Tommy and Tattoos and Weather


Tommy continues to settle in. He and Pippin are still getting along, nothing more than an occasional growf or yelp when somebody gets stepped on or nipped too hard. They like to play tug with stuffed animals. Not the rope toys, which are actually sturdy enough for that game, noooo.

Tommy had a bath yesterday morning. He’s softer now, and I think scratching less. And less funky. We took him to visit the vet yesterday morning for a well-dog visit, he’s 30 lbs., and the vet didn’t say anything about his weight. He’s a very strong, solid little dog (15″ at the shoulder). Pippin was 37 or 38 lbs. when he was at the vet about a month ago, and is 20″ at the shoulder.

Tommy is learning to come when called, or at least when I call, thanks to the power of bribery with baby carrots positive reinforcement. He ignores Ron, even when Ron shows him the container of carrots (which I haven’t had to do in a couple days). I find this pretty funny, because otherwise he’s Ron’s dog. Ron’s very snuggly dog. Although he likes me and Robin, too, he’s not exclusive.

Friday Tommy had all sorts of fun on Friday. While Robin was cleaning his room Tommy stole and ate most of a kneaded rubber eraser, chewed on a roll of heavy-duty blue “shop” paper towels, and disemboweled one of his stuffed animals. Then, after I got home, he found and had taken away a piece of leather, a measuring cup used for bismuth shot (used to fill the sand/shot bags), and a piece of sheepskin.


I didn’t complain when it was just above freezing yesterday. Cold but dry was fine. I was not so amused when there were light flurries around noon. I was less pleased when the flurries had increased to real snowfall by dinnertime. I am outright vexed by what could not-unreasonably be called a snowstorm, complete with craptastic driving conditions, this morning.


If you don’t “get” tattoos, and/or don’t want to read natter about getting them, you probably just want to stop reading here, and definitely ignore Ron’s left forearm.

So, there’s this large tattoo design Ron’s been wanting to get on his chest, and recently got the artwork for, but has been delayed for Reasons. Friday and Saturday he was looking at phoenix designs, for Other Reasons. Saturday evening I exercised my Google-fu to look for phoenix designs, and looked at stuff that interested me, and, um, it kinda went downhill from there.

Yesterday morning Ron narrowed his choices down to two phoenix designs, then I showed him prehistoric cave art I was looking at.

The tattoos on my arms are Native American, northwest coastal style, and I’ve been thinking for quite a while of a stag’s head on my chest (face-on), but hadn’t decided if that was going to be NW coastal style, or something else.  OTOH, since getting the tattoos on my arms, I’ve become a more aware of the concept of cultural appropriation, thanks to various, um, “vigorous discussions” in various areas of fandom. I’ve never flaunted my tattoos and/or claimed to be anything I’ve not, or that they have any spiritual meaning blah blah blah eye-roll-nonsense, they’re mostly artwork I like, although not chosen completely at random. If that makes sense.

Now, some people say that any amount of Native American heritage makes you Native American. And some people say that you have to be “enough” Native American to be allowed to do XYZ . . . like play the ship’s captain on “Star Trek: Lost in Space”. And sometimes the same people will say both things in the same 1-hour panel. Yes, I’m looking at *you* participant(s) in that particular panel at a past WisCon. Ahem, um, continuing back on topic, if you go by “any amount”, I’m unknown-group Native American, but very probably not from the northern Pacific coast. If you go by “enough”, you can stick a fork in me and call me a WASP.  So, another northwest coastal style tattoo is probably not the most culturally enlightened thing I could do.

I’ve looked at various stag’s head designs over the years, and I have yet to find anything I like. Most are generic “tribal”, celtic with spiritual/religious overtones, shooting sports-affiliated (Buck mark logo, etc.), or a little too identifiably Dalmorie whisky logo.

Thus, I ended up looking at cave art. I didn’t find any reindeer/red deer/generic deer I quite liked, although I did look – mostly the animals are shown in profile. Lions and bears and aurochs weren’t doing it for me.

I kinda ended up with horses. Depending on the cave in question, there are lots of images of horses. I was thinking of this series of little horses, which are painted under the “falling cow” in Lascaux in France:


But I was afraid that they’d just look dorky out of context.

I like this set of horses’ heads, also from Lascaux:


Ron liked this one, which is called the “Chinese Horse”, which I also liked, and which is also from Lascaux.
I wasn’t only looking at images from Lascaux, it’s just that Lascaux is really well-documented.

I decided I wanted the bug by the horses nose, and the wheat or spearheads, but not the odd bits coming out of the head or butt, which in the right pictures you can see are actually chips out of the cave wall. Or the line coming up off the tail.

So I saved several versions (re-drawings) to my iPad and bookmarked a photo of the original in my big dead-tree book entitled “Cave Art”, and after going to the vet’s, we went into town to Jade Dragon, arriving shortly after they opened.

The available artist started on Ron’s design (he’d finally decided between the two, and we’d figured out what colors to change it to, because the original colors just weren’t doing it to us), on his left forearm. I finally decided that yes, I did want it, could afford it, and where to put the horse, another artist arrived and started tracing it, while I tried to be patient. He worked from this rendering:


Ron and I decided to go as large as possible, which meant the design ended up onto my collarbone. And it unavoidably crosses my sternum. And I think my chest is more sensitive than my arms were. So it was an experience. I described the outlining (single needle, more painful) over my sternum and on the collarbone as “exciting” which amused the guy working on Ron (Greg), since it was obvious I meant “hurt like hell”.  Ron asked if I was going to take a break after the outlining was done, and I said probably not, because I was afraid I might chicken out, and my artist (Fred) obviously took me at my word, because he went right on to filling in the black. Which was not so bad, since it was a larger/multiple needle.

Ron was done about the time filling in the black was done. His looks good, the artist did a nice job with the colors and shading. Figuring out coloring as a challenge, since what you see is not what you end up with after it’s done healing, and it’s definitely a mess during the process.

Filling in the brown on my horse was “exciting” again. The endorphins had worn off. But I did have Ron’s hand to crush squeeze. And then there was shading the brown, which isn’t really showing yet. Fortunately, there wasn’t too much of that, not sure I could have taken much more.  I didn’t bolt out of the chair at any point, but I did squeak a few times. And occasionally had to remember to breathe.

Is it a bad or good sign when another tattoo artist looks at what’s being done to you, and says “wow, that’s a big tattoo.”? Because I got that.

Anyhow, eventually I was done, and cleaned up, and slathered with a thick layer of A&D ointment, paper towel taped on, and sent on my way, still kinda woozy (they did ask if I wanted to sit down again, not rushed out at all). And oozy. A tattoo is a road rash with ink frosting.

Before slatheration with A&D:

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On the way home we stopped for A&D and Ivory soap, and then dinner at Durty Nellie’s. Amusingly, even though I was the one that had been sitting with my shirt off for a couple-few hours, it was Ron that stayed cold on the way home and at dinner last night (yes, I was cold by the time I was done, but I warmed back up quickly).

Coming home and being greeted by the dogs was fun, because Tommy likes to climb up on people and give them hugs and that means planting his front paws on my chest. And he’s a scent hound, he wants to smell things. I let him smell, but not climb me. He did get his paws planted on my chest before I could catch him this morning, but I’m also less sore this morning. Marginally. Lovely burning sensation after applying ointment, yes indeedy, especially since I’m trying for *light* coats, so I don’t soak shirts (I am wearing a semi-sacrificial t-shirt under my polo shirt).

Yes, tattoos are addictive, although for me it’s been multiple years between. I’m thinking maybe I’ll eventually add some other smaller critters as satellites to my horse. Maybe ibex, or reindeer head(s). Bison and aurochs are also candidates.