Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Healthy Daily Habits

Recently I have been reading Deepak Chopra's books. Last night I  listened to him speak about his healing philosophies  on line. I have always resonated with his holistic and Ayurvedic beliefs. He stresses the daily habits of people who are in good health. It's amazing what a difference it makes to eat  nutritious foods, get enough sleep, and to move the body and exercise. Having an enjoyable daily routine is also very grounding and centering.

Each morning I am out of bed by 6:00 a.m. Often I get up much earlier. I am always eager to get started on my blogging and Etsy orders.  I enjoy sitting on the couch with a cup of freshly brewed cafe au lait, writing in my journal, and quietly working on my knitting projects. It's a calming and peaceful way to start the day. I have always loved being up while it is still dark and quiet outside. There's something special and sacred about that time or the day.

Each night I am in bed at 9:00 p.m. I usually do yoga at around 7:00 p.m. I don't have television, so that no longer takes up my time. The deep breathing and yoga postures help me to relax and sleep well. I really
 appreciate the fact that I no longer wake up during the night. When my hips were decaying with osteoarthritis, I used to dread going to sleep. The pain was always worse at night, and it was terribly hard to sleep. When you are tossing and turning, you brain, body, and emotions don't get the healing and rest that they need. I am now sleeping as deeply as I did as a child, and I so appreciate it! The hip replacement surgery has been a Godsend for me.

Exercise is also a huge  part of my daily habits. After eating a healthy breakfast of fruit, nuts, and sometimes a raw egg, I ride my bike with my dog, Lana. She really looks forward to getting out in the fresh air, and running along beside me. She is always eager to get outside in the sunshine. I think she gets the same benefits from regular meals, sleep, and exercise that I do. Animals naturally want to do the things that are healthy. They also love structure and routine.  They always take naps in the sunlight. We are fortunate to live in a cottage and climate that has lots of natural light streaming in through the windows. I air out the cottage each day.  It's uplifting and healing. I always open the curtains and let the light stream in through the windows. Do you have a daily routing for health and fitness?

Thank you for your comments. I read all of them, and greatly appreciate your time and thoughts. Please do not include links in your post. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Handling Pressure

Lately I've been thinking about how to deal with pressure from people who want my time, energy, or expertise. I've recently had to set boundaries with individuals  and charities who have asked me to donate my time free of charge. Although I do some charity knitting, tithe, blog, and donate my knowledge to a few forums, I realized that it is just getting to be too much for me. The bottom line is, I need to make money. I can't just give everything away on a daily basis.

My parents always taught me to work and earn money. From a very young age, I was babysitting, folding laundry, washing cars, and assisting adults. Because of this, I always had  the cash I needed for dance lessons, hobbies, or going out to eat. I loved that I always had plenty of money to buy my own make-up, pointe shoes, candy, lunch, or stationery. I didn't have to ask my parents for money.  If I wanted to go to the movies, or roller skating, I always had the funds. Sometimes my parents even borrowed from me, if they were short on cash. I also had a paper route. There was a lot of money flowing into my hands, because  I was always working. 

I think because I was brought up this way I am very surprised at how many people now expect me to work for free. It's been a real lesson to quote to these people the going rate, and to explain that I charge for my time. I've always trained with the top teachers, and because of that, have become a proficient and confident teacher, myself. The dance, yoga,  and knitting education I received has been worth every penny.

My father gave me good advice as far as responding to requests. He told me to ask, "What do I need to do, and what are the financial arrangements?" I love his choice of words. If the answer is, "We need you to do x, y, and z, and we don't pay," I don't do it.

Suze Orman teaches women: "When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are" She also reverses it: "When you undervalue who you are, the world will undervalue what you do." This really struck home with me. What's interesting to me is that as a child, no one EVER expected me to work for them for free. They were always generous and enthusiastic about paying me. I don't think any of those people were in debt, either. They probably owed money on their homes, but I doubt any of them had car payments, or credit card debt. It was a different time, and adults managed their money very well. They also made about 18% interest on their savings. It's so important to be compensated for our effort,  time, talent, and knowledge.

I love it when Suze Orman tells women, "You are not on sale.Remember that? Sale! 50% off!" That always makes me laugh. It's very true. Time and time again, I see women barely breaking even, because they are charging half of what they should be. It's up to us to set our prices, and to stick to them.

I recently received an Etsy order for a cashmere scarf and beanie. This customer is paying over $500.00 for  high end  set of beautiful hand knits. She values the quality, and understands that this is a fair price. I spelled it all out for her. I detailed the cost of the yarn, California tax, over a week of knitting labor at several hours a day, and the shipping materials. Those customers are out there. It's so important to find the right people.

I received an email today with a photo of the woman who received the knitted knockers that I made for breast cancer survivors. I wanted to show you her picture, but my downloads are disappearing. I'm not sure why. I guess I will have to pay a computer repairman the going rate to show me. Ha ha. They are not cheap, and that's my point. It was exciting to see the person who received them. I made three different sizes. She looks like she chose the C cup.  For some reason, I didn't think anyone would want the ones I had made. I had read after finishing  them that most women like the neutral shades. This was all they had left in the discount bin at the yarn shop. Still, she picked mine. I thought they would go well with jeans. That made me  so happy. It feels good to give when you can. You should never feel pressured or forced to give more than you can afford. It's a delicate balance.             

Thank you for your comments. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Giving Things Away That You No Longer Use

Today I met with a wonderful old friend of mine from my show business days, Merilee Blaisdell. We were roommates together on the National Tour of My One and Only. We still keep in touch, even though thirty years have passed since that time.

I have several ballet barres stored in my outside shed. I invested a lot of money in them, and it made me feel sick to think of them just sitting there, going to waste. They had gotten dusty and a bit discolored. I wondered if I would ever use them again.

Merilee recently opened a new studio in Los Angeles. She teaches Body Rolling, Franklin Method Education, Pilates, and Fitness. I knew that she was also a terrific ballet teacher. I sent her a message, asking if she would like to have my old ballet barres.  I explained to her that I  had bought them for my ballet and yoga studio before closing it after the economic downturn. 

She was very excited, and we were thrilled to find out that they would fit into her vehicle. I measured them carefully and sent her the numbers. It turns out they are also the perfect size for  her new studio! Her landlord will put them up for her. My loss is her gain. I feel so happy to know that they are going to a good home. They are wonderful wooden barres, made with excellent quality materials from Alva's.

It's such a good feeling to find the right person who needs something valuable that you have. We sat in my living room with her husband, enjoying a pleasant chat. As she was leaving, I also picked her some Meyer lemons from my tree, and a large bunch of fresh rosemary. She was so enthusiastic and appreciative.  I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is to have people over to chat. It really is the simple things in life that are the most rewarding. 

Thank you for visiting my blog. I read and appreciate all of your comments. If you enjoy the posts here, please share them.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Working on Etsy Orders

This past week has been excellent, as far as business. I received a big knitting order at my Etsy shop, Pink Cottage Soaps. The customer wants a lovely hand spun cream colored cashmere scarf and hat. The yarn is so soft, and is such a pleasure to knit! It has a delicate diamonds pattern that gives it a very nice texture. I love the feel of it. Scarves take a long time to knit, though. I've been working for several hours a day on it.

This morning I received an order for two pink valentine soaps. I love this mold. It's so feminine and pretty. I boxed them up and shipped them off to Texas. I've got to make several batches of more soap. My stash has gotten pretty low, since I sold most of what I made for Christmas presents. On Wednesday  a woman in my knitting group purchased a couple of bars of olive oil soap for her husband. He has sensitive skin, and this mild soap works for him.  Each little sale matters. I like knowing that so many people are scattered around the country, enjoying my handmade soaps. It makes me feel happy.

Lana and I went for a lovely hike this morning. The oaks were just beautiful. They have such a calming presence. I brought home a few acorns. I plan to plant them in my backyard, and see if I can grow a wise oak tree of my own. It's just amazing to me that such a huge tree can come from such a small nut. The power of a seed is incredible.  How are you doing?

Thank you for reading my blog. Comments are welcomed and appreciated. If you find the posts here helpful, please share them.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hiking Through the Oak Trees

This morning I took a beautiful hike with my dog  through  the picturesque Placerita Canyon. The old oak trees are majestic and wise. Although the Los Angeles sky is usually smoggy, today it was clear and blue. You could see all the way out to the freeway. I love being in the presence of the mountains in this area.

I walked over to this cabin and read about the history of it. I'm hoping to return and  take of tour of the inside of it. I peeked in the windows, and saw an old typewriter, a twin bed with a pink handmade quilt, and some other antiques. It's been used for filming. I'd love to take some photos of the interior. It looked so snug and cozy. The way they had  decorated and restored it was really sweet. It reminds me of my little house.

We walked over to this old oak tree and sat on the bench. I love the energy of oaks. They are so magnificent and wise. Next time I'll pack a lunch and my knitting and spend more time in its presence. Old trees are so healing.

The drive home was scenic and uplifting. There are some gorgeous  homes in the area. Many of the residents in this area work in the movie business. I headed up over the canyon and then made a left on to my street. We made it back to my little cottage in time for lunch. It was a rewarding little day trip, and it cost nothing. I can't wait to return.

Thank you for your comments. Please share any of the posts here that you enjoy.   

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gorgeous Costumes from the MGM Grand

When I was home visiting my dad over Christmas, I found some photos from my early days as a professional dancer. These were taken at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. I was nineteen. This was my very first show. Donn Arden was the director and choreographer. It was a huge spectacular with a live jet, horses, big stars, and glamorous showgirls. I was thrilled to be a part of  it. It really was special.

The costumes were designed by Bill Campbell.  We all loved them. I am so relieved that I found some photos, because I thought they had all been lost in my numerous travels. I have several more that I will post soon.

This one was from Nobb Hill. It was a very elegant number with a huge staircase. I just loved these gowns. They were stunning. You felt so beautiful dancing in a show like this one. All of the cast members were so lovely and talented. It was a very international group. We are all still in touch, and we have reunions. It was like a family. As a little girl who wanted to grow up to be a dancer, my dream really did come true.    

Thank you for your comments. I enjoy reading them. Please share any of the posts on this blog that you like.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Playing By the Creek as a Child

When I was a little girl, we would often spend weekends up at the ranch in Cordelia, California. My Aunt Mary and her favorite neighbors would usually join us. I was close with Kate, and we would walk to the creek together. We loved wading in the water and catching tadpoles. We would scoop them up into cups, and carefully transfer  them into glass jars. It was fascinating to watch them grow legs. They usually died, unfortunately, which always saddened us. We were hoping to see them transform into  frogs.

We also chased the lizards that ran around the property, and tried to catch them. Usually their tails would fall off, and they would run away from us. I found it incredible that Mother Nature had designed them that way. It really protected them from overly eager children's fingers. By the time we left to go home, it seemed that all of the lizards within a half mile of the ranch no longer had tails. We would spot  them a second time and recognize them by their length, (or lack of it.)

One morning I trapped about ten frogs into a cardboard  box and sneaked them into the car. I went out there early,  before we headed home. When we approached the Bay Bridge, all of the frogs got out of the box and started jumping around in the car. There were six of us riding together in the station wagon. My mother squealed. My dad had to pull over,  carefully catch all of the frogs into his hands, and relocate them into the San Francisco Bay. My dream of having pet frogs was crushed. I never knew if they survived or not.

Country life was very exhilarating and rewarding. We loved spending time in nature and with each other. I really enjoy looking at these old photos and reliving these happy times. Happy New Year!

Thank you for your comments. I am always thrilled to receive them. If you enjoy the posts here, please share them.