Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cheesy Cornbread

I made some cornbread today to go with my leftover chili.  It was so pretty, I had to paint it.

Oh yeah, just so you know mom...I stole a few dish towels when I moved in here.  Thanks!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling like Fall

In the last two weeks, the weather here in Lake Placid took a sudden turn towards fall.  Cold nights, crisp days.  At first I resisted it, and wanted more summer.  But then I gave in and now I'm happily enjoying the sights, smells, and habits of fall.  I'm still holding out on turning on the heat in my apartment and so I am bundled up pretty much all the time, whether I'm inside or outside.  I've been drinking lots of tea, and making soup and applesauce.

But the leaves are only just now beginning to catch up with the chilly weather and turn red.  I was impatient to make a fall painting, so I got a photo from a bike ride we went on last fall from my teammate Annelies.  So no, the leaves aren't this bright quite yet.  But they're on their way now!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

a happy painting

I did quite a bit of painting in Finland, but in the end I didn't quite paint every day.  Sometimes you just can't force it, I guess.  But I did break through that initial inertia that makes it so hard to start painting at least!  This is a painting I did just for myself--something to make me happy.
Nils flying a kite. 
I also did a few little paintings from Finland.  Nothing special, but I figure I should post them anyways.  I have to get over the fact that I won't be happy with every painting I make, and thats totally fine!

The abstract one was inspired by the colors of smushed blueberries.  And I was experimenting with using salt with very watery paint to make some interesting textures. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Other types of art, and a challenge!

Well, I've been bad about painting for quite a while.  I'm not sure why--I always love it when I get in to it.  But sometimes its just hard to start.  BUT, I have been doing other creative projects.  And I've also set a new challenge for myself.  I just arrived last night in Joensuu, Finland for a three-week training camp (one of those weeks will be in Sweden), and I've decided that I have to paint at least a little bit every single day I'm here.  It shouldn't be too's light for so long, I could paint outside right now as I write this at 10:30 pm!!

SO, keep a lookout for my painting challenge posts.  I'm doing 4 small paintings on one page, so I think I might just post every 4 days, but I haven't decided yet.  I did my first one today, but I think I'll make you all wait.

But here are a few of my latest creative projects from back home in Lake Placid!
Nope, this isn't a post-modern sculpture.  Its the pile of junk dorm furniture that all of the wood for my next projects came from.  The "free wood" Craigslist listing turned out to be a jackpot!  I even got three fully functional chairs for my deck.

My favorite projects:  funky fabric shoulder bag, sitting on top of the coffee table.

The coffee table was made out of old pieces of a bunk bed frame and a broken piece of granite countertop that an old tenant left behind our house.  Another jackpot!!

I made a bedside table too.  Not the most beautiful, but it works, and its way better than the milk crates that I had stacked up before!

My "garden" is also in a bunch of drawers from the junk wood pile.  This is from a little while ago.  The plants are bigger now and I've even been able to harvest some beans and spinach! The zukes are coming along too, just in time for me to be gone for 3 weeks. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Season wrap-up in drawings, pictures and paintings.

I somehow managed to not take any pictures in Kantiolahti, Finland, where we had the second-to-last world cup, and where I had my best sprint race of the season, scored my first world cup points, and qualified for my first pursuit!  I guess maybe it was because Finland was the least photogenic of the places I've been this year.  It had some stiff competition though--I've gotten to go to some incredibly beautiful places.  But it was a great weekend of racing, and I had a lot of fun racing in my first World Cup pursuit, even though I didn't shoot that well in it.  After such a low point as far as racing was concerned in Pokljuka, Kontiolahti was sudden upturn!  But then I once again struggled with the shooting in the Oslo sprint, didn't qualify for the pursuit, and my spirits plummeted once again. Biathlon is always testing my ability to deal with ups and downs.  Maybe I'll write more of a real wrap-up later when I'm less jet-lagged, but for now I mostly want to post some more pictures and paintings.  Here they are!

Looking out over Oslo from Holmenkollen

Hotel Rica, where all of the teams stayed together for the final World Cup. 

This is one thing I will NOT miss about living on the road for 5 months--hand-washing laundry in the bath tub and then trying to ring it out as much as possible and then it still ends up dripping all over the bathroom.  But somehow it always dries faster than I think it will. 

Going for a ski on the Holmenkollen trails. 

Norwegian fans lining the course. 

My teammate Sara is retiring now, and Oslo was her last World Cup. We had fun cheering together during the mass start races on Sunday.  Congrats on being done, Sara...but we'll miss you!!

Our shooting coach Armin is also leaving our team, so I made him a painting of Antholz, which is where he's from. 

One of our wax techs, Mattias, is also leaving (so many people leaving, its sad!).   Mattias is a great wax tech and also a lot of fun to be around.  So of course I had to make him a painting too!

And then I flew home!!  I'd been scheming and looking forward to my first breakfast at home for a long time...gluten-free crepes!  With lots of homemade maple syrup, of course.   Yum!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Don't worry, I still paint

This is the view from the front porch of the cabin I stayed in at the Rauschbergblick in Inzell, Germany. We stayed in Inzell after the Olympics and the weather felt like May.  It was great for recovering from the Olympic excitement--I sat out on the porch in the sun.  Last year when we stayed in Inzell after World Champs, there was two feet of snow and we could ski all over the valley.  Quite the contrast!
Stefan and the rest of the Schwabl family have always been gracious hosts to our team when we've come in the winter and the summer, so I painted this for them. 

It once again felt like springtime when we were staying right next to Lake Bled in Slovenia.  On the lake, swans were swimming and rowers were rowing.  I'm not used to seeing swans, and it might be cliche, but I think they're beautiful!  I took lots of swan photos while I was in Slovenia.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

sLOVEnia and moving on

Slovenia, I've decided, is a really cool country.  I am sad to say that I am now no longer in Slovenia.  But I hope to go back there for several reasons:

1.  I need some vengeance on the Pokljuka biathlon range.
2.  I need to go to Slovenia sometime when I am not competing and ideally do all of the following things: backcountry ski, cross-country ski, mountain bike, road bike, hike, some other things too that I'm not thinking of.  That might take more than one trip.  But actually, the amazing thing about Slovenia is that I could have done every one of those things during my short visit, given proper equipment.  Its just that cool of a place.

Some more interesting tidbits about Slovenia:
1. It's motto is "I feel Slovenia".  And I felt the love!
2.  Everyone in Slovenia seems to speak good english and be really friendly.
3.  It has beautiful forests, lakes and mountains
4. The people of Slovenia are very active.  It has one of the highest ratios of Olympic medals to population size.
5.  It also has a small coastline on the Adriatic Sea!

So, as you can probably tell I really liked Slovenia.  I think that my pictures below will help show you why.  But I also had my worst biathlon race ever on the World Cup in the Sprint race in Pokljuka. Well, maybe it was better than the one in Antholz that I didn't even finish...but to me it seemed worse because it was all my fault, and yet I still don't really know what happened or why it went so horribly.
I was skiing pretty well (the positive of the day was that I skied pretty well), and came in to shoot prone and missed my first shot.  Then I missed my second shot.  I thought maybe it was windier than I'd though, so I took some clicks into the wind.  Then I missed my last three shots as well.  Yup, I missed all 5 shots...thats what we call "dirtying" in biathlon.  And just as the name suggests, its shameful.  I did my 5 penalty loops with my tail between my legs.  I had another good ski loop, and came in for standing, and just somehow didn't get into the zone.  I shot, went to ski my two additional penalty loops, and knew that there was now way I was going to be qualifying for the pursuit.  I seem to have a curse when it comes to qualifying for pursuits.  I was so disappointed in myself, but also just confused by how it ha gone so badly, and then I finished and got even more bad news:  apparently I had actually missed 3 in standing.  And since I'd only done 2 penalty loops, I was given an additional 2-minute time penalty for my missed penalty loop.  Now I really felt ashamed of myself, and disappointed and frustrated ad dumb, all at once.  I cried a little.
But then I went for a cool-down ski out on a side trail that winds through a beautiful mature evergreen forest and then suddenly looks out over an awesome view of big snowy mountains.  It was beautiful, and soothing.  Which sounds cheesy.  But I really love being in beautiful places, and it makes me happy.
Sometimes biathlon feels incredibly brutal and merciless.  You feel like you're doing a good job, training is going well, you start to gain some confidence and get you hopes up, and then you race and the biathlon gods just rip it all out from under you.  But then there are other times when you go into a race with no expectations, just planning to fight for it and somehow it just falls together and its so rewarding.  I guess that the volatility of biathlon is what makes it so addicting to compete in, and so popular to watch.  Its dramatic and vicious and emotional.  In a biathlon race you can watch people's hopes be brutally dashed and you can also watch an underdog win in glorious fashion.  To be a biathlete, you have to be able to get tossed around and toyed with and not let it disrupt your focus and confidence.  Boy, can that be hard!! But luckily I got to spend some time in beautiful Slovenia moving on from the bad race.  And now I am on my way to Finland, where I will have more chances to race well.

We stayed in a really nice old hotel called Hotel Triglav, overlooking lake Bled.  Down by the lake, it was full-on springtime, with ducks and swans, flowers blooming, and people out for strolls.  

Sara bough each of us a cool mask for Carneval/Mardi Gras/Fasching, and we celebrated on tuesday night in Slovenia by wearing them to dinner.  This is a big holiday in most of Europe, with people out in costumes and lots of parties.  The food at Hotel Triglav was deeeelicious. Very gourmet and even the simplest things tasted amazing.  That was a definite highlight of the trip!

Swans!  I had fun trying to take pictures of them.

Lake Bled is about as picturesque as you can get.  Its got a castle on a cliff overlooking the lake, as well as a castle on an island in the lake!

I bought hot roasted chestnuts from a guy who was grilling them along the path by the lake.  I'd never had freshly roasted chestnuts before.  Yum!!  And I was wearing a t-shirt too!

But then when you drove up the mountain to the venue...there was SOOOO much snow!!  

And beautiful views.

Doesn't this look like a cool place?

Beautiful trees!!

The town of Bled is touristy, but with a cool funky vibe that I liked.  This little pizza shop had delicious gluten-free pizza!