Posts Tagged ‘lake tahoe’

Living Room Make-Over…. TA DA!

December 24, 2014

We painted our entry, front room and stairwell a brown-paper-bag color nine-and-a-half years ago.  I figured out I didn’t like the poopy color before it was dry….. but there it hung for almost ten years. I was swayed by popular color choices… earthy tones and textures… that I never really liked.  They were just IN. I’m not sure why being IN was a concern for me… it’s never been before. It was a dumb decision, but it is now in my past.

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For more than five years I have dreamed of having a light turquoise room in our home for my own eye candy privilege. There’s something delicious about turquoise. To say that I love turquoise would be an understatement. Turquoise is the color of the ocean and Lake Tahoe and Greece and Colombia… all of my favorite places. Those who know how to decorate and coordinate have cautioned me that it could look like a little boy’s room… and quite frankly I don’t care. I just love turquoise. So there.

2014 was a hard year for me. I have not fully recovered from the March 2013 car accident and then my big slip-in-the-mud-cut-my-knee-open episode in October slowed me down even more. Constant low-grade pain wears on you! I didn’t do a creative thing in all of 2014… and creativity makes me happy. I needed some happy. So, in the dark of the night, when Mr. Wallet had his belly full of Mexican food and he was half asleep, I asked if we could paint the living room. He said YES! What he didn’t realize was that “Paint the Living Room” = “Get New Furniture and Wall Decore and Get Rid of EVERYTHING in the Living Room”.  Heh heh heh….and the scheming preparedness began.

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The scouring of magazines commenced. The collection of paint cards grew. The measuring of furniture and walls happened. And then Mr. Wallet escorted me to the paint department of Lowe’s.  Be still my turquoise-loving heart. Painting began.

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Second-hand furniture shopping began for end tables. Then painting furniture commenced.

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A fabric painting tutorial was watched and then BAM, I was painting fabric like a pro.… an unskilled, untrained pro.

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And more projects were found and purchased at Goodwill.

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The entryway was completed first. I was still in hot pursuit of a white couch for $25… well, not exactly but real close. Mr. Wallet likes a good deal.  A REALLLLL good deal.

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Finally, last night, the white couch from my dreams appeared in my turquoise living room and all is well in my world. Merry Caribbean Christmas to me!

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The maps behind the French doors are my favorite. Their order, however, caused some stress for my 10-year-old nephew as they are not all on the same scale and they are definitely NOT in the correct places. He stood there in shock and disgust….”Auntie Linda, Mexico is NOT under England. And the Philippines are WAY too big and shouldn’t be at the top.” His tone implied, “I thought you were a teacher!” I tried to explain that I picked the maps for COLOR… I like turquoise, remember! And I randomly placed them… because I had to do it from the backside. I did make sure the important places are all accounted for: Canada, USA, Colombia, Maui, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea.

Every morning I descend the stairs and I smile. Thank you, Mr. Wallet.

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Tours, Tiaras and Two T-shirts

August 8, 2013

Our summer travels for 2013 have come to an end.  For three weeks I have been away from home (2 of those weeks without my family!) and I have learned several valuable tidbits that I feel compelled to share with you, faithful reader.

Trip #1 Nashville, Tennessee.  I learned that I really am a jewelry diva…. you may be surprised I didn’t admit this until now, but I seriously outfitted my roommates with GREAT accessories several times!  On this trip to the South, I realized that I love the South.  I haven’t been there for several years and the greenness is intoxicating.  The rolling hills of swaying grass call to me.  The magnolia trees waved in the moist breeze enticing me with their ivory blooms and the brick homes with their neat and tidy yards make me wanna spit at the desert and move tomorrow.  The grand finale of the trip was touring Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s plantation.  Oh, did he spend good money paying an English gardener that is still making women swoon at the aromas of the flowers he chose!

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Trip #2 Southern to Northern California.  This was a high school girl’s roadtrip that reunited five friends after 30 years of separation.  It was non-stop laughs and stories of yesteryear.  One of the roadies brought us all Superwoman t-shirts with hot pink capes and tiaras with pink bling bling.  You couldn’t really miss us…. AT ALL.  It was great fun but tiring for this mama.  By day #4, I was a bit of a party pooper.  I’m still not back to my old self and the car accident was almost five months ago.

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Trip #3 Family Vacation at Lake Tahoe, California.  Please see the last blog as to my dire straights due to my husband’s negligence.  So, here is the REST of the story.  In addition to my light blue ONLY shirt, I ended up purchasing one t-shirt, a pink v-neck that had tasteful Lake Tahoe lettering on the front.  I tried it on in the hardware store dressing room, yanked off the tags and wore it to the register.  The attendant commented, “Oh, wearing it out!  Showing your Tahoe pride!”  I shook my head and blurted, “You don’t know half the story!”  So, I wore each shirt on alternating days while the other was in the wash.  I wore my jeans every single day in Tahoe, save one when it was warm enough for shorts. And my two pair of socks took turns hugging my feet or wiping the insides of the washing machine.

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Thanks to my hubby and parents who had pity on me, I flew home so as to avoid my already painful arm from sitting in the truck for 15 hours straight.  Yes, on the plane rides I wore my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  This was like a flashback to our trip to Colombia where we only had three shirts each for a month!  On the first flight, a neat-as-a-pin 20-something gal sat next to me with her head aimed at her book the entire flight.  She didn’t say a peep to me (and I kept my nose in my current historical novel as well) until she popped open her hand sanitizer and with pressurization it squirt all over my jeans that I have been wearing for nine days.  I thought it comical that they probably did need sanitizing at this point, but I didn’t feel like telling a stranger that I haven’t changed my pants in over a week.

Not nearly as entertaining as my flight from from Nashville sitting next to the narcoleptic man, I was in LAX on a layover and knew my seat number was 5D.  It is a smaller plane with only two seats on each side of the aisle.  Fine.  However, there was a family with two little blonde haired bundles of screams and energy also in the waiting area.  I hoped and prayed they wouldn’t be seated near me.  I mean goodness sakes, I was only 45 pages into an enrapturing tale from Reformation times set in the Netherlands.  Screaming + Reformation = NOT ON MY WATCH!  Right before boarding commenced, I visited the little girl’s room.  When I wandered back to the gate I heard the quite loud mother of the two girlies tell her husband matter-of-factly, “Whoever is holding the baby is supposed to sit in seat 5C.”  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  This was an emergency situation of gargantuan proportions in my mind.  I went straight to the desk to ask to be moved.  The kind lady at the counter asked, “What is your name, please?”  Not sure why she needed the information, I simply retorted, “Crosby.”  She looked down and then handed me a new boarding pass, adding, “I’m sorry, but we had to move your seat to 8D.”  If we weren’t in an airport surrounded by 87 travelers with cellphones that take photos, I would have jumped over the counter and hugged her little neck and kissed her over-rouged cheeks!

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Our story ends with me blogging at our home computer, contented to be in my own house with my two dogs licking my feet, sitting here in my jeans and my blue t-shirt.  :o)  Safe travels!

Vera Wang, Where are You?

August 1, 2013

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Hello from Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite relaxing places on planet earth.  It rocks! Do I look cold in this picture?  I am! Does my sweatshirt look too big?  Does it look like it is a Minnesota sweatshirt that I would never wear?  IT IS!  See my husband?  Doesn’t he look kind and thoughtful and fun.  It’s all a FRONT!  If we post more pictures from our adventures in Tahoe, be sure to notice my jeans…. because I will have them on in EVERY single photo.  WHY? you ask.

Our story begins last Wednesday when I emptied my suitcase from my trip to Nashville, only long enough to wash the clothes and re-pack into a carry-on for my high school girl’s road trip.  My family would be joining me in Tahoe after I flew to Los Angeles for the four day excursion with four of my high school friends.  Us girls had to pack light as there were five of us in a suburban and we needed room for our vintage/shabby/thrift store gems yet to be purchased.  And we used all that space too!

Knowing that I would need WARM clothes in Tahoe, I packed half of the big suitcase to share with my husband, as we have done for 27 years now.  Being the Phoenix girl that I am, I added wool socks, flannel jammies, three more pair of socks, a big Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, sweats, a wind-proof jacket, five pair of undies, my warm fur Vera Wang bling bling slippers, long sleeve shirts, a heating pad, the next book in the series that I am reading, Christmas-in-July gifts for two of our friends, etc. etc. etc.

When our family was re-united (and it feels so good) at the lake, I immediately went to the suitcase to layer up on my clothes and find my slippers.  I dug on one side.  I dug on the other side.  Then realization hit…. like a mosquito impacting the windshield at 75 mph…. MY STUFF WAS MISSING!  WHAT?  I almost couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.  I threw out a few games and a pillow that my sweet husband had packed in the suitcase and then with a slightly elevated voice I “kindly” asked, “WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES?”  His blank look of confusion on his handsome face confirmed that it was not a premeditated action taken to cause me mental anguish.  He replied after a few seconds, “I took out all the stuff that you left in the suitcase from Nashville.”  “IT WAS NOT FROM NASHVILLE!  IT WAS WOOL SOCKS AND A HEATING PAD SO I DON’T FREEZE TO DEATH HERE IN TAHOE!”

He told me that I could just wear the clothes over and over from the road trip…. yeah… NO!  It was a beach dress, shorts and a tank top and capris with a sleeveless shirt.  NOT TAHOE FRIENDLY at all.  I was wearing my jeans, thank God all mighty!  And a blue t-shirt.  And one of my three pair of underwear.  And one of my two pair of socks.  At that moment, I took Rick’s Minnesota sweatshirt from the suitcase and put it on.  He commented, “Well, I brought that so I could wear it.”  Too bad, Bucko.

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My Vera Wang slippers have been temporarily replaced by these handmade Halloween slippers that are four sizes too large that I found in the cabin….  they ARE warm.  I’m almost speechless at this turn of events.  Almost.  OK, not really.  Several comments have been made ALL DAY LONG as to my clothes being the same as yesterday…. the stain on my blue t-shirt that appears to be growing… the outfit that I will have on for ALL the pictures this week…. a Bible verse about how we shouldn’t worry about what we wear…. and how I should really be choosing ONE outfit for my husband to also wear all week long next to me.  :o)  He is lucky that this is not a trip where I needed nice, dress-up clothes with matching jewelry and purses and shoes.  Oh, let me tell you how lucky he is!

Good grief!  Calm down.

August Schmaugust!

August 3, 2012

I’m not real thrilled that it is August. This is the month that school is supposed to start at LAKE Academy… our homeschool.  I am at the lake currently (Lake Tahoe) and I am slightly getting inspired to start thinking about getting ready to begin maybe planning some of our curriculum, being that we are studying a few national parks this year that are also in California with huge redwood trees like the ones I am staring at out the window.  I am the most unready of all 11 of my previous Augusts.  And I am almost okay with that.  Almost.

Guilt tried to consume me last night in the 27 seconds between my head hitting the pillow and when I was actually asleep.  But it was only 27 seconds of guilt and I had the presence of mind to ask God to rid my brain of said guilt.  He did… with sleep.  Today, in the wake of realizing that it is August THIRD, I did break out the coil-bound notebook that does have 2 1/3 pages of notes.  Those two-and-one-third pages are ALL I have planned so far for 10 months of study with my three pupils…. and it’s in outline form, so I do have a bit of work to do.  Only 137 1/3 blank pages awaiting my attention. One thing I have learned in my 11 years of homeschool planning, is that IF I plan all ten months before we start, we will NOT finish what I have purposefully painstakingly planned.  If I plan a few months or units at a time, I am FAR more inspired to be creative in small chunks throughout the year, knowing that we WILL finish what is planned.

Our upcoming school-year will consist of the study of seven national parks on the western side of the United States.  We plan to do between four and six weeks of study at home and then CAMP for a week at each of the parks.  THAT is my kind of homeschooling.  We are schooling with another family who is also close to normal, so it will all be just fine. Yes, it will be two wild-n-crazy homeschool moms camping with eight children ranging in age from 7 to 17.  Awesome!  She is a science geek and I am a history nerd, so most subjects will be covered with some art thrown in for good measure.  Geology.  Astronomy.  History.  Conservation.  Botany.  Dendrochronology.  Eco systems. Nature Journaling.  Art.  Oh yeah.  This is the type of homeschooling that I have only dreamed of for 11 years.  Please stay tuned to see if it’s all I think it’s cracked up to be.

G R A D U A T I O N ! ! !

June 4, 2012

We did it!  We successfully got one whole child through homeschooling.  This is a monumental achievement for a homeschool mom.  We wonder all along if this day will ever come.  We hope and pray that we aren’t wrecking the kids by doing this ourselves.  And that right there is the key…. I never felt like I was doing this by myself.  It was me, and my terribly supportive husband, my co-op mamas, our support group, the state organization (Arizona Families for Home Education) and mostly God, who called us to this way of life and education 12 long years ago.

I have no regrets for choosing homeschooling.  All the sacrifices and tears have been worth it…. every little bit.  I do have a few regrets involving course choices and follow through, which we all encounter our first time.  I have learned from my mistakes and have already made corrections for guinea pig #2 who just finished his first year of high school.

I liken the homeschool journey similarly to childbirth.  The painful memories diminish as the joys grow each day.  Truly my happy homeschool experiences outweigh the horrible ones 100 to 1, for which I am stupendously thankful.  Our family is close and we love each other.  We love being together.  We love playing games together and they don’t end in yelling matches or wrestling fights.  We even love vacationing together.  Secretly, the kids even love learning together, but they try to keep this under raps.

The great news is that I am still looking forward to planning next year!  I still love homeschooling.  I love being with my kids.  I love learning and teaching.  However, it is with great relief in my ever-loving-heart that I have exactly 81 days of NOT homeschooling ahead of me.  They will be busy days of summer movies, packing and planning for college for our graduate, swim parties, a 9-year-old birthday celebration, a marriage retreat, a relaxing vacation to the beach and then Tahoe, the homeschool convention and a visit to friends in Kansas and Colorado.  I have waited for THIS DAY…. June 4, 2012 for a Loooooooong time.  It arrived.  I am beyond elated.  :o)

The Countdown has Begun!

January 12, 2012

As I sat writing all the family birthdays in my new Greece calendar, filled with cerulean seas, cobalt domes and whitewashed walls, I realized that the countdown to nights away from home has begun!  It’s 15!  I know some people have to travel for work, and they don’t love it, but I work/live/breathe/sleep/teach in the same four walls day in and day out.  No mistaking it, I love it… but time away from home brings joy to my globetrotting soul.  I have imagined that the perfect job for me would be to travel the world and write reviews of far off lands for future vacationers.

There is a night coming this month… only one night.. but still, I look forward to it with my hubby.  The first of March there are four glorious days marked on the calendar for Scrapping in the Pines with my girlfriends.  It is supposedly a scrapbooking retreat… but less and less scrapbooking is accomplished as the years go by.  It should probably be renamed Being Lazy in the Pines….   THAT is a true holiday….. no kids, no cooking, no bedtime, no cleaning, no agenda (other than posted mealtimes)… no wonder it calls my name every six months!  Last September we watched 8 or 9 movies!  Couch Potatoes unite!  It was sublime.

Rick and I endured one of those time-share sales pitches to “win” a free cruise… with some strings attached, of course.  But the strings are cheap cheap cheap for the eight-day trip.  I like bunk beds!  We are awaiting to see if it will be the Western Caribbean in March or Alaska in June.  I’m REALLY hoping for white beaches and not white whales…. but alas, it is also my husband’s 25th wedding anniversary… so I was the nice wife (not the crabby wife) and let him choose one destination.  He’s a true Canadian with ice in his veins.

Our annual trip to Lake Tahoe has moved to August this year…. which is fantastic for us living in Phoenix, right next door to hell in the summer.  And our son, who is cycling again after the broken arm the week before Christmas, has a couple of races that may require over-night stays… can you see how high my hand is raised to volunteer to escort him???  I feel some mother-son bonding around the corner.  I’ll wear whatever t-shirt they want me to!

So, school drudgery is laid to rest each time I peer at the highlighted days in my purse daytimer.  By the end of February the kids will be wondering why I keep taking the daytimer into the bathroom so often.  It’s my own version of Calgon.

(Steve) Austin = Bionic Man

June 24, 2011

Once again, my motherly buttons have burst and are scattered all over the floor.  My 14-year-old son never ceases to amaze me with his drive, determination and athletic ability.  This past Tuesday Austin and his dad rode around Lake Tahoe…. 72 miles of hills… including a 1200 ft. incline.  Not my idea of a good time, AT ALL.  But hey, if it floats their boats, more power to ’em.  BUT, get this,…… one day of pain and agony was not enough.  Austin wanted to beat the five-hour time with his father slowing him down, so he rode around the lake a second time on Thursday.  His father drove the pace car and handed out granola bars when needed.  Austin shaved more than an hour off his time.  No big surprise!  Three hours and 56 minutes. 

As his mother, I’m so proud of his incredible perseverance…. WAY more drive than my husband or I have….. or ever did have!  We don’t actually know where this drive originated from.  Maybe it goes back to Austin’s 1/4 Native Indian heritage WAY back when they had to run after buffalo or moose or some other wild animal…. for days on end.  But that was for survival, not thrills-a-minute.  I don’t get it.

Here are some more photos for your viewing pleasure.  :o)

There we are.  The proud parents.  See!  There’s no buttons left on our shirts.

Vacations are Underrated!

June 22, 2011

Every year we come to Lake Tahoe during the summer…. it is honestly a little slice of heaven on earth.  The temperature is particularly inviting because we abide in Phoenix…. the Valley of the Sun.  I happened upon the weather at home today and it was a blistering 114.  It was a balmy 76 here at the lake… with a light breeze… and slightly cloudy skies that randomly hid the sun from view. It is sublime.

As a homeschool mom, you would assume that my life is somewhat lackadaisical with relaxed schedules and leisure time at hand.  Not so.  Imagine the pressure of your four children’s education resting solely on your shoulders.  It’s A LOT to think about…. and more so than not, why I completely appreciate our time in Tahoe.  I do not bring one iota of school with us. OK, that was a lie.  I did bring two audio books from our literature list next year.  OK, AND a small reader.  After being away from our home for approximately 35 minutes, I realized that the audio books were useless because we no longer possess a functioning portable CD player.  My driving shift started at 2:30 a.m. ….. when I was not afforded the luxury of using the car stereo for my American History literature choices…. simply because four other people wanted to sleep at 2:30 am.  How selfish.

The 1850s novel I’m reading purely for pleasure has been cracked open but once during the past three days on the lake.  How have I been busily spending my time, you ask? Relaxed in the sand I stared in a catatonic state at the crystal blue water for several hours.  Perched on the couch I gazed at the aqueous goodness beyond the patio doors for long periods of time.  Parked at the kitchen table I played game after game after game after game. Today we all walked into town.  TWO whole miles one way… uphill… in the snow (well, it would be snowing in January, but we are here in June.)

Somehow the cerulean water calms my spirit.  Surprisingly, breathing is easier up at 7,500 feet due to lack of stress.  This scenery allows me to collect myself and ease off of the pressures of home.  Vacations are WAY underrated in my humble opinion.

Tahoe Day 8: Hiking

June 16, 2010

Fallen Leaf Lake, just east of Emerald Bay, has a flat and easily hiked trail that leads from campsite 78 to the lake.  It wasn’t until 4:00 pm that we arrived… it was a bit further than it looked on the map.  Personally, I don’t think the map was drawn by anyone who understands perspective or proportions.  Anyway, despite the 45 minute drive, the scenery was spectacular.

There were two paths that diverged in the woods from which to choose, and yes, we quoted the Robert Frost poem.  Being a lover of safety rules and caution, we took the one most traveled… AND marked with orange and blue plastic streamers so we couldn’t get lost unless we really tried.

No matter where we go, or what we do together, there is always much laughter and frivolity… especially with these three giggly girls. Can you guess which one is a forest ranger?

With seven kids between our two families, we do much switching and swapping of children when traveling together.  We had the boys the first half of the day and then Austin moved to the other car, or so I thought.  The last time I saw him, he was heading to the bathroom (term used lightly) at the Fallen Leaf campground with his father.  I only witnessed his father’s return, but was informed the my eldest son did indeed trade vehicles.  Forty-five minutes later, we are in the Safeway parking lot in Tahoe City and I watch the other car drive by and I don’t see Austin.  As any good mother, I was sure that we had left him back at the campground.  I texted my friend to ask if they had Austin.  It didn’t go through.  Patiently I sat in the van awaiting my husband’s return from the grocery store…. to inform him that we are horrible, no good, very bad parents and left our 13-year-old son FORTY-FIVE miles back, and didn’t notice until now.  Then Austin came out of the store with his dad and all was well.  I’m still an OK mom, who has only left one child one time in the McDonald’s playland… but that was YEARS ago.  Don’t judge me.  It’s not like I drove away.  A kind lady came out of Micky D’s holding his 2-year-old hand and asking if he was mine.  I said yes, and tried to convince her that I would have figured it out when I did up all the car seats.  See!  Only once in 16.5 years.

“A Bear… Over There!”

June 15, 2010

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This was half of our excitement last night here at Lake Tahoe.  I’ve seen bears on sheets, towels, mugs, rugs, paintings and every gimmicky trinket you can buy at souvenir shops in Tahoe…. but never in the YARD!  Eleven of us were gathered around the dinner table when one of the children pointed out the back door and yelled, “There’s a bear!” Sure enough.  Walking along the top of the six-foot fence that separates this yard from Leonard Nimoy’s yard was a black bear… although not the bear in the blurry photo above.  The bear on the fence looked to be a bit bigger than a cub…. maybe 200 pounds of black fluff.  All cuddly and huggable!  We all ran for cameras and headed for windows facing the back fence.  Sadly, for the photo-op, the bear jumped into Nimoy’s yard and we couldn’t see it any more.

However, another photo opportunity was available out the front door!  Yes, the bear above was captured on Kodak… about 30 feet from our van.  This bear, my Native Indian husband estimated, weighed about 600 pounds.  (Hopefully, mentioning his Native status will add some credibility to his weight guess…. not that he’s ever weighed a black bear, or any bear for that matter.)  Possibly she was the mama of the backyard bear.  Who knows?

There was another couple out in the front road also watching the bear roam through the brush leading to the next door park.  I told the children to stay inside the gated front yard while their father ventured out to get photo proof.  The female stranger said to me in a kind voice, “The bear won’t hurt you.”  WHAT?  She has obviously not watched Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom.  I have.  My children were not venturing out for a closer peak.  This was not the zoo.  I think she may have thought she was at the zoo, minus the protective barriers.  Yes, the bears at the zoo are this close.  But there are FENCES and MOATS in between us and the wild animals, not flat, clear ground easily and rapidly covered by a charging black bear.  Good grief.