I'm in Toulouse! And I have a new tattoo! Travelling yesterday was nice and easy. It didn't feel much different than when I go to anatsuno, even if it was about 2 hours longer. My friend F came to pick me up at the train and we headed to her place. Conveniently, she lives very close to the station, and the tattoo shop is also very near.
We had cheese and a lovely fresh salad for dinner (I never make salads but I really enjoy them. As much as I don't like heat, I love a lot of things that come with the summertime: hanging out at night when it's still daylight, not having to overthink what to wear and just pull a dress and a pair of shoes and call it a day, …) F also gave me her bed and slept on mattresses, which is adorable. I feel very pampered (even more now, post tattoo session). We watched the first Eurovision semi-finals, which kept my mind off things and I had a good stressless night.
We had a big breakfast with bread, cheese, scrambled eggs, ham and fruits and she took me to the address of the tattoo parlour under the pouring rain (no matter what, I was glad the weather wasn't crazy hot, sweating with a healing tattoo is no fun, I assume). Maudit Caillou has been just redone recently (I think they moved but I'm not sure) and it is a beautiful place, with stained glass windows and many objects and furniture that were most likely brought back from their various trips abroad (I got tattooed under a manuscript depicting a woman having sex with a horse, it was Thai I think? Lol).
I showed Guy the tattoo he'd done that stuck with me the most and we discussed what I wanted. He went to draw something for me and I waited while reading and listening to music (Encephalon and ESA). I started reading an M.C. Beaton crime novel because1-it's on my kindle, so easier to read with one hand, and 2-I didn't think I'd have the brains to read LeGuin while getting tattooed.
I was a wee bit concerned that the sketch I would be shown wouldn't be 100% perfect, but when Guy came back, he showed me something absolutely perfect. So far I didn't know if we'd be able to do everything in one day but he said it shouldn't be a problem.
He transferred the design onto me, it was covering about ¾ of my arm in length (the inside, along the torso still blank) and told me we'd start with that and if I felt up to it, we'd finish the arm with the inside pattern. And so we got started!
Overall it was more painful than my first tattoo. I don't know if it was because of the needle size or because of my general health but I had to focus on my breathing and it certainly wasn't a walk in the park. I was bleeding on every line he tattooed (I didn't bleed at all on my first tattoo). Guy was very nice though. We chatted quite a bit and he actively engaged in conversation by asking me questions and stuff. He asked what kind of music I liked, so I said electronic, IDM and EBM. OM was playing (I should look into them) and he went to put some Alexander Robotnick, which was very cool of him.
He finished tattooing in about 3 hours and asked me if I was up for the last part. I was quite shaky (I'm so tense, it felt a bit like if I had overexercised). I still told him we should do it since there wasn't much left to do. He said that actually there'd be lots of details so it would be about the same length than what we just did. I really felt like backing down but I had a break and decided what the hell, this could be DONE today, so let's do this.
That last part was really painful. I tried reading in the beginning, but I gave up after a few pages and tried to breath through it. I did grind my teeth and wince quite a bit. But Guy was done in an hour after all. He told me he tried to do it as fast as possible (probably because he could tell I was in pain). I am so, so happy. SO happy.
Guy said all the ¾ sleeves he did always ended up completed into whole sleeves. I do really like his hand tattoos, so I can totally see that happening some day. And hey, I still have a good tattoo fund since I paid only half of what I expected. Soo, maybe one day a small underboob (on my keloid scar) and more on the arm? (Apparently it's absolutely doable in one go). But first I have to forget about the pain, haha. Right now, I'm more in a “never again” kind of mood.
F came to pick me up, I kissed Guy goodbye and he told me he'd see me in September for the rest of the sleeve! Haha, cheeky guy!
We walked home and I more or less collapsed. I was so exhausted and sore, and a bit nauseous. I ate a bit and had a 45 min nap. I was hoping we'd go out afterwards for drinks and dinner but I'm just so drained. So I had a shower (after F went out to get me some cling film), we had dinner and now we're watching Project Runway. I think I'm going to go to bed pretty soon and cross my fingers I'll be up for a little walk in the city centre tomorrow.
I want a 3/4 sleeve on my right arm (the one that's currently bare), Thai style (as pictured above). It's going to be a huge investment, so I'm freaking out a bit since I'm currently without income. But I have set money aside especially for this during the past years and Math is 100% supportive of this. It's going to drain my "fun funds" though, gulp (not my savings, these are for serious bidness), so methinks bday and xmas wishlists for the foreseeable future will be train tickets for concerts abroad and the like. ><
Appointment is on May 20 in Toulouse. My friend Flo will most likely host me, which is a huge relief, because going on my own to a faraway city to get tattooed will be a bit stressful. I like adventure but I might freak out a bit on my own in a seedy hotel. It's going to be great to be able to spend time with her although I don't know where my mind will be, because I'm often sad she doesn't live closer.
All photos from Guy's tumblr
We still haven't really planned what we're going to cook for Xmas Eve with my mum. We're going to go to the butchers nearby that makes nice and fancy stuff for the holidays and pick something, and we'll get an assortment of starters at the traiteur downstairs. I'd like to make roasted chestnuts (cooking with the meat) and mashed sweet potatoes. We also need to get a dessert!
My mother will see my tattoo for the first time on Friday. It might be silly but I hope that maybe she'll like it. Also, I realized, after stumbling on a (not so great) Lutens-inspired photoshoot, that my love for Serge Luten's work might have influenced my tattoo design, and not just a little. Maybe it was obvious for everyone who knows me, but it wasn't conscious on my part! But it makes me happy.
Lutens has shot many series of women covered in lace. Now that I think about it, it would be lovely to get the lace pattern on my whole body, lol.
I stumbled on a picture of Lutens that I had never seen before, while looking for the lace one. So I'm posting it, just because. :)
Yesterday we picked the paint colours for our flat. The painter gave us the colour swatch, it's a huge pantone!! So much better than anything we've seen in shops! Exciting!
I saw mirja and x5nder yesterday. I can't believe it had been a year since we saw each other. It made me realize that I am not the best for keeping in touch with friends. I have a hard time writing lengthy emails (or lengthy anything, for that matter. It takes me at least an hour to write a blog entry like this) so anyone who isn't often on instant chat or facebook easily goes through the net of my less than perfect communication system.
I'm going to try to improve on that. This new blog might actually be a first step in keeping the communication open and constant. So people, if you read me, comment and say hi, so I know that you came by. :)
I picked the tattoo artist, Alexis Blackheart, after a lot of research on the internet. I immediately fell in love with his style and his extremely detailed work. He is from the South of France but I found out that he was conveniently a guest at Tribal Act for a week in December (Tribal Act is one of the most reputed parlors in Paris).
I arrived for my appointment at 1pm sharp. I didn't really know what to expect. I had never set foot in a tattoo parlor, except to book my appointment two months ago. My desire to get a tattoo had been growing for years and I finally thought of the lace pattern recently. It just seemed like an obvious choice, very me, once I had the idea. I must say waiting for more than two months seemed very long but in the end, it was probably for the best. I had time to mature my decision. And the waiting made the moment even better.
We had exchanged a few emails with Alexis during the past month to discuss the design already. When I arrived, we looked at the design again together, removed a couple of flowers , decided of the size and placement. We changed the size once (to go a bit bigger!). We decided to start with only the flowers. I really wanted to have the lashes of the lace on top, but they proved hard to integrate. Even though he's rather quiet and distant, Alexis was nice, guiding me without pressure. I read a few tattoo artist's blogs recently and they all seem to be introverted people.
I was strangely impatient to know how getting tattooed would feel. I wasn't scared of the pain since I believe I have a rather high pain threshold. For instance, after I had had my appendicitis surgery, at 23, I had to beg the nurse NOT to give me morphine anymore. I just really hated the drowsiness, and the pain from the operation was really tolerable, to the point that it seemed absurd to me to be given morphine. Also, I was still in pain under the morphine but it was my back that was hurting. In the end, I asked to be released from the hospital a couple days earlier because I couldn't sleep anymore because of my back. I had to stay on my back to lie down (because of the holes in my tummy, obviously) and it's only years after that that I realized that laying on my back is a big no-no because of my scoliosis.
Anyway, my point isn't to brag, but a few friends who haven't been tattooed asked me how it felt. Alexis started the machine (I don't know any of the proper terms, sorry!) and I was surprised at how loud it was. Not-chatting-while-it's-on loud. Not at normal voice level anyway. He brought the needle to my arm and for a second, I wasn't sure if he had started or not. He had. The sensation, for the outlines anyway, is as if someone pressed the tip of a pen against your skin, with strong vibrations on top.
The arm is, I believe, one of the least sensitive spots for a tattoo, and he started at the bottom, and headed towards the shoulder (which is a little more sensitive). So the outlines were really not painful at all. The sensation became stronger on the shoulder but I would qualify it as a mild discomfort. Then, when he had done all the outlines, he re did a few lines, and yeah, when he got over some lines again, it hurt a bit. But I glanced each time he stopped to dip more ink and the excitement to see the tattoo done was much stronger.
We took a little break and then he switched for a thinner needle, to fill the design with the dots. I thought smaller needle = pain, but it was ok. It took me a while to recognize the sensation. I used to have an epilator (from 10 years ago, so one of the first ones I think) and when I was doing my legs or my pits, I could feel every single hair being pulled from my skin. Not too painful but weirdly distinct. The needle poking the dots felt really the same. He had started again from the bottom of the tattoo. On my shoulder, the sensation wasn't really pleasant (but I think I was more afraid than anything) so I pulled my iphone and started reading online newspaper.
Then, it was done, sorta.
But I felt like something was missing. It looked too much like flowers, not enough like lace. So I asked Alexis if we could figure out how to place the lace lashes (they're called “dents” (“teeth”), hence “dentelle”, and they are characteristics of high quality lace). We took half an hour to make the placement right and I was back under the needle.
All in all, I was in there 3 hours, but the tattoo must have been done in 1 hour and a half or so. The guys of Tribal Act were quite impressed at how quick it was (we had booked all afternoon). The owner came to take pictures, and so did Alexis. Alexis was happy because he could finally go book shopping a bit in Paris so he left before I went hunting for a cash machine. In the end, the tattoo cost me less than half I think it would because of how quick it was, so I left a big tip (and they made me write a note with it lol).
I was afraid to feel really worn out after the session, but I was actually really hyper. I wanted to go home by foot but I realized falling on my ass (or arm!) because of the snow wouldn't be fun, so I took the bus. I showed my tattoo to my pharmacist when I went to buy some cream for it, my janitor and Math of course. He loves it and he's contemplating getting one too. :)
In the evening, I had a quick shower (not too hot!) and put some cream (Epitheliale) on my tattoo. It really feels like a mild sunburn now. I felt really sleepy (which doesn't seem to happen much lately) and I went to bed after we finished the last season of The Wire (*sob*). I slept like a baby (ON my tattoo as well, it really isn't very sore).
Now, I'm waiting for spring, to wear short sleeves again! ^_^
She's afraid I'm making a silly decision, that I will regret it and be miserable. She's afraid I'm ruining my life by branding myself as a different person. (this is the short version, lol, it was several pages)
I tried not to get angry, and to reassure her. It's not dangerous and it won't make me a different person. (also, arm tattoo, not forehead) I want to do it. Maybe I will come to regret it, who knows. But it means a lot to me to have it done.
She didn't mention the tired argument of “how will it look when you get old?”. I think we might be a generation with a lot of tattooed grannies. ^_^
Anyway, shower and I'm on my way!
I got up a bit after 10, which isn't bad, but, oh my, the fogginess. Still in bed, I rewrote some bits of the night's blog entry. I got up and had coffee, brioche and tramadol, the usual breakfast, while working on the computer and reading my feeds.
Math left at 2 to meet a client. I headed downstairs with him and had coffee with the janitor. She's a great woman, I like to come see her and chat and relax. Then I went to the workshop, finished a bra and made a couple of panties. I packed a couple of orders for clients pick up. Finally I prepared everything for my assistant tomorrow. She's going to be on her own all day for the first time. I'm not worried but I need to make sure everything is ready when she arrives.
She is great, a lot of help. She doesn't know how to do everything yet, I focused on teaching her the most basic stuff first, then a bit more complicated stuff, making sure she made them to the perfection before going to the next level. I didn't really plan it like that, it just happened that way and I believe it happens to be the right way. She is very eager to learn, making things easy.
Anyway, she's got a to do list, patterns, labels and instructions are ready. It was a rather quiet day, compared to most.
And, oh, tomorrow, I'm getting tattooed! OMG, stressed!! I hope I can get enough rest...
Math and I are temporarily living in a flat across the hall, while ours is being entirely redone. All our things are packed. It's been a month.
In our apartment, the builders tore down walls, removed the tub, the sink, the kitchen everything. Then they built a new wall separating our big room into a living room and a bed room, made our crooked walls a bit less crooked, dug a closet in a wall, built another closet, put new tiles, a sound-proof ceiling...
2 more weeks to go! The are almost done putting the mosaic tiles in the bathroom. I'm so happy! I have always loved mosaic and having some at home feels like a dream come true (I know it sounds cheesy but that's how much I love it). Finding the tiles proved more difficult than I thought, but Math found a great website and we now have the prettiest lilac mosaic. :)
It is the first time ever I get to decorate and furnish my home from absolutely zero. It's very exciting and a bit overwhelming. Doing it with Math is even better. We agree on most things, which helps, hehe. We make up our minds quickly and I think we're both really happy with what we got now.
At the moment, we're both feeling quite cramped in the tiny temp flat. It's ok but we're eager to move back. I worry that it's going to clash with the holidays and make the organisation even more stressful. Especially since we're supposed to host both the dinner on Xmas Eve with my mum and the meal on Xmas with my inlaws.
On a total unrelated note, I've been coughing pretty badly for a month now. I've seen the doc twice and apparently it's a virus, so I have to wait it out. The cough fits are impairing my sleep quite a lot . They actually have prevented me to sleep altogether for a couple of nights. Which also means that I've spent quite some time reading at night. I have just finished L'Hypnotiseur, a swedish thriller which I really enjoyed. (I've checked, it's been translated in english too. Creepy cover!) I've ordered another thriller online but it hasn't arrived yet. It's probably the fact that I have nothing to read (all the books are packed!) that made me stop procrastinating about that blogging thing. Anyway, more thriller recommendations are welcome!
The cough is worrying for one thing. I have pretty strong fits and I'm getting tattooed on Thursday. Obviously it might be a problem, especially since I'm getting a fairly large piece (shoulder and half of the bicep) done, with a lot of details. I've bought almost all the kinds of the otc losanges I could find and tonight my cough is finally receding.
OMG. Tattoo! Excited and nervous! Be prepared for slightly bloody pictures in a couple of days.