The Resplendent Quetzal, Part One

Even before I wanted my Bucky tattoo, I wanted one of the Resplendent Quetzal.

Resplendent_Quetzal_JCBThe quetzal, you see, is an amazing bird. It is the national bird of Guatemala, and it is both on their currency and the name of their currency. Because they have a tendency to die or kill themselves in captivity, they are considered a symbol of freedom and independence. They are also exceptionally beautiful birds. The males are vibrant green and red with tail feathers that are ridiculously long and beautiful. I had plans for a tattoo of one, then Bucky died and I put it on hold so I could memorialize my dear kitty.

Now, it’s time to Put A Bird On It.

Quetzal Tattoo 1Behold, the result of my first session. It took about 3 hours to do this outline and the more I look at it, the more I love it. Imagining what it’s going to look like when it’s finished is blowing my mind.

Gotta admit, I was a little nervous about the whole thing. You see, my usual artist is a fabulous guy who goes by the name Per. He’s the one who did three of my small tattoos and my big Bucky piece. I also knew that he had done a quetzal before so I was looking forward to having him work on me again.

And then he moved to Temple.

Bastard.

I asked my piercer to recommend an artist at the studio and he turned me over to Miles, who I remember from 14 years ago when I got my first piece at Dandyland. He’s been working there since Hector was a pup but it’s always a little nervous-making trusting someone new with your skin, especially when it’s a piece this size. However, I think it’s obvious that I picked the right man for the job. The detail work and delicate lines on the tail feathers are ah-mazing.

As an interesting aside, when I got my first big piece back in *ahem* 1998 it was at Dandyland by a guy named Chris Lyons. I spent a lot of time in his chair tucked away in the back of the shop. Imagine my surprise when Miles took me to the very same station and motioned for me to sit down. It was comforting. Tattoo studios are comforting to me anyway; the hum of the gun, the smell of disinfectant, and the vibe I get from the guys there. If you’re in Lamesville, I HIGHLY recommend Dandyland for both ink and piercings. They’ve won lots of awards, too!

I’ll post more pictures as I have more sessions. Next one is October 5th!

Life’s Like A Jump Rope: Blue October

Yesterday was my day off and I was on Twitter (as usual), when I saw Blue October tweet that they were having a free show at the Barnes and Noble out in Moneyville. As you know, Lamesville isn’t known for its music draw and the chance to see one of my all time favorite bands in my town for free was not to be missed. So once the traffic died down I put on my Yee-haw Kitty Shirt and started the drive.

It did not go smoothly.

First, I missed my exit. Then my GPS refused to reroute it. Then the map server fell off the face of the earth and I found myself circling a fancy-pants area of town called The Rim. After giggling like a 12 year old boy, I stopped a gentleman in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot and asked him where the hell the B&N was. He gave me some circuitous directions and I finally found my way to the “venue” with only about 10 minutes to spare.

Then there was a line. The upper deck where they were having the show was filled to capacity and they weren’t letting us up. I decided I would have to content myself with just hearing the concert. Then the kind manager let the rest of us up and I squeezed myself in with a bunch of other people, all of whom were taller than me. By some amazing stroke of luck, two people moved a certain way and I was able to see Justin from between their heads.

blueoctober

The set was awesome. I finally got to hear songs from their newest album and the story behind Bleed Out made me get teary. Then he had everyone in the store sing Into The Ocean and I really got teary.

Then I found out they were signing CDs. I immediately ran down to the music department, bought a CD and got my group number (I) for the signing line. My plan was to get some Starbucks, grab a manga, and just chill ’til my group was called. Unfortunately when I got back upstairs I discovered I was in hell. I couldn’t get to the manga. It was behind where they were signing. So I made a new friend. Her name was Alex and she was like 20 years old but we bonded over nail colors and Blue October “oldies.”

When I got up to the signing table, I got the VERY LAST poster of the night. They were all “you’re the winner!”  I was all “What did I win?” What was the answer? “The very last poster!” Which they then signed for me.

swayposter

The signing was great and everything, but the real moment of the night (probably the week or possibly the month) for me came when I got to stand in front of Justin and thank him. Thank him for all the times I felt alone in my mania or depression and his words saved me. Thank him for letting me know through his songs that he had been where I was and was still going as best he could. Thank him for giving me the chance to sing along and know that someone, somewhere knew how I felt.

My voice shaking, I told him thank you. I told him I went through some really heavy stuff last year and that his music helped me through and let me know that someone else had the same issues and was keeping going. Justin shook my hand and told me he was glad to be there for me, then he said the one thing that matters to someone like me and to people with mental illness all over the world.

“You’re never alone,” he said.

How I didn’t start crying right then and there is beyond me. I gripped his hand and thanked him again, then moved along so everyone else could have their chance to thank him. I’m crying right now, though. But they’re happy tears this time.

At this time last year, I was still hiding in my house. I was hearing voices and wondering why I was even alive. I was scared all the time. I never would have been able to put on clothes, get in a car and drive myself to see a show, even if it meant meeting one of my heroes. I never would have been able to see a tweet, toss on a pair of shoes and head to Moneyville. Every day, I’m still amazed at how much I’ve been able to do since then. And through all of it, Blue October has been there to tell me that “Life’s like a jump rope.”

Thank you, Justin. More than I can ever say.

Switching Teams

So I changed gyms the other day. It’s nothing personal against the previous gym, but when my psychiatric meteorologist told me that the one near his office had both an indoor AND outdoor pool I decided that I needed to check it out. I am possibly the world’s worst swimmer but I love being in the water in spite of my desperate fear of putting my face in it. A semi-outdoor lap pool in a Texas summer is exactly what the doctor ordered, literally.

There was something else that interested me. Classes. I have a serious love for fitness classes. Something about the instructor and the camaraderie motivates me and I was terribly interested in what they had to offer. I actually hadn’t hit the gym since I started my new job, and the location plus my schedule made it a little hard to go. This gym is – no joke – about 5 minutes from my clinic and has spin classes available before my shift. There is no longer any excuse for me not to go.

The first thing I learned is that going to the gym after work sucks. I’m tired, my feet hurt, and I smell like dog. If I go in the morning, I’m energized and ready for a day of gastric distress (shout out to my new probiotics) and inappropriate (in a good way) texts from my practice manager. Yeah, work’s still pretty good most days.

The second thing I learned is that Zumba is not for me. It ties in with the first thing, because the classes are at 7:00 PM, but the main thing is that I felt so damn awkward in it. Not only that, but there was literally no instruction. Everyone else in the class knew what to do and the leader handled the class accordingly. I didn’t enjoy it, and at the end my knees hurt. So yeah, no more Zumba for me.

My spinning class is the polar opposite in terms of enjoyment and just about the perfect environment for me at 6:00 AM. They keep the studio lights off so the only light is from the main gym coming through the windows and the music is driving and uptempo so I get the wonderful feeling of riding a bike in a cave. It’s beautiful, even if it makes my ass hurt.

Today I went to the gym after the staff meeting and started up Couch to 5K again, this time on the fancy treadmills with televisions and fans. It went pretty well, and afterward I rewarded myself with ten laps in the pool. It was pretty nice, even if I did look like a distressed seal in my beat to shit swimsuit. And yeah, I know ten laps is nothing but it took me almost 25 minutes to do them so I feel okay about it.

After yesterday’s spin class, today’s running/walking, and then swimming, my legs are pretty knackered. Tomorrow I get to go back to spin class and start the process again. Aleve is gonna be my best friend again, and I’m gonna start the Osteo Bi-flex again too. I’m grateful to RJ for giving me new running shoes, which I tried out for the first time today. They feel good. I feel good.

Maybe I’ll swim tomorrow too.

Making An Example

Today during the tech meeting (the vibe of which was actually very positive and non-threatening), I got made an example of.

You see, I’m terrified of dental radiography. I might have mentioned this. The thought of doing dentals literally made me sick to my stomach. Whenever I saw one on the schedule I considered calling in with West Nile or something. I watched YouTube videos. I studied the dental radiography textbook. It just. Wouldn’t. Stick.

So last week there was this dental and I was as terrified as ever. They handed me the probe and told me to go to town. So I did, shaking the whole time. And that’s when the doc told me I did a good job (see yesterday’s post). The rest of the day was kind of lousy but for a couple of hours I was in my happy place.

Today at the tech meeting, we were talking about “you don’t know how much you don’t know until you need to know it.” Also about confidence. The practice manager, Mo, gave me a shout out and said that she was proud of me for stepping up and doing the rads even though I was scared. Then the head tech said that she saw my confidence this morning because we needed to do a film of the cat’s incisors and instead of fumbling around, I grabbed the probe and took the shot and that everyone should follow my example. It made me feel good.

You know how they say it takes two months for every good job to turn to shit? Well, I’m coming up on my three months and while I’ve had a lot of stressful days I feel like the overall vibe of the clinic is a good one. Our practice manager actually listens to and addresses our concerns, and she is someone I feel I can easily talk to about issues. The doc I work for is very critical and picky, but I’ve kind of got an idea of what he wants. And my coworkers are, well, respectful. No one makes fun of anyone else, whenever we laugh it’s with one another instead of at one another, and everyone works hard every day.

All I ever wanted out of a job was a place where I could work long-term and feel comfortable. I’m still hesitant to say that things are peachy because I’m seriously gun-shy, but right now I’m happy. Mostly.

You Had ONE Job.

Ha ha ha, what am I saying? Oh, right, I GOT A JOB. In case you were wondering why I never update this thing anymore, it’s because I not only got a job, it’s also because I just finished studying like a madwoman for my state exam to get back my credentials as a Registered Vet Tech. And even though I haven’t seen the results yet, I would like to go ahead and let you know that I kicked that scantron’s ASS.

The job has been going well. It has its ups and downs, like any job, and there have been some days lately that I have been pretty stressed. Friday I ate 10 Tums over the course of the day for various reasons. Immodium, Pepto, and I have become besties, as well as my Ativan and Xanax (not at the same time, you goof). I am a ball of stress, constantly worrying that I’ll make a mistake and get fired. That’s normal with experiences like mine, right?

Anyway, I have about two weeks to go before I will be through my 90 day learning period and while I am still terrified of dental radiography, the doc said he gave my last set of rads “a solid B+.” Coming from him – he’s super-hypercritical – that was like saying he was giving me a key to the clinic. (j/k, I already have a key. And an alarm code. I rule.)

Now that I’m getting paid on a regular basis, I have embarked on a project that has been in the back of my mind for a long time. I call it the Tasuki Project and it is fantastic. Basically I commission different artists to draw my beloved manga husband of (OH MY GOD) 17 years in their own styles and collect them, to be hung in my manga library like the shrine to Gen-chan that he deserves. I plan on posting them here as I get them, of course. Because why shouldn’t you be subjected to my insanity?

And now, to put on my scrubs again and go up to care for a hospitalized patient. Glamour and glitter, fashion and fame, and all that jazz.

Yes, I did just go with both Jem and Chicago. What of it?