Sunday, September 22, 2013


……’cause I’ve missed you!  It’s been like the lost weekend that went on for two weeks.  I told you about my car getting that ‘little bumper bump’…….well…..I took my car to DC Autocraft and waited for State Farm to give me their estimate.

Meanwhile, Francisco came over to do some work around the house and yard.  He’s been with us forever and if you should need someone like that let me know.  Kita always thinks he comes over to play with her!


Time to chill out and have lunch with my forever friend Lisa at Le Pain Quotidien…..they should have a table with a Nan Rae plaque on it as I’ve become way more than a regular. I’ve been voted the person with the most amazing friends by the servers!


The next day it was time for calligraphy with Tom in the studio.


Later, Nikka went back to work cataloging….this project will most likely take another 2 months! Can you tell how dark it is outside?  We definitely burn the midnight oil around here.


But the sunset was beautiful!


However, just so we wouldn’t get too relaxed around here the Surge Protector decided to blow a gasket or whatever the following day & so I was off to Staples to figure out what to get.025


The next afternoon Nikka had this to contend with!


While Kita ate what was left of the mailman….


Somewhere in all this I rented a car from Enterprise (after finding out I don’t have ‘renters’ on my auto policy).  How did that happen????


After that I really needed a break and what better than lunch with Grace at Le Pain Q.


Remember I said I should have my own table at Le Pain?  Next day, there with precious Amy.  I love her so and it’s always a joy to be with her.  Remember the beautiful flowers she did for mom’s B-day party?


Next day I took Miss Kita to the doggie spa and checked on my car….oh my….


Can you tell how clean Kita is?  I wish I could say the same for my car!


Note to self:  Do not, I repeat do not go to Porto’s for anything on a weekend!


So now it’s Saturday night and Tomiko & I decided to go to Far Niente and check out the new ownership. Is that yummy pasta I see?


I refused to share my Panna Cotta so Tomiko ordered one as well and we declared it the best ever! Soooo creamy!!!


While there we saw Stan & Helene, mom’s friends.


My biggest treat and the best way to begin the week was dinner at the Reilly’s Sunday evening! Sandie is showing me the inspiration for her Mahi Mahi Puttanesca while Jim reads additional instructions.


Doesn’t this look yummy???


Three kinds of bread… the crunchy ends….

084 ….and salad to start…


I’m going to have to get details on the new ice cream from Whole Foods…..we had a choice of two flavors and oh my….


With crunchy toppings and plum slices…..


Fortified I could now brave the coming week that began on September 16th.  To be continued…………………..

Sunday, September 1, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NIKKA and other fun stuff……

……………We usually celebrate special events with one of two things……..grilled cheese sandwiches or delivery from Gourmet 88.

Chinese won out!


Soooooo yummy!


Kita loves their ribs!!!

013 Cake, where’s the cake????  Signage courtesy Emma.


And in comes Emma with a classic ‘Red Velvet’ cake  from the Cheesecake Factory.016 .

Awwwwwww……Kita said “Make a wish”!


Next, beautiful flowers from Vicki, Nikka and Emma to celebrate our anniversary! Below are some of the wonderful ‘home made’ anniversary cards Charles would make!


Saw ‘The Butler’ with Tomiko and I was stunned by how much important history we’ve lived through.  Or, as a friend just wrote ‘Love doing life with you’……What a great line.004

On to Katsuya for a late night snack! They have great Kobe Beef Sliders!


Meet Janet…..a most interesting person mainly because she’s just soooo interested in everything and everyone….including Wilderness Survival.  Who does that???? Janet!


I’ll probably bla bla later about her two dogs who are so well trained it’s disgusting. Australian Shepherds Piper and Jenna. They await Janet’s every command.  Kita, did you hear that?

018 O.K., it’s all about the food….especially at Le Pain Quotidien.  I think they should have a room in the back for me I’ve been there so often. I ordered this simple fare mostly for the yummy preserves I could apply to their great bread.


During lunch with Paula at Far Niente, new owner Erwan Ehanno stopped by to tell us all the amazing things he is doing.  Boy was I ever surprised.  Did you know Anthony sold the place????


I’m not going to tell you about the emergency call to the plumber because Thursday was so beautiful…………..


And along Riverside Drive near the Equestrian Center I had a real treat.  Had to park the car for this one.

Here’s Claude, a precious ‘rescued’ pony. And yes, I got to pet him!


Penelope lives with Claude along with 5 chickens and other assorted friends. Michelle said Penny has udder problems….oh dear!


Then it happened…..

Friday morning I read that Glendale is #5 in the nation for auto accidents!  Too bad the fellow who hit me didn’t read that.


That just called for a stop at George’s Cucina for pizza to calm me down…..


It helped…..and it was a much needed treat helping me to come back to earth central at home.


Class Saturday was great with a new experiment working out very well.


How adorable is Sandie Girl’s new haircut!!!!!!


Kathy’s daughter Kaley knows I’m crazy for Panna Cotta and made this just for me.  No sharing peeps! Sooooo delicious!!!!


However, I did share the delicious Banana Nut Mini Muffins Kaley made for the class.  So good…..everyone enjoyed the treat and saved me these few.


It’s Sunday and a very lazy day. I love C-SPAN 2 BOOK TV and watched George Packer, a writer for the New Yorker, talk about his book ‘The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America’.


Have a great week and drive safely!


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.