Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Circle Game

Well, another season has come around and the biathlon racing season has already begun and I am also one year older!  EEK!!  I'm not sure how it happened so fast...
I've been trying to write a blog post for the last 3 weeks, but since I hadn't written one in so long, I felt like it needed to be a big catch-up, life-update, meaningful, important blog post and that seemed very daunting, so I kept putting it off, which meant that then I kept accumulating more different things to talk about and so then it kept getting more daunting.  It was starting to snowball out of control and I almost decided to never write a blog post again!

Haha, just kidding. But it did seem daunting.   But then I started drawing some cartoons.  Some of them came out really negative.  But...whatever...here they are anyways, in roughly the order that I made them.  

First I started out with a little update about how my summer training went:

yeah...so that was pretty negative.  But to be honest, it did feel like sort of a rough summer of training.  There were a lot of good parts, but also a lot of injuries and problems.  So my confidence was not at its highest coming into the season.  But at the same time, the injuries helped me work on some weaknesses of mine, like no-pole skiing and standing shooting.  I felt like it was still a solid summer of training.  Then we flew to Sjusjoen Norway for our preseason training camp, and I got sick as soon as I got there.  But then I got better, and got to go on a realllly nice ski on a sunny day after a snowstorm:  

After Sjusjøen, we went to Östersund, Sweden for the first world cups.   In Östersund it was quite dark but there were lots of pretty sunsets and its fun to ski under the bright lights:

Next I wrote a few cartoons about life back on the road in Europe:  

And then we raced, and I didn't want to write a blog post because I didn't want to make it too negative:

But a few days of perspective, talking to my coaches, and looking ahead put me in a better place.  (And a little change of scenery and food never hurt either):

And that brings you, via cartoons, to the present!  I'm in Austria now for the Hochfilzen world cup.   There's not really snow here but it is sunny and beautiful and it was nice to go for a little hike this morning.   I had some bad races in Östersund, but when I look back, I have bad races every year at this time.  Every year its tough mentally, but after more racing I get faster and remember how to race again and because of that it gets more and more fun.  So that is what I'll do this year too!  After all, biathlon is just a funny game of skiing around loops and shooting at circles in cool places all over Europe.  

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 hard...it'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.