TQ’s Ski & Ride 2018 issue is on stands now! I wrote a story about Tahoe’s literary scene, the focal point of which is South Shore’s Bona Fide Books. I love the concept of this company: Founded in the spirit of art and community, Bona Fide is a small press that specializes in place-based nonfiction. Bona Fide recently released Permanent Vacation II, relating stories from those who have worked or lived in America’s national parks. It’s a great read, with stories that range from funny to heart-wrenching and are set in backdrops from the Everglades to Hawaii and Yellowstone to Denali.
Anyway, loved being able to profile Tahoe’s local literary movers and shakers. The entire issue is packed with great reads, so grab a copy wherever available!
And on the work note: I turned in my story for the Winter edition and I managed to tag along on a day of tours for Mountain Home. I LOVE seeing the houses, and this year was no exception. After touring, let’s just say that a two-story-high double wine wall is a must-have in my dream house.
We just had a meeting yesterday to talk over all the award winners. It’s going to be an amazing issue—some outstanding architecture, not to mention some really good stories behind the homes. Still a few months before the Mountain Home release but I’m excited to get to work!
I’m not ready for summer to be over, but apparently it is, at least in Northern Nevada where school starts back up in early August. My oldest is now on her third week of second grade while the kindergartner (after clinging to me this morning and giving me the world’s biggest guilt trip for sending her to school) is starting week two. We’ve had a great summer (two beautiful weddings in PA, lazy days on Lake Tahoe, the pool and plenty of trips to our favorite ice cream shops), but it’s kind of nice to be getting back into a routine and having at least a little free time for writing. For me, that means working on the TQ article I’ve procrastinated on for the past month. I love the topic and I’ve done the interviews and spoken with really interesting people, but for some reason I have not been able to sit down and actually put the article together. Is it perhaps a sign of my procrastination that I’m updating my blog for the first time in two months? Doubtful. On that note, I’m writing……. now!
The Summer 2018 issue is in! The magazine is huge—at 240 pages, it’s tied for the largest issue of TQ ever—and I’m really loving the cover shot. I’ve got two articles in the issue. One is a piece about Truckee-based birdhouse-maker Greg Zirbel, who creates his one-of-a-kind creations based on historic buildings or places of interest. So fun to see the photos of his Thunderbird Lodge (emphasis on the ThunderBIRD) in front of George Whittell Jr.’s 1930s-era version. Likewise, he’s created birdhouses based on the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, Truckee diner Jax at the Tracks, and many other local buildings.
My other article is a Home Design piece about a spectacular 8,600-square-foot Martis Camp estate, complete with curving copper roofs and a meticulously executed streamscape. Designed by MWA’s Kristi Thompson, the home was built by NSM Construction, with interiors by JJH Interior Design. It’s a stunning piece of architecture, and I always love getting to explore the area’s best home designs.
I’ve only just started browsing the rest of the issue. I have to admit, for a magazine this size, it really is a relief to not be on the proofing side and to be able to enjoy, story by story!
You know what’s strange? After ten years (or possibly eleven?), this is the very first copy of Tahoe Quarterly in which I don’t have a single article! Between a two-week-long spring break for the kiddos and traveling for my husband’s work (I’m a big fan of conferences in the Bahamas!), I had no extra time.
But beyond not writing for this issue, I’ve also stepped back from editing and proofreading, which was getting too hard to do in too short a time. It was kind of cool because I got to read this issue without any idea of what I’d be seeing. Some great articles, as always!
Anyway, now that I’ve had a break, I’m back to it, with two articles in progress for this next issue. A very fun Arts profile about a man who combines his passion for history, photography and birdwatching, and a Home Design piece about a luxurious Martis Camp residence. As much as I love writing these architecture articles, they can be almost painful to do while working from my own home, which is currently covered in mac and cheese from the one-year-old, who apparently has no idea of how things get from A to B (her hand to her mouth) without taking a detour on the floor/carpet/sofa…
TQ’s 15th annual Mountain Home issue is done and should be on the shelves shortly! I love this issue: The homes are gorgeous and everyone is excited to talk about how the project came together. I wrote five pieces for this issue, to include one story about a pre-fabricated home in Martis Camp and another about South Shore’s newest luxury hotel, the Lodge at Edgewood. That one was pretty convenient, as I stayed down there for a night last September for my husband’s work, so I was able to get a guided tour and also enjoy the hotel experience. Since then, the cast of Modern Family stayed there while shooting an episode at Tahoe, and the lodge was recently featured in The Bachelor. I hope Sofia Vergara enjoyed her stay as much as I did!
I didn’t go into the office at all with this set of proofs, but my editor arranged it so the proofs would get dropped off with me in Reno for a day before being picked back up and delivered back to the Incline Village office. However, even still, it’s been hard for me to give the time I like to devote to proofing, so I’m stepping down as TQ’s copy editor. I’ve had a fabulous run, though, and will continue writing for the magazine. Considering this is my favorite annual issue, plus, I believe, the biggest issue Tahoe Quarterly has ever produced, it feels like an appropriate one to end on. Anyway, it’s a beautiful magazine, so look for it around Lake Tahoe and in Reno soon!
I love new magazine day! Just got my copy of TQ’s Winter 2017-18 edition in the mail. I wrote two articles, one on an area mapmaker and another on the history of Mt. Rose’s Reindeer Lodge. I loved working on them both: I really enjoyed the wooden maps designed by Joe Inabinett, and it was fascinating to learn about the old lodge, which I’ve passed by a hundred times (questioning what on earth it was every time). Huge thanks to Kim Henrick, who lived in the lodge briefly as a child in the late 1950s, for her help on the lodge’s history.
There are a lot of other fun reads, as well, including a special section delving into Tahoe’s ties to the upcoming Olympic Games in South Korea, to include a look at some of the area’s possible athletic contenders, such as Jamie Anderson, David Wise and Maddie Bowman. Grab a copy or subscribe online!
Want to know the only thing better than having a baby in the office? Doubling up on cuteness and adding a puppy! A TQ coworker brought her seven-week-old toy Australian shepherd, a ridiculously sweet ball of fluff named Rover. Rover had never seen a baby and Willa had never seen a puppy, and watching them try to figure each other out was about my favorite thing in the world (at least, until Rover tried to eat Willa and Willa tried to pull out Rover’s fur).
Babies and puppies aside, the Winter issue of TQ is looking fabulous! Appropriate timing, as weather has moved in and it’s really starting to feel like winter here. Mt. Rose is even sporting a coat of snow. Anyway, final edit next week and then Winter gets shipped off and it’s time to work on Mountain Home!
I have been ridiculously bad at updating. In my defense, I’ve also been ridiculously busy. Part is catching up with TQ work. We took an eight-day trip to Hawaii (yay Hawaiian air miles!) during my oldest daughter’s fall break at the beginning of October, then went back east for almost two weeks to attend my brother’s wedding one weekend, and my college roommate’s wedding the next. Suffice to say, leaving town for three-plus weeks in a month is exhausting! Lots to catch up on with work and life.
The other reason I’ve been busy is this sweet little girl. My other two are a little older (7 and 5), and it’s been so long since I had a baby that I’m really enjoying this phase again. It doesn’t make it any easier to work when she’s being adorable or rolling around or trying to eat her own feet!
Anyway, I’m making the most of nap times! I really enjoyed my latest pieces for TQ. I recently interviewed an entrepreneurial area mapmaker, and in a separate piece, dived into the history of Mt. Rose’s Reindeer Lodge. I’ve been going back and forth with Kim Henrick, whose parents built the lodge in 1957, and she’s been a wealth of information, stories and memories. So fun to learn more about a place that I’ve wondered about 100 times.
The other reality of my life lately is that I only get to sleep in short hour-long spurts thanks to a teething baby, so it’s hard to justify staying up later than about 9 p.m. So on that note, I’m off to sleep before my favorite distraction decides to get me up.
I am a huge fan of Tahoe in summer. Well, of Tahoe at any time, but especially in summer. It’s not too hot, the water is glassy, the shores are golden and the days are long.
Unfortunately, summer is about to come to a screeching halt for us: My oldest daughter begins first grade on Monday and my middle daughter starts preschool the following week. The upside is that this will force me into being a productive human once again. Between beach, summer and baby (especially baby), my brain has been on hiatus the last few months. I’ve already got a growing to do list, but I think I will enjoy these last few glorious days of summer and put off the list until next week!
Maria Semple’s praise for Emma Straub’s “The Vacationers” calls it witty and bighearted and promises to “leave you smiling for days.” After finishing, all I can think is how on earth did Maria Semple and I read the same book?
“The Vacationers” popped up in my google searches as being in the same vein as Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”, which I loved.
This was nothing like Bernadette. The characters were shallow and boring, as was the plot. This is the tale of characters going on a Spanish island vacation after the husband had an affair with a much younger coworker. They are joined by their teenage-angsty daughter, their worthless son and his girlfriend, whom everyone hates for no real reason except that she’s 10 years older than the son, plus their gay friends. I found a lot of the plot unbelievable (how do magazine writers afford a giant home in Manhattan? And how is an affair something that would make headlines? I kept thinking there was going to be some twist, something kinky or weird that would have made it newsworthy, but it was a pretty basic, boring affair).
Nothing really happens except the characters treat each other pretty horribly: The wife seems to be openly in love with her gay friend Charles (to the point of bathing with him in the room) and cares more about him than her husband; her husband later seems to “prove” his love for her by stalking her on a motorcycle; the daughter seems happiest whenever she’s mean to her mother; the son is just miserable. Carmen, the girlfriend, is the only character (except perhaps Charles’ partner Lawrence) who is worth liking: She helps out around the house, she tries to help her boyfriend with her problems and she keeps the secret of the husband’s affair. Yet, because of her age, and possibly because she’s Cuban American or the family doesn’t like the way they dress, everyone hates her, even making jokes about her drowning, and when she tries to empathize with the husband and confide that her parents had problems, he’s uncomfortable and just tries to think of ways to get away from her.
I gave “The Vacationers” two out of five stars on goodreads, in part because I did finish (though I kept going because I thought there’d be some great twist, which there wasn’t) and partly because I think this book shows that any aspiring writer who worries whether or not their work is good enough to be published can read this and realize that pretty much anything can be not only published, but also get glowing reviews.