Friday, May 12, 2023


mixed media

Haven't posted artwork from my ex-students in a while,
but these pieces have been on my mind since 2017-2018.

These works are by 3 of the most talented kiddos I ever worked with.
All High School seniors in 2018.
The assignment was to do a Self-Portrait 
in any 2-D medium they felt most comfortable in.
Each final work is truly remarkable
and I'm thrilled I finally got around to showcasing them.
This was their last assignment of the year for me.

We begin with Sarah Oh,
a young woman headed off to art school
 (she might have graduated by now),
accepted into Art Center in Pasadena.
Over the years and even after she graduated from Whitney,
we kept in touch and I continued to show off her pieces.
Sarah excelled in both the 2-D and 3-D realms.
Sadly over Covid we lost touch.
If you put Sarah's name in my search engine you can she most all her pieces 
for me and beyond.

First of all,
I love where Sarah chose to work from,
the classroom floor.
Here she was able to prop up a piece of mirror as well as her canvas.
She created her portrait in Acrylics.
What I just noticed for the first time in this photo below
 is she has reversed her image from what she is seeing in the mirror.
Or maybe it just seems so in the photograph.
Not sure??
When Sarah was in my classes,
she frequently brought over top her main subjects images of animals,
a secondary content for the viewer to ponder.
What I find so visually appealing about her Portrait 
are the harsh cast shadows she put in.
I love that she chose to use violet and blue/gray tones.
And that she chose a canvas that was more vertically inclined than most.
An exceptional work Sarah.
I miss you and hope you are doing amazing things!
One of my favorite things about all 3 of these works are the close-ups.
I love to see the brushstrokes, color mixing & blending, plus the fine details.

Here are Tiffany Chen and Mary Kim.
Just look at the concentrated focus one needs 
to pull off something this difficult.
Both girls worked from current photographs.
Interesting that Mary chose to prop hers up 
while Tiffany laid hers on the table.
What do I recommend?
Usually by propping up your photo helps the image from distorting
and keeps it looking more 3-D.
By laying it down sometime shapes can become distorted.
But I've always believed in letting the kids choose what works best for them.

I only did 2 self-portraits in my lifetime,
one in Pencil (from a mirror in college) and one in Acrylic 
(from my High School photograph).
I hated the subject matter,
ha ha,
and completing them was like pulling teeth.
But I did because I was being graded on both.

like Sarah,
 chose to deepen her shadows with warm tones that are so rich.
And I adore her color choices for the background blanket.
The aqua compliments her warm skin tones.
Mary is also working in Acrylic, 
but you can see her style is so much different than Sarah's.
Mary has watered down her paint so that it almost comes off as Watercolor.
Acrylic can be a very versatile medium.
Just lovely Mary!

And we end with Tiffany.
In her photo,
the lens of the camera caught an additional image in its refection.
Tiffany could have left it out,
but I'm so glad she chose to keep it.
Like Sarah,
she has chosen to give the viewer a real treat.
But I know it had to be killer hard to deal with.
But in most all Tiffany's works she does love to challenge herself,
always pushing to be her very best.
Tiffany has an incredible work ethic and headed to Art Center as well.
Couldn't be prouder!!
Of course the close up is amazing to see.
If you look closely you will note that she has chosen to bring Colored Pencils 
over top the Watercolor to help with the cast shadows.
This also brings delicious texture to her portrait.
Another superb piece!

As I look back at these girls and their Portraits,
I know I was very blessed to work with such incredible talent.
What a wonderful job I had,
to love going to work everyday to this.
I still miss it so much.

Special Note:
I looked for all 3 girls on LinkedIn and found 2.
Both Tiffany and Sarah graduated with top honors from Art Center in 2022,
and are now Illustrators and Motion Designers.
One proud teacher!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023


I've been meaning to post some of my dear friends knitwear for ages now,
but if you follow this blog
 you know I've not been present a whole lot lately. 
So many wonderful distractions that I can't wait to post 
now that I have permission.
Hee hee!

In the meantime, 
Whitney High Science Teacher Aileen Perry
has been joining me for almost 4 years now this June or July,
coming faithfully every Tuesday night learning so many of the fiber arts.
But the one she enjoys the most is knitting.
She has now reached the point that she can take on any pattern and figure it out.
With circulars, double pointed or just plain old knitting needles.
She has made so many delightful gifts for family, friends and co-workers.
The list is long.
Here are a few recent ones.
The gorgeous pair of socks above, and the spectacular lap blanket below.

I'm so proud and thrilled for her.
She has even gotten to the point where she can modify the pattern
 as she did in this blanket
 to add even more pattern changes and interest then it called for.

On her recent trip to Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. in Long Beach Ca.,
she shot me a pix of her latest purchase from Red Fish Dye Works.
This is a company that dyes their own yarns
 and their colors are so rich and beautiful.
I wonder what she will create next?
Stay turned!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


So it all started like this
while walking the dog and picking up her poop next a palm tree.
What's this?
No way!
In my lifetime it's only snowed in Southern California 2 other times 
that I can think of,
the non mountainous areas that is.
And as we kept walking more came down,
on roof tops and parked cars.
Such a novelty,
and our pup Sophie loved it!
We had heard it was going to snow in our mountains
 but had no idea it was going to come down to us here in Anaheim Hills.
We are anywhere between 410 to 745 feet in elevation.
So I texted our neighbor Rebecca who lives below our cabin 
and she said it was snowing like she's never seen before!
She is a fifty something Army veteran 
who grew up in Crestline
 and said she had never seen it snowing so hard there.
Crestline is at 5000 feet,
the lowest elevation of all the mountain towns in So.Cal.,
but apparently the hardest hit.
Luckily she had she son there with her.
She said she heard trees falling and branches breaking.
Thank goodness her home survived.
The next day on the TV news channels, 
we heard that our only grocery store,
Goodwin and Sons in Crestline,
 had it's entire roof collapse.
Another store,
 our only hardware store's roof collapsed as well.
Oh no!!
And the roads were blocked and no one could get in or out.
It took Rebecca and her grown son
3 days to shovel themselves out of their front door
to get to their car.
And it was completely buried in snow.
But still no one could drive their cars 
because there was even too much snow for the plows.
She measured her snowdrift at over 6ft. tall.
So many were stuck with no food, heat, medicines or mail service.
Rebecca could not get her medicines.
I think they were eventually helicoptered in.

Goodwin Market in 1946

Goodwin and Sons in 2023 before the Big Storm came in

Ariel view of  it's collapsed roof

Demolition began after most of the snow melted

For days after the storm and collapse,
Goodwin and Sons,
Crestline's family owned grocery since 1946,
 was giving away undamaged food and other necessities for free
to anyone who could get into town.
This was an all in one store,
 complete with not only groceries,
but an old time soda fountain and candy shop, fishing supplies, gift shop,
mountain gear and house hold necessities.
I can't even image the cost of all they lost in this disaster.
Townsfolk were distributing the freebies to neighbors who couldn't get into town.
Our dear friend Chris,
 who lives up in Crestline full time,
knew the storm was coming so he went down the mountain to Costco
and bought $400 worth of food for himself the day before it started.
Thank goodness because 2 of his close neighbors were without heat or food.
They were barely able to walk thru the snow to get to his cabin
and he invited them to stay in his one bedroom place.
So for two weeks he feed them
and he said they watched a lot of movies.
Couldn't do much of anything else.
Chris loves to entertain.
He grew up in his parent's Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Seattle Washington,
and helped run the place for years.

back at our little cabin...
Driveway in front of our cabin and big lump of snow on the right is our Jeep

a week after the Big Storm when Rebecca was able to walk up to our cabin 
she took these pictures for us.
My little art studio with a wall of snow against window

Zach with little sis Danielle

Of course my own children were living it up in Mammoth,
a popular ski resort for Southern Californians.
Picture above was a couple of weeks before the Big Snow hit.

And this pix was taken during the storm.
My son and his wife drove thru the blizzard to ski that weekend.
Crazy kids!
When they got done skiing 
and went to find their car it was completely hidden in the snow.
Ha ha!

A good month and a half  later Jim and I finally ventured up 
to try to start our Jeep.
We were really surprised that the soft top hadn't buckled as well.
But it was sopping wet inside.
We did a bit of shoveling so we could back it up and get the battery going again.
But of course it was deader then a doornail.
 We also noticed right away that the yard was a total disaster.
Many downed trees and large branches,
but my dear Camellias survived with their buds ready to open.
How about that?.
Thank goodness there were no leeks inside the place.
Just the pilot light inside had blown out.
An easy fix.

But then we had another revolting development.
When we headed into town for a new battery,
we had a bit of a misstep,
more like a slip and slide into a 6 foot snowbank
 with Jims classic Mustang Convertible,
his boy toy.
Yes another accident!
I wasn't driving,
thank goodness,
 and I had on my seatbelt.
Can't say the same for my significant other.
Some of us don't learn our lessons.
And it was an expensive one.
We had to be towed all the way back to Orange County 
and it was $12 a mile.
Let's see,
with tax it came out to about $450.
With an overweight 40 lb. pup in our lap between us,
we squished into the cab of the tow truck.
It was quite a picture.
Sadly our Insurance Co. won't pay to repair this gorgeous car 
that my husband has taken such loving care of.
It was going to cost them too much so they are totaling it 
and giving us a bit above Kelly Blue book for it.
Jim had just put in a brand new engine last year.
I thought he was going to cry.

Oh yea,
and then this happened a couple of days later.
We went back up with our one remaining vehicle,
my VW convertible,
to put in a new battery in the Jeep, 
but that made no difference.
The starter was frozen or something so AAA to the rescue again!
When it rains it pours that's for sure!

And hear we are today,
back to our bedroom community of Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills, 
looking into the distance at our beloved mountains.
 This one is the San Gabriel Range and Mt. Baldy.

P.S.  Went to cabin again today to pick up our repaired Jeep.
It was just some loose wiring.
Probably a little critter climbed up to shelter itself from the storm.

Sunday, April 9, 2023


Flowers from my son's garden, tulip, camellias,  geraniums, lavender, daisies, and roses

another year older,
A close up of that gorgeous tulip as it opened up
I'd love to go back to 54,
before I lost control of my body weight,
before aches and pains,
failing eye sight,
hearing loss,
and the ridiculous amounts of short term memory issues.
Before the clumsiness and falling started because of lack of balance.
It's so true what they say,
"Getting older is a bitch!"
The beautiful sunset the night of my birthday as my step-daughter Julie took me out to dinner 
with her dad and boys

But in those 13 years between 54 and 67 I've learned so much,
gotten smarter shall we say,
 about people, politics, the world and my own children,
even my ex.
And I've experienced so much joy and happiness,
travel adventures,
and laughter and giggles with my new partner in crime,
my husband Jim.
The music he brought into my life thru his band was so very healing.
If you go back in time to my blog posts starting in 2009 - 2010 ish
you can see our happiness shining thru.
Just scroll down,
way down on the left side of the blog under Labels,
and click on The Rockits and the Highlites. 
I actually got to dance with my husband!
Another thing they say
"There is nothing better then a man who can dance!"
Boy oh boy, is that the truth.
Hee hee.

But more importantly,
I've found out I have more strength 
then I thought I did for all the bumps that come as we age.

Like getting my ex and husband thru health issues,
as well as Jim's recent accident and recuperation. 
I'm so thankful I didn't loose either of them.
Jim with grandson Anthony on birthday night

I mean,
how can you resist that dear, sweet face!

Just a tiny sampling of the times we've had together.
Main Street in Yorba Linda 2011

Java Joes 2010  Yorba Linda  Halloween Eve 

Cypress Community Center Summer 2012 Music in the Park

My beautiful Music Man.

Friday, April 7, 2023


This one's always is an unexpected surprise because it comes on so quickly.
One day you think it's dead and then the next,
Wisteria blossoms.
The leaves will follow soon.
This is it's 4th year on the tiny patio of my Home/Studio,
but actually this pix came from a year ago buried in my phone's gallery.
But the plant is still alive and it should be bursting any day. 
One of my dear mother's favorite colors and plants.

My first gardening experiments began in the early 1970's
at our local La Mirada Drive-In Theater's Saturday Swap Meet
(which is still going on to this day)
where I bought my very first cactus.
I was working at Big Tee Burgers making $1.63 an hour 
bussing tables and taking orders.
Each week I'd save most of my paycheck but some of it would go weekly 
to purchasing a new cacti from the Swap Meet.
I was also taking Ceramics at Sunny Hills High in Fullerton,
learning the art of clay and glazes,
and making my own pots to plant those cactus in.
My step-father Webb kindly nailed up 3 shelves
on the side of my doll house and there sat my expanding collection of cacti and succulents.
But later as an adult and after hearing countless stories about my grandparents,
my mother's parents from Italy and Sicily,
I realized it was also in my blood.
And of course my mother and her sister,
 my Aunt Elena,
 inherited a love of gardening too. 
And now I've passed it on to both of my children.
My daughter has a big love of cacti and succulents,
and as I've mentioned so many times here in this blog,
my son is a Plant Scientist out of Cal Poly Pomona,
where he has passed on his passion to his wife.
Visiting my children's homes,
specially their gardens,
 is such a big treat for me.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023


here we go again with the second half of this Advent Knit.
Day 14 is this yummy blend of yellowy oranges
with the cutest sheep bag to store it in.
The bag snaps so you can wear it over your wrist and walk and knit 
if you want to.
It even has a great side pocket for storing extra tools and yarns.

Saturday, April 1, 2023


Some of my favorite wildflowers are blooming around our reservoir.
It finally stopped raining for a few days
 and I was able to get out and make a few trips around it.
Because of all the rain we've been blessed with this year
 the wildflowers are more incredible then I've ever seen them.
Here are just a few I picked the other day.
Two varieties of Lupine in two shades of purple,
some yellow mustard,
and then my favorite that I don't know the name of.
Was wondering if anyone can help?
I'm pretty sure these 5 small blossoms at the top of pix below
are from some type of bulb,
just based on how they were growing and pulled out of the ground.
They are petite, delicate and so very lovely.
Any ideas??

Thursday, March 30, 2023


Lately this is what our grocery shopping days look like,
with Jim speeding thru the isles on a scooter the store provides.
Know that he can actually walk and doesn't need this device anymore,
but he loves it.
A man toy for him I guess.

This last month has brought more changes.
He had cataract surgery done for both eyes and no longer needs his glasses to see,
except of course the dollar store ones for super close up reading.
This is a whole new look for him and he's been told he even looks younger.
And I think even more handsome  :)
How about that!
He'll take it.

Monday, March 27, 2023


Not sure who shot these pictures but my knitting friend Aileen sent them to me.
I'm pretty sure they were taken from either 
Long Beach, San Pedro or Santa Monica Harbors.
You can see Los Angeles in the left hand distance
 and the San Gabriel Mountains in the far distance. 
I have never in my life seen so much snow on our mountains,
In this shot above you can barely see the Hollywood sign,
and below,
 an even closer shot of it along with the crazy amount of snowfall we got. 
Sadly we haven't even been able to reach our cabin at 5000 ft.
The roads were closed for several days and our only grocery store's roof
 was caved in along with several other stores in our tiny little city of Crestline.
And more rain and snow is predicted this Wednesday.
Many of the full time residents there are without food and their medicines.
It's been a nightmare for them.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


with two different needle sizes.
The one in front is with size 3 double pointed needles,
and the one in back is size 4.
Size 3 won out for this particular basic sock pattern.
The strips and rust colored yarn were put in to make them look more sporty.
The multi colored yarn was a gift to myself from Buku Yarns in LaVerne, Ca.
I also bought another colorway and gifted it to Aileen for our Fiber class.
It was time for her to learn to knit socks.
She's almost done and they are gorgeous.
They will be featured in another post.
I washed these gently in the sink so they wouldn't shrink or pill,
even though they are a super wash merino yarn base.
Supposedly I can throw them in the washing machine
but I'm too much of a chicken to do that after spending hours knitting them.
But instead,
 they grew enormously by a good inch in each direction,
as well as becoming incredibly soft and limp from the gentle sink washing.
I freaked out because they were now way too large 
so I did something I'd never recommend,
 and tossed them in the dryer for a few mins.
Zilch...nada...still ginormous!!
Next I laid them out to finish drying and the next day,
 they were back to the perfect size I needed
(the ones on size 4 needles a bit larger).
I honestly don't understand what happened.
Just chalking it up to experience and a lesson learned.


Whitney High School Alumni and one of my former art students,
Julie Su,
was recently sworn in as our United States Deputy Secretary of Labor.
I was trying to remember which class of graduates she was a part of 
so I did a bit of math.
  I'm guessing it was the Class of 1987.
 and the rest of the Whitney High Community are bursting with pride!
She has always been the companion of the underdog 
and fights hard to bring in better working conditions here in America.

 Su was born in Wisconsin as a second generation immigrant. Her mother came to the United States on a cargo ship from China; her father is from Taiwan.[8][9] She graduated from Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos, CA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.[10]

Su started her legal career at the Asian-Pacific American Legal Center. She was a Litigation Director for Advancing Justice L.A., a non-profit civil rights organization.

Su was the lead attorney for the El Monte Thai Garment Slavery Case.[11] As the lead for civil case brought by the El Monte garment workers, Su successfully pursued a legal theory that held manufacturers responsible for the wage theft, as well as the operators who actually kept the garment workers captive. She and other activists also petitioned for the workers to be able to stay in the United States under a visa program for those who cooperate with the government in criminal trials. This led to the creation of the T-Visa for victims of human trafficking.[12]

During Jerry Brown's tenure as governor, Su headed California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).[5] Under Governor Gavin Newsom, Su served as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.[4]

As my husband says "She knows some big players".
Pretty darn cool I say.
Here are Julie and her daughter's,
 AnLing and LiMei, 
getting their selfie taken with Joe and Kamala.
How about those apples??
LiMei was also a very talented art student of mine a few years back.
One of the perks of teaching at the same school for 39 years,
you get to teach the parent and their children.
Love that!!!!

You can read more about Julie here on Wikipedia.