Monday, December 28, 2015


 ….thanks to some major planning which included having the table good to go days ahead of schedule and all of the Christmas cards sent!

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I decided to spare everyone the musical Crackers and fortunately these from William Sonoma arrived just in time!

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Trudy never forgets Kita at Christmas and here she’s finding out if she’s been naughty or nice.  Need we say?

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Well, naughty though she be she got her treat anyway.

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…along with a great bath from ‘Must Love Dogs’.  Patient Liz tried for almost an hour to get Kita into the tub and then sent out a S.O.S.  Vicki & I got into the van and Vicki had to climb into the tub  while I pushed Kita from the rear.  It definitely takes more than a village.  Kita loves jumping into Liz’s vehicle but she’s learned about the tub and that stubborn Akita takes over.  Later we all got drenched when puppy decided to shake it off!

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I guess it was worth it.  Clean puppy.

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Dr. Eileen said she doesn’t mind this and for the three hours she was here Kita did not leave her alone. Now Eileen, along with Vicki, are the ‘weakest links’ in Kita’s training according to Mary Beth.

IMG 8473That beautiful Christmas  moon was directly over the studio…..

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Amy and I went to the Beverly Hills Hotel to personally give Santa our requests…..

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 We told St. Nick we were especially good this year…...

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Next stop, the Polo Lounge for lunch…..

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….and to be serenaded by the strolling carollers.

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Love you Amy!

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Oh yes, the Mystery Man.  Just look at his cuff…..

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Time out for beauty, marveling at creation…..…...

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Rex is in Switzerland so I get to enjoy the Peonies Amy got him for Christmas……Lucky me!

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Christmas day & we’re good to go…….

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Eating Duck pate while we wait for my fashionista mom…..

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The Honey Baked Ham was a winner…...

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Mom & Otto share a moment…..

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The salad was amazing with so many yummies in it including Pomegranates and Dragon Fruit.

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Kita didn’t mind being cordoned off as she had a big Greenie from Lynne Sims…..

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Little cookies that you put onto your hot chocolate mugs. Where does Sweet Lynne find these things?

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Happy Birthday Otto.  Kinda a bummer being born on the 25th as it cuts into the amount of gifts one receives.

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Not sure where she finds them but Nikka always comes up with the most delightful cards…..musical of course!

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 This was definitely a Class ‘A' Bear Hug! Actually ‘choke hold’ is more like it!

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 Another cute card…….

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 This is the most beautiful ornament ever and the box it came in is even more so….

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 Nikka shows Sir Charles the ‘finger puppets’ from his card…..

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 Charles was delighted…..

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 No Kita, you can’t go home with mom….

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 We love you one and all and send our love wrapped in wishes for a super grand 2016!

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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.