Brush Strokes


Watercolours…

A new reader and friend has recently asked to see more of my art. I have been so busy that I only now realise that I have painted a lot more since my last post about it, so here is a mini-gallery of what is new. I think I am kinda getting the hang of it!

Acrylics…

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Bidets Unite!


Apparently, not all bidets are created equal. Who knew! For the past two years I’ve been knee deep in drama I would rather pass on, a book project that I had a love/hate relationship with (resistance can be quite powerful) and a house renovation. If you follow this blog, then you know firsthand that with all these other pots on my stove, I have not been posting as much as usual. But, hopefully that is about to change.

The good news is that my book finally got published. Self-published, but who cares, it is on Amazon and I have paperback copies on the way and some positive feedback so far, yay! And, here is the caveat…it is written in a pen-name. For many reasons that I will not go into here, but I do invite you to send an email,  if you want to know more about the book or how to get a copy.

Now, back to those pesky bidets. The house renovation is now in full swing. Walls have been knocked down and there seems to be a mad rush to choose fixtures, etc. What I would like to know is how can I tell a builder where I want my electrical sockets to go if I don’t even know where my bathroom sink will be? This is madness. The one bathroom alone has gone through at least ten different layout designs…years from now, I will still be bumping my head into walls, in the dark, for that midnight pee!

Before this past weekend, I never considered the differences in a toilet or bidet and never really cared that much. Oh wait, I still don’t! But alas, I have spent countless hours, that I will never get back, looking at bidet after bidet at shop after shop (ok, I exaggerated a bit, only 3 shops, but it felt so much like 10). Listen, I love design. But I also don’t come from the convention that everything has to be matchy, matchy either, but clearly I must be crazy for my selections.

With my hand held firmly, I am being guided down the path towards the light. My designer friends are probably getting a good chuckle from this. My whole life I have tried to colour inside the lines and that has never worked for me. As soon as I started colouring outside those crazy lines, miraculously, my life started to fit me better.

Anyway, I guess when it comes to basic things like bidets, it is best to follow some kinda magic formula (and the ‘so called experts’) just in case someone comes to visit, if only to reduce any suspicion that you may have been on acid for two years while making your selections.

Exhibit A…of course I can see the differences, but if I was in your house, using your bidet…I doubt I would even notice, let alone care! I’m more interested in whether or not you have toilet paper, to be honest. Maybe that is the North American in me, but toilet paper is your friend and bidets are to wash your stinky feet in, aren’t they?

I shall leave my crazy crayon box alone for now and let the experts point my sorry soul in the right direction and then buy colourful towels in pink and neon green for revenge, muahahahaha

Until we meet again!

xo L

 

 

 

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A man with a gun


I make it a habit to look in my rearview mirror a lot. When you drive in Italy, this actually makes a whole lotta sense because Italian drivers are insane and they will creep up from behind you on both sides and if you aren’t ready for them you will not only be eating their dust but you will most likely also get into an accident that they instigated but are no longer in sight.

Today, I got off the highway and started heading towards our house in the countryside. It’s in a pretty posh (snobby really) area so it is not unusual to see expensive cars zipping around. I was stopped at a traffic light, which was designated for a one-lane construction detour, so it was a pretty long light. When I started to move again at the green, I was at the head of the line so I made sure to look in my rearview mirror for any aggressive scooters who always try and squeak by to the front.

The weather today was pretty mild. We had a huge thunderstorm earlier and now it was like Spring. I even had my window down a crack to take in the fresh air breezing off the windy seaside. But…when I looked at the car behind me, there was a man in the backseat, his window was completely down, and he had his elbow resting on the door and his hand out the window pointing a small hand gun towards the wall we were passing. I honestly had to blink because I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. But there he was, waving a gun around out his window! Shit! Shit! Shit!

I was driving, so obviously I also had to look at the road ahead of me too. I did another glance in the mirror and tried desperately to memorize the license plate but I am hopeless. I was so flustered than none of the letters or numbers would stick into my head. I grabbed my phone and was desperately thinking of how I could snap a photo of the car without them noticing but they were really close behind me and I suddenly worried that they would shoot me if I took their photo.

I slowed down hoping for stopped traffic so I could quickly write it down when they abruptly turned right and disappeared towards the train station. I debated whether I should double back to the station to get the plate information or find the nearest police officer. I opted for plan B.

Only a few meters ahead, I spotted a policeman. I pulled over, honked quickly and waved him to me. He got angry at me and told me I could not stop there! I was like dude, come here, I’ve got something important to tell you! He slowly came to my car, I said there was a white Audi behind me, four men inside, someone was waving a gun out the window, they went towards the train station! He said are you sure? I was like what? Yes, I am sure. I’m not a lunatic. Then he asked me if I got their plate number, sigh. I racked my brain trying to recall something, anything and just came up blank.

He got out his phone and made a call and I drove away. I did in fact go to the train station thinking maybe I could sneak past and get the plate information but the car was nowhere in sight. They may have gone into the public parking area but at that point I decided to just leave.

Trying to find a white Audi in this town is not that hard actually. I passed by two others in town and I am sure there were many more so I doubt anything ever came of my frantic conversation with that lazy police officer. I don’t know what I really expected, but it is so frustrating when you pull your car up to a policeman on the road and are honking like a crazy person, that he might have put a bit of energy into why I was acting this way! No wonder no one respects them, they are useless. What if I was hurt? Having a heart attack, had an injured child in my car, sheesh!

And, that was my crazy adventure today! All true. And a bit exciting…as long as no one shot at me of course!

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Buon Ann0!


Hello everyone! As you can see, I have hardly been posting lately. It has been a very busy year with a lot of projects on the go. Painting has swept me away but I am also the starting point of house renovations too. Mix a little Italian family drama into the mix and well, that’s my life!

Wishing everyone a very happy 2017!

I do not plan to abandon this blog, although right now it probably sure seems like I have. I apologize for that. I love all my readers, old and new and I really hope to have more time to get back on track in 2017.

But Ciao for now!
xo Leah

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The Captain’s wife – part due


I just received the sweetest email from my husband on the ship. He was sent this excerpt below from a guest comment card:

Explain Positive Surprise
I have my picture taken with the captain and his wife, and two days later captain’s wife was jogging and stopped to say hello and if I remembered her and chatted with me for about five minutes I was incredibly impressed !!! Very beautiful and gracious woman
Recognized  Team Member
The captains wife

I had to laugh about the “jogging” bit, it was more like a lazy ten minute walk around the jogging track while wearing what appears to be serious athletic attire, hahaha. Still, very sweet of this guest to take the time to write something so nice about our encounter. We met at a Diamond Member’s brunch with the Captain, which I often attend with my husband.

🙂

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Expat holiday in a nutshell


I think it is really odd that no one has ever really asked me what it’s like to be an expat. I don’t mean here in Italy either. I get asked all the time about my country of origin and how does it compare to Italy. But when I am in Canada I usually get phrases like “oh, you live in Italy, you’re soooo LUCKY!” And then end of conversation.

Every summer I get homesick. I miss my family and friends and not having to struggle with a conversation. Yes, I am still learning the language and apparently it’s not sticking (go ahead, cue the blonde jokes, you know you wanna – le sigh*). I miss family bbq’s, the cottage and being able to amble down to the corner store at 10:30 p.m. because Sid and I decided we needed some chips and more beer!

I also get to skip the stifling summer heat in the city with no air conditioning. My cat sitters were melting and for that I am so sorry. If it’s any consolation, it is still really stinking hot here and I am presently writing this post in my underwear with a fan pointed at me.

Either way, I am glad to be home. This was a long trip to which I am now paying for with a pinched nerve in my back. Why? Well vacations take on many shapes and sizes. Some are for rest and fun, others for visiting and exploration and then you have the third type which is the typical vacation of an expat. To sum it up, that means trying to roll all the above into one holiday. So surely you can see my conundrum?

Here is a summary of my trip:
I slept in a total of 13 different beds (hotel in Miami, my mom’s, Suzie’s house and cottage, Sue’s house and camper, Sid’s, Kelly’s, Alan’s, Rick’s, Shelley’s, Cyndy’s, the ship).
I have no idea how many hours were spent flying or at airports but I do know I was on a total of 7 planes.
I went through Immigration check points 13 times, that includes those x-ray machines so at some point after 60 I may start to glow in the dark, how cool is that!
I visited 5 countries, some of them more than once…hello Bahamas, again.
I was on 6 boats and 1 ship.
In 7 taxis and had 1 rental car.

Oh, and one more thing, all of this was accomplished while shlepping around a 50 pound suitcase, 13 pound carry-on rolly and a snazzy Coach handbag that was getting ruined because I put my running shoes in it since my suitcase was over the limit. Put that photo on the fashion runways of Paris, Yeeeee Haw!

I’m now home with a sore back, can you tell I’ve already downed a few pain pills? hmmmm, yes indeed, that is what it’s really like to be an expat, just in case you asked. 🙂

The upside is that I got to spend some great times with family and friends, sit around a camp fire, eat my brother’s freshly caught fish, see an amazing show in Toronto with my besties, get drunk with Sid, see Pat Benatar and head bang with my sister, go swimming in the lake, hug my dad, paint with my mom, come face to face with a random white cow in Nevis, get a ride on a Harley with my brother-in-law, swim in the sea (twice) with my husband, visit six-toed cats in Key West, catch up with an old friend from 40+ years ago and make new friends too! Hello Mike and the Thorold gang, and Patty and Rob from Alabama.

It takes a village as they say. So thank you to my cat sitters, Di and MaryLouise, for taking such great care of Coco too. Feeling a bit like a rockstar, yeah! Only in reality I am a soft, squishy 50 year old with a very strange tan now and a stupid back problem, hahaha.

Love you all and guess what, I have to go back again next year cuz there’s a very important wedding coming up 🙂

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~Namaste peeps~

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The Captain’s wife – part uno


If you ever find yourself bored on a cruise ship I encourage you to do a load of laundry. I know, who ever could possibly be bored on a cruise ship and why in the world would I want to do laundry? But I am the captain’s wife and I have been to Nassau, Bahamas sooooo many times that the only thing left to do there is take up basket weaving. Ok, maybe not, but you get the idea.

Yesterday I loaded up our bags and went to task. Two loads, and the last day of the cruise but we were in port so I thought I was safe and would have the facilities to myself. Apparently I couldn’t have been more wrong about this and so let the freakshow commence…

Let me just start by saying that is it just me or is it perfectly normal in the U.S. to remove the shirt off your back and just start ironing it? Not once, but twice this happened and one of them was a woman with five kids!

My next surprise was when I came back half way through the drying cycle to find that someone had put their t-shirt in with my stuff! Seriously? I always check the drum before putting my clothes in, so I was positive it was not there when I loaded up the machine.

Then, a guy came in with nothing. No clothes to wash. He looked at me, the t-shirt that I took out and hung on a hook and back at me, then took off his unwrinkled, nylon shirt and started nervously ironing it…hmmmm.

Then, the same woman with five kids came back after about ten minutes with no clothes to wash or iron and asked if I worked there. I said no and that I was just waiting for my stuff to dry because the machine wasn’t working properly and kept shutting itself off. Hmmmm, why was she even there? Was it her t-shirt that was tossed into my dryer? Was she waiting for me to leave so she could fish it out without me being any the wiser (footnote, I hid it in my laundry bag, this was starting to get entertaining)

She tried to start up a conversation with some guy who was ironing his shorts for like 20 minutes before he realized it wasn’t turned on, umhmm. She failed to notice that he was wearing headphones and singing to himself whilst I was just quietly reading a book. Then she started to chat with me. Yes, because that is what you do on ships…you wander into the smallest room where it is hotter than India and strike up a conversation with people you don’t know and who are clearly not interested in socializing with you.

Several more people came into the room, again with no clothes to wash or iron, this was getting to be quite the experience. I am sure that they were all thinking why doesn’t this stupid girl just leave so we can get our t-shirtback, hahahaha.

So by now I bet you are wondering how it all ended. I gave up after feeding at least $9 into the dryer and packed up my crap and hung it in the cabin to dry. As for the mysterious t-shirt, I took that too and then chucked it into the garbage. Yes, call me evil, but I cannot help but wonder what else happens in those little rooms when you walk out and leave your undies to fluff and dry? Why don’t they lock? And why would someone think it was totally ok to put their clothes in with mine?

And who takes their shirt off in a public launderette so that they can iron it while wearing just a bra? I mean, ok, maybe if I was desperate, or drunk, but really? Come on!

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