I did it!

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I’m 45 years old and I finally got that tattoo I’ve always wanted. Actually, I don’t turn 45 until July 6th but we have kids that week. I couldn’t really take them with me and it’s not like I’m going to wait until the week after so I got my birthday present early.

I was so amped about this appointment. I still am actually. I’m waiting for the high to finally crash because this was an adrenaline rush and a half.

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I was worried about the pain. My only pain references are child-birth (which I had an epidural during so I always feel like I cheated), tooth extraction (EIGHT teeth!!! when I had braces) and that time I sliced my finger open because I was drinking (like an idiot) and cutting a lime with a dull knife for my margarita. So I was a little worried. Everyone said it would be bad but then I’d go numb and it would be fine.

Well guess what? I HAD NO PAIN!!! I am a tough mother ******! It felt like exfoliating with a pin. Seriously, tiny little insignificant pin pricks over and over. A mere flesh wound! I kept waiting for The Pain to happen but it never did!! Of course I got my tattoo on the fleshiest part of my arm like Popeye because I was worried about this exact thing and I figured this would be the least painful. Either I guessed right or I have the pain tolerance of Rocky. I’m going with the latter.

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You are probably wondering where I came up with this design and why. I want to say it took years but that’s not exactly true. Months maybe. I have wanted a tattoo forever but the designs in my mind have morphed over the years. I’ve gone from wanting Celtic journey symbols to coyotes to birds to even some Secret Agent Josephine art but I didn’t really want my own cartoony style on my arm.

Forever ago I admired some tough bartender chick who had full sleeves of koi fish decorating both arms. She was so hot with a black leather vest and a gives-no-shit attitude. Of course I wanted that because it was so far from my own identity. Probably not the best motive for getting a tattoo but it stuck with me visually.

I started to research Japanese tattoos and koi fish and I really fell love with their meaning. Koi fish often symbolize challenges in life, especially if they are swimming upstream.  A lot of people get them if they are overcoming drug abuse or fighting cancer.  I read that some Japanese stories tell of koi fish swimming upstream so powerfully that they became dragons as they break away from the water and become clouds of mist over a waterfall. I loved that visual.

I’m not overcoming drug abuse or fighting cancer. I have friends who are and both are very heartfelt and serious subjects for me but I feel like I’ve already overcome my struggles. I left a marriage after 14 years and I left my childhood religion and turned my back on my family and everything I knew. That was my struggle. So I designed my koi fish swimming downstream. I’m sure I will still have struggles to come but they are small in comparison to what I’ve already been through. And that is why there is a small koi fish swimming upstream.

The peony is because I LOVE PEONIES. That is all. Everything else is just decorative. I like it.

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Actually, I kind of love it.

I also love this little tattoo parlor. Alex was recommended to me from a sister of a friend. I couldn’t be happier with Alex. She is so skilled. She took my design and refined it and added shading. She really did exactly what I wanted, to the letter. She’s crazy about detail and cleanliness and that was really important to me. But best of all she was kind and sweet and I wasn’t scared at all. She really took all the fear out of getting a tattoo for me. It was like sitting around in someone’s living room, listening to punk music and talking about everything under the sun. I felt so tough and baddass but at ease and comfortable in my own skin and my own choices.

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So please, if you are thinking of getting a tattoo do check Alex out. I’m saying right now that I don’t plan on going back and getting “all tatted-up” like I hear everyone does but I can see why it is addictive.   It was a crazy fun time and I love the art! It’s like my own personal art gallery that I get to walk around and show off.

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Between you and me, I am pretty anxious/excited to see how people will react to it. It’s so different from any identity I’ve ever had before. I expect some criticism and I’m okay with that. It is who I am now and I expect not everyone will like it. I get it. I waited until I was 45 for a reason.

 

Grass Valley, The Buddha Embiggerment Project and other News…

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Another month goes by and I have been busy! Time to report!

My friend, Teri, and I flew up to Grass Valley (via Sacramento) last week and visited my friend and fairy godmother, Susan. It was a business trip disguised as a girl’s getaway which means we visited the spa, sipped wine and tea, ate at all the good restaurants, shopped in groovy downtown shops and talked our heads off deep into the night. I think we got about four hours worth of work done but those were concentrated hours!!!  And a baby business was born so there’s that! I’m sure I’ll share more on that later. Maybe more later than sooner but things are always cooking around here.

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Susan took us to the Ananda Gardens in Nevada City to see the 15,000 tulips they planted this year.  Fifteen thousand bulbs!!! Not all of them came up because of the crazy rains we had this year and other challenges but they were AMAZING. Like they always are.

Ananda is a meditational retreat seeped in spirituality which has been kind of a theme with me lately, even though I do not subscribe to woo-woo in general (being raised the way I was).  I do, however, connect deeply with the thousands of happy-faced tulips covering the terraces and hillsides and that powerful sense of peace and quiet you feel when you stand on the edge of  a vast ravine. The sheer compounding of atmosphere in a space like that is overwhelming and beautiful.  It demands respect and reverence.

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We tripped around downtown, tucking into shops for trinkets to bring back to our girls. I swear every shop in Nevada City has a yoga studio sound track playing and crystals dangling in the windows, catching rainbows. It’s not a bad mental state to be in. I wish Southern California could get a little more of it’s woo woo on sometimes and a little less of it’s stress and traffic and real housewifery. It’s very beautiful there and everyone seems to be an artist or a connoisseur of something delightful. I could definitely see myself living there someday.

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Speaking of woo woo… I’ve made some progress on the embiggerment of the Rockin’ Buddha painting. I busted it out a few weekends ago and now only have the details left. It was a blast to paint. I got lost in the movements and swirls of the paint and kind of forgot what I was painting. I might put a light wash over it to bring down the garishness of the colors. It just feels a little loud for our living room. I didn’t mean to make such a big Buddhist statement with it. I was just trying to replace the artwork Payam already had there.

Sadly, I think some of my relatives (and friends) who are devout Christians have found this painting offensive which I never meant it to be. It doesn’t feel that way to me, even though I was raised to believe that any idol or graven image was a portal for Satan to come into my life and wreck havoc. And here I am painting a giant one for my living room!!

I have mixed feelings about it. I may or may not keep the giant Buddha in the living room. Right now (s*)he feels very happy and pleasant, like she’s rocking out to The Weekend and she wants you to come stay awhile and stop being so afraid that bad things are going to happen.

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In other news, Payam has been rocking at the woodworking. He’s been making some beautiful things!  He’s also had some health issues and is on blood thinners right now which sends me into a deep state of fear every time I hear him fire up his bandsaw. I’m sure you can imagine all my daymares.payams-striped-coasters

Thankfully, he has not cut himself and he humors me by wearing gloves, big sturdy construction worker boots and being very very very careful all the time. But still I am a mess worrying about this.

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We’ve been tightening up his branding which I LOVE. He has a logo that is now on a branding iron and he can brand all of his wood pieces with a searing hot logo. It’s very cool but also difficult to get just right so you can imagine the carefulness it takes to brand a cutting board that you spend hours and hours working on and is made from expensive materials. No pressure! OR more accurately, JUST THE RIGHT PRESSURE! Just right. Then we wrap it all up in salvaged coffee bean bags I found and ship them off to customers. It’s been fun!

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What have I been making? I’ve been making lots of stuff. Mostly our house has been full of pink boxes, ribbon and pretty silk flowers for this Mother’s Day jewelry box craft we did for alphamom.com. (Do click through and watch the movie, I worked hard on it!) It’s funny because I needed a jewelry box which is what prompted this craft and now I have about five. Payam also bought me one from a thrift store that he is refinishing. (It’s really cool and has yellow velvet from the 70’s which I LOVE.)  Now I just need another dresser to display them on! I’m not complaining though.

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And, and, AND!!! Big news alert!!!  WE ARE GOING TO LONDON AND WALES this coming fall. With the kids! Can you believe it!? Seriously, making friends with a travel agent was my best decision ever.  Of course, the next trip I plan needs to be to the country of Payoffyourcreditcards but I am really happy that we can have these experiences and especially with the kids. I love travel. I am happiest when I am planning a trip or a party! Bring on the adventure!

Speaking of parties… you knew I was going there! Joon is having a Harry Potter-themed birthday party in a few weeks and I am in my favorite mad-manic party-planning mode. I love the challenge of combining a pool party with an unlikely theme like Harry Potter. I’m thinking terry cloth robes made from long burgundy towels I find somewhere cheap like Walmart, white helium balloons that look like owls, flying envelopes as a garland and of course brooms made out of pool noodles! Bring it on! Underwater Quiddich anyone?