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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Just a quick stop in to Clayton new York to pay our rent online overseas, to have lunch (we just decided that our tour is rather a food tour, as we all relish a meal on land once a week or so....) and to stock up on a few things.

I am in the cool of the library, on free wifi. The entire building is moving beneath me. Been on the boat too long...
I want to write more but must go and buy some grub to stock up.

Last days have been spent on in anchorage in a beautiful spot where we sanded and varnished all the topside teak, and the kids snorkeled. Delightful, the boat looks so posh now, I feel we must all especially mind our manners.
(Not sure if I like her better as a vagabond or a princess...!)

Yesterday we made a short jaunt to a rock island to snorkle. Barren except of one lone pine tree, we found this inscription in a heavy smooth piece of marble

"Paradise with one tree"
Anniversary gift from Cliff to Elizabeth, 1958.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mid July 2011 ”Promise”

We have spent the last few days making our way down the St. Lawrence River, and two nights ago arrived at the Admiral Islands, the first “real” Thousand Islands group.

I have jotted down a few little vignettes in no particular order, that have typified our experiences, and since my internet contact is varied, instead of posting separately here it is all on one go...

Hot and Cold

The preceding nights were spent anchored at the eastern most tip of Wolf Island, in an off the beaten track place called Brakey Bay, (and yes my achey-brakey-heart is just fine...:-)). Brakey Bay, is about 16 feet deep, and just the right size for a perfect anchorage, with the shore line that perfect amalgamation of closeness/far-ness; close enough to smell the pines and see the fireflies at night (which we did!) and far enough to feel nuisance-less to the local cottagers. We experienced a night of heavy rain, which after the intense heat of the past weeks was very welcome - I have never felt so happy to don a fleecy! There are many things wonderful about Canadian summers, but one of them for me is the indescribable balance between hot and cool; hot lazy days, that cool enough in the evening for a campfire or a sweater - except living on a boat = sweater, but...fortunately no campfire.

Wordless Hush

One evening in Brakey Bay, as is our custom, Bruce and I sat chatting about the day in the cockpit, under the stars sipping a glass of wine and swatting away the odd mosquito as the boat listened silently, swaying gently in the waves. Just as we noticed a dog barking at his echo a few bays over, an entire pack of coyotes/foxes/wolves (?) erupted into song on the very near opposite shoreline. The high pitched howling voices were many as they briefly bayed, we both felt twenty perhaps; small and thin, and throaty and more mature. It lasted only a moment, as soon as it began the matriarchal howlers of the group wordlessly hushed the little ones back into the night. It was almost as though the calling of the first baying canine had been so compelling that the island pack could not resist calling back, even though they knew they should not. It was magical.

Living on Board

I just realized today that I and the children have been living on board Promise for a full month now! Amazing, it has flown past. I love it more every day. It would be easy (?) well maybe not easy, but true to my Unlikely Nomad moniker, to live on board full time.

We regularly imagine going around the world on Promise; wether we can make that a reality remains to be seen.


We swim every day. Always the water is fresh and clear, a drop of water takes 400 years to pass through the system of the Great Lakes to the waiting ocean, but pass it does. Sometimes the water we swim in is deep and dark, and very, very cold, and sometimes it warmly reflects the lush weedy bottom growth that we find entangled in our anchor when we pull it up. Once I donned goggles to peer under the boat while I swam. I immediately became unnerved to the extreme by the spectacle of the boats floating bloated underbelly suspended miraculously over a great depth of murky dimness populated with rocks and weeds and goodness knows what hidden else, the sight of my bluish greenish goose flecked flesh trailing behind adding to the creepy spectral.

Method of Entry

The kids love to swim, they swim for hours every day. Sometimes they like to bob around on their two tethered large garish florescent yellow and hot pink floating rings, like over decorated misguided buoyant donuts, and some days they just love to jump in, over and over. They have perfected pencil dives and jumps in unison where they twirl in time, and even spent an afternoon bailing off the side of the boat and onto their backs, like slick death defying sky diving Skyhawks parachuting into the great beyond.

I suppose in the end, it is not swimming that has been perfected, but methods of entry into the water that have become so well practiced. A favorite to this end, is swinging from the halyards. This involves unclipping a halyard,(one of the ropes that runs from the top of the mast to pull sails up and down) and tying a large and grab worthy knot at the end, taking care that there are no rough edges to cut hands. The jumper then holds onto the halyard for dear life while taking a giant leap off the cabin top, over the lifelines, and swings way out over the water. At the precise moment of inertia, and when the audience has held thier breath for the maximum amount of time, before the halyard and dangling soon-to-be-swimmer crash back into the boat, the halyard must be let go. The now swimming swimmer plunges deeply into the drink.


We do have a very small shower on board, tho we use it only in cases of the extreme: extreme heat or extreme smelliness! Normally we bathe in the lake, soaping up on deck, trying to be discreet as we scrub our undercarriages in full view, then plunge to rinse in the cool. There are few pleasures so wonderful as this, the soft water feeling of being squeaky clean, towelling off in the breeze and donning warm dry clothes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


First week has been amazing...GREAT sailing, I am writing this from Kingston Harbor so we have covered a bit of ground.

We sailed from Cobourg Harbor last Sunday July 16th or so, and had a fantastic run right to the Murray Canal, then a great run across and up long reach, and finally another amazing downwind sail here. Fabulous.

We have been experiencing an incredible heat wave....35 degrees felt like 44 or some ridiculous thing...thankfully we could swim every other 2 minutes, which by the way was the amount of time it took to dry off it was SO hot. Kids LOVE to swim, and do so every chance they can get. (So do we!) :-)

Kept pumping the kids with water....still bl**dy hot though...

Slight losses of sense(s) of humor over kids leaving their cr*p everywhere all the time...but we are getting over it ...and they are improving. Riel in particular finds the new space somewhat disorienting.

It is a small space after all...and some children, especially 7 year old girls with medium brown hair and too long bangs like to talk...not ALL the time but almost... :-)


Still sticking to my NO-DIGITAL summer plans tho...

Even tho 2 kids quietly zoned out in front of a movie sounded so good yesterday...sadly/happily the plug for the dvd player has been waylaid so we are still at 100 % non digital for the summer.


Signing off from Kingston Harbor...Thousand islands tomorrow...

Friday, July 15, 2011


I LOVE being on this boat.


I love that it is all trimmed with wood, that it is a bit older, and well loved.

Less than perfect..but utterly perfect.

I love that she has little cupboards everywhere, and that she fits us just right.

I love that some days the kids like to share the teeny tiny V berth, and some days not so much.


Every one is sleeping..

Kids are drooling, and hub is snoring...

But I am having a glass of wine...

Why you might ask???

Because I just finished my last bit of course work, and my last essay of my online course.

I am DONE until September!

Wooo hoo, Lake Ontario here I come!


Kids and sailing school....

It has been pretty busy what with my course, getting caught up with friends and working at the house.
Bruce has just arrived today, it is nice to have him back.

The kids are loving sailing school which makes all of us very happy.
Lily when asked however, is not steering or trimming sails, but catching seaweed...(??) :-p
I do think it has progressed to a little more than that now, but we chalk it up to a fun experience on the water. :-)
She loves her instructor, and is having a great time with the other kids.

Riel has been learning to turn turtle, or overturn his boat, and right it in record time.
He is rather proud of himself as the first day it took him 10 minutes to right, and now he can do it in under one minute.
I think the coaches are pretty good too.

Gma and Gpa spoil them rotten, so they are all having a great time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Good Day....

Had an amazing day today at a friend's Art Beach Festival, we volunteered there all day and the kids were amazing, helping, and having fun. I am SO proud of them, they LOVE to volunteer... So cool.
Also went to the my friend's new art gallery which is pretty impressive - left a pile of drawings and photographs.
Met an amazing woman who works in an artists collective nearby, seems quite neat and interesting.
Might go and have a look at her group's studio after our sailing in August.

Had a great swim at a friend's pool, the kids were in the pool for H.O.U.R.S....
Wrinkly, happy, hungry, tired kids are G.O.O.D kids...

Then Burger King AND Dairy Queen for supper, (just getting our years worth of junk food in 2 weeks...)
*Super Size Me* !!! *urp*

Then a Cameco sponsored movie on the beach.
2 very tired kids snoozing, time for me to hit the hay too....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tickety Boo...

Finally got the water running, I am SO no mechanically inclined...
Turns out there was a section of the hose missing, and I did not notice....*ahem*


Same with the propane. A switch was off.

So moving right along.....

So with running water and propane, got the mildewy spots cleaned off and surfaces wiped down, all is now shiny clean and smells so too...


Kids had a pretty tough day today. What with all the goings on down below getting the water running, we had some floor boards up, and Lily stepped right into the bilge...fortunately she did not get hurt, but she sure was shocked!

Then a few minutes later she almost accidentally removed one of Riels' front teeth with a hatch cover...

OK you guys, come on over here...

Away from everything - sit down and lets do something quiet before somebody really does some damage...


NOTHING improves jet lag like a good hot shower, a good hot meal, and a nice long sleep!

Aboard Promise

We had a great flight yesterday from Paris to Toronto, and are onboard PROMISE far so good.
The boat is on good shape, clean and relatively well organized, and as I speak one small girl is (voluntarily!!) scrubbing the deck and one medium small boy is (voluntarily!!) washing the side of the boat.


There is pretty extensive mildew at the top of the V birth, and a light dusting elsewhere, the bed pillows were completely rotted so to dispose of them (yuck!).
First order of business is to get the water running, get the propane running and get at it with hot water and bleach.

We have filled both water tanks, but the pump is blowing only air.
Also I have turned the propane on but cannot seem to get any gas to the stove.
*argh*!! We need hot water and to be able to cook would be great....
Well at least the head is functioning...and I have been able to log on...Looking on the bright side..

Fist night here we crashed amid bags and bed linens, but had a good and quiet sleep to the gentle rocking of the hull.
AHHH...LOVE that!!!
The kids were very anxious to sleep in the V berth together, which they did, even tho R is SO tall, he slept bent....
Rainy today, but both kids awoke very happy, they are very pleased to be on board.

Now to get to work!!

*Rolling up sleeves*

Friday, June 17, 2011

Growing up...

Riel was invited to a disco Birthday party tonight.

He had such a good time.

When I texted him to see if he was having fun, he texted me back *GO AWAY*

I guess that means he was having a good time... :-p!!

I spent some time watching the kids dance, and open presents, and I got a BIG lump in my throat.

So sweet to watch them hanging out together, running back and forth to the bathroom...

He is growing up SO fast!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The show....

Well now that it is a few weeks behnd me and I have gained a little perspective, I can talk about it.

Something about being in the throws of it, that well...*meh* I don't know....just feel too compelling to be able to say anything at.

SO for those of you who do not know, I am newly a student at Parson's Paris.
Well newly and not so newly, one, I have just finished my first semester which for all intents and purposes is actually my fourth, due to transfer credits, and two, am now entering my third year of four years...(amazingly!)

Our year end show was three weeks ago, and out of 22 pieces of art work from the Fine Art department, encompassing all three years, 7 of them were mine.

I produced a short film clip that was shown.

I had 3 sculptures,

1 very large painting,

And a large drawing installation.

Weeeew hoo!

I was tired.

But very very happy.


Pics to follow

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Getting out...

Well, I always figure that when you have the wherewithall to arrange to get places to do things outside of the normal mouse trail that is the normal day of activities, groceries, school, boulangerie)(!), Starbucks (there is a new one at a corner near us...more on that later) it means that you have finally arrived.

Today we took the bus to Montparnasse and saw "Where the Wild Things Are", in OV, (original version).

I think I even ran into someone I know in Starbucks the other day... this makes me very happy!!!

So I guess we have finally arrived!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Water flowers,

Popcorn stuck,

Bad luck,


Wash linens,

Scrub floors,

Dust doors,


Scrub kitchen,

Strip beds,

Scrub heads.


Lego sucked,

Vacuum junk,

Wipe gunk,


Washers running,

Feeling feet,

All neat.

Unlikely Nomad '11

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A turn of fortunes...


Yes... it was looking pretty grim around here...

but today was GREAT!!

1) It started with an email from our realtor at home...someone might like to rent our house...

And teach music out of it...

And maybe hold recitals!!

I cannot honestly think of something I would rather see happening in our lovely old home than something like that...

I can hear the floating notes from here....

2) I got a response from one of the several too many au pairs I am wooing online,

(honestly I think it is worse than dating)

She, thankfully, seems old enough to make some sane decisions, (but not too old)

and she might actually and seriously want to come and stay with us for the next school year.

Honestly, it is stressing me out something have everything in place for school next year

except CHILDCARE...ughh!! (keep your fingers crossed that she is as sweet and sane as she seems...)

3) I got a letter from the Dean of the school (PArsons, MY school) congratulation me on my excellent academic

achievement this semester,

and informing me that I have made the DEAN'S LIST....

*extended and ridiculous happy dance and general hoo haa-ing!!*

What a good day!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Beautiful, lonely, busy, empty.

Historical, difficult, trees, hobos,

Apartments, yards, beggars, streets,

Traffic, noise.

Art, culture, swimming,


Where am I swimming too...

ho hum.

tough day in Paris.

Friday, January 7, 2011


So update on our life (the good and the ugly!!) it is....

Though it is lovely to be here, in this incredible city of light, (and LOVE says R) - living the dream of Paris...the pastry, the coffee...the food, the wine - the first week was...well... pretty rough. Everyone was feeling so out of sorts and we were all getting so angry with each other...everyone seemed to cope really well until we all got alone together and then, all hell broke loose..well...normal I suppose. I felt I should congratulate myself that my kids feel so comfortable letting it ALL hang out with me!!! *ha* So - I am remembering, now, that we take our secure environments for granted, and we easily forget what a stabilizing influence they have on our energy. (OK everyone who has a stable environment...please...take a break and appreciate it...for me!) :-) I felt sort of validated in a twisted sort of way this week speaking to a new mom at school and she confided to me that she thought her family was going to fracture they all felt under such stress before during and just after their I am just trying not to fight these feelings, accepting and realizing that this will all pass, and it has begun already.
The kids now seem to be doing great, they are really enjoying school, and seem to be making friends, which is the most important thing. So far so good. It is a change that they are in a religious school, youngest said to me, we did "God" today Mommy...we ALL do "God" together...they are supposed to be in the multi-faith stream learning about world religion, which to us seemed like a wonderful and very unique opportunity, one which we were very very excited we will see...*hmmm*.....
The kids have to wear a uniform to school (which is navy blue) and the first day of school L decided that she hates HATES HATES!!! -navy blue...."I HATE navy blue!!!!!!! BIG MASSIVE LOUD PASSIONATE temper tantrum... kicking - screaming..WOW!! ..really bad and not like her at all. Took me completely by surprise and sort of freaked me she has settled down - thank goodness, and seems to be the exact polar opposite - very excited and happy about everything. Oddly so far she has exponentially more homework than R....*hmmm* must investigate that...
R is seemingly very steady, and has had a few blow ups, but by and large seems to be doing really well. We are hoping the kids will begin the school bus next week, as it all seemed too much all at once. I ride the city bus back and forth with them for now... it comes right to our door and drops the kids right at the doorstep of the school...imagine? That has NEVER happened to me in my entire life before - and in this immense city to boot! The kids will start Tennis next week, we will keep it down to a dull roar for now and concentrate on getting settled first.
We were in a temporary apartment last week; very small, very dark and in a not so great a neighbourhood (understatement). I was annoying hub B because I called it the "JAIL" all grey, no kitchen - just a bar, no slept in the basement...creepy...clean, modern and trendy....but CREEPY!!! Thankfully we have now moved into a better one with a nice garden; yes I schlepped 7 suitcases across Paris with a completely stunned taxi driver...I am sure he was thinking why in the world does she need ALL those bags?? (and when will I learn not to bring/have so much stuff!!!) The new temporary apartment is still small but sunnier, quieter definitely NOT so trendy...but much more suited to a family - (I feel as though I have just walked into a 1974 french film "Font du Ski" too funny)...because our plans were so late we were not able to get anything better (or so Bruce tells me!)
The first day after we arrived, there was a mugging right behind us, some lady got her purse stolen...I thought the kids were going to have heart attacks right there on the freaked them out so much! There she was, a little skinny old lady with no purse running down the street yelling "STOP....THIEF!!!! ... STOP!!!" at the top of her lungs in french - poor after that we felt pretty scared....! We are all feeling much better now, as soon as moved into a better environment, everyone relaxed right sometimes I think it is only time that is needed to help everyone feel better. My heart aches for all of my wonderful friends at "home" as that is how Hannover and the school feel for me... but we have leapt, and now.... we must forge ahead.
I am in LOVE with the lovely ever elegant Lady Eiffel. I decided today that she is a "She". "She" is breath taking, I wonder if we will tire of her? She graces our skyline. Today R and I mused if Gustave Eiffel was satisfied with her when she was finally complete, or if he wished he had done something different. I wish I knew.
We are very excited to actually get into our new apartment - only 120 sq metres but I am sure we will all fit nicely. We have explored the park next door, and have already met some new families, the area seems to be crawling with expats, which is nice, I think (?). Today I went to check out the market, which is a few streets over, and on my way found a great bio organic co-op, and good cheap stuff place, (like Aldi) for cheap stuff, and the usual french market yummy food! I have been eating on the fly for today after discovering all this wonderful food, I ate ALL day!! I ate every comfort food I could get my hands on...chocolate, candied ginger, licorice, strawberries, fresh figs and a then a great big mess of pasta bolognaise....*burp* Guess I need to stop stress eating soon... *fattening as I sit here* ....!
We are redoing the kitchen etc in the new apartment, and so I have been so busy getting organized with that. Also figuring out what we can bring etc. It has been crazy! Tomorrow I will set up bank accounts, next week I get the keys so can organize telephone internet etc. and then I will paint the kitchen.
Me, well I am doing ok. Feeling a bit lost I suppose, but not in a bad way, in a new sort of opening-up-for-something-new kind of way, in a way I sort of like - after all. No thoughts yet for me of my school, I am so busy taking care of everyone else....but the idea of it is hovering at the back of my mind like a warm stew pot simmering on the back corner of an old wood stove. Yummy!
So goes the update. Things seem to have reached a ZENITH here...if the zenith was up or down, I am not sure, but definately seem to be trending up now. I had the obligatory spat with the agency attached to the new things can only go up from here!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

MY Life has been CRAZY!!!!

YUP...We did go to Northern Germany to the EAST SEA for a long weekend which was fabulous...

YUP....We did got Turkey to ISTANBUL for a week which was even more fabulous...

YUP...I am taking an online course in painting like Orenta...and my two normal art classes during the week plus prepping for my course in London this summer...

YUP...I do have sooo many commitments with the kids at school and about 7 different volunteer things...

YUP...we do have a lovely visitor Eva Diva who has been the MOST SUBLIME of visitors and who the kids simply adore (as we do!!)

YUP WE did just have two super birthdays this week ...mine and the TLG (The Little Guy) who turned 8...won't mention how old I am...thank TONS for all the well wishing and cards and gifts....!!

YUP I do have tons of great pics and lots to say about it ALL...

I have not given up on blogging for any of you who are still stopping by ....but... BUT OH....oh my spinning head!!

What we have been up to...