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Archive for the ‘Lake Tahoe’ Category

snowfallMost of you know that I now live in the South. Being from Northern California, I was used to some harsh weather in the winter, for a short period of time. Usually we’d get some snow, it’d stick around for a few days, then – BAM – we’d be in the 80’s and our two weeks of winter were over.  (more…)

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So we’re getting ready to hit the road; going to caravan about 2,100 miles with a 26′ U-Haul truck, towing a car, following another car, with a 75-year-old man who loves to nap and a 70 pound, 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, across the Mojave Desert, Arizona and Northern Texas during July. What could possibly go wrong?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, moving is a hassle. And I’m not just talking about the packing part, I’m talking about every single thing you have to remember to do. Like turning off all utilities, forwarding mail, remembering what gets auto deposited or debited into or out of a bank account that you’ve now closed. Stuff like that. Pain in the ass.

But with moving, comes excitement and anticipation of starting out new and fresh somewhere else. Finding new homes for your things, learning new routines, exploring new places. Fun, fun, fun.

Sad to leave friends I’ve had for 45 years and the town I grew up in and know like the back of my hand, but happy to discover new friends and new places.

Here’s a list I’ve compiled (in no particular order) of things that I am in NO way going to miss:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

1 – the 45-minute commute to work;

2 – the 45-minute drive home from work;

3 – wearing business professional clothes, heels and up-do’s every single day;

4 – being someone else’s employee;

5 – rationing water;

6 – the fear of a forest fire burning down my house;

7 – exorbitant taxes;

8 – extremist political leaders;

9 – everyone thinking you live in Hollywood or near the beach just because you live in California;

10 – everyone thinking you’re wealthy just because you live in California.

11 – not having to bring my own grocery bags to the store;

12 – the penchant to litigate everything.

Things I’m definitely GOING TO miss:

1 – Too many friends to mention by name;

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

2 – Disneyland;

3 – the weather;

4 – my local chapter of Romance Writers of America;

5 – my nieces and nephews;

6 – the ocean;

7 – Lake Tahoe;

8 – knowing all of the short-cuts and secret passages around town;

9 – being just 45 minutes from awesome snow skiing;

10 – some of the best wine in the entire world;

11 – The Olde Town Grill;

12 – my zumba class.

Tell me loyal subjects – uh, I mean followers, what would you miss most about your home town? What special “secret” things do you cherish about where you live? Would you travel across the desert in the heart of summer?

Word of the Day: Uncinate

Fun fact about me: I’m a planner; down to the smallest details. Yet, I love being spontaneous. Go figure.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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So April is national poetry month. I’m a little behind the ball, but still snuck in just under the wire. I’ve never really been into poetry, but I do like some stuff. Since I’m a fan of Walt Whitman, I will incorporate a piece from his Leaves of Grass in honor of national poetry month. Here’s my rendition with photograph visuals to help you understand the meaning of Walt’s words (yeah right):

Electric Water Pageant. Seven Seas Lagoon - Walt Disney World. 2009

Electric Water Pageant. Seven Seas Lagoon – Walt Disney World. 2009

“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear

Fire dancer - Polynesian Resort - Walt Disney World - 2011

Fire dancer – Polynesian Resort – Walt Disney World – 2011

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong

 

German Pavilion - Epcot - Walt Disney World - 2012

German Pavilion – Epcot – Walt Disney World – 2012

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam

Tea House at Vikingsholm Castle - Emerald Bay - South Lake Tahoe - 2011

Tea House at Vikingsholm Castle – Emerald Bay – South Lake Tahoe – 2011

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work

Jungle Parade - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2009

Jungle Parade – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat,

Captain Jack Sparrow - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2012

Captain Jack Sparrow – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

Meerkat - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Meerkat – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench,

Disney's Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World - 2010

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Walt Disney World – 2010

the hatter singing as he stands,

Brer Fox and friends - Critter Country - Disneyland 2010

Brer Fox and friends – Critter Country – Disneyland 2010

The wood-cutter’s song,

Draft horse topiary - It's A Small World - Disneyland - 2012

Draft horse topiary – It’s A Small World – Disneyland – 2012

the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning,

New Orleans Square - Disneyland - 2010

New Orleans Square – Disneyland – 2010

or at noon intermission

Cinderella Castle - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World - 2009

Cinderella Castle – Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World – 2009

or at sundown

Critter Country - Disneyland - 2010

Critter Country – Disneyland – 2010

The delicious singing of the mother,

Momma and baby - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Momma and baby – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

or of the young wife at work,

Me and my washboard - Hoop Dee Doo Revue - Fort Wilderness - Walt Disney World - 2009

Me and my washboard – Hoop Dee Doo Revue – Fort Wilderness – Walt Disney World – 2009

or of the girl sewing or washing,

Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse - Main St. USA - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse – Main St. USA – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

Me at the Not So Scary Halloween Party - Magic Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Me at the Not So Scary Halloween Party – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

The day what belongs to the day —

A scene from Mary Poppins - The Great Movie Ride - Disney's Hollywood Studios Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

A scene from Mary Poppins – The Great Movie Ride – Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

at night the party of young fellows,

My sweetie pie after his first ride on Expedition Everest - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

My sweetie pie after his first ride on Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

robust, friendly,

Donald Duck bronze - Mickey's Philharmonic - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

Donald Duck bronze – Mickey’s Philharmonic – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.”

So as you can see, sometimes I find poetry inspiring.

What about you – do you “get” poetry? Are you a fan? Who can you relate to?

Word of the Day: Jejune

Fun fact about me: With the exception of Alaska (which I shall rectify this fall), I have been in every State west of the Mississippi river. (And almost all of them east of as well.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt April 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

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For the past couple of weeks (I’ve been shamelessly keeping him to myself for far too long), Thor has been a distinguished guest in my home up here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I had such high expectations, but things quickly went awry.

To my dismay, he arrived completely worn out from his escapades in South Carolina, but he wasn’t too weary to notice Superman keeping watch over the abode.

Superman keeping watch. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Superman keeping watch.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Yes, that is my McDonald’s happy meal toy, don’t judge me.

At first, Thor was a little upset that another superhero would be dwelling under the same roof. Until . . . he saw the bull riders. His fascination was immediate.

Thor meets the bulls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor meets the bulls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“I wish to conquer these great bronze beasts,” exclaimed Thor.

Naturally, Thor being Thor, decided that he would ride the biggest, baddest bull in the pen – Bodacious, the PRCA bucking bull of the year two years running (1994 & 1995).

“Thor,” I said, “you cannot ride a bull without there being a bull fighter present. They may look like rodeo clowns, but they serve a very valuable purpose.”

Intent on his mission, but aware of the danger, Thor decided to rouse the resident bull fighter, Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafeal Jones from his afternoon siesta.

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When Mr. Jones was ready, Thor mounted the snorting beast and called for the chute to be opened.

Thor rides Bodacious Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor rides Bodacious
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor completed the 8 second ride, however, because he failed to have the bull rope in his hand, he was disqualified. The judges declined to pay the prize money, but did allow him to keep the buckle.

The winning buckle Original photo by P. Rickrode

The winning buckle
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Disheartened by his bull riding experience, Thor decided that perhaps instead of riding the bucking bulls, he’d fight them like Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.

“How hard can that be?” Thor questioned. “They look a lot bigger when you’re on their back.”

"This bull fighting - how hard can it be?" Original photo by P. Rickrode

“This bull fighting – how hard can it be?”
Original photo by P. Rickrode

I explained to Thor that bulls come in many shapes and sizes, but he remained firm in his resolve to be a bull fighter. Until he saw the entire bull pen bearing down on him.

The bull pen Original photo by P. Rickrode

The bull pen
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Exhausted from his hasty retreat over the arena fence, Thor proclaimed that it he now understood why Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones needed a siesta. I suggested that he climb to the top of the Great Tide Basin waterfall and do a bit of yoga or meditation to relax a bit.

“Yes,” said Thor, “I shall climb and meditate.”

The great Tide Basin Falls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

The great Tide Basin Falls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

After his siesta, meditation, I thought Thor might enjoy a bit of our natural surroundings. We ventured deep into bear country.

“I’ve wrestled many a bear in my life,” said Thor with great gusto as we roamed through the woods.

But, when he saw the bears, he seemed eager to turn tail and run.

Welcome to bear country. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Welcome to bear country.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“You could have warned me that the bears were so huge!”

Thor was not having a good day at all, so I suggested that for the rest of his stay, he stick close to Sherlock for protection.

Sherlock - the mighty proetctor. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Sherlock – the mighty protector.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When I was finally able to coax him away from his mighty protector, I told him that often when I’m feeling a bit fluxumed I sit and play the piano for a while. It usually calms me.

“Yes,” agreed Thor, “I will play this piano you are so fond of.”

Thor the one-note wonder. Original post by P. Rickrode

Thor the one-note wonder.
Original post by P. Rickrode

Unfortunately, Thor’s attempt at the Moonlight Sonata sounded more like the one-note sonata so I begged him to stop. He only agreed to cease the madness when I offered alcohol as an incentive. I gave him a glass of local wine, but when Thor spotted the Bushmils on the top shelf of the liquor cabinet, he demanded whiskey or threatened to entertain me again by tickling the ivories.

Needless to say, I let him have his fill, which he did, but he slept for a week afterward. Seems Thor can’t handle his whiskey. Or perhaps it was the alcohol coupled with the altitude that wiped him out. Either way, he’s really quite a wimp when it comes to drinking games. Not that I minded. Seems Thor was quite taken with the piano and I feared if he awakened he might bang on it play it again.

I had many other exciting things planned for Thor, but his liquor-induced coma kept him away from the gold panning in Coloma, the very spot where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848, picking out pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch, and a round of wine tasting here in the foothills. I thought I might even take him to Tahoe in my husband’s new car, but I was afraid he might puke on the way so didn’t even suggest it.

My advice to anyone who hosts Thor in their home – hide the booze.

If you want to read more about Thor’s journeys and adventures, check it out here: http://www.debrakristi.com/thors-world-tour/

Thanks Debra Kristi for sending Thor my way and sorry I kept him so long (really it was his own fault for drinking all that whiskey).

Word of the day: Meliorism

Fun fact about me: I am hopelessly lost when it comes to technology.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2013. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

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Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

My local Sacramento chapter of Romance Writers of America hosts a retreat every other year and this year we were so blessed to be able to have our retreat at the Stanford-Sierra Conference Center at Fallen Leaf Lake in Lake Tahoe.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 138

Photo by P. Rickrode

Crystal clear Fallen Leaf Lake is protected on all sides by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and sits at 6,300 feet in elevation. It is completely surrounded by two indigenous species of conifers; Jeffrey and White pine. Just a short walk from the lodge, civilization ends and desolation begins. Desolation Wilderness offers nearly endless hiking and breathtaking views throughout its 63,960 acres of federally protected land.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 125

Fallen Leaf Lake
Photo by P. Rickrode

The lodge and cabins at The Camp date back to the turn of the century with some staff housing still sitting on original foundations constructed in the 1920’s. One of the famous staffers at Stanford-Sierra was John Steinbeck who worked at the camp in 1925 and helped construct many of the staff cabins. He was a popular figure at The Camp and was known to spend his down time hiking, fishing and writing by the light of his lantern at night.

Sacramento Valley Rose was honored to have Margie Lawson as our guest speaker. Margie filled our Friday night with fun and our Saturday with valuable knowledge, tips and other information to make our manuscripts sparkle and shine in a way that would capture the attention of an agent or editor.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 154

Margie Lawson, SVR Retreat, May 2013
Photo by P. Rickrode

After a long day of learning and a mouth-watering feast Saturday night, it was time to let our hair down and have some fun. We played our own special convoluted version of Wheel of Fortune, minus Vanna White and lovely prizes. Much belly-laughing ensued.

Anna "AJ" Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley
Photo by P. Rickrode

We did what writers do best with limited letters.

Kendra DeSantolo Photo by P. Rickrode

Kendra DeSantolo
Photo by P. Rickrode

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt Photo by Anonymous

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt
Photo by Anonymous

As the night progressed (and more wine was consumed), things got a little more raunchy.

Anna "AJ" Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary. Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary.
Photo by P. Rickrode

Once the tone had been set, there was no going back and it got easier to guess the words.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly
Photo by P. Rickrode

Or not. Turns out, the laugh was on us. Suzanne’s a cunning fox that way.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster) Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster)
Photo by P. Rickrode

Despite the building-shaking thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning on Saturday night and the lack of cell phone communications, a good time was had by all. The staff at the Stanford-Sierra Camp were simply the best greeting each request with a smile and offering assistance over and above what we expected. The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.

So tell me readers, where have you experienced a little bit of writing heaven? Where have you attended a retreat that made a lasting impression on you?

Word of the day: Xebec (have fun with this one Colleen)

Fun fact about me: I used to change my own oil and filter in my car.

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It’s time for the next installment of What Haven’t I. I can sense your excitement all the way over here.

Question mark

As some of you know, I recently celebrated my birthday and my ten-year wedding anniversary. My husband was generous to a fault with gifts this year, and we were able to arrange our work schedules so that we could spend three entire days together doing nothing but fun stuff.

Day one found us in San Francisco doing everything touristy and cheesy. Yes, we ate crab cocktails on the wharf, we stopped and watched the sea lions lounge in the sun, we explored the wax museum and ate an awesome dinner at Scoma’s on Fisherman’s Wharf.

zamboniFor day two we went the opposite direction and spent a idyllic afternoon at the south shore of Lake Tahoe. We relaxed on the paddlewheeler around Emerald Bay and drank Tahoe sweet teas. We played a little Let It Ride poker and craps and then enjoyed a lovely buffet dinner at the top of Harrah’s while we watched it rain.

On day three we enjoyed a delicious breakfast, went to a matinee and had an awesome dinner complete with chocolate martini and creme brulee for dessert.

So in honor of three days of relaxaing fun, I’m devoting this episode of What Haven’t I to random experiences I have enjoyed, or not enjoyed, thus far in life. It’s up to you to decide, which thing I haven’t done. You all know the rules by now, just post your guesses in the comments section below and check back on the 23rd to see how many you got right. The luckiest guesser and the fastest responded will both receive a fantastic prize (if they check back and post another comment)!

So, here are the random things:

1.  What have I never experienced: a) Flying first class; b) Don Perignon; c) Box seats at a sporting event; or d) Riding in a limo?boxing gloves

2.  What haven’t I ridden on: a) A double-decker bus; b) A zamboni; c) A stagecoach; or d) A golf cart?

3.  What haven’t I seen in person: a) Niagra Falls; b) the Grand Canyon; c) Mt. Rushmore; or d) Old Faithful?

4.  What haven’t I eaten: a) Grasshopper; b) Alligator; c) Turtle; or d) Snake?

5. What haven’t I ever tried on: a) Hoop skirt; b) Boxing gloves; c) Bulletproof vest; or d) Football helmet?

I’m anxious to read your guesses. And I ask you, what silly random thing have you experenced that would surprise your kids, your parents, your high school teachers, your neighbors? Let me know. I won’t tell anybody – I promise.

Word of the day: Vulpine

Fun fact about me: My brother and I used to dare each other to jump off the roof of our house. Yes, we each did it. More than once.

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Well, it’s that time of the month again – time to play What Haven’t I!

Question mark

This month, in honor of my birthday on the 24th, I’m asking for your guesses regarding my previous birthday activities.

Before we jump into any situations to ponder, let me say congratulations to Tameri Etherton, our February winner! Congratulations, Tameri!

If this is your first visit, the rules for participating are simple – write your guesses in the comments section below, check back on the 2oth to see if you’re a winner. Every month I will award two prizes; one to the person who gets the most guesses correct, and the other for the first person who left a comment and checked back regardless of how many guesses they got correct. You can’t win if you don’t play.

corvette stingrayAnd now, without further ado, here are the questions:

1 – What haven’t I received as a birthday gift?

a) – Really Expensive Jewelry; b) – A car; c) – Flowers; or d) An ugly sweater

2 – What haven’t I attended for my birthday?

a) – The ballet; b) – A bull riding event; c) – The circus; or d) – A Nascar race

3 – What haven’t I eaten for my birthday?

a) – Steak and lobster; b) – Chinese food; c) – Reuben sandwich; or d) Turkey

Lake Tahoe sunset

Twilight on Lake Tahoe

4 – What haven’t I enjoyed on my birthday but I really want to?

a) – Bunging Jumping; b) – Scuba diving; c) – Swimming with dolphins; or d) – Zip-lining through a jungle

5 – Where haven’t I been in honor of my birthday?

a) – San Diego; b) San Francisco; c) Los Angeles; or d) Lake Tahoe

So? How well do you think you know me? I’d love to read your guesses in the comments below. What have you experienced, or not experienced for you birthday, but you hope to enjoy some day soon?

Word of the Day: Squarrose

Fun Fact about me: I love to color. (I even have color books and crayons, but don’t tell anyone.)

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Ah, springtime! Welcome back birds.

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Hello flowers!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

And babies!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Animal Kingdom Park WDW

So many awesome things to enjoy. As I sit here daydreaming writing, I close my eyes and imagine how wonderful it would be to sit here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

and enjoy a cocktail write.

I should be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But I’d rather be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Sailing on Lake Tahoe

Or even just this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But instead, I’m working diligently on my 2013 vacation plans current work in progress.

Nothing sabotages a writing career faster than the advent of spring. We should be writing, we want to write, creative ideas are hitting fast and furious. But the temptation to go outside and play is strong. The lure of warm sunshine and fragrant flowers calls to our subconscious. Thoughts turn to gardening, sun bathing, long walks, dining on the patio and for me – vacation!

While I’m torturing my characters with attending funerals, mucking out horse stalls, and hiding from evil step-sisters, I’m really torturing myself with thoughts of being here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Yosemite Valley

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Cascade Creek, Merced Co. California

That’s right, I’ve been visited by the ghosts of vacations past. They remind me that instead of sitting here gathering wool writing, I could be here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Big Island, Hawaii

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Maui, Hawaii

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without a visit from the ghost of Disney vacations past?

The New FantasylandWalt Disney World

The New Fantasyland
Walt Disney World

So as spring makes it way into my little corner of the world, I shall savor it’s presence and bask in the rebirth of creativity and as new life springs forth from the earth. My mood word count will improve and my house will get cleaned muse will awaken and all thoughts will be of vacation writing “the end.”

Here’s hoping you all have a very productive springtime!

Word of the day: Raffish

Fun fact about me: One summer I worked at a B & B.

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