Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stops along the way...

Fiore by Manolo Valdes

Since I have been back in the States, I try to head down to NYC as often as I can as it is only about three and a half hours south of Boston and I just love every moment I spend in the city that never sleeps.  New York never seems to have a dull moment.  During the day the building seem to show off, each making their own proud statement.   In the evenings, the buildings wink at each other and wink at you.  People are always out and about, some with their dogs in tow and coffee cup in hand.  It always makes me smile.  There is just so much to see and do.

This past weekend was even better than I had anticipated because I was going down to be a helpful aunt as well as do some stuff on my own.  I arrived on Friday evening and it was chilly.  I patiently waited on queue for a taxi and headed uptown to my brother’s apartment.  My mom was already babysitting their kids.  She waited up and we chatted over a vinito.

I was woken up by the sounds of giggling, screeching, and the pluff plom of feet at about 6:15am.  I stayed in bed as that is too early for me on a Saturday!  Suddenly at about 8:00 am, my nephew and niece are waking me up!  I hurriedly got dressed and went downstairs for some much needed coffee.

Soon they were off for their activities and my mom and I headed up to the New York Botanical Garden for the tail end of the exhibit of Monet’s Giverny that we had decided to see together when the exhibit had opened back in May!  Yes, it’s always better to leave things for the last minute than to not do them at all.

My mom and I strolled through the replica of Monet’s Giverny and it was amazing – so many colors, heights, scents.  Nature left us in awe.

We continued walking and decide to head to another section so we go outside and stumbled on two places with Monet lilies!  Apparently, Monet grew lilies that could withstand the European winter even if they were tropical. 

“I had this wonderful dress with all of these lilies and it always reminded me of Monet’s lilies.  Man, I wish I had saved it.”  Although I have heard about the dress several times, some stories just never get old.

After we walked through the beautiful exhibit and smelled some of the most heavenly and not so heavenly scents (we walked through the cacti part of the Botanical Garden and it smelled like dry earth).

As we make our way over to the Library where there was an exhibition of photos of Giverny, Monet in his garden, one of his pallets full of paint, and a few of Monet’s paintings, we walked through the Jane Watson Irwin garden.  Irwin is from my hometown and it always gets my mom excited when someone is from New Canaan and has a presence somewhere!

As we were walking along the marked paths, we were graced by all of these strikingly beautiful and enormous sculptures by Manolo Valdes, born in Valencia, Spain in 1942 that seemed to add to the lovely atmosphere, as they seemed to blend in with the natural environment at the garden.  

I shook my head in disbelief and felt so lucky!  What a lovely day!  Three in one at the Botanical Garden; mom, Monet and Valdes!

The sculptures are amazing.   They are of anonymous head with minimal features with a neck and around the head is an amazing halo of plants or insects.  They reminded me the fasteners worn at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal wedding. 

As we are about to arrive at the Library, we see the most amazing sculpture by Manolo yet.  It is this enormous head with butterflies all around it.  According to the article in the New York Times, Mr. Valdes was inspired by a man at Central Park who had monarch butterflies flying around his head.  I thought it was a female who perhaps had just walked out of the forest or had such an amazing day that her head was spinning.  It was also fitting because my 4 year old niece is obsessed with butterflies and it made me think of her.

We enter the Library and decide to take the stairs, all 63 of them.  I am still not sure why we did because we got to the top all sweaty but perhaps it was the aura of the whole experience at Botanical Garden that gave us so much energy.We enter the little room where the Monet paintings are displayed and I was timing how long it would take my mom to tell me another one of my favorite stories.  As she patiently waited for the crowd to disperse, she moved directly to one side of the painting and says,

“When I was at Skidmore, a bunch of us went to Boston. We went to the MFA and the Monet exhibit was there.  I was looking at a painting and a gentleman asked if I spoke French which I did back then.  He had known Monet and often watched him paint.  He was the one who said to look from an angle not straight on.”

I move next to her, “Can you see the difference?” she asked.  It really is amazing how a painting or a sculpture can change from one angle to the next, one mood to another.

So after we enjoyed the entire day, we head back down to New York. 

The next day, I took my niece to the American Girl store.  We arrived at the store at 9:00am, right when it opened.  As my niece hopped out of the taxi, she looked up at me with her little palms flaring and shaking in the air almost like it was Christmas day and says, “Are we going to get me a special doll?”

“Yes, E, we are going to get you an American Girl.” 

The moment was priceless and she pretty much had the store to herself.  When I got back to the apartment, we unpacked her doll and she was so happy.

When auntie duty was over, I went with Joanna to the Guggenheim where they have a Picasso: Black and White Exhibit.  I thought that the exhibit was very interesting but I loved being with my best friend more.  Here’s her blog on the exhibit.

After that we went for brunch, picked up my case at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s and we hopped into a taxi to head down to Penn Station.  BUMPER TO BUMPER traffic.  NOT MOVING, JUST BEEEEEEPing.  More beeping, not moving – nope, the taxi is not going anywhere but the meter keeps on speeding! 

“Do you know what is going on?” I ask the taxi driver.  Meanwhile, Joanna is being all Zen and telling me I need to imagine myself at the station and making my train.  Easier said than done for some!

“Traffic awful on Sundays.  I have been driving since 3 A.M. and this bad.  Very bad.  They parade down 5th Avenue. Not good. At least 45 minute to Penn Station. No good.”

I am still dumbfounded by the fact that since he had been driving around since 3 A.M. and it was 3:30 P.M. when I was in the cab and he seemed to know all about the parade, the traffic jams on the East side – why didn’t we go to the West Side highway? 

I told him he was giving me anxiety because he kept repeating, “No good. Bad traffic.”

“Can you change the ticket?” Joanna asks. 

I quickly assess the situation and check the Amtrak app.

“Oh, yeah, there’s a train at 6 and 7pm.”

I quickly call Amtrak and make the change.  Only First class left, whatever…it’s only once, right?!!

“All set, I am on the train at 6pm.  Could we go to Bloomies?”  I ask my dear friend.

“And have a vinito on the way!” Joanna replies. 

“Could you please stop the cab?  We’d like to get out.”

Joanna and me and the Lipstick Building (one of the many winking buildings of NYC!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Office Pooper

This is what happens when you bake in Boston!
Yes, that’s right.  I got a job about 7 weeks ago.  I have been in shock.  It is the first time I have worked in the States since 2000.  I have to wake up at 6:15am and catch the trolley at 7:30am (in Boston, they call it the “T” but it is a two wagon trolley in my book) all the way downtown and switch lines to a more decent train and get off at Kendall Square.  I can’t remember the last time I woke up at 6:15am.  I think I had to wake up that early once to catch a flight but I really can’t remember as I am not a morning person AT ALL.  So, life as I have known it has changed.  I also went from having my own broom closet and two hour lunches to working from a cubicle with two screens from 8am-6pm.

Sometimes my eyes are so sealed shut despite the fact that I have showered and filled my eyes with an entire container of eye drops that I have to clean my glasses to make sure what I see on the trolley is for real.  The other day on my 7:30am commute, I saw a guy dressed in a suit eating oatmeal out of a huge glass mixing bowl with a silver spoon.  After he slurped that down, he proceeded to put the dirty bowl in a plastic bag that looked like the trolley ran over it a few times and then he shoved that into his tiny computer bag.  There were no hidden cameras – I looked!

Luckily, I do find that trolley ride entertaining.  Most people have their eyes shut or try to bang out emails on the phone or do things that I find not entirely trolley inappropriate (read above again).  I usually send out emails or chat on Whatsapp with my friends in Spain or London or I just watch what is going on like it is a bad sitcom. 

My co-workers are great.  I like almost everybody.  We arrange activities and chat amongst ourselves and lend a hand when needed.  Assistants rule the world, don’t ever forget that.  So the other day, a woman from my team sends out a “COOKIE SWAP” email.  I wasn’t sure what a “cookie swap” was but being that I was about to go to a “Cookie Party” that Saturday, I thought it was the same thing.  The emails trickle in by the dozen.  Every EA has confirmed.  One replied that she was going to make peanut butter cookies from the roll.  Hmm? I reply, “I’m in and I’ll make gluten-free cookies.”  A day for the “Cookie Swap” email was never confirmed.

Last Saturday, I went to a “Cookie Party” at a friend’s house from 1pm to 3pm.  Perfect time.  I baked peanut butter cookies from a recipe that a girl friend sent me that she got off of glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com. 

That Saturday morning I frantically ran to the grocery store to buy baking sheets, a cooling rack, and all of the ingredients.  I, admittedly, went to the grocery store in pajamas and a massive hangover but with the great spirit of “I am going to feel like Betty Crocker!!”

“Are you going to bake?” asked the cashier.
“Yes!!  I am going to a cookie party” it was so obvious by the goods I was buying when suddenly I realize I forgot to buy the PEANUT BUTTER for my PEANUT BUTTER cookies!
“Oh, NO! I forgot the peanut butter – the main ingredient.”
“We can hold your stuff while you go get it.”
“OK, cool! Thank you so much for asking if I was going to bake! – I can’t believe I forgot the main ingredient.” Who am I trying to fool?  The cashier thought I was nuts and I was too frazzled by the number of cookie sheets, baking racks, types of sugar, types of baking soda plus ridden by a hangover, I forgot the peanut butter.

I get home and start the baking.  I reread the directions three times.  I doubled the recipe just in case and thankfully I did because the first batch turned out like peanut butter balls.  The recipe said nothing about flattening the peanut butter gooeyness before baking.  The entire house smelled of a peanut butter heaven.

As I was rolling the balls for the second batch (while eating scoops of peanut butter from the jar), I hear a weird scrapping noise coming from the back of the apartment.  We have to leave the back door open because they blast the heat and otherwise, we would suffocate.   

After about 4 peanut butter balls, I wonder,

“What the hell is el Toro doing out there?”

I continue to roll balls and I continue to hear the weird noise.  I wash my hands and decide to go check.  I can’t believe my eyes!  There is a squirrel with his buttside facing inside hanging and walking all over the screen door!!! 

My cookies must have smelled delish to the critter.  He even let me take his photo several times. 

The second batch turned out great and they were definitely presentable for the cookie party.  I had nearly devoured the 12 unpresentable balls so 12 cookies would have to do.

The cookie party was fabulous.  I met more of my friend’s friends and I had a lovely time.  We each got to take a couple of each type of cookie home and it was just lots of fun.

“So ladies, how about we do the cookie swap on Thursday?” emails the coordinator.

After many more emails trickle in, we decide for Monday which was originally my idea.

Here’s the email:
“So, if there are 12 of us, we each need to make 6 dozen cookies.”

I practically fell out of my chair – I can barely make 12 cookies!  I run over to the next cubicle.

“Is she for real?” I asked.

I get the explanation for the “Cookie Swap” and here’s my email to the group:

“Count me out.”

I received a sad face from the coordinator.

So, I am officially the office pooper (it’s not a party after all).   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To Floss or to pick, that is the question.


“The coast is clear”, the guy says to his wife after looking quickly to his right and then to his left. 

“Yep, the coast is clear”, says the guy sitting across from the married couple.

There we were, just another couple sitting at a restaurant, eating our dinner, enjoying our drinks, conversing in Spanish when I see the Toro’s face cringe.  I look to the people sitting at the table to our left and I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

The Toro and I love dining and having drinkie poohs out, especially on a Friday or Saturday.  We were about to go to Hillstone, a restaurant that has one of the best pork chops I have ever tried but I told him I wanted to try a new place.  So off we went to Stoddard’s.  Apparently, Stoddard’s used to be a corsetiere but the building pretty much burnt down except for the corsetiere and they were able to salvage the place and it was made into a bopping bar/restaurant. 

We were totally enjoying ourselves and I managed to overcome the fact that every time somebody opened the door a gush of freezing cold air from outside would rush into the dining area by wearing my down coat.  All of the tables are so close together in the dining part of the bar that it almost feels cozy.  The Toro and I were catching up on our weeks or lack-there-of when all of the sudden, all etiquette breaks loose!

After both males at the table beside us declared that “the coast was clear” to the petite woman, she whips out her dental floss and continues to floss all of her teeth.    After she finished her dental work, she proceeded to leave the used dental floss on her gobbled up sea scallops.

“No lo puedo creer!” the Toro tells me he can’t believe it.

I look over and my gag reflex kicks in.  This gag reflex of mine can sometimes be a total inconvenience but the flossers didn’t notice.

The Toro and I continue to comment in Spanish about etiquette, as our shock was pretty overwhelming.  Etiquette is sometimes a funny thing.  In Spain, you can find toothpicks in any establishment that serves beverages or food.  If they aren’t on the bar or directly on the table, when you order the check the waiter will bring you a little plastic barrel full of them, sometimes they are in plastic casing, sometimes they are in paper casing or you get the unsanitary toothpicks that are just hanging out in the barrel.  Toothpicking in Spain is quite common.  I thought it was pretty gross at first but then the “when in Rome, do like the Romans” kicked in and I, admittedly, would use a toothpick if I had eaten ribs.

I am not sure which one is more inappropriate at the table, flossing or picking?  What I do know is that as an American, it was the first time I had ever seen anybody flossing at a dinner table.  In Spain, a vast majority toothpick after eating.  Either or, perhaps it should be done in the bathroom. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Authentic Couch Potato

Our TV!

Since I have returned to the States, I have morphed into an authentic couch potato.  I have always been pretty obsessed with Prime Time TV shows but I think that I have gone a bit overboard.  My dad obviously knows how important the TV is to me because he bought us our TV as a housewarming present. 

I have been trying to find a job so when I am not on the Internet searching for a job, on the phone for a possible interview or at an actual interview, I watch TV.  I really feel no need to justify my TV addiction!  There is so much to see and I have missed so much American TV over the past decade abroad.  From catching up on American Pop culture through programs on the boob tube, I am left with the impression that American society has gotten a bit more savvy, a bit more into DIY, a bit trashy, a bit fat, a bit drug obsessed, over critical, very gossipy and very interesting, all at the same time. 

I have been putting off writing this blog entry because I couldn’t decide if I should be embarrassed about my TV obsession or not.  I really do love to read and I have the tendency to become possessed by books as well (I read the Vampire Books in about 3 weeks (I was working and could only read obsessively during the commute or my lunch hours! I read the Stephan Larson books in about two weeks and I read the Hunger Games trilogy in 4 days – Izzy actually woke up in the middle of the night to find me reading with a headlamp on at 4:00AM!).  My dad would surely classify all of those trilogies as trashy novels but I don’t care.  I earned a Masters of Art degree in Hispanic Literature so I feel I can read and watch all the trash I want and I still manage to feel like an intelligent woman.

But anyhow, back to the TV.  My dad actually bought us our TV as a housewarming gift.  It is BIG and has HD.  I figure, eventually, I will be employed and I will officially be off Couch Potato duty!  I am putting my shame aside and I will actually list all of the shows.  All of these programs are on Prime Time; I am not the scriptwriter!  So, don’t judge! 

Due to the fact that “On Demand” automatically records all of the episodes and you can watch them “on demand”, some of the shows on my list do not indicate the day or time because I will either watch them at the weekly scheduled time or “on demand”.

The Rachel Ray Show – I watch this while I have my first coffee – I find some of the foods she cooks pretty nasty.  She tends to have good guests on her show (9:00 – 10:00 AM)
The Nate Berkus Show (10:00 – 11:00 AM) – He won my heart when he worked on Oprah on the interior design part of the show.  He is absolutely adorable and provides tons of great ideas to decorate your house, have a make-over, DIY, all of the ideas he provides through his show are affordable.  He has great guests on his show.
The View (11:00 – 12:00 PM) – I have always been a big fan of Whoopi Goldberg.  I like their commentaries on current events.
The Chew (13:00 – 14:00 PM) – I watch this for lack of a better show.  I have no idea why I watch cooking shows when I am very allergic to everything.
The Talk (14:00 – 15:00) – Very similar to the View only different hosts.
Keeping up with the Kardashians – I admittedly LOVE this family!
The Bachelorette – I watched that in the summer after so many of my friends kept posting on Facebook about it and I don’t think that I will get sucked in again
Ellen DeGeneres (New time – 4:00 PM) – She is hilarious and has great guests.
Project Runway (Thursday evening) – by far my most favorite show…up and coming designers have to design clothing according to the challenge presented by Heidi Klum
Dancing with the Stars – not sure how I got hooked on this one but I don’t think that Carson should have been voted off
All of the various CSIs – love solving crimes…I actually get so into it that I feel like a temporary CSI by trying to figure out the crime and who’s the bad guy.
Criminal Minds – once again, love solving crimes…
White Collar – the main character is HOT and an ex-con-man.
Fringe – Sci-fi - by far my most favorite series EVER..the third season still has some quirks to work out but I am a fan.

ETC.  As long as the remote has batteries, I will continue to click away!

While I am watching my shows, the commercials are mind-boggling.  There are so many pharmaceutical commercials.  There are so many drugs for so many different bodily functions, it is crazy!  I always pay attention during those and wonder who would actually take a drug because they have foot fungus when it causes the most disturbing side effects? At the end of the commercial, they read all of the side effects.   Here’s an example of VESIcare for an overactive bladder:

VESIcare is not for everyone. If you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems, or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take VESIcare. VESIcare may cause allergic reactions that may be serious. If you experience swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue, stop taking VESIcare and get emergency help. Tell your doctor right away if you have severe abdominal pain, or become constipated for three or more days. VESIcare may cause blurred vision, so use caution while driving or doing unsafe tasks. Common side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and indigestion.”

Why on earth would you want to take something that causes all of that?  I would rather have leaky bladder or wear a Depends! 

The infomercials are quite impressive as well.  There is so much junk out there!!  I think the funniest products on the market are the pajama jeans and the Forever Lazy.  I have actually seen the Forever Lazy for sale at Walgreens.  That might make watching TV really comfy!

I think that the most shocking show I have watched on Prime Time TV has been Hoarders.  My cousin actually suggested I watch an episode.  I am a total neat freak and can’t stand clutter.  The show is based around people who have a psychological problem and save anything and everything to the point that it becomes hazardous to their health.  I no longer watch that program because I find it sad and claustrophobic.

If you are ever have a day at home, there is plenty to watch.  You can fill up your day with plenty of American Pop culture through Prime Time TV: re-runs, cooking shows, sports, talk shows, the list goes on and on.  There is always something for everybody and you can always learn something.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Isabella, my new idol

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice by Anders Zorn - 1894

One of the biggest highlights since my arrival in Boston has been my visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  I went with Annabel during her visit on a rainy, chilly Boston day.  I had been obsessed with going to the museum since I borrowed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum book from the Brookline library back in June and decided to wait till her visit to go.  I devoured the book and through Isabella’s creation of the Venetian Palazzo at Fenway, she became my new idol.  My mother raved about the museum and I couldn’t wait to visit Isabella’s Palazzo.  I even wanted to work there and the idea still consumes me.

My friend Joanna once said, “She’s the Peggy Guggenheim of her time.”  Isabella sought out to create an enchanting and wonderful cultural experience for the masses.  She was often deemed as eccentric, all the better for creating a cultural experience filled with authentic pieces from all over the world.  If I were alive during her time, I would have loved to have been her friend or at least be invited to one of the many entertaining events that she held at her creation.

When Annabel and I walked in, we were already enchanted.  The outside of the building has nothing to do with what is in the inside.  We quickly paid the entrance fee, which is a lot lower than most museums, put our umbrellas in plastic, and off we went to see the world of art, décor, books, letters, walls of leather and lace, all of which are pieces of history in a mere three floors.  Our adventure started on the top floor and we slowly worked our way down to the bottom floor.  The guards on every floor offered helpful information on each room and even told us where to see an authentic etching.  The bottom floor is a breathtaking courtyard with the loveliest flowers and plants and sculptures.  It is the only place in the museum that Mrs. Gardner did not leave specific instructions to follow upon her death.

The Courtyard 
If you read the book, it is fascinating to learn how she acquired the pieces, how they were shipped to the USA and also about the misfortunate robbery.

Every inch of the museum has something to marvel.  If you are in Boston, I highly recommend that you add it to your itinerary.  You will be amazed and you don't have to be an art historian to appreciate the Palazzo.    

El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent - 1882

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Midsummer Night’s…

Lucky Number 7

Yesterday it was Izzy’s and my 6th year Wedding Anniversary.  We got married on August 25th, 2005 in Madrid; it was a Thursday, just like yesterday!  Thursdays have always been my favorite day of the week and I knew it was a sure sign.  Our wedding seems like it was just yesterday! 

Here’s how that special Thursday in 2005 went before we got married: In the morning, we took our guests on a walking tour of the city, stuffed ourselves with ribs and chorizo for lunch at Las Costillas, and then my sister and I decided I needed something for my hair.  Someone once asked me, “How could you have eaten so much before you got married?”  I still don’t have the answer but I can say that I cannot resist ribs and I turn into a nightmare if I don’t eat!  Who wants to be Bridezilla?  And haven’t you ever noticed that fed people are nice people? 

On the walk back to our apartment, we stopped at a florist and asked if they could make a headpiece out of fresh flowers as we saw that he was making them at that moment. 

“¿Para cuándo?” It only seems logical that he would want to know for when.
“Lo necesito ahora. Hoy mismo.”  I kindly replied that I needed it for right now and the florist nearly had a heart attack!
“Imposible.” I have never been a fan of the word “impossible”.

Apparently, the florist was on overload because of the numerous orders he had to complete for the weekend communions.  It was Thursday, in my mind and if it were my shop, I would have sold one that was already made and I would have made another in its place but that is not how it happened.  So my creative sister tells me to buy the stuff and we’ll make it.  The guy basically threw baby’s breath and wire at us and charged us nothing. 

“Buena suerte.” He said as we were leaving the store.

My sister and I run to our apartment and we braided the wire and tied in the flowers and violá; I had a handmade flower headpiece for my special day!

So here is how this special anniversary in 2011 went: We were invited by one of his co-workers to attend the HBGC’s Midsummer Night’s Art Gala at his apartment.  He lives in the South End in a Warehouse where if you have an Artist’s Certificate from the State of Massachusetts, you can live in the space and do what you wish to make it you home, art studio, etc.

I really didn’t know what to expect but I was very excited because I love meeting artists and seeing their work firsthand.  This event was to raise money for the HBGC that is only 2 years old.  One of the founders said that even if you aren’t Hispanic, Black or gay, their mission is to make the world a friendlier place and show their support, especially with so much bullying going on in the United States as of late.

I introduced myself to several people and Izzy’s co-worker introduced me to the artists and showed me all of their pieces and his pieces.  As some of the attendees were casual participants to art, he gave a nice introduction to art collecting.

Izzy arrived and saw that I had been signing the bidding sheet to outbid a guy named, “Joel.”  I decided to figure out who this “Joel” was as he was up against me on the “Lucky Number 7” by Anna Comella and who was also bidding on all of the pieces!

I see a guy in front of the Number Collection, talking to the artist and I asked,

“Are you Joel?”
“Why, yes, I am.”
“Hi!  I am Sarah and I really want that Lucky Number 7.”
“Well, so do I!”

Joel and I became friends and were having so much fun.  I finally told Joel that if he didn’t stop outbidding me on my soon to be Lucky Number 7 then I would step on his foot with my lovely high heeled shoe!  Always a lady!!  We even had the artist laughing!  We were also trying to get the other attendees into the bidding but didn’t have too much success.

Finally, bid time was over and I got the FINAL bid on the painting and we got to take home the Lucky Number 7!!  What an anniversary present!  I love the number 7!  I was born on the 7th…in the 70s, got married on the 25th (2+5=7!) in the year 2005! 

After the event, Izzy and I went to eat dinner at Legal Seafood Harborside where we lucked out and got a table right by the water!  After dinner, we had a cocktail on the lovely roof deck.

As the news is filled with updates on the Hurricane Irene, I sent Izzy out to get water and he comes back with beer!  Here is the card that my mom sent us for our anniversary and it is so perfect!

Hope that everyone on the East Coast stays safe!   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Under-tattooed in Boston

Photo from http://bostonist.com/

“¿Está llevando una camiseta?” I asked Izzy.
“No creo.” He answered.

After careful inspection, the bartender was not wearing a batik t-shirt but she was wearing a black tank top and the whole upper part of her body and arms were tattooed like a batik in black ink.  I found the tattoos quite lovely, as they weren’t filled in with all of the colors.  I have a tattoo that is well hidden that I got when I was 19 with one of my best friends and mine isn’t looking as peachy as it did when I first got it so when I saw the bartender’s intricate body design, I kept thinking to myself, “How is that going to look in 20 years?”

I remember when I got my tattoo; my friend and I felt like we were on a mission.  We got into my mom’s red convertible Miata, we blared the music, giggling the entire ride, as we followed our buddy who led the way on his motorcycle to Tony’s tattoo parlor.  Our friend convinced us that Tony was the best tattoo artist around and that his needles were “new”.  That didn’t even phase us.

We felt like the ultimate rebels, like we were the coolest of cool.  Her brother designed our tattoos to fit perfectly on the left side where the bikini covered it.  We decided not to go with the right side just in case we had to have our appendix out.  Good thinking for two 19 years olds at a tattoo parlor!!  She made me get mine first.  We each paid Tony the $70 in single dollars, tip money, and off we went back to work.  That summer, we worked at a snack bar and couldn’t wait to show our new body art to our co-workers.  They weren’t half as thrilled as we were.    

I sometimes forget that I have a tattoo and when I catch a quick glimpse in the mirror, I do a double take and then I chuckle.  My tattoo is of a blue moon with stars and Saturn (that’s my planet and I figured you only get a tattoo once in a blue moon, the stars were an added bonus).  Once again, great thinking for a 19 year old!  My friend’s tattoo is of a sunflower that her parents to this day believe she paints it on herself every day!  Any mother of three would know that there is no way she would have time to paint a tattoo on herself everyday!    

I don’t regret getting the tattoo: It is a marker of time and friendship, rebelliousness, recklessness, plain permanent fun.  I do regret that my sister was worried that Big Al would freak out so she got a little heart tattooed on her butt!

Per usual, I did a survey about tattoos.  I, personally, have mixed feelings about tattoos.  I have always thought that tattoos are thought provoking; they always make me wonder what it means to the person and I also think that my take on tattoos depends on my given mood: I like them, hate them, love them, find them gross, etc.  My dear friend Joanna has a small Native American turtle on her ankle.  She says that Indians of the Eastern Woodlands believed that the world was created on the back of a turtle.  She claims that tattoos are very personal, which they are and if you get one it should be “small and something meaningful”.  

I have a couple of friends who aren’t fans and especially not of all over the body tattoos.  One of them respects everyone's right to decorate their own body as they see fit.  She adds,

“Of course, I think tattoos all over the body are a little much, and people should put them in places where they can hide them because there are times and places where tattoos are not appropriate.

PS I think people who put their initials or names on their bodies are stupid”!

One friend has 7 tattoos on various body parts!  She likes tattoos and thinks the opposite of my other friend and thinks that all over the body tattoos “can be sexy!”

My other friend who isn’t a fan thinks that they look better on darker skin as they look “very greeny on aged white skin” says, “I also don’t think tattoos go with everything i.e. a ball gown + a tattoo looks really tacky.”

Every time my husband and I enjoy a frosty beverage at a bar or eat at a restaurant, we feel under-tattooed.  I have seen a bartender with New Jersey tattooed behind his ear.  I find it fascinating.  Wouldn’t that hurt like hell?  I think that I have seen more tattooed people here in Boston then I have ever seen in my life.  Through my exploration of the city, I have noticed that there aren’t as many tattoo parlors here as there are in Vallecas and the few that I have seen look sketchy from the outside.

I am pretty sure that I would never get another tattoo not to mention that Fruitcake would have a heart attack if I did as he constantly reminds me of the amount of mercury, carbon and numerous other toxins that enter the blood stream with a tattoo. 

If you are heading to Boston and want to have the tattooed look, I recommend going temporary.  Temporary tattoos can be found every where and if you are looking for the ones that are a bit more dynamic then the ones found in a box of Cracker Jacks, according to dailycandy.com, Swissmiss launched a new line.  If you want to get even more sophisticated, Chanel has temporary tattoos or you can order Henna tattoos at amazon.com.   

If you plan on heading to Boston and want a real tattoo, you can head to the 10th Annual Boston Tattoo Convention being held September 2-5 and get one there!

Kat Von D - I loved her tattoo show!