Between Rick and I we share four children. These four have produced nine grandchildren. I know. Four boys and five girls in all. Of the girls, one daughter and one granddaughter have a real affinity for ink. The tattoos began as experimental I think. A small rose here, a delicate heart there. Now they’ve progressed like the urban sprawl covering larger and larger areas of available acreage. The artwork is genuinely to be praised. Amazingly detailed, with vibrant colors and clever design.
The ladies in question are young. Blessed with beautiful smooth young skin. A natural canvas upon which an artist can create. Unfortunately, as with all of us these bodies are in a state of flux. As the years pass, skin loses its elasticity. Even with the most tender loving care and expensive lotions and creams they insist on withering and wrinkling like an apple left too long in the sun. I can’t help but wonder what happens to tattoos during this transition.
Back in the 80’s I worked with a female executive. Linda was a very attractive woman in her mid-thirties. With a reputation as a powerhouse, she led her minions with a firm hand. Quite a feat in those days, particularly in an engineering company a venue long dominated by a strong male presence. Beautiful clothes were her hallmark. I used to wonder at where she stored all the accessories and shoes on display. Even on the hottest summer days, however, a jacket or cover up always accompanied her outfit. I knew she worked out because we had gone together on several occasions. Even on the treadmill a long-sleeved shirt was pulled on over her workout pants. Hmmmmmm.
Two years into our working arrangement we established a sort of friendship outside of work. Not best buddies, but we hung out on occasion, stopping off for a glass of wine after a long day or grabbing lunch every other week or so. As our friendship deepened, Linda’s story naturally unfolded. She hailed from a blue-collar family, very white bread. Her father, given the task of watching over four girls, took his job very seriously. Linda didn’t take easily to all the rules and restrictions. At eighteen instead of heading off to college as was written in her parent’s playbook, she chose to run with a local motorcycle club. In particular a twenty-something rider with cascading hair affectionately known as Blade. I remember his name because you just don’t come across that many Blades in a lifetime, so when you do the name tends to stick with you. (No pun intended.) During these wild and unproductive years she found herself quite drunk one Saturday night. While in this state she chose tattoos for both upper arms and one for her lower back now referred to as a “tramp stamp”. Back then tattoos were mainly the craze in military personnel, fringe groups, and motorcycle types.
Over the next few months the tattoos came to life. Well suited for the lifestyle she was living at the time, as relationships will do when we are young the shine wore off Blade. Linda left him in her rear view mirror and moved on. Replacing leathers for jeans and tees she headed off to college to jump start her education. On one arm off the shoulder it read “Rider from Hell” above a cutoff clad female biker on a bike. On the other arm, “Born to be Bad” was inscribed above a heart with crossbones. I don’t know what was on her lower back. Didn’t know her that well. At any rate, as well accepted as these were by the Harley set, in an upscale college environment they were more of a conversation starter. Worse yet they set the tone for how she got treated at parties or on dates. Clasping her degree on graduation day preparing to let herself loose on the interview circuit, the tattoos were not going to be her foot in the door.
Hiding them for interviews, it became necessary to continue to conceal them as she moved up the corporate ladder. I suppose tattoos are well accepted in most environments nowadays. I’m still not sure I can picture them in the boardroom, but that too may be changing.
I’ve mentioned before I’ve thought of getting one myself a time of two. My choices would be small and most likely placed for easy coverup. I do admire the beautiful workmanship and support the girls choices to do what they choose to do with their bodies. Can’t help but wondering how they’ll feel about it down the road a piece. Being grownups I’m sure they’ll deal with it as it comes along.
As an aside the dogs in our neighborhood seem to have all lost their minds simultaneously howling and carrying on endlessly. Makes me wonder if it’s associated with the recent earthquake and aftershocks in Napa. We didn’t feel the earth move, but friends in the Bay Area certainly did.
This is a really meaty and delicious version of good old tomato soup, which I love with either a light salad or a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Meaty Tomato Pepper Soup
1 lb. ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
2 15 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with juice
2 6 oz. cans tomato sauce
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup cooked corn
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix, hot
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
Brown ground meat over med.-high heat in stockpot until browned. Drain on paper towels. Return to skillet. Add bell peppers and onions. Cook until onion is translucent over med. heat.
Add remaining ingredients except rice to pot. Cover and simmer for 45 mins. or until peppers are tender.
Ladle soup into bowls with 1/4 cup rice on bottom.