You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

Theory

Professionally coverable, location and design must minimize the potential that the “beautiful hot air balloon” (I don’t have one of these) tattoo might someday look like the Hindenburg.

Practice

1993 – Comedy & Tragedy in front of an orange sun.  Because I am a grown up, because tattoos are coming into their own as a normal adornment, because I love the theatre and still believe that someday I will do theatre outside of high school.  This is the one I am most likely to remove if I ever fall into a pile of cash even though it has held up well.

1993 or 1994 ish – a yellow rose on my left big toe.  I love yellow roses and the discord between roses and my stinky feet entertains me.  The tattoo guy tries to talk me out of it but when that doesn’t work he puts my foot on the stool, about an inch from his groin, and said, “Don’t move”.  I didn’t.  He was right, it has not aged well, but I still love it.

March (16th, 17th, 18th ish) 2001 – John is trying to die in the hospital and it appears that he might just pull it off.  I have been mulling over a tattoo that summarizes the amazing couple of years that we were in and I know that if he actually dies it won’t ever be the same.  He is in the ICU and I am at the tattoo parlor taking a pair of scissors to the left inside thigh of a lousy pair of jeans.  It is just modified flash but it says everything I need it to about everyone I love and cherish.  John, when he sees it the next day, is NOT pleased … but he also doesn’t die right then.  I could have waited, but I didn’t know.

Mid to late fall 2001 – I am exhausted and fried, I need something that feels good but to feel good it has to be big and dramatic to punch through the ambient chaos in my mind.  I don’t have a specific tattoo so I get a non-standard part of my ear pierced.  It used to draw attention (both because it is on the right and it’s placement) now 12 year – olds get that kind of piercing done.

March 2002 – John has died now, because he is forever on my mind I tattoo his artist signature (which I am incorporated into) onto the back of my head with his birth and death years.  I tell the tattoo guy (the same guy who did my 2001) that I want one on my head and he warns me that my head needs to be shaved.  I tell him what I want and he has his girlfriend come shave my head so that it looks as good as it can.  I will never lay eyes on it, sans shaving my head again it can’t even be photographed – it exists perfectly in my minds eye.

I put myself on a 1-year tattoo hiatus because I am SUPER close to becoming the Great Tattooed Lady.  I spend that year planning the most insane and egotistical full back piece that has ever been thought of.  I don’t get it done.

June 2002 – I briefly have a piercing that is covered by clothing.  What the hell, I wanted to feel something.  It doesn’t last long because right then I do not have the patience for avoidable pain.

Today, April 26 – In the summer I had asked my dad to write a phrase for me that summed up one of the greatest gifts he had ever given to me.  A fundamental part of my life which came from him.  I tucked it away for awhile but the experience was one I wanted to share with him.

There are so many moments of my life where I put my head on my father’s  shoulder. Even as I overtake him in size and strength his shoulder is one of the safest places I will ever know and so, today, on my right shoulder I had the words “Always be curious” tattooed in his handwriting.  Dad came with me, he watched his words move forever onto my shoulder, Elvis sang “Love me Tender” in the background, and he smiled.

A dear friend wished for me that the end of LLV be relatively stress free.  It was a beautiful gift, much like wishing a newlywed couple a lingering kiss everyday.  It WOULD be great, but looking at thousands of other people who have gone through a similar experience — moving across country (even in the partial way that we will be) must ALWAYS come with at least one moment where you think, “Fuck it.  They sell all of it there.  My computer and my phone and I’m ready to roll.”

I mentioned awhile ago that I needed to go into dry dock because I knew that winter blahs were in need of tending.  I focused and definitely began feeling better.  Then March and April happened and it was a whirlwind – May will be much of the same.

It is time to implement Step Two.  The finding of the zen (I am not a zen buddhist, I identify as taoist, I’m not capitalizing any of these words ON PURPOSE).  Here are my tools of the moment –

1.  The gym until some part of my body starts to burn.  Today it was my arms, yesterday it was my thighs.  Without this my brain starts to burn and I like that less.  Sometimes no music, sometimes fuck you music, sometimes chill music.  Also —- I could use suggestions for good fuck you music.  Currently Imagine Dragons “Radioactive” hits the spot.

2.  A place of absolute honesty.  This one, oddly, is My Fitness Pal right now.  It is not an emotional thing for me to write down movement and food intake (and seriously, the catalog of food is SO MUCH BETTER than it was a couple of years ago).  So MFP is getting a lot of attention because it is clear, easy, ritualistic, and devoid of actual meaning for me.

For me journaling is a reflection of my mind, and my mind continually is in conversation about perspective and interpretation – it is something that serves me well most of the time but as stressors increase it is better to just have some stuff that is black & white happening.

3.  Audiobooks.  This is new for me – sort of.  Today as I walked at the gym I was listening to the Tao of Pooh, a great introductory level book about Taoism and what an excellent representation Pooh is of that thought process.  It was incredibly comforting to have someone reading to me, especially a book which I have read before and was part of my investigation of taoism all those years ago.

Also, Wil Wheaton is going to be attached to the end of LLV in strange ways.  I have been picking audiobooks read by him as I’ve traveled back and forth – plugging in when I get in the car and essentially unplugging when I got to the opposing door.  I very much enjoyed Ready Player One and any geek out there should check it out to see if it might be up your ally.

So why this instead of wine, chocolate, therapy, or random bits of rage?  Well, I’m not saying there won’t be any of that, because there will be (in the form of Makers Mark, DD coffee, and ranting) but ultimately I can see a torrent of stress and emotion that has a clear end date.  After that I need to be healthy enough to re-enter a life which I enjoy in another part of the country with people that I care about, work that I enjoy, and most importantly my guys who I love deeply.

I’ve had a long period of time in my life with huge stress and no definite endpoint, where it felt like everything was on the line.  This is not that.  I am surrounded in love both near and far and I am anchored in both who I am and who I want to be.  It is my inner nature to look for balance and it will take more than just drinking enough water right now – but I am open to hearing what I need and then trying to get it.

Tomorrow I have a date with my dad, and I should be coming home with some extra decorations.  I have spent this week making sure I don’t go overboard on the decoration, but I’m looking forward to telling you about it.

 

Week One.  Mommy Camp.  I don’t even remember the first part of it at all.  I do remember the indoor water park with great fondness, the loud chaos and falsely warm sunshine of a midwestern midwinter.

Week Two.  Washington DC.  A great adventure, good travel companions, interesting work, and missing the cherry blossoms by TWO DAYS.

Weeks 3 & 4.  Home base with my friends and my work but without my guys.  Thank goodness for Skype, airplanes, and the newest issue of EW with a full page picture of Benedict Cumberbatch (ok, that isn’t the EW picture but who cares).

I came home on Friday and had 90 seconds of gleeful son and then he went basically back to normal.  The treat dinner planned for my return (including the house favorite “bowl of french fries”) was devoured and then there we were, all back to normal.

Saturday was spent indulging in the amazing STEM organization of the local university and playing around with Star Wars stuff at the library.  Lunch at our favorite spot (that reminds us of home base).

It has been such a dense and intense four weeks that I don’t remember parts of it and it absolutely flew by.  Then I look at the calendar and see it – six weeks left.  No joke kids, LLV is nearly over.

It’s going to be ok, but the world is dense with plans and wishes and feelz.

Glee.

Ok.  I’m only buying them if they have at least some New York story line.  The Thursday episode I won’t watch until Friday or Saturday this week.  I’m writing this before it airs but I cannot imagine that Rachel gets a Broadway lead right away.  Then I see the Kate Hudson pictures and I’m not so sure.  There is only one story line I really care about, but the New York stuff (as contrived as it might be) is interesting enough.

Doctor Who.

I’m so torn about this right now.  I keep waiting for Clara to illicit some sort of feeeeellllzzzz from me.  It may be my personal ambient stress level but it isn’t happening so far.  I didn’t even make it through The Rings of Akhaten, although I will likely try again at some point.  I’m excited about the 50th anniversary season.  I’m excited to see what Moffet is going to do with Clara (which I think will be exceptional) but I’m ready for him to GET ON WITH IT.  Also.  River.  Need more River.

Other geeky stuff …

Hmmmmmmm, actually pretty low on the geek right now. Haven’t seen the new Tabletop yet because my wifi can’t hang right at the moment.

What geek stuff are you loving right now?  How are you feeling about Glee and Doctor Who?

The fields near my mom’s house are so covered over in water right now there are little whitecaps when the wind blows.  It wasn’t even squishy when I left, and it feels like I’ve been gone a long time.

The ground near the house is covered over in pollen, it drifts on the stoop and makes my face swell so much my glasses squeeze.  I’ve mowed the lawn, but it needs it again.  It seems like I’ve been here a long time.

I’m covered over in the expectations I’ve chosen for myself, and the emotions that come with this time of this year.  I’ve got a lot of new stuff happening and a lot of hard work that needs to be done.  I almost never do a good job pacing my energy but it already seems like I’ve got a marathon behind me.  This isn’t a marathon now, the end of LLV is just a 5K up a hill in the heat of summer — doable — by the fool hardy.

I’m covered over (alternately) in silence and in music.  Both let the back of my brain work through the goings on, but sometimes the music helps because then I can add my loud, thin, slightly sharp/flat voice to the mix.

Alice believes six impossible things before breakfast.

The army does more before 8am then most people do all day.

I am loud, and silent, and covered over — but I’m relentless.

I think I need to take a real first aid class, because I know I would run towards.

I think I need to take another run at playing the ukelele, maybe with a little help to get me started.

I know that I need time on the treadmill, because I am the person who controls my life.

I am helpless and heartbroken, I ache, and I will still look tomorrow square in the eye without fear.

Best of the Bunch

Best of the Bunch (Photo credit: Enokson)

I am not shy about adoring the amazing AFP.  I swooned awhile back about her TED talk, and now I will attempt the greatest form of flattery by doing my own rendition of this.

Our LLV has had the support of everyone in our lives, cheering us on and wishing us well, welcoming us with open arms and waiting patiently for our return.  This weekend is a microcosm of the ways in which my family and I have been supported in LLV….

Thank you L for making the decision that saved us from a less than flowing day, and for choosing instead to be in a place that made you smile so brightly.

Thank you J for letting me use your car on the occasions that I need it.

Thank you stranger for pushing the car up the hill to safety when I needed it.

Thank you to K&D for picking me up and bringing the BEST BANANA EVER.

Thank you (different)D for offering to help in any way you can.

Thank you A for taking me into town for groceries, and then again for breakfast and coffee.

Thank you to the makes of red tools for the lawnmower, ax, saw, and cutter thingies that occupied me today.

Thank you to the fine people who make 1554 and the wine folks of Trader Joe’s.

Thank you (different)J and E for being willing to help me get into work tomorrow.

It is hard for me to ask for help sometimes, even harder to accept it when it is offered but this weekend was full of that very thing.

 

The other part was that I had some serious conversations that I needed to have with myself.  This weekend had just enough tension to push me past my wanna-be-British “stiff upper lip” mentality and then enough time, support, and safety to get on my feet and prepare for all of the amazing things that are still on the way.

This weekend was a good one, and I hope yours was too.

 

At some point in the mid-90s my first husband and I entered into our first major purchase – a couch.

He was, absolutely, his father’s son.  He enjoyed a comfortable and relaxing sit in front of the television and with the amazing existence of the mid-1990s there was a couch that reclined.  In function it was perfect, a long thigh to match his, it reclined, and it was clearly to be ours.

Now, as I was experimenting with the newness of being The Lady of The House I deemed that it shouldn’t be ugly.  Being in the throws of the mid 1990s did not help on that front at all.  Most upholstery was un-lovely in a muted mauve and teal floral extravaganza.

We negotiated and settled upon his functionality and the best attempt at my not-ugly rule.  It was tan.  All of it.  One large yellow/tan mass of tan couch with tan pillows and tan arm rest covers.  TAN.  Not ugly, but also not interesting.  It was the best we could do but I didn’t like it much more than if it was straight up ugly.

In 2005 I left it in Athens while I went to IL, I thought I was done with it.  It was still in Athens when I returned in 2007.  It  became the couch I would have forever.  Although, in due respect – it is a Lane sofa and has held up VERY well through many moves and a fair amount of inattention.

Then last night, it was gone.  Given to a neighbor in March, it was picked up last night and marched out of the house as I encouraged the young daughter of the new owners to not get squashed by it.  Just gone.  The last thing I owned that my first husband had sat on, watched Akira on, played video games from.

Today, a new couch arrived.  Gray this time, and bigger.  I showed it to my son and husband via technology.  It looks good and I have a plan for how I am going to finish off the room already.

Time is beautiful and relentless.  Good-bye couch that I hated for so long, I’ll miss you.

5:00am  (horn flourish sounds as I get a text message)

Orbitz:  Your flight in three hours is currently on time.

Me: Why are you telling me about my flight tomorrow???  Wait.  You aren’t …. you think … if you think then o’shit, o’no, o’please.

Me:  (grabs computer, manically types, laughs my half-crazy adrenaline laugh).

Mom:  (from under the covers) What is going on?

Me: Our flight leaves in 3 hours.

(general sputtering from both of us)

Jeff:  I’m so0000 tired my knees just bend so I can sleep.

2 hours and 40 minutes later … we are packed, on a plane, and buckled in.

Most of our trip was smooth sailing, it was all delightful, but it is going to be awhile before the last part of the trip stops being the first part of the story.

 

Dear Orbits, thank you.  I love you.