All the Coolness, None of the Pain

I was wracking my brain for an idea for a suitable gift for a friend who just graduated from nursing school. I couldn’t afford a stethoscope, although it is a great symbol of the medical profession. I wanted to get something personal but not traditional like perfume or cosmetics. She isn’t really the girlie type. But I was set on a practical item that she could use every day. I don’t know much about nurses, but I do understand that they are on their feet all day on long shifts. I know they are careful about selecting comfortable shoes that have extra insole padding. They either wear sneakers that are flexible or slip on clogs. Shoes are more important for them than their uniforms which are prescribed by the hospital. They do have some flexibility about colors and styles, however, and I imagine it applies to socks. If everything else is just regulation and boring, you can spice things up with colorful socks.

Nurses don’t wear just any socks I am told. They prefer what are called compression socks that provide comfort and promote better circulation. They are essential for workers on their feet, no matter how great are the shoes. Here was my answer. I would get some fun compression socks, not just black or brown. They would provide style and comfort both at the same time. I looked around for something interesting but I didn’t even know where to get the plain socks. I asked a friend and they suggested the usual place: the Internet. She also knew of a medical supply company nearby that carried uniforms and accessories. I thought it would be best to see the socks in person. I headed in the direction of the store. It was loaded with clothing, but in terms of a gift, a uniform didn’t make sense. I surveyed the scene and finally got to the socks and there were plenty of the compression type. Some came in plain colors but my eye caught one pair that made me laugh. It looked like a tattoo was around your ankle and lower calf. Was this too funny? My friend who just graduated had a sense of humor so I thought I would add this to my growing pile of examples. I included some solid bright colors and the tattoo version to make up an array for the gift. I wasn’t going to end it with one lonely pair.

When the gift was unwrapped, I enjoyed the smile on my friend’s face. Apparently, I had made a good choice. I can’t wait until the other nurses see them, she exclaimed. She added that no doubt everyone would want to start wearing the stylish compression socks, not to mention the fact that they keep your feet and legs cool while they reduce pain from strain after standing up for hours. She could indeed start a new trend. I was happy to be the one to suggest it.

That’s Just Gross

I get entranced in my art projects and sometimes it is at the expense of noticing life around me. Such is the nature of art and creative endeavors. They have a pull on you until they are complete. I get so involved that I am practically riveted to whatever it is I am doing. If someone calls, I often don’t answer. If someone wants to go out, I beg off and ask for a rain check. I don’t like to be interrupted until I am either well into it or finished. It breaks the train of thought I have developed. I wonder if this is normal for artists or just for all people who are focused. So I get a lot of criticism for ignoring friends, not to mention the house and all the chores associated with living in it. Then necessity takes over eventually and I get to things in the order or normal importance. Yes, that would be the refrigerator which needs to be cleansed of rotten food. I find surprising things still in there from months ago. I then tackle my bedroom closet and rearrange everything, putting away the clothes that were on the floor. I gave the sink a good scouring along with the sticky countertops. The floors all needed attention of various kinds. The linoleum gets mop and the carpets get vacuumed. This is an area that was so neglected you could practically trace footprints in the floor.

Since I had just about finished an art project and had given the house the once over, I decided to invite a friend for coffee and cake. When she arrived she noticed how clean everything was. Not a trace of dust or grime. However, this didn’t last for long. When she needed to use the restroom, she came back in shock. She dragged me there with her and pointed out the unsightly mold. I had definitely missed something. I had to make apologies and promise to attend to it in no time. She laughed but knew I meant what I said given the fine condition of the rest of the house.

The afternoon after she left, I got to work on the mold. It was a rather tough job. Mold takes certain cleaning products, often containing powerful chemicals and bleach. I put on rubber gloves and hoped for the best. It took a while, but finally I got some results. The bathroom was presentable now for guests. How embarrassing to be found out. It was almost pointless to make excuses. I just couldn’t let it happen again. How to do that? Here’s the problem. I take long, hot, steamy showers which over a short time encourages the growth of mold. I wasn’t going to give up one of my favorite practices. I used my brain and thought of a great idea. I would buy a dehumidifier to take the moisture out of the air after a shower. My little “humidity helper”.

I looked online and found the perfect one on Amazon. I read the reviews, making sure that it would cope with the task of removing the steam from my bathroom to stop it from getting moldy, and it was up to the task. Two days later, it arrived. I plugged it in and it’s been great ever since. The dehumidifier that I bought is a great appliance that fits easily into most bathrooms. Now it is a permanent fixture of mine.

Tattooing as Wearable Art


I don’t really think tattooing is much different than fashion in clothing. It is an expression of an artistic ideal that you wear on your body. The only difference is that those stupid overalls you think are sooo in right now can end up in a thrift shop but you’re totally stuck with that portrait of your ex-girlfriend forever. I don’t think that is a problem with tattoos or tattoo artists, the problem there is you and your stupid idea.

I mean, my aunt tried to talk me out of getting a tattoo by telling me about how when she was my age she got a tattoo of one of the seven dwarves on her shoulder blade. Let’s just say it was not one of the smart ones. When she was younger, she thought it was cute and funny. She wasn’t known as the sharpest crayon in the box, so it felt very personal and appropriate to her. Then she had kids and decided she didn’t want them thinking of her as an idiot. She decided to get it removed and it cost a fortune. It also took forever and isn’t really gone per se, just super hard to see. Once she pointed it out to me, I could see it and now I can’t un-see the dang thing. I know she was trying to spin a cautionary tale of regret or whatever, but it really just made me think she was an idiot to get that particular image in the first place. Some people get impulsive designs and that might work for them, I’m just not one of those people. And if I become a tattoo artist, I would do my best to make sure people understand the ramifications of getting something like the name of a girl they met three weeks ago tattooed across their chest.

I think, if done properly, tattoos can be incredibly cool or beautiful looking. If there is something that truly appeals to you, it is a pretty awesome concept to have it physically drawn on you permanently. I’ve seen some Japanese type pieces that would look totally at home in an art exhibit and Celtic knot work or Mandalas that are incredibly precise and fantastic to look at. Your skin is a blank canvas. People dye their hair, pierce their ears, put on crazy garments, and wear all kinds of makeup to draw attention to themselves. What about making yourself a walking art gallery?

I especially love cultural art tattoos for this reason. Flags, folk art, and other cultural symbols can really showcase someone’s background or beliefs. I think it is cool to have something so personal—something that makes you who you are—on display forever for all to see. I don’t really care if it something that I personally identify with or matches my own heritage. If it is something you believe in strongly enough to have it with you wherever you go, forever, I think that’s pretty cool.

I think it is just a different way to look at something that many would call taboo. What about you? What do you think?