Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Ships

I know I've been pretty quiet on the painting front these last few weeks, but I've actually been working really hard! Here's 2 pieces that I finished recently. I needed to do something with water, and couldn't decide between the 2, so I did both! Here they are:

Ship 1: "Blue Sunset" (or as I call it, Camouflage Boat)

I had very good intentions of sketching out every single detail of this painting, but after I finished the sky, I threw in the towel and decided to wing the ocean when I got to it. My eyes had started to cross.

 And finally.......

Blue Sunset - 18" x 24" Acrylic

I love it. I think it looks kinda camo, kinda like a globe. Very cool.

Here is Ship 2:  "Retro Sunset"

As you can kind of see, I started out with the boat smack dab in the middle of the canvas. When I stood back to look at it and realized what I'd done, the voice of my high school art teacher started screaming in my head about never putting the focal point of a painting dead center. Muttering a few choice four letter words under my breath, I grabbed an eraser and took out my irritation on the canvas.

Boat now slightly off center

 And finally....

Retro Sunset - 18" x 24" Acrylic

Both of these paintings took forever because I had to go over everything with a second coat of paint to give it a very clean matte look, with no brushstrokes visible. I'm currently working on a very cool Beauty & The Beast piece that is coming along really nicely.

As for running, I ran another 9 today with very little pain (and no trots)! The pain was there in the beginning but dulled down as I went along. Besides the Turtle's Rx, I've also quit doing my hula exercises. I figure that kind of movement and strain probably wasn't helping my cause. I remember 4 years ago when I had a similar pain, I laid off them and the pain went away. With almost one hula-free week and two 9 milers under my belt, my hip continues to get better with each day. I really really hope I am finally on the road to complete recovery.

Belly dancing / Hula = Angry hip

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trot of the Mornin' to You!

One of my early bird friends

Ever have one of those mornings where you just do not want to get up? That was me this morning (or every weekday morning, really).

No, I didn't have to work today. Instead, I decided to celebrate my Monday off by getting up one luxurious half hour later than normal (6...ok, 6:02am). Unfortunately, I ended up waking up 10 minutes before my Hawaiian rap-alarm could go off because my stomach was doing somersaults. Ugh. How can I feel hung over when the hardest thing I drank last night were stolen sips of the Turtle's root beer? Hmmm...I did have frozen yogurt last night. Can one get frozen yogurt drunk?

Anyway, I blearily rummaged thru the still damp clothes from the laundry room and trudged downstairs. They'll get soaked with sweat soon enough anyway. It took all my strength to ignore the couch calling my name (and it was very persuasive).

"Come on Tink, you can nap all day as soon as you get done. Wouldn't you rather watch the Bachelorette tonight, knowing you've got your run in and don't have to tomorrow instead? You'll feel better after, I swear!"

Oh fine, subconscious. You win, again.

I'd decided to run in circles around our development (it's a perfect 1/2 mile loop), instead of going to the bike path. I really didn't feel like driving out to the path, and it didn't seem like the safest place to be in the early morning. Plus, I figured our paved road was probably the same amount of cushion as the bike path, anyway.

Though the sun was barely up, the humidity was so thick you could drink it. Ugh.

Round & round I go

Its a good thing I decided to stay close to home.  As I reached the house after my first loop, my stomach rebelled. Ruh-roh. Into the house I went for the first of four running trot stops. Arrrrrrg.

This goose knows what I'm talkin' about

But aside from the trots, it wasn't the worst run in the world. I had completely steeled myself to see an 8:00/mile pace and was floored when it said 7:34/min! The same as my run on the bike path 2 weeks ago! And my hip wasn't too bad, and hasn't really bothered me anymore today than yesterday. I need the Turtle to work on it some more, but his hands seem to be preoccupied with an X-Box controller lately (hmph!).

I'm going to try the indoor track again on Wed and back to the bike on Thurs. Speaking of the bike, when I got to the gym on Thurs, a nice little surprise was waiting for me....

Now that's badass

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dr. Turtle

Last night, Dr. Turtle paid my hip a visit, and gave it a killer rub-down that will hopefully set me on the road to healing for good...

Back when my Turtle was a kid (tadpole? hatchling?), he spent a lot of his summers in Greece with his family. On these trips, he spent a lot of his time following around a doctor in the village, shadowing him on house-calls and watching him as he worked. This doctor had a belief that a lot of aches and pains were caused by "eegra" (that is my butchered english phonetic spelling), which basically means a build-up of toxins.

His solution for curing the problem? A nice, deep rub-down of the sore spot until the "eegra" has been flushed, popped, or pushed out of the area. To remove the "eegra" from your body, you sweat it out (usually by wrapping said area in saran-wrap over night).

So what does all this mean for me? This translates into me plopping aching feet, ankles and other random body parts (TMI, I'm sorry) into the Turtle's hands and demanding he "Fix me!"

Would you trust this man to fix your running aches & pains?

But don't start getting all jealous that I get free massages from my hubby. This is not your everyday relaxing, aroma-therapied, lighted candles massage. This is one teeth gritting, want-to-punch-him-in-the-head, painful rub-down. Weird popping noises can be heard of God-knows what as he rubs down the muscle (I swear this is how he gets back at me for making him clean toilets). When he's done, I dutifully grab the saran-wrap and tape, and wrap away.

This all might sound strange and weird. But a lot of times, it really has worked. When the Turtle and I first started dating, I was a complete skeptic and brushed off his "eegra" talk like it was nonsense (hey, my mom's an RN...I'm practical). But then, in 2005 I messed up my ankle something awful...just 1 month before the Cleveland Marathon 10K. As the weeks ticked by, I was willing to try anything and handed my ankle over to the Turtle.

After half an hour of the most excruciating massage ever, my ankle was bright red, the arm of the couch had my nail marks, and the Turtle looked all too pleased with himself. But wouldn't you know, 2 weeks later, I ran my fastest 10K ever, pain-free!

Couldn't find a 2005 pic, but here I am with my brother before the '07 Cleveland Half

So, once again I'm placing my faith (and hip) into the hands of Dr. Turtle. I could feel stuff moving around last night when he was working on it, and at this point, I think I'd drink shark pee if it would fix it. I'm sticking to the bike today and tomm, and hoping to be good as new for a nice 9 mile Memorial Day run.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Pair of Wings

I am so ridiculously happy, the recap of my new shoes will have to wait a minute! I have the coolest friend in the whole world! He's hooked me up with an AC-ed room at the gym where one of my old bikes remain! How awesome is that!? There's a room back with the offices at the gym that the soldiers use for rehab and there is one lone, old-school recumbent bike there, basking in the AC-ed air, just waiting for me! Fantastic! Especially, since its supposed to be near 90 as the week goes on. LA Fitness is just going to have to wait! (And I am not ashamed that I giddily called not one, not two, but THREE people on my drive home to squeal with glee in their ears)

Rewinding to the weekend, I was thrilled to be home and back with my family, and of course, my favorite dog in the whole world.

I felt a little weird being up in Cleveland during the Cleveland Marathon Weekend and not participating in any of the races. I'd participated in this weekend every year from 2000-2010. My streak ended in 2010, when our friends got married in Disney World and the Turtle and I got to be in the wedding.

I think it was worth skipping the race...don't you?

At the Grand Floridian

Who needs a limo when you can have a monorail?
That's right. We rode Splash Mountain after the reception

Anyway, knowing that the race was on Sunday, I was a little worried that all the best salesmen at the running shoe stores would be manning the booths at the race expo, leaving the less-trained high schoolers at the shop. I needn't have worried, I got great new shoes! After trying a Mizuno and Brooks pair, I opened another Brooks box to see the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.....ALL PINK shoes. Clearly, the Brooks people were thinking of me when they made them! I silently squealed and prayed that they would feel just as good as they looked. They did! I snapped those puppies up so quick, I didn't even try on the last pair they'd given me.

I was so excited I quickly called RRB to gush about my new find. Unfortunately for the Turtle, RRB didn't answer, so the poor Turtle had to deal with my giddy, psychotic babble. Poor guy. And if that wasn't enough, when I got home I unveiled them to my mom by slowly lifting them from their box while humming 2001: A Space Oddessy (I seriously torture the ones I love).

Brooks PureFlow

I tested them out today, and I love the shoes. Sadly, 9 miles running counter clockwise was too much for even the wonder shoes to compensate for, and I think I'm sentenced to the bike for the rest of the week. The AC-ed bike that is ;-)

I have 2 new paintings to post that I finished last week, but have been too lazy to. Will do so soon. Hope your Mondays have been just as good as mine!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dayton's Tow Path

Need I say more?!  I am soooo happy with my run yesterday!

I was pretty stressed out so decided to take my rage to the bike path and see how that worked out. Some people like to punch walls with their fists, I like to stomp the crap out of a running path :-)  I really wanted to run. To flat out, balls out RUN. Run til I couldn't anymore....(Or like RRB and I say, 'Run til we're on bloody stumps!')  I decided to try running on the bike path, so I could run out and back, unrestricted from the turns of a track. I'd run a mile or so on this a few times before, and always found it very boring, but yesterday it fit the bill just perfectly.

Not as soft as the Cuyahoga Valley Tow Path, but still pretty

It was great! I tried my best not to obsessively check my pace on my Garmin, but the few times I did sneak a peek I was really happy! It was pretty hot, but luckily I stumbled onto a baseball field and I hunted out a water fountain. I had my doubts when I started exploring: The place was really creepy, with all the refreshment stands boarded it was the perfect scene for a zombie apocalypse. Luckily, the glint of silver caught my eye and I let out a manly, Tim Allen-esque "YEEEEESSSSS!" and guzzled some lukewarm water down.

When I got done and saw my pace, I almost fell over! It was by no means a perfect run. It's been awhile since I've been able to run fast and flat like that and I had to take a few stops to catch my breath. But as I continue doing these and get back into my groove, I'll improve and have to take less breaks. My hip was barking this morning, and continues to every time I get up and walk a few steps (though now that I'm home from work and flopping around in my bare feet instead of my work heels, I hardly notice it at all!) But, I think I'm going to have to limit my visits to the bike path to once a week. It kills me that pavement does this to me, it's so restricting!

Time to sweat up my car

Tomorrow, I plan on testing out the non-ACed indoor track and see how that goes! (I learned that the 1/8th mile track is not AC-ed, but there is another 1/12th mile track that is that I can also use for free).

In other news, THEY'RE THROWING OUT MY BIKES!!!!!!!!! When I got to the gym I saw the 3 recumbent bikes I use lined up against the wall like convicts on death row. It shouldn't surprise me, they were the oldest of the recumbents, but I don't like the newer ones! They suck! Plus, that leaves the gym with only 3 recumbents now. They better replace them! I have a feeling I'm going to be obsessing over this until I get used to the new bikes. At least they have cable TV screens, so I can bike with Anthony Bourdain's sarcasm!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Early Bird Gets the Crack


5:30 am and all cracked out

I didn't have to go in to work until noon today, so naturally I got up earlier than I would have had I had to go to work and headed to the gym! And aside from trying to beep my locker open with my car unlock keychain, it was awesome! It was fantastic to get my 9 miler in on the indoor track before the sun heated up the tin can we call the gym! Though it was already over 80 inside when I got there, I was pretty comfortable during my run. I wish I could do this all the time!

My speed was back and in an hour I had gotten 7.5 miles in, which is my usual indoor speed. And that's not counting the 2 water/retie shoe breaks I took! After my 9, I went downstairs to finish up with my favorite weight machines, then headed home just as the sun was really starting to get cookin'.

Good morning Wright Patt!
Oh, Matt Lauer and Kelly Ripa, it's so good to see you again! I got my crunch and ab rolls in while catching up with my old friends then headed to work in the best mood I've ever been in on a Monday in centuries!

The rest of the week is supposed to be a little cooler, so hopefully I can run inside again on Wed. My hip hurt a little after the run, despite running indoors and in my favorite direction. I'm thinking it's time to pay Fleet Feet a visit when I go home next time. Tink needs some new flyin shoes!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Little Pixie Dust

I never know when to quit! Coming off my high of painting the Hummingbirds (happy now, mom?), I figured I'd do it again, but this time with Tinkerbell. Ugh. Someone please remind me to never do the same painting twice in a row again! I've done it a few times before, and each time I swear it will be different. "What? Get tired of it? Moi!?"
And every time, I'm so ready for it to be done by the time the second brushstroke has hit the canvas. Since I'm naturally impatient and have a tendency to like to rush through things (well, it works with races!), this is my painting downfall.

So, last week after I finished up The Hummingbirds, I started laying the ground work for the Tinkerbell version. First, I sketched out various poses of Tinkerbell to find the best one for the painting.

I didn't want to just plop her in the middle of the painting with no reason to be there. I had to give her a story, some purpose for being in the middle of a flowerly jungle. I decided she would be visiting her magical butterfly friends.

I was really happy with my results. In general, drawing Disney's human characters is very difficult. You have to get them just so, one line a fraction of a centimeter off can make the character go from Disney Character to Looks Like Disney Character. Add to it that its almost impossible to find pictures or shots of Disney human characters looking straight forward (leaving you to have to draw eyes that aren't identical) and its enough to make you tear your hair out!

I went with the top right Tink, which I then kept sketching out smaller and smaller until I thought I had the best size for the piece. My brilliant idea was that I'd paint the background, then cut out the Tink and paint around it in white to get the silhouette. Then it would be smooth sailing with just sketching in her features then painting over. Ha! Smooth sailing my butt.

First, I painted the background....

Then I placed my cutouts on to determine where I'd place Tink...

And that's when the rough waters began. I realized that once I started sketching her features into the Tink shape, it wasn't going to work. As usual, I started to draw slightly larger than the shape called for (another one of my bad habits). So, since I really liked how I got her eyes and didn't want to mess with having to do them again, I repainted her shape free hand to get her body to fit her newly larger face. This was a bit nerve-racking because "sketching" with a flexible paintbrush is much more difficult than sturdy pencil. And paintbrushes don't come with erasers. Luckily, I think my past weekend of drawing her over and over again got her ingrained in my head, and I was able to pull it off no problem! Phew!

Then yesterday, I brought her to life....and what better way to paint Disney than while wearing the most cuddly and soft Hello Kitty bath towel dress in the whooooole world?!

who needs a painter's smock when you could wear this?
She looks lonely, no?

Today, I added in a flock of mini butterflies to keep her company. And voila, it's done!

Flower Tink -11" x 14" Acrylic

 And then I couldn't resist, it seemed to be missing something......

It totally makes the piece, right? And it completely justified a trip to Michael's :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AC-ed Track & The New Painting

I am BEYOND excited right now! Did you get that? BEYOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just learned that there's an air-conditioned indoor track that I can use for free. I repeat, A.I.R.C.O.N.D.I.T.I.O.N.E.D!!!!!!!!!!

I'm coming for you!
Ever since seeing the warm forecast for the week, I have been in the foulest mood. Add in a crappy, air-less run yesterday and I was the definition of depressed.  Was this what I had to look forward to this summer? Crappy, slow runs that hurt my hip from pounding the pavement? I used to love summer weather back home! I was in my element, running in next to nothing on the towpath! Now, I pray for frigid temps! What have I become!?

Until today! Now that I know I can run on an indoor track that isn't 100 degrees, I am sooooo happy! No more waiting until 9pm on July days to run to the border of heat stroke, covered in flies.

The carnage from a July run last summer

Now, I can get my workout done right after work and get on with my day! Yay! Of course, I'll still do an outdoor run every 2 weeks or so, and whenever I go home. But this is great! The track is shaped like a triangle, so that's pretty weird, but it's only 8 laps per mile...even less than WPAFB gym!

In other news, I finished the best painting I have ever done! Not to brag, but seriously, this is the one time I've done a painting where  I can look at it and not immediately pick a part what I don't like! I call it the Humming Birds.

The Background

Setting it up
My lovely sketched out cutouts
The Process

 Ta da!!!!!!!
                                                                The Humming Birds

As you can see, I'm very very proud of it!