Thursday, September 29, 2011

Video of me tattooing myself in front of a mirror

Warning! There are small glimpses of breast areola in this video. I didn't film it and don't know how to edit it. If you aren't a grownup or if you are and are offended at this, move along, there's nothing to see here. Also excuse the little paunch, I'm bloated right now thanks to Mother Nature. Bleh.

This was filmed 9/29/11 at Integrity Tattoo, Maryville TN, where I'm apprentice under Miss Autumne Shields. I've been in skin approximately 4 months. Today's tattoo is the 3rd this week (2nd I've done on myself) and the 2nd piece of a 7-item upper stomach/chest piece of my own design.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas so far...

I started the day by putting my feet up a little. Note the wonderful handknit socks (a gift from my daughter Desiree last birthday)

Allen, our Marine, RAN the 1.5 miles up to our house from his apartment, in the snow.
I tried to get Diantha's picture but she hid.
Artemas looked bored...
Until we gave him a handknit hat & handspun, handknit balaclava (cowl). Then he became an awesome chef-wannabe Ninja...

And it scared Diantha so badly she hid...

Betsy actually was thrilled with her devil Sock Monkey, even if she doesn't look like it...
Josiah looks so cute in the hat that Veronica knitted for him.

Diantha made me some handknit socks... and then hid behind a pair of jeans...

We made French Toast Casserole. Beverly helped me tear up the bread. While I beat the eggs, she tore up almost a whole loaf of bread. We could have fed the neighbors breakfast this morning.

And Diantha hid behind a book

Diantha handspun the yarn & handknitted a hat for Veronica...

Diantha and Artemas were gonna watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the TV in my room...

Allen has cleaned all my guns for me. Last night I was gonna bake a cake but got too busy talking to somebody somebody on Skype. Maybe we'll do that now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Allen's Graduating from the Marines

On the 12th of November. He did well in Basic & made Sharpshooter. If anyone would like to send him a letter, card, or postcard of congratulations, please do so! Also he said if any girls want to send him a pic of themselves, he'd be more than grateful. He doesn't have a girlfriend. LOL.

Mail to:

Rct Ross, Allen J
Golf Comp 2d RTBN PLT2082
PO Box 16245
Parris Island, SC 29905

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comfort Food to Start and End the Day

Two recipes tonight. Start your day with delicious scratch-made Lemon Poppyseed Muffins and end the evening with savory, comforting Chicken Noodle Soup!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
You can use margarine in these muffins but I never do. Butter will moisten baked goods as they age, margarine will dry them. Plus why make delicious homemade food and put artificial bad-for-you stuff in it? Bleh. [steps off soapbox]

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners & set aside. Recipe will make about 12 regular muffins, 6 jumbo muffins or 18 mini muffins.

  • 1 Cup lowfat sour cream or vanilla or lemon yogurt
    zest and juice of 1 lemon
    (if using poppyseeds, soak 1 Tablespoon of them in the juice for a few minutes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 Cup melted butter (no substitute)
  • 3/4 C sugar
    Whisk briskly. Then add:
  • 1 C flour (I use unbleached) (you will need another cup in a minute)
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    Stir until blended.
  • Then add 1 more cup flour.

    Stir until BARELY mixed in. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake 10 min. for mini, 12-14 for regular, about 20 for jumbo muffins. Loosen gently around edges from greased pans & turn out to cool. After cooling if you wish to glaze them, use juice and zest of another 1/2 lemon mixed with enough powdered sugar to make a thin glaze.

    Savory Chicken Noodle Soup
    If you have a leftover carcass from having baked or roast chicken, save it and the drippings for this soup. Otherwise one large chicken breast or a couple small dark meat pieces and a box of chicken broth will do! Ingredients given to suit family of 4, (larger in parentheses). This soup freezes well too!

  • Chicken carcass or pieces
  • saved drippings or 32-oz. carton of chicken broth
  • 10-oz box of frozen mixed vegetables (16oz bag for larger family)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (whole onion)
  • 1 rib celery, sliced small (2 ribs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage or finely crushed rosemary
  • 1 cup small pasta or tiny egg noodles (2 cups)

    Put chicken carcass & saved drippings (gel) and enough water to cover, (or chicken pieces and a 32-oz. box carton of chicken stock) in a stock pot or dutch oven & simmer (slow, tiny-bubble boil) a while.

    While chicken is simmering, chop onion, celery and mince or press garlic. Saute these in a small amount of butter, bacon or chicken drippings until soft.

    Remove chicken pieces from pot, place on plate or cutting board and shred meat off bones with 2 forks. Return meat to the pot. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot except the pasta. Bring back to a simmer. Once water is bubbling slightly, add the pasta. Let soup cook about 8 more minutes until pasta is tender.

    If you wish to thicken the soup, you can make a roux & add to the pot or mix 2Tablespoons cornstarch with 2tablespoons water & stir into pot.

    This is delicious served with toasted Italian bread or home-baked whole-grain bread & a mixed-green salad.
  • Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Seems Incredible

    Seems incredible to me that I haven't posted since July 27. To those who like to read my blog, I'm sorry I've fallen down on the job.

    A lot has happened since July 27. Boyd and I are no longer at Ink Dimensions shop. He was undergoing medical treatments on his stomach that made it almost impossible to work. His treatments are done & right now we're working on getting into a new shop, closer for both of us than Ink Dimensions was. Meanwhile I also took my Bloodborne Pathogens class and passed it with a perfect score, for getting my apprentice license. Since there is no piercing apprentice license, I can apprentice for that at the same time & get both full licenses the end of May next year.

    My son Allen went in the Marines. We've received one letter from him and he seems to be coping with the boot camp alright. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he goes through this ordeal.

    Richard and I are definitely getting a divorce. He's taken over Allen's apartment. No sense it sitting there with Allen owing rent on it for potentially 6 months. We had the forms printed for the marriage dissolution and came to agreeable terms on who gets what and how much and how long for and what to do with the kids. We signed them and had them notarized on Friday. I'm filing them this coming Wednesday.

    For now, while I'm still not earning any money from my apprenticeship, it's going to be tight. The kids and I will have what we need but there probably won't be any extra, so I have to pray the car tires hold up and nobody has any cavities and wonder what in the world I'm going to do about Christmas. I can make gifts for a lot of us but not sure I have enough time in the world. There have been many Christmases past when it looked like there wouldn't be any money for presents but we made it through, so I'm sure this year will be no different.

    To tell you the truth, I hate to sound mean but I'm so emotionally done with our marriage, and he's been dragging his feet leaving. I understand, because he's older, and hasn't done anything much for himself for almost 3 decades. Probably scary to think of having to pay bills (me too) and make food and be alone (me too). I know he doesn't really want to leave. But taking a long time to do so is only prolonging the inevitable, and really inducing a lot of anxiety in me.

    He's been off for several days, and has been puttering around here, busily fixing things that he should have been working on for the last 4 years. Suddenly he wants to make sure everything works right for us since he'll be gone. But it's overwhelming to me, the number of things that need to be done (how many months will he be coming back with a toolbox) and the fact that now I'm gonna be a single mom, working so I won't be here even to work on things and with no resources to hire them done. And his trying to fill in that gap suddenly is overwhelming to me too. Today I started crying about it, though I know that tears don't help anything. Just bear with me, alright?

    He moved his dresser out yesterday, and his toiletries, and Veronica slept in my room because he wanted to go to bed earlier than I did. Today I rearranged the bedroom furniture to reflect where I like things and wondered if he'd ever leave. Again I'm not trying to be mean. Just wanting to move on with things, find my space in my house & start my life from here.

    Tonight he left. He told the kids that he'd be back tomorrow (2 more days off) to see them & work on some stuff. He hugged me goodbye and was gone. I am alone. Seems incredible.

    And I'm okay, really. I'm a little sad but I'll work through it in a minute. Just bear with me, alright?

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Mountains and Motorcycles

    I love to ride my motorcycle. Good thing, as lately I spend a lot of time on it. And by a lot of time, I mean a 90-minute commute one way, 4 days a week. Twelve hours a week on a bike in what is right now, unpleasant heat. I have olive skin but still use a 45spf sunscreen every day. Even with sunscreen, I'm getting very dark. You'd think my skin would feel like leather, but fortunately, so far it doesn't.

    One good thing about the commute is that every day I get to view some of the most awesome scenery in our entire country. I get to travel at relatively high speeds on beautifully paved, curvy and shady roads, looking at trees, kudzu vines, quaint barns, and mountains.

    Here are some pictures I've taken from the bike. Yes, I did. Once in high gear, my left hand is free and it takes about a second to call up my camera phone & snap a pic. The drawback being that some of these pix aren't as detailed as I like, and a couple come nowhere NEAR capturing the beauty that is apparent to the human eye, but they'll have to do. Each picture has a caption if necessary. Enjoy!

    In Sevierville, you can go to an entire store dedicated to Beef Jerky. Not kidding.

    These barns have dotted the countryside in the South for as long as I can remember.

    Very hard to see, sorry. But every day I ride past this, and it makes me smile. These people have put up their own street sign at their driveway, crooked of course, and it says "More R Less."

    Once I get to Sevierville, I take Veterans Parkway, which goes by the back parking lots of Dollywood but also bypasses all the traffic through Sevierville & Pigeon Forge. Along the way there are places where one can see up to 5 layers of mountains. The next 3 pictures were taken on that route.

    Because the forests here respire so much moisture, we have a lot of mist (humidity, LOL), which is what earned them the name "The Great Smoky Mountains." In the morning and evening, it looks like the picture above. During the day, if there is cloud cover, it looks like the pic below.

    There is one hill that I top every morning, when suddenly it's no longer just foothills covered with trees, but the full scope of the Smokies, looming large in purple-gray-blue, 4x as high as the highest foothill, and surrounding me by about 120 degrees. It never fails to give me goosebumps. The two last pictures are miserable failures at capturing the breathtaking beauty but they're the best I could do...

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    2nd of Many

    1I don't know if I've mentioned it here. In fact I don't think I have. But in soul-searching for some mid-to-late life career I could do that would be interesting, challenging, & something that would use my talents, I lit on becoming a tattoo artist.

    2Last month I began a 2-yr odyssey of apprenticeship under Boyd Reid. Right now we're working out of a little shop in Pigeon Forge, TN.

    Up until now, I've had only the one, little ice-cream cone tattoo. As one moves through apprenticeship, normally one acquires more tattoos. My husband very sensitively stated, "You're gonna become just another inked-up freak." Well the freak label fits but... 3I really didn't want to end up with an odd conglomeration of relatively unrelated tattoos here, there and everywhere. And, I find that as I talk to people & tell them what I'm doing, their first response is to look me over & notice that I don't have any visible tattoos... and then not believe me!

    4What to do? I've designed a 1/2-sleeve tattoo of birth flowers of all 7 of my living kids, and 5 lost babies. An even dozen of colorful flowers, each with a little banner with the child's name. Each flower can be inked by a different artist, yet when finished, the piece will be one comprehensive work of art.

    I want to have a modification done around my ice cream cone... a little white, lavender & light-blue cloud of marshmallow fluff. And then a flaming heart on the left breast in about the same size. 5But meanwhile, Boyd said, "Lets get some ink on you out where people can see it."

    The pictures on the blog today are the progression of the first flower and centerpiece of the sleeve, a Stargazer Lily. This tattoo took longer to apply than the amount of time I've spent in my longest 6labor out 7 live births & 1, 19.5-week loss (3hrs was the longest). And, it's every bit as permanent. The bottom petal is purposely left undone so we can add the "Veronica" banner when the next flower down is inked, so the upper petals of that flower can overlap the banner.

    7Pics are clickable for full-size versions. Beginning at the top we have:

  • 1. The picture of the lily, modified to be mirrored and tilted to the angle I needed it on my arm
  • 2. Boyd's hand-drawn stencil of the lily, on my arm
  • 3. Beginning the work. Me and my tattoo "master."
  • 4. The lily, about 1/3 completed
  • 5. Manic Boyd, madly tattooing
  • 6. The lily, completed, not dressed & not done bleeding
  • 7. Composite view (front and side)
  • 8. Finished, dressed, & in sunlight (which highlights the colors)

    He did this very large, original art tattoo in about 4 hours with very little lasting skin trauma. If you're ever in Pigeon Forge, you can stop in Ink Dimensions at Traffic Light 7 (Old Mill Avenue) and have Boyd Reid apply excellent, permanent art to you!
  • Monday, July 5, 2010

    Unabashed Promotion, LOL

    I follow @kiboomu on twitter, and they have designed a wonderful piano iPhone app of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for preschool children! They're going to give away 20 copies of this to 20 lucky winners!

    Aspiring toddler & preschool pianists now have a new way to take piano lessons!

    Introducing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Piano iPhone App by KIBOOMU.

    "Spark your child's love of learning and musical creativity with this sing and play along piano." Eric Wiseman, PhD, Harvard University

    "Both charming and colorful! Creates teachable moments whilst entertaining! Making animal sounds on a piano translates into big loud fun."
    App Craver review: 8 stars out of 10

    "Is an excellent children's learning app that I highly recommend!"
    Crazy Mike's App review: 5 stars out of 5

    "The fantastic touch keyboard just begs to be played with its light-up keys to guide your fingers to the correct notes."
    App Discover review

    "We love the app. A lot of fun and a great learning experience for kids!"
    The Daily App Show review

    "We love the colorful graphics and my daughter loves playing the piano!"
    Heather Quinn-Shillin

    "The kids are having fun with it. It's our new favorite app!"
    Chelle Cazella

    Created by a preschool teacher and pianist, this interactive app encourages children to take a more active role in learning!

    It's also a really fun way to introduce children to playing piano!

    With this play-a-song iPhone app, children can do the following:
  • follow the lighted keys or match the colorful music notes to the piano keys
  • watch the piano keys light up one by one with the song
  • press the start button and sing along
  • add animal sounds to the song
  • hear the song played on a banjo, xylophone, harp, flute, bells and more!
  • record your child singing and playing the piano!
  • sing and read karaoke style lyrics in English, French & Spanish

    Playing the piano is not just fun, it's educational too!

    Research has shown that piano lessons:

  • 1.Help Children in School
  • 2.Raise Self Esteem.
  • 3.Increase Coordination
  • 4.Help Children to Concentrate
  • 5.Help Children to be Well-Rounded!

    To enter, to win a copy of the iPhone app for your preschooler, leave a comment! PLEASE remember to leave some type of contact information (twitter ID or youremailaddress @ in broken format).

    20 winners will be chosen from the comments! Be sure to follow @kiboomu on twitter for app announcements and updates!