My “2nd” First!

As a full-time abstract Artist and Jazz/Scat vocalist my life is really sweet in so many ways.

I get to do the things I love to do pretty much whenever the spirit moves me.

Which isn’t as often as one might think, I am sad to report.

Most Artists wait a long time for true, real and lasting inspiration.

It is rare and well worth the patience.

That is why living this way is so important to me.

Having the freedom to work when I need to is a blessing in my life.

Creation comes when it comes.

I am truly grateful for this.

I couldn’t work any  other way.

My passion for Jazz means  daily practice as I work towards performing live.

2 hours a day flies by.

I am very excited to seriously pursue this goal.

I am currently working on a “VERY” demanding landscape that I, as a full-out abstract painter, have really no business attempting.

I have never even been skiing

I just love to sing “Moonlight in Vermont” so much

I thought I could paint it.


I have decided to be more “ACTIVE” this year with both my Jazz and my painting.

I want to move out of my studio life and pursue the avenues I come across.

That is the entire platform so far.


Edge Gallery July 2013 Flint and Steel by lisalesa

As such I have decided to participate in a local Art Event

“First Friday’s Winnipeg”

We participated in the December First Friday’s at The Community Exchange Church Gallery.

20141205_183401 20141205_183414

It was really fun and I sort of overcame my big dislike of gallery shows.

I always feel so awkward just standing there…

“Hi,” Hope ya like my stuff…?”

Why is it the more you do the more shy you become about talking and sharing about it?

(well that’s how I feel anyway)

I always overdress as if back when I was in Full-time advertising sales.


All the other artists were in their jeans etc.

Roger that for next time.

I will be showing there again this upcoming Friday.

I often paint in sets on smaller canvas.

Here is some work that I will be offering for sale at the upcoming event.

If you are going to be around this Friday night go appreciate some really amazing and varied art work.

This time I am wearing my black boots and black jeans and black long sleeve T-shirt!

I plan on being comfortable about Art from now on in. :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




The Five Year Plan.

New Year’s Eve marked my fifth anniversary as a Blogger with WordPress.


I was kinda surprised by that number but then I am not one for marking time,

I just marveled

“WOW…that went by fast!”

I was very proud to think I had stuck with my online journal for that long.

It felt good to reflect on how much better my life is.

And it is very much better.

I just enjoyed knowing that 2015 was a new year full of promise, hope and hopefully


If you watch NBC’s Parks and Recreation you may have seen the episode where we learn Ron Swanson is actually

Duke Silver  – Sax player extraordinaire!

I must say, this plot twist made me chuckle as I am actually an a.k.a. myself.

It turns out I have a Ron Swanson kinda story… too.

One reason I didn’t post on New Year’s Eve was that we were upstairs in our loft, with appetizers and I was singing jazz to the Anchorman.

I think I have mentioned that I am a singer and have been one since grade one!

I use a great Karaoke website and I have been a member there since 2013

My user name is El-K.

Now that I have decided to pursue this more seriously I created the new name.

All of us are vocalists from the instant we are born and by and large,

we all love to sing and listen to music.

In addition to being a full time abstract painter I am also a jazz vocalist and use a stage name.

Cleo Zane.

You can find me on Twitter and on Reverbnation.

I am just starting to work and I have already done a bit of collaborating with a very talented pianist.

We hope to team up in the Spring and perhaps do some small gigs.

I am very excited at the prospect of this brand new direction.

It is time to close the book here.

To say I love to sing is a major understatement so I have decided to focus most of my energy to developing my love of music – expressly Jazz.

I just love to cover The Standards and to learn and learn and learn,

then learn some more!

I sound a surprising bit like Frank Sinatra… so I’ve been told, and I know that he was also Bipolar.

so we are kindred spirits some way.

I was a Salvation Army Doll in our Glee Club’s production of “Guys and Dolls” in 1976.

Everybody loved Nathan Detroit.


But to tell you the honest truth…

it is my own beloved’s blue eyes

that have got me here today.

His love and faith in me where I saw no light, life or hope

He kept me working against the massive depression and isolation I lived with.

He, as Christ,


“Don’t be afraid…

I go before you always.

Come follow me

I will give you rest!”

The Anchorman’s undying love for me and ever forgiving heart have kept me fighting to be well again.

And I am truly healed.

I love you always.

Thank you.


So this explains why I haven’t been posting.

I have been very focused on music and trying to reach out to other musicians and artists along the merry way!

I am actually developing a brand new idea with The Anchorman and we will be launching it in the early Spring.

You’ll here more about it soon!

So here I am as Cleo.

Wish “us” luck ;-)

Cleo Zane  - Jazz

Cleo Zane – Jazz
















Adapting to Adopting

I must remember that I chose Roger.

Roger did not choose me.

I really do best with a dog in my life –

and Roger showed up for me.

I firmly believe animals and people sort of are destined to be together.

Like Sydney and I were the greatest of friends and I knew it would not be long before another dog came into my life.

I went to every member of my family and lobbied to adopt Roger.

“This Christmas why not give Mom and Dad a gift they really will “literally” love?”

download (1)

I said that I was ready for the challenge a new puppy would bring.

The entire household has been affected by this guy and everyone has had to adjust.

He is learning but it is slow going and it must begin in earnest.

Our three cats have formed a historic coalition against this latest challenge to their supremacy and their harmonious life.

Why my beloved Phoebe has moved away from our area.

I am so outta here was her basic position.

I miss her so much.

I see her in the hall and the kitchen but she just drifts off…

passes me by.

She won’t look at me.

My Yoga and walking workouts have been hard to keep up with.

So far Roger doesn’t dig my yoga mat let alone my doing Yoga.

He is simply a bounding surge-ball of puppy love all over my calm artist’s loft.

He just doesn’t understand how darn… large he is.

WOW man does this dude have a plan!

Yeah, we look about like this.

“Like when he sits around the house…

he sits around the house.”


I thought I might do my workouts once the Anchorman arrives home from work.

Good idea but as I am a died in the wool morning exerciser I need to develop an evening practice.

I am used to singing or painting or whatever.

I figure regarding my workouts it will all… work out!

I am just a creature of habit… it appears.


I have had a lot of experience with dogs and I have never met anybody quite like Roger Francis Jonah

That is his legal name that I made up and to use when I have to scold him,

which, due to his age, is often at this point.

His days are better than his nights.

(I think he is jealous of The Anchorman ’cause when we finally turn in for the night, old Roger just plunks himself between us)

“Down dude!”

“Roger shove off!”

He is 55 pounds now but he will grow to be up to 90 pounds!

I am sort of frazzled by the boy but every day is better and better.

He is trying his best.

One strange thing he does is sit on the stairs!

I don’t now why but when I am practicing my singing he sits on the steps and listens to me sing.

I kinda think it is cute and so far he seems to dig Jazz as much as we do.

20141213_144002sorryhe isyoung





A time for apples.

I wanted to share this latest painting I recently completed.

It is called

The Trinity Trees.
( Π Trees )
Acrylic and Sharpie Markers
42″ x 46″

I must say that I LOVE apple trees.

I also really like apples.

Caramel apples especially

An orchard smells so amazing after a summer rain and even though we are deeply invested in Advent…

an apple is good to eat anytime of year!


“The Letter”(s)

As a singer, I solo a number,

“The Letter”  

by the 1960’s group The Box Tops.

Take a listen!

Extremely deluxe song and one you must know!

And one, that if you do know,

you will be happy to have your memory joggled.

Front cover copy

While I would love to sit and muse about music turns out this post is about an actual letter that I sent well over a month ago.

My letter was addressed to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD).

It was posted in late September from our local drug store post office.

Before you offer that perhaps the letter was never received I must say that I sent a 3 page letter to three (3) different individuals with MADD Canada.

I found their names on their online directory.

  • Andrew Murie – Chief Executive Officer MADD Canada
  • Deb Kelly – Communications Manager
  • Rachel Tymochenko – Development and Marketing Coordinator

I have waited patiently for a response to my letter.

(I will not print it here but here is a link to the letter in its entirety).

MADD carries a complete line of fake alcohol products.

Virgin white wine, virgin red wine, virgin Pina Colada, virgin Margarita, virgin mojito and a hefty lager beer! (My particular Nemesis…).


Okay, right off the hop,

(please excuse the avoidable pun),

USE  FAUX  instead of the remarkably inane qualifier “VIRGIN”?

Faux means false or imitation.

Virgin means:
: a person who has not had sexual intercourse
: a person who does not have experience in a particular activity, job, etc.


While I considered writing to MADD, I  analyzed some potential reasons as to why their organization might be motivated to offer pretend liquor.

1) MADD views  their product offering of fake liquor as a form of”Public Service” and/or some form of aid to non-drinkers or those in addiction recovery?

Perhaps filling a need we “Alkies” have to stay in touch with our beloved beverage, especially during the holidays.

We yearn to return to our REASON for the Season!  Be back in with you drinkers somehow. Be reinstated.

2) MADD believes that their large organization’s  line of fake LIQUOR is in some way helping with DRUNK driving?

It isn’t helping.

Drinking liquor causes you to get drunk. Being drunk makes you do stupid things –

Like driving while drunk. 

Fake liquor just tempts fate and pokes the Tiger of addiction.

3) MADD is against drunk driving YET they have no problem promoting the “Look” alcohol gives you!


It looks like real booze…only you know it is fake.

You can carry your alcohol free Chardonnay and still turn heads?

I can’t tell your stuff is fake from a distance so it looks like you are selling real wine and beverages.

It tastes good too.

Good for you…I guess…

Although I thought you guys were Anti-Alcohol?

I guess you are just against people driving while drunk…

not doing everything else?


The money from sales of the Virgin product line pays to support their continued work

with whatever they do.

The thing is…

I have a BIG problem with that as they claim to be an anti-alcohol lobby group.

I am so concerned, that as a recovering alcoholic and as someone who really knows how precious being sober is I thought I might point something out to them.

Fake wine caused me to relapse from 17 years of sobriety.

I thought there was “NO harm” as there was no booze in the bottle.

Turns out it wasn’t just the booze I was hooked on… I was hooked on the Entire Alcohol Package.


Was it specifically MADD wine?


Absolutely not.

It was some white wine we had at a dinner party.

That was in 2008.

In two short years I completely lost everything I had.

Most importantly I lost my sense of person-hood.

Why this blog is a chronicle of my life and my struggles through being a Bi-Polar artist who is a hopeless drunk.

Read on and on and on McDuff,

my life’s an open blog.

I had no idea that the experience of opening the bottle, getting glasses and pouring the wine out was a great enough trigger to cause my subsequent relapse…

I started to fixate on it all tasted so good except…

“NO Buzz”

A week later-

went back for the hit and fell helpless and hopelessly back into serious alcoholism.

I put my family through hell.

I survived.

It took me over two years to recover my health. .

I  wrote them as they said they were  a group of concerned “Mothers”

As such I thought they would be, as a collective, informed, contemporary and hopefully

rather WISE.

For my experience has shown mothers to have their fair share of wisdom and sage advice.

As the mother of five daughters

I saw a need to mention an issue.

So, thanks anyway MADD.

I ask at this the advent of the holiday season that you not offer fake liquor to any addict in recovery without saying that sometimes de-alcoholized products can cause relapse.

Just steer clear and

here definitely

listen to MADD drive safely!

Happy holidays,

with love,


Christmas 2009_9999_27

The Letter to MADD

Here is the letter to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

It  was sent to three members of their “National Staff”

September 25, 2014

Andrew Murie
Chief Executive Officer
MADD Canada
2010 Winston Park Drive, Suite 500
Oakville, Ontario L6H 5R7


Dear Andrew Murie:

I am writing to you today to express my concern regarding your MADD non-alcoholic product line. As the holiday season approaches I wish to enlighten your organization about some facts you may not know regarding the effects of faux alcohol on recovering alcoholics.

I feel qualified to bring this issue to your attention and ask for your consideration as I am an alcoholic in recovery.  I have been sober since December 3, 2011. I started to drink in high school and have battled alcoholism all my life. I have had long stretches of sobriety but I have relapsed twice.

As you must know, addiction is a lifelong affair and we addicts must always remain vigilant.

I must also state that I have never driven a motor vehicle while under the influence but there have been occasions where I HAVE been in a car driven by an impaired driver. My agreeing to be a passenger was in fact condoning drinking and driving.

How booze clouds our reason and critical thinking is astounding to me. But then I have made some really stupid decisions while drunk.

I firmly believe that I will never return to my addiction and to pouring poison down my throat. I have devoted a great deal of time to learning about and subsequently overcoming my addiction. I work daily and tirelessly to stay sober. I wish I had known of the dangers of non-alcoholic wines and beers, however.

How would your organization respond if I told you that back in 2008 I relapsed and returned to 3 years of extremely hard-drinking and fake booze was responsible?

What lead me back and almost ended my life was an ice-cold bottle of non-alcoholic white wine.

Your wonderful product provided everything needed to “Re-experience exactly the same sensory gratification as real wine”.

“The look and feel of the bottle. The same excitement when you pop open the bottle, the rush you get from choosing a wine glass. The pour. The sound. The taste and smell…why the only problem was there was no warm tingling sensation.

Where is the BUZZ?

Unfortunately, the entire experience was too close to the real thing, and I wasn’t strong enough to withstand the pull. I wasn’t committed to my sobriety and non-alcoholic wine was just the exact excuse I was waiting for.

I went and bought beer. I bought and subsequently fell back into the nightmare of addiction for 3 more horrible years.

“Forget this fake crap…although it tastes remarkably “real” and go after want the REAL thing instead”

I went after what the addicted mind perceives as missing.

According to

If people are recovering from an alcohol addiction there are some definite dangers associated with non-alcoholic or low alcoholic beers because:

  • Some of these low alcohol beers actually have a significant amount of alcohol inside them – particularly outside of the US. The individual may begin to feel the effects of inebriation if they consume a few bottles of these beers.
    * The individual may imagine that they are getting an effect from these beers. This may then give them a justification.
    * If people consume more than a couple of these beers they can feel bloated and nauseated.
    * The individual may get pleasure out of pretending that they are drinking the real thing. This is called romancingand it can pave the way to a relapse back to addiction.
    * Drinking these beers may be evidence that the individual remains ambivalent about their recovery. The fact that they are trying to recapture aspects of the bad old days may mean that they have not completely closed the book on that part of their life.
    * Some would say that it is inappropriate to drink these beverages in recovery because it is too similar to old behaviors. Sobriety is all about a completely new start away from the old way of doing things.
    * If the individual is drinking a low alcoholic beer in public it would be easy for them to mistakenly
  • pick up a friend’s regular beer. This type of thing does happen, and it can be upsetting for the individual who is in recovery.When I finally went for help, I recall clearly my addictions counsellor, Lesley advising me to stay the “hell” away from fake booze. Lesley was also an alcoholic in recovery but more to the point, her warning came as an ER nurse of over 30 years.In one of our sessions that she told me while I might have a  wonderful career as an artist ahead of me, if I kept up drinking at the rate I was…I would just be dead. She had seen and heard and witnessed too much carnage for her to gild this lily.

    No doubt in her mind and great fear in mine. She also said that my next relapse would likely kill me. There was too much at stake. I must say, thank God I listened. I am here today ever thankful to be clear minded and at peace.

    I am certain that MADD is unaware that their line of non-alcoholic beverages is actually potentially reinforcing drinking. Does MADD understand that the mind of any addict is always trying to return to their perceived normal?

    That in an addicts mind using makes life easier, more interesting, more fun and they are way more in control when they are out of it. In all honesty, it takes a great deal to become fully resistant to the incredible hold substance abuse has over users.

    MADD offers their product line products in drugstores and shopping locations where booze is not sold. In other words you are offering this potential pitfall to a lot more alcoholics then you would ever imagine. I never go near liquor marts and when I see a stand of your products at Shopper’s Drug Mart I have actually thought of drinking again.

    While, MADD is primarily concerned about drinking and driving, any addict in recovery could relapse off a fake liquor as a gateway back to cocaine or heroin etc. We must give up all our vices not just a select few to fully recover. Thankfully I only had alcohol to overcome. Bless those battling a many headed demon.

    I would like to offer a suggesting to replace your existing product line. I think you will agree, in light of my experience it might suit your mandate better than proffering anything that brings liquor into the limelight.

    As I started life sober, I missed my beverage of choice. BEER. I didn’t see anything in soda or fake drinks. I discovered Italian Syrups and Mineral Water and made myself many wonderful and refreshing drinks.

    Why not bottle all the wonderful flavor of syrups in cool MADD bottles that are a smaller size then the ones ordinarily offered. MADD could then have major bottler like Coke or Pepsi develop a signature soda water or Perrier to create a MADD Mineral water to offer alongside of the wonderful soda flavors. This is a particularly good idea as alcoholics always have trouble with calcium deficiencies. As we drink liquor leaches potassium and calcium from our bones. The damage is always far reaching.

    I recommend this as one who truly enjoys these soda syrups and they will open a whole other avenue to market your new line. PLUS you have 0% risk of causing any one to relapse due to your new alcohol free beverage offering.

    I thank you for all you are doing to raise awareness of the fact that drinking to access is very serious and drinking while driving is not to be tolerated. Zero alcohol in your blood stream if you are the driver is the only safe amount.

    I wish you continued success as you continue to work to see our roadways free of the menace of addiction.




    cc: Deb Kelly

    Rachel Tyemchenko


“What I saw at the Diner” by lisalesa

A couple of weeks ago The Anchorman and I went for dinner,

at our local diner.

“The Nook”.

Our Diner!

Our Diner!

We met back in 1985 and have both frequented this spot for almost 30 years.

Yep, That’s a lot of fries and gravy,

Reuben sandwiches, Fat Boys and “All-Day” Breakfasts for two.

We both stopped eating gluten a couple of years ago.

I lost 80 pounds from stopping bread and flour and living on other tasty stuff.

I just feel better when I limit my flour intake.

I feel great.

I will say here we did this as pure choice.

We do not have sensitivity or suffer from Celiac disease.

We just quit eating bread.

We actually see it as a avoidable treat!

It was NOT EASY!

(But, it works for a lot of people).


This particular night we both felt like a change and decided to skip making dinner.

Instead we headed to the diner.

He had a burger and I had a “Rachel”-

a Reuben with turkey versus corned beef.


Like I say, once in a while we “enjoy” a slice or two of bread.

While we waited we enjoyed the Hockey that was on the TV.

The Winnipeg Jets, in fact!


I looked out the window and watched as the winter night started to slip, slowly down and around the town.

I love to look at reflections in water on the street and the lights from signs and shops and bistros.

I started looking at reflections of light in the surface of my husband’s cell phone and I was inspired!

This is the painting that resulted.

Thanks again to The Anchorman…

the face I face when I say,

“Pass the ketchup, these fries are FAB!”

I am no Hopper, but I sure am a Night Hawk!

Night time makes color shine!


“What I saw at the Diner” by lisalesa 2014