Tulips, Hearts, Hands, and Arm

It’s February- my very favorite time to buy flowers! Not for Valentine’s Day, mind you, but the very inexpensive tulips or roses in the first week of February where you can hear the growers swearing that they mistimed this crop by the tiniest amount and they need to move them inexpensively.

Welcome to my home, $6 tulips!

Seriously, those tulips will be $18 this week. The store and growers loss is my gain- and they’re still going strong after two stem trims and a few water changes, so we will have pink tulips for actual Valentine’s Day too!

I love Valentine’s Day and any excuse to celebrate romance and love (as I wrote about here and here) is good in my book-though my husband and I reject the Hallmark cards, $80 red roses, heart shaped package of candy trappings of it all.

I am looking for a ton of inexpensive Mexican blown glass hearts, so I might, in fact, start decorating a bit for the holiday if I find them, which is not something I currently do. I have two of those hearts already that are up year round, but as they cost $20 each at Market square I’m hoping to pick them up secondhand for, I don’t know, three dollars. (A girl can dream.) And, knowing how this works, I just had to get up, dust the heart hanging on my bedroom wall, and take a picture, with my hand for scale.

Inexplicably that is not a toddler hand, but a real life grown up woman’s hand. I keep TRYING to blame the angle, but I think I’m just needing to accept that the aestetic issue is, in fact, my hands themselves. It’s okay, being decorative is not my overall lot in life nor theirs, so they don’t have to be willowy with perfect nails. I’m still big fans of like, having them and all the varied work they do.

Speaking of buying stuff second hand, we’ve had a few more weekends out and about at estate sales. One we took the kids with us. They all got $10 to spend, and they had a good time. I’ll tell you what, $10 sure goes farther in estate sales than it does in Target! My youngest made me take this picture of her haul:

Kapow with the finger guns.

You can’t quite see it but she’s also wearing a necklace I got at the first estate sale for $1 that is entirely made of jingle bells- worked like a charm to always know where she was at the other estate sales. How was taking kids to estate sales? Fun and never again, that’s how. MAYBE one at a time, but like seriously- so many questions and breakable things to worry about.

I’ve also found eight million pictures like this in my camera roll, so I think she’s seen me take pictures of things to sell and thought it was a requirement for her own stuff.

Speaking of taking pictures, I’ve tried to take fairly nice pictures without a lot of background distraction of the stuff I buy to resell… it’s a poster board and random succulent off my desk but I thought it’d do in a pinch to make a quasi lightbox.

That’s a 7″ decorative handmade tile from Eloise Studios in Billings, MT that I got at Goodwill for $1.99.

So that tile hasn’t been getting much engagement for reselling unfortunately, so I decided to up my game with the product shots, we’ll see how it goes:

I got a message on Varagesale from a lady almost immediately after posting that told me it was one of her favorite product shots ever… but she didn’t buy the tile.

And next… I did a thing:

My new (and only) tattoo!

So I had a dream, months and months ago, that I had a right forearm tattoo and when I woke up I just went: yup, that’s happening and is now a thing. There wasn’t any weird wavering about it either. I decided on a calamondin (here and here) branch fairly quickly as it’s my favorite plant, and a few other reasons.

The tattoo had to be botanical, for one. And I love that the calamondin has no bloom or fruiting season (looking at you, key lime) and produces all through the year. Sort of a “it’s never too late/ no need to wait for the perfect time” type of message. The three fruit are also kinda my three kids. And also looking up Victorian flower language orange symbolizes “fortunate” and lime “marital love”- so the calamondin, an orange skinned lime from the Philippines, symbolizes “Fortunate marital love”, which I do absolutely have.

As to why I got a tattoo- well I fucking wanted it, and so that is enough reason. But also life is short, and that’s really been hammered home these last few years. Additionally, and this one is harder to explain… my body hasn’t exactly done what I wanted of it these last few years either. My eyesight has always been junk. Eczema. Immune system like a colander. Thirty pound weight gain that I can’t seem to slow or reverse thanks to my damn autoimmune thyroid disorder. Ugh. But I’m kinda done being mad about it. It’s okay body, I still appreciate the mobility and health I do have, so that is a factor in deciding to decorate it.

Also it looks cool.

I will say- the few hours before the tattoo was some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever had, verging on panic at some points.

The days are over of free handing a tattoo, so this is the stencil the tattoo artist used after she and I finalized the design.

So when I booked for the tattoo the guidelines are to not overwhelm them with ideas ahead of time, just a general idea and size desired. But when I got there the tattoo artist had mocked up the design with only 2 fruits (annoying as I’d requested 3) and with mulberry tree leaves. And look, I’m all for artistic license and all, but it’s also my arm so I had to advocate for the design I wanted pretty hard- and there was no way I was having citrus fruit with mulberry leaves. And then I had her resize about 5 times. She… did not seem to enjoy any of this but I kept having to remember it’s what I want that matters and this is my ONLY time to tweak the design.

double checking placement and size on the stencil. I was absolutely freaking out at this point.

I sent many pictures to my husband at that point for reassurance, but as he’s a teacher it is understandable he wasn’t replying. I finally sent pictures to my marketing coordinator and friend at work (she’s an artist too, so I trust her eye) and was like: “PLEASE TELL ME IF THOSE BOTTOM 2 CALAMONDINS LOOK LIKE TESTICLES AND IF THIS SCALE IS WRONG OMG OMG OMG.” She was really good about talking me off the cliff.

Next, and as SOON as the first needle was in and the ink started all anxiety was gone, which I know is weird, but it’s true. I knew the design was right, and the time has passed for second guessing.

So how did it feel? Fucking painful and very needley. My cousin had told me to prepare for it to feel like someone scrubbing your skin with sandpaper and that the pain fades after the first few minutes… and I’m here to tell you that is abject bullshit and it hurt for the full two and a half hours. The white ink was the worst for some reason. Also… the smell. It’s… quite menstrual? I get it, blood and all… but blarg.

Healing has been easy, it stung pretty good for the first few days, fading to a sunburned feeling, and then peeled like a sunburn, and now it just feels like an arm.

In the days after I got the tattoo I got brief flashes of sadness and one really quickly passing moment of “the fuck I just do“… and I finally figured out where those were coming from. As I explained to my husband: I love my new tattoo and my decorated arm, but I’m kind of mourning the loss of my boring arm, which will never be seen again. He just said “yeah, me too”, so I knew he understood.

But! I do really love it. It feels like a big thing that is also a small thing in the scheme of life and normal experiences.

So! That’s what I’ve been up to!

Off to feed chickens- happy February!

9 thoughts on “Tulips, Hearts, Hands, and Arm

  1. I LOVE your tattoo — it is gorgeous (and completely un-testicular) and I love the meaning behind it. Frustrating that you had to have so many back-and-forths with your tattoo artist about it, but I’m glad you persevered and that it’s what you wanted!!!

    Also, I ADORE your tulip bulb. The glass container. Vase. Whatever. And those tulips are lovely.

    ALSO, would you have a link to your shop because I may need to think about buying that tile. I love it. LOVE IT. Literally my only hesitation is, well, not knowing anything about the price. But also not knowing what I would DO with it once I had it in my greedy little hands. But anyway. How do I get to your shop please and thank you.

    1. Thank you- I’m really pleased with the tattoo but it is definitely something I feel very “one and done” on!

      And as for the tile… I can’t figure out how to link it here! (For shame, I know!)BUT- it is on eBay so if you do a search for “Eloise Studios tile” it should be one of the few that come up! It’s listed for $9 (no putting my kids through college on this one!) and freight should be around $8-10 depending on how far it needs to go. Please just shoot me an offer on the “make offer” button and low ball me- I really would just love it to find a good home! It was such a pretty and well made thing I just had to pick it up from the Goodwill shelf.

  2. I have to admit that I’m not much of a fan of tattoos. That said, I’ve seen some that are beautiful and yours is one of them. The colors and design are just great and as long as you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters!

  3. Your cat reminds me of George Costanza’s glamour shots.

    I really love the idea of “it’s never too late/ no need to wait for the perfect time” type of message.” So correct! I am not familiar with that fruit but what a neat meaning!

    I love Valentines’ Day, just in a “celebrate love” type of way. And chocolate! I love chocolate.

    1. The cat really brought her “bow chicka wow” to that shoot- lol. She was actually asleep and that’s her waking up a bit pissy about the whole thing!

      Calamondins are so good but they’re almost never offered for sale commercially, but the plants are SO easy to grow, even inside, if you can find them!

  4. Your tattoo looks amazing! 🙂 Here in the Philippines, calamondins (calamansi in the local language) of that color are often sweeter, much like an orange. The green-colored one is known for its acidity, which makes it a good substitute for vinegar.

    1. I appreciate that! Even when the fruit is orange they are still sour, so I’ll have to use them when green and compare! Thanks for stopping by!

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