Tahoe Art League's Studio Tour...

Each year, I try to visit as many studios as I can on this extraordinary self-guided art tour. Numerous studios are open to the public with either the individual artists or artist collectives showcasing their work and working spaces. For six days, over two weekends, we are offered a unique glimpse into why Lake Tahoe is such a creative and artistic haven.

Unfortunately, I could only visit one studio but it was a collective consisting of six amazingly talented women so I felt pretty content with my decision.
I chose this specific studio because it is home to my friend, Cyndy Brown's, amazing boxes.
According to her website,  
I work with a variety of mediums, including architectural and polymer clays, resins, and various paints. Each tile is made with meticulous detail, sometimes with built-up layers for added dimension. The mosaic boxes are then grouted with beads, metal chains, and semi-precious stones.  My series of "Byzantine Boxes" host various compartments along with collages and paintings. At a time where war, politics and the economy are taking a toll on us, it is my intention to divert us from a world that is much too serious to a different place where imaginations can play.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.
~Thomas Merton

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Kayaking All Cares Away...

Tahoe is having a heat wave and there is no better way to deal with it than to get on the Lake.

Unfortunately, our mountain scenery is being affected by the Soberanes Fire burning near Big Sur in Monterey County. The air (and life) is better on the Lake.

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Keith Urban in Tahoe...

I'm going to say it right now... I love Keith Urban. Steve understands, especially after tonight.

We arrived early for our tailgating concert listening so Gwen, Linda and I decided to get a little closer to Keith.
Okay, close to images of Keith. My favorite song of his, Cop Car, kept playing in my head as we trespassed.

No, we didn't get this close but our friend, Cyndi, did. She was at Wednesday's concert and these are her photos. Wow, right?!

From where we were, we could hear every word Keith said. His songs had a clarity to them that made us feel right there. The personality we fell in love with, during his stint as an American Idol judge, permeated the air. I must admit, there was a lot of swooning, even in the "cheap seats".  
Doesn't this just scream "Summer"? Oh man, so fun. I ♥ Keith Urban especially in Tahoe!

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Reggae at The Beach...

Billed as the Sugar Cane Experience, tonight's concert at Lakeview Commons featured Jah Sun, Dubtonic Kru, Raphael and Lion D- all of whom made us groove... reggae style mon!

This genre of music always brings out the largest numbers of attendees and fills the air with electricity and special smells. It is the epitome of people watching, too.

And the sunsets are always extraordinary!
♫♪ Oh, yeah, well, alright
We're jammin'
I want to jam it with you
We're jammin', jammin'
And I hope you like jammin' too ♪♫
-Bob Marley

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Old Sac Underground Tour: "It’s Jacked Up!"

This tour was a planned part of our Sacramento Sojourn. We just had to learn how this town lifted itself up out of the flood waters during the 1860s and 1870s.

Early Sacramento’s waterfront location was prime for commercial success, but was prone to severe flooding. The city also fell victim to repeated fires engulfing its hastily constructed buildings composed mainly of wood and canvas. In 1850, the new city experienced its first devastating flood and in 1852, the city was again wiped out by high water. It was apparent that drastic measures would have to be taken if it was to be saved.

In 1853, a mammoth project was proposed to raise the city above the flood level. The ambitious and expensive proposal was not fully accepted until another devastating flood swept through the city in 1862. Within a few years, thousands of cubic yards of earth were brought in on wagons and the daring scheme to raise the street level began.
For over an hour, we explored the 'Old City', guided by a historical figure of yore.

Part of the tour was an engineering lesson on just how these buildings were lifted (hundreds of jack screws and numerous workers). It is really quite mind-boggling.
The tour emphasized the humanity within the old spaces. History is found in some unique places and we thoroughly enjoyed this subterranean lesson.

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Blue Diamond Almonds...

While tours are no longer offered here, it was still fun to shop and watch their very informative film describing the company's history and how an almond comes to be.

Blue Diamond is the world’s largest producer of almonds and has built a truly global brand over its 106-year history, in part due to its wildly successful 1986 marketing campaign featuring real-life farmers wading waist-deep in almonds imploring, “A can a week, that’s all we ask.”

We learned a great deal about this very successful company and left with a very delicious snack.
Blue Diamond Growers is one nutty business!

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California State Fair...It's the Best!

Steve and I had never been to the California State Fair so when we saw who was performing on the last day, Loverboy, we decided to embark on a brief Sacramento Sojourn and another first. And I have to tell you that it was 102°.

We began at the Counties Exhibit, learning about some of the 58 counties that are in our State.
A Fair isn't complete without seeing award-winning baked goods...
Or cookware demonstrations that make you want to buy pans to cook award-winning baked goods.
I finally got to meet author Jackie Boor who wrote LOGAN: The Honorable Life and Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman. Ms. Boor is the great granddaughter of this historic sheriff and has unearthed the untold story of his 1906 murder. I had arranged for her to present at our library. I was unable to be there that day so this meeting was a year in the making. What a neat lady and a great opportunity.
Oh man, I love photo opportunities and the Fair was full of them.

Vintage cars followed by horse racing. Where else can you have such a diverse day?!

It wouldn't be the Fair without some "farm stuff".

Nor would it be a Fair without some animals. And Llamas getting a shower are adorable.

We saw several shows. The Acrobats of Hebei China were incredibly entertaining.
What you may not be able to see in this photo is that this performer has just kicked a stack of bowls up into the air. He then caught them, stacked neatly, on the top of his head. This was a "you have to see it to believe it" kind of feat.
The Freestyle Motocross show blew us away. I could hardly watch. We were thoroughly impressed.
We met up with Jan and Chris for a bit before we each separated to go to our desired shows.
Part of the fun of the Fair is its famous infamous food. While we didn't eat any of the 'bad stuff', it was certainly interesting to watch others indulge.

Okay, the real reason we were here was to see Loverboy. This was one of my most favorite bands while in college. It is a Canadian rock group, formed in 1979. Their hit singles, particularly Turn Me Loose and Working for the Weekend, have become arena rock staples and were my get ready for the night anthems. Oh man, the memories!

The concert was an incredible flashback and a great end to an extraordinary day.

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