the lucky day I said no to the lady in a fur coat

•April 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment


I went down my Boston memory lane and remembered a wonderful day I’d almost forgotten.

We arrived to Symphony Hall late but the box office was heaving. It was a premier show featuring a celebrated opera singer. Our friend had left tickets at will call but for some reason, we never got to will call. I just remember the shuffle of people. A woman in a fur coat approached me and offered to sell me her tickets. I said no thanks and found my fancy ticket scalper amusing.

Soon after she left, a man approached me.

XYZ: “Are you a student?”

My backpack and lack of formal wear might have clued him on. This was my normal symphony attire. I sat in the house during the free rehearsals as well as attended the occasional concert.

XYZ: “Today is your lucky day. My daughter got accepted to college and I’m leaving the concert early to celebrate with her. You and your friend are my guests.”

We followed him through the crowd, through passageways. It happened fast and like a dream. When we finally reached our seats, I found we were on the balcony just over the percussion section. We were looking at the conductor’s face and not his back. Conductor Seiji Ozawa!

I never caught the man’s name who graciously gifted two students that night with amazing balcony seats. He disappeared to celebrate his daughter’s college acceptance. I write this story to never forget good people are in the crowd. Out of chaos; wonderful things come. I send my thanks to the universe for this man and the memory.



deep and simple

•April 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment


This past week was humbling and exhausting.

Was it the slightly punishing summer weather with its windy afternoons and sneezy nights? Was it the car engine hiccups and worrying commutes between appointments and visits to the vw specialist, or was it my teaching week?

Earlier this week, I wrote a letter of recommendation for a student interested in volunteering to counsel at a teen suicide hotline. She’s 14 and has been volunteering for several years in different places. Midweek, a student shared that middle school was a tough adjustment. Peer pressure was a burden that made her sad and I could feel she was controlling her tears when she spoke. I saw how delicate and strong she was. Remember middle school? I told her that if she asked any adult, many would tell her it was an awkward place, sometimes miserable. She is doing all the things I did to survive middle school; journaling and diving into hobbies that give personal satisfaction. She’s discovered photography as I did at her age. And she has piano lessons with me twice a week. Lastly, I had a lesson with a mother who missed her son. He had reached that stage where he had outgrown hugs and won’t enjoy mom/son duets at the moment.

And each of these students made beautiful music despite the circumstances that weighed into their day. They may have fumbled a note here and there but they were graceful and gracious through the dissonance.

I was present to some gorgeous poignant moments. I hope you had a few. Moments where you are a soul watching time stand still while being with someone who needed a witness to their sadness or their fears. Live deeply and simply.

I hope you were able to bring comfort.

It was a beautiful, humbling, and exhausting week.


“Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” (Fred Rogers)

stunning solitude

•April 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment


Surrounded by people, Solitude finds a second to wink at me and I realize a magical silent moment….

There are at least four people in this shot. I waited a moment for the baby stroller to move out of the frame. And for a few seconds, it was only me and the garden.

Some need activities to raise their energy. I need quiet time. This weekend, I played the piano some and made notes for my chiro.

My left hand feels weightier and energetic while my right hand feels like a ghost. If I was a director, I’d tell my right hand that it needs to work on it’s presence and projection. My right hand still shakes. I entertained random questions like how would I keep very still if I had to hide from a ghost or raptors that broke out from a science lab.

I had to figure out a few positions to find my stillness. My imagination was entertained. It made pain less dominant.

How my world sounds when I find stillness…

The neighbor downstairs cooing at her puppies and the puppies’ happy response. The neighbor upstairs singing to himself. The rhythmic whoosh of cars going along Laurel Canyon. Sometimes it’s the birds singing, another part of the day, it’s the kids at play in the schoolyard, and summer evenings, it’s the crickets singing.

Solitude is stunning when you can enjoy its conversation and not be interrupted.

A bit of homework I give my students is to write down 10 things they hear while sitting alone at their piano. I enjoy their lists. The “list” was inspired by a violinist friend when I shared having several piano students who did not have an instrument to practice on. Aside from “air piano” practice, what else can I suggest to help them grow? Hence, the “what do you hear when you are alone” list; an exercise to fine tune how one listens.

It’s not only about what you hear but also how you listen.

What do you hear in your solitude? I hope it’s stunning.


an angel’s hello

•April 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment


And out of thin air, a miracle happened.

Another angel story to raise us up from the wearying human experience.

After a day of teaching, I headed to the train station, parked my car, and waited at the platform. The train did not arrive on time. The crowd of commuters grew; in numbers and in impatience as the evening grew darker and colder. It was a Friday evening and I was setting off to San Diego to celebrate my niece’s birthday. Sitting on my luggage, I called my brother to let him know of the delay and asked if my absence would matter. He put my niece on the line to ask her myself.

M: “Please come, Auntie JNET.”

How can I refuse that adorable munchkin voice?

XYZ: “JNET, we’re taking a taxi to Union Station. There’s room for you!”

And with that, I joined my train station acquaintances and headed to Union Station. Running towards the platform, I realized my boarding pass had gone missing. My name was on it. You needed ID to validate it. It should be easy to replace.


ZYX: “You must pay another full fare. We refund boarding passes after you provide us the lost boarding pass.”

JNET: “I’ve lost the boarding pass. No one else can use it. No one can be me other than myself.”

ZYX: “I can’t do anything for you. You must purchase a new boarding pass. You will get a refund after you give us your missing boarding pass.”

JNET: ?!?!?!?!?!?

What nonsense. I gave up trying to reason with them. My newfound train/taxi friends backtracked with me to search for my boarding pass. It was a business class ticket; not exactly cheap. After a few minutes of walking through the chaos of people trying to get somewhere or having just arrived, I decided to buy another business class round trip ticket.

AMTRAK was making a nice killing on my behalf. I’ve now spent more than a couple hundred dollars. The initial train I was to board was still stuck somewhere north and I was going to miss dinner and seeing the kids before bedtime catching a late evening train. BUT, I will be able to help set up and celebrate Saturday morning.

People gamble more on a Vegas weekend. Spending time with my family…that was a bet I was willing to put on the table. I purchased a new boarding pass.

I enjoyed the birthday party and was at the train station Sunday after lunchtime to return to Los Angeles.

But what about your miracle, JNET? What about your angel???

The remarkable event happened upon arriving the Glendale train station. I spilled out with a bunch a people. I hadn’t yet gotten my senses together when someone called out my name and placed something in my hand before disappearing. That something was my missing boarding pass.

I was able to get my refund.

And that someone who played angel got away before I can thank them.

I share the story to remember on especially tough days that good people and good things make the long distance run of living more bearable. I hope everyone has a rugged angel story to share. I will share more in the future.


Here’s the first one I shared here:

Welcome to jnetsworld. As of today, April 6th, 2018……


fire engine red beauty says hello

•April 3, 2018 • Leave a Comment


My bug handled the drive to SD like a champion but I felt it cough while taking on a final steep climb on the freeway. That was a bit nerve wracking after 3 hours of driving. My legs were shaking when I finally arrived at my destination. My right arm scolded me for the stick shift workout and the tremor was more pronounced.

The drive was my attempt at fighting off any post accident fears of driving before emotions had a chance at hijacking my sense of happy independence. I still feel rough around the edges but enjoyed my family time. I planned to visit a mechanic before heading north.

I visited downtown San Diego’s Griffin’s Auto Shop in Little Italy for a diagnostic test and found a fleet of classics visiting their auto doc. The red VW camper greeted my arrival. The shop was busy. I wasn’t the only one impressed by their reviews.

Griffin’s Auto was kind enough to put my car on top of their queue when they learned I was from out of town and was trying to get home safely. They gave me a free coffee voucher to visit a neighboring cafe and encouraged me to play tourist and go enjoy a stroll.


This decadent coffee had Nutella.. its hard to say no to Nutella. It was yummy!
My car was road ready within an hour. They didn’t find any major problems and gave me a small list of homework for my mechanic to do before I make another big drive. They discounted the diagnostic test, gave me peace of mind and Griffins became my new official shop that I will go to for my VW needs when in SD.

Next visit is slated for next month. I’m already battling fear talk in my head. I’m planning to win. Here’s to healing body and soul.


angel couriers to the rescue

•March 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Everyone has a horror story to share. Those stories are exhausting to live through and even more exhausting to listen through. Life happens. We become feed to FUDsters. Humanity disappoints us and we are left to pick ourselves up.

A well meaning friend asked about my car accident and then shared his avalanche of terrible car accidents and incidents he’s lived through. The only way I could lift both of our energy boats from sinking was to share stories of good things that happened to me that has built my faith in humanity.

Freshman year in Boston. I was GREEN!!! I moved to the big city having been raised in sheltered suburbia and military bases. You would think in a city with a zillion souls, I’d be invisible. I managed landing my first “grown up” job to supplement my work-study stipend from school as a personal assistant to very kind important man in venture capital. I was the only art student in an office of law and business grads. But it was a great place and everyone was just as kind as the captain of the big ship.

I rode my bike from Back Bay to work in the Financial District and marveled at everything; gardens, gorgeous trees, restaurants, hotels, churches and shops. I would meet a thick of people once I hit Downtown Crossing; on foot and on bikes. Little did I know that someone was watching me.

At the end of one particular day, I found someone waiting at my bike. He told me that I didn’t know how to properly secure my bike. He showed me my error and then taught me how to lock it. He introduced himself as Matthew and told me that he and a bunch of courier friends had taken turns to watch my bike until I got out from work. They had stopped a guy from stealing my bike.

After sharing a couple hellos with his friends, he also taught me how to adjust my bike seat to take care of my knees and back. He was great. This stranger gave me a lesson on city living and riding in good form. He and I walked our bikes all the way back to school where I introduced him to my friends and then I never saw him again.

It would’ve been great to write of a wonderful friendship that grew from that day. But that is how the story ends. Matthew, wherever he is, I further my thank you into the universe by sharing what he and his friends did.

My friend with the avalanche of horror car stories started to slow down and listen. I told him another instance. People that showed up and disappeared. My league of angels.

M: “Wow, JNET. You should be on the Ellen Show. They like these types of stories.”
JNET: “I wouldn’t want to be on any show. You would have to tell the story for me. You would enjoy the attention more than me.”

He made room for another angel story…..which I will share in another post.

The world is full of amazing people. A lot of people want to be amazing. When I feel the weight of life, I remember the people that shined their light while on my path. Their part in my story has become my treasure.


a day teaching in the cactus garden

•March 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Teenagers are prickly beautiful creatures and so are their parents.

I found myself consoling a tearful student after her and her dad had an emotionally charged conversation over recording her playing. While she excused herself for a moment to collect herself, her dad vented his frustration. A simple request did not land well, buttons were pushed and the moment lit up in flames.

“Do not have children, Miss JNET!!! They are a never ending headache.”

My student returned to the piano bench after her dad left the room and we recorded a bit of the piece she was working on. She was embarrassed and hurt. She had apologized earlier before stating her peace to her dad. It was an uncomfortable moment but I was impressed how respectful she spoke to her dad to disagree. It still broke her heart a tiny bit to hit upon a rough moment relating to her dad.

I didn’t tell her dad we recorded the piece. At the end of the lesson, he walked me to the door still fuming a bit. I told him his daughter was a good girl. Yes, she’s strong-willed. Some may choose to say difficult or stubborn. Strong, unshakable people who have their North Star are the sorts that change the world. Perhaps he was overwhelmed with the task at hand. He and his wife are very mindful of their role to guide their one and only child.

I sent the video the following morning . And I hoped that they will be okay in order to set off and enjoy their spring break vacation. I suggested that if he wants recordings of his camera shy daughter, he might want to sit on the stairs and record himself enjoying listening to his daughter’s playing. I reminded him again that he had a good daughter and the good work of building family shines despite the less than shiny moments. His teenager daughter adored him.

They are going through a prickly stage. They are going to be alright. They are absolutely gorgeous… this cactus.


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