Snowshoeing Students' thank yous...

I was given a packet of Thank Yous, one class of 5th graders gave the Forest Service after their Winter Trek adventure with mePrecious and appreciative- I had to share a couple.

 Dear Ranger Denise and Ranger Jean,
      Thank you for teaching me about the tracks of American Martins.  Not only that, but I also learned about the 3 different water uses.  I have never seen bear scratches like the ones I saw on the field trip.  I think that your job is very fun and amazing!!!!!!!  You have inspired me to work outdoors when I grow up.  This is the BEST field trip I have even been on and will always be.  I love the way you guys were patient with us.  This was my first time I have been on a gondola, and I had the best time on it.  It was also a challenge, but I really like challenges- especially this one.  I had no idea that there were 63 rivers going into Lake Tahoe until you told me.  From, Vaneza

Winter Trek

Thanks, Denise and Jean,
Brave and strong they lead the way,
Kind and courageous.

Owed to the rangers
Who taught on that bright sunny day,
They are the best ones.

Why are they the best,
They taught us the correct way,
They gave their best effort.

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Dinner with History...

One of the most surprising phenomenon we discovered, upon moving to our neighborhood, was the history found, not only in the vintage cabins, but within the residents themselves.  Having dinner with Gene and Joanne was not only scrumptious but spellbinding as well

Gene's parents purchased their lot in Bijou Pines in 1932.  Driving up in their Durant Motors Star Car, they built a tent and would summer here most of their lives with their twins (Gene is on the right).  Gene is the keeper of the family's treasures and both of these boats, which sailed on Lake Tahoe, are on display in their beautiful mountain home (which is as much museum as house).  Gene and Joanne share it with three children and twelve grandchildren.
We are so fortunate to have such interesting and generous friends adding even more to the expansive answer list to the question, "Why Tahoe?"

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A Governors' Conference...

One of my jobs, at the Lake Tahoe Historical Society, is to archive/document books the museum receives.  I could not put down the souvenir album from the 65th National Governors' Conference that was held at Del Webb's Sahara, Lake Tahoe, NV (now known as The Horizon at Stateline, NV) from June 3-6th.

This book was filled with actual photographs placed into the album of all the governors who attended (all 50 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico).  It was a very distinguished list of historically significant men:  Nelson Rockefeller, George Wallace, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, to name just a few.  Two of the guest speakers were Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and Casper Weinberger, Secretary, US Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare.

After all the politics were over, Danny Thomas entertained them in the showroom.  On the weekend, the families joined the Governors and spent the day at the Ponderosa Ranch.  How fun to see photos of these leaders of government out and about in the familiar tourist spots my family loved as well.

I enjoyed Father James Mc Grath's patriotic opening prayer:

May your Holy Spirit inspire and guide all the participants taking part in this Conference, so that they can help all of us who have the privilege of American citizenship to serve the Nation worthily with a good conscience. May you count everyone to be obedient to the Constitution and to the laws of the States, and to give wholehearted support to public officials from the most renowned to the least among them. Give us the patriotic fervor, Lord, to see that all within our Nation do likewise, so that ever the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave. Amen.
I continue to be enamored with all the history I keep discovering.

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My Oscars Night...

For most, watching the Oscars LIVE isn't a huge deal, but for me it really is.  In 1987, Steve and I made a decision to disconnect cable television to focus our time on raising sons.  Somewhere along the way, a decade or so later, we bought a t.v. to play video games and watch films.

I don't think I have watched a live broadcast of the Academy Awards in decades so when I was invited to attend a fĂȘte with a group of wonderful women from AAUW, I jumped at the chance.  Nine of us brought delectables to nibble on to Theresa's lovely home.  Jeanne, supplied us with ballots and background information for us to make our choices, and then after dining and discussing, we watched.

What an amazing night!  I felt Seth MacFarlane did an incredible job as host.  I enjoyed the entire production and for a few hours, I felt the magic of Hollywood.

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Embracing V-Day...

I'm a big proponent of "firsts".  When I learned about a production of The Vagina Monologues coming to Lake Tahoe, I signed Steve and myself up to volunteer, not fully understanding what it was truly about but knowing that it was a benefit for women.

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sex slavery.

Performances of the Monologues have been a big part of fundraising efforts for V-Day and seeing the sold out performances, two nights in a row, several support organizations in our community are going to benefit greatly.

Both of us thought the evening was very well done and extremely eye-opening.  Some of the subject matter was extremely difficult to hear My Vagina Was My Village, while others made us laugh out loud, My Angry Vagina.  I think, for me, hearing the word vagina so openly discussed was the most unique part of the evening.  Definitely a first!

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Snowshoe through History Hike...

California State Park Interpreters, Lindsay and John, led us on a Snowshoe Through History hike along Lake Tahoe's magical West Shore at Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park.

We explored the lakefront and the grounds of the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion estate.  In 1897, San Francisco businessman I. W. Hellman began buying property at Sugar Pine Point and by 1913 had acquired nearly 2000 acres. His grand but informal summer home, called Pine Lodge, was completed in 1903 and was considered to be one of the finest in the high Sierra.

In addition, we learned about the natural environment that attracted Tahoe's earliest settlers and explored the fascinating history of a Tahoe landmark.

While the temperatures were brisk, the well done tour made it all so worth it.  There is always something to do and learn!

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Tahoe's Monster Goldfish

There has been a nationwide discussion about the recent discovery of a giant goldfish here in Lake Tahoe. According to

A new kind of lake monster has been found, in the depths of Lake Tahoe: gigantic goldfish. Researchers trawling the lake for invasive fish species scooped up a goldfish that was nearly 1.5 feet long and 4.2 pounds.

The arrival of the fish, which were probably dumped there by aquarium owners, has scientists worried — goldfish are an invasive species that could interfere with the Lake's ecosystem.

In addition, having one of those guys brush up against you, while swimming, would erase all sense of security being in a lake provides those of us who are ooked out by what lurks in the ocean.

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This is what 80 looks like...

Our very first Lake Tahoe friends were Dick and Joan.  These are people worth celebrating.  Today we gathered for a brunch for Joan's 80th birthday.  I thought I would let Joan's thank you note, express the day...
Dear, dear Denise & Steve-
What wonderful people you are- goofy and fun as all get-out, but loving and caring as well.  Who knew what kind of characters I would invite to your home?  You trusted my choices and instincts and we had a great mixed bag as a result.

The food and drink were a nice array of flavors- all put together between arriving back from Temecula and home. Thank you for your amazing teamwork of 25 years and fun friendship. Dick thanks you, also.
                            Love, Joan
We really had an incredible gathering and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Friday morning than in the company of wonderful friends.

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Heavenly on Heavenly...

With a high of 23°F today at 9,000', our snowshoe trek was a chilly yet spectacular event.

I love to read the daily status report at

Good morning!
Overnight we received 2" of new snow to bring our 48 hour total to 7".  The cold overnight temps have kept the snow light and fluffy and the light snow forecasted today will keep the snow fresh and smooth.  We have light snow in the forecast into the weekend making it a great time to ski and ride!

It's always so enthusiastic.  It was a great time to snowshoe with a delightful group of 5th graders!

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Author Helen Simonson visits Tahoe...

What a wonderful afternoon of literary camaraderie!  This month, I was the hostess for our Friends of the Library Book Club.  I invited New York Bestselling author Helen Simonson to join us, via Skype.  The visit made me want to read her novel Major Pettigrew's Last Stand all over again.
I loved what she revealed about herself.  Having a crusty old man complex since she was eight, made me laugh out loud (the main character is a 68 year old man that fits her complex to a T).
I also enjoyed the details of her writing process.  When she said that she wrapped up her finger wagging in green hedges and cream tea, I totally saw that about her style.  This is one of those books whose subtleties grab you and keep you engrossed.  Rich characters, interesting insight and a perfect ending make this a must read... possibly more than once.
Life does often get in the way of one's reading.

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Where James Dean Crashed...

When we return to Tahoe from SLO, we always pass the James Dean Memorial Junction at the "Y" intersection of Highways 46 and 41.  It wasn't until this trip home that I researched the happenings here.

On September 30, 1955, Dean and his Porsche mechanic were going for the weekend sports car races at Salinas, California.  Donald Turnupseed, a student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, was headed home to Tulare for the weekend to visit his parents. At this intersection he would veer left onto Highway 41 and head northeast for Fresno. Turnupseed later testified at a hearing, held in San Luis Obispo, that he slowed as he approached the intersection, glanced up the hill to look for oncoming cars, then crossed over the line to continue his trip on Highway 41.

According to the report, Turnupseed said he never saw the other car. Police later concluded that the color of Dean's car and the twilight dusk camouflaged the Porsche. Turnupseed's Ford and Dean's Porsche hit almost head-on. The impact of the crash was terrific. Dean's car ended up in a ditch by the roadside, "looking like a crumpled pack of cigarettes,".

Turnupseed had minor physical injuries but I can only imagine the long term devastation he experienced being the person who ended James Dean's life.  Tragic for all.

"If a man can bridge the gap between life and death,
 if he can live on after he's dead, then maybe he was a great man."
-James Dean

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Quick Family Reunion in SLO...

We all left So Cal a day early to spend the evening in San Luis Obispo with our younger son.  The town was filled with Cal Poly families and it seemed like forever that all of us were together.  We had some quality time at dinner at Eureka!, a pretty awesome restaurant, and then the kids went off on their own.  It made for a very happy mom heart.

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Dinner at the "In-Laws"...

When our son married, he not only got an incredible wife, he received exceptional in-laws as well.  What's really wonderful is the fact that we get them too.

As our last night, in Temecula, send off, we were wined and dined in style.  In addition to great food and delightful company, their home always provides the best sunsets.  Fun stuff!

"What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family."
-Mother Teresa

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Palm Desert for lunch and history

I love the desert and when Steve told me he needed to meet up with his brother, Kevin, I joined in the fun.  It was a perfect day to head to the Coachella Valley.

While Steve and Kevin talked 'shop', I explored the local history.   Palm Desert's neighboring town, Palm Springs, was famous for  being Hollywood's playground, since the 1920s.  It was a place for celebrities to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of showbiz. The legendary "Two-Hour Rule" of Hollywood studios put it on the map as a perfect getaway. Actors under contract had to be available within two-hours from the studio just in case last minute film/photo shoots had to occur.
And while Palm Desert was right next door, the early maps labeled Palm Desert as a Sand Hole. In the 1930s a few homes were built and lots sold.  Edgar Bergen (of Charlie McCarthy fame), who had a ranch here, talked some brothers into developing the 1,600 acres used by General Patton's tank repair facility during the war (World War II brought General Patton to this Desert to train for African warfare).
No one, way back when, ever dreamed this would become a world-class destination resort. No one except Cliff Henderson and his brothers Randall, Phil and Carl, who along with their brother-in-law and investors, including Edgar Bergen, Leonard Firestone and Harold Lloyd, turned a sand hole into a sparkling jewel called Palm Desert.  Each time I return here, I learn a little bit more and become eager to return again.

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