5th grade

If memory serves, and it doesn’t always, 5th grade was my last year at Meadowlark Elementary School. And two things stand out. Or rather the shame and embarrassment of them burn still.

The first was my first experience with what we here in Utah call “maturation.” But I’m pretty sure in Oregon they just called it sex ed. It was the first day of the class (which, now that I think about it, is kind of weird. In Utah you go to a two-hour presentation one time in 5th grade–and maybe again in 6th? I don’t know. But in Oregon it seems like we had an entire until of instruction. Maybe 6 weeks? Sheesh. Even a whole week would have seemed a little bit much for 5th graders.)

In any case. It was the first day of class. I wasn’t terribly embarrassed about the subject matter, although it was all news to me. But what made my face go beet red and raised my blood pressure and my body temperature to dangerous levels was when I heard–for the very first time, right there in 5th grade with my 5th grade peers, male and female alike–the correct anatomical terms for male and female sex organs.

I was the oldest of 6 kids. (I was about to write “I lived on a farm,” but, I’ll give myself a pass, because we didn’t move out to the farm until the next year.) And I had not the remotest clue. And for some reason discovering my ignorance felt shameful.

And so you can bet my kids knew the correct names for every part of their bodies whether or not they chose to call them by their proper names.

The other thing that happened was I got played. Betrayed. Humiliated. (Perhaps the reason the primary things I recall about 5th grade are humiliating is because 5th grade is just that time in your life where everything is humiliating? And 6th. Most definitely 7th. 8th…)

There was a boy I liked. He was in 6th grade. I don’t remember his name. But he pretended to like me. In fact he even passed me a note telling me he liked me. I remember that queasy but tingling feeling that began in my stomach but went all the way down to my toes and, at the same time, kind of made my head spin a little. I remember that feeling because it was the same feeling I felt every time I had a crush on a boy and I found out he liked me. It was also always short lived. Because them liking me back was always the death knell for romance. Fear replaced anticipation along with any kind of attraction and I was just done.

But I digress. In this case the actual facts of the matter were this boy did not like me. In fact he and another girl I had thought was my friend (and thus began a good twenty years of not being particularly fond of girls, either, for true girlfriends were few and far in between) were in fact pranking me. The entire point of their little hand-written declaration of interest was to get me to respond, as which time they both too great delight in dashing my hopes and mocking my pain to humiliate me.

So yeah. 5th grade. It was not a very good year.

on being lazy

I’m neither inspired nor disgusted by the prompt to write about the consequences (bad things) or the rewards of being lazy.

Perhaps I’m not in love with the word lazy, because I’m a fan of leisure and I don’t necessarily believe that leisure is synonymous with lazy.

Quiet.
Still.
Calm.
Relaxed.
Restored.

Lying in bed watching the dappling of light and shadow play through the leaves on the tree outside my bedroom window come summer and fall.
Lying in bed watching the starkness of light and shadow stream through the bare branches on the tree outside my bedroom window in winter.

Curling up on the sofa with a comfortable quilt and a good book, with the windows cracked open so I can breathe in earthy petrichor and listen to the rain. You know, back in the day when I didn’t have to be to work at 8am.

Curling up on my bed or sinking back in the reclined seat of my car, windows cracked, to steal 9 minutes of power napping in order to give me the oomph I need to power through another day at the office or another day of not rest on the weekend.

In the break-necked speed of a fast-past world where we put so much stock in doing we’ve forgotten how to simply be, I may easily regret some of the distractions I busy myself with on occasion, but I hope I’m a better person for being able to sit with family or friends and just be for a few hours, without watching my phone or the clock. Listening. Talking. Feeling. Connecting.

[Day 139 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

What flower reminds you of someone in your life and why?

rose

Roses remind me of my mother. And of my mother-in-law. And of my–well, Shane’s, but therefore my–Aunt Verna. And also of Shane. Just to name a few.

It must have taken great courage for my mother to move to Oregon. Or perhaps greater courage to stay. Even after she found out she was deathly allergic to nearly every kind of pollen in the valley with (allegedly) the longest growing season in the country.

But how did she cope? She grew roses. Jackson Perkins were her favorite. I don’t really recall the roses she loved in our Junction City house, but I do recall the rose and flower beds right at the entrance to the house.

What I remember most are the roses she grew in every home she ever lived in after my father died and she moved the family back to Utah. And how at her Springville home she grew a particular rose tall enough it would peek over the fence. Simply because it was her next door neighbor’s favorite.

I remember Barbara’s 4 0′clocks more than I remember her roses, but I do remember how she loved flowers. And managed to make the desert of the Uintah Basin bloom. And I’m fairly certain that, as with my mother, nearly every single birthday card she ever sent me had roses on the front.

And Aunt Verna. When Shane and I were dating he used to drive me down to Verna’s during the summer to visit and also to send me home with a couple or three of her roses, stems usually wrapped in wet paper towels, covered in tinfoil to hold in the water. Verna had a long line of beautiful roses planted along her property line adjacent to the south end of 5th West, or state street.

While I one day home to return to the care and keeping of roses, for now Shane is the keeper of those we inherited when we bought this house 17 years ago. And those we transplanted from Aunt Verna’s. And those my mom gave us, or others gave us when we lost people we love. And those we purchased simply because they’re our favorite. And they smell good. And for some reason–whatever reason–the color or shape or fragrance reminds of us those people we lost and love.

And every now and then I find a couple of buds, barely opening, in a bud vase. Just for me. And they remind me of all the roses past. And those who grew them.

rules

Rules were one thing, which I may or may not discuss later. But consequences were another. I grew up in a time when corporal punishment was considered good parenting. By other adults, anyway. I wasn’t a bad kid. But I knew too well the sting of a belt or the hard-pointed toe of a sturdy cowboy boot against my backside and may have been slapped a few times.

As painful as that was for a child (except for that time, as I grew older, where I hormones gave me a little more padding on said backside, protecting me a bit better from the smack. But, fortunately, because I was older and wiser, I figured more quickly than my little sister did that keeping this discovery to myself, as opposed to thinking I had the last laugh, was a safer bet), this became very perplexing to me as a parent. As I child I knew I was ruled by fear. And I promised myself I would command respect because I deserved it–because I was respected–not because someone feared me. As a parent I quickly learned that the problem with corporal punishment wasn’t just that it was wrong, but also that it worked. And as I found myself dealing with willful and sassy and even disrespectful ‘tweens and teens, I was at a loss. Because the one thing I knew had worked on me, I was determined not to repeat. And I never found anything else that did.

So what is the answer? I still don’t know. I hung on to the repeated words of my friend, “Preserve the relationship,” and kept a tight grip on any shred of hope that “This too, will pass,” and just kept loving. The best my broken heart could love.

In other news, that time I was grounded for an entire month–including no phone calls–simply for breaking curfew, felt extreme and torturous, especially to an oldest child who carried her responsibility complex rather hard and heavy upon her shoulders and was otherwise a good kid. Oh well.

So say what you will about rules.

The one rule by which I could not–and still cannot–abide, is the clean plate rule. So relieved when common sense came around and we started asking kids to simply try something before they got down from the table and didn’t make them sit at the table for an hour until they managed to gag down the last bite of cold Spanish rice.

Am I angry about this? No. But I didn’t think it was a good rule and the only thing worse than the fact that it was the practice at the time I was raised is that some people in our day practice it still even though we should all have learned better.

And that’s what I have to say about rules and consequences.

[Day 138 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

Every picture tells a story

One of my favorite writers is Ann Cannon. And apparently she knows Ann Dee Ellis. (Ann/Anne must be a good solid writing name, because Anne Lamott* is brilliant too.) And she (Ann Cannon) is going to start throwing down some writing prompts too, and well, I guess I’ll keep trying to record my stories here.

Today’s prompt is to find a photo and write about it. I’ll start in my library.
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This photo was taken by me at the Provo Airport just a couple of months after I left a perfectly good job to work at something that scared me and that–as I have explained before–involved actual, literal rocket science. Primarily aviation science, but also a little rocket science. Among other things about which I as yet knew nothing. In that way I do where I embrace a job with my whole heart, I had volunteered already to help with social media and also to help at a huge event–our school’s 75th anniversary celebration. It was glamorous. I had spent a good deal of time prior to the event reaching out to various flight associations and media outlets, trying to get the word out about our anniversary and fly in. When the day finally arrived, I went around taking photos, noshed on simply fabulous food provided–not without some controversy–by the university’s catering students, schmoozed, and spent a good deal of time taking out the trash when it because clear that the catering people couldn’t stay on top of it.

But my favorite thing beside the people and the food (but not dragging out huge stinky black bags of trash in the insufferable heat), was the planes.

I was knew the job and was–and am mostly still–illiterate when it comes to plane identification (one of my initial “brilliant” but unfunded and therefore unfulfilled ideas in my new position was to have my team design and make an app for that). But I knew what I liked. And I saw this one well before she landed and could not take my eye nor my camera off her during her entire approach and landing.

Who is in this picture? I have no idea. Just that, as per usual, it isn’t me. Except that it is. And that is why I took this photo.

Look at the little girl. Notice the skip in her step? See her pure joy? She is absolutely delighted and taken with the man in his dull brown jumpsuit (as most brown jumpsuits are) and with the plane and with, just everything. She is simply happy to be there! And in the purest, most uninhibited way.

And that is how I have tried to approach all my tasks in my (at the time) new job. I embraced aviation, even though I was afraid of flying. I embraced elements of style and design I’d never had a lot of opportunity to explore before. I learned to write video scripts–simply by jumping in and starting writing. I embraced each new contract and project even though a lot of it was technical and foreign to me and even over my head.

The other day (since I’ve been laid up) I took some time to go back through some of the photos of the trips I took for work for the FAA in order to cull the excessive amount of photos I took. As I flipped through photo after photo and video after video of planes taking off, landing, or taxiing right past me on the various runways of the airports I visited, my heart skipped again–not in the bad way hearts can be wont to do–but in the happy way of that little girl so excited to be present. There. Then. Right next to that beautiful plane.

*If you haven’t watched or listened to this already, now’s your chance:

Outdoor School – things I learned outside

When I was a teenager I got a summer job hoeing weeds in my neighbor (who was also our friends’ dad) John Hintze’s farm fields. It was a full time job and required riding my bike early every morning to his farm maybe 5 miles away and sharpening my hoe (I can still hear the screech and smell the scorch of burning metal) before tossing our hoes and the shirts or zip-up hoodies we would wear around our waists in case of inclement weather (it was Oregon, after all) and our lunches in the back of one of his farm trucks and make our way to whatever field we’d be working in that day. There were lots of good things about working that job, not necessarily tied to being outside, but outside was where it happened, so here’s my list.

I learned to be on time. It’s not like you would think that was optional or special, back in the day. But if you weren’t there the crew left without you, so there you go.

I learned there is intrinsic value in work but also that you can put fun and meaning in whatever it is you do. Hoeing weeds in the elements–whatever they be–for 8 hours a day is not easy work, nor is it particularly engaging. But we learned to build relationships and enjoy one another’s company (we where in a crew of four, generally) and to engage ourselves in being present. Feeling the sun on our backs. Sweat across our brows. The steady steps forward in the fertile Willamette valley soil accompanied by the thud, thud, thud of hoes hitting the earth. Sometimes instead of sweat we were wiping the steady mist or light rain from our brows so we could see. In any case, we worked hard. Hoeing is one of those jobs where doing a good job now pays off the next time you visit the field.

I learned efficiency is born of a balance of effort and care. A hoe can as easily cut down an intentional plant stalk as well as the unwelcome stalk of a weed. Somewhere you learn to strike a balance between getting down on your hands and knees and meticulously pulling every tiny weed by hand and throwing down your hoe so hard and wide you take out the crop as well. With practice, you can angle the edge of the hoe carefully against a weed-crowded plant stalk and twist the blade just so in order to snag the weed and save the plant. I’m sure there is a metaphor or other life lesson in this.

I learned I’m a morning person and to hit things hard at the beginning of the day and that, at least for me, pacing myself means knocking out the biggest chunk or hard part first. Breaks and lunch were required and I learned right off the bat that the day goes by more quickly if we took our first break later in the day (not just after two hours) and divided up the last half of the day in smaller chunks. Yes, it was all in our heads, but you’d be surprised how much of life is all in our heads. I’m not good at taking breaks at my current job, but I do try to pace the day so I get the biggest chunk out of the way when I’m feeling fresh.

I learned to love the sky. Our lunch break was 30 minutes and we didn’t have anywhere else to go, so the fields held us captive for long after our lunches were eaten. Unless it was raining, we’d lay our dusty bodies down on the warm earth of the 3-foot expanse between rows of whatever and stare up at the sky, sometimes discovering cloud formations or whatever else our imaginations sent our way. To this day I love a wide expanse of open sky. All the varying shades of light and color–from bright, intense blue, to dark, foreboding greys.

I learned the power of imagination, meditation, and relaxation. Long before there were apps for that, I used to lead our crew in a relaxation session made up in my own head. I talked them through the details of laying on a big comfortable puffy cloud which, by some miracle, was light and yet strong enough that gravity wouldn’t have its way with you. I started at the feet, and described relaxing your toes and letting your ankles settle in comfortably, supported by the cloud, then worked my way up to calve muscles, knees, quads, hips, and so on until we were all a puddle of looseness snuggled deep into the cloud, breathing deeply. Remarkably comfortable considering the reality of lying on the ground. There were days when the temperature was just right–just warm enough–the exercise would bring us to the brink of sleep just in time for that 30-minute mark to pull us up and send us reaching for our hoes to resume the swinging arcs of our hoes.

[Day 137 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

things I listen to

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Found a new podcast the other day (see above). I do love podcasts–you can learn so much! Some favorites include Nate DiMeo’s the memory palace, TED Radio Hour, and Hidden Brain. Unfortunately, I generally use podcasts along with TED talks to help distract my brain when the monkeys go crazy when I wake in the middle of the night and are unwilling to let me go back to sleep. Most times it works and I’m nodding again before I finish. I’m sure I’d get more out of them if I listened to them when I was awake. ;)

When I’m at work or on the road I listen to a playlist of primarily acoustic music–some of it a little folk-y–and a few other eclectic favorite pics just for fun. As a side note, I’m not ashamed of playing it loud and singing along–belting it equally loudly–as long as no one else is in the car. I sort of live for 4pm when the rest of my coworkers (who come in at 7) leave so I can unplug the headphones and just listen freely.

This morning I’m enjoying silence. I don’t mind silence, particularly in the morning.

I keep meaning to listen to audio books–the handful I’ve tried are very good, as producers tend to choose voices wisely. My problem is I’m a better reader without multitasking and get more out of a good book simply reading the print version.

Baby giggles are pure pleasure. Truly any kind of laughter. I love listening to people I care about, or even someone I just met, who is willing to be real and genuine and vulnerable and honest with me. Frankness is music to my ears. Visiting with friends is always balm for the soul. Friends are generally open and honest tend to love you for who you are working on becoming while also being willing to accept you the way you are.

I also love the wind–water when and wherever I can find it, be it ocean waves, roaring spring runoff, or a trickling spring. I know I’ve said it before, but storms are good too. Unless it’s too soon after the flash, thunder is comforting.

But rain. Oh rain. I will forever love listening to rain.

[Day 136 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

the bright side

Andy

Off the top of my head I don’t have any anecdotes of my own where something good happened as a result of something that went awry. That said, since I’m a “cup half full and thank goodness I still have a cup!” and silver lining kind of girl, and I’ve been meaning to write down some of the bright spots of my recovery, this place and moment are as good as any (if a bit late anyway).

Day 1
Thursday I had foot surgery. It happened rather suddenly, but needed to get done before the calendar year on my high-deductible plan was up, and so I jumped. Without having cleaned the house thoroughly or filled the freezer with frozen dinners or strengthened my quads and core and upper body in preparation. Oh well.

On the bright side, my doctor is a good man and a family friend (distant kin, in fact, on my husband’s side) and actually rearranged his schedule to get me in on a non-surgery day and took good care of me.

I came home feeling discouraged over how weak I was (how difficult it was to get up the 7 stairs of my split entry house) and a little stressed over not having the right equipment (namely a knee scooter and a toilet seat booster, among other things) to make things easier on me. I had to send Shane on all sorts of errands and even goose chases trying to secure all the things, some of which really could have been picked up ahead of time through better coordination with the doctor’s office, insurance company, and home health providers. I felt badly about this, as he had had to be up at 5am as well to get me to surgery at 5:30 sharp and he did not get knocked out for a couple of hours of surgery.

On the bright side, I have a pretty purple cast. Due to the nerve block, I was weak, but not in pain. And because I wasn’t in pain I enjoyed a full day recovering from the effects of anesthesia, but not addled by narcotics. And when things fell apart in regards to the scooter, I posted a note on our ward’s Relief Society Facebook page and had a shiny pink scooter with a basket within a couple of hours. (Thank you, Dana. Truly a lifesaver!)

Day 2
This was my hardest day. My foot was the least of my pain, as all my muscles–even muscles I didn’t know I had–reacted badly to being used in new ways and I struggled to figure out the logistics of getting around. I hurt all over. I felt weak. I kept comparing myself to post-op me 14 years ago. I was stressed about my other knee having to overcompensate and over basic self care and the logistics of even getting in and out of a chair. By that time I was on pain meds and I wonder if they had a depressive effect, because I was not myself and for the life of me could not find any silver linings. I truly felt bleak and made the mistake of convincing myself it was going to be this bad for the remaining three weeks I am in a cast with orders to avoid all weight bearing on my left foot.

On the bright side, several people checked in on me my day began with a sweet and tender visit and a hug from my friend Evelyn (who brought me a lovely hand-written card and some beautiful flowers) and ended with a visit and a hug from my friend Holly who brought in a delicious dinner (why is it that potatoes and gravy are the perfect comfort food post-op?). I was starting to figure out the scooter and gave thanks for one of those bathrooms that is so tiny you could use the toilet, take a shower, and wash your hands all at the same time, which provides me with lots of grips and support on nearly every side.

Day 3
I still spent most of the day in bed, determined to give myself a full 72-hours being diligent about keeping my foot raised above my heart in order to mitigate the swelling (something I learned the hard way with my ACL repair 14 years ago). I was too tired to read, which was sad, because I even remembered I had a good book (or two or two dozen) to read. I still struggled getting up efficiently and still felt a little like it would be this way always.

On the bright side, this was the day I decided I was going to conquer one thing a day. And that would be not just ok, but even brave and good. By the end of the day I conquered getting from my bed to the bathroom with less fear and with minimal impact on my left knee. (Mostly I prayed every time that it would be ok.) I was able to go off the pain meds already–which is both a miracle and a blessing and slowly felt my brain clear. My friend Heather brought in a delicious dinner from Bam Bam’s BBQ, and well, their brisket is divine. On this day as well as the last, people blessed me with encouraging words, which I thought I would remember, but unfortunately did not. But they were simple words–single sentences–that lifted and brightened and gave me hope. I want to remember the power of words to bestow hope.

Day 4
This was a day of juxtaposition. Quiet morning. Busy afternoon. Calm and chaos. Kindness and sass. Encouragement and frustration. Confidence and a panic attack in the middle of the night over knowing that tomorrow I would need to negotiate the stairs in order to get to the follow-up appointment with my doctor.

On the bright side, I discovered a new Podcast, cleaned up the space around me a little and learned how to (mostly) negotiate without panic getting in and out of my favorite chair in the living room so I could spend time with my family when they came to Sunday dinner. My friend Jan brought a lovely chicken dinner over with the most delicious rolls and Lindsay made a yummy fruit salad–I crave fresh fruit in recovery. I relished how the simple act of checking in on someone means so much.

Day 5
The morning was a little stressful with an intrusion of work (I was supposed to have a full week off for focused recovery), changing plans and trying to coordinate things I’d committed to while in a drug-induced state.

On the bright side, I shampooed my hair from the kitchen sink which Shane had been so kind to empty when he did the dishes the night before. Foolishly realized mid shampoo that I was essentially home alone (Kyle was deep asleep downstairs), bent over the sink with the edge of my knee resting lightly on the very edge of a wheeled scooter with only a hand brake on a tile floor. And that if the scooter should slide out from under me I would certainly be in trouble. (The bright side is that my brain figured that out before I learned it the hard way.) My friend Nancy, whom I’ve missed greatly as she and her husband served a mission in Boston dropped by and we had a good visit. Then my friend Deena dropped by from Las Vegas, bringing a lunch of savory soup and a colorful salad and full of rich anti-oxidants. Later that day my friend Morgan brought in delicious dinner from Zupas (complete with extra chocolate covered strawberries) and was also–as always–a delightful visit. All visits did my heart much good. And I was gratefully cognizant of the one-day reprieve from the stairs. My big strong (and younger) brother kindly reminded me not to beat myself up over becoming weakened by a desk job because he does manual labor (and runs a small ranch) and even still has noticed a decrease in muscle mass over the past five years himself and my friend Cyndi told me she had patients my age who have to recover in a facility because they are not strong enough to recover at home. Again, the simple power of words to encourage and lift and brighten. Kindness is a powerful force for good.

Day 6
My son Zack came to take me to my doctor’s appointment, as Shane had jury duty a day earlier than he thought. The initial trip down the stairs went well. Our railing is sketchy, so I decided going back up would be safer and only slightly more awkward on my hands and knees.

On the bright side (notice how these sections are getting longer every day?), I got out of the house! All went well with the doctor who took at look at the incision to make sure it was healing well and replaced the purple cast with a fresh bright blue one and told me I get to graduate to the boot two weeks from the day (shaving off two whole days!). Lindsay couldn’t resist the promise of a blank canvas and wrote Andy on the bottom of it, which will amuse me (and others) for days to come. My friend Maria dropped by with her cute kids and a beautiful posey and a good hug and cheery visit. The stairs went so well the first time (a cautionary tale–I overdid it and it was too much for me the second time) I felt brave enough not to miss a wedding dinner and a life celebration I truly wanted to attend. Shane–bless his heart–drove up to the graveside in SLC and then came right back to pick me up and turn around and drive right back up to SLC for the other events, which were, fortunately, right close to each other. A change is as good as a rest and surrounding myself with good people and good food (because I had mostly forgotten to eat that day) was healing even though I wore myself out. It was a long, full, exhausting, but good day.

I am learning (again) not to compare, to look for and celebrate baby steps, to be patient and grateful and hopeful. I say the words out loud. “You’re going to be ok.” “Thank you, strong knees, you are doing a good job.” etc.

Shane has been a great support managing the house and bishoping and jury duty even when he doesn’t feel that great himself, not to mention Lovanox shots in my belly and fetching things when I can’t fetch them for myself (though I do try and succeed with many things and even managed to do most of the dishes yesterday) and chauffeuring me to SLC and being patient when I ask for one more thing at the end of the day. He has made me laugh out loud a couple of times and a good belly laugh is the best medicine. So many people–too many to name–have checked in and up on on me, some of them nearly every day. This too is a powerful force for good. I am blessed by good people in my life and so very grateful.

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[Day 135 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

the sky

finnishsunsetlightsunrise

Sunrises and sunsets are special and always remind me that God (in the plural sense of the word) created this beautiful world for me and for you and for all of us to find joy in and reminders of God’s love for us. But me, I love me a good storm. Most of my favorites are on my Instagram feed, but the greys and the blues and the darks thrill me as much as the pinks and the blues and the lights.

y favorite thing about a storm (besides the life-giving rain) is the way the sky can be so dark and lightless and yet be cast in sharp releif against the light at the same time. I find this deeply symbolic and reassuring. The world can be dark and dangerous and mean and yet if you look you can always find some light somewhere. And light means the most when cast against the dark. For this I will always be grateful.

[Day 134 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]

summer skin

white
brown
red
blistered
freckled
moley
baby oil
coconut oil
hawaiian tropic
sticky sweet aloe vera
skinned kneed
peeling

When I was a kid I think summer was more forgiving of my skin because of the lower elevation (or something). I hear it only takes one good burn to really damage your skin (and increase your chances of skin cancer) and I have two that I recall. One when I spent the night at a friend (not one of my close friends) house (pretty sure I also got bedbugs there) and we spent the day sprawled out over inner tubes slathered in baby oil in the Willamette River. Not smart. The other time was when my mom and my sister and I took a little girls trip down to St. George shortly after my mission. I didn’t realize that 18 months with no sun left my skin more vulnerable to sun damage than it had been just a few years prior when my friends and I used to lay out in the sun on top of the water towers at the side of the mountain.

I’m so over it. While I’m still in a quandary over the proper balance of life (vitamin D)-giving sun and the dangers of sun damage (I have a family history and had several dysplastic nevi removed and at least one mole in changing stages of transition), I’m past the vanity of needing to be bronzed and perfectly content to keep the sun limited to occasional exposure to my face and my arms. There is not quite anything light the warmth of the sun on your skin. That said, a friend of mine was just reminiscing (and as she spoke I could just feel it as if I were there) of the feeling of the sun-warmed and just a little gritty cement on your swimsuit-clad body after you get out of the pool dripping wet and lay down–towel or no–on the pool deck as a kid.

[Day 133 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]