Monday, November 16, 2015


…..began last Sunday with a call from Sandie Girl who casually mentioned there was a petting zoo later that day.  What????  Where?  When?  I’m coming over!

There is an amazing children’s school right around the corner from the Reilly’s and they were having a ‘Fall Festival’ which included a petting zoo.  That was all I needed to hear as the last time I played in one was with Charles when we went to a ‘Heifer International' event in Beverly Hills.  That was really memorable as I had instructions to ‘catch a chicken’ so Charles could capture the moment of this ‘city girl’s’ bravery! By the way, I love supporting Heifer International and if you haven’t heard of it…..find out about the wonderful things you can be a part of at  


Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood.

You can send something as small as a flock of chickens for $20.00 or as large as a whole ‘Ark’ to a needy family.

 Love it!!!

On to the petting zoo…...

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Who doesn’t love a goat?

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….and petting one is the best!

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…..but feeding one is even better!

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Let’s hear it for the potbellied pig!

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WOW…..a lamb!

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Wondering…would Kita take kindly to a bunny?

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Old MacDonald had a farm…...

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It was difficult dragging myself away but I thought it best to meet up with Sandie in the sandbox where Jakey was being amazing on the slide and various apparatus.

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Back at the Reilly’s where the men are watching some guy thing on TV…….lots of muscle stuff…..

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Jakey showed me the table dad Nick had made for his train…..

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….and I got a peek into the office where I spied some Nan Rae art…..

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Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Sandie was studying an Ina Garten recipe for Crispy-Mustard Roasted Chicken….

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This is the cutest!

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Meanwhile, I was given the assignment of turning this into something…….

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Ta da!  Slices of alternating pear, heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella with cantaloupe in the center and chopped basil sprinkled about.  Finished with a drizzle of EVOO and Balsamic vinegar.  This would have been perfect if I added a sprinkle of sea salt but I’ve gotten so used to not using it that I forgot!

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Mom Melissa with baby Noah and 'growing up fast’ Jakey!

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Jakey shows off his Thanksgiving gift for the Reilly’s!

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And I get a chance to see all of Sandy’s beautiful needlepoint from Christmas’ past.  Amazing!

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May all your days be perfect!

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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.