Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stress and Piercings

For some reason, when I get totally overwhelmed with stress, it triggers my piercing itch. I haven't quite figured out why, but it probably has something to do with the brain chemicals that get released when one is pierced. I really don't have that many places left to pierce. I'd like to get my nose repierced at some point. I also want my left tragus fixed. The only other piercing I really like are inner conchs. I don't really have much desire to get my tongue repierced. I thought about it for a while, but it really doesn't tickle my fancy. It was kind of a pain when I had it and I think where I want it placed would require clipping my tongue web. Ew.

The blogging will be slim to none over the next week. I'm going to be visiting both sides of my family and I won't have much access to internet.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Comic Gold and Other Ink Antics

Some humorous exchanges from today:

Mark: Are you into motorcycles?
Me: I'm a girl.
Mark: But you have tattoos.
Me: And I also wear J.Crew.
Mark: Hmmm, good point.

Me: Fresh tattoos are like a magnet for stuff happening.
Mark: Like your cat decides to jump on you and ejaculate...even if it's a girl.
Andrew: My wife always makes me go into the attic.
Mark: To ejaculate?
Andrew: Yeah...wait what are we talking about?

Mark: So I have to redo this girl's tattoo in a "private" area. It's a cat face.
Me: *busts out laughing*
Mark: What?
Me: Oh God...she got a pussy near her pussy.

Today was my touch up for Mae. It went well. He spent a lot of time on her face. There's one spot I'm not sure about, but I'm going to wait until it heals before I pass judgment. He smoothed out a lot of the lines and they look really nice now. Apparently I twitch a lot right around my waist which accounted for some of the problems with the linework. A good thing to know for the other side. Of course, I've still got some spots from my little accident around Thanksgiving. I don't know if it's going to scar or not, or if they're even currently scars. This could pose a problem for Lola. If they haven't gotten any better by a week before or so, I may have Mark take a look and we'll come up with a new plan. I'm hoping it's just because my skin is so fair and shows every imperfection rather than scar tissue.

I also got my Christmas present to myself. A beautiful green hummingbird on my right forearm right below my elbow named Butch. He's all swollen and bloody in this shot, but just to get the general idea of the little guy. For the first time, Mark actually commented on my habit. I'm surprised it's taken him this long.

They also said they really liked the guys who did the "Tribute to Tradition" for the past 2 years. Andrew even went last year and showed me the piece he got. He also said he heard they were doing something along those lines every Sunday in March. The website hasn't been updated, but I'm definitely going to check it out. It was good to hear their positive opinion of the place.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Introducing Britney & Christina


The lighting sucked in David's Bridal, but it was the only opportunity I had for someone else to take a picture. Britney is on my left (viewer's right). They're still peeling a bit, but I think they look pretty good. There were some people who felt the linework on Mae was "shoddy". I think this linework is pretty much perfect. Maybe I'm just too happy with them to properly judge, but whatevs. People can be really nitpicky and then call it "critiquing art". Anyway...

Mae's touch up is tomorrow. They'll all shut their mouths then. ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Skin Issues

Four days until the big touch up. I'm definitely started to get excited. I got my check for jury duty today, so I think I'll cash it on Friday and use it toward Mark's tip. I had set aside some money, but an emergency popped up and I had to use it. This check will recoup most of what I'd set aside.

Britney & Christina have a rash, just like Mae did. I'm not surprised. I've cut back to putting lotion on them once a day and I need to really scrub when I get in the shower. I forgot to do it this morning, so it'll have to get done tonight. At least all the scabbing is gone and they're onto the peeling stage. They should be looking pretty good by Sunday.

One of the brothers in my ex's fraternity apparently got a half sleeve done. He paid $1600 for it, which sounds like a huge rip off to me. Maybe I'm spoiled, but that sounds like way too high. Even for something full color, I don't think I'd be willing to pay that much. I know Mark cuts me a break on pricing, but even when he's in a bad mood, I don't think he'd charge someone that much for a half sleeve. Apparently this guy did a lot of research and was willing to pay it, so who am I to judge? I'd be interested to know who did it. The tattoo community around here isn't that large.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's All In A Name

I'm thinking of getting my first initial of my surname tattooed on my left ring finger. It'll be a long time before I get married and I kind of like the idea of having something that's uniquely me that will be under something that is both me and my husband. Of course, if I opt for the first letter of my last name, I better hope my husband's name doesn't start with the same letter. Then everyone would think I got his initial tattooed instead of my maiden name. Of course, that could lend itself to some humorous conversations. I probably won't let a concern like that stop me. Statistically, he's just as likely to have the same last name as I have and I won't even change it.

Britney & Christina are doing well. When I showered yesterday morning, the bulk of the scabbing came off. I'm sure the same will be true tomorrow morning, I just have to make sure they're totally dry before applying any lotion. I don't want another round of scabbing. Ew. Pictures should be forthcoming. I'll probably con Mark into taking pictures on Sunday after we've touched up Mae and worked on Butch. I just need to remember to bring my camera. That seems to be the sticking point. So next Sunday may be a big picture post. At least I hope so.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All right, all right, you're in a mood

I went to the shop yesterday so Mark could see my scabbing in person. He said it looked like a classic case of not letting them dry fully before I put lotion on them. Guilty on all counts. The good news is, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to lose a lot of color. As long as I don't pick at them and just let them fall off on their own, I should be fine. If they need a touch up, so be it. It's free (sort of) and they'll probably end up looking better than the original.

Shane was in a mood. He was working on something and I commented it looked like a dandelion. I didn't mean it offensively at all. I actually rather like dandelions. He snapped at me and then apologized about 5 minutes later. Fortunately, it didn't really upset me. I'm sure it's tough running a business. Also, during these "tough economic times", things like tattoos tend to get put aside in favor of paying a bill. So I'm sure their business is suffering just like everyone else's, though they seemed to be doing a decent business. What do I know though? I just get in the way. :P

Mark and I came up with a bit of a game plan for my foot. He agreed it wasn't that original, but the good news was, it should be easy to work with. Unlike doing something free form, if you trace it from a font, it has a much more uniform look and can be easy to work around. So we're going to try to rework the lettering and add to it. I found some flash that I liked as a jumping off point. Incidentally, it was on the same page where we got Butch (the hummingbird) from. It was a chain of flowers that had a really nice flow to it, similar to the natural curve on the top of my foot. Underneath the lettering we may just stick with flowers or perhaps add a bird. A ladybug might even be cute. That's probably up after Lola, so sometime in early March. By then it's starting to warm up and it would be slightly easier to heal. I'm not wearing boots and socks every day and risking pulling off a scab or something.

Now time for me to work out and go Christmas shopping. 'Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Hazards of Chest Tattoos

So apparently all this scabbing and pain is "normal" for an upper chest tat. I finally caved and called the shop this evening. Shane, being as patient as ever with me, explained it was not uncommon for tattoos in that area to scab more aggressively and be more painful during healing. He said when he had his done, it hurt for about 5 days and you just have to suck it up. Great. He recommended cocoa butter to soften up the scabs and hopefully reduce some of the cracking that causes the pain. I have no idea when I'm going to have time to get it, but I guess I really have no choice. My only concern is it'll burn. As I recall, I used cocoa butter on my first tattoo and it burned like nobody's business. The Aveeno I'm currently using doesn't burn at all.

I'm glad to know that it's normal and I didn't do something to fuck it up. I was really concerned this was somehow my doing. It would've been nice if somebody had warned me. I guess when you get to be as modded as I am, those who are doing the modding tend to forget you don't know as much as they do. Oh well, maybe in the future I'll know to pick Mark's brain if I'm getting tattooed in a new place.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Underage Modding and Other Random Thoughts

Britney & Christina are already scabbing. I have to say I'm a bit surprised. I think I know why though. I had a hard time getting them fully dry this morning after my shower. They may have still been a little wet when I moisturized them and got dressed. I know moisture increases scabbing, so I hope this will just progress normally and it won't fall out. That would suck. It might not be a bad idea to take baths for the next week or so to avoid any further issues with scabbing.

Now for the title of the post, underage modding. It's something that I often find myself preaching against. One message board I frequent has a board devoted entirely to modding. Occasionally, a member will post a picture of a tattoo or piercing and then it comes out they're underage. Sometimes as young as 15. I know laws vary from state to state and country to country, but for the most part, most governing bodies seem to agree it's okay if Mommy and Daddy say so at 16 and then you're on your own over 18. In my state, everything is 18+.

I wanted my navel pierced off and on since I was 16. It was the cool thing to do. A lot of girls in my high school went to sketchy piercing studios that didn't seem to much care how old you were as long as you paid up. I waited until I was 18, could sign for myself, and do my research. I picked a place that was known for being clean and reliable. While the other girls were getting infections, migration, and scarring, I got a healthy, happy piercing that I still have 5 years later. I don't think any of them still have theirs.

I suppose I fail to see the urgency of getting modded. Since I was 18, I've been pierced 15 times with 11 to show for it and tattooed 15 times with 10 to show for it. You've got plenty of time, kids. If a place plays fast and loose with age requirements, what else are they ignoring? Infection control practices? Proper jewelry? Training? The odds of something else going wrong seem to go up when dealing with a place that's already willing to break the law. Fortunately, most of these places don't seem to stay in business very long.

So that's my soapbox speech for the day. Now off to work out and then soak in a nice, warm bath.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Britney, Christina, and NKOTB, Oh My!

Today's session went quite well. Pat wasn't there, which was a huge relief. I was about 10 minutes late, but that ended up not being a big deal. They'd had time to do the opening odds and ends so when I got there, we could just get started. Of course, with Mark, nothing is ever done quickly.

He showed me the sketch (posted at the end of the entry) and I loved it. She even had eyelashes! It's details like that which really make a piece, in my opinion. It took a while to fiddle with the size and placement, then figure out a way to make sure they were even. Mark put together a method that I think worked quite well. He taped the stencils to a strip of paper, then lined it up on my chest. The first time I didn't think they were even, but the second time worked out just fine. There's also a chance that I'm uneven. Also what slowed us down was this group of girls coming in. One of them had called ahead, but Mark wasn't too thrilled with the idea of tattooing her because she wouldn't say what she wanted. Once she showed us what she wanted, it made total sense. It was a stick person with a square head, holding a shamrock and a sign that read "NKOTB 4-Eva". Oh. My. Lord. We all looked at each other and started cracking up. Then another one of her friends wanted a heart with "NKOTB" in it and a third wanted your generic, boring butterfly. He told them he still had to work on me and they'd have to wait. He was definitely hoping they wouldn't come back. Sadly, they did and I'll have to find out what actually became of that situation.

As for me, we didn't start the actual tattooing until 1:30. My appointment was for noon. He decided to completely finish one and then start on the other one. The first one (Christina) only took about an hour. It hurt, but nothing totally unbearable. Of course, I'm comparing it to my last experience which was probably the most pain I'll experience being tattooed until I get my other side done. There were some parts that were more painful than others. Closer to my armpits and near my collarbone were tougher than closer to my sternum and near my boobs. As usual, color was worse than the outline. We took a break after he finished the first one and then moved on to Britney. Britney took about 20 minutes longer because he wanted to make sure the shading and whatnot was all the same. The only current difference between the two is the blue background. He did Christina's last and did Britney's somewhere in the middle. He'll probably darken up Christina's at some point.

I wanted to hang out for a bit, but I had to run off to work. Somewhere along the way, I manged to leave my debit card there. *facepalm* Now I have to go back tomorrow. Mark also gave me the original sketch so that no one would ask for them. He said they're for me and me alone and he won't do them on anyone else. I was flattered. It's also helpful because it saves me taking pictures of two bloody and swollen birdies.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's Official

I stopped by the shop this evening. They were surprisingly busy. Mark was about to start a tattoo and Shane was getting source material for one. Obviously the big, long discussion I had planned wasn't going to fly. Mark had me show him the bumps. He confirmed it was probably acne from having to use so much thick lotion during the healing process. Shane's advice: "loofah that shit". Only Shane, I swear. In short, she's fine and I shouldn't sweat it too much.

I gave Mark the cliff notes version of my dilemma with the swallows. I don't think it made much sense, but I tried. I didn't want to keep the girl waiting to get tattooed any longer than necessary. I know how much it bugs me to have to wait. End result, I'm going to go ahead and get them done on Sunday. Sundays are usually quiet so I can spend more time discussing my exact motivation rather than just babbling about tattoos and bridesmaids dresses. He had another girl coming in at 2 that day, but she seemed a bit weird so he wasn't too concerned if we took longer than 2 hours.

Pat was still there, which surprised me a bit. I heard him say he would be leaving on Monday. I hope he's not there on Sunday. Something about him just really doesn't sit right with me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ah ha Moments!

So I called the shop this evening and confirmed both of them will be there tomorrow evening. I want them to look at the spots to see what they may be. I've been treating them like acne, but it seems like the minute I get one to settle down, two more pop up. Since this has been going on over a week, I feel like it needs to be looked at. I'm really at a loss for what else to do to get them to stop. The one on the strap of her dress is really perturbing.

I also had a bit of an "ah ha!" moment today. My biggest concern in getting tattooed so quickly was my health. I thought I might be stressing my immune system to much. Then I realized, I've been in a constant state of healing since February. I got my nipples pierced and they're still not fully healed. Then in April, I got both my traguses pierced. Other than a cold in June, I haven't been sick at all. I would think if I were putting a strain on my immune system, I would've gotten sick by now. I've been around plenty of sick people lately and the seasons are changing. Normally I get some kind of nasty cold right around when the weather changes. Nothing so far. So, by that logic, I guess I'm not really putting undue stress on my immune system. It seems to be working just fine. So maybe I was concerned over nothing? I'm no biologist or doctor, but if I haven't gotten sick, then maybe there's no extra stress to open up for that possibility.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Addiction Continues...

Potential new ink this weekend. I'm going to the shop on Thursday evening to get Mae checked on. I'm still having some issues with breakouts, but nothing serious. There's nothing actually on her, just the surrounding skin. That's the good news. The bad news is, it obviously means my skin is not happy with the situation. So I figure if they're still there on Thursday, maybe they can figure out something I haven't thought of yet. I've tried spot treating, washing once a day with a gentle face wash, and an unscented skin protectant/lotion.

Now on to the potential for new ink. I'm going to be in two weddings next year and attending a third (so far). I've been thinking about the sparrows on my collarbones for a while now. What makes me want to hurry up and get them is the fact that we're going dress shopping in a little over 3 weeks. I'd like to know exactly what I'm dealing with when I'm trying on dresses. Obviously a strapless dress is a no go. However, there are plenty of other options that would probably completely cover them. Both brides are open to different necklines. A boatneck seems like the most obvious to cover them, but I might be able to place them so a halter top would also cover them. If I don't actually get them done this weekend, I can at least try to get a solid idea of where they'll be. All of this will be discussed with Mark of course and I think I know what he'll say. He'll probably sketch them out and get placement set on Thursday and we'll actually do it on Sunday. Though he could surprise me and tell me to hold off on the actual tattooing process. I guess we'll see.

I'm of two minds on the subject. On the one hand, there's the thrill of a new tattoo. It feels like I've been getting new tattoos every time and I suppose in a sense I am. However, Mae is ultimately just one tattoo. I'd also like to go ahead and get them, let them heal, and be able to confidently try on bridesmaids dresses. I've also thought through the design and placement for well over a month, so I'm confident I want them. It's not a spur of the moment decision like some of my others were.

On the con side, I have been getting tattooed a lot. I've gotten 3 new tattoos in as many months. My body is pretty much constantly in a state of healing. Also, my parents would murder me the minute they saw them, especially my dad. I can only hide them for so long. They wouldn't be a big deal at all to conceal for work, but that doesn't matter to them. It's the fact that I got a tattoo *there* where God and everyone can *see* and I will *forever* shame them and myself. Of course, I've never let fear of their reaction stop me, just slow me down a bit. I could also probably put the money toward something "better". Of course, that could be said about a lot of things I spend a lot of money on like waxing, massages, and clothes.

Ultimately, Mark will probably make the decision for me and render the list moot, but I guess it's nice to write out the pros and cons where I can see them in black and white.