Friday, July 27, 2012


….nobody does it better than Thomas Keller and if you can’t be at the French Laundry or Per Se, this is the next best thing…(well kinda.)

There ought to be a club for people who are impelled to photograph their food!!!


On the other hand….


Heavenly pate……I’m salivating at the thought….


Actually this was too pretty to eat……..


Nothing like a Croque Monsieur to fire up your day….good enough for Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past’!  Actually, this is a Croque-Madame….see the egg on top?  And, enough Pommes Frites to share…not to be confused with French Fries.  For these, according to Thomas Keller, you have to cut the potatoes as uniformly as you can, rinse & soak for a couple of hours and dry COMPLETELY…then DOUBLE-FRY!!!!


It’s tough to share a Pot de Creme…


O.K., lets just have one of each….


Clara I’m ready for a re-do…..


Checking out the action in the courtyard of the Montage Hotel from Bouchon’s balcony.


Bouchon Bakery….”One of each please”!


Or maybe a drink downstairs to think it all over…..



My idea of the perfect take-out food!!!


The Historic JONATHAN CLUB…..

…..was the scene of the grand party celebrating Dr. Kenneth Nielsen’s retirement & his 16 year journey as Woodbury University’s 12th President.  Need I say it was bittersweet.

Richard King, Chairman Emeritus, spoke of his interaction with Ken as a member of the search committee.…it was delightfully funny and moving.  Lovely wife Carol to the left and dear Joan G. to the right.


Rose Nielsen’s sisters are so delightful I wanted to take them all home with me!!!


Gosh these gals have fun!!!!


Here’s a bit of Richard King’s speech….

Now the amazing Rose talks about her year long journey to raise money for a scholarship in Ken’s name by BIKING…..I already blogged about that but here’s the grand total…

wait for it…….

…..$372,812.81 for the ‘Ken Nielsen Endowed Scholarship Fund’, donated by friends and admirers to honor Dr. Nielsen’s 16 years of incredible leadership as President of Woodbury University.  The school rounded it out to a lovely, even $500,000.00.  That’s a lot of zero’s for biking!!!!  And, that’s why I call her ‘The Amazing Rose”.

Everyone was treated with a bag of ZEBRA Corn, Rose’s favorite and soooo yummy along with a box of ‘Hot Tamales’ candy, Ken’s favorite…




What a memorable evening!!!

For more information:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

KEN NIELSEN, WOODBURY UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT was going to retire within a year…..

….what to do?  Why ‘BIKING FOR DOLLARS’ of course as only the inimitable Rose Nielsen could do.  The goal…to raise money for a scholarship fund at Woodbury in Ken’s name to honor his 16 years of service.…….who would ever dream so big!  After a year of riding rain or shine…heat or cold…Rose managed to pull off the impossible…biking 6,000 miles. Somehow, this journey was kept secret from Ken which is why I couldn’t post the victory party sooner.  It was held at daughter Britta’s house while Ken was in China. 


O.K. officer, this is how we’re going to do it…


Off she goes for the last mile….


Rose’s daughter Britta’s biking with little Sophia her niece in tow.


The fire truck will follow…018

Lots of signs and cheering fans….


Can you imagine?


Waiting for the victory arrival

Crossing the 6,000 mile banner, fire truck and police in tow

In recognition of her commitment to Woodbury University and the city of Burbank, Mayor Dave Golonski awards Rose a city commendation.

High five’s all around!


Time to party…fire up the barbie…


The kids (of all ages) had a blast…


Rose’s precious granddaughter Sophia working the i-pad


Stay tuned for the total amount raised….I promise, it will blow your mind!!!!


…..was the lovely setting for a delightful baby shower…..


Proud as can be mom Valerie on the far left with beautiful daughter and mother-to-be Vanessa dressed in smiles and blue cause guess what…It’s a BOY!   On the far right is co-host and all around amazing Virginia in that smashing hat with Michelle, her lovely daughter also in white.  image

Soon to be mom Vanessa with the hosts of the party… her mom, beautiful Valerie,Virginia K., Joyce and Suzi…lovely ladies all!


Carol outdid herself in the style department with that stunning hat and outfit!  What a picture. Linda is to her right and there’s you know who.


Dramatic as always, artist Gayle Garner Roski…wearing some of the fantastically creative and beautiful jewelry she designs.  Smiling Alexa in the middle and excited me again.


Lunch was soooo yummy…..


There goes the cake.  Wish I had a photo of the top as it said…”Happy Pushing”! So cute!!!


Isn’t desert always the best part?….


In the ‘Can you Believe’ department….Hostess Virginia gave each of the guests a beautiful ‘Siberian Blue Ice’ ring tied around our napkins with a blue ribbon!!! (These man-made crystals were developed by the Soviets to counter President Reagan’s Star Wars attack system.  Used for laser technology using natural cobalt and citrine crushed & then re-crystallized to form beautiful clear prisms that in peace time could be cut and fashioned into commercial jewelry).  Had to capture the moment.


Lovely Valerie thanking Stuart, handsome son-in-law and soon to be proud dad for the beautiful flowers!


All time greats Michele, Faith and Ginger.  Just a note, Michele is the #1 realtor you want to call before anyone as she will go that extra mile for you and Ginger designs the most extraordinary candles….they are must haves!!!


The greatest idea was to have each of the guests open a present or two (not their own) and describe it.  This rocking horse was the cutest.


…here are my bunnies for baby!169

For more information:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Monday, July 9, 2012


… a delightful restaurant in Toluca Lake.  It’s been there for as long as I can remember and is a great place for Sunday brunch or lunch.  It’s especially fun to sit outside if you bring doggie!!!  Yuki was well known here.


See that croissant?  Awesome!!!


Rosanne Sachson was briefly in from Portland to see some clients and lucky me, I got to spend some time with her.  Rosanne used to live on the West Side (L.A.) and she’s my go to gal whenever I need just about anything!  Rosanne did the architectural & interior design for the innovative JPL ‘Flight System Testbed’ and so many of the fine homes in Southern California.  It’s a privilege and joy to know her….always great fun!



For great design ideas, check out….

Thursday, July 5, 2012


…….especially the Jacarandas! It’s so lovely when they bloom….


My garden is small but mighty!


Especially the roses…..


On a clear day you can see forever…..


Like looking at a miracle……


I’m fascinated by the Matilija poppies….they’re so delicate…..blowing in the slightest breeze ….and so funny….looking like a fried egg!


Fun just to walk among the flowers at Whole Foods….




Now to Trader Joe’s where it’s even MORE fun!  Hope you got some Peonies as they’re just here for the shortest time!


And what a deal!!!!


Love it!!!



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.