New Addition Tat Chronicle
15 April 2021 | Bungalow
Barry Bartholomew | 80, blue skies
Well.....made a new addition to the ole body decorative portrait! Trust me, not totally impetuous but made with full forethought and a little passion thrown in....lol I'm a Pisces what can I say.....
Here's the full story:
I've been a blood donor for a couple years now. I admit in the beginning it was "Doctor" motivated because I was red blood cell heavy. Which can cause extended health problems. Donating blood is a way of spilling off the red cells in a good way. It's kind of a symbiotic relationship. The medical profession gets more tools it needs to help their patients and I get to maintain good health!
The really good news is that my blood type is O-, pronounced O negative, which is the Universal blood type. This makes me what is known as a Universal Donor. This blood can be transfused into any patient, regardless of the blood type. Only 7% of the population has O- blood, yet it is the blood type in the highest demand.
When seconds count, emergency room doctors often do not have time to determine the blood type of the patient and will depend on O- blood to help save the person's life. O- blood is also vital for premature babies and cancer patients.
The potentially, not so good news is that O- blood types can only receive O- transfusions. That 7% figure has been something to think about on this side of the equation.
So since I discovered this piece of information I've been thinking of adding a medical tattoo in an area near the location on my body where blood is drawn and perhaps near where if I needed to be topped off they might give me a transfusion.
The location chosen was my right side inner forearm near the elbow bend where blood is drawn. It is about an inch in diameter and I think well done. Funny note, perhaps only to me, this makes my body art symmetrical!.....lol Think a Tat on each major appendage....almost..... ahhhh....reminds me of a joke....the punch line being: Joe's Bar and Grill...... Albuquerque, New Mexico...never mind!
Often there is an event or series of events that motivates one towards taking action. The events that propelled me towards this decision happened to be a couple of decals? The first noticed on a pickup and the second on a new luxury car.
In Florida, I donate to the One Blood organization. They have several brick and mortar facilities and also what they call the BIG Red Buses, of which I think there are 6. These are extremely well equipped full size buses outfitted with all that is necessary to accept mobile donations and with a full staff. They travel weekly to different locations throughout the extended community to facilitate ease of donation by the public. I use these for my donating sessions.
A few weeks a go I was driving in old Bradenton and noticed a pickup truck in the next lane and a little ahead of me, in the back window was a One Blood decal in bold "41 Gallon Donor "! Considering they only draw 1 pint per donation that is one hell of a lot of donating! That would be 328 visits to the Red Bus to be exact.... Had never seen one of these decals prior to this one and was amazed and intrigued.
However the decal I saw in a strip mall parking lot a couple of weeks after that really kicked me in the ass! As I pulled into a parking space, next to me was this big bold "125 Gallon Donor" decal!!!!! That equates to 1000 visits to the Red Bus, totally unfathomable? The owner was just about to get in his car so I struck up a conversation with the kindly gentleman. He appeared to be in his mid 80's. He shared that he'd been donating for decades and until recently had been on an accelerated program donating nearly every 2 to 3 weeks. Normal donation cycles are 6 times per year or every 56 days. To me an amazing number because 56 is the same amount of days of the gestation period for Loggerhead Sea Turtles....hmmm. Whatever in the hell that means....lol
In summary, this inked on symbol hopefully gives notice to any medical techs of my rare blood type. It makes a quiet statement of my pride in being a Universal Donor. It already has proven to be a good conversation starter. (a recent example...whut the hell is that on yer arm?) Most importantly it remines me to DONATE! Which I highly recommend to everyone capable. A super opportunity to give back.
My apologies for what may seem to be babbling on here. To me, life can be fascinating on so many levels and sometimes we don't stop and take time to tell the whole story. Chose to do so on this one....
Adios and Vaya Con Dios,
The TAT Chronicles
08 April 2021 | Bungalow
Barry Bartholomew | 82, blue skies
I was asked recently by a friend in Texas what my ink adornment was all about. Often tattoo selection and very importantly body art location are random acts and choices by an individuals "in the moment" decision. Sometimes their creation and location is very intentional with much forethought. This simple question made me reflect way back...so I wrote out this response as it morphed into a homework project...lol. The reflection and writing took some effort, thought some might find the stories interesting so I decided to add this note to the blog for posterity.
The Fouled Anchor tat was started in the early 1960's the only one for many years. Originally self inscribed at age 13 (cause I was told not to do that, I'd be sorry....lol) with India ink and a sterilized needle wrapped with thread to control the depth and to give the tattoo even color. Location selection on mid outer left bi-cep was entirely do to the fact that I'm right handed....lol Size is 1.25"X2" high. It has been modified and upgraded 3 times over the span of 59 years to date. Never, ever been sorry!
My definition of a fouled anchor is that it is unable to set and hold the vessel....so one must keep on sailin'... forever. Perhaps only to rest in calm seas, never able to secure the boat to Mother Earth. It reminds me the human body is built for motion.....to stay healthy and out of harms way we must keep movin'. It also signifies to me my attachment to the sea. My astrological sign is Pieces which may influence my ability and passion to enjoy gazing across the open seas for hours, days even weeks. I'm at total peace and joy on the water. I have referred to this little bit of artwork humorously as a self inflicted scar of youth...
The Compass Rose on my lower right leg was etched in Honolulu, HA. A compass contains all 360 degree points of direction. The Compass Rose signifies the ability to always find ones way in the world. Most valuable tool when out of site of land.
I have flown to Hawaii many times over the years for work and pleasure. Whenever on the Big Island I would often drive over to Hilo and visit with the cruising sailors anchored in Radio Bay which lies within Hilo Bay. This is often the first stop for most who had crossed the Pacific from the mainland US and Mexico. The joking response to how they found the Island was "Just follow the contrails!"
This Compass Rose was done for me by a local Hawaiian "Old Salt" to celebrate the voyage and as a forever reminder of the adventure and right of passage of sailing from Seattle non-stop to Hawaii in 2011. The protracted voyage of 23 days, over 3400 miles, all out of site of land, wound up being a story in itself....for some other time.
Sailed out of port on a voyage to the southern islands on a ship before the following seas (hear the song "Southern Cross" by CSN&Y in the back ground), Actually on a well found C&C 41' sloop "Big River" with three other capable Captains, between us over 140 years of experience. I was the only one with offshore experience, but very soon all were experienced. We departed just a couple days after I retired in 2011.
I will never forget arriving shortly after midnight in the dark, then sailing back and forth for hours under the shadow of "Diamond Head" to maintain proximity to our chosen landing place. Even though we were anxious to arrive after over 3 weeks at sea, it is never a good idea to enter an unfamiliar port in the dark unless absolutely necessary. We waited until daylight so we could safely sail into port and finally tie up at the Waikiki Yacht Club. After docking in the early morning a couple members brought fresh coffee down to the boat for us. Absolutely best coffee ever!!
Ahhhhhh, now the Dragon story!
One must face the dragon (look'em in the eye) to gain the pearl of wisdom...or prize. Of course that can be a dangerous proposition! The many dragons in life can be intimidating and all powerful. For several decades dragon symbols had reminded and prompted me to forge ahead and persevere regardless of the obstacles, to pursue with purpose that which I was seeking. To be relentless and fearless in that pursuit. Using this motivation I have humbly and gratefully had many successes in my life and thankfully only a couple spectacular failures and with a few miss directions mixed in....
A dragon tattoo was a long held private desire and planned for, over many years. I had no idea what exactly would prompt me to follow thru but all details had to be right. The adventure it ultimately commemorates is sailing my own vessel of 22 years, the venerable 35 foot Cutter "SeaSwift", a major portion single handing, from Puget Sound to and thru the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean Sea, Florida and beyond. Thus also opening the gates to even further adventures afar.
The man that helped me finish the design of my unique dragon and then etched it on my left outer calf, is known as the "Dragon Man" within the realm of Florida tattooists. Thankfully he convinced me to upsize the original design as I thought I wanted a much smaller piece of art. I listened.....after all Dragons are his design theme for his own body art and I admired his results. At the time this tattoo was completed he wore 9 different beautifully ornate dragon tattoos from different cultures with future plans for several more pieces. My memorial art piece is fully a prime example of his skill. I chose to it do "old school". Finished in just one color, in the same manner that black and white photography is related to colored photography.
My dragon holds a Pearl of Wisdom (aka the prize) in his left claw to be protected and withheld from the unworthy and rewarded to those worthy of the pursuit. Also uniquely, a Sextant is in his right claw.
The Sextant is navigations primary instrument used by mariners to plot their courses in open sea to their many destinations. It has been used for centuries and is still useful today as a backup system for those trained in it's use. Modern sailors use GPS systems to plot their journeys, this done practically with the push of a button.....but electronics do fail, ask anybody with a cell phone. By far today, most mariners have NO clue on how to use a Sextant. I humbly own a fine Sextant, a gift from an old sailor friend who has since passed and have trained in the use of it.
I incorporated the idea of a Sextant into this tattoo kind of tongue in cheek as a tribute to my dragon who thru numerous experiences has proven he looks out for me. >Other stories for other times.< The Sextant inspiration was further driven by noticing an obscure decorative tile on an outlying building in Panama while transiting the Panama Canal. (see picture) The Latin inscription reads:
"FORTITER IN RE, SUAVITER IN MODO"
translates to: "RESOLUTELY IN ACTION, GENTLY IN MANNER" and is a fine recipe for how to move forward thru life in this world.
I have never previously, nor have I since, come across art work in any form that combines a dragon and sextant. If anyone reading this ever does please show me.
Some tattoo work in the world is done without any or at best just fleeting fore thought, a pity because once etched it's in place forever. Removal is possible with a lot of expense, pain and usually with scaring. I do admire much of the tattoo art I see out and about. However I felt compelled by a simple question to put down on paper how I arrived at my choices to show that there are those who do put some thought into their forever decisions.
TAT thanks Hawaii
07 April 2021 | Bungalow
Barry Bartholomew | 82, blue skies