Thursday, July 03, 2014

Don't Be A Dummy

Remember how we have had basically 8 months of winter? When there was no sun and we were basically indoor creatures. Our skin remembers! Oh yeah, if you started taking a new medication during the 8 months of winter, make sure you check to see if there is a photosensitivity side effect.

I'm talking about all this because I had my first trip to the beach Tuesday. 5 hours of fun. I forgot to reapply sunscreen after two trips in the ocean. I seriously need these babies:
I had a ton of sunscreen in my bag and brought an extra towel so I could dry off before application. But coming prepared does not matter if you're forgetful. Here is my goofy version of the forgetful results:

I've been indoors for two days recovering. It's very lucky that all the burns are on my front and no sun poisoning. My legs were the severest burn to the point where I had trouble standing. Here are some tricks/tips I've learned:
  • Take a lukewarm shower to cool off - NO SOAP. Cold shower feels like needles stabbing you.
  • Only pat dry
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Those aloe gels cool off the skin but make skin feel really tight
  • The absolutely best salve is coconut oil with a couple drops of lavender. The coconut is a great moisturizer and absorbs easily. Lavender seems to cut the pain somehow. I've only used on torso, not face
  • For face burns sun lotion works
  • Try to sleep only on cotton sheets
  • I'm looking for any tips for scalp burns
I think since tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, I will be able to go outside! Thank goodness I'm unemployed because I can't imagine wearing work clothes with this burn... If you have at least one red head in your family and you have freckles, please accept that you will never be a golden brown beach bum and treat the sun like a radiation emitting enemy. Seriously y'all, I'm basically a walking melanoma.

Friday, June 27, 2014

History Nerd Alert

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. This murder lead to World War I which lasted four years and lead to deaths of 37 million people. World War Two gets a lot of historical significance and attention (probably because we still have veterans and survivors nowadays). But World War One was basically the first act of a three act war.

The first time I ever became aware of World War One's significance was thanks to this book:

It's the final book in the Anne of Green Gables series and focuses on her youngest daughter. If you didn't cry reading this book, you are dead inside [SPOILER] Walter! Sob![/SPOILER].

The other way I learned about The Great War was thanks to my sophomore year high school history teacher (who was THE BOMB basically why I'm a history major). He had this exercise for the class. We were all broken into five groups/countries. We needed to appoint an ambassador and various government officials. We had a fact sheet on our country. Here's the twist - only our ambassador could communicate with other countries. There were rounds where we got updates on what was going on. We'd have to huddle with our ambassador and give him/her instructions. At the end of class, my country, Freedonia, was part of a tripartite treaty against two other countries then our teacher informed us that we had missed the whole point and had started a world war.  So mutual defense treaties are bad mmmmkay?

At UMass Amherst, I took an amazing course about World War I. The textbook was so good, I never bothered selling it back. The Treaty of Versailles chapter just gave me chills. You know how hindsight is 20/20? Now we know the reparations and punishments against Germany fanned a rage and nationalism that lead to another world war. Apparently back in 1918, ambassadors and leaders knew how vindictive the treaty was. Ferdinand Foch said, "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years." World War Two started in 1938.

So, how are we doing now? Well, we have NATO and a growing nationalist, right wing, xenophobic movement gaining ground in Europe. It seems like Germany is sane and stable now. Russia looks like it wants to be the new/old Germany. The EU is simultaneously unifying and also pissing people off. The European economic recovery hasn't really stabilized (I blame austerity). It is my hope Europe is old enough and tired enough just to sit out and complain during the next war. They'll let the new kids annihilate themselves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Confessions of A Liberal

I'm a lazy liberal. My beliefs and attitudes are just what I grew up with. There was never a question about who we were voting for each election, it was always not Republican. I remember walking home from school in first grade debating with my friend Steve about Reagan. I liked Mondale because he had Geraldine Ferraro as a running mate. This weekend highlighted an area where I my liberalness is lacking.

My parents had gay friends when I was growing up and I have many friends who came out after college. So gay rights is a no-brainer for me. Gay is not a foreign scary concept for me. People fall on a Kinsey scale and it isn't my business how they want to define themselves. That takes care of the LBQ community but....

What is foreign/confusing for me is transgender. Just figuring out HOW to talk about that community feels like hopping from sharp stalagmite to stalagmite over a pit of lava. I discovered this gap in my liberal cred thanks to the combination of the new season of Orange is the New Black and the latest episode of Oprhan Black. Orange has the character Sophia played by Laverne Cox. Orphan introduced a character named Tony who was born Antoinette. From some online discussion forums I have learned that "transgendered" or "transexual" are incorrect terms. And posters who even tried to float "shim" or "tranny" were shut down quickly. I also learned that some people aren't transgender but just choose not to gender self-identify. Which was news to me because I had just assumed the women with beards were just in the middle of their transition to some destination gender.

Basically, I have never met a transgender person so I guess this is how a liberal in Montana would feel about gay rights. You understand the mechanics, the psychological aspect, and believe people should just be allowed to be happy but there is a HUGE gap in real world experience. Sub confession, I also get men to women trans a lot more than the opposite way. Maybe it's because men to women transgender is so much more prominent in entertainment? Or I'm just such a feminist, I can't fathom giving womanhood up?

I got into a discussion with a fellow confused person where we talked about if a trans person should reveal their status on a first date. Me being a dummy idealist who thinks love is love believed that could be revealed later. But my friend pointed out the fact that revealing that information could get the person murdered. So what do transgender people do? Is there any hope?

So, here I am a liberal with gaps in my real world experience who just supports a concept, not a person and that bums me out.

Friday, June 06, 2014

What D-Day Means to Me

Seventy years ago, my grandmother was weeping for joy in Budapest.  My father was 11 years old and he had two brothers with one on the way. My family survived World War Two thanks to the Allies and despite the Allies. Hungary was a Nazi aligned country, unfortunately, but my grandparents worked to help their Jewish friends escape death. Yes, civilians in the Axis knew what was going on with the Jewish population.

My family fled Hungary to avoid the Russian "liberation". That liberation killed others in my family. My family fled into Germany.  Very stupid now that we know how things progressed in 1944 Germany. My family survived multiple RAF bombings.  One of my uncle's first memories, as a three year old, is emerging from a bunker to a city burning around him. My family got to Bregenz Austria by V-E day.

I would not be alive if D-Day hadn't happened. Eternal thank you, God bless you, and hashem yevarech otcha. As a child of a World War Two survivor, food and safety were huge concerns growing up. I was a member of the clean plate club because my father was starving in the war. The idea of a bug out bag didn't start with the recent zombie apocalypse fad. No, it began with survivors of a massive worldwide conflict.

One of the reasons I converted to Judaism was thanks to the stories I grew up hearing. Jews weren't seen as The Other. They were seen as fellow survivors with the weird unpronounceable names. When I read the Diary of Anne Frank in third grade and found out she died in Bergen-Belsen, it felt like I had lost a best friend.

Nazi Germany has shaped my origins and my upbringing. I am so grateful and blessed that the Americans landed on Normandy. My family fled a regime that tortured and spied on its citizens. That is why I expect more of America and why I cried when I saw the Abu Ghraib photos. America is the country that has shaped my future. I would hope it's the kind of country that landed on Normandy, not the kind of country that debates whether a soldier is patriotic enough to rescue.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Is It Safe: Adventures in Bad Dentistry

I've had really bad experiences with dentists in my lifetime. The crux of the problem is that I can't get numb with novocaine shots placed in the regular spots. About 7 years ago, I opted to go ahead with a tooth filling even though I could feel everything. I was on my lunch-break and had already wasted an hour for 10 injections that did not numb me enough. That afternoon was all about breathing through the pain and disassociating.

Since then, I've sought out dentists that claimed to cater to people with dental anxiety. Belmont Dental Group was amazing when I lived in Waltham. They could get me numb easily and had very friendly sympathetic staff. Then I moved down to Quincy. I thought I found a similarly inclined dental practice on the South Shore. This morning, I had my most extensive dental work at their practice and I wound up reenacting scenes from Marathon Man.

I thought I would be all set with the 10mg of valium I was prescribed by the dentist. I arrived at my appointment and discovered no one knew what procedure I was having. I thought I was getting a new filling and an old silver filling replaced. I had to persuade 3 people that is what I was getting done. They kept insisting I should get 3 fillings replaced - which would cost me at least $1,000 and I had never discussed or agreed to that. I should have taken this confusion as a sign for how the rest of the morning would go.

Two shots in my lower left jaw and here comes the drill. Guess what? I could feel everything on both teeth. Lots of flailing and tears to get them to stop. Two more shots and a break. I knew I wasn't getting numb enough because I could still feel my lip and tongue. Back with the drill. One tooth wasn't too bad but the filling replacement hurt like a mother fucker but the dentist kept barking at me to keep my mouth open and warned me I would hear/feel grinding. Sweet baby Jesus what was he doing to that tooth? Then he finished - I thought- after waiting 20 minutes to rinse and collect myself I got up to go. Dentist returned and told me I couldn't leave because I had a big hole in my tooth. Ohhkayyy. So more horrendous pain, poking, drilling, and prodding. It turns out I did not have a filling replaced. He drilled through like half my tooth to get a cavity and fill it. NO ONE TOLD ME THIS!

I was spitting out blood for hours afterwards and that half drilled tooth is killing me. I consented to 1 new filling and 1 filling replacement. That did not happen. Anyone know of a good South Shore dentist that can deal with dental anxiety/numb difficulty?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Let Me Help You With the Math

This little girl is four and she feels like a princess.

This four year old has been punched. This little girl has been dragged up stairs and thrown against walls.  This little four year old girl has been told she is a motherfucking bitch. In ten years this girl will attempt suicide.

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That girl in the picture is someone  She is not just a statistic.

Monday, May 19, 2014

New Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer!!

The guardians are:

The blue alien guys are Kree (might look familiar if you watch Agents of Shield). The police/military people are Nova Corp. And that awesome floating space skull/space station is Knowhere. Here's a nice interview with Chris Pratt, who plays Peter Quill. I have not read a single Guardian comic and I'm a woman but it needs to be August 1 NOW!