Of Strangers And Sunburns or Boy Was My Face Red

To the lady at the grocery store, yes I was aware my face was red, especially my cheeks.  I’m sure you thought well when you decided to offer me some “quick and simple” tips to prevent this in the future.  And I’m just as sure you’d ‘appreciate’ a stranger coming up to you in a public setting to offer advice on to not “look so awful” in the future.

Perhaps you thought I was hard of hearing as you discussed how sunscreen works.  Perhaps I struck you as confused when you explained that gently applying the sunscreen in a circular motion would ensure I would have even coverage that was blended into my skin.  And I’m positive the other shoppers appreciated your lesson on how those little SPF numbers work.  It’s a shame you couldn’t remember that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor because that would have made the lecture more complete.  But you did try, so there is that.

The thing is, kind stranger, I have lupus.  This isn’t a sunburn.  It is my body trying to put on its own version of a visual display.  It is displaying that al is not well in my body. The red cheeks you found so “ugly” area sign that my immune system is attacking my healthy tissues again.  Shame it doesn’t display exactly which tissue or organ is being attacked.

Yes I wish the display was something more beautiful, you know the way some birds have special plumage ey use for display.  But I don’t have special plumage. I just have a super immune system that gets bored easily and attacks my own body, just to keep its occupied, or maybe to prove how strong it is.

Please understand the only reason I stood there while you gave me the advice was because I was tired.  I had already stopped I front of those products when you came by.  I was waiting for Beloved to finish grabbing two items so he could join me.  I wasn’t so much waiting for you finish explaining to me the art of sun protection because I live that art all the time.

You may have noticed my pale skin.  That’s from sun protection and not just sunscreen either. You see, dear stranger, I practice the art of extreme sun protection. I cover up so as not to expose myself to sun.  Yes I’m that woman wearing a light oversized shirt with full length pants and a huge hat while you are outside in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I’m a master at finding shade, although clearly in your eyes the only reason I had an “awful, red face” was because I had managed to get a “sunburn from misapplied sun screen.”

Next time you wish to be so helpful, before launching into a lecture you may want to consider how would you feel on the receiving end of it. You may also want to consider that you may be commenting about something you know nothing about, as the man who approached told yo as much. That man, who was irritated by your need to ‘educate me’ was Beloved.  And he could see I was tired.  Because you see, dear stranger, he is educated in what it’s like to live with someone who has lupus.  And he could see if we didn’t finish up soon our vehicle would be in the sun.  And none of us wanted me exposed to more sun.

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Coffee, Students And What

Beloved was helping a graduate student with her paper.  She had asked if she could meet him for a few hours.  He agreed, provided she could meet him at the coffee shop where we currently we having a nice coffee.

She arrived shortly after, her face on, her hair done just so and looking stunning.  Beloved rose to greet her and suggest a table where the two of them could work in peace.  Her face, which fell when she discovered he wasn’t alone, brightened immediately when she realized she would be with him alone at a table.

As is his custom, he pulled out a timer and set if for an hour and a half.  I knew he would tell her, as he was setting it, that she could have no more than an hour and a half of his time. She pouted, but he simply sat down and got ready to help her while she got her coffee.

She handed him papers and pulled out a book, and I turned back to what I was reading.  Now I will be the first to admit, when caught up in an interesting topic, time can get away from me so I was shocked when Beloved re-appeared at out table in what seemed like moments later.  In reality a total of thirty minutes had passed.

The grad student was nowhere to be seen.  Beloved told me she didn’t seem interested in hearing anything other than praise for her work.  This is something he cannot abide in students who ask for help, but really want an ego stroking.

Now I recall asking for this kind of help years ago, but it was to make sure my work would meet the standards.  Beloved shared with me that he got the feeling that’s this student was hoping to curry favour with him for when the time came to present her work.  That is also something he cannot abide by.

Comfortable Spaces

The four-footed one has taken to sleeping in front of the oven these days.  It started out with her deciding that was the safe place to rest while I was working in the kitchen.  She also discovered that sometimes food can be found on the floor there.  And let’s face it, a comfy place to rest where food can be easily had isn’t a bad place at all.

So naturally she spent part of the day sleeping there while I was busy cooking.  And naturally she felt the need to cozy right up to the oven when it’s turned up rather high.    Which lead to me wondering how I could access the oven without having her come around out of interest.  I’d prefer her to be nowhere near the oven when it’s turned on because I can easily see her trying to get into the oven to catch a taste of things.

I don’t want to see her hurt and to be honest I do not want roast dog either.  And yes I know technically if she never found food there the likelihood of her being there all the time is minor.  But I’m not always the neatest of cooks, thus if she comes by while I’m putting something aside to cool, she is fast, especially when it comes to food.

While I Was Working And While She Was Sleeping

The four-footed one likes to play.  While she will occasionally play on her own, her favorite thing to do is to find a toy and insist that a human join her in the fun.  She isn’t too picky about having rules, and chase is always a great game.

Today, while I was swamped doing far too much work, she kept bringing me toys to play with. I would throw the, and shed run after them and get them.  No she didn’t bring them back for me to throw again.  That wouldn’t be much fun by her standards.  Instead shed wait for me to look for her.  If I failed to do so in a timely fashion shed bark until I came.  And of course the minute I got close to her and her toy, she would take off running.  Yes she wanted me to chase her to try to get the toy back.

Due to my lack of attention and dedication to the game,it resulted in toys being stashed pin window sills, under beds, at the bottom of the stairs and in a cupboard that wasn’t fully closed.  This doesn’t include the countless toys left strewn across her general playing area, which happens to be the living room/entertaining space.  It appears she is a love ’em and leave ’em kind of girl if no one shows interest in the toy she currently is with.

So on top of working long hours, I spent another couple of hours searching for and then storing all the toys away again.  As for the dog?  She was sleeping when I was cleaning up the mess.

Too Much Of A Good Thing or Gobble Much

The four-footed one has discovered there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Today she managed to convince three different people to give her treats while we were in a pet store.

Pit wasn’t her first time in the store and the owner of the store always tries new treats win her.  No theory it’s an easy way to see what she likes and doesn’t like.  In reality when the store owner offers her something new, she loves it.  I buy a package of said treats and she won’t eat them.  Not always, but this isn’t exactly rare either.

Today the owner offered here a new treat which she adored.  The owner’s wife was holding out a treat while asking the four-footed one if she wanted the treat.  It seemed cruel to say no.  Little did I know, while I was paying for my purchase a clerk was sitting on the floor behind a display that the four-footed one was sniffing.  Yep, you guessed it, the four-footed one was getting more treats.  And not just one the way the store owner and his wife offered treats.  Oh no, this clerk apparently offered the four-footed one a handful.

Now some animals may show self-restraint.  The four-footed one just happens to not be an animal with any form of self-restraint.  So after gobbling up the handful of treats, she came back near me and made that sound at always make you freeze for a second.  And then, just like that, she brought up all the treats she had just consumed.

I was horrified, wondering how two small treats could have quickly swollen into the mound near my feet.  The store’s owner assured me it wasn’t possible.  The clerk who had sneakily offered the treats and now appeared to be to working on a shelf near the display, suggested that the four-footed one may have had more than two treats.  She then showed the owner and I how many treats were offered to the four-footed one.

The four-footed seems fine after the small episode, and maybe now she will learn not to gobble everything al at once, no matter how tempting it is.

Got Going On

It’s not my place, not to tell someone how I think s/he should live his/her life.  I mean who am I to pass that kind of judgement when half the time I’m not even sure if I’m getting my own life right?  And it’s not my place to tell someone how that person should identify as far as country, race, religion, or gender.  For who am I to know more than that individual knows regarding the specifics of his/her situation?

It’s not my place to tell Beloved how he should do things either.  How do I know if the feather he wants to chase in the wind will turn out to become a dream fulfilled or just a worn feather?  I can’t even seem to figure out what is a flight of fancy versus a real possibility of a dream coming true in my own life.  So surely I am not qualified at any of this.

Really about all I am qualified for is stumbling through my own journey of life.  Sometimes I seem to get the hang of things, other times I fail spectacularly at something someone else would easily avoid. So I struggle and bite my tongue because I have no clue how to get it to stay right.

And maybe, at some point I will be in a position to speak from authority or as an expert on the subject.  If that happens, I’m sure it will be about how to fail spectacularly, because that’s what I got going on.

What Hook

I hate having to admit defeat.  It’s right up there with having to ask for help.  These are things I struggle with.  The problem with admitting defeat is that it feels like I’m saying I’m a failure.  Notice that it doesn’t come across as me saying I wasn’t successful at something I attempted to do.  Nope, instead I tumble straight into the good old mode of considering myself a failure.  And asking for help means there is something wrong with me, like I’m not able to figure out what I should be able to figure out on my own.

Now the truth is, if someone came to me and admitted defeat in learning a new skill, I would not think any less of that person.  Perhaps the person just wasn’t ready to learn the skill.  Or maybe there are other learning obstacles in the person’s path.

Land the truth is if someone comes to me for help, I don’t feel any less about them.  They just need some assistance and I happen to be in a position to help them out.  Life is about give and take, ups and downs.

Now I will admit prior to lupus I was hard on myself.  Since having it, I push myself harder, expect more and never let myself off the hook.  Which of course is absolutely stupid given these are stressful things.  And given that lupus feeds off of stress it’s extra stupid.  So I’ve made an effort to start asking for help before things get to a place of defeat.  Yes I know initially this will bring me incredible stress, but in the long run, it should be good for me.