On the Road with Steinbeck...

We left this morning at o'dark thirty- my favorite time of day to start an adventure. We headed south on 395, I in my car, Steve and his mom in hers. We joined her winter migration, returning her to SoCal before our hopefully epic weather arrives.

I chose to travel the long road with the words of John Steinbeck. I know I read The Grapes of Wrath at some point. But this experience, alone in my car on the open road, was extra special. It left me thankful and sad, simultaneously.
At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.
I found myself hoping for traffic jams and red lights for the audiobook is 21 hours long and the reader's voice is mesmerizing.

“The last clear definite function of men—muscles aching to work,
minds aching to create beyond the single need—this is man.”
― John Steinbeck

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Hanging at Himmel Haus...

One of our favorite places to chill is Himmel Haus, a really unique place that pours some really exceptional biers.  What's not to love about names like Hofbrau Munchen Dunkel, Schonramer Festbier, and Schneider Weisse Mein Nelson Sauvin?

While sipping beverages and eating Belgian frites we played a new game, 5 Second Rule.

It should be easy to name 3 breeds of dogs—but can you do it under the pressure of 5 seconds twisting down, and with the other players staring at you, waiting for you to get flustered? Time’s not on your side, so just say what comes to mind and risk ridiculous answers slipping out as time twirls down on the unique twisted timer! It’s all in good fun with this fast-paced game where you have to Just Spit it Out!
What a great last night for our fun Thanksgiving weekend.

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Family Bowling Fun...

Everyone in our family loves bowling, too. What a great way to work off last night's Thanksgiving dinner.

There was a great deal of laughing and high-fives- fun stuff.

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♪♫Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving♫♪

We are so thankful that our sons and their girls are here to celebrate this day!

Yesterday's snow made the drive to Tahoe a bit precarious, but it made everything beautiful and special... A White Thanksgiving.
For some, the day began with skiing the fresh powder in 10° temperatures at Heavenly.
Dinner was a delicious collaboration.
After dinner, during a light snow fall, a stroll around the neighborhood was followed by family gaming- the perfect end to our Thanksgiving holiday. Here's wishing you much to be grateful for today and always!

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Book Arts Christmas Ornaments...

Over a dozen crafty souls gathered at Bona Fide Books to create darling ornaments from old books and various papers.

Guided by talented artist Coco Foy and armed with super cute paper punches, we made some really unique items and had a whole lot of fun.
Karen's garland was festive and inspired.

Hanging out with a group of creative people is a pretty awesome way to end a weekend. I ♥ Bona Fide Books.

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Valhalla Holiday Faire...

For the last 20 years, this event has delighted all. We spent the morning volunteering and getting into the Christmas spirit.

Numerous and varied vendors sold some pretty amazing things. Holiday shopping was certainly accomplished today.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were a happy component to this happy day.

Christmas is on its way!

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Road Work Humor...

Some things just make me smile...

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Tower Records & 'All Things Must Pass'

We had an awesome day. We headed to Sacramento to see where Tower Records was born and learn its history. This iconic music store has been a part of our entire lives.

We watched All Things Must Pass at the Tower Theatre, a Sacramento landmark since 1938 and the image that formed the 'tower' part of Tower Records. It was in the adjacent Tower Drugs, where Tower Records was born in 1941.

All Things Must Pass is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of Tower Records, and its legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. Directed by Colin Hanks with recollections by numerous devotees from Elton John to Bruce Springsteen, we were mesmerized.

This film was a fabulous depiction of this incredibly interesting and much loved company. We enjoyed it thoroughly and have a new appreciation for Tower Records and the man who created it.
The first store opened on Watt Ave, in Sacramento, in 1960. For a myriad of reasons including over expansion, Napster and online music, the company closed all its stores in 2006. After learning so much of its history and for a full explore, we ended our day at that first, original Tower Records which is now a Goodwill Store. How totally, totally cool! The doors are closed, but the legacy lives on.

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Decorating the Grand Hall...

Historical Valhalla will be the site of this weekend's Holiday Faire. How fun to be a part of the decorating team that makes the holiday magic happen.

The Forest Service provides the tree. This year, they went all out. We guessed this tree was about 30 ft tall and so very glorious!

We aren't getting our own tree until mid-December so this is my way to feel a bit more Christmasy. It helped that the fire was roaring and that holiday music filled the hall.

It was a winter wonderland!
What an awesome team.
"Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts.
No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists
for gifts and cards to be bought and give
—when Christmas Day comes there is still
the same warm feeling we had as children,
the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes."
~ Joan Winmill Brown

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"Death of a Salesman" at LTCC

I value live theater. I appreciate the talent involved in memorizing lines and using those lines to transport the audience somewhere else. Today, we were transported to 1949 with Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I had seen this play. While quite a tragic tale- one of never attaining the American Dream or living up to one's parent's ideals, this Lake Tahoe Community College production was very well done and it generated much discussion afterward. That said, we all agreed we are looking forward to the next play- a comedy!
“Be loving to him.
Because he’s only a little boat looking for a harbor.”
― Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

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Pressing Apples & Drinking Beer...

It's apple season in Apple Hill and part of the excitement of this time of year is the anticipation of Bob's award-winning Hard Apple Cider.

There is something really cool about helping out and using the press Bob made for his senior project in college.

After pressing apples we moved onto sampling beer. With the success of their free wine tasting events every Friday 968 Park Hotel decided to create a similar concept to showcase their craft beer selections.
How fun to be huddled around a fire pit with friends tasting various samples of Anderson Valley Brews. It was bahl hornin.
We ended the night by moving into the Coffee Pub so we could listen to The Connor Party. This fun local band played a diverse music set. We enjoyed the coziness of the Pub and the talents of this duo. Fun stuff in our little town!

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Tahoe BlizzardFest...

The Convergence Of Art And Elements - The Inaugural Pray For Snow Celebration at the Beach Retreat.

From live music to movie screenings, to eclectic lakefront art installations and fun activities, the Tahoe BlizzardFest is a unique 2-day celebration converging art, the elements, and a love of snowsports.
As the night got darker, the art got more awesome.
Joined on the beach by Bob and Jenny, we participated in the official unveiling of Liberty (R)evolution Returns, a unique 'Fire Inside' art collection by Timeless Sculptures.  Set against the backdrop of Lake Tahoe and a star-filled sky, we enjoyed a truly unique experience where art and fire blended as the 30ft tall Hand of Order was lit.
The warming barrels emitted smoke that made it all a bit surreal. While the clear beautiful Tahoe star-filled sky made gazing in the 25° weather surprisingly pleasurable.

We ended the evening watching Yes. Snowboards founder DCP's Balance, a film that examines boardsports culture all over the world. In the movie, the French Canada backcountry freestyler joins forces with surf and skate professionals, showcasing the lifestyle they lead, and highlighting the beautiful destinations they travel to along the way.  Watching this thrilling film in a room of 20-something snowboarders was pretty interesting. It must have been a great film based on their hoots and hollers. What a neat thing for our town.
I liked the premise of this film. The riders found balance not only on their boards but in their lives by pursuing what makes them happy. While I'm not going to shred anytime soon, I think the analogy of finding Balance is true for us here in Tahoe. It is a place that makes us so very happy and an event like this is one of the reasons why!

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Tahoe Chamber's Blue Ribbon Awards

Another first for us was attending the fantastic Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony at Montbleu. From quality shopping, accommodations, recreation and dining options to the myriad service providers and businesses, the Blue Ribbon Awards honor all that business should be.  This important awards program salutes those businesses that are making significant contributions to the South Shore economy.

The evening began with a champagne reception and photo ops. Emily is one of the amazing team members who makes all the Chamber events magical.
Georgette allowed us to go home with some sweet Tahoe South swag. Fun stuff.
Each year, Tahoe Chamber solicits nominations in the six key categories that represent the breadth of business on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe.  Each nomination is carefully considered by the Blue Ribbon Awards Task Force and after a series of discussions, eight award winners are chosen to receive one of several awards. Steve and I were guests of Epic Tahoe due to our nominating them for the beyond incredible Rock Tahoe Half Marathon.
My submission:  How can one explain the powerful experience the Rock Tahoe Marathon gave? Pushing oneself beyond expectations in a setting so spectacular that if running hadn't taken your breath away, the view certainly did.

For hours, hundreds of people absorbed the sights, smells, sounds and warmness of our town.

As a volunteer greeting the finishers, all proclaimed complete and utter delight in being in this race. The cheering squads, the welcoming staff at the Hard Rock and the well organized team made it all come together flawlessly.

Sean, Jason and Jess, the Rock Tahoe Marathon team, were welcoming to all. As an observer, I think what they did for Tahoe with this event will have an incredible ripple effect and they so deserve this award. It was an honor to be a part of it all.
Senator Ted Gaines presented all winners with a California State Senate Award. Very cool indeed.
Besides a sumptuous meal provided by Montbleu, seeing numerous people we knew get well-deserved recognition, and the fact that our nominees won, the night was incredible because it introduced us to an amazing array of South Shore businesses doing awesome things for our community. We left feeling pride in our town and excited for the people who are making a difference.

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