Monday, June 27, 2016



….…..for so many people and there’s no exception at the Parkers!  However, Sir Charles gets treated royally and makes our hearts glad. The Bistro Gardens on Ventura Bulevard is a lovely place to celebrate!

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But first there were presents….

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I posted a favorite photograph of my father on Facebook….

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Next day I met Lizzie Girl at mom’s and off we went to Pasadena in that 100 degree plus weather….

 A Birthday lunch at Settebello’s…...

IMG 3894Then thanks to Lizzie’s noticing it, one of the most awesome movies ever at the Laemmle!  A HBO Documentary ‘The Music of Strangers’ telling how Yo Yo Ma got musicians from all over the world to work together to create new and exciting music. They’re called ‘The Silk Road Ensemble’.  It was so heartfelt and I hope everyone sees it.  If you don’t catch it at the Laemmle I think you can order it on Netflicks. We needed a lot of Kleenex and a large popcorn!

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Time to catch up with Rose and Joan at Prosecco Tratoria in Toluca Lake.  IMG 3914We all had Whitefish which was delicious as always...

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But I could not pass up having this as well!IMG 3915I’m thoroughly disgusted with Viking products as I’ve had to replace the dishwasher, oven and now the stovetop.  Note to self:  Do due diligence and don’t be impressed by names.  Jean at Pirch always takes such extra special good care of me and there’s always a yummy treat waiting.

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Off to meet Nikka and mom at Cheesecake where the first thing to order is a Mangoe Smoothie… good but needs Boba!

IMG 3929Something was definitely off as we had to send this hot mess of a Nacho dish back and Nikka’s shrimp went back because we found out a new chef had used brown sugar instead of bread crumbs.  The server kept saying brown sugar was in the recipe.  Ha!  What about the customer is ALWAYS right???

IMG 3934Measuring for the new stovetop….

IMG 3951I think I need a new fridge in the studio as well…What on earth is going on?  Is this an appliance meltdown???

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 It’s always so wonderful when Olga comes over and we’re able to catch up over tea and cookies with this evening lasting ’till midnight!!  This amazing hand painted little bowl was brought back from Peru for me.  The detail on it is extraordinary & I can just picture the very, very tiny brush!

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 Here’s one of my demo paintings from class on Saturday in the studio…..Chinese Magnolia in case you can’t tell!

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 I was famished after class so Nikka and I headed straight for Habit Burgers and got the very best ever.  The fries were amazing!

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 Too bad Baskin Robins is right next door!  Pralines and Cream….Oh soooooo good!

IMG 3972Wishing you a sweet week!

Thursday, June 23, 2016



…Laurie Pie planned an amazing day at the original Farmers Market on 3rd & Fairfax for a birthday celebration for me.  If you haven’t been there for a while it’s time for a real treat.  We had so much fun walking about looking at everything and finally settling on Monsieur Marcel for lunch….By the way, she’s Laurie Pie because she prefers PIE to birthday cake!

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 They have the most incredible handmade Macaroons made by Les Macarons Duverger (also sold at Whole Foods).  Light as air meringue discs with a perfect ganache filling. Ahhhh Paris! This was way better than cake!

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 Afterwards we stopped in at the  Monsieur Marcel French Gourmet Shop which is my new favorite place and anyone who wants to go visit….I’m sooooo ready!

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Yes, this ‘Grande Vecchio' 100 year old Balsamic reduction is only $450.00 a bottle. Notice they keep it under wraps or should I say ‘glass’.  I’d put it on my perfume shelf! 

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 I dragged poor Laurie about looking for a certain type of pot scrubbing brush and half way thru the new area of the Grove discovered I had left my American Express card back at Sur la Table.  Of course, after that hike back we needed See’s chocolates!

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 This five month old Akita was already a handful for his owners so of course I gave them my card I told them to phone anytime…..They have nooooooo idea!

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 Dan, Lauries Prince, gave me this cartoon knowing we were going to Farmer’s market.  So cute!

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 Meanwhile, back on the hill, I spied Tulip going to work…….Sorry puppy, no treat in my pocket!

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 Thought you’d like to see the last Peonies of the season courtesy of dear Amy!

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 Love construction, love big trucks that move and do things and fortunately really loved this one as it completed the road the day before class at the Huntington!

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Bye, bye and thank you!IMG 3696

 We painted the Chinese Orchid and Lavender in class at the Huntington Botanical Gardens and it was great fun!  I was so grateful to have Nikka able to help me for the day.

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 After class Nikka and I went to Chang’s in El Monte to have Lizzie’s artwork framed.

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After that it was off to the Reilly’s for an alfresco dinner and playtime with grand baby (growing up fast) Noah!  Nikka was so adorable with Noah…..he’s amazing!

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O.K., more birthday stuff.  This time, with beautiful Tina Marie at Crustacean in Beverly Hills.  I really appreciated thoughtful Tina picking out such a perfect spot.  I love seeing the Koi/Carp under the glass walkway.

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What’s really funny is that while I posted this event on Facebook a month after my birthday, I got a ton of Happy B-day wishes.  This one from our dear Lynne Tucker!IMG 3781

 Peter and Jim flew in from Dallas just for class.  Peter had been a student years ago before moving to Texas.  He asked to study Bamboo and boy, did we ever!

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After class Nikka and I went to Home Depot for a new doorbell and got one ‘As Seen On TV’.

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It’s sooooo cool!

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The ‘Ring Video Doorbell’ allows you to see who’s at your front door from absolutely anywhere on your iPhone.  I’ve had more fun calling the house when I’m out and about with people and telling Vicki to go out and ring the doorbell and talk to us. 


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 After that shopping expedition we stopped at Habit for yummy burgers and fries.  I always get a lettuce wrap as I like to kid myself about calories.

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 See what I mean?

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Wishing you lovely marshmallow skies each and every day!

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Thursday, June 9, 2016


….is going on here and the month of June will be a messy time street wise!

IMG 3476Phase one was removing the old pavement and next the cracks got gooped!

IMG 3511When I phoned the contractor to find out what day/days we’d be unable to pull out of the driveway I was told they have no clue and don’t even have all their permits yet!  Wha??? Your city works for you!!!

Amy and Marian came over to see if they could use any of the Chinese children’s books.  Marian is a wonderful collage & assemblage artist and found several that she can use in her amazing work…check out  We still have quite a few books left so please do come over and pick out some.

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Time to meet mom and Nikka at the cheesecake Factory.  This humongous plate of Nachos is for the table and may I say it’s soooo good we’re going back for more tonight!IMG 3461

I wasn’t stuffed enough so I ordered all this and those two got some shrimp dishes.  This is definitely out of control!

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After stopping for ice cream cones (correct) mom & Nikka tried on hats at Nordstrom. So cute!IMG 3467

The birthday celebrating continued with a yummy Strawberry Whipped Cream cake from Tina Marie and more singing….

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Fortunately on Saturdays there’s street parking so Calligraphy went on as scheduled. Adorable 91 years young Ada is sitting next to Tom and Johnny, her 93 years young BOYFRIEND is next to Miss Judith! Just too cute!!!IMG 3503

My Sweet Amy decided there was more B-day celebrating to do so off we went to the Langham in Pasadena.IMG 3528Getting a little better at selfies…..Note to self:  Remove glasses!IMG 6009

I always love going to that hotel and seeing the courtyard where Charles & I were married.  It was the Ritz Carlton then.IMG 3538

Just time for one last hurrah before starting my diet.  The perfect place was Bea Bea’s... a jam (no pun intended) packed 'breakfast all day' haven in Toluca Lake where their motto is ‘BREAKFAST IS EVERYTHING’. Sweet Lulu was game for going there but we actually had more of a lunch thingie and ate outside as inside you can’t even hear yourself trying to think!  Plan on a good half hour wait for a table if you’re lucky!IMG 3554I can’t think of a better way to close this blog entry so I’ll wish you lots of yummy treats where the calories don’t count!


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.