A few weeks ago my paternal grandpa turned 82. We're both April babes!  And while it has been argued I take after my mom's side more than his, there is no denying I am descended from him, and am not, in fact, adopted like my older siblings tried so hard to convince for the better part of my childhood.

And though I don't get to spend as much time with him as I'd like, the days we have spent together have left me with indelible memories and lessons. Some practical, some a touch more abstract, and all 100% grandpa.

Don't place limits on what you can accomplish. One day I was visiting home, discussing my job with my dad. The benefits were good, the people were decent, but the work itself was just dull. I exhaled in resignation "I guess you can't have it all" my grandfather, who had been sitting at the kitchen table quietly up until this point,  looked up from his glass of Carlo Rossi and asked, "why the hell not?" and with those words, whether he meant to or not, he taught me to dream a little bigger.

Keep refreshments on hand. Something I will always associate with my grandfather is a refrigerator full of beverages. He had a whole refrigerator just for drinks in his condo. There were drinks for people of all age ranges: Capri Suns, Coca cola, Seltzer water, beer, wine. People are thirsty, and it's nice to have something to offer guests.

Go big or go home. My grandpa has never actually said these words, but he definitely lives by them. When he cooks, he makes a spread worthy of Bon Appetit Magazine. When he pours wine he pour generously. When my family vacationed in Florida (before we moved there, when I was younger) Grandpa's house was an exercise in excess: jars full of candy, trips to the beach, the pool, the boat, and fishing. There were picnics with chicken and hotdogs AND hamburgers.  And every time we popped in the kitchen for breakfast he would tell us all how much he loved us. Every morning. He never holds back. He truly spoiled us with his generosity and his love.

Don't ever take up smoking.