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! 




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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.