375 posts categorized "Fun & Discovery"

February 14, 2014

Opera Interrupted

My mother dreamed of singing opera.
She had the voice that could make that dream come true.
"Whatever you do, do not get married, becuase that will lead to motherhood, which will endanger your operetic destiny," cautioned her professors of music.

IMG_6774But love happened.
And she entered the boat of marriage with my father. And she had babies ... my brothers and I.
And opera, as her professor forshadowed, became forever interrupted.

IMG_6775It is both tragic and triumphant ... the intersection between women's dreams and motherhood, as destinies get modified through the choices of which boats we choose to board and which ones we forego.

The world of opera lost out on my mother's voice.
The world gained my brothers and I.
My mother's heart lost the thrills of receiving standing ovasions that her voice deserved.
My father's heart gained my mother's.


January 19, 2014

Top 10 Things We Learned in Julie Balzer's Workshop

We had a blast with Julie Fei Fan Balzer. We learned a whole lot too.

Julie Balzer10. Opacify.
9. Let it go.
8. People who think collage is easy don't know what they're talking about.
7. Master the stencil. Don't let it master you.
6. Comparison is the thief of joy.
5. Q: Do you need to apply medium in two directions before adhering paper to paper? A: Who the hell cares? Just get it on there.
4. If you don't like wrinkles in your collage, do something about it.
3. Life is too short to clean your stencils.
2. Make what you want to make.
1. Kill the pretty.

Congratulations to Julie and all attending students for a truly magical time. Julie will be back in 2015! Same time as always ... the Saturday/Sunday after CHA. Save the date!

Jenny Doh and Julie Balzer

January 04, 2014

Texting in Korean

It's been quite wonderful getting back in touch with my Korean relatives. I've been out of touch with most of them for quite some time. After visiting with my aunt in New York recently, we exchanged cell numbers so that we could stay connected.

Last night, she started texting me in Korean and I surprised myself to find that I could understand all that she was writing in Korean. How about that? Even after all these years of being very much out of practice using the language, I find that I can read and understand it! Now writing it is a whole different matter. I mean, I probably could do it but it would take me a long time. So I just write her back in English, which she understands. It's a good set up for the both of us because I get to practice reading Korean and she gets practice reading English. Maybe one of these days I will be able to text with her completely in Korean. Now wouldn't that be something?!

Photo-18For those of you who read Korean, I don't need to tell you what we were texting about. Socks! Yes, I'm excited to knit socks for her. A dark colored pair (similar to the pair shown at the very bottom) is what she would like. And so that is what she will get. :)

Photo 1

Photo 2

December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013. Welcome 2014.

 Farewell 2013.
Welcome 2014.

2013 Final

December 08, 2013

Art is Life

Thought I'd share some photos from last night's Art Walk Studio in Santa Ana. Right outside our studio door, I put up this question ...

IMG_2759... and I enjoyed watching people from all walks of life write their answers.


IMG_2760In the studio, it was great to see live painting going on and spontaneously getting people of all ages to collaborate with some of my paintings.

PhotoAnd then there were poets from Orange County School of the Arts.

IMG_2731And singers Monica and Louise.

Photo-99 IMG_2725
Laughter, art, life ...

... and some painting with boxing gloves.

IMG_2782 IMG_2772
Friends new and old ...

IMG_2755And even FangGrrr and Lion showed up to look after all of us.

IMG_2766 IMG_2762
After we closed up and I was walking down with The Mister, there was this guy painting such a wonderful mural in the shop window downstairs. I can't wait to go back and see how it turned out.

IMG_2768We'll do it again the first Saturday of next month. See you then.

To art ... the thing that helps us communicate stuff that we couldn't otherwise ... the thing that gives us life.


December 06, 2013

Bubba's Visit

Last night I bought groceries and quickly opened the side door and kept it ajar for just a split second and then went to my car to start bringing some of the groceries in. As soon as I went into the house, I discovered that Bubba had let himself into our house through the side door.

Bubba. Sweet, sweet Bubba.

IMG_2659He's the dog of our neighbor, David, whose house is caddy corner to ours. Bubba is ill and David has been taking him around to start saying his goodbyes as David is prepared with pain medication as Bubba has a couple of more months to live.

IMG_2655Our two little silky terriers (Toby and Scout) were in their crates eating ther dinner so Bubba was able to visit with us without being bothered by them. Toby and Scout have had a long history of always barking at and bothering Bubba ... perhaps not realizing that Bubba could pounce and destroy them quite easily. If he wanted to. But he never did. But there was a time when Bubba must have wanted to teach them a lesson because when they were yap-yap-yapping and nipping at Bubba, Bubba let out a loud "Enough!" sort of bark, causing our Toby and Scout to finally shut the fuck up.

IMG_2665Last night, Bubba kept looking at himself in the reflection cast on our oven door. And then he went into my office and crawled under my desk to rest. It was one of the best visits we have had all year. We love him.


November 19, 2013

Why it Works

When I met Shamanie a few years ago at an art camp, I hit it off with her right away. I knew as soon as I met her that she was a listener ... which happens to be one of my love languages. I feel loved when a person listens to me. And one of the primary ways that I love is by listening to people. I'm good at it. (There are other languages that I'm not so good at, by the way.)

I've realized through my therapy sessions and other lessons that I also feel loved when listening is not accompanied by judging. To hear my story that is made up of my good and bad, of my choices as I maneuver through dangers that are present, the highs and lows ... as I observe and consider all that is out there, make decisions for my life without taking a poll about what I should or could do. To simply share my story rather than have it measured.

I'm not sure if I've always been a listener without judgement. Actually, I know for sure that I haven't always been that way ... especially during times in my life when I allowed dogma to direct my conversations and allow that dogma to dispense shoulds, coulds, oughtas, and other generalized command statements.

Photo-3I recently flew to Colorado to spend the weekend with Shamanie. To get caught up with each other's stories. The highs. The lows. And every space in between. We worked out. We ate. We hung out with her kids. We laughed hard and shed a few tears.

Photo 1

Loving without measuring. Sharing without judging. When it works, it's a beautiful thing. When it doesn't, not so much. And why it works is kind of a mystery I think. It's as simple as a puffy white cloud in the sky. And it's as complex as how that cloud got into the sky in the first place.


It reminds me of art. When it works, it just does.

November 04, 2013

The Twelve Artsy Ornaments of Christmas :: Enrollment is Open!

I'm very excited and honored to be one of the twelve teachers who will be teaching for this year's
The Twelve Artsy Ornaments of Christmas hosted by Christy Tomlinson!

This talented teacher line-up includes:

Julie Fie-Fan Balzer • Jenny Doh • Maggie Holmes
Margie Romney-Aslett
• Jeanne Oliver • Teresa Collins
Junelle Jacobson • Tamara Laporte • Alisa Burke

Chrissy Gardner • Amy Tan • Christy Tomlinson


Here are some answers to questions that you may have about this fantastic class! :)

Q: When does it begin?
A: This is an online workshop that begins Tuesday November 19th.

Q: What is it?
A: This is an online workshop that starts on a Tuesday and eneds on a Saturday. Each day, three new ornaments/holiday projects will be posted by three of the 12 teachers. There will be all sorts of fun projects including holiday decor, gifts, and ornaments.

Q: How does it work?
A: The workshop will be hosted on a private website and all instruction will be in video form and include up-close pictures of each project and supply lists and PDFs where needed. Supply lists are ONLY available in the workshop, once the workshop begins. We will have a private facebook group page for those in the workshop as well, to share photos, and to get to know each other better. We will also have Instagram and Twitter hashtags that students can use to share their work as well.

Q: Is there something super duper IMPORTANT about registration that you need me to acknowledge?
A: Yes! When you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email FROM Paypal that states you have paid for the class.  THIS WILL BE YOUR ONLY receipt of confirmation UNTIL the day workshop begins.

Q: And then what happens?
A: After that, a welcome email and an email containing your password and log-in will be sent to you around 10:00 AM (MST) on the day that the class begins: November 19th. You can use that info on November 19th to begin class.

Q: Why don't I get supply lists ahead of time? 
A: A lot of times, a project can be made with different types of materials ... usually things you have on hand. If you were to go purchase all of the things on the supply list, you may end up spending a lot of money befor the workshop but we encourage you to WATCH the videos first and then decide which supplies you want to try, and which ones can be substituted for something you already have on hand.

Q: How long do I have access to the class?
A: Great news! You will have access to all the content for this workshop for an ENTIRE year! You can access the content nighr or day, from any computer for a year. This class is NOT live, so you won't miss a thing if you can't be right there when it starts. You can watch and create at your own pace.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: To enroll in this workshop, it costs $24.95.

Q: Is there an early bird special?
A: Not this year. Last year there was one but this year, it's just $24.95.

Q: OK. I'm ready. What do I do?
A: Click below and enroll! See ya in class. :)

2013 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas Workshop

October 27, 2013

Fun with Minna Mercke Schmidt and Amy Hanna

What a completely wonderful afternoon it was today as my buddy Amy Hanna and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Minna Mercke Schmidt for some coffee, some spontaneous skipping around the Laguna area and just having fun getting to know one another.

Amy Hanna and Minna Mercke Schmidt and Jenny DohMinna (pronounced Meeeena) is from Sweden and I've been a fan of her fantastic work for quite some time and it was really an honor to fianlly get to meet her. She is author of two beautiful books and is currently working on her third one.
Minna Mercke SchmidtShe is one of the featured designers in my upcoming book titled Stylish Weddings (to be relieased in January 2014 but available for preorders here). I am thrilled to have her exquisite projects and ideas grace an entire chapter in the book.

Stylish Weddings
Here is one of my favorite shots from today ... kind of blurry but reflective of how quickly we were able to bring out the silly in Minna and become fast friends.

Amy Hanna and Minna Mercke Schmidt
Thank you, Minna and Amy for a fun, silly, and inspiring afternoon.

Minna Mercke Schmidt and Jenny Doh


October 07, 2013

Make the Best Decision and Don't Look Back

I recently went to Vegas with my dear friend Dori Barrett. Our mission? To see the fabulous Elton John in concert. Aside from the concert, we had so much fun and created so many laugh-out-loud memories that I know we won't soon forget. 


The show was wonderful. He played at Caesar's Palace. It was beautiful. Here's a shot that Dori took of me that I love, right after we enjoyed dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and right before Elton came on stage. I was so happy and relaxed.

Aside from the show, I played poker. A game I really enjoy.

My favorite type of poker is Omaha, which is similar to Texas, but with a twist. Each player is dealt 4 down cards and all players get to see 5 community cards ... with the first three cards that get revealed at once called the flop, and then the fourth card revealed called the turn, and then the final card is revealed called the river. (It is also a game that can become a hi-lo split at times.)

Here's the thing about poker. There are rules and a hierarchy of hands, and based on knowing the rules and hierarchy, common sense, and an awareness of other players, you make the best decision at every step of the game, based on all the information that is before you.

The best players actually rarely play because as soon as the four down cards are dealt, the rules and hierarchy and common sense inform the best players to make a decision to either get in the game or to bow out. The best players bow out unless they see a high likelihood for success, based on all the information. Same thing when the flop comes, and then the turn and then the river. The best players don't stay in a game hoping for a miracle at the river. They usually go to the river only when what they are holding and what is revealed at the flop and the turn inform them that they are most likely going to win the game.

Sometimes, when players fold before the river, you'll see some getting upset when the river is revealed because miraculously, the card they were chasing comes up. And they are filled with regret and this experience causes them to throw out logic and information presented in the next round out the window as they stay in the game with a poor hand, chasing the elusive river, only to lose ... and usually lose big.

Once I fold based on the best information before me, I don't like sticking around to see what comes up at the flop or turn or river. I don't want what I see to potentially taint me in the next round, to become irrational, illogical, or overly emotional, chasing miracles.

It's like life in many ways, I think.

  • At every step, make the best decisions based on all the information before you.
  • Don't look back.

And of course ... have fun.

If you want to. ;)

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