ask leahpeah

Today's Ask leahpeah Letter

Subject: art question
Date: Tue, August 31, 2004 9:00 pm

Hi Leah,

I’ve been following your blog for months now, and I always return to view your artwork. I haven’t painted for years, and I’ve recently started up again. My question is: how do you do your backgrounds? What techniques do you use? I absolutely love them!

Oh, and I’m sure the metal ring is coming at any time now. Good luck to you

B. Keefe

Hey B.,

I usually start with some acrylic paint and keep things pretty wet as I go along. The drips are just incorperated in the look. Sometimes I’ve added some specific watercolor shade when the acrylic dries. It’s all about freedom to let the paint do what it wants, ya know? And lately I’ve started adding some ink work that I use on my greeting cards in the large paintings. It’s challenging but turns out nice.

Before any color I have usually prepped the canvas with some kind of paper or natural object using modeling paste to keep it in place. It adds depth and texture and depending on how long you wait and how dry it gets before you add color will give different effects.

Thanx for your letter and happy painting!

All the best,

Today's Ask leahpeah Letter

Dear Leahpeah,

I read the interview they did about you on Writers Monthly. It’s really awesome that you have found a way to live with your other personalities. So, a little about me: I see a therapist 2 times a week. He thinks I might be MPD. He told me that I got mental problems from my parents and that these things are hereditary alot. I don’t want to blame my parents. I don’t want to have MPD. Do you agree?


Maybe More the One
New Rochelle, NY

Hello MMtO,

Wow. It sounds like you have a lot of new information to digest. It’s probably going to be awhile until you feel ‘settled’ again. I’m not a therapist or phycologist but having gone through many years of therapies and learning how to self-therapize, I hope what I say to you will be helpful and not hurtful. I’m not one to sugar-coat things. Please feel free to take what helps and discard what doesn’t. Continue reading


Subject: Question about your blog
From: “Amy R.”

Your site is amazing! Though I looked around and around and could not find the answer to this question: what kind of digi-cam are you using? I am saving up for a Minolta Dimage- small enough to travel with. Do

Amy Koolaid

Hello Amy,

First of all, thank you and feel free to tell me how much you like my site anytime. Next, your question: I shoot with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC F717. I love the camera’s versatility and size as well as the kickin’ lens. The 5.0 megapixel raw shots are plenty big enough to do magazine work for North and it can pick up color like no other digital camera I’ve ever used. I hear that the 2005 cameras will be able to kick its butt but I’m not sure if I’ll upgrade. I love my 717. Here is another review.
There are many DiMAGE cameras and I’m not sure which one you are planning on getting but I hear that the G500 and the G600 are good and not too pricey. I’d stay away from getting one that promises amazing results from the enhancement features with optical zoom unless you plan to shoot with a tripod and lots of light, neither of which seem to want to be married to a slim cam that fits in your pocket for travel….which I noticed you have done quite a bit of from your photos.


Today's Letter

hi my name is Israel. I am from chihuahua, mexico, right now i am working for the minority business round table in washington dc. While I was looking for information about Dr. Carl Nelson i found your article about him, i really like it and enjoy it, nice work!
I am here in washigton because my government sent me to do a research about the Export Management Associations.

Israel R.G.

Dear Israel,

I enjoyed interviewing Dr. Nelson very much. He and his wife are wonderful people and welcomed me into their home even though they were busy with holiday preparations.

Good luck with your research in Washington! Very nice to hear from you and thank you for your nice comments.


Today's Letter


I’m a middle-aged guy thinking of moving to San Diego. I look kind of middle-class because I work as a nurse, but I’m really still a hippie inside and prefer to be around people who are a little “out there”. Where do you think I should look for a place to live in San Diego?


Bob in Minnesota

Hey Bob, is a great site for finding out what lies ahead in an unknown city. I punched in Hillcrest, (because from what you�re telling me, I think you�d really like it there) and this is what I got.

From the look of the calendar, they�ve always got a lot of great stuff going on.

By the way, don�t think you�re the only middle-aged hippie disguised as a blue-color worker out there. And, being a nurse is a perfectly wonderful thing to be. I think you�ll find the majority of people in the San Diego area will agree with me.

Good luck on your move!


Today's Letter

hey leahpeah,

i’m thinking about being a professional singer when i get out of high school or maybe even now if my dad will let me. the problem is that i don’t know if i’m really a good singer or not. and, like, i’m afraid to ask my friends because what if i really do suck? i think i could be really good.


Dearest Steph,

Have you watched TV lately? American Idol is back on for a new season. Sadly, I�m a junky for that show. As I�m watching them pick people, I�m amazed at the courage some of those kids have. Dude! They know they are going to be on national TV and they have the guts to get up there and be open to criticisms. My favorite was the Asian young man that sang Ricky Martin’s She Bangs. He was a treasure. His comment, �I�ve had no professional training.� followed closely by, �I came here to try my best and I did. I have no regrets.� (or something like that) stole my heart.

Anyway, my point is that sometimes you have to put yourself out there and take a risk that might make or break your singing career. That doesn’t mean that if you bomb, your life is over. It just means you might want to only sing in the shower. That’s what I do.

Good luck.
i wish you the best,

Today's Letter

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From: kirk “hance”
Date: Sat, January 24, 2004 3:53 pm
Priority: Normal

Dear Kirk from the UK,

I can tell by your letter that you must be extremely upset about something. The fact that you sent the very same message twice suggests insistence. The fact that it�s incoherent suggests you must have been beside yourself with worry. Alas, your mind all a jumble; your little fingers typing away but making no sense�.or maybe your fake nails are too long?

If I could, I�d like to try and decipher your message.

Umm… Nope. I got nothing.



Today's Letter

Re: Crab Salad

Hi Leah!

I know you won’t mind me using your first name since it sounds like everyone is overly familiar with you. I just wanted to say that I have similar experiences to yours, but only in Libraries and Bookstores.

Although I am a Librarian, people just assume that I am an employee of whatever building I am in. I mean it’s not like I wear my work nametag everywhere I go or anything. I get asked all kinds of directional questions. “Where are the cookbooks?” “Do you know where the bathroom is?” I mean, don’t they see the purse? Employees don’t carry their purses around with them!

Weirdly enough, I can usually answer their questions, even when I am visiting the store for the first time myself, so there are probably a bunch of people walking around thinking that I work in a lot of places I was only visiting.

So what is it about us that make us the ones to chat with? Do we just project friendly/smart/approachable? Do we look like their mothers/sisters/best friends? I for one was at least relieved to read your article and realize that this type of thing happens to other people, but still…

Let me know if you find a way to make yourself more anonymous (so that only the cute guys approach you; not the restroom attendants!).


Dear Karen,

I actually did it to someone else the other day. I asked her where I could find the cards and she laughed nervously and said, ‘Oh. I don’t work here.’ and hurriedly walked away. I wanted to follow her and tell her, ‘Hey! No worries! This happens to me all the time. You don’t need to run away….I’m not really a weirdo.’ but that might have made me seem even stranger…

I laughed all the way home, though. And it kind of made me feel good in a way. After all, like you said, it’s a relief to know this kind of thing happens to other people. : )


Today's Letter


On your web site you have some pages with your kids names on them but then you dont have anything on those pages. Why? and what is the difference betweem the art therapy paintings and the other paintings? They both look like the same kind.

Francis Lighton from Arizona

Well, Francis, let me start with the first part of your letter: the kids’ pages. I have been torn about putting up stuff from my kids on the internet. On the one hand, they create some really great stuff and I want to put it up there. On the other hand, I worry about there being some kind of backlash that I haven’t thought of. I’m not sure what. I just worry. But, as you can see, I haven’t taken the pages off. So I guess I’m still unsure. I’ll let you know if I ever put content on those pages.

To your second question, art therapy is different in only the name in my opinion. All my art is in some way therapeutic. However, the paintings in the art therapy gallery are specific to some kind of deliberate thought on my part as I was working through some issues pertaining to my traumas as a child and throughout my life. Any art can be used as a way to ‘therapize’ yourself. You only have to have that thought prior and during the making of the piece. Also, many times I’ll look back on a piece and see that it was healing for me to make it and I wasn’t even aware of it at the time. You might want to try it yourself. Just create something out of any medium you’d prefer and give yourself permission to explore your feelings as you do the work. Let me know how it goes.


Name and address changed to protect the innocent….

Today’s Question:

I have a question, my pastor was given a cell phone by his church so they could reach him in respect to his job and for his convenience. Recently, the deacons requested an itemized bill to study. Is this proper? I feel like they should trust his discretion and be grateful they can reach him if need be.

Thank you.


” Identifying Information Deleted”

Dear TSgt XXXX,

I suppose you read my column entitledCell Phone Protocol and thought I must be an expert on the subject. Sadly, I must confess that beyond having a personal opinion I really have no sound advice for you.

If you are in the position of power in a church, such as a Pastor, one would think that you would be trustworthy to some degree and checking the phone records might sound unnecessary. On the other hand, just knowing that there are checks and balances in place will discourage misuse in the first place. In defense of the deacons, it is their money paying for the phone and if they’d like to make sure there is no misuse going on, I think that’s fine. Smarter, would have been having the billing set up to go to them from the get-go since they are the financial backers.

I’m aware that you might think I’m being insensitive in regards to giving the benefit if the doubt to the man of the cloth. However, he is just a man just like every other man, although perhaps slightly more scrubbed clean under the circumstances. And in light of not being able to walk 3 inches through the news and not hit an article about misuse of power by men in position, in the church or otherwise, I think prudence might win.

best to you,