Sunday, November 23, 2014


…… or as Vicki reminded me when at another hospital I demanded….”I want a real doctor!”  Funny story…..not so much at the time.  While waiting eight hours  in ER at Providence Saint Joseph with Charles last Monday we were reminiscing…..eeeeee gads!

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This Cappachino was actually good but I think it was because we were cold, tired and hungry.

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I felt absolutely brilliant conquering this vending machine...

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….and this one...

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The week had started off promisingly with a visit to Disney Hall….Penderecki’s ‘Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos’ (1st L.A. Phil. performance).  Loved it!

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And then a quick dinner at the Patina Cafe in Disney Hall.

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I digress…..Back to ER where I had to chase down some water and a sandwich hopefully from this decade for Charles.  Imagine having to tell nurses that a patient is getting dehydrated waiting so long. First of course there is the visit by Dracula….

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Questions, questions, questions...

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You know, I asked one of the peeps what they would do in a disaster situation as ER really wasn’t that busy and was told “Only those at death’s door would be taken care of….the rest would be on their own!”  Comforting isn’t it….

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 Finally I staggered home around midnight and felt the need for a grilled cheese sandwich.  I’m sure you can relate to that!

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Charles internist left Dodge and won’t be back for a week….we’re left with horrific Dr. Patel who failed us so many times in the past.  Somehow I made it to the Huntington on Wednesday and was delighted to have a rewarding and satisfying class!

Jim Folsom, The Botanical Director stopped by and gave a hug to Ralph Komai whose family donated the bulk of the Huntington’s amazing Bonsai collection.

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Dory painted the branch first and then we had to figure out how to get this magnificent bird atop it!  Great job Dory!

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Pam loves to paint on these scrolls and was happily adding her chop to them.

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What can I say about Monica?  Her work is always so extraordinary….so creative and full of ‘Ch’i’!  I love it and my main job is getting her to realize how awesome she is.  I call her my Cy Twombly!

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Thank you Jessica for these delicious Japanese cookies.  Their flavor instantly brought me back to Japan and now I can hardly wait for 2015...

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It was a joy to see the Ginkgo Biloba trees along Allen….

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Meanwhile Kita is in love with our mailman and greets him without jumping up….

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Except when he wants to leave….


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Thursday was dear Amy’s birthday and I barely had time to give her a hug and then off to be with Charles.  He continues to amaze me with his style and grace.  I think he’s the only patient there taking everything in stride and ready with a smile that warms one’s heart!

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Then takeout at Recess for dinner with mom and Nikka...

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Lets hear it for the dessert!

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Mary Ternay was so kind to FedEx me a ticket to see Angelica Huston at the Alex so I thought as the theatre is so close to mom’s I’d do a pop in...

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Now what’s amazing about this is that by pure serendipity I sat next to the most delightful woman and we were amazed at all we had in common.  She had me with the story of rescuing bees from a tree in their yard and I posted the video on Facebook. Afterwards we stood outside and talked some more & would probably still be there if it hadn’t started to rain.  

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Debbie and her husband adopted two Korean babies, now adults, with the daughter off doing 'save the world stuff' and Hunter, their autistic son who is in his early 20’s and trying to start his own business.  Hunter is a talented artist who does charming illustrations for canvas bags.  This is such a great thing to support as we all need a ton of them. and  I also posted a video of Hunter at work on my Facebook home page.  Hope you check it out.

Next day our little puppy went to the spa….

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Von at B-Elegant is so dear we love her so and it was a shock to hear she had lost her lease as the building was being sold.  It’s so difficult to see devastation so up close and after we hugged I promised to get right on it and contact Burbank realtors to find a place for her.  Kent came thru with a spot in a shopping mall where the owner wants an animal grooming shop!  Can you believe????  I so want it to work out.

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Vicki has been her usual awesome self staying with Sir Charles 24/7.  She really saved the day when a nurse wanted to apply the potent foot med to his skin.  They had a knock down over that but thankfully Vicki prevailed.

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I wish you a week of cuteness..

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…..and beautiful skies!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014


……started with seeing ’The Trip to Bountiful’ at the Ahmanson with Tomiko.  I had to change the tickets so many times we wound up seeing the last performance which I think is actually a good thing to do.  It’s always bittersweet for the performers and they seem to give just that extra bit to make it memorable.

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Somehow we had the best seats ever! Everyone was eager to see Cicley Tyson!

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O.K. Priorities…..Isn’t dinner always the main event???  I had been wanting to try out Roy Choi’s ‘Commissary’ at the Line Hotel 3515 Wilshire in Korea Town so off we went.  Fun to be greated by Hello Kitty!

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O.K., enough of that.  The Commissary resembles a glass domed conservatory.

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Fun with the hostess!

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They have great drinks but you’ll be served one in a plastic cup.  Tomiko insisted on a proper glass!

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The point and order menu...

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It’s worth a trip there just for the carrots… get a little bag of seeds when you enter (or leave).

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Corn was good...

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Burger so so...

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Not quite sure what the floating balloons were about….

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We checked out Pot, the Korean BBQ on the main floor. 

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….and there’s also a Cafe where you can get pastry take outs...

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That Tuesday I had business downtown and checked out the new construction….

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Nikka is working on a flyer for Mary Beth. I took a gazillion photos trying to get a great shot... Kita looks at her sooooo adoringly!

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Running out of treats after an hour of this!

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Watch for this commercial from Messenger…it’s soooo adorable…love it!

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Laurie & Michael here from Rhode Island for their yearly Christmas card creations in the studio.  Always so much fun!

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Got this too cute book for Nikka (and Emma) after seeing the long line of peeps waiting for a book signing at Barnes & Noble (Americana).

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And got this one for me!

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Thoughtful Chef Kathy always treats me with persimmons from her mom’s tree.  Thank you Kathy!

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Nikka got corn dogs for lunch…how could I resist?

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So you already know about the armed robbery but I bet you don’t know the fellons got $1,500,000.00 in cash!  We had a visit from 4 plain clothes detectives and I crossed the line by telling them how much we loved them AND the firemen.  Nikka asked how could I say that!

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Oh well….On the bright side, Sweet Sandie Girl came over to work again on a Christmas card.  We had planned on going to Bar Verde later but it got so late I brought out the cold cuts for sandwiches and we watched Orange is the New Black….Now we’re totally polluted but it was fun!

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Next day Lizzie & I went to see 'Birdman' at the Laemlle No Ho.  Lunch first….

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We loved it and Michael Keaton is a revelation! It’s a great ensemble cast and the speech Emma Stone gives to her ‘father’ is a work of acting art!  Jach Galifinakis and Edward Norton also a marvel.

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Afterwards we went to the Coffee Bean and I had to tell these guys what I said to the police about loving the firemen.  Oh they thought that was just great!  Eddie is on the left, 41, single with 3 kids and the fireman on the right is single no children.  Anyone interested??? They’re great guys!

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Time to drive to Americana to meet Sandie at Bar Verde…..I won’t even get on a scale anymore!

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More foodie stuff...

Met Jane Windsor ( at Freds, the new restaurant in Barneys for lunch.  Food was dreadful and overpriced, company delightful!

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I had Clara join us so I could rub it in about her missing the tea event for Lisa See.

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Then Clara’s long time friend who since moved to Panama, joined us…...

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You know we had to do this...

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6 hours at Barneys and I had to pay $18. even with a validation….eeee gads!

Next day to continue the eating orgy Trudy took me to Recess Eatery on Brand….

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It was soooo good I took Marsha Ramos there the next day.  (I’m suspecting things could be out of control.)

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Great fun to have Priscilla in from Arizona and she’s going to try and make at least two classes a year!

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Everyone did a great job working on Christmas cards….

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Love this photo of Amy and Diane…..

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Great work Amy!

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Violet always makes these great gifts towards the end of class...

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The two cuties,Mireya and Quyen with oranges for the teacher!

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And love this Snowy Bamboo from Clara….

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You know there had to be a movie and food to end the week so Clara and I headed to Americana after class.

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First dinner at Din Tai Fung.  I recommended the amazing pork dumplings and the green beans but Clara took over for the rest.

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We saw ‘St. Vincent and I must say Bill Murray was brilliant as was the young boy…..we loved it…bring Kleenex!

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I’m off now to raid the refrigerator….I think there’s the remains of something yummy from Recess.  Have a great week and remember...

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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.