My Weird, Wonderful, New Tattoos

This is Molly, family to several Iowans in this blog and now-owner of Creative Images in Des Moines. She is personally responsible for my mini tattoo obsession.

Back when I wanted something colorful and flowing to offset my first humble (but significant) tattoo—the black-lined geometry of my family-shared Star Trek insignia—Tracy told me, “I know a tattoo artist you should go to!” That’s about the same as being told, “I met a guy in a bar the other day who does root canals: you should try him for your teeth.” You don’t just go with any tattoo artist someone mentions.

But I looked online at Molly’s work, and I was sold. (Plus she has this photo of Joan Jett in the bathroom of her studio.)

So far Molly’s put elements of the central Virginia forest floor on my back, plus ferns running over my shoulder, and branches and birds on my arms. I wrote about those while we were camping in central Virginia here because it was so cool to keep running into my tattoos in the woods.

And this time around she gave some of my forest canopy a touch-up since I’ve gotten so much sun on the road. It’s sad to see her gorgeous hues dulled. But, that’s not stopping me from getting more (tattoos and sun, if I can’t help the latter).

So, this latest idea struck me while I was I spending so much time standing in the water in the Keys looking at wildlife swimming around my legs and feet. I thought I should have permanent sea life around my calf, right?

And the sea life I really love is a school of squid (officially, a squid squad). I love the way they swim in formation, following every move of the alpha squid, who zeros in on you and mimics your every move. I always expect him to say, “Take me to your leader” in a deep, bubbly voice. And the way the sunshine hits squid when they’re swimming near the surface and makes them iridescent—this is otherworldly, too.

Finn and I kept swimming up on the same school of squid in the Grenadines when we were there to scatter my sister’s ashes. I started to think they were expecting me to snorkel around the bend to check on them. Or they were waiting to check on me. I don’t think you can tell who’s watching whom when it comes to squid.

So I came up with the idea of a squid squad spiraling up my leg. Along with the forest floor on my back and tree branches and birds on my arm, I am now a live exhibit for North American wildlife, ankle to shoulder.

Meet the Squid Squad

Molly created each one with its own otherworldly personality, but always with eyes on you.

They are pretty weird, I admit. But look at this detail.

But they’re also beautiful, and they remind me of the times I’ve been scuba diving, of my many snorkeling adventures, and recently of standing in the water in the Keys.

My plan is to make them into a real squid squad with many more. My friend Jacqui photoshopped their duplicates onto a photo f my calf from midway through my two appointments so I could consider it, and, again, sign me up.

Next time we’re in Des Moines.

PS: Here’s a shout out to Ron who, in the desperate heat, came out to hang with us at the campsite in Des Moines.  It was downright heroic of you to be with us outside, Ron, and worth every bit of sweat.  Thank you!  Keep up the Colfax Action Report, pretty please.

6 thoughts to “My Weird, Wonderful, New Tattoos”

  1. They are exquisite! My favorite is the middle one with the lightest coloring. Nice job!

  2. Wow, these are gorgeous! The Photoshopping was a smart idea. A larger squad is even better!