12th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

At 4 PM, 11 of us gathered here for a pre-Film Festival Potluck dinner. Oh man, what fun.

The wine was provided by David & Karen in SoCal so it was like they were here, too.
A little pre-party happened in the Arctic Fox!


After a delicious dinner, we headed to MontBleu for the film festival, which combines award winning environmental and adventure films with the energy of local activism. Each year, they choose powerful films so that we are inspired to take further action regarding issues that impact our environment, ourselves and our world. This year's lineup was a lot less adventure and more environmental than previously, yet it was interesting and we all chose our favorites. The subjects were as diverse as hiking with a dog to a scary film about antiquated oil lines in the Great Lakes.
I think my favorite was the last film shown, Operation Moffat. Its inspiration and wit came from the colorful climbing life of Britain’s first female mountain guide, Gwen Moffat. Grappling with her preference for mountains over people, adventure over security and wilderness over checklists, writer Claire Carter and filmmaker Jen Randall climb, run, scramble and swim their way through Gwen’s most cherished British landscapes. Including candid interviews with 90 1/2 year old Gwen, previously unseen archive material and unashamedly real action sequences, this film captures Gwen’s infectious excitement for a life constantly seeking something strange or beautiful around the next bend. Oh and she climbed in a bikini and barefoot!
It's Gwen's life that is absolutely mesmerizing. In 1945, when she was 21, she deserted her Army post to live rough in Wales and Cornwall, climbing and living on practically nothing. She hitchhiked her way around, with all her possessions on her back, although these amounted to little more than a rope and a sleeping bag. When the money ran out, she worked as a forester, went winkle-picking on the Isle of Skye, acted as the helmsman of a schooner, and did a stint as an artist's model. And always there were the mountains, drawing her away from a "proper" job.Through interviews, Gwen shared her amazing life with us as Britain's leading female climber—and the first woman to qualify as a mountain guide. The big takeaway was when she was asked "Do you miss it?" She replied, "How can I miss it? I have it still. Those memories are mine and that is my life." What an amazing woman and film sharing her incredible 90 1/2 years. Operation Moffat was worth going to the festival for- completely.

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Meeting My Deductible...

Sticking with the "do something good (and/or fun) for me everyday" plan, I just went to Sierra Nevada Eye Center to see an ophthalmologist for my first real eye exam. He said that I had the best eyes that he will probably see today and I said, "Yeah and probably the youngest!" Ha, ha. BUT a clean bill of health for my eyes is a check off my 55 Year Check Up list. Next week my teeth, next month my ears, boobs already done. Woo hoo.

The day ended by having dinner out with friends. I'm seeing a pattern here, a meal after a medical event. Hmm. I like it.
It never hurts your eyesight
to look on the bright side of things.
-Barbara Johnson

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Burger Night for Aktion Club...

Several of our bighearted friends are members of the Kiwanis Club of Tahoe Sierra and tonight they hosted a fundraiser for the Aktion Club.

While two of those friends (Bob & Jenny) treated us to dinner, two others (Jan & Chris) served us while we dined. Fun stuff.
Aktion Club allows adults, living with disabilities, to participate in community service projects, gain leadership skills and become more involved in society. The mission is:
  • to provide adults living with disabilities an opportunity to develop initiative and leadership skills
  • to serve their community
  • to be integrated into society
  • to demonstrate the dignity and value of citizens living with disabilities
What a wonderful night of supporting a worthwhile cause, while eating delicious food and hanging with some pretty neat people.

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Pat Sajak & Me...

I don't know if you follow entertainment news, but I'm a big fan, and today's headline made me remember my chance encounter with Mr. Pat Sajak.

A decade ago, I was a guide for the Japanese guests our Sister City organization would host. We frequented Rodeo Dr. where I met the host of Wheel of Fortune. The show is in the news today because one of its contestants made the most ultimate blunder. Contestant Kevin only had to guess one missing letter in “A Streetcar Na_ed Desire." He said, "K". Pat said that he would much rather see a play with that name instead of the one Tennessee Williams wrote. So that's my tie-in to today's thrilling news story! Funny stuff.

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Boob Smash Day...

Not everyone would look at a Mammogram on Day #21 of their birthday month as something worth celebrating but the whole idea of 31 days of festivities is doing something special for me everyday. Since early detection is the key to surviving Breast Cancer, I think this was the perfect thing to do today. In addition, Steve took me out to lunch afterward for delicious Mexican food.¡Olé!

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Marjorie Russell Clothing & Textile Center

We have heard the curator of the Nevada State Museum’s Marjorie Russell Clothing and Textile Center speak on two separate occasions and both times the topic was underwear. Wanting to know more, I organized a tour through the Lake Tahoe Historical Society.

The curator, Jan Loverin, took us on an amazing two hour, behind the scenes journey through this facility dedicated to storing and preserving the historic costume and textile collections. The goal is to take clothes that have survived and make them come alive. This collection includes garments that are over 100 years old, including one stunning dress that was crafted in 1760. Also included are hats, shoes, quilts, flags, and accessories.
Due to collection privacy issues, I was not allowed to take photographs but you must know that the gowns we were shown were extraordinaire. And while looking at dresses from 1760, 1844 and several from the 1860s and beyond, we were given a history lesson of Nevada. 
We saw a dress (circa 1820) which was from the Regency era. With its Empire Waist and loose, gauzy material, its design was influenced by the discovery of Pompeii- inspired by the Greek and Roman cultures.
The shoes and hats would make any fashionista envious. Also, in the collection was a vintage flowered swimming cap. We all commented on how we had to wear them when we were kids. What a flashback!

In addition to seeing historic and beautiful gowns, we learned about various fabrics, we met some of the people who made Nevada happen and we were given the opportunity to learn the ins & outs of preservation and display.
We were surprised by how truly incredible this tour was. We learned a great deal and everyone walked away very impressed by it all. I found and loved this quote by Isabel Wolff:
What I really love about them is the fact that they contain someone's personal history. I find myself wondering about their lives. I can never look at a garment without thinking about the woman who owned it. How old was she? Did she work? Was she married? Was she happy? I look at these exquisite shoes, and I imagine the woman who owned them rising out of them or kissing someone. I look at a little hat, I lift up the veil, and I try to imagine the face beneath it... Vintage clothing is not just fabric and thread - it's a piece of someone's past.

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Love Sick @ the College...

Oh man, I love live theater and today's matinee was exceptional! "The dual sides of love and relationships get a comedic treatment in the play Love/Sick by John Cariani", presented by the Theatre Department at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Through a series of nine vignettes, we met various couples in varying states of "love". While described as a comedy, we were affected emotionally and at times cried.
In "The Singing Telegram", Louise thinks she is getting a marriage proposal in song. Instead, she was serenaded with the Meatloaf classic (lyrics that every woman never wants to hear), "I want you, I need you. But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you. Now don't be sad. 'Cause two out of three ain't bad." I cried on this one!
All nine couples were so talented and the stories were rich, entertaining and at times surprising. We thoroughly enjoyed them all. However, Steve and I both had our favorites. Some of the tales were just more poignant to us. I believe this play will do that to people. It will spark conversations. It will have people pick their favorites. I enjoyed "Destiny" (above) not only because we know the actress, Aletha, but because I felt it was realistic and ended right.
We have seen many productions at LTCC and we both agreed this was one of our ultimate favorites. Bravo to all!

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Rotary's St. Patrick's Day Fête...

Each year we get to don green and truly party like we're Irish.


Len and Cyndy were our amazing hosts. The night was unforgettable because of them. As Tahoe's top event in March, this party featured a traditional Irish buffet, wine tasting, and one of the region's biggest silent actions to help raise more than $30,000 each year for charitable organizations through grants, projects and donations. Cool right?!
It is always great to see Seán, the Tahoe Bagpiper, in his highland glory.
It was really great to see Todd (and his famous green beard). Todd is the man whose little girl was the recipient of all the good cheer from the fundraiser we attended in February at the Beacon. His being there tonight indicated that she was home from the hospital and doing much better. A definite reason for celebrating. 




Dancing with wild abandon, green mustaches, delicious food, a worthy cause, tons of fun and absolutely fantastic company- Day #17 couldn't have been any better!

"A good friend is like a four leaf clover;
hard to find and lucky to have." 
— Irish Proverb

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Sharing Day #16...

Today was Susan's birthday so I shared Day #16 of my birthday month with her.

Creative Crepes is the new place in town so we thought celebrating there would be a great idea. It certainly was delicious. I chose the Parisian: brie, ham and spicy Dijon. Trés bon!


After lunch, we went to Karen's for homemade cookies and the movie Moana. It was a very enjoyable film yet definitely not a kids' movie. This was a delightful way to spend the day!

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Lake Tahoe from the Gondola...

Day #15 was spent with 25 fifth Graders doing Winter Trek. While snowshoeing with a bunch of ten year olds is like herding kittens, it was a spectacular day to be on the mountain.

What a view!

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Mail Art Monday...

This has to be one of my most favorite things to do on a Monday... creating darling mail art with a group of amazing women.

 Kim (centered) is the conduit of all this creativity! What a wonderful Tahoe Treasure she is.



Everyone does their own thing while encouraging, laughing and sharing. It is the fastest three hours ever! I ♥ Mail.

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It Could Be Worse...

While I have mentioned, on numerous occasions, that it was a rough winter here I have been reminded, by many, that it could always be worse.

This home on Lake Ontario in Webster, New York, was covered in ice after several days of freezing temperatures combined with winds and moisture from the lake. Yikes!

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Exploring the Alabama Hills...

Wanting to experience this spectacular and unique mountain range, we drove down Movie Road and into the heart of it all. Most of this is BLM land which means we can stay here for free via something called dispersed camping.



What a difference between the Hills and the Mountains. The rounded contours of the Alabamas contrast with the sharp ridges of the Sierra Nevada to the west. Though this might suggest that they formed in a different age and way, the Alabamas are the same age as the nearby Sierras. The difference in wear can be accounted for by different patterns of erosion.


There are two main types of rock exposed at Alabama Hills. One is an orange, weathered metamorphosed volcanic rock that is 150-200 million years old. The other type of rock exposed here is 82- to 85-million-year-old biotite monzogranite which weathers to potato-shaped large boulders, many of which stand on end due to spheroidal weathering acting on many nearly vertical joints in the rock.


The Scarlet milkvetch was the only flower we could find. Its bursts of red were rare but beautiful.
This isolated spot is now one of our favorite places to camp.

We awoke to a crisp, peaceful morning. As the sun came out, the hills lit up. It was pretty amazing.

This was our last stop before returning to Tahoe and home. What an exceptional, varied and unforgettable two weeks of roaming.

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