Photos for a lazy afternoon

Baby blue eyes

Baby blue eyes arrives early.

Yawn, stretch and treat yourself well today. Gather your strength for Monday. The world is beautiful.

Red columbines 2

Red columbines en masse


Iggy Lizardo ready for his close-up.

It’s especially beautiful right now at Heaps Peak Arboretum, located on the uphill side of California Highway 18, our local version of the Ice Road Truckers’ Freefall Freeway, between Skyforest and Running Springs. The Rim of the World Interpretive Association, a group of local volunteers, improves and maintains the arboretum as a showcase for mountain trees, shrubs, wildflowers and small wildlife (sometimes big wildlife, too).

This makes it a great place for mountain people to take their visitors and to learn what the heck More

Out, damned spots!

The California Assembly last week passed a bill by a 45-10 vote that bans microbeads from personal-care products. The proposal has gone to the state Senate for consideration. Skull and crossbonesWhat’s behind it? Microbeads, the tiny plastic abrasives found in body washes and facial scrubs, are passing through water-treatment plants and into waterways worldwide. Some scientists say the beads do more than scrub skin – they also pick up chemicals along their journey. They don’t break down, and they’re winding up in fish in our rivers, lakes and oceans and, ultimately, on our tables.

California isn’t alone in the quest to ban microbeads. In February, a similar bill was introduced in the New York Assembly. Procter&Gamble, More

Tenting on the old glamp ground

Anne dug the tip of her knife into the wedge of brie, then buttered the cheese onto her fruit-filled “rainforest” cracker. Waves crashed below the bluff on which our room-size tent perched, the golden afternoon light spilling across the campsite.

“Let’s carry in a good fish supper,” she said. “We can get it in town.” Preferably something that went well with Prosecco. Melt-in-your-mouth John Dory, perhaps?

We could and we did forgo campfire beanie-weenies. We were do-it-yourself glampers on a seaside glamp-out. Neither of us had ever gone glamping – glamour camping – but it felt like the right time to try. The semester was done: no more keyboards, no more books, no more students’ dirty looks. We wanted to celebrate.


San Clemente traffic jam (c. Holly Ocasio Rizzo)

I’ve known Anne for years. We’re both former newspaper people, now independent business people who teach on the side at the same college. She’s in the legal field and I, writing and editing. We knew a lot of the same people before we knew each other. I’ve never known her to camp. Neither has anybody else. Camping to her is checking into a hotel that doesn’t have any little bars of soap. To me, it’s finding a flat spot to pitch a tent far from civilization and securing your food in an anti-bear barrel.

But I snagged the perfect campsite in a civilized campground in South Orange County, and I asked her to share the perfection with me: surf, sand and sunshine with cool pelicans and cute lifeguards for scenery. What else?, she asked. Hot showers, I said – it has hot showers. And flush toilets. I could throw in a pretty mat and a side table for the tent, glitter nail polish, tropical-scent sugar scrub, floral temporary tattoos, an inverter in the Jeep for running her computer and a new cooler guaranteed to make ice last for three days, so we’d have a good place to keep our makeup from melting.


Beachside fleurs (c. Holly Ocasio Rizzo)

She said OK.

Anne must have studied camping. She traveled light. Instead of an inflatable bed, she brought a chaise longue pad; instead of a notebook computer, she used her iPhone to check email for her business and to help her husband navigate caring for a cat with a cold, packing for his trip to Hawaii and arranging a niece’s semi-annual beaches-and-Disneyland trek to Southern California.

If I hadn’t known she wasn’t a camper, I never would have guessed it. She never complained about the ants, and only a little about the goofballs who decided to sing “Sky Pilot” at the edge of the bluff at 2:30 a.m.  She didn’t wig out over a visit from three skunks More

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February 2023