A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Tattoo Studio…

Apparently, when you turn fifty something inexplicable happens to your brain.  Decisions are made based on what would be fun, or what could transform a little life into something exciting.  Looking down the tunnel towards old age, it gets necessary to move in a more forward thinking direction.  What have I not done in my life that I really should do?  Like, now.  Do now.   Take a plunge.  Leap. Dance.  Get a tattoo.

A tattoo?  Yes.   With Daughter.  She asked me and in an instant I said ‘yes’.  I didn’t even hesitate or flinch.  I just jumped in. No debating, no weighing the options, just jumped.  It’s only a little ink, right?

Let’s do it.  She was so excited.  I was too…until we walked into the tattoo studio for our consultation and then I realized it was actually happening. A permanent drawing on my body.  Ready?  Hmm….

Oh, sure there was a lot of checking with me to see if I was on board.  Was I sure?  Daughter and I looked over literally hundreds of designs.  What size?  Did we want colour?  How about the image itself?  There were many I nixed based on size.  There were more she declined based on simplicity. I was going for simple.  At my age, simple was imperative.  A few weeks later and we had our first appointment.

We made our way down to the studio.  A little red door on a downtown street.  Colourful art and sketches cover the wall of an old walk-up; aged wooden floorboards creaked beneath our feet; plaster ceilings and vintage crown moldings.  There was a park bench and an old tattoo chair adorning a tiny living room complete with sofa and coffee table. Directly across from the green micro-fibre sofa hung precariously from an old nail, a shrunken pirate head with ginger beard and eye patch.  Perfect.

We sat down with the artist in that room to go over our ideas for our tattoos.  She was a young woman, grey haired and sweet.  I saw no visible tattoos, however, just peeking out from under the hiked-up sleeve of her sweater I could see a black swirl like the wispy end of a tail.  Ah, there it is.

She asked questions.  Allayed our fears.  Calmed me down a bit.  We went through our ideas and she took the time to get to know exactly what we had in mind.

We chose daisies and asked the artist to do a sketch and send it to us just so we could imagine what it would look like permanently inked on our skin.

The day of the appointment arrived and Daughter picked me up.  She was so excited, how could I not be?  She went first.  Watching the tattoo artist was like watching somebody paint a picture while doing a bit of surgery at the same time.  There’s the whir of the instrument, the chatter of voices and the wincing of Daughter’s face.  She was so determined not to move, she made herself shake.  I asked Daughter what it felt like and she said it was like somebody scratching at your skin.  Nothing painful.  Huh.  That wincing face, though.

She was done in thirty minutes.  A quick change up for the room to be disinfected and cleaned up and it was my turn.  Ugh.  My brain started going into overdrive.  Was it too big, really?  Maybe she can scale it down to one daisy…then mine would be different than Daughter’s and that would defeat the purpose.  I was back in the room with the shrunken pirate head.  I think I heard him sneer at me, “Oh, whaddya ascared of a little tattoo?!  Pfft…sure if I had arms, I’d show ya all mine!  Dey were good’uns, they were.  All done by a sailor with a hook for a hand and a needle dipped in black ink.  Hehehe…good ol’ days, dey were.  A’course I may ‘ave been a wee bit over da limit wit da rum, if ya catch me drift….”  ‘Oh, my Gawd will ya shut it, pirate!  Can’t ya see I’m panicking here?!’    “Jasus, girl it’s only a bit o’ink.  Nuttin’ to git yer panties in a knot o’er.  An daisies at dat!  Pffft…wuss.  Well, if ye were on ma boat-“      ‘YOU DON’T HAVE A BODY LET ALONE A BOAT!   TOO BAD YOU STILL HAVE A MOUTH! KEEP TALKIN’ CAPTAIN JACK AND I’LL PITCH YOU OUT INTO THE HARBOUR! ’    “Take it easy, Missy!  Where’s me rum…”  ‘ NOW, you’re talkin’…..’

She came out to get me and we were off.

She attached the design to my lower leg first to make sure the placement was accurate and straight.  Then I hopped up on the table and she set to work.  I was on my side, so I was able to have a lovely view of the harbour while she worked.  I think she did that intentionally.  Smart girl.  Captain Jack was laughing it up out in the living room, I’m sure of it.   I asked her intelligent questions like “Has anyone passed out from this before?  Ever been accidently kicked or swatted while tattooing?  What’s the biggest tattoo you’ve ever done and how long did it take you?  Anybody ever vomit on your table?”

She answered my questions with a degree of concern making sure I wasn’t going to do any of those things to her.  Nope.  All good.  Except for that annoying scratching.  “That’s the tattoo.”  Oh.  Then I’m good.

It went well.  The tattoos look great.

I wonder what my next adventure will be…hmmm.

As for Captain Jack, I don’t think we’ll be seeing each other any time soon, although I thought I could hear a verse of  ‘Yo Ho Ho and A Bottle of Rum’ as we were walking out the door….

 

tattoo

 

 

 

 

 

Running Amok

So, time to come clean.  I’ve gone and done it.  Last month I took another leap. I’ve managed to wrangle myself into running another Tely. My fourth. It was something I’ve been thinking about since January, but was unsure if I would remain healthy enough to see it through. Self-doubt always being my biggest obstacle, I had to put that aside and look at the goal. Running another Tely.  And a good virtual kick in the ass from Hubby was appreciated…after the fact, of course. After my first outdoor run in January and I realized running a mere 3 kms was a struggle. Scary.

I think this would be way more fun....

I think this would be way more fun….

I’ve been following the training schedule from the Tely 10 website since the first day it came out in early May and I’m surprised to say I haven’t missed a day of training. Not one scrap, one kilometer or, as painful as they all were, not one hill repeat went unnoticed or unrun(?) The Hill O’Pain remains the bane of my existence, but I persevered and hauled my ass up that hill…eight times last Wednesday. There was a lot of swearing that day. And cars driving by wondering why some lady was running up and down that big ass hill in the fog, and last week in the rain…I loves St. John’s, right? Admittedly, I had to train for the training, which means there was some daring tiny runs in January and February, some cross training going on thanks to D2 and her Cross fit schedule laid out in the basement in March and April, and then finally, some runs as the weather became less frigid and more less-frigid…I’m still waiting for warmth, but that should happen some day in July…you know, that one day…
My love/hate relationship with running is hitting the love meter, right now. After six weeks of pain and agony, I can finally feel my stride returning. I felt strong after my 10km on Sunday instead of tired. I felt capable of running a few extra kms if I had to, instead of flopping on the roadside looking for a ride home. Dare I say the training is working? Shall I say that I may remain uninjured and healthy long enough to see race day? Hmmm….let’s not say that too loud. The universe is watching…

NOT the infamous Hill O'Pain...this one looks almost easy...pffft.

NOT the infamous Hill O’Pain…this one looks almost easy…pffft.

He wears His Height Reluctantly.

So, hockey is finished for another season at our house. Okay, hockey as in minor hockey..there’s still Junior High hockey which is sort of like the Hunger Games, but without all the fun of dying. Each team battles it out on the ice for the supreme ultimate title of Winnah. I’m not sure what they ultimately win except bragging rights to being the Junior High victors, but I guess when you’re 14, that’s a pretty big deal. I spent the entire day Saturday watching son play two games of hockey for his Bantam B Minor hockey team. In the final game of the championship, they were beaten badly by 10-0….ouch. However, they did get silver in the supreme ultimate “Bantam B Provincial Blah Blah” title, so that’s awesome. I enjoyed watching son play, but it was quite stressful at times and I was bowing my head to the Gods of Hockey to bless him with sudden 6’7” height and behemoth mass, (a tall order, pardon the pun, from his 5’almost 2” height and 93 pound stature) in order to survive the onslaught of the other guys who actually DID look like they had been acquired from a NHL team …ugh. He managed and was proud of his play…and that silver thingy hanging around his neck. I was happy to have muddled through an entire day dedicated to a cold arena and too much coffee, and not having to cart anybody off to a hospital or say the fateful words of “how many fingers am I holding up?”
The running season is upon me and I feel its weight every time I step outside. I can feel mine too unfortunately, and I’m battling it out with the road and the cars and the hills and the rocks and the damned little ruts in the side of the road that nearly send me flying on my ass every time I hit one absently or from the wrong side of my foot. I get honks from friends who suddenly realize that it’s me running and not some lost wayward soul out toddling along after her lost dog or little lamb that darted from the farm. Do we have sheep around here? Hmmm…
It’s a struggle and with the weather being all uncooperative and stuff, it just gets me annoyed. On the forecast for tomorrow morning, the morning of my next scheduled run? Snow. Freezing fucking rain. Yay! Strap on the studded running shoes and let’s get out there in the 100 mile an hour winds and the freezing bullets of rain pelting your face until the blood starts streaming from your cheeks and you look like a character gone awry from a Stephen King novel. “Oh, look it’s Kayjai doing her best Carrie impersonation out here…ewww….Is that blood from her eyes???!!! Gawd, take it down a notch will ‘ya? I got kids in ma car”… That sounds about right.
If the weather ever gets warmer than 0, I’ll be the first one to proclaim it Spring. Until then, I’ll have to don ma protective face wear and head outside. This should do it.

The read marks add decoration. Pretty!

The red marks add decoration…pretty!

It’s not half as scary as having bloody cuts from the freezing rain, right? Right? I’ll be sure to wear a jacket that says “Jason’s Machete Emporium” with a pic of a very  sharp object on the back…
Happy Spring, Peeps!

An Open Love Letter To Newfoundland and Labrador

We moved to Newfoundland in 1994 from the burgeoning cottage country of Ontario with the expectations of a quieter and simpler lifestyle.  We were partially right.  In the spring of that year, Hubby had his first foray into contract policing.  This meant wearing a uniform and taking down drunks on a Friday night.  A far different cry than the busting down doors of drug dealers and grow operators in the outskirts of Toronto that he was used to.  A few months into his new job and he had a brand spanking new concussion and bruised shins to prove it.  My first impression of our new life in Newfoundland wasn’t going so well.

Our first winter found us locked down in our house with gale force winds, snow and ice knocking out power to the Avalon Penninsula for three days.  Pregnant with my second baby, we were taken in by fellow transplanted mainlanders who were in possession of a butane heater.  There we sat eating whatever came out of the freezer and sleeping on their floor.  We were warm and fed and in good company. 

The two further years we spent in the Bay Roberts area were speckled with a faltering monologue of false starts and growing pains.  Mostly by me.  Hubby grew up in central Newfoundland, used to its dialects and tones.  I had a difficult time translating my brother-in-law’s mumbled and unsettled vernacular into actual English.  My sister-in-law noticed my blank smile signaling my uncomprehending fugue.  She was happy to translate and obliged by saying “She don’t understand what you’re sayin’, b’y.  Slow down.”  

We were moved to the central part of the island in 1997 with two young girls in tow and a whole new perspective hitting us in the face.  We spent seven happy years getting reacquainted with Hubby’s family, weekends at the rocky shore and a part time job for me that permanently cemented me in the working mother category.  Two years into our stay in Central, our son was born.  Our family was complete.  We were a young family living an island life and raising our kids surrounded by family and a stable environment.  Not bad for a three to five year posting.  We were now into year five and no hint of any further relocations making the rounds.  We continued to stay for another four years watching our children grow and marveling at our son’s incomplete grasp of the English language.  His preferred linguistic style was strangely akin to Cantonese.  Just as he was regaling us with his new found singing ability and obvious hatred for anything to do with crayons, pencils or creative work, an impending move came knocking on our door and we were uprooted once again. 

This time, it was back to the mainland and we called New Brunswick home for eighteen short months.  As lovely as it was, our hearts belonged to Newfoundland and we were shuffled back on ‘home’ to St. John’s in 2005.

We’ve now been in St. John’s for eight years.  Our longest posting yet.  We have been faced with an impending decision regarding yet another move and it’s daunting and heartbreaking.  Our daughters, now grown into lovely young women will be in University full time in the fall.  Our son, now going into grade nine.  Our children have had the best of both worlds, living on different parts of the Island and getting the opportunity to taste life on the mainland albeit, a short lived taste. 

I’ve had the unique opportunity to be an outsider looking in.  I’m not a native Newfoundlander like Hubby and I had some time adjusting to living on an Island when were first relocated here many years ago.  I still remember the long nights waiting for Hubby to come home after his shift, my young babies not sleeping and both of us exhausted and trying to grab sleep when we could.  The late night phone calls from residents threatening suicide and Hubby on call having to talk him down from the virtual and sometimes tangible ledge.  The long days when we lived in Central and Hubby was gone chasing down ‘suspects’ and saying “I can’t tell you where we are or when we’ll be home.”  Good times. 

Those were the days I relied on family to help out.  Those were days when having people close by proved comforting. Like when D2 had pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for a week, the nurse looking after her being my next door neighbor and her Nanny and my sister-in-law taking turns looking after my other daughter and son when Hubby had to be working and I had to be at D2’s side; or the birth of my son being witnessed by my sister-in-law and Hubby and a thousand other in-training nurses at the local hospital that was, unbeknownst to me, a training hospital; or having the guys working Christmas shift with Hubby come to the house Christmas eve as I sat wrapping Christmas presents and watching Die Hard and happily ladled coffee and Christmas cake into their mouths before sending them off once again into a cold night.  Yeah.

I’ve had the privilege of living in a world where crime was on a much smaller scale, the children that my kids went to school with have become life-long friends no matter where on the island they live, and we have had family close by and far away, but never completely gone.  From Danny Williams’, our former and most prolific Premier’s mouth, came the phrase “Newfoundlanders have an innate sense of responsibility for their communities” and I have witnessed this several times over.

  There seems to be a sort of communal outpouring of care for each other that is lacking in other provinces or even towns west of our shores.  Here in St. John’s, we live in a neighbourhood that embodies that spirit.  No child can walk down our street without the mother or father being friends with other mothers and fathers.  We make sure someone is home; we make sure there is an adult present and if there isn’t by some happenstance, we step in.  That’s called community, people.  Fundraising for playgrounds, for sports teams, for Girl Guides it’s all in a child’s life and my kids have done their share.  The understanding that family is the main portion of a child’s sense of self and giving that family the support it needs to sustain a life is an inherent part of being and living in Newfoundland.  The past year we have seen many challenges to that family life, with the provincial cuts and layoffs, however, I have also seen a spirit here that will surpass these pitfalls with the never-ending belief that their home is not away, it’s here.  Even if the jobs are scarce and the times are difficult, the young people forced out to look for work in other provinces, come back with a fervor that this is always ‘home’.  We have made friends here that have become part of our family.  We vacation together, live on the same streets, share the same worries and celebrate each other every chance we get.  There’s a foreboding that this could all somehow end.  That we could lose something or someone to change.  No matter where we end up, I will have my SLS family, my family in Central, my family now on the west coast and my mainland family.    

These provincial cuts have had a hand in our impending future.  Hubby’s job is tenuous at best and with the thought of another move forging its way onto our doorstep, I can’t help but be grateful for the past eighteen years here.  We have been able to raise our children in an environment free from abhorrent abuses of power, bullying, crime and rampant drug use.  Oh sure, all those issues are here, but we seemed to have escaped their reach.  The recent drive-by shooting has all residents appalled and angry that such violence has reached our rocky shores and so we should be appalled.  So we should be angry.  This isn’t indicative of the province I have come to know and admire.  This is what happens on the mainland, not here.  A mainlander I am and a mainlander I shall always be, but crime to this speaks of higher issues and greater responsibility.   Get ye home, b’y we don’t want this shit here.  We don’t want to be like everybody else.  We are unique. We are the home of quiet acceptance and hospitality.  Warm hugs and raucous kitchen parties. Tea and biscuits kind of people.  We are Newfoundland.  The only city I know of that when a TV show is shooting in any area of town, they broadcast the street closures on the radio and then the star of the show tweets his apologies for the inconvenience.  He’s sorry that you had to detour making you five minutes late for work.  He’s from the Goulds, Newfoundland.  “Innate sense of responsibility for his community”.  Yeah. 

That’s Newfoundland.

Thanks for the eighteen beautiful years.  I’m just looking for eighteen more….

God love ‘ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attack of The Crows

Current events in our city has prompted this drawing.  Crows are attacking innocent peeps in a terrifying Hitchockian manner!  Residents walking downtown minding their own business and totally not shouting or mocking the birds.  Observe:

A picture is worth a thousand words...or at least a few hundred

A picture is worth a thousand words…or at least a few hundred

Now you are officially informed.

Pray for us….or send slingshots.  At least that way we could charge admission to the public for their chance to play the game called “Scare The Crap out of the Crows” If someone actually hits one, they win a free bucket o’chicken.

Artwork by Kayjai

 

 

My Walk Downtown

duckworth st colour

It’s not that I don’t like going downtown, I just don’t go there.  It’s not something I do in a run of a day.  It’s busy, little parking and I have very little need to wander aimlessly down there.  The shops that are located on Water and Duckworth Streets are interesting and very open for tourists.  When the cruise ships dock in the harbor, the passengers wander around downtown, go to a pub on George St. and maybe visit Auntie Crae’s.  I know where this stuff is.  I just don’t happen to be a townie so my experience is limited to a few random excursions in dropping someone off here or there or picking up teens from a concert at Mile One Centre.  It’s named this since it is the starting point of the first mile to connect to the Trans Canada Highway.  (but there’s an ocean separating us from the rest of Canada, but the highway runs to the tip of Port-Aux-Basques which is where the ferry runs to get you to North Sydney, Nova Scotia which is the mainland, which…ahh, never mind)  Mile One is our stadium where big performers play and the Caps play (AHL hockey team.  I’m not explaining anymore.  Go here to find out more) There.  I’ve done my civil duty to promote the city.  Now as I was saying….

This morning I had to venture downtown to the passport office.  A veritable confusing affair of one way streets and oodles of parking…with meters.  Someone forgot to mention its all metered parking.  I forgot my loonie.  *sigh*

I get to the office in record time despite thinking it was on Water St. (part of it is) and going past where I needed to.  I parked in the first space I saw.  I got out and began walking.

–        Sunny and nice day for a walk I head up Water St.

–        Wrong!

–        Backtrack to get to Bride’s Hill.  Up the hill to Duckworth

–        Head back, past the Duke of Duckworth ( I now know where that is, past Magnum and Steins, nice restaurant)

Duke of Duckworth

 

 

 

 

 

–  “look for the Tim Hortons on the corner” Bestie said.  I remembered.  Of course, there’s always a Tim Hortons on the corner.

–        Success!  Into the the TD centre

–        8th floor

–        1 person ahead of me in line…and it’s only 8:15am. I rock.

–        Get into the office.  Turned left right out of line

–        I took the guard literally when he said to ‘keep left’.

–        Get back in line, get ma ticket. E700. I have 5 applications to process.

–        Sit down

–        They call C500, then C501, then D400, then D401

–        WTF?  I was second in line!  But I have the most to process.

–        They finally call E700.  Yay me!

–        I approach the lady who’s wearing the uber-fashionable Hawaiian shirt and furry scarf that closely resembled a dead weasel. Niiiiice

–        Four passports processed then we get to son’s.

–        Uh, oh.  Daddy didn’t sign.  No can process, chicky.  ‘What?!  Fuck off, really?!’   Ugh

–        ‘Come back after Easter break when it won’t be so busy’ she said.  ‘Even if you wait until July for a trip in August you’ll be good’ she said.

–        Yeah, okay.  I’ll make Hubby do this one, I‘m thinking.

–        I pay the nice lady who is still wearing the funny shirt and dead weasel dangling ominously from her neck.

–        I leave to get into the elevator with nicely dressed man who asks me where Water St. was.  I happily tell him.  He says that’s where he’s headed, do I want to go there too?  Ummmm….

–        I laugh and wave goodbye to him as I step off on the floor I started from.  ‘Nice man, nice suit’ I’m rethinking my decision…

–        I step out into the sunshine and head down to Water St.

–        I find car

–        I find ticket on car

–        I obviously require supervision and guidance when venturing out of my area

–        I look for nice man in the nice suit

–        I swear profusely

–        I drive away

–        I wonder if any pubs are open at 9am….What?  It’s five o’clock somewhere…..

 

Newfoundland Screech

Newfoundland Screech

 

 

 

 

 

NOT Newfoundland Screech

NOT Newfoundland Screech