Gratitude: Day 3

I’ve had a terrible week, but I refuse to give up on my gratitude challenge!

My Doctors
I’m so grateful for my wonderful, attentive, excellent doctors. For those of you who do not know how I was diagnosed with CLL, it was my Ob/Gyn who found it. I went in for my yearly check up in January 2013 weighing 90 pounds. He asked if I was anorexic. When I exclaimed “No!” He asked to run some tests. Two days later I received a call from him telling me I had to see a hematologist–like yesterday. My white blood cell count was off the charts. One week later, I was tentatively diagnosed with leukemia by the best hematologist/oncologist in the world. He has not only become my doctor, but strangely, a father figure. He knows my rebellious nature and “warns” me about what I can and can not do at every visit. He also makes me laugh and calls me “Hollywood” because I showed up to every chemo session with my full face on–even lashes! I love them both and thank God for them.

My Education
I am grateful for my education. There are too many places on this Earth where women aren’t even allowed to learn how to read. If they do, they get beaten or killed. There are children in other countries who have one wish–to go to school. Writing this makes me a little teary. We. Are. So. Lucky.

My Apartment
I am grateful for my rent stabilized apartment in Park Slope. As the middle class gets pushed out of NYC due to the gross rent costs, I am grateful to have secured a home in an excellent neighborhood for me and my daughter–and I ain’t leavin’–no matter how much money my new landlord offers to buy us out. It’s no palace, but it’s home and there is an Uncle Louie G’s right on my corner! (For those who are wondering who Uncle Louie is it’s a nice cream shop. I’m a regular…)

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I Am Grateful… Day 1

My good friend Gus Gus challenged me to write about three things I am grateful for every day for an entire week. I accepted her challenge and this is Day 1. I’m starting out small and getting bigger and bigger each day…

Positive Thoughts: Day 1

Brooklyn!

I feel lucky and grateful to have been born and bred in Brooklyn, NY. Being a “Brooklyn Girl” is a part of my entire being. I wouldn’t be “me” had I grown up or moved somewhere else. It has given me a certain toughness, a great accent and the amazing opportunity to have grown up with and continue to meet people from all walks of life–the rich and the poor, the evil and the kind, a million different ethnicities (sometimes rolled up into one person!), the best pizza in the world–and I’ve been to Italy!, the memories of summer days on Jane ‘s stoop with my motley crew of friends, excellent schools and the honor to say with pride “I’m from Brooklyn. Born and Bred.”

DJ & The N.Y. Yankees

Derek Jeter (and the NY Yankees) OK, besides my obvious crush on him, Derek exemplifies hard work, dignity, honesty and athleticism. He’s quiet and reserved. He’s a bit too serious, in my opinion, but there is NOTHING like watching Mr. Jeter step up to the plate, put his arm straight up to balance his stance and hit one of his signature 1st base balls–setting up his team to go for the big hits. A slugger he’s not, but as a captain, I mean how could you not have tremendous

respect for him? I’m going to miss him.

My Kitchen Window

Yes, I am grateful for a window. I live in an old railroad apartment and I only have three windows, but my kitchen window is my favorite. It’s almost six feet tall, leads out to my fire escape, where every summer I plant a little garden. I have beautiful memories of holding my little baby in my arms and staring at the fat snowflakes falling from the cold January sky. I stare at the beautiful cherry blossom tree every April, waiting for it to POP, in the summer, I use it to “test” the weather, plant my garden, and hang out with a friend or two. The Fall brings a gorgeous portrait of colorful leaves on the trees that grow in my neighbors’ yards and as a bit of a voyeur, I watch with happiness other families planting gardens, having barbecues, birthday parties, and just relaxing in their own yards or on their own fire escapes. It also has a great view of the Barclay’s Center and 1 Hanson place. Yes, I’m grateful for my kitchen window.

That’s all for today, friends. Thanks for reading and thanks to Gus Gus for inspiring me to take on this challenge.

“This Is Why I’m Crying…”

It’s an inside joke among my tight circle of Brooklyn friends and myself dating back about 23 years. We were causing raucous inside of a Bodega located inFlatbush proper when one or two of my friends started jawing with the owner trying to get a deal on some Sour Power candy. (This is how I spent many a Brooklyn afternoon. No libraries for us.) Of course, marijuana was involved, we all found it hysterical and after driving the owner bat shit crazy for about fifteen minutes, he covered his face with his hands and in his Middle Eastern accent whimpered “This is why I’m crying!!!”

Eat at your own risk! Make sure to brush and see a dentist as soon as possible after sucking, chewing and ingesting this tart and super sugary treat. (Sounds so dirty, but that's how you eat 'em!)

Eat at your own risk! Make sure to brush and see a dentist as soon as possible after sucking, chewing and ingesting this tart and super sugary treat. (Sounds so dirty, but that’s how you eat ’em!)

 

Two decades later, whenever something less than catastrophic happens to one of us, a “This is why I’m crying!” escapes our lips. We still laugh and laugh. Today I am crying, because as a a sun worshipper, a beach baby, a Coppertone Queen, I have been banned from the beach due to high fevers and left with nothing but Coney Island dreaming’ and a bottle of (Oh God, I hate to say this…) a b-b-b-bottle of Neutrogena Build A Tan. It smells pretty bad, stained my hands, but, I have to admit– it works. I have a lovely, smelly, fake tan. I can wear shorts and a tank top without feeling my pasty self-consciousness. (I’ve always wanted to review beauty products, so I consider this my first one. If you can get past the smell and are super careful with application, it really does give a realistic looking sun kissed glow.)

This is why I'm crying...

This is why I’m crying…

I love summer clothes and I love a deep golden tan and to me, you can not have one without the other. I’ve been to the beach a handful of times since June, but nothing significant enough to give me that lovely glow I start dreaming about each March.

I'll take the striped bum, please.

I’ll take the striped bum, please.

 

But… My health and comfort comes first. My poor girl, stuck in the house with her sick Mommy. 101 fever, nausea, headache.

I guess we’ll go the the ceramics workshop in a little while to get her out of the house. Maybe I’ll paint a Palm Tree. (Note: There are no Palm Trees in Brooklyn. It’s my sad attempt at symbolism.)

I want this...

I want this…

 

But I have to settle for this.

But I have to settle for this.

This is why I’m crying!!!

From Brooklyn to Afghanistan

The sound of silence didn’t last very long as I woke up the next morning to a text message from a foreign number on my cell phone. It was from an old boyfriend, someone I had almost purposely lost touch with over the years. He was crazy (they all are) but I dated him on and off for about eighteen months back in 2003 and 2004. We met online and on our first date, we discovered that I knew his father through my work, a man he despised with such intensity, it was difficult for him to swallow the beer that sat in front of him as we talked about his hatred for the man who gave him life.

The night before our second date, he called to confirm and told me he was getting a tattoo that night. I playfully responded “Well, I’m not playing nurse tomorrow, so don’t go crazy.” I met up with him the next morning for Sunday brunch and a few minutes into our meeting, remembered the tattoo. “So…what did you get?” I asked him. He explained that upon meeting me, I stirred up such intense feelings within him, that I was the inspiration for his latest tattoo. I was a little concerned, a bit flattered and wildly curious. “Let’s see it!” I exploded. I couldn’t wait any longer. He held out his hand and right there in big, black, bold letters was the word “HATE” spewed across his fingers.

I gasped.

“Um, I…I…Uh, how was I the inspiration for that?”

He replied “I haven’t thought about my father in a long time. I try not to think about him at all, what he did to my Mother, to me and to my brother. I hate him. When we were talking about him in that bar, it brought up all of these old feelings. I had to express it. You helped me to remember those feelings, not to repress them.”

I asked him why he had to display his feelings across his hand in big, black, bold letters? I mean, couldn’t he have written his Dad a letter and then thrown it away? Or perhaps a nice journal entry or a poem?

Nope. The tattoo would have permanency.

Despite the “HATE” tattoo, I continued to see this man for quite a while. He did have some good qualities. He was smart, funny, well-read, experienced and of course, good in bed. He was also an alcoholic with no real life goals and quite the liar. We dated from early fall until February, when he broke it off with me. We saw each other a few times in-between  the winter and summer and then spent the summer together. When I met my STILL husband, and broke off the relationship with him for the first time, it was MD who took me back into his arms. We had fun together.

I don’t remember exactly how it ended, I think it just kind of faded away, but my STILL husband and I finally became serious, got married, got pregnant and it was at that point in my life that I decided to join Facebook. He was one of the first friend requests that I received. I denied his request and though I did think about him from time to time, he was one of the few men who didn’t seem to have any lasting impact on me. We dated for a long time. I inspired his “HATE” tattoo. We hung out a lot, and yet, I could go years without thinking or wondering about him at all.

Until this past Sunday. The text message read “Hi TattooGirl. It’s MD. I don’t know if you remember me. I used to live on X street. How are you?

I shook the sleep out of my head and reread the message. Should I respond? Of course I should respond!! Why shouldn’t I invite another crazy back into my life?

I replied “I’m doing well, despite what you may have read in the rags. How are you?”

He was confused. He wrote back that he didn’t know what I meant about the “rags.” He was writing from Afghanistan. He had joined the Army several years ago and was on his second deployment. He had text messaged me from a calling card and told me it was best to contact him through Google Chat. I don’t understand Google Chat, so I just used plain ol’ e-mail and that’s what we’ve been doing since Sunday…catching up through e-mail.

I told him all about the scandal, the divorce, the cancer, and my daughter. He told me about his decision to join the Army and sent some photographs. We joked around a bit and then I asked him “What comes next, MD? Is the Army your new home? Your new career? You sound happy and fulfilled. I’m proud of you”

A few hours later I was sitting in the waiting room of my Oncologist’s office when I heard the buzz of a new e-mail. It was his reply and this is what he wrote:

“Honestly, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be truly happy or fulfilled. I’m constantly searching for challenges and that’s what gives me satisfaction. Physical, mental, whatever. Pushing myself, constantly. I love that. No one back home really understands what I do or why I joined., least of all what my service means. And I get that. It’s a pretty alien concept. New York Jews don’t join the Army and go to Afghanistan for their mid-life crisis, They buy sports cars and sleep with 19 year old blondes. That’s not me.

To be honest, tattoo girl, I was never happier than I was on my last deployment, sitting on a mountainside, haven’t showered in weeks, no laundry, crunchy socks, eating MRE’s and drinking warm water, getting shot at randomly. Once, I got shot at while taking a dump. Now that was a humbling experience. Me and 10 other guys. I’d come off patrol at 6 AM, read notes from underground, sleep, wake up and do it again. Simple existence, nothing mattered more than what I was doing right then and there. No internet, no phones, no way to communicate with anyone aside from my team and platoon…”

I had to hold back my tears. How could people change so much in eleven years? I don’t mean just him. I mean me, too. God, we have both changed so much. Our lives are completely different than they were when we used to date back in ’03-’04. We are different people, and for some strange reason, we still connect. We can still have a conversation a million miles away from one another and it’s meaningful. I felt so much stirring up inside of me after I read that e-mail. I was proud of him, I felt sorry for him, I connected with his feelings of being misunderstood, I felt a useless existence in comparision to what he was experiencing, what he was contributing to our society, our country… He made me want to DO something. How many people actually DO something?

He is.

And despite the questions that swirled around in my head about his former character, his hate, his lies…they are a decade old. And so are we, me and MD. We’re a decade older now and I’m still here and he’s over there and I never would have thought of him had he not sent me that message last Sunday morning, but all week, he’s all I can think about–not in a sexual or romantic way, but in a human way.

I look forward to his next e-mail.



 

My Coldest Winter Ever

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My coldest winter ever actually started in November. My Mom, the strongest woman I know, the woman who raised five kids on her own, who has battled Multiple Sclerosis for over thirty years, who turned seventy five last July, who has nine grandchildren and who has always taken care of me whenever I was in a crisis ranging from the flu to my scandal became seriously ill with a septic infection. My doctor advised me not to go see her in the hospital because of my own immune system, but I couldn’t stay away from my Mommy while she was ill. She’s always been there for me and I would be there for her. I took the long drive out to Suffolk County, where she now resides with one of my sisters and her family and in my bag I packed the bottle of Lourdes Water that she gave me when she found out I had cancer. My sister rubbed it on her wounded leg, but unlike the “magic” it seemed to work for me, she ended up needing two surgeries on her leg to remove the infected tissue. We had no idea if she would be home for Thanksgiving and being a single Mom dealing with my own illness, I only got to se her once in the hospital, where she stayed for three long weeks. Her recovery would be long and painful and she’s still not fully recovered, but she was home for Thanksgiving and that’s the last time I saw her. I think about her everyday and I know she’s in wonderful hands, but I’m scared. I don’t know what I would do without my Mommy. I don’t even…no…I can’t even think about it.

December was madness. I was broke, it was Christmas time and I have a Christmas baby. I had to plan her 5th birthday party, use my credit cards to purchase gifts, fought with my daughter’s father (we’re STILL married! Longest divorce ever!) about money every single day, decorate the apartment, schlep a tree into my tiny abode, send out birthday invitations and  my Christmas cards (I never miss a year, though according to the ratio of the amount of greetings I sent out versus the amount I received, I think they might be going out of fashion–what a shame.) December wasn’t so cold temperature wise, but I just didn’t feel so jolly. I couldn’t wait until January. 2104. A new year, new beginnings, no resolutions, just hope.

My most sincere apologies to T.S. Elliot, but you’re wrong. January is the cruelest month. I can not remember a January as cold and miserable and snowy as the one that just passed. I’m talking sub-zero temperatures, blizzards once a week, cars iced into their parking spots for days. I’m truly trying to think about one good thing to say about this past January, and in all honesty–I can’t. Complete misery. Layers upon layers of clothing, hats, gloves, long johns, snow boots. Oh, how I want to burn my snow boots! Just throw them in a fire and watch them go up in flames. My apartment is old, so the radiators rattled, banged and finally started spraying boiling water all over my kitchen and bedroom. I still have the towels stuffed under the valves to protect my belongings from water destruction–and the worst part about it? You would think that mopping boiling water from your kitchen floor would leave it with a sparkling shine. Not true. The snow in New York is dirty. Trudging through my hallway into the kitchen wearing the boots I want to burn left them forever scarred. A reminder of the cruelest January I can remember.

February, in my mind, was a joy–only because it has twenty eight days and would make the winter months disappear into spring just a bit faster. I was wrong. Still freezing, still snowing still depressing. My daughter had an entire week off from school and, of course, I had to be a full time Mommy. I had no choice but to put off all of my doctor appointments until she went back to school and before I knew it, the symptoms of my cancer, which has been in remission since late September started coming back. I didn’t get to see my Oncologist until the last week of February and when my blood results came back, they weren’t very good. I’m anemic again and started iron infusions this past week. I have to get another PET scan to see if the cancer spread and there is a very good chance I may have to start treatment again. More waiting… But before I write February off as a complete disaster, there was one warm and wonderful day I will never forget. February 14th. Valentine’s Day. It was the best Valentine’s day of my life. I spent all morning into the mid afternoon underneath my warm covers with an amazing lover and all night with the love of my life. My daughter.

And now it’s March. Oh March, please be good to me. The month started out pretty well. My STILL husband and I signed our custody agreement–joint custody (meaning we make all major decisions about her school, religion, medical conditions etc. together) but I am her physical custodian. I remember just a few months ago, warring with her father and thisclose to giving him custody. But I pulled myself up by my foul winter boot straps and stayed strong. It means so much to me knowing that I won this battle and it’s not about the money he’s going to have to pay me for child support in addition to my alimony; it’s a victory. It’s a sign of my strength and my unending love for my daughter. I may never have another child again, but I have her and she makes me strong and happy and useful and loved. Watching her grow up into a little girl is the most beautiful experience I could ever imagine. I won! My cancer may be back, but with her love and excitement and growth, I gain the strength to keep fighting. Everything.

Today was a beautiful day in Brooklyn. Fifty degrees. No jackets required. Tomorrow will be sunny and forty one degrees. The snow is melting, leaving dirty puddles everywhere, but slowly, my coldest winter ever is coming to an end and Mr. Elliot, I can’t wait for April!

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Jail.

Jail smells like piss and shit. I know this because I’ve spent a couple of days in jail. One was just a holding cell, but there was feces smeared all over the walls. The other night was real jail. Brooklyn House of Detention. Central Booking. That’s what i remember most about that night. The overwhelming stench of piss and shit. It was freezing, despite being a hot night in late May. The guards pump the air conditioning to control the smell. That’s what they yelled back at one of the “ladies” who told her to “turn up the fucking heat, motherfucker.”

Nobody fucked with me. I think they were a little scared. What was this skinny white girl in good jeans and a hot pink hoodie doing with the likes of them?  I heard somebody remark: “She killed somebody.” Nobody whispers about you behind your back in jail. They want a reaction. They wanted me to react.

“Yeah, I fucking killed someone and I’ll kill you too, you fucking cunt if I ever hear you talk about me again.”

I didn’t say that.

I didn’t say anything.

Somebody handed me an apple. I inspected it, rubbed it on the inside of my hoodie and ate it. I threw the core underneath the bench.

A heroin addict wearing house slippers and a threadbare nightgown started licking a crackhead’s clit. Everybody giggled. I did not. I was pissed. They all knew it too.

Most of them eventually slept, but I did not.

The next morning I was arraigned. The Prosecution asked for $50,000 in bail. The judge settled on 10. I left the court room with what seemed like ten million cameras in my face. The police were screaming at the reporters “Let her through! Let her the fuck through!” I was pushed into a car with my attorney. We had a driver drop me off at home.

I stripped and took a long, hot shower. I threw all of those jail clothes in the wash, including my sneakers. After they dried, I folded them and put them away.

I never wore that hot pink hoodie again.

Oh God, No. He’s Gay?

I had it all planned out. I was chatting it up with this awesome and totally cute tattoo artist  on Instagram and it turns out he’s moving to Brooklyn this month. Whaaat? Can you say opportunist?? I had been following his work for some time and it was a perfect fit. I love girl tattoos–girly tattoos, but also tattoos of girls and he does both perfectly.

Like I wrote before, I had it all planned out. I was going to make an appointment with him here in Brooklyn, we would hit it off instantly. I would make another appointment with him (I like tattoos) and at that point he would say “Let’s just get to it, I like you and you like me–let’s go out.” And we would live happily ever after.

I tell my older sister who is the anchor to my cloud my amazing fantastical opportunity for everlasting love and she responds, in her usual deadpan way “I think he’s gay.”

What?

No?

Never?

How could it be?

After I had told her my plans for the future, she took a gander at his Instagram and noticed a couple of photos where a conversation took place between my dream tattoo artist and another artist we know and who he will be working with right here in Brooklyn. “Yeah, she said, I can’t remember exactly, but it was something about can’t expose name being the queen of tattooing and I noticed there were a few of those comments and in one of the photos, he even called himself a queen. You should read the conversations more and stop looking at the pictures.”

No.

I’m going to spend the next hour or so searching through his photos and looking for these supposed conversations, and I’ll still book an appointment or two with him because I just adore his work, but c’mon man…

It was the perfect match.

Sigh.

Diamonds. Rubies. Sapphires. Pearls.

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There is very little I miss about my (ex)husband.I don’t miss the unmistakable sound of his good shoes clomping up the staircases to our third floor apartment. I don’t miss the way he flopped around the bed tossing and turning all night, some nights being so floppy, I would have to take my pillow and blanket and sleep on the couch. I don’t miss seeing his hunched body over the computer screen for 6 hours a night doing God knows what. I don’t miss his ten million newspapers cluttering up our small Brooklyn apartment or the pile of wire hangers he had to return to the dry cleaners each week. I don’t miss his smile. I don’t miss his laugh. I don’t miss his scent. I don’t miss his voice.

But I can not tell a lie.

I do miss the jewelry.

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I am not a materialistic gal by any stretch of the imagination. I live in a tiny apartment. I shop for my clothing at The Gap. I drive a Honda Civic. The basics–and I am and have always been very happy with the basics. I didn’t grow up wealthy, so I was never used to anything extravagant anyway. Even my Engagement ring wasn’t something to die over. It was a simple 3/4 carat princess diamond with a plain white gold band. He put it on a credit card. That’s before he started making the big money and buying me the big gifts.

A pair of diamond earrings for our first Christmas together after we were engaged.

A sapphire and diamond “evil eye” bracelet for our second Christmas together. (I’m half Turkish, I believe in that shit…)

A diamond snowflake necklace for our third Christmas together.

Matching pearl necklace and bracelet for my first Mother’s Day.

And the anniversary gifts…

I can’t count the little blue boxes with the white bows that are scattered around my jewelry drawers. Every girl’s heart melts just a little when she gets one of those. You know whatever it is, it’s gonna be good.

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Several pairs of earrings. Bangles. A silver cross on a chain. Never got a Tiffany’s ring, but we were only married for five years before he ran out on me.

And the very last Christmas gift he gave to me exactly one month before he served me with divorce papers evicting me from my home on the day I was diagnosed with cancer? A tremendously gorgeous white sapphire and diamond ring that blew the shit out of my engagement ring and any other piece of jewelry he gifted me during our marriage.

So, dear (ex)husband, I don’t miss your insanely loud and slightly worrisome monologues while you shower. I don’t miss washing your socks and boxers. I don’t miss cooking, cleaning and keeping things neat for you to come home to.

But, darling, I miss the jewels. I can only pray that the next female you start buying them for is our daughter. Because she deserves them more than the next wife.

Suzy Queue’s Tattoos *Unfinished* *Lost Original* (Boo-Hoo)

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…This is the unfinished draft of my tattoo post…

...I hope to find the finished one…

…If I can’t, I’ll just keep on editing this one…

…From now on, I’m writing my posts in “Word” so I can have a backup…

Sorry for the technical difficulties…

Since the title of my blog is “Tattoos and Tiaras,” I figured it was about time I wrote a post about my own tattoos, how I began this lovely addiction and all of the “talk” they garner.

I started getting tattooed when I was 26. I had wanted one since I was about 17, but I didn’t have the cash and looking back on it, I am so very grateful for my poverty, because if I had the cash, I would be covered in some ugly ass tattoos right now. Not that my first tattoo at 26 was that great–it’s covered up now. I had a long term boyfriend/fiancé (I was never going to say yes…) who died in a motorcycle accident. It was horrific.

…post about our relationship coming soon…

After his death and burial, I didn’t know what to do. My family and friends kept me buy, going out drinking, concerts, the beach, but I had so much of what I now know is guilt, I felt I had to memorialize him in some way. So, I decided to get a tattoo. I didn’t want his name or birthday of an “in memory of…” tattoo, so I chose two Japanese symbols. One (supposedly) meant “Detective” and the other (supposedly) meant “Protect Me.” Who the hell knows what they really meant. I found them on a google search.

I brought the print out to a seedy Brooklyn tattoo shop and sixty bucks later, I walked out with my first little tattoos on my right ankle. As time passed, people constantly asked me what they meant. I hated retelling the story over and over again, so I decided to get another shitty tattoo around my right ankle to take some of the attention from my Japanese symbols. I thought it was cool at first, but looking at it now, it’s simply a comparison of what makes a bad tattoo vs. a good tattoo. It’s a band of black/gray daisies around my ankle. I hate its guts, but I’m going to keep it–to show people “DON’T CHEAP OUT ON YOUR TATTOOS!!  DO YOUR RESEARCH!! SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR SOME GOOD WORK!!!”

For my next tattoo, I decided to go big and bury The Detective forever. I went to a well known artist who happened to be good friends with my (ex)husband and they bartered. My (ex)husband would help the tattoo artist with some legal business stuff, and I would get this glorious cherry blossom tree on my right calf with heart shaped rose petals falling gently from the branches adorned with flowers. Two sparrows sit happily on the edge of a branch. It’s really quite lovely. I would post a picture, but I don’t think I have one and I read on Gala Darling (my favorite blogger of all time) that she tries not to pose for pictures with her tattoos fully showing because they are her creation and she doesn’t want people walking around with the same tattoos. I understand that. A nail technician once asked to take a photo of my cherry blossom tree and I let her. When I told my tattoo artist, he said “no,no,no! Don’t let people steal your work! You thought of this, went through the pain and it’s yours!” So that was that, lesson learned. Anyway, The Detective is buried beneath the roots of my cherry blossom tree where he will remain forever.

My next two tattoos were “treats”. A skeleton key next to my c-section scar (he he he) and “Brooklyn” written in script across my left foot arch. I wasn’t too happy with the skeleton key, but you can’t see it un;ess I have my panties off or am wearing string bikini bottoms, so who cares? Right?

It's ok. I'll live with it.

It’s ok. I’ll live with it.

Brooklyn Girl!!

Brooklyn Girl!!

I don’t get too many comments on either of these tattoos, though I catch people checking out my foot when I’m wearing flip-flops or sandals. Nor do i get too many comments on my Cherry Blossom piece unless  I’m wearing something above the knee.

For my next tattoo, I wanted a Mermaid. I was still in the frame of mind that tattoos HAD to mean something. I’m over that train of thought. I get tattoos now because I like the way they look; not necessarily because they mean anything at all. They’re just pretty. (I have girlie, girlie, girlie tattoos…) I seriously wasn’t expecting the same tatto artist who did my previous tattoos to make this one so gigantic, and I should’ve said something, but he was still working for tips only because of the barter, so I kept my mouth shut. It stretches from my left hip, takes up my entire thigh and reaches just about three inches above my knee. I never quite finished this one. Because it was so big, and was taking a lot of time, I think his payment was fulfilled and he became a little lazy. I added two giant sea flowers (one still needs color) to add some background and some color to the otherwise greenish/aqua coloring, but it’s not my favorite and again, unless I’m in my panties or a bikini bottom, no one can see it.

…I just got a headache searching through my photo archives looking for a good photo of this mermaid tattoo. I’ll add one later…

My homage to Cinderella sits on my right hip. Two blue birds carrying a pink ribbon/bow in their mouths. They aren’t cartoony birds, more traditional American style. This is the princess in me. I love it, but When I spoke to my artist about getting  a gypsy woman, he referred me to someone else in the shop- I suppose my tab had run out.

My birdies look like this, but they're carrying a ribbon in their mouths.

My birdies look like this, but they’re carrying a ribbon in their mouths.

I’m so glad he did.

I met MJ (post pending) after a lengthy e-mail exchange about the gypsy woman I wanted. I really wanted a profile piece, but he was tired of doing those, so he was inspired by an actress at the Ziegfeld Follies> I was cared, because it wasn’t EXATLY what i was hoping for, but three sessions and eight hours later (should’ve taken six, but we had such great conversations, and he “talks with his hands”–a tattoo artist needs his hands– so that ate up a couple of hours…) What I ended up with was the most beautiful gypsy woman I could ever imagine. I didn’t want her head just floating on my right thigh, so he suggested I add some roses underneath and around the side. So my girl stretches from about two inches above my right knee and the roses stretch all the way up my outer thigh just about to my ass.

Here are some photos of the process not including the extra roses.

MJ and I discussed my next appointment, which would be a rib piece. It’s pink and purple water lilies stretching from my left hip bone almost to my armpit. There is a monarch butterfly resting comfortably on one of the leaves toward my back. You can probably get a glimpse of it in this recent beach photo. (Sorry, I’m not messing around with any of the linky stuff ever since I lost my original.)

When it comes to getting tattoos, I have an incredibly high threshold for pain. I don’t move at all unless I laugh, and I always told MJ that he wasn’t allowed to make me laugh otherwise I would wind up with some scribbles on my body. But the ribs, oh the ribs. The only way I can make you visualize the pain is imagining someone taking a jackhammer to your ribcage. MJ and I didn’t speak at all during this session except for a few words here and there. After two hours, he asked if I wanted to stop and come back to finish in about a week. I said “No way. I’m going through this pain right now and I’m finishing this today.” We did. It took four hours.

After we were finished and settled up, he asked what I wanted next. He made some suggestions and I told him I wasn’t sure about placement. His response was “You have two arms.” And that’s how my two half sleeves began. I won’t go into extreme details about my arms because this post will be about 10,000 words long, but I started with a little birdie carrying a love letter at the top of my right arm. It’s one of my favorites. I added an Asian style fan with two pink peony flowers and a long lavender ribbon flowing from the bottom. Puffs of cloudy smoke are within the actual fan and stretch just past the outside of my arm just past the elbow. I added a diamond ring, a skeleton key a few diamonds on my shoulder and of course, a beautiful blue tiara on the back of my right shoulder. The only tattoo that MJ did not have a part in adorning my arm is a traditional Sailor Jerry heart with my daughter’s name inscribed across a ribbon. This was probably the worst tattoo experience I have ever had. It’s on the inside of my right bicep and was done for a spot on Good Morning America. You’re probably thinking “huh?” But yes, I was on Good Morning America. A woman was writing a piece for “Parenting” magazine about the new “trend” of Moms getting tattoos to honor their children. They called my tattoo shop and asked if they could use it for their GMA piece promoting the article. I received a frantic call from the owner of the shop asking if I would help them out and be their “model.” I would get a free tattoo, but it had to be something simple and for my daughter.

We arrived at the shop in the early morning. I had to bring my daughter and sister with me because they wanted to use my daughter in the clip as well. Everything about it was horrendous. The camera crew was late, the artists started coming in to fulfill their appointments, it was a painful spot, the crew kept asking everybody to stop tattooing because the “buzzing” was messing up their interview with the writer of the article and then, once I was finally finished with this tattoo, they actually asked me to “hang out” before I bandaged it so that they could get a good shot of it, but they had another Mom to interview first. Add the 95 degree weather and it was just about unbearable. And after all of that, this tattoo healed terribly. I never felt as if my body was decomposing as much as I did during the TWO WEEK healing period for this tattoo. To this day you can see that it didn’t heal smoothly, but it was free and for my daughter, so I’ll take it. You can view the clip here. I’m at the very end–like the last 10 seconds. You can see how haggard I was by the end of this session.

 

Too Tired to Blog

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I have three drafts calling my name and a guest blog I still need to finish for LittleMissLola , but I’m too tired to blog. I can’t keep my thoughts in one place. After my insane daily schedule last week (think four doctor appointments in two days,) single Mommying for five days in row and running around Brooklyn all day today, sixty pounds of laundry–I own so much clothing, I can go weeks without doing a wash, it’s a sin, really. Can you imagine my shoes and makeup collection? With all of the starving children in the world, I should be absolutely ashamed. I’m going to hell. But, I digress, I am just too tired to blog.

Please forgive me.

I think I’m going to watch “True Romance” and drift off to sleep. I’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and revived and ready to complete “The Departed: Part II (Kurt loves Courtney)” a fantastic update on my cancer and maybe a post about how being a single Mom can drain the shit out of you. But for now, I rest.

“The nicest thing for me is sleep. Then at least I can dream.” –Marilyn Monroe

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