Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Slacker

I've been drawing, but I've been slacking in daily postings - mostly due to holiday slacking. Here are my most recent two daily drawings. At some point I promise to do more with my new pens - hoping to work with different size lines and some stipple in the future (if my patience holds out).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hands and Knees

I got a new set of pens from my husband for Xmas - it's a 9-piece Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pen set the nib sizes range from teeny-tiny to huge (.13mm to 1.2mm). And the best thing about them is THEY WORK. Using these pens is like drawing a dream line. (Compared to my old Rapidograph pen that only produced an ink-flow when it wanted to.) I've only used two of them so far - the .3mm and the .25mm but I love them and I worry that, as an artist, I'll never be worthy of having a pen set like this. The set (see photo) came from a local art supply store called Utrecht:

So, over the last few days, I did three new drawings. Nothing unusual, just the same old thing. Yesterday, after leaving work early to avoid the disaster of having to drive in a blizzard, I fell down the stairs and did more damage to myself - to my right knee and to my already-screwed-up right shoulder. I fear my disaster magnet tendencies are ramping up for 2013 and that the coming year will hold little for me in terms of racing in triathlons. Anyway, here are my latest drawings - I guess they're collectively called "hands and knees":

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Injury and Pain

Today (well, actually yesterday) I decide to go back to drawing pain. This drawing is what my shoulder injury feels like. I don't have a clue what the MRI showed, but this is what I think is wrong.

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Streaming

Today's drawing was similar to yesterday's in that I drew some random ink lines on the page and went with whatever conformed to those lines. It wasn't as successful in my opinion but I don't have time to do another one tonight.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today's Drawing

This was the most stream-of-consciousness drawing yet since I started the daily drawing series. I didn't have any specific thoughts at the start - I just drew some light lines on the page and went with it from there. All pen, so I had to incorporate all the original lines - no erasing could take care of it. The problem area was the bottom left - I didn't know exactly how to bring it all together so I just sent the tail-like thing behind the main object. (Poor planning - but it was just a sketch, right?)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuck again

I drew this today after going through yet another disappointment. It seems like every time I drag myself back up onto my feet, I get thwacked back down. This drawing is what it feels like to be down and considering staying down.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Connective Tissue

Today's drawing has something to do with all the pain I'm having in my legs from trying to shock myself back into training (mostly running) after the downtime during our all-nighters to get the museum's new website up and running. And my shoulder is still causing pain at random times (for instance, during both running and sleeping).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Low Motivation - Crap Drawing

Today my motivation to draw hit the lowest point since I started the Daily Drawing series. My energy and focus today has been affected by nine days of non-stop work, very little (and fitful) sleep, trying to get back into training, applying for sponsorship for 2013, wine, and watching the concert for Hurricane Sandy relief. So I started this drawing and finally just gave up because I didn't really like the way it was going.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today I felt completely tied down and strangled. I've been panicking regularly while working about 12-14 hours per day to launch a new website and it finally went live but with little fanfare as I still have an extremely large amount of work to do to get everything working the way it should. My head hurts and my hands hurt and that's what went into this drawing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's a Wrap: 2012 Season Review, Cliffs Notes version

Despite what seemed like a crap season, this was a highlight,
talking about my flat on camera after IM 70.3 Vegas.
I always like to write a post-triathlon-season review blog, mostly to reflect on the lessons learned and decide where I want to go the next year. But this year, I find myself in a 24/7 crunch time at work as my cohorts and I have been feverishly cramming (seriously, it's like we're college students doing all-nighters) to put the finishing touches (or at least some kind of touches) on my employer's - The Cleveland Museum of Art's - updated website. The reason for the cram is that the museum is launching an iPad application which plugs into our website content management system - in order to launch the iPad app by the deadline, we have to have the new website (my responsibility) done. Why did I tell you that? Because - despite the fact that I have been keeping up with my "Drawing of the Day" blog series - I hope it explains why I've not had much time to write a blog post.

But I HAVE had an enormous amount of time to think about the past year. Every time I run or get on my trainer or (very infrequently) visit the pool, I relive the pain of my 2012 season. And even though it doesn't feel like unfinished business, I still want to put it to rest and not have it float like a specter above everything I do in 2013. I'd like to avoid living next year like I have something to prove.

I've decided to make a quick list of the disappointments and then try to focus on the positives. In the disappointment category:
  • Based on my memories of a great race in 2011, I started my 2012 tri season with very high expectations at Ironman St. George in May. What actually happened was a two-week upper-respiratory infection followed by a second infection that hit Monday of race week. I spent the week in bed with a 102-degree fever, started the race only to be hornswoggled by horrific race conditions (high surf, 40-mph wind), constant bouts of coughing, and a broken shifter cable around mile 70. I managed 16 miles of the marathon with a antibiotic-compromised digestive system, and finally threw in the towel - claiming that I was no longer having fun. (I wasn't.)
  • I tried to make a comeback in early June at Ironman 70.3 Mooseman in New Hampshire only to end up crumpled over in respiratory distress (again), but this time due to a severe allergy-induced asthma attack.
  • Ironman 70.3 Racine proved yet another disaster, this one of my own making - a major mistake in sodium intake found me crumpled on the side of the road (again) with medical personnel. This time the diagnosis was the opposite of my usual nutrition problem of hyponatremia - it was severe dehydration.
  • As the defending age-group champ in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Vegas, I was the first age-grouper out of transition for the second year, but this time, I ended up on the side of the road (yes. again.) with a blow out at mile 3. After watching everyone go by while changing my tire, I managed to race myself back to a third place finish in very tough (100-degree heat) conditions.
  • And finally, feeling in the best shape of my life, my trip back to Kona turned all wrong when something went terribly awry with my biomechanics. After pushing through severe hip and groin pain for 90 miles of the bike leg, I found myself in the Kona general hospital for x-rays and a potential stress fracture. I was discharged with a cane only to hobble around airports the next day.
There was a point in 2012 when I thought I would never again see an Ironman finish line. But where would I be if I weren't stubborn? There were several experiences in 2012 that lifted me up enough to fight another day:
  • The biggest one was that I finally found the right products to solve my nutrition issues once and for all. I switched to all Gu Energy products - Roctane drink and gel are what I now build my entire Ironman fueling regimen around. And Gu Brew has become the savior of my run special needs bag.
  • On the racing front, I won the overall women's race at the GNC Pittsburgh Triathlon with my fastest time ever on that particular course. The most enjoyment came, however, in passing women on the run who were less than half my age - and knowing they were not happy about it.
  • I set the age group course record (just recently found out) at Ironman Louisville. It was hot, it was hard, I was nursing a shoulder injury, and I went out too fast on the run. But I fought for every second of that race, I made it fun, and it paid off.
  • In Burlington, VT, I raced my way to a spot on Team USA for next year's ITU Age Group World Championship in London, England, one of my favorite cities. I will now have the opportunity to swim in my favorite urban park in the world - Hyde Park - and race in the tracks of Olympians.
  • Oh yeah, and it seems like a long time ago, but also I got a Masters Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention from USA Triathlon.
In retrospect, my year wasn't all failure like I had originally thought. It just wasn't the year I wanted it to be. Especially after a stellar 2011. My biggest races ended in disaster, and I had to regroup mentally several times. Most strikingly, I didn't run any marathons this year. Running marathons always keeps me a little more sane because it puts me in my athletic comfort zone (it's my endurance racing macaroni and cheese).

Although 2012 made me consider it, I guess I'm not ready to throw in the towel on triathlon yet. Amidst the turmoil of work and the frenzy of the holidays, I have found myself thinking about next season. Although I may not be talking about it just yet. Ask me in January.

Running Hallucinations

While I was running yesterday, I swear I saw this in the tall grasses by the roadside. I don't even know what it is but my husband says it's "scary." It's more likely that I was hallucinating from a severe lack of sleep and waaaay too much work in front of a computer. Seriously, something's gotta give.

Friday, December 7, 2012


After one more very long work day (12 hours of struggle in front of a computer), I sat down on the couch and started drawing what my head is feeling like - both the pain and the stress of upcoming unrealistic deadlines. I'm tired of hearing twisting words and having to deal with underhandedness. It grows like a fungus an affects everyone. Here's my drawing, I was having trouble stopping the growth, I could have filled the page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All Work

This is a drawing of me becoming my work. Not fully realized but I'm too tired to finish it. I did finally get to the pool today after about a month of no swimming. It wasn't as scary as this drawing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

In the Dark

Tonight I had to run in the dark after a long day of work. But it was unusually warm for December (60 degrees) and it was a good for stress relief. I noticed a tree that was pitch black against a sky filled with reflected light (but it was only slightly brighter than the tree in the foreground). I tried to draw it, but I'm way too sleepy to do it right. Anyway, here is what I drew.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Armageddon

I drew this after riding my trainer and then another bout of watching TV programs about prophesies, the Book of Revelations, and the end of the world. Not much about the end here, it seems to be more about my physical issues.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Apocalyptic Vision?

I drew this while watching two TV programs about December 21, 2012 and the end of the world. The solar flares, the Nostradamus predictions, the Mayan calendar, and the galactic alignment. All this crazy stuff about the apocalypse with fire and famine and floods and violent weather and how the crises might hit us completely out of the blue even though we should be aware it's coming - and the use of the word extinction all over the place - and this drawing was all I could come up with.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back at it

Yesterday slipped away before I had a chance to draw - and I thought today would end up the same way, but I managed to get some drawing in just in time. I had nothing specific in mind when I picked up the pen, I just went with whatever came out. Here it is

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Art

(More spoilers, don't read if you want my xmas card to be a surprise) I ran out of time to draw (who knew it would be this hard?) yesterday (and today). But, again, I did do something creative - both days. Yesterday, Jim and I finished printing the second color on the xmas cards. And today, I actually did some major development work AT work.

With the prints, registration of the colors worked amazingly well this year and now we only have to pray that printing the lighter colors over the darker color works. Well, that and also that I can pull off a good lino carving so it actually looks like something.

The second color was supposed to be a plum-color, but I really liked the color I mixed first - it was closer to purple - so I went with it. Jim wasn't sure at first, but I hope he sees my point when the next two colors are printed - I think they will work better over a bluer background. Here are some photos - the rolling and printing of color number 2:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bad Day Cartoon

Today was a very frustrating and downer day. I found out that to fix what's wrong with my jaw will require about a year or more of braces, then surgery, then another year or more of braces. And the cost is beyond what I think it's worth. I broke down in tears in the orthodontist's office. I told the doctor's assistant that I'm not worth it and it seems like I would be vain if I spent that kind of money on myself. After all, I'll still be ugly even if my bite worked right. Jim wants me to go through with it but I'm still on the fence.

Then came the shoulder diagnosis. My MRI showed a labral tear, but I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor for a follow-up until December 20th. So much for help and treatment.

And finally, work was a complete disaster -- our website contractors have all but stopped work on development and left me out in the cold over money issues. I don't control the money or the contract but I have to support the work and at this point I have limited training (specifically on what they've built) and no documentation. And the site launch date is less then two weeks away. Basically, I feel like I'm up the creek without a paddle - but I'm trying to maintain hope that things will get handled at a higher level. Or that I won't be completely gray by the time it's over.

So, i drowned my sorrows in a Stone Ruination IPA, and I can barely see (or draw). So I decided to draw a cartoon of my large, polydactyl, almost-toothless cat, Hopper, and call it a night. (I can't even believe I wrote this much but I'm not proofreading it so I apologize for errors.) Hopper is much cuter than I give him credit for - but his tongue hangs out and his feet look like they're on backwards.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Talking in Circles

Something happened today that reminded me of why I get upset when people spend all their time tied to their phones (and I admit, I can be guilty of this). Today, I barely used my phone because I was too busy ripping out my hair trying to navigate new software with less than no support from the developers. In fact, help in any way, shape, or form has been very hard to come by of late. I'm discouraged, frustrated, and trying hard not to give up. I just wish phones weren't also getting in the way. I decided to call this drawing "The endless loop phone":

Artist. Slacker (sort of).

(SPOILER ALERT - if you want my xmas card to be a surprise, don't look)

I ran out of time and energy yesterday and the result was that I had no drawing to post. I did do something creative however. I printed the first color for this year's 4-color lino-cut xmas cards. This year, I've gotten more ambitious than in years past in several ways:
  • At my husband Jim's insistence, I've come up with a registration mechanism that uses an old set of registration tabs and Post-It paper flags. We've put two hole-punched tabs on every card and now all we have to do is pray it works - because registration has always been the most difficult (read: next-to-impossible) part of the printing process because I kept thinking we could do it by just lining up the edges of the cards on the printing plate.
  • I'll be attempting to represent many more than four colors in this year's four-color print. The most colors I've ever printed on my cards is four, but usually, I break the image down into four distinct colors and it consequently ends up all a bit cartoony. This year, I'm going to attempt to make realistic gradations of color using my linoleum carving skills. Yeah, I'm not expecting this to go perfectly.
  • And, obviously, from the previous bullet, I'm going to attempt much more realism in this year's card.
  • I'm planning on printing two colors in a not-recommended order: light over dark
Three and a half hours of last night were spent printing color number one. The first color always takes longest because the inking area of the plate is the largest, and rolling them takes much longer. It took even more time than it should have when I started fretting that I totally screwed up the initial registration. The pleasant surprise was that the first color - a slightly red-shifted light blue - turned out very good with the [mindlessly-chosen-yellow-shifted-off-white] paper color.

I'm not expecting miracles with the rest of the card, because of what I'm attempting in bullet number four above: printing two lighter colors over the darkest color. Using samples of printed color from old cards, I tried mixing the two lighter colors and layering them over a darker one, and it looks like it will work. But, execution is always the hardest part of printing. 

In theory, everything works, right?

Anyway, here's a teaser of the print process (yes, that's light blue, not gray, stupid phone cam):

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Not as Planned

This started out as a drawing of my feet while I sit in front of the TV watching college football. It then morphed into something completely different (which was always the plan). I struggled with my left foot on the bike trainer today, so maybe that's why I focused on my feet tonight.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Hand

I spent most of tonight working on carving the linoleum plate for the first color on this year's Xmas card. I thought about using the carving as today's "drawing," but after careful consideration, I've decided to save writing a blog about the card process until after they're sent because I want to keep them a surprise. So after carving, it's NO surprise that the hand imagery is back in tonight's drawing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


This drawing had two inspirations. The first was a dead tree that I saw while I was out running today. The second is a book that I'm currently reading called The Rook: A Novel, by Daniel O'Malley. (Spoiler alert!) One of the main villains in the novel is an organization called The Grafters who do some very interesting things with body parts and implants. Anyway, this drawing disappointed me and I worked on it way too long to no avail, but I don't have time to draw something else because I feel the need to start working on my Xmas cards ASAP - Thanksgiving just ended. I hope everyone out there had a great one!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today I had a shoulder arthrogram - it's an MRI with contrast done by injecting dye into the joint. Before the MRI part, I got to watch the injection process on an x-ray. It took longer that normal because my shoulder joint was causing trouble for the needle and the doctor had to come in and wrench things around to get the dye flowing. The whole time I just prayed that it didn't all of a sudden get ultra painful (it didn't) and watched my shoulder joint on the x-ray. It got me thinking about joints and - I suppose, ultimately led to this drawing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Gnarly Pain

I think this is a drawing of what's wrong with my shoulder. Tomorrow I have an appointment to get an MRI to find out what's actually wrong. I wonder what it will look like. I hope I'll be able to swim again soon - well, I hope what's wrong can be fixed so I can swim without worrying about it. Anyway, here's the drawing.

Monday, November 19, 2012


My husband Jim thinks I have some kind of finger fetish lately - he says I keep drawing things that look like hands. I don't know why I keep with this imagery but it's whatever comes out once I start drawing. Today I put down my beloved Sharpie felt tip and dug up an ancient 0.25 mm Rapidograph pen and a vial of India ink. It took me several hours to bring it back to life but it was so worth it to have that micro-line of ink to work with. I think what's really happening is I am developing a pen fetish.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Stretch

My latest creation - inspired by an outstretched hand, the pain in my shoulder, and drawn while watching The Walking Dead. Every drawing takes a macabre turn if I work on it during The Walking Dead.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just in time

I came up with the idea for this drawing while I was running today and saw a spikey fence. I am planning to do more with the idea at a later time but I had to get something on paper before midnight (we had guests for dinner and I almost ran out of time to draw today).

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Pain

I destroyed my new Sharpie making this drawing today. I need to go back to pencil drawings before I forget how.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Representing Pain

I started drawing at work today during lunch because my hip was hurting and I wanted to express the pain. So here it is, my first attempt to represent the thing that is trying to destroy my hip joint.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14 Drawing

Just another stream-of-consciousness drawing, this one doesn't really have any inspiration. In fact, i might call this a supremely uninspired drawing. It almost seems like a backward step. but I did get some new Sharpie thin-line pens so I don't have to steal them from my husband anymore.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spiraling Off

I drew this during a phone call with my mother today. The conversation spiraled AND went off on several tangents. Obviously the drawing did too.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I don't know what inspired the thoughts, but I while I was drawing, I was thinking about the ground and being stuck.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I'm still working with shapes. Today I decided to explore what kind of organism might have an underlying cube structure. This is what I came up with.

What's Up Between Drawings

Looming in my future.
I haven't written a REAL blog post in many weeks. I don't have much to say because I've been so busy - mostly at work. I feel like I should be doing more in the way of planning for next racing season, but every time I sit down and think about it, I lose interest and find myself going down a hole of sadness. I only have two races to focus on next year. The first one is the Boston Marathon in April. It will be my third Boston - the last time was 17 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long since I ran Boston, but the last time I ran it was the 100th anniversary in 1996. The other thing on my schedule is the 2013 ITU Age Group World Championship in London in September. Someday I will fill in the blanks for the rest of the season, but not today. There are several health issues that need to be taken care of first:
  1. Determine what went wrong in Kona. So far, the only thing that turned up was a blood test showing I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I don't know how much it affected my race - will have to find out more when I talk to my doctor about it. In the meantime, I have to take huge weekly doses of Vitamin D.
  2. Diagnose what's wrong with my shoulder. Since my fall in the summer, it hasn't been right, and it's now getting worse. I can't reach backwards with my right arm without being overcome by severe pain and a few minutes of recovery time. This is the weirdest injury I've ever had because of the weird recovery phase required after I trigger the pain.
  3. Get my jaw fixed. For many many years, I've been grinding my teeth down. It got worse when I developed severe TMJ after a head-on collision with a biker on the sidewalk back in the mid-1990s. Nothing about my jaw really works well due to both that accident and the fact that I have what's called an "open bite" (my front teeth never came together even after four years of braces in high school). Anyway, my dentist(s) have been on my case to have it fixed for over ten years because in my subconscious hours, I'm slowly destroying my teeth.
So, that's the health side of the coin. On the flip side is mostly work. I've been working on a huge web development project for my employer, The Cleveland Museum of Art. The project required that I spend a week in Philadelphia at the contractor's office helping with development tasks, answering questions, and learning as much as possible about our awesome open-source content management system, Drupal. While I was in Philadelphia, I endured Hurricane Sandy, ran everyday either on the treadmill or along the Schuylkill river, and worked long hours. On the way home, I took a side trip that involved figuring out how to get into New York City without at least two passengers in my car during the hurricane HOV ban (answer: the George Washington Bridge) and an all-nighter with a good friend on the upper west side. On the drive home, I collided with a deer on I-80 after it was hit and bounced into my lane by a semi-truck. The next day I found myself in bed with a 100-degree fever. I can't say any of it was unexpected because this is par for the Disaster Magnet course. Since I got back, I've been working long hours and training has been almost non-existent.

Here are some random photos from my trip to Philadelphia:

I ate breakfast at Jean's three times - in fact, it was the ONLY place open
the morning Hurricane Sandy hit.
This is the Khyber - the place where I first saw Turin Brakes - it's no longer
a concert venue, but I had to go back for the memories.
Monks might very well be the most famous Belgian beer joint in the USA.
Scene from my morning run
Another scene from my morning run
The Philadelphia Museum of Art with its famous "Rocky" steps
View of Philadelphia from atop the Rocky steps

And this is what happened when I got together with my friend Col├ętte-Elizabeth in New York:

We're not telling.
Seriously. Not. Telling.
We got artsy...
with our phone cams.
And it was gin o'clock at Kennedy's bar.
This is what happens at gin o'clock.
No, THIS is what happens at gin o'clock.