Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Solstice on the Mountain

                                          Summer is here in Green Valley Lake

                                    The Summer Solstice was earlier this week.
                     On this day, the sun shines longer than any other day of the year.

                           In these mountains the sky is a deep blue, both because we're
                  above the smog line, and we're that much closer to the heavens up here.

                          The Summer Solstice ushers in the warmest season, and reminds
                                     us that the season is short, slipping away day by day.

                                 A Green Valley Lake resident jumps on his skateboard,
                             fishing poles and oars in hand, and heads down to the lake.
                                  Welcome to the Southern California mountains! :-)

                              Tiny wildflowers spring up from amongst the pine needles

    "Now on this longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into the dark." -- Anonymous

                             Fishing is good here at the lake. Wonder if this little guy
                                realizes how visible he is in the crystal clear water?

                                      Sometimes I can't believe we really live here...

                                I love taking our friends dogs out for long walks in the forest.
                             Meet Carmen, our friend Rick's German Shepherd/Rotweiller mix.

                                      Rick shot the bottom one, and his dad shot the top one.
                                    Since I'm not a vegetarian,  I'm in no place to take a moral
                                       stand against hunting. Anyway, it's clear that we're
                                              not in Orange County anymore. :-)

                                            Me and another of my mountain canine friends.
                                               This is Pat and Sandy's golden lab, Soleil.

                                      Captain Chris has been taking advantage of the long days
                                                             by repainting the cabin.

                          While Chris worked on the cabin, I went to the Running Springs farmer's
                           market and bought some fresh local peaches. The peach cobbler I made
                           was to die for, but I won't make it again for several weeks.
                                                    Tooo. Goood. Toooo. Fattening.....      :-/


                                               Summer. What a gift! Wherever you are, enjoy it well...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Few Words on Paula Deen

                                                         Paula Deen in happier times

    I'll admit it right here: I've always liked Paula. If you watch her on television, she seems to exude qualities which most people appreciate: openness, joyfulness, self-deprocating humor and a love of family.

   When I was on my sailing adventure, I read her 2010 autobiography "It Ain't All About he Cookin'," which I picked up in a book exchange in Panama.
                   I learned that Paula was born into humble beginnings and raised in Georgia,
                  where she still lives. She is from the "Say-Outh" (with two syllables).
                                          I mean, she's got a son named Bubba!

                                 Now, I've never been to Georgia, but I've seen it on TV.

       When Kathy Griffin spent a few days at Paula's Georgia home for her "B List" show, hilarity ensued. The fact that these two seemed to genuinely get along and love each other despite coming from completely different worlds (to say the least!) cemented my image of Paula as open, non-judgemental and down to earth.


"Gone With The Wind," of course, took place in Georgia. 

Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta, and it still broadcasts from there today.

CNN had a series "Black in America."  The aim was high: to honestly and openly explore what it's like to be, well, Black in America. Call me crazy, but I always thought it was odd for such a series to be hosted by a light-skinned woman of Australian/Cuban descent with a Latino/Irish name. Nothing against Soledad. 

Ironically, the fact that CNN had Soledad as the host of such a show highlights the challenges of being Black in America in 2012. 

Now, let's talk a little bit more about the state of Georgia.

During the Civil War, this was Georgia's state flag:

Later, it was changed to this:

OK, now check this out: In the 1950's (when our Paula was a young 'un), Georgia brazenly changed their state flag to THIS:

Oh, MY! Can I get a Rebel Yell, y'all!   (YIKES)

Under a great deal of pressure, the stars and bars were finally removed (hopefully for good!) from the Georgia flag in 2001.

The point I'm making here is that it appears to me that a certain style of black/white racism clearly persists even to this day in the South.  It seems to be deeply woven into the woof and warp of the culture there. 

Please don't think I'm defending the ugly statements of Paulas, which are coming out from her deposition. I was especially saddened to hear that she admits to routinely making "black" jokes. 

Yuck, Paula. Just "yuck."

She has come out with a couple of videotaped apologies that ring quite hollow. And she's been let go from The Food Network.

I think it's not too late for our Ms. Deen, though. Paula, if you're reading this, let me put on my "Publicist" hat here for a moment. I'd strongly suggest you make a statement something along these lines:

"I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed at the revelations that have come out about my life. The truth is, there persists to this day a soft racism that remains deeply ingrained in southern life.
 It's ugly, and I'm ashamed of it. I've always known that it's wrong, but I was born into it, and it's all I've ever known. I hope that my experience shines a light on this issue, and that the south -- MY south -- can start now to let go of this nasty remnant of the past and begin a new era of openness and acceptance for one another. A  new era of respect for each other, regardless of skin color or sexual orientation. I will be the first. It starts here and now. With me."

I think if she was honest in such a way, her TV career could be redeemed. 

But will she say it?  Would she say it? 

Highly doubtful, y'all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Alpine Spring

Magnificent yellow blooming tree 

Spring is in full bloom up here on the mountain. Since returning to SoCal after months and months sailing Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the cool mountain air is refreshing both our minds and our spirits.

Columbine are everywhere...

It's sad that these days when we think of columbine we think of these guys instead of the sublime mountain blossom.

The columbine have the appearance of jellyfish gently swimming about

What a miraculous blossom. If I was a parent whose child was killed at Columbine high school, I would fill my yard with these blossoms. They come back spring after spring, no matter how harsh the snowy winter. The hope would be that with each passing year, a little bit more pain would be replaced by a little bit more peace and joy.

We've been hiking alot, and just generally re-aquainting ourselves with our mountain home. 

The pile of shoes by the door started off neat and organized. 
With all that hiking, I guess we've gotten complacent. LOL...

More mountain color

Mountain Iris

We had the first fire of the season this past week. It was called the Hathaway Fire. The smoke was visible on the horizon.

It was 30 miles away, near Big Bear Lake, where ash rained down like snow.
 Fortunately the fire was extinguished before much damage was done.

California poppies by the side of the road

They look like butterflies

With only 2 weeks left of spring, we arrived on the mountain just in time!

This California poppy is ready for her close-up

With spring comes pollen. The yellow stuff coats our little lake in thick layers. Achoo.   :-I

We'll take the pollen infestation if it's the price we pay for the mountain finery

We made a trip down the mountain for supplies. 
After 2 years away, Trader Joes, you are a sight for sore eyes! 

If it isn't quite clear yet, we are ecstatic to be here.  :-)

Short poem of the week:

Ample Make This Bed

Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait 'til judgement break
Excellent and fair

Be its mattress straight
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise' yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.

                         -- Emily Dickinson

Get outside and enjoy the spring! One never knows how many springs we have left... 

XOXO Liz (and Chris)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why am I obsessed with Tim Tebow?

                      NFL quarterback Tim Tebow shocked us all by signing with the
                                New England Patriots, his third team in three years.

                           I'm obsessed with all things Tim Tebow. And I'm not sure why.

       Sure, there's no denying he's a handsome young athlete. He's one tall drink of water. But the sporting world is filled with strapping young men -- and I'm not obsessed with them.


                                       He also seems like a genuinely nice guy.
               But this does not explain my (and ESPN's!) obsession with all things Tim.

         What set Tim apart from his college days was his persistent and consistent Christian evangelism, which has been caught on camera countless times, in countless ways.

                            He first gained notoriety in the media by writing Bible verses
                                              on his eye blacks during televised games.

                                                         He does lots of these...

...and these very public (some would say "showy") prayers during, before and after televised games. He does it so much, in fact, that the media has a name for this pose: they call it "Tebowing."

  I know many people find such overt proselytizing irritating, and even offensive. Live and let live, and all that happy jazz. But I see it a bit differently.

 Although I'm a Christian, I'm no longer an evangelical. But when I was Tim's age, I was right where he is now. Yes, I knocked on doors. You see, in that world, you are constantly told that everyone around you who isn't saved -- your mother, your best friend, that kid whose addicted to drugs and alcohol -- will burn in hell FOREVER if they don't change their ways. The Bible even commands that Christians "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

  But he does not come across as "Holier than thou." He just seems like a friendly young guy who truly, compassionately does not want me to suffer the excruciating pain and suffering that would be an eternity in the lake of fire.

       Tim raised eyebrows (and his profile) a couple of years ago by filming a commercial for Focus on the Family which aired during the Super Bowl.  The media exploded before the ad even aired, because the purpose of the ad was to promote his anti-abortion views.

    Now, I'm pro-choice (but with limits -- that's a topic for another blog post), so with raised eyebrows I  viewed the commercial, expecting some hardcore anti-abortion messaging.

      Talk about much ado about nothing! The ad was stunningly non-confrontational (considering it was paid for by Focus on the Family -- Dr. Dobson is not known for mincing words) and actually kid of sweet. It featured his mom saying that she considered an abortion but she was happy that she didn't, because she loves her son so much.

     Awwwwwww. I didn't understand the uproar.

       Which brings me to another thing about Tim that makes him -- to say the least -- not your typical NFL athlete. He professes his "virgin" status to any media outlet who will listen.

                                                                    Tim Tebow: virgin

                                                          Tim Tebow: virgin

              It's a little bit disorienting hearing all of this virgin talk coming out of this body.
                                               I mean, let's face it: the guy screams "sex."

      As my husband muttered under his breath only moments ago after glancing at these photos:

                                        "There's no way he's a virgin."

                               Ha! Well. I have no idea if he is a virgin or if he is not.
                  It would be hard, but it's not impossible. Stranger things have happened.

          And then there are the inevitable gay rumors. Photos like these don't help:

                                                       Oh, my...

                                              and this...

                                                          Oh, boy...

              And then, just this week, I saw this photo:

     Oh, my! Tim Tebow and Tom Brady locked in a very sexy, amorous looking snuggle!

    But then I thought: wait a minute.  It's expected in NFL culture that after the game, the players go onto the field and hug it out.  I mean, we all know that Tom Brady, super-modelyzer extraordinaire, is absolutely not gay, right?

And in any hug, if you photograph it at just the right moment, it could be misconstrued as something that it's not, right?

  "Wrong," said my husband, shaking his head. "When a guy hugs another guy, the last thing you want to do is gaze into his eyes all googly-eyed like. You do a MAN hug."


           President Obama and Denzel Washington's hug follows all the rules of the straight man hug: make it quick, add some solid back smacks, and most importantly, no face or eye contact.

       So, what do I know? Maybe he's gay, maybe he's straight, maybe he's a virgin, maybe he's having sex with everyone and anything that moves while continuing to evangelize.

    I know, too, that there are some out there who are just waiting for his inevitable fall. The fact that he's been on 3 NFL teams in 3 years does not bode well for his professional future. But I do wish him well. The guy is 25 years old!  Don't get me started about how lost and confused I was at 25.

     But I think this discussion has solved the mystery for why we can't keep our eyes off of Tim Tebow. He's a mystery.  There's some mixed messages there.  So it brings us back for more -- to try to solve the puzzle. Who IS Tim Tebow?

                     In the end, though, it all boils down to this.  Tim Tebow is football,
                                                religion and sex, all rolled into one.

                                             Translation: Tim Tebow IS America.