The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 46

Be prepared for a long post. I’ll apologise in advance for it. The challenge for this week is to tell the stories behind the tattoos that I have.

I have more than 20, so I will try to be brief.

2 stars on the top of my right foot. Worst 3 1/2 minutes of my life. I was 19 in Las Vegas with my mom and my cousins, and we decided that it would be a good idea to get tattoos. I had seen a photo of a model who had two stars on her foot and I loved the way it looked and knew that it would be easy to cover with shoes when I needed to look ‘professional’.

20171115_112159

3 cherry blossoms down my spine. I got this one in Merced at the same place that I got the hula girl. My mom and brother came to visit me for the weekend, and we all got tattooed together. The artist who did the flowers was this big scary looking guy, and I remember him telling a story about having to wear a pink tux for a wedding. He said that people made fun of him, and I asked if he took people outside and kicked their ass in the parking lot. He laughed and was so sweet to me while he did the flowers.

Hebrew lettering on my back. This was a birthday gift from the wombmate for my 21st birthday. I got this done at a shop that she likes, and I hated the experience. The people were rude, and the artist put the stencil on upside down the first time, and then made me feel like shit when I almost didn’t catch it. What’s even better, is that now that I have had the chance to travel the world, people who actually speak Hebrew have informed me that my name is spelt in a strange way, and now they love to correct me. I love it though, and it has sparked some great conversations.

Scottish pinup girl. This was a birthday present to myself when I turned 26, and it was the first tattoo I got in Scotland. Studio XIII is an amazing place. I saw the tattoo the first time I visited Scotland with my mom, and went back and got the tattoo before I left Scotland after the MSc. The owner of the shop drew the tattoo, and the shop was so happy that someone wanted to get that as a permanent work of art.1010455_594964092085_588174323_n

Vegas Showgirl. I got this tattoo to celebrate my grandmother. She died when I was a kid, and on the 15th anniversary of her death, I got the tattoo on my back to always have a bit of her with me.  I got a Vegas showgirl because my favourite photo of my grandma is one she had taken in Las Vegas. It is one of those funny photos where they take your head and put it on someone else’s body. She looks like a showgirl and she used to tell people that is what she did before she had my mom. I still have the picture. I used to carry it in my wallet, but I am worried that I will destroy it, so now it is in my bedroom where I can see it all the time. This was my second tattoo done by Joe.

Mermaid on the inside of my right ankle. This was a birthday gift for myself when I turned 23. This was the first time I went to Classic Tattoo in Fullerton, the first time I met Joe, and the first time I got a Sailor Jerry Tattoo. The best choice I ever made. This has started a long-standing tradition of visiting Joe and getting tattooed by him. I love mermaids, love rum, and love the idea of having American traditional tattoos. This is one of my favourite tattoos and gets me a lot of attention.

34524_519509872945_7959623_n

Sailor Jerry hula girl. Yet another masterpiece done by Joe. This was a birthday present to myself when I turned 24 (I think). I went with 4 of my friends and had a great time. They came to dinner at my house after, and my mom showed them baby pictures and we laughed all night. I love Sailor Jerry and the style of tattoos that Norman Collins did, so this was an extra special treat. The tattoo is on my right shin, and I have a dream of decorating my whole right leg in Sailor Jerry tattoos.

Screenshot_20171115-203316

Martini girl on the back of my right leg. Another Sailor Jerry and another tattoo with Joe. This finishes off the tattoos on my right leg for the moment.

Hula girl on the inside of my left ankle. When I was a kid, Crazy Shirts was a huge deal. They are known for their funny shirt designs, and they had shops everywhere. My parents took us to Hawaii and while we were there, my mom bought me a Crazy Shirt with a hula girl on it. The shirts come with a sticker, and I held on to that sticker for years. When I turned 20, I decided that I wanted it to be with me forever. I got the tattoo in Merced, and I loved showing it off at uni because no one I knew there had tattoos. My mommy and wombmate both have the tattoo as well.

Screenshot_20171115-20325910993442_605413626256927_864229331424746654_n

Bonus, a photo with Joe.

Celtic knot on my right wrist. A very nice Brazilian man tattooed me in Ireland. My mommy and the wombmate also got the tattoo.

252715_10150850795526887_1282593364_n

Hamsa. This was the most painful tattoo that I have. It is on the underside of my left arm, and it was sore for almost a month. It really is beautiful though. The Hamsa is a symbol of protection in many cultures.  It translates to the hand of God and wards off evil. I have the tattoo on the inside of my arm because it rests against my heart when my arm is down.

My kitty’s paw prints. I got them right before I moved to Scotland. My baby had to stay in California, so now I can always have a bit of him with me.

Screenshot_20171115-203236

Hot air balloon from Estonia. This was my first watercolour tattoo. The girl that did it was 23 and so nice. I had a great time. It took 4 hours and was a bit painful, but I love it.

Suitcases. My best friends got this tattoo for me as a birthday present. I love it, not only because I love to travel, but because it reminds me of them.

11150908_10152727504371887_3063475579496682595_n

Heart and anchor. The wombmate and I got these as charity tattoos. Joe did them and the money from the tattoos went to the Children’s Hosptial. Tim Hendricks, a very famous tattoo artist bought Classic Tattoo and saved the shop from having to close down, so it was no hardship to get tattooed and support a good cause. It is on the back of my left arm.

Screenshot_20171115-211834

Mother/Daughter infinity tattoo. I made my mom get this tattoo with me on her last trip to Edinburgh. I had it done at Studio XIII, and love it.

Geometric map of the world. This is one of my favourite tattoos. This is my wanderlust tattoo. It is the one that everyone always asks about, and the one that really shows my love of travel. These two tattoos take up the inside of my left arm.

12694561_686219016485_437793212141139414_o

My grandmother’s signature. The same artist who did the mother/daughter tattoo put my grammy’s signature on my arm. It is in a place that I can see it every day since I can’t see the showgirl. He was really great about making sure it looks exactly like the paper that I brought him.

18839559_745280002795_8371754311934953341_o

Pineapple. The heterolifemate and I got matching pineapple tattoos while she was living in Scotland. Pineapples are the international symbol of hospitality. Travellers used to put pineapples outside their front door when they returned from their travels to let people know that they could come and hear about the adventures and share an exotic snack.

18767836_745295486765_5800212283044438380_n

Okay, that is not the best photo of the pineapple, but this is an amazing bar in Bosnia and an all-around fantastic shot.

Sister tattoo. I made the wombmate get stick figure sister tattoos with me when I snuck home for a bit last year. I love them. It makes me miss her a little less since I know that she has one too. Joe did mine because he loves me and made time for me.

Screenshot_20171115-203159

Russian nesting doll. I got this for my 30th birthday. I survived my 20s, and went to see Joe when I was in California….because no trip to California would be complete without a visit to Joe. This reminds me of my trip to Budapest for Christmas. That was the first time I ever spent Christmas by myself. It was both tough and exhilarating at the same time.

Screenshot_20171115-203135

Paper aeroplane. I got this tiny tattoo in Athens. We had spent the day seeing all of the history and culture of the city, and then I stumbled upon this amazing shop. The men who worked there were hilarious. They were friendly and told me that they really liked all of my tattoos because they showed that I had a unique soul. It is one of the nicest compliments that I have ever gotten.

Screenshot_20171115-203106

Last, but not least, the newest addition to my art collection is an origami flamingo. I now have a complete sleeve on my left arm, and this flamingo is by far my favourite tattoo. The same artist who did my grandma’s signature, the mother/daughter tattoo and the pineapple did this one. I call him Frank. I like to think that if I was an animal I would be a flamingo, so having one tattooed on me makes me feel less awkward and weird.

20171115_215159

So there you have it, my art collection and the story behind each piece. They are great conversation starters, and I think they make me just a little bit cooler.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 37

I’m behind on the writing challenges because all of my writing has been saved for my PhD. It is very slow going, and I am currently way behind on the word count, but it is progressing, and I am going to do my darndest to try to get myself out of the little funk I have been in and get my work done.

The writing challenge for this week is to open the first book near me, find the tenth word, Google image search the word, and then make an entire post about the photos I find….or something like that. I’m too lazy to open the page with the post guidelines again.

I’m currently reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. I opened to a random page and counted to ten. The word I landed on was ‘would’. When you Google image search the word ‘would’, you don’t get a whole lot of good options. It took me a long time, but I finally found two images that caught my eye:

TELEMMGLPICT000137155520_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqKkzUGe8q7_A35DWV6BPUcWH28ZiNHzwg9svuZLxrn1U 

The caption for the first image said, would a Banksy make you buy a home? To be honest, yes, that would be enough to make me buy a house. I am a huge lover of art, and would love having some around the house….or maybe I would just like a house. I’m in the middle of filling out a job application, and it is terrifying. This job would not only allow me to stay in Scotland, but it would allow me to pay my bills and start paying my mom back for all the loan payments she has mae for me in the last two years. It would mean I could afford to get my driving licence and a car, and travel a bit more. It might even mean finding a little place of my own. I love my little flat, but it really isn’t mine. Truthfully, I wish I could buy it so I could stay here and make it my own a little (Which really means I saw an IKEA catalogue and saw all the pretty bathrooms and got a major green-eyed monster thing going). One day though….maybe.

p-1-your-brains-personal-trainer-would-give-you-this-advice

I’m not sure what my brain’s personal trainer would say about my brain, but I really like this picture. Little brains everywhere. I think I like it because I have been making a five year research plan that is aimed at helping Scottish school children getting into university, so all those little brains have been on my brain.

It is raining here….again. I should go out for a jog (yeah, I took up jogging and it is just as ridiculous an image as you think it is), but my couch, where I have been for most of the day, is just so comfy.

and so are my sweat pants.

 

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 17

The writing challenge this week is a really fun one. I’m tasked with answering this prompt:

Wall to wall What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

I love this. I love art. I collect vintage travel posters (although they all live in California right now) and love funky and colourful art. I’m a little bit weird, and I feel like the art that I have on display says a lot about me. None of it really matches, some of it is weird, some of it offensive, but all of it together somehow works. I want people to feel at ease when they come visit me, and also have something to look at other than my off white walls. I don’t do well with empty and blank spaces, so I’ve always had a lot of posters and photos on my walls. My desk at work is also decorated and covered with family photos, a mini drum kit, and pictures of my friends. While I could show you everything in my place, I think I’ll stick to sharing my favourite wall with you.

I spend a lot of time in my living room watching TV or working on my couch. The wall that the couch faces is the most decorated in the place. I happen to think it is the best view in the flat.

IMG_20170428_194356

The painting of California was the first thing I ever hung on my wall here. I know that I spend a lot of time writing about how I don’t want to live there and how California and I had to break up, but the rest of my heart is there, and it is where I started life, so I like to have the little reminder with me. The photo underneath it was my maid of honour present from the wombmate when she got married. She had it made for me, and I think it really speaks to my personality. The rest of the art displayed is from local artists.

Strike that…the two photos of France I bought in Paris, and the nesting doll I bought in Budapest, but the rest of the artwork comes from Scottish artists. The photos all seem to be a bit crooked, and to be honest, I really like them that way. It seems more honest that way. I can’t really pick a favourite piece, they are just all so good.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 41

I have countless posts detailing the numerous reasons why I love living in Edinburgh. I fell in love with the city four years ago, and returned to it like a beacon in the night when I hit rock bottom. Now, as I sit on my moderately comfy couch in my nice and tidy little flat watching the rain fall and the leaves change colours as Autumn blooms, I remain happy with my choice to return.

There is a lot to love about this city, but here are a few of the highlights;

    1. The people. This is a highly international city, and for the most part, people are really friendly. I’ve never felt unsafe living here, and have had some really nice conversations on bus rides to and from work. People here are polite, they let old people on the bus first, will stand to give them a seat, they don’t hesitate to give directions to lost tourists (something I still don’t like to do). If you go into a shop, a cafe, or even the grocery store, people will smile, ask how your day is, and are quick to offer help should you need it. I know that a lot of it is hospitality training, but since I live far enough outside the toursity part of the city, I feel that it is genuine.

     

    1. The culture. This city is dripping in culture. Between the museums and monuments, the castle and old buildings, you can see history everywhere you look here. Even the building I live in has a history. It used to be a warehouse hosing goods that did not pass customs inspections. Now there are warehouse conversions from 1 bedroom cozy flats to three bedroom really spacious top floor flats. I am constantly learning new things and finding new places to visit. I’ve been to the castle many times now, and spent many a rainy afternoon in the art galleries and museums, and have never been disappointed.

     

    1. The pace of living. Things are a lot simpler here. People move slower, relax more. I walk most places, and can take the bus most everywhere else. While the commuting sometimes gets to me, the fact that people here enjoy walks in the park or a cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon makes me feel more relaxed. I’m usually burning the candle at any end that can burn, but there is something nice about living in a place where just about everything is closed on a Sunday.

     

     

    1. I feel like me here. I’m not really sure what it is about this city, but it is the first place in eleven years that has really felt like home. I feel like I fit here. It is not something I can totally put into words though. It is just a settled feeling I have when I step off the plane in Edinburgh. I’ve had this feeling since my very first visit just before my 25th Even on my lowest days (and there have been a lot of them lately) I am still happy that I am here trying to sort myself out. I hope that when my visa is up and I can stay here and really make this place my home.

The Scamp has her Photo Taken

One of the interesting people I have met while I’ve been here is a photographer. Not to over-inflate his already massive ego, but he is really good at capturing a moment. He is working on a project that involves alter egos, so I made a mask of my alter ego, the free bird, and let him take some photos of me. He doesn’t know this (although by now he has probably guessed) that I hate having my photo taken. Even with the mask on, I felt awkward, and looked awkward. At one point he even commented on how strange I look when posing for photos. It is really really hard for me to relax and act natural when someone has a camera pointed at me.

The shots are good though, so I am okay with sharing them with the world.

DSC07370 (Custom) DSC07418 (Custom) DSC07432 (Custom) DSC07457 (Custom) DSC07463 (Custom) DSC07468 (Custom) DSC07504-2 (Custom)

The last photo is my favorite. I feel like the first one was more of what he was expecting, but I am just so horribly awkward that the ones where you can’t really see my face are the best ones. Despite my neurosis, I wouldn’t mind him taking photos of me again as he is horribly interesting and provides hours of good laugh and banter.

You can find his work here: https://instagram.com/impisheye/

The Scamp and Beantown: Day 4

Three words: Boston Public Library

I’m in love with libraries. Outside of teaching, working in libraries is the only job I have ever had. The Boston Public library is really a thing of beauty. According to their website:

Established in 1848, by an act of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts, the Boston Public Library (BPL) was the first large free municipal library in the United States. The Boston Public Library’s first building of its own was a former schoolhouse located on Mason Street that was opened to the public on March 20, 1854. The library’s collections approximated 16,000 volumes, and it was obvious from the day the doors were first opened that the quarters were inadequate.

In December of that same year the library’s Commissioners were authorized to locate a new building upon a lot on Boylston Street. The present Copley Square location has been home to the library since 1895, when architect Charles Follen McKim completed his “palace for the people.”

In the latter half of the 19th century, the library worked vigorously to develop and expand its branch system. Viewed as a means to extend the library’s presence throughout the city, the branch system evolved from an idea in 1867 to a reality in 1870, when the first branch library in the United States was opened in East Boston. Between 1872 and 1900, 21 more branches began serving communities throughout Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.

In 1972, the library expanded its Copley Square location with the opening of an addition designed by Philip Johnson. Today, the McKim building houses the BPL’s vast research collection and the Johnson building holds the circulating collection of the general library and serves as headquarters for the Boston Public Library’s 24 branch libraries.

The entrance to the library is a grand marble staircase with two lions on guard.

2015-02-24 11.47.18 2015-02-24 11.55.05 2015-02-24 11.55.15

Sus and I were able to wander around and see the murals and the art that seems to be around every corner, and made it to the rare book room that houses some letters and correspondence from famous authors.

2015-02-24 11.58.23 2015-02-24 11.58.48 2015-02-24 11.59.06 2015-02-24 11.59.58 2015-02-24 12.01.14 2015-02-24 12.06.39 2015-02-24 12.07.29 2015-02-24 12.10.53 2015-02-24 12.12.28 2015-02-24 12.13.08 2015-02-24 12.13.32 2015-02-24 12.17.16 2015-02-24 12.23.2010371304_865732183491776_4907394368445651681_o 10472771_865730753491919_7401235609829725355_o

In addition to the books, the library had some maps on display. I would love to find some prints of them and hang them on my wall.

2015-02-24 12.27.19 2015-02-24 12.28.19 2015-02-24 12.28.49 2015-02-24 12.30.35 2015-02-24 12.30.49 2015-02-24 12.32.53 2015-02-24 12.33.10 2015-02-24 12.33.44 2015-02-24 12.34.22 2015-02-24 12.36.02 2015-02-24 12.37.05 2015-02-24 12.39.10

The library was not the only place of beauty we ventured into though. We also went into Trinity Church. Recognized as one of the most significant buildings in America, Trinity Church took shape on marshland in Boston’s Back Bay in the 1870’s. It really is beautiful building, and the pictures that I took really do not do it justice.

2015-02-24 11.27.43 2015-02-24 11.33.27 2015-02-24 11.33.33 2015-02-24 11.34.06 2015-02-24 11.34.20 2015-02-24 11.34.581502289_865725903492404_4334955004000409467_o 10849076_865726016825726_8725900859545893562_o

Our next destination landed us at the Skywalk Observatory 55 floors above the city. We had a 360 degree view of Boston, and learned some interesting facts about the immigrants that choose to settle in the city.

2015-02-24 13.14.02 2015-02-24 13.20.50 2015-02-24 13.21.08 2015-02-24 13.26.26 2015-02-24 13.42.05 2015-02-24 13.43.04 2015-02-24 13.45.16 2015-02-24 13.47.39 2015-02-24 13.48.57

We ended the day at the Parish Cafe. They are known for sandwiches made by celebrity chefs. I had a couple of ciders and an amazing chicken sandwich while Sus and I debated education, Obamacare and Israel. We found an H&M (Sus’ Mecca) and shopped some sale items.

This was the first day that the cold and all of the walking really got to me. My joints were stiff and sore, and I was in a little bit of pain. I try not to complain about my Lupus too much, but four days of nonstop walking really got to me.

2015-02-24 19.10.25

I have never been so happy for layers in my life. I ended the day preparing for a very important interview and trying not to be nervous about the future.

The Scamp and Art

Finally a piece of art that I can relate to.

Aviary Photo_130597749148885126

Woman Encircled by the Flight of a Bird, 1941 by Joan Miro

I am happy to report that I will be traveling to Spain in June, and I am hoping that somewhere along the way, I can stumble on this masterpiece.

In 12 days I will be on a plane bound for Estonia.
In 207 days I will be on a plane bound for Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar.
In 264 days my prison sentence is lifted and I no longer have to interact with the bullies.

I finished a draft draft methodology chapter today. It is not 100% the project that I want to do, but I am proud of how it came together, and I am excited to get feedback from the professor before I present it as part of my proposal at the end of next semester.

I cannot wait for the traveling to begin.

The Scamp and a Visit from Estonia

I have been really lazy the last few weeks. I survived summer school and the qualifying exam, and settled in for a couple weeks of doing nothing that related to education.

To start my celebrations, one of my best friends from Scotland came to visit me. She is currently living and working in Estonia, but was in the US visiting her mom, and I was able to get a few days with her. I hadn’t physically seen her in over a year, but picking her up at the airport was like no time had passed at all. It was a good chance to catch up, plan my trip to visit her in November, and be around someone who reminds me of Scotland.

I asked her what she wanted to do before she got here, but she just kept telling me it was up to me. I got to be a tourist for a few days, which worked out well for me because it reminded me that being here is not so bad.

We started the visit with a trip to LA to see some van Gogh and Kandinsky. I love art, and she wanted to be in LA, so it worked out well. After we hung out with some art, we went to the Union Square Market to try the best iced lattte in the world. It was good, but the authentic Mexican food was better.

2014-08-03 12.44.46

 

 

van Gogh at his finist

2014-08-03 13.10.33

2014-08-03 13.13.26

 

I love PopArt

2014-08-03 13.14.36

 

I got up close and personal with a Warhol. I can die happy.

2014-08-04 00.37.35

2014-08-03 13.29.25

 

This Kandinsky would look amazing on my wall

2014-08-06 03.27.18

2014-08-03 14.55.01

 

Vegan strawberry muffin of awesomeness and a fizzy ginger hopps tea.

2014-08-03 15.22.192014-08-03 15.41.04

The next day we hit the Huntington Beach to soak up some sun and eat some more tasty Mexican food. We met a nice group of baseball players from Oklahoma, and had avoided sunburns.

 

10549690_755148697883459_6336511434102661711_o

10465426_755148701216792_1923089311382659454_o

I got Sus to kiss Duke. He seemed to enjoy it.

The last day of our visit was spent at Disneyland. She hadn’t been since she was 8, and it was a nice chance for her to get to meet my sister. While we were waiting for the tram, we met a nice father/son combo from Glasgow, and I got 15 minutes of wonderful accents.

1888832_755712147827114_6077299568015250315_o

10481525_755711944493801_1330551278469798101_o

10517396_755711647827164_4518268704791760089_o

10386905_10204516103322856_496174025055853131_o

10574419_10204516105362907_6231656267857495879_n 10580678_755711661160496_3699398486236670219_o

The visit was way too quick, but it will hold me over until I get to Europe in November. I had so much fun with her, and was so glad that my first bit of time off in two years was spent being a tourist with her.