Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Well maybe not stormy but freezing cold for CA and pitch black when Kita whined for me to take her out.  Trying to be joyful (ha) I bundled up in a down vest and piled on a down jacket on top of that. Armed with a flashlight, we walked out into the dark night.
All was well, a little business was done and then as we headed back home, Kita decided to go no further and as I pulled on her leash ….. you know the rest.  She managed to slip out of her collar as I had mistakenly fastened the leash to the collar and not to her halter.

Lesson #1. It’s important to ALWAYS be mindful.

In a flash that rascal had totally disappeared from sight.  I immediately went into panic mode thinking oh no, first mom, then Charles and now….

Lesson #2. Don’t project scenario's.

I walked down the hill about a block then back to the house to get a high value treat.  Also, I backed my car out of the garage leaving the motor running, the door open in the hope of her thinking she could go for a ride.  Off I went.  Car running, garage/house open, front door open...
Lesson#3. Eeee gads, don't forget your common sense.

Meantime I had phoned Nikka to drive back and help in the search and also Trudy, my wonderful neighbor who takes puppy to the park every morning.

Lesson #4.  Take a deep breath and decide if it's really necessary to call in the troops.

This time I decided to walk up the hill.

Lesson #5.  Make Sure you're headed in the right direction.

As I rounded the crest of the hill I saw a bunch of people standing in the middle of the road.  'Hey' shouted I, 'Have you seen my dog?'  'She's with us' came the reply.  Well of course, I should have known, my dog would go home with anyone and she especially loves to try and torment Tulip, my next door neighbor's rescued pit bull.

Lesson #6. The answer is usually right in front of us.

So, gushing profusely with gratitude and so relieved I approached Kita to fasten the leash onto her collar.  Well, she immediately bolted to the driveway of the other neighbors as three of them were willing victims of her charm.  Somehow, using that treat, we got her to be still long enough to fasten her and all was well just as Nikka and Trudy drove up! Neighbor Steven kindly walked me home and all was well.

Lesson #7.  Try not to get a dog that's smarter than you are.  My 200 lb. plus Saint Bernard Boswell would never even think of budging from his comfy spot on the cool floor.  He thought his only job was to drool and eat bananas!

For me, the biggest lesson came the next morning when I realized that the whole incident was one big metaphor for life.  We are loved and cared for more than we could ever imagine and everything we will ever need is waiting for us.  When we forget this we go running off to sniff every tree and blade of grass thinking to find fresh adventure unaware of the danger that could possibly lie before us.

Safe and sound, here's Kita, trying to get at Tulip yet again.

Kita's name has been changed to "No No Bad Dog'.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


...is not always easy but as I begin a new year I like to remember the things that bring me joy.

How about throwing a great party?  Maggie, an awesome hostess, had a shabu-shabu dinner that was the most fun.  Everyone gets to cook their own meal and after  awhile, cook for others at the table.  It turns into great fun!

Always enjoy your friends...

Let your friends do things for you.  Precious Amy made me soup!

Lulu sent me beautiful flowers from Le Jardin Privé.....Thank you dear girl!
As did Rex, our 'Man About Town'.....
Clean your space. (Thank you so much Connor for your massive help)
Soooooo much stuff for 'Helping Hands for the Blind'.
See some art.
Share a meal.
Watch Sumo wrestling!
Give or listen to a talk or lecture.
Share your work. Teaching brings me great joy.
(I'm so proud of Laurie Pie)
Learn new skills. (Everyone loves Shantien 'Tom' Chow's Master Calligraphy class in the studio.)

Love deeply.

See the ocean.
Be a 'high brow' now and then.
Share fun, learning experiences.  The cooking classes at Pirch are great even if you've cooked forever!
Remember to give thanks for our bounty and the hands that worked so hard to bring it to us.
Read a good book that stretches your mind.
Remember places of love.
Eat lots of sushi!
Play with friends.
Try to eat healthy even when rushed.
Don't forget to have treats!
Collect something...anything.
Get and give lots of hugs!

Honor relationships.
Remember to give.  I love 'Heifer International.'
SEE the sky.
Don't worry.

Remember to smile.
And for Pete's sake...get a dog!

May you always live joyfully!

Friday, February 16, 2018


By the beautiful sea……O.K., the Pacific Ocean.

I always forget how awesome this is!
I took Nikka with me to the Ritz Carlton at Laguna-Niguel for a special event.
Need I say how much we both needed even this brief vacation?
Here’s the view from our room.

Kita was in the Caribbean Suite at Dog Resort Hotel & Spa where we could watch her on our iPhones.
Word has it she fell in love with a handsome German Shepherd.

Breakfast anyone? Wonder if there was anything else we could have ordered….

This fellow was our breakfast companion! He loved everything!

Time to hit the beach.

Or not...

Looking back at the hotel….

Oh joy…Sweet Jane, Tanya and Nikka….happy, happy…

Did I say happy? Ecstatic!

I think it’s time to take a couple of moments and just chill...

The meeting will be called to order….

Ahhhhhhh………Are you relaxed yet?

We watched the stunning sunset and then it was time to get ready for the event.

These strawberries were sent to the room and Nikka keeps insisting they
were from a secret admirer we met earlier…..

Next day my snowbirds from Chicago drove down from Newport Beach (or is it up?)

Finally, Nikka & I went whale watching but they were shy and we just got to chase the
dolphins but we saw a rainbow and that made up for the missing whales...

And this cutie...

Not quite sure why I received such largess but I suspect it was from Lynne Tucker at Pro- Travel.

I decided to have a movie marathon so we watched 'Murder on the Orient Express' with breakfast and 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' along with 'The Shape of Water' that evening.
(We saw two other movies after we checked out.)

         “Unable to perceive the shape of you
           I find you all around me
          Your presence fills my eyes with your love...
          It humbles me
          For you are everywhere"
Last scene in ‘The Shape of Water'
This view from the room was absolutely stunning!

I guess you can figure out what this was about….

This much ‘stuff’ after only four days is embarrassing but getting everything was quite fun!

Enough of that….back to the real world.
I decided not to fight the traffic back as even with a late check out it would be horrible
so….of course….a movie!

This was my first time at a Cinépolis and I have to say that Orange County is in no way the real world.
First, the most comfortable ‘chairs’ ever that you can adjust…go ahead, put your feet up!
We ordered gobs of food and a handsome server brought everything to us.  Eeeee gads!

Sooooo fun! We saw this and then ‘The Post’.

Sending Valentine love to all.  Remember to live joyfully!


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.