Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Run FASTER Forrest, run FASTER!

Poodle and I were all decked out for greatness yesterday - she was going to set a distance PR.  The wind was blowing, sure, but the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  By mile 1.5 I was lamenting the fact that my heavy fleece pullover and lycra shorts left me way over dressed on my top half.  There were dark, ominous clouds to the north, but the wind was coming straight out of the west so I figured the clouds would stay north.  Alas, I was wrong.  At mile 3.5 I looked up and those dark clouds were racing our way.  It was like something out of a movie - there was a vertical line between blue sky and dark nastiness.  The wind picked up BIG time, and it started to rain/snow/hail.  Suddenly I was under dressed on my bottom half.  Poodle picked up the pace.  It took a bit of convincing before I got her to understand that momma wouldn't be able to sprint home, which was 1.5 miles away.  We made it without getting clobbered by any errant tree branches, and without getting totally soaked, but we got home to find no power.  We also found a text message from Derek that said there was a blizzard in Kalispell and if we hadn't left for our run we should not go.  HA!  Turns out the power outage was thanks to a GIANT pine tree (or some wicked tall tree with lots of green pointy stuff) that took power lines practically to the ground.  When I drove by this morning I saw that the tree had at least three tops and the whole thing had come out of the ground intact, roots included.  Search & Rescue said there were over seven foot waves on the lake yesterday.  And it's snowing again today.  Boo.  Happy Spring.

On another note, for reasons I cannot explain at the moment I am dusting off one of my favorite quotes:

Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat
and taking the tartar sauce with you.

-- Zig Ziglar

Yes, it is time to exude confidence.  I'll let you know all about it as soon as I am able.  I don't want to jinx anything.  I'm also dusting off one of my favorite fortunes:

I call that photo "self portrait with fortune."  Heh heh.

Here is a sneak peak of something else:

If this project works out it has the potential to be quite clever.  Stay tuned - I will know more tomorrow.

Rock and roll, people.  Rock and roll.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Run Forrest, Run

Have I mentioned lately that I'm trying to up my mileage?  Have I mentioned why?  We've got a team registered for the 25th Annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon & Relay, which will be held on Sunday, May 26th.  Our team consists of me, my brother-in-law Johnny (team captain), my niece Abby, and my other niece Delaney.  The current plan is that Abby will start the marathon and her dad will run with her.  Then Johnny keeps going for the next leg.  I jump in around the halfway mark, then Delaney gets the last leg, which I will run with her.  This is not typical behavior for a relay team, but it doesn't seem fair to throw a 12 year old onto the starting line by herself with a billion other people.  I plan on bailing somewhere close to the end so Delaney can cross the finish line by herself, unless she wants to run her leg totally by herself.  The problem as I see it is that the relay course is split into five legs, and there are four of us.  I'm not sure how all that is going to work out but I'm leaving it up to our team captain.  I suspect there may be a bit of wingin' it involved.

Listen up, now, because this next part is important.  The name of our team is "ALLmost There" and we are running this marathon relay for charity.  Ever since my nephew Evan was diagnosed with leukemia (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL, hence the name of our team) when he was three, his parents have been very active in raising awareness for the Make a Wish Foundation and for Vermont Children's Hospital.  Our team is made up of Evan's sister, Evan's father, Evan's cousin and Evan's aunt.  Johnny has set up a page for donations through Team Never Give Up Ever and if you feel so inclined, we'd love your support.  You can donate right here.  We're not trying to raise a zillion dollars, but every bit helps.  As the site says, "Every mile for a child."

As I run each week and catalog all of my aches and pains, I keep reminding myself that I've got it pretty good.  Over the years I've been to plenty of clinic appointments with Evan, and frankly my hip pain and my knee giving out are nothing compared to what some of the kids up there deal with.  I'm still trying to get to this point again --

-- but I'm happy for every step I am able to take.

The end.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April showers

You know all those April showers that are going to bring us all those May flowers?  Some of them have been snow showers.  The morning after I posted the photos in my last post I awoke to find four inches of snow blanketing everything.  I broke down and turned my living room heat back on.  This has been one crazy spring.  Poodle and I have been able to up our weekly mileage, though.  Sunday we ran four miles (dodging the slush piles in the road) and Monday we got a little reckless and cranked out eight.  I may have had another one left in me, but I decided eight was pretty darn good.  Afterwards, I rolled out my IT band on one of those heavy duty six inch diameter mailing tubes (yeah, I don't have a foam roller) and that was a HUGE help.  Tuesday I had zero aches and pains.  Zero.  We were all set to run again later in the week but Wednesday it was so nice we sat outside after work talking to the neighbors instead.  Roxie played ball and somehow split open the pad on the bottom of her foot.  Again.  For the third or fourth time.  That little pad - not the ones smack on the bottom of her foot.  So Thursday she was benched and by Friday it was raining again.  I checked weather.com and it said we will be at 74 degrees by next Friday, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Here are the kids last week, working hard:

She's a comfy poodle when she tucks her head under your chin like that.

Remember the painting you could see in the background of those pictures of my fingers?  Here's how it ended up:

It's a hot mess!  And it's my favorite Spanish word!  Awesome!  Chevere has been on my To-Do list for ages, but I couldn't decide what color it wanted to be.  When I ended up with this mess of a canvas I thought it would be perfect.  Wonky and crazy and weird.  Love.

The show opening next week at the Museum will be similar to the Cherry show from last year, but it is called The Fruitful Flathead Valley and includes all fruits cultivated in the Valley, not just cherries.  I'm submitting an older piece and a brand new one.  Mac Out Back is the first, and I haven't named the new one yet.

Happy birthday today to my niece, Abby.  I hope to Skype with her after work if she isn't too busy stuffing her face with cake and ice cream!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dear Mother Nature, .....

Let's talk about the weather outside.  I have been meticulously watching the last little patch of snow out in the field.  Yesterday it was down to the size of a loaf of bread.  Ish.  It rained all night, so I was sure my plan of waiting until this morning to take a picture of the last wee bit of snow would be a failure.  And when I say it rained all night, I mean it rained all night.  Raining when I went to bed at 11:30.  Still raining when I got up to pee at 4:00.  Still raining at 6:30 when I had to grab some paper towels to clean up all the drips from the leak in my roof.  And this morning, here is what I found:

Poo.  It was a white-out on my way to work.

Now let's talk about the weather inside.  I turned my heat totally off right before Easter.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, considering my heat source is a million year old electric baseboard heater and it was bankrupting me.  When it gets way too cold inside I turn on a portable heater.  I tell Roxie I'm turning on the fire.  It works pretty well, and is way more economical than the baseboard heater, although I still have to wear two layers of fleece and huddle under a blanket on the couch with Roxie.  But last night I decided to not turn on the fire.  I painted a bit, washed some dishes, cooked dinner, futzed around - trying to keep the old blood moving.  Here's what happened when I sat down to eat dinner and read for a minute:

See those fun weird colors on my fingers?  Nope, it's not paint.  I'd like you all to meet my good friend Maurice Raynaud.  He's a dead guy.  He was a French physician and Raynaud's Phenomenon (or Disease, or Syndrome) is named after him.  When I get wicked cold, my blood vessels constrict and blood flow is severely reduced to my fingers and to the bottom of my feet.  In that top picture - my right hand - the purple is what my fingers look like when my circulation is improving.  The white fingers - like in the bottom picture - are when I've got just a wee bit of circulation happening.  I soaked my hands in a bucket of hot water (oh for the luxury of a bathtub) and it helped.  Long story longer, that's how cold it was in my living room.  So on went the fire.  Plus, I'm getting tired of my paintings cracking as they dry.  I'm seriously thinking about sticking one in my toaster over on low, just to see what happens.  Silver lining of painting in the kitchen, eh?  Double duty toaster oven!

So here's a new painting, old theme:

The canvas you can see behind my strangely-colored fingers is still in the works.  It started out as one thing but I didn't like how it was turning out.  So I dripped a bunch of white paint on it, let it dry for a few minutes, then smeared it around.  That didn't help.  Third time's the charm, but it will still end up as something totally different from the original idea.  I will have to start from scratch for that one.

It's been a great day at work today.  Art sales, and framing orders, and people picking up their stuff (and paying their bills) and we are making seriously good progress on the cleaning project upstairs, which is important because the building is going on the market beginning of the week.  Plus, I'm going to win the lottery tonight.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mini Me

It was just pointed out to me that I didn't show you the bit I sliced off my "Snow Flowers" painting.  It's four inches wide (and six inches high) so I stuffed it into a 4x6 photo frame and named it "Snow Flowers - Mini."  I quite like the wee little bugger!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's a Sunday thing

I woke up on Sunday and listened to some very furtive activity in my ceiling.  I think my squirrel was back, and was trying not to make any noise while he moved in all his furniture and luggage.  As long as he's quiet, we're good.  If he moves in with a big-screen tv, all bets are off.

Poodle and I ran three miles in a light rain on Sunday, and were quite pleased  Monday to find that both the rain AND SNOW had stopped.  My hip is still acting all wonky, but I can run through that pain.  Unfortunately, at mile 5.5 on Monday, I lost my right knee again.  Grrrr.  My self-diagnosis is IT Band issues.  There will be lots of weird stretching in my immediate future.  When we got home - literally as we ran back into the driveway - poodle asked if she could play ball.  Really?  REALLY?  Six miles wasn't enough for you?  No.  So she chased the ball for another couple of miles.  After some lunch and some laundry, she chased the ball again for a couple miles.  That kid is crazy.  We walked down to the river and Zoom came out to run around, then we walked home and Bones was outside and they ran around some more.  I'm tired just thinking about it all.

I checked airfare again today and can't quite get myself to buy a ticket.  It's $841.00, and that includes going through Seattle in both directions, with a five hour layover in Seattle on my way to Vermont.  Yowza.  Maybe tomorrow the price will have dropped.  And maybe I'm smoking crack.

Here's a painting.

"Two Blue."  That's all she wrote.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hopping down the bunny trail

As I mentioned yesterday, poodle and I had a fabulous Easter weekend.  It started Saturday afternoon.  Actually, back up a day.  We intended to close early on Friday because it was so freaking nice outside.  Derek left at 1pm, and I was going to close at 3pm and then come in at 1pm on Saturday.  As it turned out, I got a little busy on Friday and didn't get to leave until 4:45.  Not much of an early day.  I even had to call Derek down at the bike shop and ask him to come back for a minute because I had several people in the gallery needing help.  We went home and ripped out a quick 3 mile run.  (Okay, it wasn't that quick.)  On Saturday, I got to work at noon-something so I could take my laptop to the library and use their wifi to download Skype.  We DID close early on Saturday - out the door by 1:50.  Sweet.  Roxie got to play ball three times that afternoon.  I vacuumed out my car and washed the windows in my wee home - all four of them.  Two things to cross off my March list.  I wandered around taking some pictures:

Icky poo pond water.  This is why I call poodle Swamp Dog when she sticks her toes in the pond.

I walked the plank, and didn't fall in.

Look over there!

Now the other way!

I spy with my little eye a green jeep that needs a bath.

Saturday night I finished the painting I posted yesterday (and yes, I did chop four inches off the right side).

This is how I end up with paint all over everything I own.

Sunday was also a beautiful day, but it started out questionably.  We got up, poodle had breakfast, then we went back to bed.  As we were luxuriating in the fact that we didn't have to get up until whenever we wanted, I heard a scritch scritch noise in my ceiling.  Well, in the ceiling over my bathroom.  Over my bedroom the ceiling is the floor from upstairs.  The noises got louder, then the chirping started.  Holy.  Crap.  It was a squirrel.  Or maybe the Easter bunny - I didn't think of that possibility until later.  The chirping was so loud it was like the little bugger was sitting on the bed next to me.  I banged on the ceiling with a piece of PVC pipe - it wasn't quite a Morse Code "get the f*** out" message, but it was close.  The space above my bathroom ceiling is accessed through my closet, and my neighbor bravely offered to come over and look up there.  I fully expected a squirrel to fly out and land on his head, but it didn't happen.  I haven't heard any more noises so I'm hoping he got out the same way he got in.

So that's how the day started.  Roxie and I took a walk down to the river and I amused myself while she played with her little friend Zoom.

Then somebody went for a quick dip.

We trespassed all over this somewhat abandoned property.

We also did four loads of laundry and Skyped with my parents and with the Thomas family.  My dad looks good, all things considered.  I had heard through the grapevine that he was down to about half my body weight, but it was hard to tell.  Mom says they are trying to fatten him up.  I say give that guy another hamburger.

My cousin Rosana sang for the Pope on Sunday at the Vatican.  Yeah, she's cool.

Monday was another glorious day.  Poodle and I went for a six mile run.  Woo hoo - winner!  I think I had another mile in me, but I've been having hip issues and figured I would be paying quite a bit for the six miles.  (Turns out it wasn't so bad.  Moving around is fine, it's just rolling over or getting up when I've been sitting for a long time that hurts.)  We both worked on our tan, we walked down to the river with Susan and Bones, Roxie accidentally went out so far she had to swim back to shore, Bones swam like a mad dog, we went home and played ball again.  Bones came back over to visit:

It was a long and busy weekend.  I'm ready for another.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Snow Flowers

Poodle and I had a glorious Easter weekend, but I will tell you about that later when I get all the pictures out of my camera.  In the meantime, here is the last painting I finished in the month of March.  I named it Snow Flowers:

I think I'm going to chop off the two flowers on the right.  They're not dainty enough.  Someone just asked me if this was a tile.  The high gloss varnish certainly makes it look that way, and I've thought the same thing about my paintings many times.

That's all I've got right now.  Gotta go bye.