Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Becoming The Person You Wanted To Be As A Child

As a little girl, I always knew that I wanted to be a professional dancer. It was a crystal clear desire inside of my imagination. I had always loved watching the Rockettes and Broadway dancers on television, and I was sure that I wanted to pursue those positions as a professional dancer. I was eager to start my training, and took it very seriously, even at age three.

I also dreamed of writing books and newspaper articles. I loved reading magazines, especially Dance Magazine, which they had stacks of at our local dance studio. I would gaze at the photographs of their impeccably trained bodies, and admire their gorgeous lines and physiques.

I just submitted my first article for publication in Dance Magazine. It is a behind the scenes story about Tommy Tune Tonight. I am in the process of getting the photos from Tommy's agency, and look forward to seeing it published online.

It's very exciting to do the exact work that you feel that you came here to do. Writing has always been something that I have loved. It was my favorite subject in school, and it always came very naturally to me. I also love connecting with other writers. Blogging has been a wonderful way to do that online.

Today I am doing some organizing and housekeeping. I am working on a new article for Dance Magazine about staying safe as a dancer in the large shows. Yesterday I interviewed a friend of mine who has danced in several Broadway shows. We toured together with My One and Only. He has a profound story, and I am excited to be working on it. I will keep you posted.     

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Thursday, March 22, 2018


Yesterday I found out about the Cirque acrobat who died after falling during the show. I was just sickened. It brought back so many memories of accidents that I witnessed as a professional dancer, dancing in those huge production shows in Las Vegas and Reno.

I eventually left MGM in Las Vegas, at age 33, because I didn't feel safe. I don't say this to blame them, I just missed being in shows like A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, and My One and Only, that relied on talent, dancing, and excellent choreography. I also loved dancing in the nightclub acts of Juliet Prowse and Suzanne Sommers. To me, that was so much more fun and rewarding. It was a blast!  The special effects and technology had taken over many of the large shows, and I found that the risks and problems made me very nervous. They were spending millions of dollars keeping up with the competition. I saw the same trend in some of the Broadway productions, too. Dancers were also getting injured there.

My first show was Hello Hollywood, Hello! at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno. I remember being asked by the dance captain  if I was afraid of heights. I answered that I wasn't. I was placed in the Heatwave number up at the very top platform. I think it took 54 steps to get up there. I was fine with the challenge at that age. I actually thought that it was good exercise. I was nineteen. 

Once I got older, and was dancing in EFX at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, my attitude had changed. By then I had witnessed some terrible accidents. One trapeze artist who had a solo act had fallen on his way sliding down the rope, coming down from the trapeze. He was badly hurt, and ended up in a wheelchair. He had been a professional circus performer. It was devastating. I had always hated that act. I couldn't watch it. It made me terribly nervous.

A close friend of mine had fallen after doing a front somersault in rehearsal. He landed on his chin and broke his neck. At just 22 years of age, he was paralyzed. It was heart wrenching. He was a young, vibrant, talented dancer.

There were other stories, as well. From those experiences I learned to say no to situations that felt unsafe to me. I flew up in those harnesses in one of the scenes in EFX, because I understudied the leading lady. I actually loved flying, and felt very comfortable up in the rafters, even euphoric. I still remember the man that would help me into the harness. He was kind, responsible, and reliable. After doing some research, I learned that a French acrobat slipped out of her harness in one of the Cirque shows at MGM in 2013, and fell. She died that evening. She had two young daughters. It's just tragic. It really gets me, because I performed in those theaters, and put my make-up on is those dressing rooms. I'm praying for their families, and for all of the performers.

I personally hope the shows stop trying to be bigger and more spectacular. Talent is entertaining. Shows should be fun, not dangerous and frightening. I stopped doing the big shows when I found myself constantly praying that we wouldn't  get hurt. To me, performing should be about enjoying the music, dancing, costumes, and experience.       

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Being a Good Listener

Last Friday I drove out to Cerritos Center For the Performing Arts, and sat in on Tommy Tune's rehearsal for Tommy Tune Tonight. I got to have dinner with the talented  musicians in the Green Room, and then attended the show that evening. What a treat! It was so rewarding to be around such funny, appreciative, and happy people. Their passion and wit was contagious. I'm doing a story on them for Dance Magazine.

I realized today that one of the reasons that I love being in the company of successful performing artists is that they are such good listeners. They have the training and discipline to study, practice, create, and evolve. They know how to transcend their egos. Just being in their presence is healing. There's an instant mental connection. They're highly intelligent and sensitive.

On the other hand, if I'm around someone who doesn't listen, talks incessantly, and is talking AT me, I get the urge to flee. I find it so difficult to be in the presence of a person who wants to convert me to their beliefs. It's so jarring and draining. There's a huge energetic clash, and I find the tension is unbearable.

When we connect through the arts, we dissolve many barriers. If we respect each other, and have love and passion for what we are doing, our personal choices don't become issues. We can vibrate at a higher level.

As I get older, I find I need to spend daily time in nature, creating art, and with my animals. That warm connection is so valuable. I spend less  time, if any, with people who want to convert me to their political or religious beliefs. I try to keep those subjects to myself. I am aware that my viewpoints may not match theirs.

 Culture is a very strong force, and often people just do what their parents did, or what they taught them. Sometimes these ideas collide. What one family thinks is good manners drives another family nuts. It's a challenge to stay centered and to not react. As an introvert, I need more alone time and one on one time than extroverts. I prefer more intimate relationships to large, noisy gatherings. I believe many artists are this way, too, and that's one of the reasons I feel a kinship with them.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Enjoying the Rain

In Los Angeles we have been having some light, steady rain. It is such a treat! I know many of you live in places that get heavy rainfall. On the West Coast,  we have experienced several years of drought. I really feel excited and appreciative when I hear the patter of raindrops on my roof. It's such a welcome sound.  The garden and plants look so happy. I had just spread out some homemade compost underneath the citrus trees and artichoke plants. The timing was perfect.

Yesterday I received a private message from an Etsy customer, expressing interest in a pair of lace leg warmers that I  knit last year. I sent her a couple more photos, and she decided to purchase them. They are so colorful, and I just love the sock yarn that was used for them. It's by Viking of Norway. I bought it with a gift card from my brother, last Christmas.

One of the many things that I really like about Etsy is that you can earn money while you sleep. You never know when someone is at home shopping and browsing through you items. I am excited for her to receive these; they took a few days to make.  After messaging her, I decided to get  busy working on another set. This time I went stash diving, and selected some Austermann Step yarn that is exquisite. The colors are just gorgeous. It's German yarn that was hand dyed in the Czech Republic. The German yarns are my favorite sock yarns. They wear so well.

With this weather, I have been doing a lot more cooking and baking in my cottage. I got some excellent deals at the market today. Asparagus was only .99 a pound, so I bought a couple of bunches. I love it topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and dipped in mayonnaise. I baked a few tiny potatoes in the toaster oven, and fried some Neiman Ranch bacon on the vintage stove. I love eating this type of food in the cold weather. It's hearty and delicious. It reminds me of living in Seattle with my family when I was a young girl. The days there were almost always rainy and cloudy. It's so relaxing and comforting. The dogs and I slipped in a bike ride when the rain abated.

I've been getting good use out of my hand knit shawls and sweaters. It's such a pleasure to wear them. All of that time and effort becomes makes something  practical and useful when it's slipped over your shoulders. I'm especially enjoying the shawl I'm wearing  because I got such an excellent price on the llama yarn. It's wonderfully soft and luxurious.

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Friday, March 9, 2018


We all have a need for stimulation, whether it's mental, physical, or artistic. This afternoon I finished knitting the cabled hat that I've been working on for the past month. It has been a very challenging and exciting project. When I first saw the pattern, I had doubts that I could execute it. I kept at it, and it turned out very well. At the end of each row I was always nervous to see if the stitch count had turned out correctly. When I saw that it had, I felt elated. Cables are not as hard as I thought.

Sticking with something that challenges you, and finishing it, is an exciting feeling. No matter who we are, we feel better when we are stretching and growing. Creativity is its own reward. Life is exciting when we are looking forward to the projects we are working on, and relishing the feeling of using our inner talents.

Our bodies like to be stimulated, as well. Whether it's through exercise, dance, yoga, or physical attraction, there is an electricity there that is healthy and thrilling. I have been pushing myself more this week, physically. I'm doing the Bikram Yoga series, and that has always challenged me. I've changed out my regular workout, which causes me to use different muscles. I can feel the definition and strength returning.
Your clothes hang so nicely when you're in good shape. Everything changes: the way you walk, how you feel about yourself, and how others perceive you. We are meant to keep growing, learning, and evolving. Our bodies and brains love to be worked.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Staying Healthy and Fit

I've been reading a very interesting book called  Ten Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat...and How You Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy. It's by Frank Lipman, M.D. So far it's been a fascinating read. Since I taught yoga for so many years, I can relate to his observations about his patients. A lot of what he recommends is old fashioned common sense. Much of it coincides with ideas that I have felt intuitively, over the years.

With the exception of when I had osteoarthritis in my hips, I have always been a very healthy and fit person. As a child, I would routinely win the perfect attendance awards. My brothers and I were very active. We were constantly outside playing, riding our bikes, and participating in sports. It was so healthy and invigorating. Because we grew up in California, we could be outdoors all year long.

During recess at school, my classmates and I would run around on the playground. I loved practicing gymnastics on the monkey bars with my schoolmates. I was constantly making up dances and teaching them to my friends.

I am seeing, at age 53, that adding movement is really the key to my well being. When I get a good cardio workout on my bicycle, I notice that I sleep better, feel happier, and am tired and relaxed at night.

Today I went to the gym and tried a yoga class. I was pleased that I was able to do everything. It's been two and a half years since I had my hips replaced. I have been doing yoga at home, regularly. Taking a class is another story. You are following someone else's lead, and they have a different rhythm and routine.

I'm realizing that I feel at my optimum when I exert my body for about two hours per day. This seems like a lot, but it's the ideal amount for me. When I was younger, I worked out for several hours per day.  I suspect that the reason that so many women feel sluggish, depressed, and negative is because they need more exercise. For me, it really is the key to feeling upbeat, happy, and healthy. It feels good to have the body humming with a sense of well being again. How do you feel? Would you describe your fitness routine as ideal, or does it need tweaking?

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them. Comments in English only, please.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Fixing Your Own Vacuum

The other day I googled my Shark vacuum cleaner model, because it wasn't picking up anymore. I found an excellent Youtube video on how to unclog it. Mine no longer had suction. The hose had a huge circular crack,  so I ordered a new one. Normally I would have taken the machine to our Vac and Sew repair shop. They charge $100.00 to clean it out and service it. Instead, I ordered a new hose for $30.00, plus shipping.

I was surprised at how easy it was to fix. Most of my problem was dog hair. There's a saying about German Shepherds, "They're wonderful dogs, but you will have a house full of hair." It's true. They shed like crazy. I used a pencil to poke at the elbows, and removed the clumps of dog hair.

I took out the filter, which was covered with dust. I was shocked at how thick and dense it was. I rinsed it thoroughly. It now looks like new. I let it air dry in the kitchen, with the window open,and then replaced it inside the canister. I cut off the hair from the rollers, and removed it. Tomorrow I will unscrew the head and give the inside a thorough cleaning.

I tried using the vacuum again, and the suction is now excellent. I cleaned the plastic with vinegar and water, and it looks like new! It's such a rewarding feeling to do your own home repairs. Many of these things really aren't difficult. With Youtube, there are all kinds of things we can learn.

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