♪♫ It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Thanksgiving ♫♪

I loved this turkey seen at the Temecula Public Library.

Having taken a book sculpting class, I can only imagine the time it took to create this festive piece of art. Fun stuff.

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless,
set aside a day of thanksgiving."
~H.U. Westermayer

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We're in the Tahoe Newspaper...

We have a local paper back home called the Tahoe Mountain News. It is our conduit of knowledge of all things Tahoe and it keeps us connected when we're in Southern California.

So needless-to-say, it was pretty exciting to see ourselves in the October edition on page 50. We had left town before it was published so I was perusing it online, catching up on the news. Oh man, we 💗 all things Tahoe.

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Family Fun Day in SoCal...

Today was spent near the sea with family.

It began with lunch in Encinitas at our new favorite spot, The Fish Shop. Steve mom's, our younger son and his wife joined us. The kids were in town for a conference so we embraced the proximity.
Oh man, the Shrimp & Onion Ring platter was delish!
A stroll around town was a must.

Steve and I have admired these homes several times. Located on a quiet street of quaint beach houses and mismatched cottages, this incongruous sight of two seemingly enormous boats always surprises. Interestingly, they never been to sea. Despite their 19 portholes, mariner’s wheels and quirky starboard list, the SS Encinitas and SS Moonlight have only ever been homes for landlubbers. They were built by architect Miles Kellogg in 1928 using timber salvaged from the local bathhouse and a hotel that failed to survive Prohibition’s dry years, the 1888 Moonlight Beach Dance Parlor. I am always delighted by these 90 year old beauties. Cool right?

We then took K on a trip down Memory Lane, as Old Town San Diego was a place we frequented in his youth. It was a first for T.
We didn't have a lot of time here before their flight back to the Bay Area so we chose La Casa de Estudillo as our main history lesson. Around the time of Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, soldiers of the Presidio of San Diego began building their homes  outside the adobe walls of this fortified settlement. One the finest example of these homes is the Estudillo House, built between 1827 and 1829. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of a typical large Spanish-Mexican one-story town house in California. Since its construction, the house has served as a residence, a town hall, a chapel, a shelter, an early 20th-century tourist attraction, and a museum.
The Estudillo House remained in the Estudillo family until 1887, when family descendants moved to Los Angeles and left the home with a caretaker. Around this time the house gained prominence through its association with Helen Hunt Jackson's popular 1884 novel Ramona. Set in Southern California, the novel painted a romanticized portrait of Mexican colonial life, and it effectively generated a nationwide interest in the region. Publication of Ramona coincided with the opening of railroad lines to the region. This provided interested tourists with the means of transportation to see the locations discussed in the novel. While the novel was a work of fiction, tourists flocked to the Estudillo House nonetheless, because they believed it was likely the location of Ramona’s (the beautiful half-Spanish and half-Indian heroine) marriage. The Estudillo House became known as “Ramona’s Marriage Place” and was converted into a commercial venture. There is so much more to say about this house and the story of Ramona (which has many ties to Temecula as well). So interesting, all of it. Wow.

After a quick detour to the San Diego Airport for a drop off, we arrived home for dinner with T's folks (who spent the night) and Steve's brother and his wife. The gathering continued for hours. Oh what a day of fabulous family fun.

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Ushering for 'The Addams Family'...

What an absolutely ooky way to spend a Friday night... ushering for this delightful musical at the Old Town Temecula Theater. With the television being a staple of my childhood, I couldn't resist.

♫ They're creepy and they're kooky
Mysterious and spooky
They're all together ooky
The Addams family 🎝
The Addams Family is a smash hit musical comedy which features an original story, and it's every father's nightmare.  Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family.  He is a man her parents have never met, and if that weren't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother.  Now, Gomez Addams must do something he's never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.  Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's "normal" boyfriend and his parents.

The Addams Family is a must-see musical comedy event.  Come meet the family.  We'll leave the light off for you!

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Dashboard Stats...

We arrived at our Temecula house at 4 PM. I just had to document this trip.

Due to an incredible tailwind (which we later learned was the cause of untold fire destruction) we drove all the way without stopping for gas. When we finally filled up, our miles-per-gallon was 46. This was our best traveling gas mileage yet. Check out the delightful temperature, too.

“I suddenly realized I was in [Southern] California.
Warm, palmy air – the air you can kiss – and palms.”
 -Jack Kerouac

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Anne Brigman: A Visionary in Modern Art

I learned about this amazing photographer when we attended the Tahoe: A Visual History three years ago at the Nevada Museum of Art.

Mary Jo, Cyndy, Laura and I joined together for a girls' day out to see this exhibit. This major retrospective exhibition, at the Museum through January 27, 2019, rediscovers and celebrates the work of Anne Brigman (1869-1950) who is best known for her iconic landscape photographs, made in the early 1900s, depicting herself and other female nudes outdoors in the Sierra Nevada. What's not to love?!

Born in Hawaii (1869) to missionary parents, Anne moved to California when she was sixteen years old. She said of the move, "the ache in [her] legs for flight... [and] the wild, wonderful need to stampede."
You may not recognize her name, but you've probably seen one of Anne Brigman's photos before. She photographed people -- including herself -- nude, in dramatic poses against wild, natural backdrops, often in the High Sierras. Her photographs have become textbook examples of "Pictorialism," a phase in photographic history which flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- a time when photographers tried to justify their worth in a world more fond of painting. Pictorialist photographers manipulated their images to make them look more like "artistic creations" than mere realistic snaps of a subject.
Anne was 32 years old when in 1091 she bought her No. 1 Folding Pocket Camera E by Kodak... a very new and user-friendly camera.
Photography was a new medium then where artists wanted to elevate photography to the level of other fields and be taken seriously. A mere year after she took up photography in 1901, Anne wrote a letter to Alfred Stieglitz, the godfather of art photography of her day (famous for his relationship with Georgia O'Keeffe, following the end of his with Brigman). Stieglitz rewarded her moxie and talent by inducting her into the Photo-Secession movement. Photo-Secessionists championed the idea that a photograph need not be slavishly dedicated to the depiction of reality, but instead composed and even manipulated to deliver a compelling subjective vision.
This hiking, pioneering photographer climbed to high Sierra summits, "reclaiming the legendary summit as her own. The visualization of the human form as a part of tree and rock rhythms." Dawn dreamily showcases Donner Lake in the distance. Anne is recognized as the earliest self-portrait woman photographer to capture herself in the nude.
The Guest is an amazing example of her ability to manipulate an image, adding a layer of surreal that I absolutely loved.

Anne Brigman worked in other mediums, as well. I loved this black ink linoleum print (1930). The composition shows the silhouettes of three mermaids in profile above a wave. The figures appear in front of a large sphere (likely the sun or moon). Each mermaid wears a crown composed of long radiating lines. Having taken printmaking classes before, I appreciated the details in and talent needed to create this print.
We then meandered to Laid Bare in the Landscape. This was a collection of photographs by women who were influenced by the work of Anne Brigman. "To compare the landscape photo of Anne to her counterparts of the late 20th to early 21st century is to weave a new thread connecting generations of women artists who have aimed to explore and promote alternative ways of seeing and knowing." I have included my three most favorite followers.
Night Bathing was taken by Louise Dahl-Wolfe (United States, 1895–1989) who is best known as a fashion photographer. Her tenure at Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 until 1958, a period when the journal was at the vanguard of dramatic changes to the style and content of women’s magazines, provided her with particular prestige. Although she is generally recognized for her astute and early use of color photography to illustrate fashion, a closer examination of Dahl-Wolfe’s body of work reveals a much more complex photographer. Through masterful combination of artistic skill, art historical knowledge, cultural consciousness, and aesthetic refinement, Dahl-Wolfe created images that constitute important contributions to the history of photography.
There was something very whimsical about Mary Beth Edelson's Zippy Trickster (1973). I liked it.
Kaa by Cara Romero really moved me. This fine art photographic portrait was created as a tribute to Mud Woman, a female deity honored by Pueblo Indian potters. Unique and beautiful.
This is one of those exhibits which I plan to return to again. I love revisiting and rediscovering. It was a pretty exceptional day of time spent with wonderful women (who might have needed to stampede just a bit).

Any time women come together with a collective intention,
it’s a powerful thing.
Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt,
in a kitchen preparing a meal,
in a club reading the same book,
or around the table playing cards,
or planning a birthday party,
when women come together with a collective intention,
magic happens.”
–Phylicia Rashad

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The Track in the Forest: The Creation of a Legendary 1968 US Olympic Team

When author Bob Burns approached the library wanting to do a presentation on his very timely book, I knew nothing about the topic only that part of the history was made on Echo Summit. Oh man, after hearing him speak tonight, I'm more knowledgeable and very intrigued to learn even more.

"This book chronicles the role that the high-altitude training camp and final selection meet at Echo Summit (10 miles west of South Lake Tahoe) played 50 years ago in the historic performance of the U.S. Olympic men's track and field team at the Mexico City Olympics.  Join us for a tantalizing presentation as sports journalist Bob Burns draws the curtain back sharing the incredible history of this time in Tahoe and beyond. Burns does a masterful job weaving the narratives of the men training together, vying for coveted spots on the U.S. team in an idyllic setting, a stark contrast to the turbulent events shaking the country. The book is meticulously researched with plenty of statistics and backstories to satisfy track fans, but also with a firm grasp on the sociocultural setting that gave these Olympics their place in history."
Bob gave an excellent overview of this extremely 'charged' year in our history and also these controversial olympics. He focused a great deal on the location Echo Summit, which I believe drew in the 70 attendees eager to hear more of Tahoe's incredible history. The men's trials for track and field were a two tiered event. Athletes first met for semi-final Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. The final trials were held at a specially constructed track at Echo Summit. This location was called the most bizarre location for an Olympic trials ever, and was chosen to mimic the nearly identical high altitude location for the Olympics in Mexico City.

For those who don't remember or weren't here yet, the year 1968 remains one of the most tumultuous single years in history, marked by historic achievements, shocking assassinations, a much-hated war and a spirit of rebellion that swept through countries all over the world. Occurring at the dawn of the television age, the historic events of 1968 also played out on TV screens across the country, bringing them home in a way that had never been possible before.
And this was in the height of the Civil Rights movement which was brought to the forefront when, after being awarded gold and bronze medals, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their heads and raised their black-gloved fists in a recognized salute to the Black Power movement during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Smith and Carlos were thrown off the U.S. Olympic team, but were seen as heroes in the black community, and their silent protest against racial discrimination lives on as one of the most iconic images in sports history. Wow.
This story is far more than its controversies, however. And I love this summation, "I speak for what the experts say now: more gold medals, more world records, more silver medals, more bronze medals, more American records, the greatest team in Olympic history." This accurate description was famously said by the 1968 Olympic track coach Payton Jordan when he revisited the site of the Echo Summit track in 2000.
And what I found extra cool was the fact that people who were there in 1968, witnessing it all, came tonight to share their stories and memorabilia.

What a history lesson. I can't wait to read the book!

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Writing Prompt: The Piano

For my monthly writing group, the hostess, Susan, chose for the topic of our five minute composition The Piano. I thought it was a bit of a challenge but was really pleased by everyone's efforts.

I wrote:

As a child, like most, I was offered piano lessons. After Chopsticks, I progressed to When the Saints Go Marching In, with my greatest accomplishment being Hot Cross Buns.

A piano wasn't on my mind much after my youth. It was the Michael Jackson/ Paul McCartney duet of Ebony & Ivory that reintroduced me to the piano, making it an analogy of harmony amongst humans. The black and white keys, symbolizing the color of each other's skin, distinctly separate but when together, a magical melding occurred.

Life should be a piano. Differences next to one another... apart but whole.

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This is what I was asked to fill out for my annual physical this morning.

The various questions asked on this Senior Staying Healthy Assessment form might have been a tad premature for 56 year old me. Sheesh.

“Age is something that doesn’t matter,
unless you are a cheese.”
-Luis Bunuel

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Birds, Frankenstein & Bears... Oh My!

After a delicious lunch at Bob and Jenny's, we headed out for a little after meal stroll (birding might have been the motive).

A treat for me was seeing this really cool Night Heron.

We then headed over to South Lake Tahoe High School for a fabulous production of Young Frankenstein. Oh man, what talent!
It's hard to believe this play was written over 40 years ago. This production felt current and was extremely well done.
Seeing a matinee allowed us one more chance to find a bear at Taylor Creek.
We were successful. Bob even caught the bear nibbling on some of the last remaining salmon.
Check out the video of the big guy strolling by me. So dang awesome.

It helped to have Jenny, the bear whisperer, there with me. Bob and Jenny are animal magnets. It is always fun when they're around.
And an added treat was the spectacular sunset. I so 💗 Tahoe.

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