Sunday, January 10, 2010


…the other evening.  But wait, you scoff?  O.K., here’s the rest of the story.IMG_0012

We received an invitation for dear Lucia Moskal’s birthday party to be held at the Montrose Bowling Alley.  That’s right…Bowling Alley!  Also, the invitation gave hints of Elvis but we had no real clue. IMG_0013

When we got to Montrose we found that the entire bowling alley was rented out for the party and a life sized Elvis cutout greeted us. 

Lucia, our dear hostess, ‘Elvis’ and delightful Eleanor Barkelew

 IMG_0065 Elvis music was playing and the first thing was a contest with prizes for who ever could answer the most Elvis trivia.  You got four sheets of paper with questions on it like ‘how many times was Elvis on Ed Sullivan’s show’.  Charles & I each answered (only) 11 but they were different right answers on each of our pages.  No fair combining so no prizes for us!

IMG_0031Usually we just have soup on Sunday evenings as we  always have a big brunch.  There was so much food…shrimps, pulled pork sandwiches, watermelon (fresh and DELICIOUS), coleslaw, fried chicken, sweet potato fries…oh I’m forgetting so much.  Drinks of course and later a cuteIMG_0070 Elvis theme birthday cake and coffee and you could make hot fudge sundaes if you wanted to with chocolate Mississippi Mud ice cream, nuts, cherries, whipped cream…oh, you get the idea!  I bet you’re salivating…I am!!!

 IMG_0043 IMG_0044 The surprise hit of the evening was an Elvis impersonator.  He was just great and threw out teddy bears and chiffon scarves to the ladies…just like Elvis!  I thought I was videoing the evening…people dancing…Elvis singing…you get the idea.  When we got home we realized that my new camera’s ‘on’ light is orange and not green which I thought meant ‘go’!  What a bummer!!!

IMG_0076 Later there was a photo op with ‘Elvis’ and when you left, a bottle of wine with an ‘Elvis’ label.

It was an amazingly great time!  Thank you Lucia!!!

Now, just in case you’re still incredulous, ‘the paper of record’, The New York Times had a front page story on January 5th about the hot new trend in New York City…you guessed it…BOWLING!

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There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.