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Friday, June 08, 2007

Sunscreen and Other Things

Here I am again.

School is out for the summer and Elcie's special classes have already started. This morning her entire class made a trip to the local mall. It will be partly fun and partly educational. Many of the kids have never done their own shopping and part of their assignment was to bring a small list of household needs from home and try to purchase them. Since the only store in the Mall that would qualify is a Long's Drugs, I sent Elcie after AA batteries and Pamprin. Don't know if they'll allow her to purchase the Pamprin but no big deal. I wanted something small that she could carry. She doesn't need the shopping education but it should be fun nevertheless.

They'll eat at the Food Court, courtesy of the school district, but they get to pick their poison. For Elcie, that probably means chicken nuggets from McDonald's but she may fool me and order Chinese.

She should be home shortly.

Rebecca has spent the last couple of days with friends. She checks in once or twice each day and gone again. Rochelle has been spending some time with her mom. Last night they all went to Farmer's Market.

Did I mention my granddaughter Samantha (Jim's oldest) is now a high school graduate? I missed it; there weren't enough tickets. I did loan them my camera so eventually I should have pictures. His leave was cancelled but he managed to get here for a couple of days.

I finally did my grocery shopping for the month this morning. I picked up a blister on the bottom of my foot from walking and standing so long at Elcie's graduation and it's just now healing enough to put weight on it. Needless to say, I haven't accomplished much walking with one foot flat on the ground and the other tiptoe.

(Darn it. I just remembered I paid for ice at check-out and never put it in the cart. Usually they do it for me. I'm not going to make a special trip back but I may take the receipt next time. The small corner store sells ice.)

It's sore but I got through three stores and now groceries are put away, the clean laundry can wait (it isn't going anywhere), and I'm sitting doing one of my favorite things. Dinner will be simple; whatever I can throw together. Or perhaps Rebecca will surface long enough to cook. She's getting quite skillful and not nearly as messy.

Ray seems to be doing okay once again. He had two more tests this week (outpatient but still a major pain). We're waiting for results.

We've had great weather; much cooler than anticipated and the air quality is okay.

My online friend, Ann lives in Florida with one husband, assorted kids, and pets. She's a busy lady and a very good writer. I recommend her highly.

She wrote a post the other day about her son's high school prom and graduation and included the commencement address below. Not all the advice will apply to everyone but much of it will. (I have never lived in New York City and have no plans to do so. On the other hand, I've spent many years in Northern California).

Funny thing about being born and raised in the state of New York. Almost everyone assumes I'm from the city. No, there's an entire state called New York as well. I grew up, as many of you know, in the Mohawk Valley of James Fenimore Cooper fame. My two oldest kids were born in Buffalo.

I digress.

Ann said :

"Anyway, I'm going to print the commencement address that according to urban legend was given by Kurt Vonnegut at a commencement at MIT. The truth is it was written by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune. Either way it's a great speech filled with great advice (which as usual, is wasted on the young)."

And now the commencement address:

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '07:

Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Thanks to all for the comments. Eventually I'll catch up on both reading blogs and responding to all of you, I promise. I've been reading a lot of your posts from the "feeder" so I'm around; just silent.

Have a great weekend (half weekend for all of you "down under") and take care everyone.


Ann said...


Thanks for linking to my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed that commencement address. I felt it was worth sharing and I'm glad you felt the same way.

Thanks again,
Ann (the east coast one)

Puss-in-Boots said...

Thank you for posting that address. It was put to music several years ago (I'm not sure who narrated it), and I've always wanted the words because I think the advice applies to us all at any time of life.

Thank you for that, Ann. I hope your and your family are all well and that Ray continues to remain stable.


Susan said...

Good to see a post from you.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like things are looking up and that you have a busy summer ahead of you. Glad to hear you sounding a bit more cheerful, even if you do have a sore foot :-)

Susie said...

Hi Ann,
Good to see you posting. That commencement address is full of some very sound advice...
It's been lovely here weather wise.
Sorry to hear about your foot, hope it heals quickly..

Vanessa said...

I've read that address a few times, but it's just as good every time! Thanks for posting it.

I like the idea of the educational mall trip. I've always thought there should be more "life skills" training for all kids -- which reminds me that I need to give my daughter some lessons in doing her own laundry.

Missy said...

Ha ha, I've always loved this essay. It's a great one. And it's SO TRUE!

Thanks for finding me again. I hope to write a lot more lately. All is well with us. I hope things are getting better there.

Merle said...

Dear Ann ~~ Great to find a post from you and I hope you are all feeling a little better. That was a wonderful
speech, thanks for sharing it.
I hope Elcie enjoyed her trip to the Mall. Hope your foot heals very soon
as anything hurting doesn't help us get things done. I hope the girls help you a bit with cooking etc, and it's good that Rebecca does sometimes. Hope Ray stays well and has no more tests scheduled. Take care of YOU my dear friend, Love, Merle.

Gina said...

Ann, I am glad to hear that things are on a bit of a more even keel for you, even though there are a few glitches here and there.

Take care of yourself, and I think of you often.

Peter said...

Hi Ann, we down unders have a long weekend this week so our weekend will finish the same time as yours this week, Yay.

Steve said...

To the person wondering who it was who put the sunscreen speech to music, it was a guy by the name of Baz Lurhman. The song was actually a fairly big radio hit in 1999

Ava said...

Hello there! Great post!

I hope that all is well.

Anonymous said...

I love these words of wisdom sooo much.

Rositta said...

I posted the video below on my blog June 6, go watch it, it's neat. I found it on YouTube...ciao

Filtro Solar (Sunscreen) - Legendado

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh, I just loved that! So wise, so true! Thanks for posting it.. it really does put a lot into perspective, doesn't it?

Meow (aka Connie) said...

HI Ann, hope you are well. Is it really Summer Vacation in the States already ??? OMG, it seems like only a few weeks ago that the kids went back to school LOL.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Take care, Meow

karrie said...

Such a fun and wise speech.

(I'm prone to blisters on the bottom of my feet too. OUch!!)

Anonymous said...

Also a great website for sun protective clothing for the family is

They also carry an aromatherapy broad spectrum sunscreen.

They were featured this month in Parents Magazine.