Echo Lake for Snowshoeing...

We may have had some snow but little of it remains at 'lake level' so we got high (7,500').

It was just our group of five, making fresh tracks and new memories in the snow.

We hiked on the edge of the lake's frozen surface until we were concerned about the melting ice, having developed a fear of falling through (the women not the men).

Walking through powder
Solitude and peacefulness
Friends out in Nature
-My Echo Lake Haiku

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Beach Time...

We frequently get photos, from our Southern California friends, of beautiful beach scenes. What I think they forget is that we have 72 miles of shoreline here in Lake Tahoe and it is pretty exceptional, too.

Sand & Snow... a super combination.

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My Scoliosis Story..

Having to share something with my Writing Group, I decided to tell my Scoliosis tale...

By the time I was ten, I had broken my collar bone, my jaw and had fractured my skull, in three separate incidences. I was a tomboy and had to keep up with my brother, only ten months older than me.

Flash forward to the preparations my 8th grade graduation. My mom was a wonderful seamstress and was fitting me for the dress I would be wearing to the ceremony. One of my shoulder blades was out of alignment, so the dress just wouldn't lay correctly. "Hmm, maybe your collar bone didn't heal properly" was her summation.

I was promptly scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician who, upon viewing my spine, deemed me "The most severe scoliosis case" she had ever seen. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine bends to the side abnormally; either to the right or left. The curvature can be moderate to severe.

The majority of children with scoliosis require no treatment, as the condition resolves on its own as the child grows. But I've never been part of the majority and I required the treatment of using a back brace. I knew, if left untreated, the condition could lead to serious spine, chest, pelvis, heart and lung damage.
So in the summer of 1976, fresh out of Junior High and 4 1/2 years of complete dental orthodontia, including the ever attractive head gear, I enter into a two and a half year relationship with a Milwaukee Back Brace. Extending from just below my chin, to slightly above my pelvis, I was wrapped in a metal and plastic contraption for 23 hours a day- through some very formative years.

There are many aspects of our lives that shaped who we are and I can only imagine how powerful this experience was for me, standing out so prominently from everyone I knew from the ages of 14 to 16 years. I was the only braced girl in high school and due to this uniqueness, I was put into adaptive p.e. with students with severe physical and mental disabilities.While different, I don't ever remember having a pity party. I knew the brace was for my own good, but there certainly was a loneliness in my obvious difference.
One book helped me through it all, Deenie, by Judy Bloom. "When Deenie sees the brace for the first time, she wants to scream, Forget it...I'm never going to wear that thing! But the words won't come out. And beautiful Deenie, who everyone says should be a model, is stuck wearing a brace from her neck to her hips. What will her friends think? And what about Buddy Brader, who was just starting to like her? A tough ride to finding out who you are."

Like Deenie, it was a tough ride. However, it was a necessary journey and part of who I am today. I'm a firm believer in the adage, Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I thoroughly believe dealing with my scoliosis, the taunts that sometimes came my way, and the difficulty of not fitting in, made me a stronger person able to not only survive the ride but to find the beauty the journey offered.

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Boy...Book...Birthday Beginning Bonus!

My birthday month started off fabulously. One boy, and a group of friends, came for the fresh powder the recent storm brought us (and some mom hugs, I'm pretty certain).

And Coco Foy graciously offered to teach another bookbinding class, at Bona Fide, so I could create a unique going away gift for friends who are leaving 'the hill'.
This is going to be one sweet birthday month!

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Bruce in The USA at Harrah's...

We totally rocked the South Shore Room to the tunes of Bruce Springsteen. AWESOME.

Bruce In The USA is much more than just another tribute… This high-energy musical experience is "a note-perfect and visually accurate recreation of a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show."
Matt Ryan has performed the “Springsteen” character as a cast member of the “World Famous” Legends In Concert since the year 2000. For more than a decade, Matt has worked as a professional live performance artist in full scale production shows on the Las Vegas Strip and around the world. After years of perfecting his craft in thousands of shows, Matt has evolved the “Springsteen” character into the national touring show it has become today.

We all agree that this was a pretty awesome way to end the month!

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St. Baldrick's Going Bald to Eliminate Childhood Cancer...

My friend, Kel asked us to sponsor her as a shavee for St. Baldrick's. I was intrigued, said yes, and was asked to come and take photos of this monumental event.
How does shaving one's head help a child with cancer? Because kids with cancer often lose their hair during treatment, shavees for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation show their support by shaving their heads voluntarily, and inspiring friends and family to donate money to support childhood cancer research.

Okay, so we had to see what all of this was about. We entered the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena and almost immediately we were enveloped in a spirit of festiveness. Hundreds of people were there to either be shaved (172 shavees) or to support those who were soon to be bald. For several hours we witnessed selflessness from people of various ages, from young children to older grandparents. Girls, and some men, with long enough hair, first cut their ponytails for "Locks of Love" before the baldness ensued.
I have never in my lifetime seen such an overwhelming show of support and community solidarity. I was actually moved to goosebumps and tears.
Bailey, a huge reason for this to be the 4th annual St. Baldrick's in South Lake Tahoe, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neurosblastoma at the age of nine months. He was not expected to see his first birthday, and here he was at almost 16, rallying an entire town to step up to help raise funds to eliminate childhood cancer.
Caitlyn was born with Neuroblastoma and is the other reason so much of the community was here in full force. The love for these children permeated the room and washed over us all.
Van Oleson generously donates the Ice Arena for this event every year. And not only that, he and his son shaved their heads. When you work in a frigid environment like an ice rink, that's a sacrifice.
Heavenly formed a team of 88 shavees. I was blown away by that immense commitment. I knew it was an awesome company and now I know it's because of its dedicated, caring employees.
Christy, Bailey's grandma, has been participating for the last ten years. She is an amazing woman and I'm so happy I was able to meet her.
Drs. David and Karen Borges are shavees every year!

Honestly, there are no words to express the emotions of this night. I experienced: sadness that every 3 seconds a child is diagnosed with cancer; appreciation that we live in a community whose members discard their concern for their appearance for the benefit of others and lastly, hopefulness that if one small town can make such a financial impact, there will be help for all the new cancer cases that arise in our future. What a gift it was to be in the presence of such giving. South Lake Tahoe continues to surprise and delight us, even after almost three years of living here.
Kel raised over $1,900 for the cause. Kudos to all the shavees, hair stylists, and everyone who made the night so successful (over $65,000 in donations and counting).

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Tahoe Chamber Turns 60...

To celebrate Tahoe Chamber's significant role in the South Shore community and this major milestone, they threw a special birthday BAHM! (Business After Hours Mixer) and we were there for the party.

Our table won the Tahoe Trivia game, due to some very knowledgeable 'old timers' who joined us. Hearing the history of our town was pretty impressive. And the food was exceptional. 
The only way to have a totally incredible night is to have it accompanied by Ike & Martin's musical magic. There is nothing that can lift a mood or solidify an unforgettable memory than the unique take on familiar tunes that Ike & Martin perform. Way to be awesome Chamber!

Tahoe Chamber has been taking care of business since 1955. Here's to the next 60!

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Daffodil Hill... Spring is Here

Nestled in the hills above the tiny town of Volcano, CA exists an oasis of yellow hues- Daffodil Hill, a ranch owned by the McLaughlin family since 1887. Due to the unseasonably warm weather, they have opened weeks ahead of normal and we were there to frolic in the flowers.

It is estimated that today, Daffodil Hill is carpeted with approximately 300,000 bulbs when in full bloom. We will have to return, another time, to see that cacophony of color.

Daffodil Hill is situated in a beautiful mountain setting in Amador County.  With pine trees, the original 1880’s barn, wagon wheels, gold rush era mining equipment and antique farming implements, it appeals to anyone with a love of nature and history. Flowers are everywhere as are the amazing peacocks.

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy
places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.
~Gertrude S. Wister

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