Friday, December 30, 2011

What's On Your Playlist?

7 days til the Disney Half Marathon!! I spent the last few days editting and adding to my race playlist. I call my list 'Kick It' and have been using it for a few years now.

Yes, even my iPod has to remind me to click the lap counter on the track

I'm pretty OCD about my running music. There are the songs I listen to when I run, and the songs I listen to when I race. And I will not listen to any of these songs outside of their designated time. If I hear one on the radio or it shuffles on my iPod any other time, I flip it off faster than you can blink. I don't want its novelty to wear out (or I'm just a complete freak, whichever you like).

I mostly run to rock or songs with really fast beats. Here is a sample of what you can find on my playlist:

  • 'No Line on the Horizon' - U2 - the song I start every race with
  • 'Closer to the Edge' - 30 Seconds to Mars - one of many 30STM songs on my list. Was this close to playing it in my dressing room (Greek School classroom) before my wedding
  • 'Chase This Light' - Jimmy Eat World 
  • 'Songs That Saved My Life' - Kill Hannah - One of my fav bands, great beat 
  • 'Go West' - West End Girls - A Pet Shop Boys coverband, very dancey
  • 'Jai Ho' - Misc. Artists - From Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack. Completely random 
  • 'Theme Song' - Boondock Saints - Irish jiggy, very anthemic
  • 'Tonight I Have to Leave It' - The Shout Out Louds - Love love love this song!
  • 'The Best Things' - Filter - 1st song I ever played in my first car
  • 'Kernkraft 400' - Zombie Nation - Reminds me of Cleveland Crunch indoor soccer games
  • 'Show Me How to Burlesque' - Christina Aguilera - hangs head in shame...
  • 'Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride' - Jump5 - Remix from Lilo & Stitch movie..It is in Disney after all!
  • 'Fembot' - Robyn - Dancey pop
  • 'Confrontation' - Damien 'Jr. Gong' Marley 'Saturday Love'
  • Angels & Airwaves - A fav band..also have several from them on the list
  • 'The Catalyst' - Linkin Park
  • 'Potential Breakup Song' - Aly & AJ - Pop guilty pleasure
  • 'Green Mind' - Dink
  • 'Speak of the Devil' - Sum 41
  • 'Season of Love'- Shiny Toy Guns

In total, I have 5.5 hours of music on my list..but I like having a cushion.

What about you? What song do you have to listen to when you race?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap

I hope Santa was as good to all of you as he was to me this year! He was a little too generous to me this year...Not only did I get all kinds of fun running gear and sparkly baubles, I also got a cold! (Really Turtle, you shouldn't have)

So cool!

Despite all of my efforts to avoid his cold, I was defeated. Driving up to Cleveland with the sick Turtle and his sister on the 23rd, I rolled down the windows in 15 min intervals to get fresh air in, I didn't touch my face, I even stopped at a WalMart (on the 23rd!!!) to pickup Airborne to put in my waterbottle. And then, after safely sending the Turtle off to his parents for a weekend quaratined away from me...I started to feel that tell-tale tickle in the back of my throat. Drat!

But have no fear, I didn't let a little sniffle stop me from running! I proudly dripped my snot onto the Rec's track for my Christmas Eve and Day After Christmas runs. And I'm happy to say I am almost back to normal, just a sneeze here and there.

Oh yes, and I performed another successful surgery on my running shoe. I should reconsider careers. Or I should just start designing my own shoes. Ran 9 on them already and no rubbing! Take that Mizuno!

I'm getting really good at this

Other than that, it was a really nice weekend...

RockBand Marathon

Teddy reading the Hunger Games over my shoulder

I gave my brother and his wife the painting I'd been working on for them...

My niece inspects

A better view of the painting. 24" x 36"

And I finally got one of those lovely blue boxes......

Thank you Santa Turtle

9 Days til the Half Marathon! YAY!!!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Twas The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas and all thru Ohio, Tink was running, and biking, and wrapping, and shopping and baking, and drawing, and  filming, and waiting on hold, and watching marathons of TLC's been a busy week! Here's what I've been up to...

I've made enough truffles for an army. And coated counter tops, door knobs, and floors with truffle dough and chocolate.

Low fat, of course

After freaking myself out that I need to get off the bike and run, pain or no pain, I ran 4 miles yesterday (1 more than I intended) after 45 min. on the bike (not to mention the hr and 20 I spent on it on Monday)...and wait for it.... my hip didn't feel too bad or make me feel worse today! Wahoo! I can still run with Frank and my brothers over the Christmas holiday! Not to mention all the training runs I have until the race (15 days away!)

I filmed a PSA for No Texting While Driving for work. My job has some of the best perks! Today, PSA commercials, tomorrow, Hollywood! I think I gave an Oscar-worthy performance as a texting-driver. I have experience after all ( I know I know, for shame).

TV star!

At the last minute, a friend of ours decided to throw financial responsibility to the wind and will be joining us in Disney for a portion of our trip! Wahoo! Even better, because the Turtle's sister can't handle a lot of rides and that frees the Turtle and I to hop on the Tower of Terror 8 billion times in a row! This also resulted in my being on hold with 3 seperate Disney departments to make sure our friend got added to reservations, like our tasty California Grill dinner (best food ever with the best view!)

View of sunset and Grand Floridian taken from California Grill

And lastly, I finished one more painting. This one is definitely going to be the one I give to my super dentist, Dr. Jim for his office.

"Maui Beach" 11" x 17" Acrylic

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! And Thank You all so much for all the lovely comments you've left me since I started this. I've had some trouble figuring out how to directly reply to each one, but they all make me smile, so thank you very much!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

336 Left Turns & 1 Bloody Sock

I had the most kick-ass run last night! And I had had to work a full 8 hour day to boot (I know, boo hoo, just like everyone else)! I shouldn't have been too surprised since I tend to have my best runs when I'm exhausted and bleary-eyed at the start. And the French Vanilla and Gingerbread flavor marshmallows I fueled up on before I left work probably helped too (I will never be able to eat regular marshmallows again).

Absolutely sinful

I felt absolutely amazing and whipped around the track like I was in a roller derby. One wee bitty hiccup though - my left shoe has always rubbed the outside of my ankle a little. Since the track direction last night was counter-clockwise, that meant 336 tight left turns to make my shoe dig into my ankle more (yes I counted, that's 81 laps for 9 miles, and 3 extra in case I miscounted). After 3 miles, I stopped to yank up my sock to try to pad it a little, but the damage had already been done. It didn't bother me on the straightaways, so I guess I'll just stick to wearing a bandaid on counter-clockwise track days for cushion. It did add some color to my new running socks, so it was worth the pain!

In painting news, I started working on a few beach pieces for the world's coolest dentist, Dr. Jim Cuglewski. Want to know how cool my dentist is? First, he took the Turtle and I out to dinner on our honeymoon in Maui because he and his wife happened to be vacationing there at the same time. And second, because he's going to hang one of my paintings with my business card up in his office for all to see! Wahoo! You just don't get cooler than that!

I got over my fear of painting water and clouds and just decided to embrace my style for what it is, take it or leave it. So here is one of the potential pieces for Dr. Jim. But I'm halfway through another one that I hope to finish tonight that I think will look much better.

"Hawaiian Beach" 11 x 17 Acrylic, framed and ready to go!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Letter to the Men Who Won't Let Me Pass

Dear Men Who Won't Let Me Pass,

Why is it so hard to let me pass you?! I mean really, is it that much of an ego killer for me to run past you? Wouldn't it be so much easier to just let me pass, as I inevitably will, instead of engaging in this awkward sprint-slow down-sprint-slow down rinse & repeat that you put yourself thru to stay in the lead? I'm going to pass you eventually, so why don't you let me do it with your head held high, instead of the exhausted, wheezing, chest-heaving mess I end up passing when you can't keep up the charade any longer?

I've been running since before you got on this track, and I'll still be running when you've given up in defeat. I don't appreciate getting stuck running in the passing lane next to you while you play this yo-yo speed game. We look like a bunch of 17 yr olds revving our souped up Hondas at a red light. And you haven't seen 17 in 30 years. So why don't we just make this a lot easier on the both of us, and just face it. I'm faster than you.

On Your Left
Just let me pass you, that guy did

Ok, all sarcasm aside, I've had 2 awesome 9 milers so far this week. Who knew I would come to a point where I actually enjoy running on the indoor track over the outdoors? Oh, that's right, because I live in a city with no sidewalks, unleashed dogs, and maniac drivers. Even though I'm not running with a buddy, just being around other runners on the track makes me feel like I'm with friends...unless they won't let me pass them, that is. Running outside here is just really, really lonely. Even though I'd run alone on the Towpath back home a lot, there were still the "regulars" I could count on waving to, plus an occasional deer, snake and blue heron.

And in other exciting news, I just printed off the Waiver Forms for hubby and I to get our Disney Half Marathon Bib Numbers and Goodies. I am seriously so excited! And, after a little snafu yesterday when I discovered Continental completely changed our flights to Orlando (ok, I was having a panic attack..who can make a 40 minute layover in January with de-icing planes!), we are now flying to Cleveland for a connection...which just happens to be on the same flight that all of our friends from home will be on...and we just happen to be sitting right in front of them! As Morgan said, "I pity the people sitting around us."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Animal Rocks the Guard

An old friend of mine wanted me to paint him Animal playing the drums. And even though Animal swore off the drums in the new Muppet movie, I knew he belonged back with his set.

In a burst of inspiration, I decided to personalize Animal's drums with the Coast Guard symbol, which my friend graduated to from our days toiling away with dirt and fertilizer at the greenhouse we worked at together in high school. I haven't told him how I used it in the painting yet, but Eddie graciously sent me a picture of his tattoo to work from. I can't wait to show him next time he's on land!

Never painted from a tattoo pic before!

A bald Animal is just one step away from Beeker

Note the star I'd originally intended for the drums

Almost done...

He just needs his chains and drums sticks!

"Animal Rocks the Guard"         24" x 36" Acrylic

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why I'm Weird - Versatile Blogger Award

My fellow blogger Kathy at Kathy Just Keeps Running tagged me for this and I have to say, with blogs that are either about OCD Running or whimsical paintings, I'd say it describes my blog to a 'T'! So, without further ado, here are 7 Things That Make Me Weird...or 7 Things You May Not Know About Me:

1. I'm the baby. After years of being tortured by my 2 older brothers, I can happily say that they are some of the coolest people I know.

2. I am an excellent negotiator. Growing up, I got grounded....a lot. In fact, I remember once getting grounded from ALL forms of communication the 1st 2 weeks of summer break my sophomore year of high school..all because I smiled. Fortunately, none of my punishments ever lasted long because I bargained with my mom. I'd play game upon game of Tetris with her to cut my sentences short. Ok, so maybe this fact should have been titled, My mom is a Tetris addict.

3. I was going to marry Hulk Hogan one day. At 5 years old, I couldn't stop drooling over that balding blond behemoth. We would live happily ever after. That is, until I discovered John Travolta at 12, Brian Littrell of BSB at 13, Val Kilmer at 14 and then, my true prince charming, Russell Crowe at 15. My bedroom walls were a testimony to my fickle heart.

We would've been so happy together

4. I've broken my jaw. Because high school wasn't hard enough, at 17, I found out what little coordination and balance I have when I tried to run and slide on a frozen creek for the first, and last time. I had my jaw wired shut for 3 weeks, with an additional 3 weeks of rubberbanding it shut at night. I now have an extreme fear of ice and all slippery and unstable surfaces...and a special nack for talking through gritted teeth.

Not quite as dramatic..but I forbid photos to be taken

5. I was a groupie. My brother and I spent the summer of 2004 following my fav Chicago band, Kill Hannah, to exciting places like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago. We'd drive 8 hours, camp out another 8 hours in front of the venue door then drive another 8 hours home. All while living on Watermelon Gushers, McDonald's fries and Steak & Shake shakes. It was one of the best times of my life.

With Jonny Radtke, lead guitarist of Kill Hannah

6. I have been to Hawaii 3 times, and hopefully more! My first trip, my husband (then bf!) and I and his sister tagged along to watch our friend run in the '05 Honolulu Marathon for Team-In-Training and I absolutely fell in love. I don't think there's any place more beautiful. Since then, I am constantly scheming to figure out ways to go back. Plus, I need my coconut syrup fix!

Running the streets of Waikiki in December 2005

7. I was discovered at Bath & Body Works. Instead of Warm Vanilla Brown Sugar, I was getting fame and fortune! Until the meeting with the "agency" made me feel like a horse at auction, and the upfront cost was way too much. Not surprising when I saw the company featured on the news as a scam. So long catwalks and Vogue!

So there you are, you are now a certified expert in Tink!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So Inappropriate

Runner, painter, blogger and now I can add 'vixen' to my list of titles. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but yesterday some crotchety old women at the gym were muttering their displeasure of my "inappropriate" attire. At least, that's what my buddy who works at the gym told me, as he laughed hysterically. He overheard them griping to each other and just had to tell me.

"Some people just be hatin' ", he wheezed through his doubled-over laughter. See, this is why you make friends with the people who work at the gym, so they have your back when decrepit old bitties are on the attack (For the record, he and his coworker find nothing wrong with my gym clothes). This is what I get for holding the locker room door open for them.


And anyway, I wouldn't dress so inappropriately if the gym wasn't so crazy hot! The base gym is in an old airplane hanger, which is like working out in a tin can. There's no AC and the sun heats it up like a baked potato. Its not uncommon to see the thermostat in the gym get to 95 in the summer, and that's on the first floor! So if those women would prefer to slip and  break their newly replaced  hips on my puddles of sweat, I suggest they settle down about my sleeveless shits :-)

Anyway, I ran a fabulous 9 miles inside yesterday, leaving a nice little trail of dirt clumps in my wake. I just couldn't seem to smack off all the mud I'd accumulated from my trail run at home on Saturday.

Thankful for friends to ruin new running shoes with!

On Black Friday, I was the only one in line for the door opening of Michael's (shocking I know!). And with my bleary-eyed mother in tow (the complimentary Godiva bars being given out perked her right up), I cleared out the canvas aisle and hit a few more stores since we were out (who can say no to discounted Kermit pajama pants!?)

Where is everyone?!

I'm working on a painting of Animal playing the drums for a friend, and then I have a long-overdue housewarming gift for my brother & sister in-law to paint. Oh yeah, and the Disney World Half Marathon  is only 37 days away! Yippee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Animal

I needed a break from the contest work and wanted to do something fun. So, in honor of the new Muppet movie, I present to you, Animal.

"Animal"  18" x 24" Acrylic painting

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things That Go Bump in the Night (And Day)

I am a fraidy cat. When I lived with my mom, if she went away on a trip with the dog, I would either sleep on my brother's couch or I would pull my car into the driveway, drag out my pillow and sleeping bag and sleep in the backseat rather than spend the night alone in my house. I was more afraid of ghosts and Michael Myers than actual people. Robbers and rapists are nothing compared to the supernatural, in my mind!

Car, bedroom, lunchroom..Dante has done it all

Yesterday afternoon, I came home to do my crunches before heading to run at the gym. I was in the middle of a set when I heard a shuffling/falling noise upstairs. I paused The Final Days of WWII on History Channel and froze. No more sound. Ok, I thought, it was probably just my pants falling off the bathroom counter or some clothes falling in the closet. I wasn't happy, but dammit, I had crunches to do! So, I grabbed my cell and plopped it next to me on the floor and continued crunching.

Crunching on a noise-less day
When I got back from the gym, I went upstairs sure I would find my pants on the floor. But they were still on the counter where I'd flung them! I inspected the rest of the upstairs and found nothing amiss. Hmmm...

Last night, my newly MBA-ed husband decided to celebrate with a friend at trivia night at the Fox & Hound, and as I was already pj-ed and squirreled under a blanket watching E! News with a Skinny Cow (Yum!), I stayed put. An hour later, I heard the noise again! Only this time it was a bit louder and longer.

My wonderful Sam's Club blanket in quieter times

As soon as I heard it, I immediately kicked off  my slippers, grabbed my key and ran out the door. Oh the benefits of having your sister in-law living next door! I charged into her place, clutching my house slippers, and planted myself on her couch under her Sam's blanket (you really ought to get one, they're amazing).

I have no idea what's making the noise. We checked out the upstairs again when he came home and again found nothing. I wish I knew what it was...or maybe I don't want to know. Ok, let me rephrase, I wish it would stop!

In other news, I ran 6 miles on Monday (PT Testing interrupted my run, otherwise I would have done all 9) and much to my delight, I had an awesome 9 mile run yesterday! I don't think I lost any speed in these past 2 weeks either, because I passed a few runners I know run my pace. Yay! The hip isn't perfect, but nothing like it was on Halloween, and the pain fades away as I run.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I don't care, I LIKE IT!

So, I spent my entire weekend debating with my husband about whether or not one could tell what my latest painting is supposed to be. Ok, really, he just casually commented once that you wouldn't be able to tell what it was and then I spent the whole weekend randomly shouting out "I don't care what you say, I LIKE IT!"

I've been playing with photoshop and found some really fun ways to manipulate my photos. It was really exciting because it takes me away from my silhouette rut and takes me back to my one of my favorite techniques, stippling. I took a picture of a waterfall on Maui that I snapped on our infamous drive to Hana on our honeymoon (watch out for falling trees!).

Here's the original photo

Here's the photo after I've doctored it

Cool, right?
And here's my painting timelapse

The Waterfall
This is very textured. I used about 2 whole bottles of paint to get the 3D stippled effect I wanted, so it really jumps out at you. I know the picture is a bit modern artsy and not very linear and straightfoward as to what it is, but I love it! I'm using it as my 2nd entry for the Works on Paper contest.

So help end the debate, would you know what it was without the title? But even still, I don't care, I LIKE IT!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some of Us Worked Today

Nothing like dragging yourself to work at the crack of dawn while your husband's snores come drifting down the stairs.  Brings back not so fond memories of driving thru the frozen tundra of East Cleveland to man the Toys section of Target on Black Friday while all my friends and family were snuggled tight in their beds. Man, going to work sucks when you know everyone else is off! But thank you Veterans for all you do!
Unloading trucks at 3am during my Internship with Target

This week I've worked on entries for 2 upcoming contests/auctions. One is the 'Postcards From The Edge' auction for VisualAIDS, in NYC this January. Since those crazy giraffes were so popular, I made a slightly different version. I know it probably seems like I'm a one trick pony right now, but I'm really trying to get noticed, and since so many people liked the giraffe here, I'm sure those chic New Yorkers might like it too.

The coolest part about the auction is that if someone buys your postcard, they will send you the information of the person who did! The girl who told me about it said her friend's husband's piece was bought by the editor of Better Homes & Gardens last year! I've already determined that Leonardo DiCaprio will buy mine and I will become the artist to the stars.

'The Elephant' for Postcards From the Edge

I'm also entering a Works on Paper contest at the Rosewood Gallery. The contest is in February and I can submit 3 entries. So far, I'm submitting 'The Cheetah' and have 2 more ideas to come up with. This weekend I'll start working on painting a waterfall from Maui that I saw on my Honeymoon.

In running news, my hips still bugging me, though much better than last week. I'm so frustrated! I know it's only been 1 1/2 weeks since my last run, but I'm going crazy! It seemed  like everyone and their brother was out running this week, taking advantage of the last warm days. I wanted to kick them. But, as Frank keeps telling me 'Real runners have real injuries.' I'm trying to think positive and just be grateful that I can still use the bike without pain. I'm going to try running again on Monday and I seriously can't wait. The guy at the gym said 'Yeah, sometimes those things take awhile to heal.' To which I stared at him, unblinking, and said 'I don't have awhile.'

Yes. I take pics of my bike screen. I need photographic proof that I've done the exact equivalent of my 9 mile run and I don't trust myself to remember it right! The bike only lets you enter 60 min at a time, so before I reset it and start again, I take a pic so I can't question myself later and throw in an extra 10 min. just to be sure.  Damn that OCD!