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Month: July 2020

tattoos in the time of covid

tattoos in the time of covid

in april i was browsing instagram because what else are you going to do all day while you’re sitting at home, and i stopped at a painting done by one of the tattoo artists i follow. i had started following her in january after the tattoo convention in minneapolis, where i saw some of her work at a booth. generally at the tattoo con, the tattoos are of the motorcycle or dark kind, but once in a while you stumble across an artist who specializes in rainbows and kittens.

love helen ink was one such artist! well, more like flowers and small animals. but, it was enough that i started following her, and her post in april was something that struck me as “wow i have to have that.” it was a painting for sale, but i asked her if she’d be up for tattooing it. so i had made an appointment in may, but she wasn’t open yet, and today – today, finally! – was my second appointment.

i drove to the cities this morning to be there at 9:30, and we promptly got started. after years of saying, “hmmmm, that’s too big” to my tattoo artists, i said YES GO BIG OR GO HOME and that’s what we did.

but first, let’s take a look at her space. she’s located in north(west?) minneapolis right next to young joni’s and dangerous man brewing. she has one room in an upstairs space of a building old enough to have woodwork that i’m jealous of. everything in her space made me happy. we both wore masks and washed our hands, etc.; she pasted the stencil on my arm; and then she got out her pots of ink and got started.

you know me – i have quite a few tattoos by this point. one on each foot, one on my thigh, one on my shoulder. this should not surprise me how painful it is, but it’s either a surprise every time that i forget, or my upper arm is very sensitive. (or i’m turning into a pansy in my old age.)

after she was done with the outline, we took a break and she sprayed lidocaine on my arm – a first for me! i have to say, while it worked, it was GREAT. the sad thing is that it only lasted about 30-45 minutes, and she could only spray it on twice (otherwise the ink does not like to lie nicely).

the outline took a little under two hours, and the color took a little more than two hours to finish up. so about half the color time, my arm was relatively numb with bursts of burny here and there, but overall pretty amazingly numb. i’d recommend lidocaine, even if it is pretty limited. it would work great for colorwork on small tattoos.

generally i can try to zen out and force my brain to tolerate the pain of a tattoo gun, but toward the end it just gets to be too much. i think because i know we’re so close to the end and it’s almost done that my body’s adrenaline has just checked out and wants to be done. which is unfortunate, because the end always seems to drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-rrrrr. but i survived 🙂

she pasted the dermawrap on the tattoo and gave me instructions, but skimmed over them because, as helen said, “this isn’t your first rodeo.” (haha) i think it’s interesting how each artist has different recommendations for aftercare lube. when i first started, it was A&D ointment, then i was told aquaphor, and helen actually recommended coconut oil! i might try out the coconut oil, but i did just buy a giant tube of aquaphor just in case. she also had different instructions for the dermawrap than my previous artist. when i left, her next client was waiting (who was also getting mushrooms), and it looked like she was a newbie to tattooing. i wished her good luck and headed out.

the drive home was EXCRUCIATING. i can’t remember being in so much pain post-tatt before. i was almost back to st. cloud before the pain finally decided to subside a bit. when i got home, i took two tylenol (not a blood thinner!) and now i’m doing much better. i’ve got yoga tomorrow morning at a winery, so we’ll see how that goes 🙂 planning on a long run on sunday, but it should be cloudy and cool so i’m not too worried about burning pain on that day.

the only color combo i’m not thrilled about is that gold on purple because i’m hardly a vikings fan! we’ll see how it fades out once the colors subdue a little bit.


of course i promptly went outside to my garden in the beating-down sun when i got home because guess what? it’s PICKLE TIME! currently sanitizing jars for the first batch of 2020 pickles. they’d better be amazeballs.

thus wraps up july 2020, and at least i can say i got one awesome thing out of 2020!

enter august, the most melancholy month.

a bakery review: flour and flower

a bakery review: flour and flower

this morning i drove into st. joe to check out the new bakery, flour and flower, that’s connected to the highly publicized new restaurant, krewe. i don’t know what st. joe’s 15 year plan is lately, but whatever it is, they’re doing it right, because i love everything about that little town. and the little wood-shingled building that houses flour and flower is everything i’d want if i decided to own a bakery.

the little entryway is tiny, and only 3 people could be in there at a time, but it was worth the very short wait to get in.

i nearly passed out from happiness. as advertised, flour goods and flower goods are available. i picked up a bouquet of late summer flowers, grabbed two cookies (both had molasses in them and brown sugar), and added a piece of the chia honey custard pie on my order. coffee was available if i’d wanted, and the shelves behind the counter that holds all the bread was empty – i had arrived too late for bread!

the good news is they’re open at 7 a.m. tomorrow, so i might swing over there again to check out what other baked goods they have, and get a FLOUR POWER shirt that i nearly got today but restrained myself. (i don’t know why i restrained myself.) it’s got a hippie vibe and is just so perfect.

late summer in the time of covid

late summer in the time of covid

most years i’m super excited about the lake time i get. big lake time. my mom’s side family reunion is an annual event held up at leech lake. this year, however, everyone bailed due to covid (#thankscovid) and the only ones who decided to do something was my sisters and me. so last weekend, we headed up there for our fake reunion.

which was ok. i mean, it was a little weird. phill came to visit one afternoon, but other than that, it was just us hanging out, which is very different from what it normally is. plus our cabin was super small! but we had some fun, had some paddleboard time, and ate way more food than i should have.

but you know what that means? summer is OVER. booo. august is almost here, and the light is starting to flit away. #thanksaxialtilt



well, so far i’ve had to cancel a couple trips due to covid, but by hell or high water, i’m going to leech lake this weekend for my “family” reunion.

every year, the derry side gets together. well, since covid is a thing this year, all but my sisters and me have decided to ditch the regular get together. probably a good idea, but dang it i want a lake. so liz and fam, jane, and i are headed up to “fake reunion” on saturday to spend 3 days.

it’ll be much quieter, i’m sure, and probably more sober. but it will still be really fun and interesting to see how we spend our time differently. in the past, it’s always been difficult to leave the lake to check out walker or some other place because god forbid you might miss out on something fun (usually not – it’s mostly just us all sitting around and talking or reading or just being with each other, which is ok). so we’ll see what activities and highjinks we get up to this year!


2020: the year of hindsight

2020: the year of hindsight

holy cow, could this year be any weirder. remember 5 months ago when WWIII almost started and australia was on fire? that seems like 5 decades ago.  like some tweet i saw somewhere in my constant scrolling and need for information overload, it’s like 1968 and 1918 are happening while nixon is president. (one could totally argue worse than nixon. like nixon, buchanan, and harding all rolled into one.) if you support trump at this point, my level of respect for you is at a low point. the man is a useless leader.

anyway. back to hindsight. what i really want to touch on during this short time i have your attention is what’s currently happening with statues and memorials that are being brought down.

the question surrounding this, of course, is if statues and memorials to confederate generals and the like really do enrich a person’s historical education or if it is just a glaring reminder to those whose lives were ground under the bootheel of slavery or colonization.

i’d argue that it is one thing to remember and learn from history; it is entirely another to glorify it. (i have a feeling i’m going to get a withering comment from my dad on this post.) it’s one thing to keep aushwitz open to tours as a reminder of horrific acts that happened under hitler and another if germany were to have multiple statues of hitler looking dapper throughout its country.

i think before we dive into the people who’ve been memorialized by art, we have to take a look at the notion of the confederacy. we all know what we learned in school. the confederacy seceded from the union in 1861. when lincoln was elected, the deep south thought their way of life was threatened, which was an economy based on free labor of people owned by other people. the war began in april 1861, and the deep south was joined by the upper south. a replacement government was put in place.

because the north was pretty industrialized vs. the south and was much better funded and supplied, the south fell after four years. it’s no doubt that gen. lee was a brilliant military tactician. the confederacy lasted four years, but its legacy has somehow remained. just four years as its seceded country and then losing, and the south is still pissed that its economy was dissembled to give all people the opportunity to live free lives. (the current prison system is another story and another blog post.)

no doubt that the south and the confederacy were on the wrong side of history. it was a secessionist goverment that waged war against the united states so they could own other people and enslave them. so the question we need to ask is why it seen as “heritage”? so white people can continue to flaunt racist ideals? does the glorification of the confederate “heroes” continue to make flaunting those ideals ok?

that’s what i mean by glorifying. it’s hard to tell people to stop being racist when they can point to town squares with statues of slaveowners that residents proudly hold up as heroes. it hard to be anti-racist when you wave a flag that represents not just valor justice, purity, and the 13 confederate states, but the willingness of southerners to FIGHT for the right to OWN PEOPLE. and that represents a losing side! i can’t imagine what it’s like to be one of the people that an entire populace went to war to own, especially after that side lost and people are still proudly waving a failed, 4-year government flag 150 years later.

(oh but kate what about the time before the confederacy when they were a part of the united states and they were included in the union? the union turned a blind eye to slavery to reap the economic benefits! so you don’t want to wave the US flag? i would argue that the united states and its flag is ever-changing and working to improve. just like people whose opinions change and evolve, so does a country. also, quit idolizing flags.)

what i’m amazed by with all the confederate statues in the south: doesn’t the south have ANY OTHER heroes or important people? it was a bleak time in the US history, but it’s been 150 years, and there have been plenty of other opportunities for great people to make an impact. there are great people who were from the south who worked hard to get rid of slavery – why not memorialize them, if they want a statue in a place?

holy cow, i am digressing in this post.

so let’s take a look at a few of the people whose statues have been taken down.

charles linn: a captain in the confederate navy, banker, industrialist. one of the founders of birmingham. the statues was installed in just 2013! his statue was taken down after an unsuccessful attempt to remove a nearby confederate soldiers and sailors monument.

confederate monument: this was the oldest confederate monument in north carolina. it was removed by the owner.

robert e. lee: oof ho boy. there are a lot of lee. no doubt he was a brilliant military leader. he was actually a colonel in the US army from 1829-1861. if my memory serves me right, he was asked to lead the union army, but he was born in virginia and so his loyalties lay in the south. he didn’t seem like he necessarily wanted a war. he said “i do not believe in secession as a constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution.” the man served much more time on the US side than the confederate side, yet he is only known for the confederate side. he’s undoubtedly the face and name of the confederacy.

holdup here a moment. as i’m perusing the list of monuments removed, a LOT of them – and i’m talking majority – have been removed by cities or owners or other public entities. many are being moved to museums or organizations that preserve historical monuments. INTERESTING.

so many of the symbols of the confederacy are being removed from prominent locations like parks, city halls, and other locales that are places of honor and moving to places where you would expect historical items to be.

i’m glad you are with me on this discovery, readers. this is important to point out and really focuses on my initial arguments: these items are being removed from a location glorifying them and being placed in a location of history. we are not erasing history. we are just choosing not to glorify a piece of history that represents nothing but oppression for a large populace of the citizens of our country, our united states.

dang, i was all excited to do a “christopher columbus is trash and here’s who should replace him” post, but turns out a lot of these public entities are doing the right thing.

oh what the heck.


christopher columbus is trash, and i’m not at all sad about his statues around the country being dumped into bodies of water. i especially love that the charge is being led by american indians*.

“oh look, i discovered the atlantic!” – CC, probably.


here’s some cool statues, per my twitter followers: mr. rogers in pittsburgh, mary tyler moore in minneapolis, statue of liberty, salmon sculpture in portland, the girl standing up to the bull on wall street, actual ART like the thinker, easter island heads, etc. check out this boredpanda page for a bunch of cool looking art/statue installations!

thanks CNN!

* one thing this has led me to examine is mt. rushmore. i’ve visited many times; it was a staple stop on family trips to the black hills. it’s a national monument, but it was also the six grandfathers to the lakota. the original idea, by a doane robinson, was to carve american west heroes like lewis clark, sacacawea, red cloud, crazy horse, and buffalo bill into the mountain, but borglum thought it should have broader appeal and chose four presidents (who happened to be white men). oh, and borglum? a member of the KKK and had a deep believe in nordic moral superiority. excellent! so while rushmore is something i have a lot of past investment in, i also wouldn’t be sad if the NPS decided to relinquish control back to the lakota. it was theirs to begin with, anyway.