Tattoo #2 – Two for Joy


I’m a bit late on posting this but I’m finally able to catch up on some overdue writing. Meet my second tattoo! (Because who gets one and isn’t already thinking about the second?) This was done by the awesome Kelsey Young from Fu Dog Tattoos. She was the artist I originally wanted for my birthday tattoo but she was booked up for a year so I took the first appointment she had (July) and then got my first tattoo by the also great Riley from Pirate Palace.

The themes for this tattoo came from seeing the Viking exhibit at the Royal BC Museum a few years ago – this was an amazing exhibit, one of my favorites ever! One of the displays had a group of keys. Some believe that viking women carried keys on chains around their necks as symbols of their role as keepers of the household and an indication of their high status. I loved the keys! So, the tattoo started as a viking key. Then, when doing some viking research for a writing project, I came across the symbol of a viking compass, or Vegvisir. These were intended to help those who held the compass through rough weather. I asked Kelsey if she could put the compass inside the head of the key.

Next, still doing research for a writing project, I found “One for Sorrow” – a nursery rhyme from the 1700s that I couldn’t get out of my head. Or, the first two lines I couldn’t get out of my head.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.

What started as a smaller tattoo was now getting bigger after I asked Kelsey if she could put in two black birds holding up the compass. She, of course, had no problem.


Kelsey’s original rough sketch

Then I asked her to add some tiny details – runes for joy, strength and prosperity in the ribbon holding up the key.

Kelsey is an old soul in a funky and upbeat person. She’s very cool and I like her a lot. She also recommended Riley for my first tattoo when she couldn’t do it. She also mainly does black and white tattoos which I prefer.

The end result is one I am totally in love with, even though I can actually only see a small bit of it myself. I think this perfectly compliments my first tattoo as well.



50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year – Recap


With Dawn Nelson at the Polar Bear Swim – blame her, she started all of this!

The dust is starting to settle after my birthday and the completion of 50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year. I’ve heard congratulations from many of my friends, and even people I don’t know. I’ve heard of how my adventures have inspired others to try new things, and even some people planning their own list of crazy things before a significant birthday. It’s amazing how we can have an affect on people just by being ourselves, and sharing our lives.

In the past year I faced some of my fears head on. Think dating… and trapeze school! I may not have conquered them, but I stared them down and made them just a little smaller, and a little less powerful. Each time I try something that fear monster will keep getting smaller – I definitely confirmed that in the past year.

The Scream

The Scream

I did things in the past year that were just silly, or spontaneous like driving to Kelowna to do an escape room, or getting my nose pierced with Krista, Monica, and Jody – I definitely didn’t see that coming. These are the things we hear about and think, “Gee, that sounds like fun…” but then we get to busy and never do them. I’m happy to say I did them… and more! What I discovered is looking at the world in a certain way becomes a habit. If I saw the opportunity for adventure I usually took it, and I put it out there for others to join me. The cool thing is, they often jumped at it, and then we were all a little more spontaneous or silly.

When I went back to Meadow Lake, SK, in the summer with my mom I went back to the place where I was born. It doesn’t sound like a big deal. It’s not like I was born somewhere exotic. But I’d thought about it for so many years and found all kinds of lazy reasons not to do it. We went, and it was a good thing for both of us, facing the past and the future. I’m so glad we took the time to go.


I did some things alone, and they were magical. I hiked the Berg Lake Trail, having never done an overnight backpack before. I spent time with myself and discovered not only a beautiful outer landscape but a special inner one as well.


On the Berg Lake Trail – my first glacier

Friends and family jumped at the chance to get crazy with me, and several jumped multiple times. I had enthusiastic bridesmaids for the Rock n’ Roll 10K, a group of crazy people did the Conair plane crash hike with me. Amanda flew to Florida with me, ran her first half marathon (actually ran her first anything), and rode rides with me while risking the fact that I could very well throw up on her. Krista, Monica, and Jody (all repeat Crazy Thing participants) even ate bugs with me… that is true friendship! And I can’t even count how many people generously supported me by helping me raise an insane amount of money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand while they enjoyed “dressing the fairy”. Dawn Nelson, the crazy woman who suggested my 50 Crazy Things in my 50th year, even did the Polar Bear Swim with me and together we encountered magic we truly weren’t expecting. There were also countless people who supported me in the best way they could – by cheering me on, reading the blog posts, and enjoying my frequent episodes of discomfort. Support comes in many forms and I recognize and appreciate all the support I have in my life.

I want to thank all of the people who helped me, participated with me, and cheered me on. I love all of you.

The biggest thing I learned, or maybe remembered, is that life rarely happens when you’re sitting on the couch looking out the window. It happens out there. Habits are meant to be broken, and rebuilt as new habits. Bars are meant to be raised. Fears are meant to be faced.

What next?

I plan to continue my crazy things – just not with a deadline. I plan to live a crazy life. There were a lot of things I couldn’t fit into my year. The list is still there and it is growing. I will keep blogging about it because people seem to enjoy reading about my discomfort.

My whole reason for starting this journey was to stop the trends I saw solidifying in my life. My life was getting smaller… I’m stopping that. I was saying no more than yes… I’m stopping that too. I want a life that is richer, and one that is filled with more great adventure and more great people. My next 50 years are going to be very busy!

Oh, and to answer that question AGAIN… I am still not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or tying an elastic around my ankles and jumping off a cliff! Crazy… not stupid!

The list

So here it is, the complete list of my 50 Crazy Things with links to each of the blog posts. Thank you all for sharing this with me. It’s been a wild ride and I’m only getting started! Who’s in?

#1 – Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon
#2 – Ride a roller coaster without throwing up
#3 – Fund raise for a charity
#4 – Run a 10K and a Half Marathon back to back
#5 – Run half marathons on each coast in the same year
#6 – Join the circus (Trapeze School)
#7 – Embrace Obstacles (Foam Fest)
#8 – Walk above the water (Suspension bridge)
#9 – The Berg Lake Trail
#10 – Return to the place where I was born
#11 – 10X up the steps to the lighthouse in Cochin, SK
#12 – Let my cousin drag me around a lake while she tries to kill me
#13 – Hike to the Conair plane crash site
#14 – Go on a date
#15 – Beat the Blerch – Get out of control
#16 – Ride on a motorcycle
#17 – Wear a wedding dress
#18 – The Moustache Miler – spontaneous mingling
#19 – Drive home in my pajamas
#20 – Night skiing away from civilization
#21 – Do a virtual run
#22 – Follow intuition and rediscover magic
#23 – Go out for New Year’s
#24 – Polar Bear Swim
#25 – Make a snow angel
#26 – Give blood again
#27 – Eat a bug on purpose
#28 – Ski the hills without putting the brakes on
#29 – Learn to paint
#30 – Climb a tree
#31 – Go ice skating
#32 – Go rock climbing
#33 – Get passionate (Passion Party)
#34 – Snowshoe race
#35 – Improve at a sport (Cross Country Ski Lesson)
#36 – Downhill Skiing
#37 – Have headshots taken by a professional photographer
#38 – Let a photographer do a portrait
#39 – Get a tattoo
#40 – Visit an Escape Room
#41 – Run a half marathon without training – just because
#42 – Volunteer somewhere scary
#43 – Ladies’ choice (get my nose pierced)
#44 – Ski a half marathon
#45 – Write a screenplay
#46 – Street photography
#47 – Photograph star trails
#48 – Take a selfie every day
#49 – Self portrait
#50 – Turn 50 with a smile on my face

50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #39 – Get a tattoo

tattoo 2

Probably one of the most clichéd bucket list items on everyone’s list is getting a tattoo. I have resisted body art for many years although I have appreciated it from a distance. My brother has some awesome tattoos – some of which he designed himself. Almost all of my friends have tattoos, and I’ve known for awhile that my time was coming. The problem was finding what I wanted to put on my body, figuring out where on my body I wanted to put it, and finally who I wanted to do it.

In my extreme youth, two cousins and I talked about getting tattoos and at the time I thought a dancing pig on my foot was about all I could handle. I loved pigs, and I still do. I am thankful, however, that I have evolved since then.

Tattoos also always make me think of the Dr. Seuss story, The Sneetches, and the starbelly sneeches with stars upon thars. I was about to become a star bellied Sneetch! Except my tattoo wasn’t going to be on my belly, and it wasn’t going to be a star, and there would be no have / have not moral to be learned. It’s still one of my favourite Dr. Seuss books, though.


I started my quest at the beginning of my year. At that point whatever I was having I was going to put on my lower back… essentially so the general public wouldn’t see it. When I told my friend Tammy she replied, “Oh, you’re getting a tramp stamp!” OK, next…. I know lots of people with beautiful tattoos on their lower back, but I would always hear Tammy’s voice saying “Tramp stamp.” I also realized that I couldn’t get a tattoo and just hide it. What would be the point?

The idea of a gryphon started to catch my attention. I love gargoyles, and I love old mythical images. The gryphon kept talking to me, making its presence known

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature.


I knew I didn’t want an angry tattoo and gryphons are often portrayed in a very angry or violent light. Most of the images I found were of a gryphon in a fighting stance – not what I was looking for. I kept looking for inspiration.

Finally, as time was running out, I came across some images that were game changers for me. They weren’t necessarily the exact images I wanted, but they were the perfect idea.

One was a logo for a series of lectures on youth and literature. This was the concept I liked and it took my breath away when I saw it. The idea of books entered the picture. I’m not going to include the image because I don’t have the rights to it, but if you click the link above you’ll see it. The image features a gryphon and a child who is reading. I didn’t like the head on that one though, it looked too angry and the beak looked too sharp. I found another with a head and beak I liked.

I had seen my friend Tomena’s sketch style tattoo that she got at Fu Dog Tattoos and it really resonated with me. I wanted that style, and old master’s sketch style. I didn’t want any colour, just shading. I went to book with Fu Dog but Kelsey, the owner, was booked when I wanted to have it done. She asked what I wanted. I sent her the pictures, and she said that Riley at Pirate Palace Tattoos would do a great job with that style and might have a bit of time free. I checked him out online and a lot of his images looked angry. Kelsey reassured me that he had done other stuff and I just had to ask to see more of his portfolio.

When I went in to meet Riley he showed me some drawings that weren’t angry. I was sold. We made the appointment I left the drawings with him and circled the parts of each I liked. He sent me a preliminary drawing a few days later and I loved it. I really loved it. I asked for a couple of small changes and he came through right away – it blew me away how it was exactly what I wanted.

So, on Tuesday afternoon, February 9th, I joined the ranks of the inked. I was a bit nervous but I really like Riley, he’s a bit of a renaissance guy with a lot of varied interests. The first thing I noticed when I walked into his enclosed booth was the big screen TV on the wall. He was playing Planet Earth on Netflix. As he sat down he looked up and said, “Oh, look! Birds of paradise… they’re awesome!” Right away I knew I liked him.

We chatted the whole time and had a great time. I asked him lots of questions about art and tattooing. When I asked if he had ever made a spelling mistake he looked up, laughing, and said, “Yes, and if you ever meet a tattoo artist who says otherwise they’re lying!” I really liked him. He said he’d never done one that couldn’t be easily fixed. I also asked him if there was a busy season for tattoos. He said for him it was always when people got their tax refunds.


The process didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. A friend described it to me as the same sensation as if you dragged a steak knife across your skin. I think that was a pretty accurate description. I was amazed at how fast the image turned from a drawing to something very real.

The end result, located on my right calf. I’m in love with it! I highly recommend Riley. I think he did a brilliant job of interpreting what I wanted and translating it to a drawing.


Why was this crazy?

Just think about it!

Would I do it again?

Yes! As I had heard would be the inevitable outcome of my first tattoo – I’m already planning my next one! I doubt it will be a dancing pig, or a star on my belly.


Wikipedia contributors. “Griffin.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Jan. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.