Sunday, February 22, 2015



……but before they return to Chicago, Marsha Stu and I went to the Skirball Center where we had lunch in Zeidlers Cafe.

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They have a really good chopped salad and if you add grilled salmon it’s terrific!

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.As we were leaving I saw Noah Newmark who many of you will remember from Carol Soucek King’s Salon.  He was with Monika Henreid the daughter of Paul Henreid who we all remember from Casablanca.  On exhibit there was an amazing exhibit that featured Henreid along with other memorable actors who emigrated to the States during World War ll.

IMG 4974We were just in time to catch the docent tour for ‘Light & Noir…Exiles and Emigres in Hollywood 1933-1950

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Follow the red carpet….

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Reading this letter was very sad….

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 Paul Henreid in a scene from Casablanca…..

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 Humphrey Bogart’s suit is in the back….Ingrid Bergman’s outfit and in the front, Paul Henreid’s suit.  He was much bigger than Bogie!

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 This is the dress Joan Crawford wore in Mildred Pierce.  The photo doesn’t show how unbelievably small her waist was!

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The lovely Rainbow Wall at the Skirball Center.IMG 5043


I could be over-scheduling because right after leaving Marsha and Stu I headed for North Hollywood to meet the Reilly’s and watch ‘Cabaret The Musical' put on by Dr. Jim’s brother Billy at his theatre….Crown City Theatre Co.  Do I have to mention that I barfly got there in time for the final bows????IMG 5044


Here’s my cuties…..Sandie Girl and Dr. Jim….You can almost see Michael, Jim’s son sitting next to him.  (No photo’s were allowed.)IMG 5045

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 All right, enough of all that….what’s for dinner!!!! Start the party!  Love these show biz folks!  Don’t Jim and brother Billy look like twins???

At Eclectic in NoHo…...

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Had the salmon….IMG 5062

 I was told to photograph this as it’s the BEST…..

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Love these two….Dr. Jim and Sandie Girl!IMG 5070

Our ‘new look’ seen in a nearby shop window after we left.IMG 5071

I just want you to see how beautiful our little girl looks when she’s clean.  This should last at least three days!IMG 4964Class at the Huntington this week was even more wonderful thanks to seeing Kathryn who is usually in the studio class….I’m so very proud of her!

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Two of my favorite peeps….Amy & Lisa were over Thursday….

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Amy was here Friday evening and brought treats from Porto’s….IMG 5126

Tres Leche Cake…yum, yum…. We also had Potato Balls and Empanadas….

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 Amy & Nikka both burned the midnight oil…. I mostly annoyed them by trying to take photo’s.  They’re as bad a Tomiko in that regard. Check out  Call Amy next time you need fantabulous flowers. 818.625.5243

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Next day Denice stopped by to see Charles before class in the studio……..

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Charles son Jim, on the right,  was in town from Texas with Charles, his partner.  Yes, another Charles!

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Visiting class…..I always thought I was tall but really felt like a munchkin…..It was a fun day….Nikka filmed two new video’s for YouTube.  The Wisteria demonstration was posted right away.

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Time for dinner.  Surprised?  I met Marsha and Stu at Parkway Grill in Pasadena where Charles and I had our first ‘date’!IMG 5159


Yes I’m a carnivore and so delighted foie gras is back.  This was Hudson Valley’s finest and it was sublime!IMG 5161


Their Caesar Salad has never been that outstanding…….but had to try again….IMG 5162

I asked if the Catfish was still good…….yes!IMG 5165

Another view before I sent it back to the kitchen to return in a more manageable form.IMG 5168


This ‘creation’ is about 7’ high…….IMG 5171


The orchids were right next to us…..IMG 5164


Let’s hear it for the kitchen!IMG 5172


Somehow we made it in time to Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium for the Vienna Boys Choir.  Jimmy Chiang was the amazing conductor/pianist….IMG 5174

I would like to say that the week ended well but it found me unwell.  Some mysterious bug attached itself to me as I was leaving the Auditorium and I had such chills I thought I’d be stopped by the police for unsafe driving.  Had my story ready as I would have told them to call 911.  I crawled into bed with great aches and a temp. but overjoyed to report I seem to be near recovery this A.M.  I’m calling this the eight hour bug! Amy & I were to have gone to an Oscar party but I had to cancel….can you believe?????????

Last I heard she was making Chicken soup for me!  Chicken soup with no noodles…….that’s like a cheeseburger without the cheese!

Monday, February 16, 2015



….is how last week started with a trip to Disney Hall.  Marsha and Stu, my snowbirds from Chicago and I had lunch first at the Patina ‘Concert Hall Cafe’ and as always it was fresh and yummy!

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We then went to a wonderful concert…..showcasing Mozart and Haydn (one of my favorites). Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major  featured Thomas Hooten, Principal Trumpet, who was absolutely amazing!  You may have read the article this past week about the orchestra that featured Hooten in it. My favorite seats face the conductor and fortunately Marsha and Stu agreed.

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During intermission we went to the Founders Room for drinks and I invited Toby Lewis here from Spain on business for Global Corporate Venturing to join us.

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If you went to the LACMA docent tour of Japanese Ceramics given by Pricilla Gibbs you’ll remember how knowledgeable she was.  I had invited Pricilla to the tea for Lisa See as we have a lot of friends in common and quite naturally thought it a great idea to meet now to compare notes on the upcoming trip to Japan. We had lunch at Little Dom’s on Larchmont….another favorite place.

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Grilled shrimp, chopped spinach, avocado, egg romesco….IMG 4730

Don’t even go there….I know, we were bad!  Mint chocolate sundae if you must know….

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You know I love Pooh bear but Paddington is a close second and I so hope you get a chance to see this darling movie.  The back story is that author Michael Bond, now 88, was inspired to write Paddington’s story  “….. because of memories of seeing evacuated children at rail stations in England during World War ll.  They all had labels around their necks and were holding on to their treasured possessions.”  Paddington's tag, ‘Take Care of This Bear’ makes a lot of sense now.

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Paddington comes to England from darkest Peru…….

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…….having eaten a suitcase of marmalade during his stow-a-way trip and always has a marmalade sandwich under his hat.

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 Good advice I’d say.  

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Nicole Kidman was an excellent villain….hope it’s not type casting!

I’m not even going to tell you where this is…..

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O.K., so if sweet bears who love marmalade aren’t to your liking there’s always a Liam Neeson movie to get your heart pumping.

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This isn’t a pun but I do have a lot on my plate this week so I’m now going to be in hiding until the Calligraphy class on Saturday.  Nikka is very proud of me that I’m actually learning to say no to wonderful goings on.  

I got hooked onto Papaya on the cruise as we had some with every meal.  Decided to continue the tradition ‘cause it’s soooo yummy and good for you too!

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Kita went to the spa in preparation for Valentine’s day.  She always looks like a different doggie when I get her.  Sooooo white….a big snowball!

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All ready for our Valentine’s Day photo opportunity!


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And another…...

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I vote this photo the cutest ever!!!!

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Thank you Nikka for the beautiful roses and sweet, sweet card!

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All I can say is ‘Oh that Amy’!!! She came over with the most exquisite arrangement….I’ll try and show you a view from all sides.  The interesting thing about this is that I felt as if I entered a garden all my own….it’s so charmingly captivating!  Amy’s putting the finishing touches on the arrangement….

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The white flowers are exquisite Tulips!IMG 4909

A view from the top…..

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And again….

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Calligraphy class was on Valentine’s Day…..

Here’s Violet with Shantien ‘Tom’ Chow…….They combined their Ch’i to say ‘the greatest harmony…earth & people all in harmony’.

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I don’t know….the kiddies table gets awful grownup during calligraphy!

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Time for Valentine’s dinner at Bar Verde.

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Hiro, the Manager, always takes such good care of us….

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Had the salmon…..

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Did I forget to photograph dessert again?  We had the Apple Cobler with Ice Cream.  Hi mom!

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I love you darling…...

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Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year filled with every manner of good things to delight your heart!

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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.