lish (lishd) wrote,

our china visas arrived! somehow i managed to get everything done & sent & confirmed & received with only two & a half months to spare. (just in under the wire, eh? i'm such a planner.) so paperwork's done, passports & visas aquired, electronics procured, vacation time approved... now just to sit back & wait for our tickets & final itinerary a couple weeks before the trip. what can i do in that time?

OH RIGHT, GET TATTOOED. the Grammy Memorial Tattoo is officially begun. it was supposed to be last weekend, but joshua had to go out of town. fortunately, the rescheduled appointment was still before her death anniversary (by one day), because that was important to me.

we left early for eugene & hit portland before eleven, which allowed us an hour to shop a bit. joe found some books at powell's, & somehow the buffalo exchange across the street had a pair of cute-butt (& super comfortable) jeans for me. we got stuck in some pretty aggravating traffic after that - stop-&-start that oddly matched a stoplight pattern, & after an hour we found it was indeed caused by the stoplight at the outlet mall exit. thanks, labor day weekend; way to go, oregon. good thing we'd budgeted an extra half hour from portland, as we still made it to the shop only a few minutes after my appointment time at 2pm.

joshua carlton is the sweetest fucking guy, & outstandingly talented. he took all my visual references & combined them into one perfect fantail goldfish, which he applied delicately to my thigh over three & a half hours. we shared stories about our grandparents (including the poland tale), & he loved the "living memorial" travel idea - we made sure there's plenty of room for country names beneath the fish & above my thigh cuttings. grammy's little XXOO looks great, too, tucked into an implied open heart-shape in the tail. joshua complimented my skin (fuck the sun!), & even wants to use the goldfish promotionally on the new label for his just-the-right-shade-of-red red tattoo ink. what an honor!

afterwards, we had dinner nearby at belly. i started with their pork confit, crispy polenta, & glazed cherries; joe had the crispy honey & sherry glazed lamb ribs with yogurt sauce & aleppo pepper. my pork (shoulder, i believe) had wonderful crunchy edges & wasn't too oily; the cherry sauce was brightly acidic & the dark cherries on the plate were mild & sweet, very nice. joe's lamb was incredible - a perfect sear on each rib, & the yogurt was light & minty. my main was the lamb loin teasers: thinly sliced grilled lamb chops over lentils, zucchini and tomatoes with a saffron yogurt sauce. since each of the three chops was only about 3/8" thick, they weren't rare, but they were still so tender. the baby zucchini & tomato went beautifully with the lentils. joe's grilled pacific chinook salmon with sauteéd corn, cabbage & bacon over mashed potatoes was also a huge success - he rarely likes fish much, but these flavors were bold, & the salmon had an irresistable char on it, excellent with the smokiness of the bacon.

of course we HAD to stay for dessert. joe had belly's ice cream sandwich: banana ice cream, snickerdoodles, candied bacon & caramel sauce. the sandwich was made in advance so it could be frozen properly, but the caramel sauce was obviously made to order & spectacular. we were both surprised at how good the banana ice cream was, as it tasted like it had JUST been made a minute ago with the freshest organic bananas ever. i went for the blueberry lemon buckle with ginger ice cream, & boy am i glad i did. the buckle had crisp edges all around, & the inside was soft & super moist yet textural & sweet, just barely cooked through. the ice cream was served directly on top, & i have to say: i don't care much for ginger, but after the first two courses, i trusted their chefs - & it was a magical combination. we left VERY happy for the long drive back to seattle.

i had a task to accomplish on the drive home, & we found a great spot for it, a dead-end off a dark exit between portland & olympia...
lunar obsidian -
brian had stated that my fire obsidian is "considered 'lunar' when it comes to brightness. That is, it can still be seen under the light of the moon." in last night's full moon, i was able to put that to the test!

recall the set in overcast daylight:

& here they are in nothing but moonlight, far away from light pollution, streetlamps, even dashboard lights. it was more difficult to catch on camera than to see in person, but look to the center of the video & you can spot them flashing.

& for those who hate videos or just can't see, here are twelve unedited stills from the video:

enjoy. :D

joe was pulled over on the way home for doing 73 in a 60 - the limit had just changed a couple exits back, & we didn't notice because we were so busy telling stories to keep each other awake. the cop kindly let us off with a warning; nothing could ruin this trip! tomorrow we've got free VIP access to bumbershoot thanks to joe's office, as they ran the internet for the event - & i may even get to meet ken jennings, who i've long crushed on. (kate, you jealous?) best labor day weekend ever.

anyhow, back to the project - i had a huge rush of serendipity, & was quite prolific for a week or so before the tattoo. i finally achieved Egypt, which had troubled me greatly:

it helped that i had a better E i'd forgotten about, as it was on a low-res scan my aunt sent; my uncle sent over a high-res version. i also got a passable Japan. there's only one J though, & i used it for Jordan, a country she's definitely been to... so i reworked Japan with half a Y pasted into the J to make it still-hers-but-different! (granted i'm 99.9% sure she's been to japan too, but there's documented proof of jordan.) as i make more country names & begin to run short on the best letters, i'm finding good workarounds like that & the z i made for Switzerland. Fiji is similarly interesting - as i have only one grammy word that ends in i ("Mississippi") & the writing style didn't match either lowercase j, i ended up using a mid-word i with an ending r to get the right flourish on the end. this all makes me happy i decided to put together as many country names as i could right away. to that end...

Philippines came together particularly easily, as she'd written "Phila Art Museum" and "happy" in the same letter, & i hadn't yet used characters from either. Madagascar was difficult, but i think it works. i'm especially happy with Morocco, as i didn't expect to have a letter where she'd written both a "top-starting" & "bottom-starting" c, but indeed she had. :)

after multiple false starts, i finished the tricky Scotland. that completes the countries we visited together, to be inked in blue. Norway is amusing because it looks like i combined the r & w poorly, but the w actually didn't have any starting flourish (plus the Nor was sequential), so what you see there is all real. Sweden's a little rough, but i had no other options for it - i tried a second round but it was less believable. the i in Sri Lanka also has a patched-on tail, & i like how similar the S & L are - i pulled the S from the envelope & the L from the letter.

i was able to make a z in a new way for Brazil - i used the "am" from "Grandmama", modified the first two loops of the m to bend around to what you see above, then added the tail of a g. the 3+y i used for Switzerland matched that font well, & i think this works great for the way Brazil was written. excited about this success, i tackled New Zealand - that Z is a Y with the top half mirrored & flipped 180! & once that was handled, it was easy to make Czech Republic, Belize, & Venezuela - all are the m+g method. for Belize, i didn't even need to modify the m, just rotate it.

for anyone wondering how long these take, nowadays it's about twenty to thirty minutes per name if everything comes together well. & when possible, i prefer to use characters from my name & her signature. :)

a few items on the food log:

yay, found lingcod at whole foods! it completely fell apart in the pan, but tasted lovely with a warm tomato-onion-basil salsa-type-thing i threw together. 153 calories, 8g carb, 27g protein.

tonight i had corvina with organic golden beets three ways: steamed, steamed greens, & baked chips. i haven't had golden beets before, so why not try a few things. the corvina was super moist & delicious, & the beet chips came out so good i had another portion. i definitely prefer golden to regular red beets. 294 calories, 34g carb, 38g protein, 9g fiber, full A, half C, & 2250mg potassium.

our CSA on friday was particularly good for eating raw, so monday's lunchbox is nearly enough to make up for the fact that it's monday! breakfast is low sugar maple oatmeal & an emergen-c; morning snack is carrots with avocado, plus some strawberries; lunch is lemon pepper chicken breast & grape tomatoes wrapped in a full romaine heart, then a nectarine; afternoon snack is blueberries & green & red grapes. all organic produce, all delicious, & all tucked safely away with the blueberries in their own container so they don't squish:

it barely all fit into my bag! including breakfast, this is 755 calories, 132g carb, 50g protein, 25g fiber, 10x the A & C i need, & 4180mg potassium.

oh, & the usual picture rules apply if you want to see fresh shots of the memoral. ok, ttylyfc

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