Sunday, November 29, 2015


…..and this year’s was the very best ever!!!

I think I went to the store 5 times including a stop at Sur La Table for a new tablecloth and napkins.  Oh yes, potholders!

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It was so much fun seeing Amy at Trader Joe’s!

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Of course the table has to be set the day ahead….

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Sweet Nikka brought this beautiful arrangement…As usual, Nikka hid from me so there’s no photo of her for our Thanksgiving.  Boo hoo...

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And Mary Beth sent over an Edible Fruit Basket….

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I haven’t varied the menu from day one:

3 Layered Jello Mold with Marshmallow/Sour Cream Dressing

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'Stuffing for People Who Don’t Like Stuffing' with cranberries, lots of nuts, chestnuts and assorted good stuff. I usually cube my own bread but discovered LaBrea Bakery’s and it’s wonderful. (The onions and celery are prepared a day ahead.)

Candied Yams with more Cranberries, more nuts,frozen OJ, tons of butter and all the appropriate seasonings. Note:  Princella Yams are better than fresh!

'Cranberries for People who Don’t Like Cranberries' (The secret is Kumquats but none of the stores had them so Mandarin Oranges and 1/2 can frozen OJ substituted) Oh grated Lemon rind and lemon juice.

Curried Baked Fruit…again lots of butter and you use assorted canned fruit that’s well drained.

Cooked Carrots (drained)  with Butter, Grapes and Cointreau.

Cornbread with Honey Butter….This is Vicki’s department.

Of course the Turkey that’s stuffed with onion, celery, apples, an orange and whatever else I can cram in there.

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Gravy….always an adventure to make…...

Dear Clara brought the Green Beans with Almonds and Delicious Creamed Corn made by Kathy.  How cute is this!!!

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 What to begin with? Prosciutto stuffed with Organic Adriatic Fig Spread and Goat Cheese

Lovely Krista lent a helping hand!

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Ready, set….begin! Mom adores Rex and we were thrilled he could join us…….Thank you Rex for the awesome wines!

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Rex was also commandeered to be our Barista during desert and I still can’t figure out how he makes such magic happen with the Nespresso machine! (Even after he showed me!)IMG 7397

I’m thrilled to pieces that I didn’t burn the turkey in the new oven….We started out using the convection & then switched to regular baked...

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IMG 7318Come on Vicki…carve that bird!IMG 7333

Krista and Brett are so adorable….We had great fun with the British ‘Crackers’ after dinner…...IMG 7358

Kita is madly in love with them and will follow them anywhere…..She had to be cordoned off during dinner so Krista and Brett took turns comforting her.

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Desert?  Room for desert?  Of course!

Clara made a wonderful Tiramisu and also brought my favorite…Panna Cotta, made just for me by Kaley, Kathy’s amazingly wonderful daughter!

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Brett made an amazing Apple Crisp...

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Precious Amy was able to come by after she had her family’s celebration (two turkeys!) You’re looking at love personified!

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I could not be more blessed…...

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Perhaps a little more rested would be good….

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Our hearts are so filled with love and gratitude for this, the most joyful, beautiful, blessed Thanksgiving ever!

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May your every day be blessed! 




Wednesday, November 25, 2015



…..not that I’m interested but it could be fun so off to Rusnak to test drive a new Jaguar.

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 It was the thought of nibbles that enticed me.
IMG 6811I went first and headed towards the Reilly’s to do a fun surprise pop in when I remembered they were out of town.  What was I thinking?

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 We had a lovely drive around the Arroyo….

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 It’s all about the gift bag isn’t it?

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 It was Sunday.  Right?  Our day of rest.  Right?  What could be more relaxing then going to the Langham, sitting by the fire and having nibbles.

Only problem was someone needs to talk to the chef.  Oh my gosh the food was awful.  I have such fond memories of that hotel when it was the Ritz Carlton.  Charles & I were married in the courtyard and managed to hang out there a lot.

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 Oh well.  Tomorrow was another day or something like that.  Time for puppy to get her bath and 'Must Love Dogs' is so super fantastic that she can’t run into the ‘spa’ fast enough!

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 No Kita, Liz does not want to dance with you and no again….you can’t go home with her.

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 Wednesdays class at the Huntington was super fun and Pam managed to crank out 5 images for her hubby to select from for their Christmas card.

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 I decided to do a pop in at Pirch ….reason way to complicated….too much bla bla... and ran into Mary, a Nan Rae art collector.  Funny story there but ask me privately!

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 The Culligan man was back and the whole water filtration thing is turning into a complicated situation….way too much detail, you’ll fall asleep!

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 To brighten my day in the midst of grand chaos Lisa came over and we shared some laughs and caught up….

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 Sweetest of the Sweet Lynne finished a wonderful painting for her Christmas card and Nikka brilliantly converted it to card size or whatever it is that she does so wonderfully .

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 Amy went with me to a party for a friend at Ca Del Sole but we could only stay long enough to devour the wonderful nibbles...

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 Then off we went for an 8:00 screening of ‘Tyrus’ which was formerly titled ‘Brushstrokes in Hollywood’ at the CTN animation eXpoo 7.0 at the Marriott..  I’m so thrilled to have a small part in supporting this amazing movie about Tyrus Wong, our National Treasure that was written and produced by my dear friend Pamela Tom.  Lisa See did a marvelous job of narrating and we were inspired by this man who carved out the most amazing career beginning with the beautiful backgrounds for Disney’s classic ‘Bambi’!

IMG 7009 Tyrus, at the young age of 105 was at the screening and busy signing posters for the film.

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 Nan Rae art at Nikka’s first home! She not only found it herself but did all the decorating!

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 I’m thrilled she has my very favorite painting!

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 There was too long a line for photo op with The Gingerbread Man so I just snapped him as he made this little boy cry!  Sorta like the response to clowns.

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 Couldn’t pass up this Shiba Inu as everyone who went on the spring trip to Japan will attest to.

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 Finally….the Rellly’s! They’re soooo cute!! We met at Americana and saw ‘Spectre’ the latest James Bond thriller.  Loved it and almost finished the LARGE bag of popcorn!

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 On to Freida’s for some Mexican food….

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If you’re thinking of Christmas gifts, check out for beautiful treasures. It’s a joy just to see her website!  She’ll be delighted to create something special and hand write a message on the porcelain.IMG 7017

 Wishing you joy!






Friday, November 20, 2015


……I would have been in Japan this past week for the fall colors….

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……possibly having a breakfast such as Ralph just sent….

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….but since Trudy just returned with some goodies from there…. I had a taste of Japan right here!

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Oh well, the new fridge got installed…...

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But not without the guys playing with Kita first…..Sort of a prerequisite for coming to the house.

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Meanwhile, I was off to the Music Center for a Founder’s Luncheon to welcome Rachel S. Moore, the new President and CEO.

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Foodie Alert:

Scarborough Farms Mixed Greens Salad, Shaved Vegatables, Shallot Sherry Vinaigrette.  Served with Baguette, Flat Bread and Grissinis

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Three Mustard Rubbed Free Range Chicken, Vichy Carrots, Fried Leeks, Creamy Gruyere Polenta  This was lovely but not as wonderful as Sandie’s Mustard Chicken!

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Vanilla Cheesecake, Seasonal Berries, Vanilla Chantilly, Fruit Chip This is not helping my diet one bit!

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Thomas O’Connell knows absolutely everyone in the city….perhaps in the universe…..

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This was a huge treat.  From the Music Center’s Spotlight Program, alumna Golda Berkman and Anna Schubert sang my all time favorite, the Lakme Flower Duet!  Heavenly!!!

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Got home in time to get a little work done….

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….Even some mounting…..

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Next day Laurie Pie and I were off to Changs Frames in El Monte.  We were laughing so hard most of the way trying to get the GPS or Siri to work…..

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I love this Landscape laurie painted…..

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Here’s the paintings I picked up for Nikka…..

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Can you believe I had to introduce Laurie to 'The Habit'?  She declared it best burger!!!  Sooooo yummy or maybe that’s because we were both famished!

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Got home in time to change and meet Tomiko at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to hear John Cleese (one of the Distinguished Speakers Series).

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Next evening at the Americana...Ba humbug!  It’s way too early for this Rick Caruso!  Good golly, let’s at least enjoy Thanksgiving first!  Oh well….….

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I picked up dinner for mom and Nikka at The Cheesecake Factory and discovered mom enjoying one of my YouTube video’s.  Soooo cute!

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Last Friday and time to go to ‘The Compound Production House’ for a 10:00 A.M. interview on ‘Dishing With Judith’!

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 Here’s Judith with technical wizard engineer  Tyler and Nikka taking a video of it all.  We hope to have it up on YouTube next week.

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Do these earphones make me look fat?

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Goofing off with Tyler…..


 Then it was off to Centinella for Kita’s food and another doggie bed.  This is about the seventh one and I got the most gynormous one they had.  Not that it matters as she seems to either chew or disdain them.

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 I introduced Nikka to Home Depot as we needed hanging implements for the artwork.  She’s getting used to my carrying on….I think…..

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 Anyway, she loves her paintings and that’s all that matters…..

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 I think the most precious thing ever was seeing how much Sandie Girl loved all the cards I’ve received from students showing their wonderful artwork!  I told her the story of getting the special Japanese hand thrown bowl just for them!

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 Oh that Nikka!  She did the most amazing work for Sandie…...

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 Since Jim was out of town I was able to detain and deliver…a pizza!  Plus yummy ribs from Trader Joe’s!!! 

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 Sandie just missed seeing Amy who stopped by with this amazing creation.🌺  Nikka and I just sat and stared at it!!! 💗

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 Saturday I met the lovely Tina Marie at the Montage for brunch.  They have a delightful roof garden which I had not been to and it was the perfect spot for a delicious repast and nice long chat.

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 Is it possible to eat too much fruit?

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 I opted for the Fish Tacos.

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 Since it was actually ‘brunch’ Tina Marie had an omelet.

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 When I came home Nikka showed me how to use the Google Cardboard and we had more fun!  (And more food!!!)

IMG 6808Gosh it was a wonderful week after all and I wish you the same! 😄


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.