Friday, January 29, 2010

Nice bonnet dude, did your wife make that?

knitting 007, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Matt has been a real gem recently. He’s usually a gem, but he’s been a extra sparkly one, here's why:

1) He’s plotting some kind of birthday get-together for me this weekend, I have no idea what, because he is doing it ALL. This is a big deal, I am the social secretary in our relationship, and have previously organized my own birthday parties (and made/bought my own cake).

2) On Monday he completely blitzed the kitchen, getting it to a point where it is now easy to keep it clean and the counters empty of dishes waiting to go in the dishwasher/be hand washed.

3) He wore the forest green tam I made him for the first time this week, after checking with me that rain wouldn’t hurt it (bless, it’s wool - it’ll just need re blocked), and apparently him showing up on a U.S. Navy base in a knitted tam has caused much confusion and double takes. His coworkers all insist it’s a beret, and had never heard of a “tam” or “tam o’shanter”. This crowd is clearly fashion challenged: the tweed golf cap he usually wears when it’s rainy weather initially got some comments along the lines of “hey, newsboy!”. This time the security guard kept giving his tam a funny look while checking his I.D. at the gate. His verdict: “those guys don’t know anything about hats!”

We decided it's probably best not to tell his coworkers that this particular style of hat is also known as a "bonnet" in Scotland.

So: plotting happy things for me while working full time and doing online university classes full time? Check. Going above and beyond the call of dishes duty? Check. Totally earning himself a wardrobe of interesting tams? Check.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Even Faeries get moles

In three weeks I turn 30, 21 days left of my 20's. I'm rather excited to be honest, I think the 30's will be good years. I also know that the only alternative to aging is not desirable at all.

I think I am most shocked to realize that 10 years ago today I was an exchange student at the University of California, San Diego. I had not yet changed apartments to get a single room, so I had not yet met a lot of the people I became good friends with in the last 12 weeks of my exchange year. Ten years ago today I was also in the final healing stages of my first tattoo: a crescent moon with roses on my left hip bone. My tattoo is almost old enough to be out of primary school! This faerie is my other tattoo, I got her/it on my lower right back in January 2001, so she's only 9.

I've had a love/indifference relationship with the faerie tattoo. I had carried the pencil sketch for this design in my planner since I was 15, but not long after getting it I discovered a variety of faerie art that impressed me even more, and having it on my back meant I didn't get to admire the artist's work every day like I have with the crescent moon. There is also an unfortunate cult of Tinkerbell fans, women who enjoy the bitchy princess spoilt brat persona, and adopt Tink as their mascot. As I grew up with peter pan, the flower fairies, and mythology involving the wee folk/sidhe, my impression of the Fae is that they are forces of nature, neither kind nor cruel, a symbol of the harsh beauty of nature. Definitely not a squeaky little female sprite who stomps her feet all the time and obsesses over human boys. I've been toying with the idea of expanding her wings, darkening the green, giving her an owl or a raven as a companion, or even choosing a slightly larger design and having her covered over by an acanthus leaf or a William Morris style peacock.

Matt took a closeup photo of the ink work so that I could study it, and decide what I wanted to do, but while cropping it and brightening it up a bit on photoshop I noticed something not part of the original design. An oval mole on her right upper wing (left as we look at her). Of course it's not on her wing, it's on my back, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't there when I got inked. Especially since the outline of her wing is broken at that point.

With my history that means time for a biopsy. I only just had a screening with my dermatologist, but the tattoo does disguise the mole, and she relies heavily on me spotting any changes. I'm waiting to hear back on a biopsy she took from my leg, a tiny but very dark mole we decided to investigate, but I think I'm going to call and make another appointment to show her this offender as soon as possible. I'm sitting here wanting to tear it off myself!

Of course there is a certain amount of self blame for getting tattooed at all, though who knows if I'd have spotted a new pointy mole back there at all if I wasn't studying a photo of my own back for planning purposes. I'm really done with the constant vigilance thing, though I know I don't get to choose, I have to keep an eye out for skin changes for the rest of my life.

Besides all this, I need to submit review board approval of my thesis project, get my Master's committee officially listed (I've got them lined up, but they're not on file), and apply for graduation. Instead I'm scanning through a few years of photos to see if my lower back shows up in any of them, in case I can find an earlier comparison.