Archive for June, 2009

Rorschach Sunburn Test

Lotions and I used to have an agreement that neither one of us would bother the other. And we stayed away from each other quite happily.

Then I got married.

And my skin started showing its age more.

So for various reasons, I have been using sunblock regularly for several years.

Chapter 1: Me and My Sunscreen

Sunblock or sunscreen or whatever used to be just a lotion that you spread on your arms, neck, back, whatever was going to be exposed to the sun. I didn’t like the lotion part because I don’t like having greasy hands. But it beat the pain and inconvenience of a sunburn. That’s why I prefer not to go to the beach, if given the option. There’s just so much work involved in getting ready.

Back on topic… I am used to sunscreen lotion now. And then this year, everyone is selling and promoting the spray-on sunscreen. It is hard to find just plain old lotion anymore. Now if there is anything worse than lotion, it is breaking a habit or tradition or changing the way things are supposed to be. Sunscreen is supposed to be a lotion. You can’t just change it into an aerosol form.  That changes the whole summer ritual.

Chapter 2: An Invasive Species

I wanted to mow the lawn, but I needed to put sunscreen on first so that my arms wouldn’t burn. I wanted the lotion. There were about 3 spray cans sitting there (what am I, a graffiti wall?) but no lotion. I used the sprayscreen, but I didn’t like it because it wasn’t what I wanted. It was new and I didn’t trust it.

Plus :

  • It seems wasteful. How much of it just blows away in the breeze? The lotion has very little waste.
  • The spray stuff can’t be used on faces, especially on children, so you need the lotion anyway (eyes should use sunglasses, not sunscreen).
  • And you have to be careful which way you are facing, otherwise you’ll end up breathing the vapors. I don’t know what effect spray sunscreen has on lungs, but at the very best it is useless. I have yet to hear of anyone getting a sunburn in their lungs. Lotion has no such problems of being inadvertently inhaled.

But that’s what we had, so I used it.

Chapter 3: It Started Innocently Enough

Then another day we went to the water park. My wife is glad to have the sprayscreen stuff, because that makes her day easier.

Okay everybody, line up. Arms out. Chins up. Eyes closed.
Okay, you’re all set.

It is a lot quicker and easier. And it works fine for the kids, because they inherited some of her melanin and so they don’t need as complete coverage as do I.

My wife is taller than our kids are, so when she sprays them with sunscreen, she is spraying from about the same position from which the sun shines down on them. So the areas they get sunscreen are the areas that need it.

Chapter 4: An Ugly Turn of Events

I got sprayed with sunscreen after the kids did. My wife already had the spray can out, so she just went ahead and sprayed me too. But she didn’t have the same angle, so I didn’t get covered in all the right spots.

partially-sunburned shoulder

She and the sun have different perspectives.  Plus, I was probably complaining about the spray stuff, so she went quickly in order to minimize the ordeal. But I think she went a little too quickly. Or maybe it was too windy and the sunscreen never actually made it to my back.

partially-sunburned back

If before that day I was annoyed at the sprayscreens, then after that day I was angry at them. I mean, look how useless they were. I know, I just know, that if we had lotions instead of sprays, I would not have been sunburned that day.

My wife didn’t see my sunburns until I was getting ready for bed that night. I was trying to talk to her about something else, but she just kept laughing at my sunburn. I believe she said the words “Wow, that’s bad!” but it was between giggles.

partially-sunburned chest

Then she stopped laughing, but she still wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying…because she was too busy trying to find the different shapes in my sunburn. Like clouds: “look, that one’s a bunny”. Except it was with my seriously red skin.

Chapter 5: The Conclusion

I’m better now.

And the sprayscreen stuff is okay, if I rub it in after spraying it on. The sense of touch helps me to know that all areas are covered. That’s what’s missing with the sprayscreen. Rubbing in the spray-on sunscreen helps ensure even, complete coverage. And reassures me that I won’t get burned.

But if you have to rub it on anyway, why bother with the spray can?!?!


Yes, I now have a couple of tubes of sunscreen lotion for myself.

Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, For the sun has burned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.

Song of Solomon 1:6

Not Mine Monday, June 2009 Edition

In a shameless spoof of MckMama’s Not Me Monday (via Four Now’s Not Me Monday), I am posting a Not Mine Monday.

  • My child did not try to persuade his brother that the new bottle of bubble bath that we bought earlier that evening was his new toothpaste. And when I said that it was bubble bath, the first child did not then tell his brother that I was trying to trick him.
  • My children did not make a new game in the minivan, and this new game did not involve throwing footwear from the back of the minivan to the front of the minivan in an attempt to get them in the trash can that’s between the two front seats. If they had played that game, I’m sure they would have been accurate and would not have kept hitting the back of my seat by repeatedly missing the trash can. Oh, and this definitely would not have been on a trip that was only 10 minutes long.

And to make things official, here’s a Not Me entry:

  • I did not catch the 4-month-old with my foot when he fell (more like slid) off the footstool on which he had been lying somewhat squirmily. My foot had not been placed next to him in case he moved, because my child would be placed in an approved baby station only, with appropriate guard rails and safety features. Oh, and if I had caught the baby with my foot, it would have been about halfway between the top of the footstool and the floor, which was only about 15 inches anyway.

“and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘ Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’ ”
– Luke 5:10

Finding Joy Friday

Finding Joy Friday

I have seen some bloggers participating in a day-of-the-week ritual called “Finding Joy Friday“. It involves looking for good things during the day, to help avoid the common human problem of focusing on the negative.

In order to help out all those bloggers, I have posted some links to help them on Finding Joy Friday :

I haven’t contacted any of the Joys listed there, because I don’t know why I want to find her. Maybe someone else can figure out which one is the right one. Then it wouldn’t be Finding Joy Friday, but Found Joy Friday, or maybe Joy Friday Found (picture it as a headline).

Or… what if it’s like the Incredibles, where the guy doesn’t want to be rescued? Maybe Joy Friday doesn’t want to be found. Maybe she’s in hiding.

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”
– Psalm 92:4

Cloudy with a Chance of Plot

While we were waiting for the real movie to start, we saw the preview for “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. Note to self: don’t forget that the posted times for the movies are before the previews, so fight the urge to arrive early because the posted movie time is early for the movie.

As a fan of the book, I was surprised to see what they did with the movie. Of course, there is not much of a plot to the book, so they had to add something to make the movie long enough. The added element to the movie is the story of how the weather got to be the way it is – all foody and stuff.

Since most of the original movie storylines have been taken, they had to choose from one of the existing situations. The movie producers chose to have the food weather created by … the misunderstood genius, working alone. This option was also chosen for “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, “Flubber” (the original one, not the remake), “Back to the Future”, etc.

In case you’re wondering, here are the other options that were considered for “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” :

  • secret government agency experiment gone wrong
  • alien visitors looking to wreak havoc on the planet they are about to invade
  • a radioactive spider
  • an evil wizard who wants revenge on the boy wizard whose parents he killed years ago
  • a grandpa telling a bed-time story to the grandkids

I know that last one is kind of crazy, but maybe they could give it a shot…

“But He replied to them, " When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ " ”
– Matthew 16:2

Solsticial Affective Disorder

There are normally two times of the year that promote wistfulness: the beginning of school and Christmas.

The beginning of school is a nostalgic time because I am not in school anymore. It reminds me of all the good parts about the end of August / start of September: cross-country camp, band camp, shopping for school supplies, shopping for clothes, new football season, etc.

But I am not involved in those things anymore, other than watching football on TV. That’s not the same, though, as being in the marching band at the game, going through the pre-game drill, playing for the tunnel through which the players run, etc. The same with cross-country and all the other school activities – the “back to school” days reminds me that part of my life is past and makes me sentimental. I’ll get to go through those days again, in a different sense, once my kids are old enough to be involved in those things. Right now, with kindergarten, there’s not much as far as extra-curricular activities.

And Christmas is obvious – the nostalgia evoked by traditions, family gatherings, and the end of a calendar year make one reflect on what happened or was done during that year. The non-obvious trigger for the wow-where-did-the-year-go wistful thinking is the summer solstice. June 21st or so – the longest day of the year.

Starting in January, I begin reminding myself (subconsciously) that the days are getting longer and that reinforces the thought that the year is starting and there are oh so many things that we can do this year. I know it really starts several days earlier around December 21st, but Christmas takes priority.

Then after June 21st, the days start getting shorter. They’re still long enough so that it doesn’t really matter, but it’s the thought that counts. You know the days are getting shorter, that means the year is waning.

They should move the summer solstice, or maybe move the calendar months. Really, the longest day of the year should be in the middle of July, so that the longest days of the year are evenly distributed throughout the whole summer. Or maybe even better, move the longest day of the year to be at the end of August, so that the days start decreasing in length once school starts.

Hmm…then the warmest days of the year would be during school. Cross-country would not be fun at all because it would be during the hot season. The wool marching band uniforms would be even worse.

Never mind.

“He made the moon for the seasons;The sun knows the place of its setting.”
– Psalm 104:19

Health Not-Care

I had my first experience with government-run health care, and I am very unimpressed. No, worse than that – I am worried that anyone wants to expand this level of service.

Our oldest child will be starting kindergarten this fall. One of the state’s requirements for children starting school is that they have a vision test on record with the school.

Not to worry,” says the local county government, “we provide free vision screenings for any county resident.” I thought that was fine, so my wife called the county to schedule an appointment.

A little background information first:

This was last week, in the first half of June. We registered our child for kindergarten back in April or so. The school district said that he was penciled in but would not be officially registered until we provided the results of the vision screening. The students are assigned to teachers in mid August, and school starts right after Labor Day, in early September.

So the county health division was glad to sign up our child for a free vision screening, but the first opening they had was August 24th, only two weeks before school started. What good is that, if I want my child to be registered before the classes are setup?

I didn’t want to wait that long. I wanted to get everything set and out of the way. And I’m sure the school district wouldn’t want us to wait that long. They need to plan the classroom sizes and move teachers around if there are too few or too many students. They don’t want kids registering at the very last minute, after they have setup all the classrooms.

We called the doctor’s office. “Yes,” they said, “we offer vision screening. It should be covered by insurance, so it should be free to you.” Oh, and they could get us an appointment next week, while it is still June.

So we setup an appointment with the privately-run doctor’s office and will pay for it with our private insurance. I’m glad we have the private insurance and don’t need to use the free already-paid-for-by-my-taxes government services.

The government health department might be fine for those who really need it, but if you do use them, you need to be very prepared and schedule your appointments well before you normally would since they are so slow.

For a non-emergency situation like a vision test, it’s not that big a deal. What if there were an medical problem that needed attention? I would hope that the government service could act quickly enough to help. But so far, in both this country and others, government is big and slow. That’s fine for regulations and taxes and stuff, but not good for medical care.

“We waited for peace, but no good came;For a time of healing, but behold, terror!”
– Jeremiah 8:15

Uncomfortable Shirt

Being the nit-picky-about-some-aspects-of-English person that I am, I immediately found fault with the sticker on a shirt that my wife bought me.

no tag comfort

The first points are fine; it is the last point that contributes to the deterioration of the English language. “No Tag Comfort”

What if I want tag comfort? I think most people do. I want a shirt that sells itself as having “Lots of Tag Comfort”.

It should have been “No-Tag Comfort” or “The Comfort of No Tag” or even just “No Tag”

“I have heard many such things; Sorry comforters are you all.”
– Job 16:2