much love monday: new tattoos

while i was in san diego, i had the pleasure to once again be tattooed by my old friend mike stobbe out of avalon II tattoo.

the swan and little finger pieces are the thirteenth – fifteenth pieces mike has tattooed on me (and i had to count that out a few times, because i kept forgetting different ones every time).


the swan and little finger pieces are the thirteenth through fifteenth pieces mike has tattooed on me (and i had to count that out a few times, because i kept forgetting different ones every time).  it’s always so exciting getting new work done and the little pieces on my hands are especially precious.  i still haven’t gotten used to them and am finding them super charming.  no special symbolism behind any of them, just designs that i liked, although growing up i loved some fairy tales that had swans, particularly one where a girl must knit shirts out of nettle in order to save her brothers, who’ve been transformed into swans.

and another thing i realised: i got a heart tattooed on my left ring finger just a couple months after my abusive marriage ended (an unconscious promise to love myself?) and now the arrow just after i’ve fallen in love for the first time since.  didn’t intend for either to symbolise the state of my love life, but maybe that’s why the heart and arrow felt like perfect tattoos to get…



yes, i just got a joni mitchell tattoo

Blue songs are like tattoos
You know I’ve been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away

ten years ago, when i first moved out on my own,  i fell in love with the album ‘blue’.   it felt like i listened to it on repeat for the entire summer.   even now when i listen to it, little feelings float up.  how great that first taste of freedom was–to be in my own home, beholden to no one else.  able to dance in my underwear or make a  grilled cheese at midnight or stay out till 4 am with my friends.  to have a small space to call my own.  how great it felt to work and pay for everything myself!
a few years later, the crown & anchor appeared in my head as a tattoo design, but i saved it until the time was right.   flash forward to now and it fits perfectly with my ocean-themed right arm!
this piece, though relatively small, took four hours!  the artist, alex at craftz tattoo here in berlin, has a very different tattooing style than i’ve ever encountered.  the four hours was completely worth it though; his attention to detail paid off and i have an incredibly beautiful new piece.

much love: long-haired ladies with tattoos

ok, kind of a specific love.  but damn, heavily tattooed dames look soooo soft & lovely with long hair. having so many tattoos is kind of a hard-edged look, and i adore the softening effect of long hair or super-femme clothing.  i’d love to have long hair but i don’t think i have the patience/hair type to pull it off.   is it creepy, then, that my dream girl would rock this combination?


on thursday, kelly and i got our second bro tattoo together.  we went to avalon to see our buddy mike.   we got our first tattoo  wayyyy back in 2008 and thought up a really cute idea for something new.

one of the happiest days

we met in early 2008 (through suicidegirls, which has been the surprising source of most of the important people in my life) and became BFFFFFFFS.  she is my #1 shopping buddy.  we have spent long afternoons laughing at silly tv, playing ds, prowling around at the daiso and dressing up our cats.  we have taken road trips to la, joshua tree,  long beach and ventura, and we love dancing in the car.  when we are together, old folks tell us how beautiful & colourful our tattoos are.

this newest tattoo is about our love for all things kawaii and our firstborn cat-babies, and was inspired by this sheet of nyan nyan nyanko designs.

michael jackson (left) and henry (right)

here we are, while getting tattooed

kelly making a cute face

and here is a photo of our first tattoo together, done by little jenny during a guest spot at avalon.



i rolled into san diego on tuesday and immediately hoofed it up to my favourite tattoo shop for some work by my favourite tattooist and good friend, mike stobbe of avalon 2 .

he added one piece that nearly finishes up my left arm, and started on my right arm!  kiind of exciting–when i was 21 and got myself into a bit of debt trouble, i swore i wouldn’t start on my right arm until i paid off the debt.  kind of a silly resolution considering i spent a bunch of time/money covering vast swaths of skin on other parts of my body, but a resolution i stuck to nonetheless.

first was ‘rise above it‘, a quote by the incredibly inspiring mimi weddell.  such a great reminder to always be better than the situation demands, to push myself to be a strong person and not get mired by circumstance.

next was a sweet narwhal!  its tooth looks crooked because of the way my wrist is turned.  three days after the tattoo was done, my arm is still swollen as hell.  buuuut whatever, this swimming dude was worth the pain.  this is one of the cutest tattoos i have!

BUT this is only part one of two: tattoo adventure san diego.  stay tuned for the cutest tattoos ever.

portland trip!

well!! since i have been home for a few days now, it seems about time to acquaint you with the particulars of my lovely little jaunt down the coast.

i took the train to portland; it was so much nicer than flying or busing. although flying gets you to a place quickly, airplanes are tightly packed to the point of claustrophobia, security is a joke, and it’s fucking expensive. the train is slow, but has lots of space (even a dining car!), no security hassles, and overall strikes me as a relaxed way to travel if one has the extra time to spare.

portland was a really cute little city! my stay 24 hours so it didn’t get thoroughly explored, but i liked what i saw. my first stop was to a cafe to grab some lunch, and after that i met the WORLD FAMOUS CARTOONIST, erika moen!  she was kind enough to allow me to interrupt her work & hang out at the comic studio for a couple hours.

after that, i wandered the rainy streets of portland and found what i choose to believe is an atheist tree that committed suicide by trying to attack a church.  yes indeed.

good stuff, right?  i then found buffalo exchange and powell’s, which is the biggest bookstore i have ever seen in my life. i got a mild panic attack entering it.  went something like oh sweet baby jesus this is a lot of books how am i going to look at everything there’s so much to choose from i don’t even know what to look at i can’t even touch anything because i want to buy everything oh shit oh shit oh shit

pulled myself out of paradise/hell with a couple reads, a crossword puzzle book, and a little card for my workspace and trudged through the snow (!!!)  to my hostel.   in the morning, much to my surprise & delight, i discovered a trader joe’s nearby!  rapturous, indeed.  i couldn’t buy much but i got a few little snacks.  i proceeded to wind my way toward the vegan mini-mall for my date with destiny (coconut-caramels).

such a change of pace from the snow of the night before! i wandered through miles of sweet old buildings, charmingly industrial areas and cherry blossoms, losing my way and finding it again (with at least a mile of unnecessary walking) before i reached my destination.  i loaded up my pockets with as much candy as they could hold at food fight, bought pins and stickers and a t-shirt at herbivore, then checked in at scapegoat tattoo for my long-awaited second sitting with ryan mason.

i had sent him a tonne of photos and videos for inspiration, and was expecting to see a fist-sized design.  instead, he pulled out a giant, beautiful drawing of a ghost fox in a frame with roses and ghosty-smoke.  i doubted it would all fit on my leg, but to my surprise there was enough room.  i couldn’t wait till it healed to show it to you, and it’s too large to see the whole thing from one angle, but you get the idea…

immediately after the tattoo was finished, i rushed back to the amtrak station to hop the train to seattle, where a sweet friend awaited me!  i was treated to a home-cooked vegan mexican feast that pretty much finished my day on a perfect note.  the next morning, i tasted an 80-year-old fermented tea (sooo subtle, slightly earthy) and wandered in the sunlight before heading back to vancouver.

the driver on my trip back home gave me an immeasurably precious thing–two more terrible jokes to add to my repertoire !  advance apologies to all my friends.  this will not be the last time you hear them.

what do you use to fix a broken pumpkin?

a pumpkin patch!
what does a fish say when it hits a wall?