Posts Tagged ‘summer’
Overheard from an 8-year old: “Snooki? I think that’s short for Sun-burnt cookie.”
When it comes to summer sun and fun, it’s all about skin and thin. Preparing for vacations means striving to eat less, do more and get a some color, before the body’s summertime debut. Before you embark on efforts to get ready for swimsuit season, ask yourself where you’d want to go–not on vacation, but in the next five, ten or 20 years.
You can fake-bake in a tanning bed, but while the tan is temporary, the effects on the skin are not. Today’s California tan could turn you into a California raisin in a few years. In addition to premature aging, excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of developing melanomas, cataracts and can even suppress immune function. The World Health Organization now considers ultraviolet rays to be a significant cancer risk–like smoking.
There are now a number of excellent tan-in-a-can products, but self-tanners do not protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Even with a tan, moisturizers and sunscreen are vital for protecting the skin. Wearing sunscreen is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your skin from aging. If you wear make-up, consider using an under make-up moisturizer with a good SPF. It’s an excellent practice all year long, but even more so during the seasons when we spend more time outdoors.
Readers, certainly you already know the dangers of tanning, but there there comes a time when you will either look at a friend and wish you looked as good, or be thankful you don’t look as old. Your good friends will say you look great, your best friends will convince you that you haven’t aged a bit, but mirrors are not friends, they will tell the truth.
It would probably surprise the Beloved Soul Mate to learn we share a bathroom counter. The poor gent hasn’t seen ours in years, because it is well hidden under an unnecessary clutter of necessary stuff–like moisturizers and sunscreen. Fortunately, we have our own sinks and mirrors and for some time, I have thought about personalizing the mirrors on our respective medicine cabinets, with little avisos like those on my car mirrors. One mirror would say “Objects in the mirror are older than they appear”, the other “Objects in the mirror are younger than they appear”. I’m not saying who gets which message, but I will tell you one of us never leaves the house without sunscreen.
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This June marked my 21st year of marriage. Considering, more than two decades ago, I walked down the center aisle of a small church wondering if it would last, I suppose it’s remarkable, but considering the 50+ year marriages of my parents’ generation, it doesn’t seem like much.
A favorite Mexican proverb says “Cuando una mujer es lo suficientemente madura para escoger a un compañero correcto, ella ya ha estado casada por años”. Roughly translated, it means “By the time a woman is old enough to choose a good mate, she has been married for years.” Or as Dr. David Schnarch says in his book, Passionate Marriage, “Nobody is ready for marriage–marriage makes you ready for marriage.”
Someone recently wrote a bio on me, in which I was called an expert on marriage. I laugh each time I think of it. It seems to be a contradiction in terms, as the only individuals arrogant enough to think they are experts on marriage are most-likely single. Whether it is our successes, or our failures which make us expert, learning about marriage isn’t easy. I’ve learned a few things along the way, but I know way more about weddings, than marriages.
I couldn’t count the number of weddings I’ve attended. As a child I attended the weddings of people my parents knew, later came the weddings of my own friends, now I am often invited to the weddings of my friends’ children. Over the years, I’ve seen weddings in all sizes and colors. I’ve attended weddings built around holiday themes–Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, and even Halloween. I’ve witnessed marriages in small living rooms, and great churches. I’ve been served obscenely-expensive food on fine china at some weddings, and potluck grub on paper plates at others.
At this point, I’d like to think I’m sort of an expert on weddings–not a Martha Stewart or Colin Cowie expert, but still very much a wedding aficionado. Every wedding is different, but whether the bride & groom are wearing silk or denim, they are optimistic believers in the happily-ever-after. Almost without exception, there will be two people who believe they can go the distance, but I’ve attended weddings where even the bride & groomed seemed to know they were doomed before the Bridal Chorus began. One such wedding, was on where the groom was conspicuously absent from the reception. At another, the bride was shouting obscenities at the groom within moments of tying the knot–or perhaps the noose.
When I truly believe the couple is doomed, I usually send an R.S.V.P with a lovely card, but who can know which couples will succeed or which will fail? How some couples eke out years of marital bliss, despite the head-scratching of friends; is a one of those intimate secrets that only some couples know. Like the secret oath of a fraternity, you will not learn those secrets, unless you are inducted into the very exclusive Benevolent Order of The Happily Married.
But enough about marriage–on the big day it’s all about the dresses, decorations, and flowers; a very auspicious celebration for things yet unknown. It is much ado for the “I do”. If we understood what was ahead, perhaps we’d be less inclined to eat cake and toast champagne with such jubilant capriciousness. We often imagine that marriage will be an unending romantic state, but it’s often far from romantic, challenging even those with the most impeccable qualities.
Perhaps God was afraid of letting me raise a girl, as I have only sons. That’s too bad, because if I had a daughter, I’d save her some trouble by teaching her some of the useful things I’ve learned about men, life and marriage. I’m not jaded or cynical, just experienced. I tell girlfriends planning weddings, not to listen to me, lest my remarks persuade them to call it off.
I don’t regret having married, but I am often astounded at how difficult it can be to live in harmony with another human being. The fundamental differences between men & women, as well as those of each individual’s personality, guarantee the joys in marriage will be tempered with the challenges of reconciling those differences.
Marriage is sharing, and while that sounds very nice, even small children understand sharing means giving up stuff you’d rather keep. You give up some of your stuff in return for some of their stuff. That’s great, if their stuff includes things like a generous inheritance or a beach house in Malibu, but it is more likely their stuff is at least one family member you won’t like, and furniture you can’t decorate around. Of course, they get half of your stuff, which means they get to embrace your oddball behaviors and the mismatched pieces of your emotional baggage, which will be the wrong style, but still enough to guarantee that as a couple you’ll have a full set.
For each and everyone who is bold enough to stand in front of family and friends pledging their all–I have one thing to say GOOD LUCK. You’ll need it!
Last weekend, as I was out & about, I was surprised to see them everywhere. Dropping out of nowhere, they were in stores, at restaurants and even sporting events. Just in time to ruin spring, comes the leg-shrouding long-dress. In my own locale, winter has been too wet and too long to suit me. Like most of the men I know, I have been anxiously waiting for shorts-weather. The wonderful season of close shaves and suntan oil, but alas, it would seem legs are going back into hiding.
You may or may not be aware of “The Skirt Length Theory”, in which there is a supposed correlation between hem lengths and economic trends. Recalling its premise, I’m trying to remember the economic conditions during the period in which I last wore a long dress to something other than a wedding. According to the theory, when times are good, women get into supply & demand economics, with an eagerness to show their goods. Conversely, when the economy is shaky, apparently women hoard cloth by wearing skirts long enough to provide a make-shift shelter in the event of a worst-case scenario. (A Yurt Skirt?)
Utilizing my understanding of economics and my observations of male/female relationships, I have extrapolated my own conclusion on “skirt theory”. Keynes, Bernanke, Buffett and Friedman would certainly agree with me on this. The more economic security a man presents, the more likely it is he will get more than a glimpse of ankle.
“The Skirt Length Theory” has mostly been debunked, probably because the affluence of the developed world has provided women more options for wearing whatever skirt length they preferred, but I suspect as the dreadful maxi-length dresses return, this theory will be given another 15 minutes of fame for re-examination.
The very bad news for those who have been watching IRA’s & stock portfolios shrink, is the much-needed distraction of summer gam-glam will be in decline too. As the graph lines on the Dow, The GNP and the probability of Congress solving our deficit woes go plummeting toward the earth, get your last glimpse of calf curves.
Hold on, it’s going to be a long summer.
Because I am forever a girl, Memorial Day is special to me. When I was little, it was the day after which it became acceptable for women to wear white clothes & shoes–only one of many freedoms it brought. Days spent playing in the sprinklers, late afternoon-air filled with the smell of meat cooked over charcoal and late evenings best spent out doors–summer has never been finer. The unofficial start of the summer vacation season, with longer days and warmer temperatures, is as exhilarating to me now, as it was when summer was three months of freedom.
Memorial Day will never feel the same to my children–because they’ve always attended year-round schools. They’ve never known long lazy summers like the ones I used to enjoy. Neither will they experience the melancholy which afflicts me after Labor Day, when the summer season winds down until the next year.
It’s been ages since I was a schoolgirl, looking forward to those seemingly endless summers, but the carefree innocence of those days is one of many things lost. Days in the town square with trips to the candy store for a Sno-Cone and evenings eating ice cream while watching softball games are among many youthful pleasures long gone, but fondly remembered.
Memorial Day is a good time to remember. While most holidays celebrate good things, Memorial Day is about sad things–remembering things lost.
This year, I’ll spend Memorial Day in the old hometown with family & friends. My brother and I will take time to go visit the graves of family members we’ve lost. I’ll spend time with my crew of cousins–the Brown-eyed Girls. I’ll take time to enjoy a long slow cigar with one of my oldest girlfriends.
I’m not a cigar smoker, but I make an exception for her. The night my father was buried, we watched the sunset over his grave and smoked a cigar. The talk and the closeness to one with whom it’s too late to be guarded, shored up my spirit as I did my best to reconcile my father’s body in the ground and the loss of his presence in my life.
Now, the cigar is symbolic of how long we’ve been friends, because that same girlfriend is one with whom, I whiled away many days of those summer vacations of years gone-by. Our days were filled with dolls, forts, first boyfriends–eventually husbands replaced boyfriends, children replaced dolls and houses replaced tree-forts. I can think of no better way to begin summer than remembering and celebrating an enduring friendship.
Life and the things we look forward to are over too soon. Things like childhood, graduations, weddings, holidays and life come and go too quickly. Once the graduations and June weddings begin, the pace of summer will be too fast for a kid like me. That’s why this weekend I’ll take it easy. As I enjoy the company of some of my favorite people, I’ll be remembering how long summer used to be.
Deb’s Note: Lest the significance of Memorial Day is diminished by my nostalgic sentiments, Wednesday’s blog addresses what the holiday is really about.
Many women do not share my enthusiasm when it’s time for the dreaded trek to the mall to find the skimpy thing they’ll feel most comfortable wearing. There is nothing like racks of tiny tops & teensy bottoms to fuel one’s bodily insecurities. I have the opposite reaction to those racks–when I see dozens of brightly colored strings, maillots & bandeaus–I wish I were a senseless seventeen again. For me each year’s new suits provide a heady rush of excitement.
This is particularly ironic, because I’m not much of a swimmer and for me tanning is redundant. Nevertheless, I love swimsuits. So while for many the process of having to reconcile one’s winter body with the summer season causes others misgivings, it makes me absolutely giddy. This is in part, because I would NEVER try on a swimsuit in one of those dressing room cubicles with a three-way mirror. If it makes me look fat, I’d prefer not to know–striving for perfection would spoil the fun–and I’d never be able to convince myself that Sports Illustrated wants me on their cover if I were scrutinizing the backs of my thighs for flaws. Anyway, everyone knows Sports Illustrated uses airbrush, which is what I do. I use my mental airbrush to erase the flaws. If I didn’t, I’d be the one at the pool in a burka. When I see a swimsuit that makes me happy–it’s in the cart and headed to register.
I blame my mother, she had major issues with swimsuits. The words she used to describe bikinis still bob around in my head like pool toys.
I wore the same swimsuit from the time I was in sixth grade until I was a freshman in high school. It was a two-piece with apron-like pieces of fabric to cover the torso between the top and the bottom. Mom was okay with it.
The summer of my junior year in high school, that I purchased two new swimsuits. They were both fabulous. The first was a sweet little royal blue bikini, the other a sizzling-hot red one-piece. Mother never said a word about either. She just made them disappear from my suitcase, as I was boarding the van for summer camp.
Poor mother, there was no way she could know how her issues would cause me to become a swimsuit freak. She meant well, but by her actions she inadvertently fueled a total unapologetic fondness for swimsuits. One would be more than I need, but I believe in my heart there is a perfect suit for every body and every body of water.
My honeymoon swimsuit was dangerously small–I know this because of the sunburn that resulted after spending too much time in it. (Word-up–nothing like a don’t-touch-me sunburn to put a damper on a honeymoon.)
My church retreat suit is a one which could offend no one.
My Mommy & Me suit was a suit which could intimidate no one–complete with ruffled skirt.
My swimming-with-people-I-don’t-know-well suit is particularly modest. Mom would approve.
I also have suits for the hot-tub at home, suits for the marina, and suits that would be great at the beach if I were to ever go there. (Of course then those suits would forever have sand in the elastic–which would give Itchy and Scratchy a context other than The Simpsons.
My collection includes everything but Dry Clean Only.
Many colors, many styles, varying amounts of fabric, with one thing in common. . . most of them will never be worn-out, because I don’t swim enough–I’m not sure Michael Phelps couldn’t wear-out this many. Speaking of wearing them out–almost without exception, every single one makes me self-conscious. Some of them so much so, they may never be worn “out”. That is why, in addition to an entire drawer devoted to swimsuits, I have an entire section of closet devoted to things for covering them up.
One would think that this would prevent me from buying more, but alas, there is no reforming me–in fact, I just bought the first of this season. It is so cute, I’m hoping that I will have the right opportunity and the necessary courage to wear it. At this point, I have enough suits to outfit the female cast of Bay Watch–and no plans to quit adding to the collection. In an attempt to justify my habit, this year I am resolved to spend more time in the water. Maybe this will be the year I become more swimmer than swimsuit mannequin, but not today. It’s cloudy out–I think I’ll head to the mall. I hear they just rolled out the new 2010 lines.