Archive for March, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Just got back from a week’s vacation in Lake Tahoe with the family and friends. There’s no view more beautiful in the world than the Lake and surrounding mountains from the ski slopes at Heavenly. You’d have to be on drugs to have a more surreal experience. I always leave Tahoe wishing I’d chosen it as my home instead of Malibu. Yes, that sounds snobby but I don’t mean it that way. I just think there’s a side of me, perhaps some memory from a past life, that just clicks on when I’m in the mountains. Even a simple encounter with a Stellar Jay (the local bluebird species) leaves me feeling soothed and happy. But I’ve chosen my home and I love it.

Gunbarrel lift

Returning home to the beach this past weekend was a pleasant shock. Spring has sprung with a vengeance in the ‘Bu. The temps were back in the 80’s and nature has started waking up everywhere. Leaving Howe’s market yesterday, I stopped and listened to a Mockingbird perform a little concert for me on a low cinder block wall. (There’s a bird theme in here somewhere.) We drove around in the Celica with the top down — quite a change from the frigid weather in Tahoe. I’ve got to repeat something my wife has said for years: California has it all. We really do. I just hope we have the good sense to preserve it. Everywhere in Tahoe you hear the locals talking about how the lake isn’t as crystal clear anymore and how global warning will soon allow algae blooms that will kill off the natural flora and fauna. For one, I can already see it happening but don’t blame it all on atmospheric changes. I’d say it has more to do with the massive amount of new development being done along the south shore. Hundreds of new homes, condos, apartments and of course shopping plazas cover the entire expanse.

Oh yeah, it was Easter week, too. I’m a pagan so the nature and rebirth thing is what that’s all about for me. Tweet tweet!

The Big Five-Oh (and Eeh-Oh-Oh-Oh!)

Monday, March 10th, 2008

I’ll turn 50 years old in 21 days from this writing. Fifty — it’s less imposing when it’s spelled out I think. So what’s the big deal? Most every friend I have who’s passed the mark makes a big deal out of it, throwing a huge party and enduring countless lame pokes at his/her vitality. (One buddy of mine received a case of Depends “adult insurance” diapers at his office from an unknown source. Hah hah, I’m laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. Good thing I’m wearing one of those things.)

Caroline bought us two tickets to see the Police and Elvis Costello at the Hollywood Bowl on May 28th, a fantastic gift. By the time the show rolls around, I’ll already be past the mark. But I’ll be up in my seat singing along at the top of my lungs, being glad I applied extra Polydent to my dentures and wearing a fresh pair of Depends. (OK, now I’m starting to annoy myself.) Really, it’ll be a treat to relive the glorious ’80s when I was a college boy and still trying to wear my hair like Sting. I have more than he does now. Hah! I’ll have to dust off Message In A Bottle and Walking On The Moon (hence “eeh-oh-oh-oh”), two pieces I played countless times in cover bands in my UC Santa Barbara days. Getting Andy’s guitar sound is hard. Especially after you’ve long since lost all of your precious effects boxes. Hmm, now where’s that chorus pedal?

Hope Springs Eternal

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Today was opening day for the Malibu Little League. For the first time in years I’m not coaching but I have both boys on the same Middles division team. It’s a bit of a relief to be able to sit in the stands and shout encouragement, but I really do miss being in the dugout. So today was an early morning start (7:00) for the team picture, followed by the first official game at 8:00. It was a messy affair, as the first couple of games always are. We lost 12-10 with most of the scoring on both sides coming from passed balls. Little League catchers get their trial by fire early on, the poor little guys.

I guess you could say I’m sentimental about Little League. Yeah, it brings back memories of my childhood and all that. Plus there’s something about it that appeals to the corny, All American Kid in me. It’s strange that I still maintain the same fantasies about the “innocence” of the game in a time when Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite are being grilled in front of a senate subcommittee on steroid use in majors. It leaves me wondering what we’re pushing our sons towards if we want them to be big leaguers someday. The national pastime is no more folks. Big money and good old avarice and greed have seen to that. Yeah, I digress. You betcha.

But back to opening day… So instead of the usual stupid-beautiful, sunny day I was hoping for, we were treated to weather imported straight from Northern Ireland. It was so drizzly and gray that it actually seemed like rain at times. Folks came in droves as always but no one stayed around very long. We had Dodger legend Steve Garvey there to sign autographs and throw out the first ball. Unfortunately, I forgot the boy’s raffle tickets so I had to skip back home and missed the actual ceremony. By the time I got back, old Steve had packed it in and most of the families were doing the same. It was that cold. Caroline got Steve’s autograph on one of our old mitts though. That was nice.

I’d be remiss to not point out that the playing fields for the Malibu league are outrageously pretty. We play at Bluffs Park, a six acre plot of land directly overlooking the Pacific. It looks like you could bean a passing dolphin with a long homer — all you see past the outfield fence is blue ocean. The park is right across the Pacific Coast Highway from Pepperdine University. Take a look for yourself. If you really want to be jealous, check out the Google Maps satellite view. After all these years, I still can’t believe we get to play here. No wonder visiting teams hate us, and no wonder I still get sentimental. Play ball!