Monday, May 19, 2014


……….O.K. all you May babies, it’s time to party and Valerie started it off for me at a lovely California Club dinner. Lovely Adriana is sitting across from me.  From Washington, D.C., she’s the brilliant Lead Executive of NASA’s ‘Planetary Science Division’ and you can just imagine how exciting it was to talk to her.


It was also the evening for Cinco de Mayo celebrating so that made the party atmosphere even more fun.


Let’s hear it for the food……Oysters anyone?


I’m sure you can find something here to whet your appetite.


We ordered dinner, opened presents and then time for the main event………



But wait….there’s more….


Let’s here it for the cheese……


As you can see, I’m to the far left, then Valerie and then the most interesting woman, Jane Brown who trains and raises horses for the US Olympic Equestrian team.  Now there was an interesting conversation!!!


Thank you dear Valerie for starting off my birthday month in such a grand way!


I admit this blog is going to be long and for that I do apologize but as time goes by I don’t want to forget a single moment of these precious times!

Here’s exquisite flowers from precious Amy.

Call Amy at 818.625.5243


Sandie Girl is a fellow May baby and we have a tradition of celebrating our birthdays together aiming for something different each year.  Well, this year we hit the jackpot thanks to my precious Lisa Bowman who gifted me with two tickets to hear Anthony Bourdain & Eric Ripert at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.  (Part of the Distinguished Speakers Series.) Oh joy!!!


But first, dinner at Racion, a delightful tapas restaurant in Pasadena on Green.  Now what’s really funny is that in the ‘90’s it was a little Mexican restaurant where Charles & I went the evening we first met (at Art Center).  It was a Saturday evening & impossible for Charles to get a table anywhere (Parkway Grill etc.) so there we were.

First we had Spanish Charcuterie, jamon serrano, chorizo and all with yummy house made bread.


The lamb meatballs are in the center of the table before we played ‘all gone’!


Now this was interesting, duck sausage-stuffed squid, salsa tints & duck jamon.013

And they make absolutely the very best Sangria!


O.K., enough of that…..time for Anthony….


Back at Sandie’s we opened our presents and look how she wrapped mine……That’s an original Sandie Reilly on the large box…..sooooo beautiful!


And the beat goes on….

‘The Other Woman’ at Americana  with Laurie Pie….such a cute movie….loved it!


Then it was on to a birthday dinner at…..

Wait for it….

Any idea?

O.K., you guessed it!  Bar Verde at Nordstrom’s in Americana.


Always save room for ice cream…..and remember to take a Selfie!


Thank you Laurie Pie for tons of birthday fun!

O.K., they missed me at Bar Verde so the next day Lizzie & I went for a B-day lunch!


Thank you Lizzie Girl for another always perfect time together and for the Lavender spray which is sending me right off to dreamland! What a great idea!!!


By now, most of you know Thursdays are always dinner with mom so off we went to Cheesecake Factory.  (We still haven’t properly celebrated my B-day but there’s just been too much partying going on!) However, Nikka told them it was my B-day and I got this treat with a candle and the servers singing to me.  Gosh I just have to get faster with the video action!


My theory is one ice cream is never enough so ice cream cones were in order as we sat watching the fountains.


If you look kinda desperate, they’ll give you two flavors in just one scoop.  (Couldn’t decide between mint or strawberry!


Nikka absolutely hates having her picture taken so I have to settle for this to show you the beautiful orchid she got me…..and the card (musical) was just too cute!


Kaley made delicious brownies and someone found a candle! (Thank you so much Kaley….it would have been difficult to put a candle on Panna Cotta!)


Heartfelt thanks to Kathy for my new most favorite scarf!


Saturday night after Danny Chen’s workshop, Clara was going to take me to a yummy Japanese restaurant in Pasadena but there was a bike marathon or something causing a huge traffic mess and also….it was a long day.  I suggested we go to…..yup….Bar Verde and Kathy, Danny and Tony joined us for a great fun time!


I said if Chef Lauren’s here…..get the scallops w/risotto…..She was & Danny & I did! Thanks for stopping by Lauren…you’re the best.


If you go there be sure to get this magic stuff in a jar….


And they should have this lovely creation throughout the summer….great for the table along with the mystery jar!


These two are just about the cutest….having great fun taking a picture of me taking a picture of them!


When I got home precious Amy came by…..


These slippers are so exquisite they’re going to be in the studio as an art piece!


Next morning (my actual birthday…..the 18th) Kita escorted Kim in with a cake and balloons!


The best Red Velvet ever!  Those are real rose petals!!026

Vicki, Nikka & Emma have my number and it’s not #5! It’s COCO for me!!!


This was day two of Danny’s workshop…..I had another candle to blow out and everyone sang again and had birthday cake, I left to bring mom some cake and we did a Selfie!




Woops, 2:30 & time to change.  Kc & I had big plans.  First stop, Kendall’s Brasserie at The Music Center.


Next stop….Renee Fleming in  ‘Streetcar Named Desire’.  She was her usual incredible awesome self but Kc & I agreed we’d like a melody or two.  Maybe sing it in Italian….that always sounds better!


Thank you Kc for the most perfect birthday evening and a world of thanks to my beautiful garden of friends who continually delight and bless me. You made this the best, best birthday ever!!!

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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.