My Hair Donation 'because I said I would'

Because I said I would is a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity. Their mission is to strengthen humanity’s will. Because I said I would encourages and supports making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness.  They created the Promise Card to help hold people accountable to their commitments.

For my first Promise Card, I am doing my, most likely, final donation to "Locks of Love". My friend/hairdresser, Cyndi, also used her first Promise Card by donating this haircut. I have been growing my hair, as a promise I made, since my last donation in 2011. To read more click here "Locks of Love".

Interestingly, right after I donated my hair the first time in 2002, I bumped into a girlfriend I hadn't seen in ages.  She was with a group of friends and asked, "What did you do to your hair?"  I explained and then one of the ladies came up to me and gave me the biggest hug. She said that her daughter had a "Locks of Love" wig and it made all the difference in her life.  She had never met anyone who had donated and was so happy to have the opportunity to thank someone.  I still get choked up when I think of it.  Today's cut makes for a total of 36 inches of hair I have donated. I gleefully envision some sweet child, on a swing, with beautiful flowing locks. I'm smiling all because I said I would.

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Reno Road Trip #2...

One of the errands, yesterday, was to drop off Karen's Mac for repairs, so today we headed out to retrieve it.

Wouldn't you know, it was the only day where we actually had snow and we had to go over 7100' Spooner Summit. Thankfully, Karen invested in snow tires, and while a bit scary at times, we loved the drive. This was Karen's first drive in the snow and she did great!

This was a day of checking off the shopping list. My goal was to find new fabric to cover our dining table chairs. When I asked the clerk, "Do you have fabric that will hide Olive Oil?" she later told me she was wondering why I put oil on our chairs. I had to explain it was one of our primary food sources and we were messy!
One really fun stop was the Carson City Friends of the Library's Browser's Corner Book Store. It's an entire house of used books. We were in bibliophile heaven. Quilt stores, lunch, and a visit to the Goodwill rounded out our very full Carson/Reno day.

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Road Trip to Reno #1...

Our friend, Cyndi, was flying in for the week (from wintering in Mexico) and we offered to transport her home from the Reno Airport. Steve and I went early and made a day of it. Our first stop was for cow ogling. Okay, my favorite cow ever... the Western Belted Galloway or as most call them Oreo Cows. Every time we go to Reno, we pass the Smith Ranch in Washoe Valley, and today we decided it was time to stop. I absolutely love these cows.

This bovine is a heritage beef breed of cattle originating from Galloway, Scotland, adapted to living on the poor upland pastures and windswept moorlands of the region and are primarily raised for their quality marbled beef, although they are sometimes milked and purchased to adorn pastures due to their striking appearance. When I point out these unique cows, most who traverse this road, have never noticed them before. I think they do a great job adorning this pasture!

After errand running, we visited the National Bowling Stadium. According to the website, "A trip here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The only stadium of its kind in the entire world, the National Bowling Stadium brings the classic sport of bowling and nestles it into the exciting landscape of Downtown Reno".
Inside is a very cool museum of bowling history.

"At the Stadium, you can enjoy 78 championship lanes (only half of which are pictured here), the Lane 81 Pro Shop, Stadium Club, and the 172-seat theater. Enjoy your favorite bowling alley treats and more as you watch your friends and family duke it out for turkeys and spares. The National Bowling Stadium also boasts the longest video screen in the world, displaying videos and graphics on 440 feet of screen." This bowling alley will be discussed in a future blog because Steve and I have vowed to return during an upcoming tournament so we can see it in action... a twice-in-a-lifetime experience!
We ended our wait by dining at Costco with a fine bottle of Tuscan Red. Boy, we know how to pass time like crazy and exploring Reno was a great way to do it. ¡Bienvenido a casa Cyndi!

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Lake Tahoe Blue Hockey...

For another first, we went to support our local hockey team, part of the Western States Hockey League (under 20 year old players). We were entertained and impressed.

The arena is absolutely gorgeous. I love Tahoe coming in the windows.

The frustration of the loss to the Missoula Maulers was expressed by the goalie.
And while our team didn't win, this player was gracious enough to stop for Steve to take a photo at our first Lake Tahoe Blue Hockey game. It was a whole lot of fun to watch. Go Blue!

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Castle Rock Hike...

I love that we keep having firsts here in Lake Tahoe. Castle Rock, a prominent, granite outcropping, has always been a place we wanted to explore and today, with Bob's suggestion, we did it.

Looking at it from a distance, Castle Rock is aptly named.
Our four mile hike ran along part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. I always love to say I'm on this trail, even if only a short distance.

To reach the summit takes a bit of mountaineering. Bob was the only one willing to climb that high today. Next time!
Spectacular views, varied topography, crisp air and warm sunshine... our Castle Rock Hike did not disappoint.

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'Flat Denise' Friday...

When we left for a year in Italy, in 2010, I gave friends and family a 'Flat Denise', my take on Flat Stanley. The basic principle of The Flat Stanley Project is to connect a child, student or classroom with other children or classrooms participating in the Project by sending out "flat" visitors, created by the children, through the mail. Kids then talk about, track, and write about their flat character's journey and adventures, similar to a pen-pal activity.

I took Flat Stanley and thought this was such a great idea that I believed everyone should have a 'Denise' while I was gone.
I felt it was finally time to do something with the diverse and wonderful 'trips and events' I had. There were so many, I've decided to do this in a series of posts. I was so impressed with the creativity and pure love that went into everyone's contribution to my "Flat Denise Project". It's time to share.
While Flat Denise traveled a bit, the domestic sharing was pretty special too. Barbecues with my boy.
Football watching with my in-laws.
A Kenny G concert with Mark & Carol.
And even a first time drive in Lori's new car to be her moral support for her job search. What I love the most is the fact that no one hesitated to 'bring me along'. I hope you enjoy this series showing off my creative and thoughtful friends. These photos brought me great comfort while I was gone for a year. May they bring you a smile. We can all use one of those.

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Pray for Snow... Man!

This 8' tall inflatable was spotted on our way home from dinner. Its message is a timely one, here in the parched Sierras.

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Skunk Harbor with Friends...

Our first trip to Skunk Harbor was last February. It was a hike of new discoveries and much delight. Today, we gathered more friends and shared their excitement of a first visit to this unique place.

Our gang (l to r): Steve, Janet, Jenny, Chris, Jan, Karen, Bob and me.
The hike down is almost as beautiful as the final destination.

The birding was pretty fabulous, too. "This Canyon Wren is a fantastic bird for Tahoe," from our local expert, T. Will Richardson, Ph.D.
There is something very special about this little, secluded harbor. It calls to you. We have all vowed to come back in the summer and swim.
Need I say more?

The allure of Lake Tahoe keeps appearing around every bend. It is the catalyst for spontaneous outbursts of, "And we live here!" This was one of those great Sierra days. If we can't have snow, at least we can have this!

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Meet Up in Old Sacramento...

The kids were suppose to spend the long weekend with us in Tahoe, but since we had the flu fest, we decided it best not to have them come. When they suggested a rendezvous in Old Sacramento, Steve and I gleefully agreed.

First stop was IKEA for their free MLK Day breakfast, Christmas money spending and hey, who doesn't need a tube of crab or salmon? This is one of our favorite stores- anywhere.

Located exactly the same distance from Tahoe and Santa Rosa, Old Sacramento, with its rich history was a great place to spend the day.
We even dined amongst history at Fanny Ann’s Saloon, named for the famous steamboat which had several notable adventures throughout history. The boat was first built in 1842 to transport supplies to Sutter’s Fort and the greater Sacramento area. It was also one of Sacramento’s first reliable means of transportation during the Gold Rush. After it served its monumental purpose, all the historical possessions were salvaged and are on display at this very quirky watering hole. A great start to the history lesson that is Old Sacramento.
A must-see was the California State Railroad Museum. This complex (1976) consists of six original, reconstructed, and new buildings with over 225,000 square feet of total exhibit space. After watching a history of orientation movie, we explored all the buildings with their stimulating exhibits, enthusiastic and knowledgeable docents, and beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives which completely illustrated railroad history in California and the West for us all.

The huge engine (above) is the SP 4294 and was our favorite. In service from 1944 to 1956, hauling both freight and passenger trains in California and Oregon, this massive beast occasionally pulled the famous Overland Limited over the arduous Donner Pass route between Sacramento and Sparks, Nevada. To be able to stand before it and actually touch it was really a highlight of this explore.
Oh, and the toy train exhibit had something for all of us.

American railroads have fulfilled many purposes in their operation during the last 150 years. A primary function of the railroads in the era prior to the wide use of the airplane was the transportation of the United States mail. Railroad transportation offered the United States Post Office Department the fastest and most economical means to move the mail so needless-to-say, I was rather taken with this car.
One fact we learned, that surprised the heck out of us, was the use of the postal service to mail children, something that happened quite often before rules were made. In 1914, May Pierstorff, just short of her 6th birthday, was “mailed” from her parents’ home to her grandparents’ house about 73 miles away for just 53-cents worth of stamps. May’s parents were taking advantage of parcel post service, which began just the year before. In the early years of this service, customers and postal officials were still getting used to how the service could be used. But mailing children? Wild stuff. From Pushing the Envelope Smithsonian's National Postal Museum Blog
Throughout the main Railroad History Museum building, 21 meticulously restored locomotives and cars and numerous exhibits illustrate how railroads have shaped people's lives, the economy, and the unique culture of California and the West. Included are a Pullman-style sleeping car and a dining car filled with railroad china, that we actually got to step aboard. I loved seeing all the opulence train travel once possessed. The magnitude of this museum surprised me and we were all thoroughly impressed. Definitely a must-see.

Old Sacramento State Historic Park is a collection of noteworthy, early Gold Rush commercial structures.  Historic buildings include the 1849 Eagle Theater; the 1853 B. F. Hastings Building, once home to the California Supreme Court; and the 1855 Big Four Building. Old Sacramento’s historical significance comes from it being the western terminus of the Pony Express postal system,  the first transcontinental railroad, and the transcontinental telegraph. To wander in such rich history is a treat. To do it with our kids is an even bigger treat. This was a really great day... Spectacular fun in Old Sac!

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