A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

I left my heart and soul in Ireland January 7, 2015

Filed under: adult fun — courtsbrogno @ 10:51 am

It’s true, I left it all in Ireland. the country captured me. It’s the first country I can say with full authority that “I would live here.” Despite the weather and the rain, the horrible food, and the pale, white people, I would happily live in Ireland because the people are the nicest I’ve ever met, the culture is one of inclusivity, and  there is always something to do for all ages.

So back to my trip. i made it to Galway. I found the right bus, didn’t get lost, and loved this city. My friend, Kelly, lived in Ireland for two years and she lived in Galway. I never understood why she didn’t live in Dublin but now I totally get it. Galway is much more bohemian, more laid back. It’s a much smaller city with less historical sights to visit, but there’s just something there that made it amazing.

hotle

(I stayed at the Eyre Square Hotel, which i solely picked because of the “Eyre” part, which reminded me of Jane Eyre. It was a good choice too. It was right in the middle of Eyre Square, the hub of downtown Galway and the price was within my small budget.)

Galway has beautiful streets and shops and people and because it’s a college town it seems much more liberal and less cosmopolitan than Dublin.

galway

(This was in the middle of Eyre square: A Christmas Market. From what i was told it’s set up by a German company. but they had a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and lots of little shops. It was cute, I have to admit.)

g 2

(The main shopping area, pedestrian only. And although there were little mom and pop shops, they also had Prada, Top Shop, and other high priced fancy shops that i didn’t dare go into).

g 1

(I took this picture just because I loved this corner and I would sit at a cafe every morning, having coffee and staring at this building)

g 3

(I loved the old and the new buildings side by side.)

I also took a tour. I know, me. I’m not a tour person, but i really wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher and although i had offers from people I met to take me, i decided it might be more interesting to go on a bus and hear a professional talk about it. I wasn’t disappointed.

cs2

(We first visited the Burren region, which is 125 square miles of limestone landscape on the Western seaboard of Ireland. It was interesting and beautiful, but mostly just rolling green hills with sheep and cows and tons of limestone. the limestone is cool, though, because the Irish use it to make the most beautiful stone walls I’ve ever seen.)

stone wall

(See: beautiful stone walls everywhere. I really, really wish we did something like this in California instead of just using concrete barriers.)

cs

(The Burren region with beautiful stone walls)

rainbow

(How Irish is this? I saw a rainbow!)

Then we went to Aillwee Cave, which is an underground cavern with bridged chasms and waterfalls. I must say, I really wasn’t that impressed.

cave3

cave 5caves 2

Finally we made it to the Cliffs of Moher and even though it was so windy and cold and rainy, it was beautiful. My pictures do NOT do this place justice.

cliffs 3

cliffs

cliffs 2

cliffs4

(O’Briens tower)

cliffs2

(I was so interested in who could possibly have lived here–in the past, before it was a tourist attraction–because all I kept thinking while I was there was “The Cliffs of Insanity” from The Princess Bride. This is because the cliffs are so treacherous looking. I wondered how many ships had crashed among them. But then I learned that this was a great fishing area and the Irish used (and still some do) a small bay a few miles up the coast. Regardless, I learned a lot).

There was this great pub across the street from my hotel that I went to every night in Galway and I made a friend who took me in his car to visit the Wild Atlantic Way, which is basically a scenic drive just like our Highway 1. It was gorgeous.

waw

waw2

waw3

We also visited some small towns on the Western coast and there’s only one word to describe these towns: bucolic.

town

(A typical town)

thatched

(Houses with THATCHED ROOFS! Adorable)

houses2

houses

(Just a few of the quaint houses)

Finally we visited Dunguaire castle. In the summer you can take tours, but it was closed for the winter, yet it was still beautiful.

castlecastle 3

castle 2

And that was my end of Galway. I had such a great time in this city. I can’t recommend it enough.

Then it was another bus ride back to Dublin (that I didn’t get lost or confused by! I’m actually so proud of myself).

I checked into my hotel and was put in the smallest hotel room ever, but it was fine because I was in the Temple Bar area, the price was affordable, and I didn’t spend much time in my hotel anyway.

d small hotel

(Smallest hotel room EVER)

d hotel

(But my hotel room did have a cute view)

I spent some time wandering around the city some more:

d river

(The river. This is how the Vikings got into Ireland and defeated them)

The streets were just beautiful. So many little, curvy side-streets and cobblestone paths:

d street 2

d street

Because I already visited most of the “hot spots” in Dublin, I want to focus on the more mundane, but exciting part of Dublin, like the nightlife, which was amazing. Every night, I would wander into a pub and at every pub I saw, there was always someone playing music (American, British, Irish covers) and the best part was that everyone would sing along, and I HAD THE BEST TIME. Here in America, you go to a bar/pub and you meet friends and sit with them and kind of keep to yourself, but in Ireland, everyone is talking to everyone and putting their arms around each other and just singing. It was incredible.

best music

(These two guys were my favorite. they could sing anything from Johnny Cash to Aretha Franklin to Oasis to, of course, Ed Sheeran)

And no matter where I went, I couldn’t escape these two songs, which were sung at least three times at each bar with everyone singing at the top of their lungs:

lilkenny

(I finally tried the beer Kilkenny and LOVED it. hate to admit it, but I liked it more than Guinness)

But even I have to admit that I got tired of beer and for one night I actually had a glass of wine:

d wine

And I actually made it one night to Temple Bar, the most popular and most expensive bar in Ireland. It’s a complete tourist trap, but it was fun:

temple bar

And no matter where I went, almost everyone was wearing an ugly sweater because that’s what you do during Christmas in Ireland. They do this without a hint of irony either.

ugly sweater

And I made some great friends:

friends

And then it was time to go home. And, ohhhh, I didn’t want to. Sure I missed my kids, but I wanted to stay longer. To keep going to pubs and singing. To meet nice and new people. To wander around at my own whim. But, Christmas was coming and I had a plane to catch.

I must say, the Dublin airport has US Precustoms (where you go through US customs in Ireland instead of the US), which I had never done before, and it was a bit confusing, and I had stayed out until 4 am and got to the airport at 6:45 am and was seriously hung over. As proof, this is how I looked:

coming home

But on both flights home, I was in economy plus–only because not enough people bought into these seats, so the airline randomly just puts passengers in them–and it was such a better flight experience. So much more leg room, working TV/Movies. I felt so spoiled.

coming home 2

I got home around 10;30 p.m. on December 22nd, and went immediately to bed. And I was extremely happy to wake up to this:

coming home 3

Until I was bombarded with: “Mommy, I’m hungry. Mommy I want a donut for breakfast. Mommy I want to go to the park. When is Santa coming?” And from Maddie: “Hi Mom. I need to go do this…and can Lily come over tonight? And I have to make sure this gets done….and, and, and..”

Then I knew: VACATION OVER.

 

tripling up! November 16, 2014

Filed under: adult fun,friends — courtsbrogno @ 5:37 pm

Well, damn. I thought writing once a day would be so easy–after all, I did it for a whole year before! But I’m finding it difficult to remember. Sigh. Maybe it’s an out-of-practice thing. Or maybe it’s an age thing.

Friday:

I’m thankful I got to spend some quality time with Luke in the morning. Friday is a transition day, meaning this week, he does to his dad’s house, and I always get a little teary eyed about not seeing him until Tuesday. So we often spend quality time discussing the finer things in like, ahem, Luke’s life: batman, Frozen, his best friend Zoe, what we will do next week. And I cherish every minute of it.

morn 2

 

morn

 

I am also SUPER thankful that someone (really, there’s no name; it’s posted under anonymous) wrote this article, titled, “10 Things Single Parents Won’t Say (Because of how they’ll be judged).” I’ve been a single mom for over 15 years now and this article is Truth, with a capital “T.” Every person should read it, regardless of whether you’re a single parent or not because it will teach you how to treat a singe parent (like, with a bit of respect and understanding).

Saturday

I woke up sick and with a case of PINK EYE of all things. I know this is from the university because I’ve been surrounded by sick kids all week, coughing and sneezing all around me. Plus, at least one student in each class told me that pink eye is going around the dorms. So nothing really made me feel that thankful other than I had some old pink eye medicine in the cabinet and advil. But then I saw this and I realized exactly what I want for Christmas.

xmas

NO JOKE!!!! Can someone please make this happen? Please. Id be forever thankful.

Sunday

I’m still sick. Ugh. However I did manage to get out of bed and go to the first ever  SLO Record Swap. Yeah, I looked terrible and just wanted to lie back in bed and of course I saw a bunch of people I knew there, but I wanted to go and support our local economy and my friend who put it on, so I dragged my sick ass out of bed for an hour.

And I did find a bunch of records:

vinyl

And to boot, Maddie and I ran into Carolyn, who’s looking fine as ever:

unnamed

So even though I just wanted to crawl back into bed and I’m a bit embarrassed that so many people saw me looking my worst, I’m thankful I did get out of bed for a bit today.

 

being in the womb, it rained, and i’m off to ireland November 13, 2014

Filed under: adult fun,kids — courtsbrogno @ 6:40 pm

There’s just so much to be thankful for today. To start, over breakfast Luke just said, “Mommy, I was thinking about the time I was in your belly and how it was so beautiful.” He said this with such seriousness and sincerity that it stopped me completely. Because the time that Luke was in my belly, no matter how stressful the time was for me, was exactly that: just beautiful. I really don’t want anymore kids, but when I hear Luke say something like that, I swear my womb starts to expand. Because having kids is HARD, but it’s so worth all the love.

I’m also thankful because it rained today. A light mist fell all day. And it made everything just seem gorgeous. Our campus is so ugly, really it is. I often wonder what students on tour must think of all our mismatched buildings, but when it rains, the campus just feels magical, so even walking to teach felt great today.

unnamed

Finally, one month from today I’m off to Ireland for a 9 day adventure by myself. My new passport came a few weeks ago and looking at it today just made the trip feel so real.

passport

I am so excited, but I’m also so nervous. I love traveling by myself, but I have no plans for when I get there and not a lot of money. I’m really hoping that everything I hear about the Irish is true, especially their wonderful hospitality because I’m relying on someone to take me in and offer me a place to stay. I also don’t know what I want to do, but today, the New York Times posted  a video about what to do in Dublin, so that made my day and it felt like the universe was trying to tell me that everything will be fine. But I keep toddling back from being nervous and missing my kids to being excited for this adventure. I decided today, though, that I just need to get my head in the game and stop worrying. If I believe I will have a fantastic trip then I will.

 

how i get lost January 7, 2014

Filed under: adult fun,family fun — courtsbrogno @ 9:17 am

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am perpetually lost. After living in the same town for almost 20 years, I can still get lost in my own neighborhood. My friends used to joke that if they blindfolded me and put my in the middle of downtown, I would never make it home. That’s a bit extreme, but I am missing some kind of internal compass that other people have.

But this post is not about how easily I can get lost in location; it’s about the few ways I know how to let my mind get lost, to wonder through my environment without my usual worries.

I am a constant worrier. Or maybe an over-thinker. It doesn’t really matter, but because I have generalized anxiety disorder, I am in a constant state of anxiety. Thus, my mind is always working on overtime. Witnessing me from the outside, you’d probably never know. After having GAD for so long, I have become a master of disguise, but on the inside my mind and body is in a constant struggle to relax, clear my mind, and enjoy the moment.

I constantly fail. Except in three cases.

One: Sex. But there’s no way I’m going to write about that in public. But I also don’t want to lie. So, yes, I can lose myself and be calm during sex. ‘Nough said.

Two: A great book. I can lose myself in the characters and story if the book is compelling enough. Recently, I’ve read a few books that have moved me to this state of utter lost-ness, but I’ll write another post about that later.

Three: Live music. This is probably the most powerful. People always question why I see so much live music, like it’s a waste of time and money. I disagree. No matter how crowded the venue (and I don’t usually like crowds), no matter how different the music, no matter if I’m a huge fan or never heard of the musician/band before, once the music starts playing and especially if people start dancing, any anxiety I have melts away. My body relaxes, my mind stays only in the present. To me, this accounts for no less of a miracle. I have found a great way to lose myself in the very best way. I feel alive and free and absent from my norm.

It’s truly glorious.

Fortunately, our little town has been really bringing in some great acts and in the past few months, I’ve only had to travel a few times to see shows. But even with all the traveling, every show has been worth it.

Here are the highlights of the past few months:

Adam Ant! Who knew he was even still alive? Not only alive, but amazing. And I got a free ticket! I’ll see him again anytime.

34

Matt Pond (of Matt Pond, PA though he now only goes my his name). I wanted to see this show so badly because I’ve loved his music for the past 10 years, and if you’re a friend of mine and I’ve ever given you a mixed CD, for sure he’s been on it. But he was opening for Jimmy Eat World–who I could care less about–and all the tickets were sold out. Thanks God for Kirby and some of his connections, cause this girl got in for free. And it was, as I expected, an amazing show.

35

The English Beat. Ok, I’ve seen The English Beat 4 or 5 times now, but Dave Wakeling never fails to disappoint. We were ranking nonstop. The 80s are still alive.

36

The Mother Hips. This band I’ve seen, over the years, probably a hundred times or more. And I love them. This time they played at the Morro Bay Harbor Festival so I was able to take the kids. Luke danced and danced and danced. It was great.

38

25

Sound Remedy. I got these tickets for free as well, and I have to admit I’m not a fan of techno/synthesized music at all, but I thought, “What the hell. I’ll go anyway.” And I’m glad I did. It was a great show, and I danced all night long.

26

White Buffalo. I’ve been wanting to see this band forever, and it was such a great show. Kirby called them mountain-men music, and I guess I agree. The highlight was seeing the band after their show at a local dive bar where they were talkative and so so so normal.

29

Little Wings (Kyle Field). I’ve seen Kyle so many times, but he’s just so good. And since he’s a friend, I wouldn’t miss his show unless I was really ill. He always performs well and makes me laugh.

31

The Bridge School Benefit. This I had to travel to Shoreline to see, but it was well worth the drive. I’ve been to this benefit concert about 4 times in the past, but I haven’t been in the last 5 or 6 years, so it was good to go again. Plus I loved the line-up. The benefit is put on by Neil and Penny Young to support the non-profit school they started years ago for children with severe physical and speech impairments. All acts play acoustically and the kids sit on the stage. Maddie’s gone with me three times in the past, but this year, because we went to the Sunday show, she couldn’t go. Bummer.

The line-up was amazing though:

  • Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (Anyone who doesn’t like this classic band can no longer be my friend)
  • Queens of the Stone Age (I’ve never seen them before, but have liked them for a while, though I wasn’t sure how they’d unplugged. Surprisingly, they were amazing)
  • My Morning Jacket (As always, so good)
  • Tom Waits (This is the entire reason we went, and Waits was beyond great. he was hilarious and his voice sounded amazing).
  • Elvis Costello (He was great, so long as he didn’t play with his wife, Diana Krall)
  • Diana Krall (No offense, but she was totally disappointing).
  • fun. (I only know their songs because Maddie likes this young band, but they were still fun. Haha, get it? Fun and the band’s name is fun. OK, I’ll stop now.)
  • Heart (Amazingly, this band has not–vocally, at least–aged at all. They are still so good. And how can anyone resist “Crazy on you”?)
  • Jenny Lewis (We missed JL due to the long line to get in , which was a real bummer because I really like her)

39(I went with my good friend, Greg)

33(We had grass seats, which wasn’t terrible once they got the big screens going)

I think the most moving part of the show was the Lou Reed tribute. Lou Reed had just died that morning, yet every performer came on stage and sang one of his songs. It almost brought me to tears.)

Band of Heathens. My friend Ryan came up for this show, and though the band lacked enthusiasm (they really seemed tired), we still had a good time.

21

Matt Costa played a benefit show to save the Cayucos Pier, and I was able to take both kids. It was a really beautiful, winter day on the sand, and we had a great time.

22

41(Never a dull moment for this family)

Even seeing some local, cover band in Atascadero makes me happy.

37

Then Kirby and I drove down to the University of Santa Barbara to see one of my favorite musicians, Andrew Bird.

23

24

One night, while I was getting some late night food, I met the drummer and bass player of Suicidal Tendencies.  When they asked me if I had gone to the show, I said, “No. No offense, but your music–less punk, more death metal–really isn’t my style.” To which the drummer said, “Ah little white girl. That’s just a show. We all love Christ and we don’t even drink.” To be honest, that statement kind of ruined the moment for me. But I did enjoy being called “little white girl.”

14

I saw X and they just completely blew my mind. I mean, John Doe and Exene have got to be in their 60s now–or at least close to–but they still rock out like I assume they did in the late 70s.

15

Then S and I drove to San Francisco to see a few shows.

First we met my brother for his birthday and we all went and saw Midlake at Bottom of the Hill.

16(happy birthday little bro)

17

Then the next day, S and I met up with my friend Tim and he took us to the Wave Organ. It was delightful: the Wave Organ and hanging out with Tim. Plus the usually gloomy SF weather was warm and beautiful.

18(Tim)

1(Me)

9(The delightful Wave Organ)

That night, me and S took my cousin, Justin to see–guess who?–Andrew Bird. I mean, really that’s how amazing I think he is. He played in this absolutely beautiful Jewish Temple. I’m not sure how much my cousin liked him, and I actually preferred his UCSB show better than the SF show, but it was still great to see him twice in a few months.

11(The stage. Look at how beautiful this place is!)

12(Me and my cousin)

13(Andrew Bird AGAIN!!!)

Now this next band was a HUGE surprise! Public Enemy came and played in our small town. It was amazing. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and The Professor. I had so much fun.

2

3

The band Diego’s Umbrella also came and played. I’ve seen them before and they’re just a really fun band. They remind me a lot of Gogol Bordello. During the show, I was called on stage for a beer drinking contest. To my delight, I didn’t win nor did I lose. To my dismay, I drank too much and was hungover the next day.

4

5

Finally, I just ended this musical adventure this past weekend when I went to a house party (I know, a house party at my age! But while there were people younger than me for sure, there were also quite a few people older than me as well). Even at a house party, crowded and hot, I can still lose myself in the music.

6

8

Overall, it’s been a great few months of catching shows. The only thing that’s making me sad right now is that I don’t have one show on my calendar at all. Nothing. Of course, I haven’t researched much what’s coming to town or what’s playing in either LA or SF, but I’ll get to that soon. Because my body craves relaxation and this is one of the few ways I have found to achieve it, live  music becomes almost a necessity for me, like food, clothing, and shelter.

For this is how I get lost.

 

a week of music for the soul May 11, 2013

Filed under: adult fun,family fun — courtsbrogno @ 10:27 am

I love music, but I especially love live music, which is why, for a week in April, I found myself at 4 live shows.

I didn’t exactly plan it that way. Personally, I would have loved to spread the music love out over a few weeks–to savor the experience for a while before running right to a new show. But, I saw tickets for bands I love coming to town, and so I just bought them. It wasn’t really until they all arrived in the mail that I realized how close in time each show was.

I started off by seeing The Postal Service, who was doing a ten-year reunion show. I had intended to take Maddie, but she complained so much (which really? What teenager in her right mind complains when mom buys her a concert ticket? Geez) that I took S instead.

15

14

16(Jenny Lewis: look at those boobs. My God!)

This is my favorite song from them:

The show was great. S and I decided they’re music is like kid’s music for adults: very basic, fun, and easily sung-along to. It was a great show.

Then, a few days later, we dragged Maddie (who still complained, but I wouldn’t budge) to see Modest Mouse. It was another great show, and Maddie–I think–had fun. I really believe that taking Maddie to see Modest Mouse will help her in her future. I see her in college, watching that cute, artsy boy from a distance. She’s not sure how to connect to him UNTIL she sees his Modest Mouse shirt and then BOOM, a conversation will ensure because she’s seen them live. I mean, really…Maddie should be thanking me.

13(The fam)

11(Oh yes, if the concert is general admission, then you can count on the fact that I’ll be in the front row)10 (So yeah, a mosh pit started and Maddie kind of got caught up in it. She seemed a little perturbed. But what a great story this will make when she takes to future-artsy-college-boy)

My favorite song:

A few days later, S, Kirby, and I had to actually drive to Santa Barbara (we had been so spoiled as both concerts before had been a 5 minute drive from our house) to see Sigur Ros at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I had never seen Sigur Ros before, but I love them, and so I was extra excited. Note: If you don’t know Sigur Ros, you’re really missing out. Although, they’re Icelandic and so are their songs, so you truly have no idea what they’re saying–unless of course you speak Icelandic–but it’s such an amazing emotional show.

9(The Santa Barbara Bowl)

7(It was like being stuck in an emotional vortex)

My favorite song:

The very next day was record store day, so the kids and I hurried down to support our local record store and catch a quick show from the band The History of Painters–local and really quite good.

1(Luke loving the show)

Then, a day later we all went to see the Mother Hips play a free show at a beach resort. It was warm and lovely.

6

IMG_5552(Me and Luke…Ahhhh, my love)

4

photo

3

2(Me and Maddie. Ahhh…my love)

What a week. It was so amazing and one I will never forget. Ever.

I think the world would be such a happier place if every one got to see some live music, though maybe spread out a bit more than our week.

 

mama’s edition November 18, 2011

Filed under: adult fun,friends — courtsbrogno @ 6:22 pm

I wish I could say that I’ve been having a raging fun time over the past few weeks, but that would be such.a.big.lie.

Because I’m overloaded with grading. The good thing, however, is that I still enjoy my job, even if I complain about the workload. Another good thing is that with my spare time I go sit at my favorite coffee shop and grade, which makes the reading seem easier. I almost always run into my good friends and colleagues, so we grade together. Okay, really we bitch about our grading. But still.

My usual spot.

How can Jenny be grading with a glass of wine? Me thinks it makes for better grades.

Truly, Andy and I work hard.

In between all the grading and reading, I have had a few opportunities to get out and see some music and friends.

I went to the Jade Festival in Big Sur with my friend Greg:

Perfect Big Sur weather. Perfect crowd.

Greg getting food.

Greg’s dog Jack gets more attention than any dog I’ve ever known. He’s super friendly.

We bumped into my friend Tim who lives in San Francisco. Such a treat to see him.

That’s a HUGE piece of jade.

It was a joy to  celebrate my good friend and colleague and old office-mate Erin’s 40th birthday:

40 never looked so good.

I saw the Mother Hips play in town with some good friends.:

Paul, one of the friends in our group, got a comped booth. Nice!

Paul and Julie are so much fun. And a little crazy. But in a good way.

We had fun.

I also had the chance to go to our town’s Art after Dark. I met up with friends, had some beer, and checked out some amazing art. I especially liked the university’s student furniture show–such talented students we have!

I loved this. I wanted to buy it. can’t believe it’s student made.

Melanie and her son Diego painted a skateboard deck for one store’s gallery. Well done.

I know, this mama edition isn’t that interesting. Well, mama’s been super busy.

At least I’ve caught up with the past month and a half. I left  a lot out, but in general, we’ve been working hard, playing some, and enjoying life a lot.

There’s not much we could ask for.

 

new ink November 9, 2011

Filed under: adult fun — courtsbrogno @ 1:12 pm

Over the past few months, much to Maddie’s horror and Luke’s delight, I have acquired two new tattoos. The first was one I had been thinking about for the past 3 years and the second was a quickly made decision that I’m still not entirely sure about.

For years I’ve been thinking about having part of my favorite Rilke poem, Sonnets to Orpheus, II tattooed on my body:

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

But all three lines couldn’t be tattooed onto my body, so I narrowed it down to the last two lines, and then I thought for about a year. One night, this summer, I ran into my friend, Gary, an excellent tattoo artist who has tattooed me before. We started talking and I told him about my idea. We were both a little boozy and by the end of the night, I had made an appointment with him for the following week. The next morning I awoke with a head ache and a vague memory of our conversation. I pulled out of my pocket Gary’s appointment card, and mortified, I called him and canceled.

The poem was once again stored in the back of my mind until I tired of it constantly swirling around my thoughts, interrupting me as I went about my day. I called Gary. Made an appointment. Sent him the poem. Received his idea. Liked it. I headed back to the tattoo chair.

The biggest decision was where to put the tattoo on my body. I knew I didn’t want it to be in a noticeable part, and at first, I had thought of putting it on my back, but it didn’t look right on my back. I asked Gary what he thought about putting it along my rib cage. “It’ll hurt,” he said. “It hurts regardless,” I responded. Gary laid the imprint on my side, and we all looked at it. I loved it. He loved it. The other tattoo guy loved it.

Thus, I got my first tattoo in 5 years.

Looks good, don’t you think?

While my side was being tattooed, Gary mentioned how much he hates my ankle tattoo. This is not a surprise; he’s hated it since he first saw it over a decade ago. I hate it too. It was a stupid tattoo I got when I was 18, and I think the day I turned 19, I started regretting it. I’ve been talking about removing it for about 15 years now, but I haven’t. And every time I put on a skirt or dress and see that stupid tattoo, I cringe.

Gary doesn’t believe in tattoo removals, but he does believe in covering up ugly tattoos, and he has covered up a stomach tattoo I had that looked pretty bad after having Maddie (looks much better now, though Gary says I’m ready for a touch up). As we talked about my stupid ankle tattoo, Gary took out an orange marker and started drawing on my ankle, showing me what he had in mind for a cover. I walked around with the drawing for a few days until I decided to just do it. As Gary said, “If you’re going to have a tattoo on your ankle, then make it a pretty one.”

Gary’s initial drawing.

Let’s do this Gary.

The outlining is finished.

Finished:

It’s a beautiful tattoo and much better than my terrible original. But it’s taken me awhile to get used to. It seems so big and every time I look at my ankle, I’m caught off guard by this big, colorful tattoo.

Despite any misgivings I may have about this new tattoo, however, there’s nothing I can do about it now. This actually gives me comfort.

That’s it. No more tattoos. No more ideas mulling in my head.

For now.