Saturday, December 11, 2010

52. Get a tattoo

I'll always remember my birthday this year  for a whole variety of reasons.  One was because it was a great day.  I don't teach classes on Friday, and started the day going ice skating with Derek  We'd been saying for a year that we'd go, and we finally did it the last day Derek was in Burlington before leaving for his Latin America bike tour.  Then we met Dan and Abby for brunch at Penny Cluse and in the evening Siham and Leah came to town, we had a great meeting of the MDG book group and then Chris took me for a wonderful dinner at Main and Church (neither of us had been and the food is quite good).  Definitely a perfect day.

Last Penny Cluse breakfast with Derek, Dan and Abby
 But the most unusual aspect of the day was the middle of it, when I did the final thing on my original round of 52 New Things -- getting a tattoo. I got mine at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington. Like so many things I've tried for the first time this year, I discovered there's a lot more to it than I had thought.  For starters, you can't just bounce in and get a tattoo.  First you need to look through the work of various tattoo artists and decide who you want to work with, and then do an "artist consult".  There, you decide on the design and set up an appointment for the actual tattoo. 

Here's the design on my arm waiting to be made permanent
  The tattoo artist draws the design and sizes it, and then the first stage of the tattooing is transferring the design to the body, as you can see has happened in the blue ink on my arm above.  The artist who did my tattoo, Liz, was great.  She normally doesn't even work on Fridays, but came in and did the work so that I'd be able to get the tattoo on my birthday.  Here she is getting ready to start in the photo below.
Liz, the artist who did my tattoo
 In case you're wondering (I know I always have), it does hurt to get it.  My friend and former student, Drisk, had told me about the process and what to expect, and he had described the feeling as a very sharp pencil dragging just under your skin.  I think it's more like scratching a double sunburn.  But in either case, it's not very pleasant, but I'd say it's not any worse than getting a cavity filled.  It's also true, at least in my case, that some areas are more sensitive than others and doing the part on the underside my arm was my least favorite. The whole thing took about an hour, with maybe 45 minutes as the actual tattoo process.
In case you've ever wondered, this is what an in-process tattoo looks like

Finished product
They sent me home with a couple bandages and lotion and instructions about caring for the tattoo for the next few days.  Apparently, the most important thing is to keep the area from drying out, and you're supposed to apply lotion regularly.  Today the area stings a little, but otherwise feels fine, so I think I'm good to go.

So, that's the story of the tattoo.  Not as dramatic as I had built it up to be beforehand, but it's on there for good, so it's a good thing I really like it.  And of course, it's a memento of a very different year of my life, (as well as being a constant reminder now to get my arms in shape for my favorite activity that came out of the year -- rock climbing) and I like that a lot.

I think in a week or two I'm going to write a post that's a sort of retrospective of the year, and then of course around the New Year I'm going to write the plan for New Things in 2011.  I know what things have been my favorites through the year, but I'm a bit curious about other people's reactions.  I'd love to know what things sounded interesting and fun to other people and of course, as always, I'm always psyched with suggestions of new things. 

Thanks so much  to everyone who made this a fabulous birthday this year, and also to everyone who has participated in all the New Things I've done this year! It's been a great adventure and I'm looking forward to a lot more.


  1. Trish, you're the coolest person I know. Congratulations!

  2. came out great Trish! I thought of you when I went ice skating in Quebec City yesterday!

  3. Congrats Trish, I'm very proud! The tat looks great too.

  4. Trish the tatoo looks awesome that was a really fun morning!