Monday, April 30, 2018

The Latest Article on Dancers and Safety Is Now Live Online at

Juliet Prowse at 50 with Jim Hogan and David Chavez

The article that I wrote about dancers and safety  has been published. Here is the link:

I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think. There is a share button if you have friends who are interested in dance.

Thank you for your comments. They add so much talent and enthusiasm to the blog. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but links will not be published.  If you enjoy the articles here, please share them.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Simply Delicious Food From The Garden

These are the blood oranges that I have been harvesting. They are such are such a blazing shade of red. They aren't very big, but they sure are flavorful. Fresh oranges taste so much better than the ones that you buy at the grocery store.  I think part of the reason the citrus trees are so loaded with blossoms this year is because I've been using more manure as fertilizer. It works like magic on the soil. The fruit trees are so green right now.

I broke into the new sock yarn, and started another pair of Winwick Mum's Easy Lace Socks. These colors remind me of sherbet. Each night I've been washing out the pink pair that I knit. I've been wearing them every day. They are so light and comfortable. My other hand knit socks are mostly wool These feel totally different, because of the soy silk and cotton blend.  I will make several pair for Summer.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Setting and Reaching Long Term Goals

This afternoon I went through a stack of mail and  papers that needed to be sorted. It's always a relief to  get that done. To save paper and time, I arranged for my health insurance premiums to be paid online.  As I read through the receipts and lists, it was interesting to see which goals  had been reached. There was a note to make a submission to Dance Magazine. There were also some handwritten pages on Tommy Tune's show. It's funny to look back and see things before their inception. Everything we create starts with the seed of an idea. We have to take concrete steps in order to reach the goal. It won't happen if we just imagine or talk about it.  Action is the key. "Act, or you will be acted upon," my father always taught me.

Twenty years ago, when I first bought my cottage, my dream was to grow my own fruits and vegetables. Earlier today, as I was picking some of the blood oranges out in the orchard, I realized that my vision has come true. I have had fresh fruit since October of 2017. It's mostly citrus, but I still find it very exciting. I am getting to the point of having garden fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. It's interesting how much planning and preparation it takes. Right now there are strawberries that are beginning to ripen. The blood oranges and grapefruit will be at their sweetest in May, and then I will have apricots. It's a wonderful feeling to anticipate the crops that you will be picking for each month. The Valencia oranges ripen in the summer. They are very sweet, and make absolutely delicious juice.

Here are a few more of my projects. I finished another set of the crocheted pot holders. I like to keep a stash of them for gifts. The pattern is free on my blog. It's a great way to use up leftover kitchen cotton yarn. This yarn was given to me by a woman in one of my knitting groups. As a thank you, I gave her a dishcloth and some homemade soap.

I have been working on the sleeve of my Carbeth sweater. This is the early ribbing. I got a lot more done on it this afternoon. It's a relaxing and easy knit. I've been sitting outside on the new patio gliders. They are so comfortable and luxurious. I'm sure they are going to get daily use. It feels like I'm at a restaurant when I'm outside.

The fourteen pack of Tofutsies sock yarn arrived in the mail today. I can't wait to get started on another pair of Winwick Mum's Easy Lace Socks! I will see if I can hold out and finish the sweater before beginning another project. I don't like to have too many things going at once. There's a lot of work to be done in the garden right now. How are you?

Thank you for your comments. I love reading them; they add so much talent and enthusiasm  to the blog. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published. If you enjoy the posts here, please share them. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring Has Sprung

The weather here has been lovely, and the flowers are in bloom. I am waiting for the stars of the show to open, the hollyhocks. They are my very favorite flowers.  They are so tall and majestic.

Today the poplar tree was trimmed. This is the before picture. I was amazed at the speed and efficiency of the tree trimmers. They are so talented. Next week they will be back to do the huge pine tree in my backyard. It's a relief to get the big jobs done. I have been budgeting carefully to make it work. Fortunately, my hobbies are simple and inexpensive. I love to ride the bike with Lula, read on the porch, garden, knit, and write.

I got to visit with several different neighbors today. Many of us stop and chat when we are walking our dogs. We ran into Lula's old family while visiting the horses and goats across the street. The little girls were so happy to see her. It was a sweet reunion. We will probably continue to meet up with them on our evening walks when it's cool.

Today I bought a set of two gliders for the front porch. They are made of teak wood, and have a small table in between them for your food or coffee. This is the first time in twenty years that I have had a new piece of patio furniture. I bought my last wicker chair at the Salvation Army.  I spent a wonderful afternoon outside in the front garden, enjoying a cafe au lait, the fresh air, sunshine, and lull of the chair. I've always loved rocking chairs and gliders. They are so comforting and relaxing. How about you?

Thank you for you comments. I love reading them. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but links will not be published. Thank you.      

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ladybugs, Tree Trimming, and Pulling Weeds

This morning while I was digging up weeds in the garden, I spotted a ladybug. I haven't seen one in ages! They are such beautiful insects. I love their shiny red backs with the tiny black spots. They are attracted to the periwinkle ground cover. I have a birdbath, and several different colorful flowers, which they also like. I've always had a special spot in my heart for ladybugs. They remind me of my childhood.

Today I made an appointment to have my huge poplar tree trimmed. It needs to have six to ten feet removed. The last time I had it done was twenty years ago. I'm glad that I have the money set aside in my savings account. Next time I won't wait so long! I just love the shade and energy that this tree provides. The crew will be coming on Wednesday.  I found them on Yelp. They have excellent reviews.

I've been trimming the other trees on the property myself. I lost a few during the drought. The fruit trees really suffered at that time. This is a volunteer squash that was growing in my compost pile. I transplanted it to the front garden today. It's in shock now, and very droopy. They don't like to be moved.

This is my backyard. I have been digging up the weeds each afternoon, a patch at a time. It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it. I'm thinking of planting a larger tree back here, maybe an oak, or some redwoods. I love the vibration that large, old trees provide.

Many of the people where I live don't like trees. They don't want the expense and work of caring for them. I find trees and a garden to be priceless. I have a huge old pine tree in my backyard that is just gorgeous. It attracts the larger birds like owls, red tailed hawks, and crows. It provides a home for the squirrels, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. I can't imagine this place without the trees. One time a man stopped by and told me that he used to live in this house as a little boy. "We didn't have any trees," he told me. He stood outside gazing at the land for quite a while, remembering.  It must have been like a desert at that time. It gets very hot and dry here, and if you don't amend the soil, plant,  and mulch, you have a baked piece of property  with dust, dirt, and rocks. It makes me appreciate how far the front landscape has come.   This is a photo of Carlie last year. She had such a presence.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Gardening, Sock Yarn, and a New Sweater on the Needles

It seems that we have a lot of enthusiastic gardeners reading this blog, so I have some more photos to share with you. Right now the grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, and tangerine trees are all in bloom. The smell of the blossoms is absolutely intoxicating! I just love it. It's an  fragrance that I only get to enjoy once a year. The Meyer lemons have all been eaten.  I gave away several to my neighbors and knitting friends. I may buy another tree, because growing them saves me so much money. Lemons are very expensive here.

The blood oranges are getting riper and sweeter. They are just delicious. This periwinkle is a ground cover that works well in drought conditions. I have to be careful with it, though. It's  invasive. I trim it back each year. It helps to prevent weeds, which grow rampantly in my back lot.

I found an excellent deal on the Tofuties sock yarn today. It's the pink variegated variety that  I just used on the lace socks designed by Winwick Mum. Even though I swore that I would not buy any more yarn, I just purchased some in bulk. I rationalized it by figuring out what I paid for one skein of this yarn when I was up in the mountains. If I were to drive back up there and pay the list price,  I could have bought two more skeins. This way I am getting fourteen skeins for the same price!  (I'm including the cost of my gas for the three hour car trip in my calculations.) I plan to knit a pair for a give away here, and possibly sell some of the yarn in my etsy shop. I love buying yarn on Etsy, and I think it might be fun to sell some of this gorgeous sock yarn there.  I really like how the blend of wool, cotton, silk, and soy feels on my feet. I was worried that the socks had stretched out too much after wearing them, , but they sprang back  into shape perfectly after hand washing them last night. They have a nice elasticity, and are very cool and comfortable. 

I've been working on the Carbeth sweater. I'm going to make mine a little bit  longer than the designer did;hers hit right at the waist. I have several skeins of this luscious grey yarn, and I'm eager to use it. Since I'm long waisted, it helps to add an inch or more to the sweaters that I knit. That's one thing that I love about knitting your own clothes, you can customize them so that they fit you exactly.

Thank you for visiting my blog and for commenting. I greatly appreciate it. Comments in English only, please. I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them. Thank you.     

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Garden Is Ready To Burst Into Bloom

I've really been enjoying the garden this week. I harvested a few artichokes. They were delicious. I cook them with Italian salad dressing and fresh Meyer lemon juice. They are one of my favorite vegetables. Citrus grow very easily here in Southern California, so I have several varieties. I picked a few limes, as well. They  made wonderful limeade and guacamole.

When I first moved into my cottage, I mulched over the lawn, and planted a potager garden. It's a mixture of herbs, vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees. I love the wildness of it. My neighbor says that it looks like a jungle. I bask in the healing vibe while sitting out on the porch.  It's so lush. The birds love it, too.

Each year I look forward to the hollyhocks blooming. They are just spectacular. I think they will be opening very soon. I save the seeds annually and scatter them along the fence line. Hollyhocks are so tall and colorful. Old fashioned flowers have always been my favorites. I just fed everything compost tea.  

I trimmed the conifers last week. I have an electric hedge trimmer. It's light and easy to use. I hated to remove the gorgeous light green growth, but the trees were looking raggedy. They give me privacy, and keep the porch cool and shady for most of the day. The oxygen that emanates from the trees is  clean and fresh. I keep everything well mulched, and the soil is filled with red wiggler worms. It's so rewarding to have a healthy garden. How is yours doing?

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published. Thank you for visiting. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them..

Friday, April 20, 2018

Scatterby Sock Photos

 I  am so happy to be able to show you the Scatterby Socks,  by Amy Stringer. It's a free pattern on Ravelry. I was really inspired by it. These are knit from the  toe up; it was my first time working this way. I had a hard time casting on dpn's, but persevered.  I love the feel and look of the pattern. Jenny's Ultra Stretchy Bind Off gives them a nice elastic edge.

I'm now using that pretty grey yarn on the left to knit the sweater Carbeth. For some reason I keep calling it Carpark. It must be my age.  It's a very popular pattern on Ravelry. I received the dk yarn from a knitting friend for free. She gave me several very large skeins of it, and even wound them for me! I did a test swatch, and the gauge was perfect for this sweater. You double the yarn, which I've never done. It's knit on size 10.5 cirucular needles, so it should be a quick project. Some of the people on Ravelry are finishing it in four days! That's my Oaklet Shawl underneath the sock.

I used two skeins of what I thought was matching sock yarn for these from my stash. As you can see, they don't match exactly, but that's okay. I got the yarn on sale with a gift card that my brother gave me last Christmas. I sent them to a friend in Pennsylvania, and she loves them. She was one of the original Rockettes, and  is also a knitter. She told me that she and several of the women  used to knit backstage together, at Radio City. It's cold where she lives, so she has been wearing them regularly. That makes me happy. I love giving hand knit items to knitters. I especially enjoy giving them socks. Lots of times knitters don't make socks themselves, but they really seem to enjoy wearing them.

 I think they have a really lovely texture. I might make another pair for myself someday. They have a snug  fit.It feels different than the socks that I usually make. I substituted a short row heel for the fish lips kiss heel. It worked very well. I purchased the pattern for the fish lips kiss heel, but found all of the math and measurements  intimidating. I didn't even try it; reading through the instructions made my head spin. I didn't feel like I wanted that much of a challenge. The sock pattern is very well written and easy to understand. I highly  recommend it. It was so much fun to learn something new! The tutorial were very helpful, as well. 

The garden is going bananas, so I will write about that tomorrow. The weather has been perfect for planting. How is your garden doing? Are you growing any food?

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published. Thank you.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New Knitting Projects and Photos

pink socks
I had my computer professional over today to help me find my missing photos. It turns out the setting was wrong, so my computer  wasn't saving them. Now I can quickly and easily upload them. I recently  finished these feminine lace socks from Winwick Mum's blog. Here is the link.  lace socks. She is such an excellent teacher! I love her patterns and videos. This one is free. I think they all are, but she accepts donations.

This was my first time doing something different than a short row heel. I find this version to be much easier, although I really  love short rows. I bought the yarn  in Wrightwood, California, at a little yarn shop up in the mountains. I think it's so pretty. The lace gives them an antique look, but it's a very easy pattern. The second and fourth rows are just knits and pearls. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy making socks. I plan to list these in my etsy shop.

I've been crocheting another sock yarn back with leftover sock yarn. I gave the socks to a friend in San Diego. The yarn looks entirely different when it's crocheted. It's so  colorful. I love using these to hold a center pull ball of yarn. You can find the pattern here. It's at the Yellow Pink and Sparkly blog.

Here's a photo of the cashmere hat that I knit. The pattern is free. It's by Rebecca Graves. I found it at It was a challenging pattern for me. I'm not used to doing so many cables. I was excited that it sold it as soon as I had finished it, to a wonderful knitter! It just so happens that  she was looking for a hat, and this one fit her perfectly. I think she looks just gorgeous! I bought some more yarn in other neutrals. I plan to knit a few more of these; they're so pretty!

I will be blogging regularly and posting more photos to update you on all of the knitting projects that I've completed since January. I can't wait to show them to you! How are things going in your neck of the woods? 

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. If you enjoy the articles here, please share them. Please comment in English. I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Taking Correction and Accepting Rejection

As a young dancer, I grew up taking classes at the local dance studio every afternoon and evening. I thrived on the discipline, classical music, and routine. It was grounding and centering. My friends and I found it exciting to learn new material, to receive constructive criticism, and to improve. Dancers love to receive corrections. It's the teacher's professional eye that brings out your talent. They can see and convey what you need to know.

Once I started attending auditions, the lessons in rejection began. It was painful to be cut, but it taught me to keep striving, and to not give up easily. When you are in the arts, you are competing against thousands of other hopefuls. It's not always about who's the most gifted. Often they want a certain type. They may need a blonde, a person who is 5'11", or someone who can belt the high notes. The ability to persevere is what keeps you in the game.

Now that I am writing professionally again, the same lessons are proving to be valuable. I send out pitches  regularly. There are many things that come into play. Does the magazine need any more stories? Is the issue I'm interested in current? Do I have the photos and video material that they require?

Editors may not want the structure and format that you submit. If they rearrange and revise your writing, you have to accept it gracefully and adapt. I think of it like choreography. Quite often directors and choreographers will change numbers in a show. You just learn the new material and move on; there is  no arguing or negotiation. You can't get too attached to the original version. Your solo might get cut. It's part of the business.

If you can take correction and accept rejection you will be the kind of person who doesn't give up and quit. Often people stop trying just before they are about to make a breakthrough. Persistence and determination make all the difference when it comes to achieving success.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Said Good-bye To Lana Today

This morning I made the decision to put Lana to sleep. It was painful and difficult.  I realized that if my mother had been in the shape that Lana is in, and the doctors were keeping her alive, I would be furious. Reframing the situation made me realize that prolonging Lana's suffering was not the kind thing to do. I had to face the truth. The vet agreed with me. He was so gentle with her. 

The grief has made me feel sick, but I am plugging away at my work and chores. Knitting helps. It's excellent therapy.  Lula's company is also very comforting. She is such a sweet and loyal dog. She has been extremely sensitive and caring. I plan to take her for a hike later on this afternoon.

I've been working on the edits for my second article for Dance Magazine. It's exciting to be part of such an excellent publication. I hadn't realized how much I miss working with people from New York, and the interaction with other dancers. It gives me a wonderful lift. I've always enjoyed being part of something bigger than myself. 

I may have an exciting interview coming up. (with a very talented and accomplished Broadway star.) I went out on a limb and contacted her. I was delighted to hear that she is very interested;  I am just waiting to see if we get approval  from her creative team. It really gives me such a charge to talk with artists who have achieved such greatness. I have been incredibly  fortunate in my career. Learning  from the masters and performing with the stars has been thrilling. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Back To Gardening

The weather has been gorgeous here lately. I spent yesterday afternoon trimming the two conifers that flank my front door. They had gotten taller than the house, and the sides of the trees were looking sloppy. I used my electric hedge trimmer to neaten them up a bit.  It's a marvelous tool.  They look beautiful now. You can clearly see the pink geraniums in the hanging  baskets on my porch. They are in full bloom now, and their color is lush and bright.

I attended a couple of knitting groups over the weekend. I always enjoy seeing what the other knitters are making. The pink lace socks that I'm working on were a big hit. I'm partway through the second one. It was exciting to learn a new construction for the heel and gusset. Winwick Mum has some excellent tutorials. I have friends online who have learned to make socks just by watching her videos. I think that's very impressive.

I just turned in my second article to Dance Magazine. It's rewarding to be a working writer again. It's kind of like being a dancer. You need to keep putting yourself out there. I sent out a few queries this morning. It reminds me of the days when I attended auditions regularly. Dancers are constantly taking classes and going to cattle calls, looking for work.

Speaking of auditions, a couple of weeks ago I attended a dance call! Normally I wouldn't, at age 53, but something nudged me to do it. There was one part for an older ballerina in Grand Hotel. I'm the right type, so I went. It felt felt ecstatic to be dancing again! The choreography was fabulous and musical. I was pleased that I was able to pick  up the steps. That can be difficult, even when you are young. It all depends on the musicality and style of the choreographer. While in the studio, I was flying high, emotionally. It reminded me that I used to feel that joy of dancing every day. Although I got cut from the call, I received a friend request on Facebook from the producer! So, you just never know what will happen in life. So much of show business is contacts.  How are you doing?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lana Still Wants To Play

Thank you for all of your kind and thoughtful comments. After having a long talk with Lana, praying, and crying over the thought of losing her, she has improved. I realized that much of what bothers me is how she looks. Her skin and lump look God awful. But, I remembered my mother's skin before she died, and how her legs were purple with bruises. What matters most is on the inside; getting older is not always pretty. 

Lana woke up and behaved in a very loving, happy, enthusiastic way. She walked into the kitchen, looked at me with a smile, and I realized that there was no way I could euthanize her. She has far too much strength, energy, and power.  She is eating all of her food, and loves the new grain free treats that I bought.

I've been taking her for walks and playing frisbee with she and Lula in the afternoon. She still leaps for the frisbee and catches it on a fly. She seems to get deep satisfaction from the praise and coaching that I give her. She always was an excellent frisbee player. People at the park would ask me how I trained her, and I'd reply that she was just a natural. Passion and talent shine, and she has both qualities.

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. If you enjoy the posts here, please share them. Comments in English only, please. Comments with links will not be published.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I just started a pair of lacy socks in a beautiful pink and tan variegated yarn. I bought it up in the mountains last weekend. I found a sweet little yarn shop there in Wrightwood, California. My new photos still aren't showing up in my downloads. I will have to break down and pay the computer repairman for help. I've been trying to figure it out on my own, unsuccessfully.

This new yarn is called Tofutsies. It's a sock yarn that I thought would be nice for warm weather socks. It's made of superwash wool, soysilk fibers, cotton, and chitin. Chitin is fiber from shrimp and crab shells. The yarn is very pretty, and has wonderful stitch definition. Winwick  Mum has some fabulous sock patterns on her blog. The lace one that I'm knitting  is free. Her tutorials are excellent, too. Her patterns are  also on Ravelry.

I have decided that tomorrow I will have Lana put down, which makes me sad. She has been such a sweet and loyal dog. I have a soft spot for her in my heart because she was so horribly abused as a puppy. They were definitely going to euthanize her at the animal shelter. The police brought her in on a stick;  her teeth were chattering for three days. Nobody could go near her.

She seemed to sense that she was going to be put to sleep, and became depressed. She was starving, pregnant, and terrified. One of the workers there got the idea to put her in with the puppies. She absolutely loved it, and began playing with all of them. When I first saw her she looked so vulnerable. I was afraid to pick her up. I thought she might bite me, out of fear. Once I got her home to my other two dogs, she relaxed. She seemed to feel safer with them. 

It took a long time to help her heal. She never really became that comfortable with people, but she has been a wonderful pet, watchdog, and frisbee player. All I have to do is think of what I want her to do, and she does it immediately. She anticipates my needs and is eager to please.  I will really miss her. She has such a happy and grateful spirit. She loves and appreciates every little thing. Each time we would drive down our street after taking a trip she would start crying with gratitude. She always checked to be sure that her bed, backyard, and toys were all still there. I learned so much from her about being thankful for our simple home.

She now has sores all over her body, and they are not healing. She has a lump on her leg that has gotten huge. We have tried all kinds of medications, but they are no longer working. She is ten, and for a German Shepherd mix, that is a long life. I've been talking to her about what  a good girl she has been all these years. She seems to understand. I hate to see any person or animal suffer. Tomorrow will be the day. I am so glad that I have Lula to still walk, care for, and enjoy. They get along so well. Now it will  just be the two of us.    

Thank you for your comments. I greatly appreciate them. If you enjoy the posts here, please share them. Comments in English only, please. Comments with links will not be published.