Ahoy Pirates of Temecula!

Our incredibly talented neighbor, Matt, has created the most amazing Halloween 'treat'... The Pirates of the Caribbean right on our street!

He crafted this all from scratch. We were beyond impressed!
"Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys—and there be plunderin’ pirates lurkin’ in every cove, waitin’ to board. Sit closer together, and keep your ruddy hands inboard—that be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys: Dead men tell no tales!”
For one night, we were able to pretend that we were at Disneyland. Our street became "my happiest place on Earth". So dang awesome.

𝅘𝅥𝅯 Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho ♪
The photos can't tell the tale like this video does! 𝅘𝅥𝅯Yo ho, yo ho... a Pirate's life indeed.𝅘𝅥𝅮

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Congrats Nationals!

This flashback is in honor of tonight's victory, which brought the nation's Capital its first baseball championship in 95 years (last time was the Senators team in 1924). Way to go Nationals! Congratulations on your first World Series championship in your franchise history (this is the team's 50th birthday, what a sweet gift).

We were fortunate to see a Nationals' Home Game in 2010 (they lost). We admire a team whose mascot is Teddy Roosevelt!
I 💙baseball (and the underdog).

"The best possible thing in baseball is winning The World Series.
The second best thing is losing The World Series."
-Tommy Lasorda

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Jack Lemmon & Me...

I used to write for a local Temecula neighborhood newspaper called The Bugle. I submitted this article prior to the Academy Awards in 2007. I hope you enjoy my memories from so many years ago (i have so many to share).

Oscar Race a Reminder of a Special Weekend

It’s hard to turn on the radio or open the newspaper and not hear discussions and debates about this year’s 79th Academy Awards. According to the Oscars’ website, "Every January, when the calendar has turned to a new year, the attention of the entertainment community and of film fans around the world, turns to the upcoming Academy Awards. Oscar Fever hits, building to the crescendo of the annual presentation of golden statuettes, when hundreds of millions of cinema lovers glue themselves to their television sets to learn who will receive the highest honor in filmmaking."

Since I am one of the hundreds of millions, I will be watching not only to see the winners but also to see Ellen Degeneres host for the very first time. I am a huge Ellen fan. I’ve been to her show’s taping and I watch her afternoon talk show when I can. When I don’t have the opportunity to spend the afternoon watching, I frequently log on to her website and explore the world of ‘Ellen’.
Memories were evoked the last time I logged on. One of Ellen’s requests is to have viewers send in photos of them with either a past Oscar winner or a current nominee. Wow! It sent me back to 1996 and memories of the opportunity I had to meet and be photographed with Jack Lemmon. Mr. Lemmon, by the way, was the first actor to win Academy Awards for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor and one of his last films was made right here in Temecula.
In 1995, I saw the following article in our local paper, "Others who want to be stars may attend a casting call… The movie is looking for adults to play nurses, hospital staff and people who look like they belong in an emergency ward." I answered the ad and was cast as an ‘extra’ in a hospital scene in the movie A Weekend in the Country.
As far as I know, it is the only movie filmed in Temecula with such an incredible cast: Dudley Moore, Faith Ford, Christine Lahti, Richard Lewis, Betty White, Rita Rudner and the Oscar winner, Jack Lemmon. Wow! What an opportunity for Temecula. The town was alive and celebrity spotting happened frequently.

The movie is about Sally Shelton (Rita Rudner who also wrote the movie) a single, pregnant journalist from New York , who visits Temecula to interview the area’s largest wine-grower, Simon Farrell (Dudley Moore) who also happens to be Temecula’s largest Casanova (funny thought really). She is staying at the idyllic country inn owned by New Age follower Ruth Wood (Christine Lahti). Also staying at the inn is N.Y. comedian Bobby Stein (Richard Lewis) who is in town to perform a show for the slightly shady local promoter, Bud Kelley (Jack Lemmon). Both Sally and Bobby have ulterior motives for their visits which become apparent over the weekend.

All of the extras were invited to attend the Opening Night Premiere at the 1st Annual Newport Beach International Film Festival. So naturally, being a huge movie fan, an extra in the movie and a devoted Temecula resident, I attended the premiere. When would I be able to hobnob with such famous people? It was an incredible opportunity.

So how was the movie? "A hilarious twist of stories with superb comedic flare!" Was one of the reviews. Since I haven’t seen the film in ten years, I am not quite sure of my own personal opinions at the time. I seem to remember liking it. I know I felt pride in seeing all the familiar locations. I was honored to meet Jack Lemmon who passed away five short years later.

Jack Lemmon may have made better films and on Oscar night, better films will be rewarded, but if you get the chance to lose yourself for a couple of hours, find a copy of A Weekend in the Country. Enjoy how Temecula was… how it was recognized as a place to get away to. Maybe even remember Mr. Lemmon who came to our little town and made a night very special for a small town girl by saying, "Yes!" to a photograph that will forever help me (and hopefully you) remember him and this great opportunity.

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Things to Smile About...

It has been 9 weeks and 2 days since I fractured my neck (but hey, who's counting). A byproduct of this is the fact that I now, more than ever, find joy/happiness/smiles in the most simplest of places. I thought I'd share a few with you.

This is a license plate we pass everyday! It cracks me up. Make certain you read it with a German accent!
This was on today's walk. Look, we're leaf peepers!
One of my most happiest places is our front porch. This is what a morning view from there looks like.

And evenings are as special in their own hues.
Since I haven't been able to really do the physical things I love (hiking, spin classes, beachcombing) this seems to sum up my exercise routine perfectly. I know you did not read it without smiling.
Today, our friend Tom wrote, "I’m finding you will do just about anything to blog about. Pictures with Pat Sajak or Billy Crystal (I had to include the photo) to home libraries. You’re amazing! Hope you’re healing and will be on the road again soon."

Yes, blogging is just another thing on my list where I find joy/happiness/smiles. I hope it has that effect on you in some way, too. The posts will get more exciting one day, in the not-so-distant future, I hope. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep doing my thing... cracking myself up and smiling at the simple things.

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Happy Birthday Pat Sajak...

The Wheel of Fortune host turns 73 today. I ran into him at the parking garage on Rodeo Drive and he was willing to pose for a photo with me. So very, very cool. Coincidentally, Pat was the game show host who took over Scrabble from Chuck Woolery (pre-Wheel days). Happy Birthday Mr. Sajak... keep that wheel spinning!

Pat & Me in 2007
"It's your birthday today, so why are we waiting?
Without further delay, Let's start celebrating."
~Norman Wesley Brooks

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Picnicking at Home with Max...

There's a new (welcomed) craze happening here. It's our amazing friends coming by with picnic lunches and hanging out with us. What fun!

Pic·nic /ˈpikˌnik/ (noun) an outing or occasion that involves taking a packed meal to be eaten outdoors.
Of all our picnic dates, as of late, we have known today's the longest. When we first met, in 1995, Max was then known as Mr. Cantu. He was our older son's 3rd and 4th grade teacher and he was exceptional. He has been in our lives ever since, for the last 24 years. We had a lot to catch up on over potato salad and Subway sandwiches. AND these 90° days are perfect for alfresco dining.

"A picnic is more than eating a meal,
it is a pleasurable state of mind."
– DeeDee Stovel

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Active Shooter Training...

In an era where mass shootings are all too common, "run, hide, fight" has become a mantra. The City of Temecula is offering a series of trainings to help those who might be faced with this all too frequent tragedy. Steve went to tonight's informative (and scary) event.

The big message Steve took away from the event was the fact that active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident. 

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation:
• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
• If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
• As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her. CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!
The 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech is a lesson in worse case scenario vs the correct way to respond in such a situation. Those who were proactive had the greater survival rate. He came away from all of this a bit unnerved but also with the belief that if we all attend these trainings, we'll all gain strength in the knowledge gained.
"Doing something will increase your chances of survival.
The will to survive is the most important tool to stay alive!!!"
After attending this class, Steve says everyone should watch this Run.Hide.Fight video.

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Me on TV: Scrabble 1987

As most people know, I'm a huge fan of Scrabble. Not many people remember the television game show of that same name or the fact that I was a contestant on it! BUT what fun.

Scrabble was an American television game show, based on the Scrabble board game, which ran on and off from 1984 to 1993. Chuck Woolery was the host and Charlie Tuna was the announcer.
The original 1984–90 version was the very first successful board-game-turned-game-show in history.
I won $500 and could have done so much better, but seriously, it is harder than it looks. I was an awesome contestant when I was home playing from the safety of my couch!
What's incredible is me finding the complete video of my time on Scrabble on Youtube. I have never seen it, in its entirety, because when it aired, it was preempted by the Iran-Contra Affairs Hearing. Yes, my 15 minutes of fame was never seen on NBC. At the time, I felt really disappointed. How awesome it is to watch this slice of my past, 32 years later. Wow.
"Floating in a lake,
lying in a hammock,
playing a bit of Scrabble...
that's what I'm in need of."
-Karen Walker

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Tahoe Friends Visit Temecula...

Our friend, Kae, is migrating back to Mexico for the winter. What fun for her and Susan to make a two night stop in Temecula. It is always wonderful to have Tahoe in our home!

We had a lot of opportunities to catch up and experience life as we know it.

Steve played tour guide, taking our guests to Old Town Temecula. He introduced them to our local history at the Museum and then they strolled the historic streets and dined outdoors (these are the only two photos they all took, though they were tasked with photo documenting their explore. Hmmm).

The day ended with Karen, Tricia, David & Mike stopping by just for a hug. Yes, we have some amazing friends.

“Truly great friends are hard to find,
difficult to leave,
and impossible to forget.”

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Lunch Out & Ansel Adams...

Conveniently, my orthopedist is located very near the beach town of Encinitas. Since we were so close, Steve treated me to lunch out.

Our favorite Italian restaurant, Trattoria i Trulli, did not disappoint.

 "Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
- Federico Fellini
Again, proximity dictates our fun. We have been very eager to see Cannon Art Gallery's Ansel Adams: Early Works (September 22 – December 1, 2019).

This amazing exhibit consists of intimate master prints from the 1920s through the 1950s which depict Adams’ transition from pictorialism to straight photography, and provide a fresh look at this legendary master of the American landscape. Presenting 42 photographs, several singular examples are included in this exhibition, including some extraordinary rare prints. We were incredibly impressed.
We learned so much about this artist we thought we knew. For instance, up until a critical meeting in 1930 with master photographer Paul Strand, Adams had been dedicated to his career as a classical pianist in San Francisco and enjoyed photography only as a hobby. He was captivated by the tonal quality of Strand’s negatives, which he described as “full, luminous shadows and strong high values, in which subtle passages of tone were preserved.” Strand’s images inspired Adams not only to commit himself full-time to photography, but also to follow in the master photographer’s style of “straight” photography—unmanipulated black-and-white photographs documenting landscapes and scenes of everyday life—a departure from the romantic, hand-painted images of the pictorialist photographers that dominated American photography in the early 20th century. Wild right?
I loved this print of Mt. Robson, with handwritten note to his friend William Edward Dassonville. In the 1920s, Dassonville created a velvety surfaced photographic printing paper that was a favorite among Pictorialist photographers, though the formula is now lost.

The image that called to me was one that surprised me, Coastal Road (c.1953). I know it appeals to me since road trips aren't on our current horizon. This work expresses Jack Kerouac's quote, "...the mad road, lonely, leading around the bend into the openings of space toward the horizon." So very, very incredible. This exhibit demands a more thorough savoring. 
Of all the prints, Steve appreciated this image most. Clearing Winter Storm, taken from Inspiration Point, is Adams' most celebrated Yosemite view. This is the earliest known vintage print of this seminal image (a 1938 date appears on his original typewritten label), which just surfaced in 2005. So spectacular.
Ansel Adams shared, "Family and friends would take me aside and say, ‘Do not give up your music; the camera cannot express the human soul' …I found that while the camera does not express the soul, perhaps a photograph can!" And aren't we all richer because he ignored his photographic critics? Awesome.

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My Broken Neck Follow Up #3...

After my third visit to the Orthopedist Spine Specialist, I do not know much more about my current situation than I did seven weeks ago, when this all began.

X-rays of my C1 vertebra were taken (not easy because it is behind my teeth and my mouth can't be opened that far currently).
Dr. Z looked at them and was happy to report 0% movement of the fracture, meaning the brace is doing what it's suppose to do, stabilize while healing.
The unknown component of this process is the progress of the actual healing. That can only be determined with a CT scan. Since three months is the minimum recovery for this kind of break, that is when my next CT will be (~November 26th). I will know, definitively, on my next doctor's appointment, in early December, if all my diligence and homeboundness has paid off. So for now, I remain patient and at home. Keep sending those healing vibes. I still have a ways to go!

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Catching Up With The Joneses...

Staying local has given us great opportunities to connect with friends we haven't spent time with in ages.

Mark and Carol visited with not only fun travel tales and wonderful family updates, they also came with a picnic lunch, enjoyed for hours poolside. Friends certainly make life better.

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