Hey everyone! I’m back!! I can’t tell you how much I loved all the guest comics, and how lucky I feel that I got not only so many brilliant and gorgeous pieces of art from so many wonderfully talented people, but that I got EXACTLY TEN. I don’t know what I did to merit getting the absolute perfect amount of guest comics, but hooray!

Anyway, I’m back, and boy – I really, really, REALLY wanted some time off doing this comic at the beginning. I think on one hand, the self-imposed tyranny of a three times weekly schedule was wearing on me, and making the comic feel like a chore, and I think also I was very desperate for a break from writing down all my food all the time. Emotionally, mentally, I needed some freedom from that. But you know what? I missed both of those things. Kind of a lot. So I come back to you refreshed and reinvigorated. And with a report on what I did in the meantime!

1) I went to Fleet Feet and got some for-real, grown-up running shoes. Hatchi matchi was that store intense. If I hadn’t been in dire need of good shoes, I might have been intimidated enough to turn around and walk out of there. As I sat there, wide-eyed, taking in the wall of highly specialized, highly technical shoes, listening to the guy describe all the benefits of the different materials and outsole shapes with ardent affection, I thought to myself: I bet this is what it’s like to walk into a comic book store if you don’t read comics. You just want to pick up whatever Yu-Gi-Oh cards your cousin wants for his birthday, and you stumble into a lengthy discussion about the materials that make up Captain America’s shield, or the intricacies of Jack Kirby’s brushwork and it’s all you can do to keep from running away screaming.

Anyway, I hung in there and I ended up with a great pair of shoes, and they are awesome, they make all the difference. It’s amazing how much better things are when you have the right tools and equipment.

2) OH my god the massage was great. If you’re in Chicago, Sarah at Bloom yoga is a goddess. I really need to get massages more often. The pampering and the relaxation is nice, but with all the biking I do, and all the time I spend doubled over a table drawing, the massage is essentially physical therapy.

3) Baking is so much harder than cooking. I am determined to learn how to make a perfect pizza crust, though. It’s my new goal. I can make a passable pizza crust, certainly an edible one, but I want to really, really get it right, the perfect Napoli style, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, not too thick not too thin pizza crust. Either I can’t get it to rise right, or it rises too much and it’s too chewy, or it’s black on the bottom and undercooked – you wouldn’t think something with so few ingredients could be so complicated, but there you are. The good news is, I get a little better every time I try, so victory is within reach. (But if you have any pizza dough tips, people, I am ALL EARS.)

4) HOORAY! My ultimate secret goal for the guest comics was to use the time to get off my ass and finish the pencils for Shuteye #6. Which I did! And I’m now 11 pages into inking it as well, so progress is being made. I’ll be posting little previews as I finish the pages on my facebook page, if you want to see them.

And that’s it! Sorry for writing a Russian novel of a blog post, but I really missed you guys. :)