Snowshoeing Donner Camp Historic Site

Today we went snowshoeing with the group from Sierra Canyon. There were only six of us. We had a lot of fun and it was a beautiful day. 

Sierra Canyon snowshoeing Prosser reservoir 035

There was about two feet of new snow and as we finished up it started snowing again. Duke brought some of the home made cookies he made Saturday to share.

Sierra Canyon snowshoeing Prosser reservoir 024

We parked at the Donner Camp State Historic site which is just 2.9 miles north of interstate 80 on highway 89. This is where part of the Donner party camped and died.

Sierra Canyon snowshoeing Prosser reservoir 044

We were on established trails about half the time and we were breaking trail in deep new snow the rest of the time. About a half a mile from the road it started snowing lightly. It was like a picture postcard of winter. If you would like to see all of my pictures from today they are available on Flickr here.

Teenager traveling 1968 or 1781

When I was 16 I boarded at my school in Brisbane, Australia while my Dad was on temporary assignment in New York City. I still remember how much I loved being independent and how much I looked forward to traveling alone (with my younger sisters) from Brisbane to New York to see my parents at Christmas time. I was extremely upset when Mom and Dad arranged for some friends of theirs to travel with us part of the way.  As a 16 year old I considered myself no longer in need of adult supervision.

I have just started reading Paul C Nagel's biography of our sixth president John Quincy Adams. JQA's independent traveling as a teenager amazed me. Especially when you think that trips took weeks and could be very dangerous.

In 1781 JQA was in Holland with his father who was on a diplomatic mission. It was decided that JQA should go as a secretary to Francis Dana on a mission to St Petersburg, Russia. Adams and Dana left on July 7, 1781 for the 2,000 mile trip. They stopped in Berlin, Germany and Riga, Poland and arrived in St Petersburg on August 27.

Soon it was decided that John Quincy should return to Holland alone so he could continue his studies. He left St Petersburg for Stockholm on October 30, 1782. He was 15. He spent a couple of days in Helsinki and dined with the commander of Swedish forces in Finland. He then arrived in Stockholm on November 22. Adams loved Sweden and the Swedish people. Nagel says "It must have been a reassuring experience for a boy of fifteen to talk on equal terms with leading citizens of Stockholm." He was especially taken with the Swedish women. "For him, Sweden would always be "the land of lovely dames." He admitted that he had never forgotten the "palpitations of heart" these women caused him— "and of which they never knew."

From Stockholm he went on to Goteborg then Copenhagen then Hamberg and finally back to Holland on April 21. "Meanwhile, a frantic John Adams was asking everyone who had been in Northern Europe if they had seen his wondering son, for Johnny made little effort to keep his father apprised of his whereabouts."

Adams always had very happy memories of this independent trip. "It was a time of few worries and much freedom" I can understand why it was such a happy time for him.

Dad is selling his Van


My Dad's eye sight has deteriorated to the point that he can't drive any more so he is selling his van.
It is  a dark blue 2002 Chrysler Town and Country Limited Mini Van. He is asking $8500. $7900
The van has 67,000 miles on it and is in good condition.

It was just serviced and checked out by the Chrysler dealer.

If you are interested in the van or you have questions please let me know. You can email me at marion.vermazen  at

It has the following features:

V6 3.8 liter engine,

Front wheel drive,

Automatic transmission,

Seats 7 passengers,

Leather interior,

Air conditioning,

Power sliding doors on both sides,

Cruise control,

Radio, cassette and compact disc player,

dealer installed auxiliary hand brake for handicapped use (can be easily removed),

roof rack,

premium wheels.

One True Theory of Love by Laura Fitzgerald

My friend Todd of Tucson Tamale Company has a friend who has a new book that just came out. The book (One True Theory of Love by Laura Fitzgerald) is set in Tucson and the Tucson Tamale Company is mentioned in the book. Todd offered a dozen free tamales to the first person to identify on what page the shop is mentioned.

I preordered One True Theory of Love on Amazon. It arrived last week. I finished reading it Wednesday and I won the tamales!! Todd announced it on his blog here.

I used to read a lot of romance novels and the thing I dislike about many of them is that the main character seems so dumb! One True Theory of Love is different. The main character, Meg is a single mom with a nine year old son. She is a kindergarten teacher, independent and smart. 

Meg's first husband abandoned her when she was pregnant with Henry, her son. She is happy with her life and is not looking for a man when she meets Ahmed who is the Tucson assistant city manager and the story unfolds from there. One of the key threads of the book is truth telling and how important it is to a relationship.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope it does well. It is thought provoking, entertaining and fun.

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

I went to the Reno Newcomers Club Book Club yesterday. It was my first time attending this book club and I was very impressed. We had a good thought provoking discussion. Of course probably part of the reason the discussion was so good was that the book is so good.

We discussed Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Her characters and her descriptions are stunning. I'm still amazed by how much I cared about the characters. The book consists of two parts. The first called Storm in June tells the story of several people trying to escape Paris as the Germans get close. I even cared about the obnoxious characters. And her descriptions of the chaos and especially of the country side have stuck with me. Her writing is a work of art. It reminds me of a Renoir painting.

One of the points that was made in the book club discussion is that most books about war are written with perspective after the war. Part of what makes Suite Francaise different is that it is written from the middle of the war. She didn't know how things would turn out. People are just normal even in the face of very extraordinary circumstances.

The second part of the book is called Dolce. It is about a small town and a few of the families with whom the Germans are billeted. You might think that Nemirovsky would write about the Germans with hate but she writes about them as very real people. Her characters deal with the tension between the Germans as invaders and as attractive young men.

This is the first fiction book I have read in a long time and as usual with fiction I empathized with the characters and found my mood impacted as a result. I was also haunted by knowing that this is an unfinished book since Nemirovsky was arrested by the Germans and was killed at Auschwitz.