Avoiding the Burn

When I was little I was prone to sunburns.  My mom often tells me about the time she forgot to put sunscreen on me when I was a baby and I burned pretty badly.  She felt terribly about it.  I’ve only suffered a few bad burns that I can remember and I haven’t always been particular about putting on sunscreen.  For several years I didn’t burn and I never got much of a tan.  The only way you could ever tell that I got any color was by looking for a watch tan or a sandal tan to see the contrast. I’ve always been on the pale side and it wasn’t until recently when somebody told me I had olive undertones in my skin that I realized I wasn’t a pasty white ghost.  I still don’t see the olive, but I see that my skin is not quite like a lot of other people’s.

During the summer I freckle.  The more time I spend in the sun, the more I freckle.  I’ve come to love my summer freckles, and mourn their departure come fall and winter.  Not everybody gets to have freckles-I’m special that way.

That all being said, I never really spent a whole lot of time in the sun.  I like to take walks, go into the city, and do other normal spring and summer activities, but I’ve never enjoyed the heat or the feeling of the sun beating on my skin.  I’ll take it in small doses.  And this year I accepted a job as a teaching assistant which came with the job of working the school’s camp sessions.  Camp practically means outdoors. Before camp started I worked the after school program which left me outside with the kids about 30-45 minutes a day.   That was about 3 or 4 weeks of the school year before school let out for the summer.  Camp has now been in session for 3 days and I already have significant color (for me anyhow).  I have out-freckled my mother for probably the first time in my life.  I have a watch tan an a ring tan despite wearing sunscreen everyday.  And let’s not talk about the heat.  It’s been in the mid 80s-90s for about a week.

Yesterday I volunteered at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in the city.  I had on my sunscreen and downed about 4 bottles of water within about 4 hours.  There was little to no shade where I was stationed and that was taken by visitors.  My feet burned the entire time and when I got home and removed my sandals I had distinct crisscross marks on my feet (but don’t worry, I won’t be sunning just to even that out).  The worst part was the ache in my fingers.  They weren’t sunburned but the ache was almost unbearable.  I couldn’t remove my ring because my finger was so swollen.  My hands had swelled in the heat and it took a few hours for that to go down.

Now I am sitting here drinking my coffee in preparation for chasing around 3-5 year old campers at the beach.  I have my sunscreen on already, but seeing as dermatologists are saying that any change in pigmentation is skin damage, I’m already doomed.  I told my friend Erin that I am going to die of skin cancer and her reply was, “We’re all going to die of something.”  So true.

So slather on the lotion, drink lots of water, wear your sunglasses and a hat.  We may all end up dying in the long run, but we might as well put up a good fight first!


Happy Birthday, Andy

Right now I have experimental cupcakes baking in the oven with Andy Griffith’s 86th birthday as my excuse for baking when I am trying to eat healthy, exercise more, and lose weight.

I grew up watching classics like I Love Lucy, The Dick van Dyke Show, and The Andy Griffith Show (I could list a slew of others but I don’t want to bore you.  Nick at Night was popular in my house).  I still watch the shows my parents grew up on that are now on channels designated for “classic” TV.  There is something wonderful about sitting down for thirty minutes and watching good old fashion humor and what now seem like petty conflicts (OK, so Gomer losing his job and moving in with the Taylors isn’t exactly petty, but it’s no CSI or Grey’s Anatomy, either) driving relatively simple plots.

The other day my dad and I were talking about a nail-bitter Cubs game and I commented on our second baseman’s name, Darwin Barney.  “I guess it makes you think of a purple dinosaur,” my dad mused.  “No, I think of a twiggy sheriff’s deputy.”  I’d say I was raised right.

So naturally, when I realized we had the majority of a can of pumpkin left in the fridge and several boxes of cake mix in the cabinet on the day that the Internet Movie Database claimed was Andy Griffith’s birthday, I had to bake cupcakes.  Several years ago I learned that you could substitute all the ingredients on the cake mix recipe (eggs, oil, etc.) with one can of pumpkin for a delicious and much healthier cake.  While it’s not the best cake ever, it’s a good way to make excuses to eat more! (I’m doomed, aren’t I?)

I should explain that these cupcakes are experimental because I also had two very aged bananas on the counter (which usually signals time to bake banana bread) so because a few spoons were missing from the can of pumpkin, I used one banana, too.  We’ll see how red velvety these actually turn out.  I’m doomed, aren’t I?

On that note, I hope Mr. Griffith was able to spend his big day eating real cake and doing what he enjoys.  As my dad said this morning, “He’s younger than Betty White!”