Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

For me, eating gluten free is NOT a choice. It is a medical necessity to LIVE.

The same for some who are dairy free, nut free, avoid shellfish, fish or in some cases eggs,  or soy . IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

FOR SOME, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

So, when someone chooses to be vegetarian or vegan you really piss me off when you make a huge scene demanding your food choice be met.  I’m sorry that a cycling event ran out of the vegetarian sandwiches. Just shows you’ve possibly chosen a healthy lifestyle like many others.  I know you also started the ride an hour late and you arrived at the lunch stop between 1:30 and 2 PM.  Is it really the organizers fault they didn’t have as many options that late? Besides, vegetarian was not even advertised though many events now offer vegetarian, isn’t that nice?

I don’t know you. And now I don’t really want to get to know you. That is maybe my loss. I suppose if I got to know you, maybe I would understand better what was really upsetting you. Was it really the lack of vegetarian sandwiches or is there a much deeper issue in your life and this is your way of asking for help. I probably should have been more compassionate and learned about your life but I was busy coordinating my group for the event.  I did offer you several of my food options from cheese, gluten free tortilla, peanut butter, cashews and two kinds of energy bars – all of which are vegetarian.

However, I bet you could have picked the meat out of those sandwiches that were being served and eat just the veggies, cheese and roll.  I absolutely CAN NOT just discard the roll and eat the filings.  You see, a piece of wheat bread, even the size as one grain of salt is enough to buckle me over, given me an unwanted colon cleanse and lots more, like chills and cramps followed by joint pain and a migraine that may last several days.  And God knows what damage is done to the villi of my gut that can lead to cancers, further bone issues from what I already have and many, many other serious complications of living with an auto-immune disease.

You don’t see me making a fuss at events because SAFE gluten free food options aren’t made available. I still pay the full registration fee like everyone else, even though I know I can’t eat any of the food offerings. If your diet is that restricting then by damn, take care of yourself and bring your own food.  Yes, it sucks to have to plan ahead and live with the anxiety of knowing where I will get enough safe nutritional calories to live.  But, you see, I don’t have a choice.

You don’t see me making a scene, demanding a refund or exceptions be made for me.

You see, I also have volunteered over the years for lots of fundraising events and I know how difficult it is to feed a crowd of a few dozen to hundreds or even thousands. This particular bicycling event had 600 riders.  It is a volunteer bike race team that plans and runs this event.  These cyclists (men and women racers) put on this event to do good in their community.  Profits don’t go to their team, they go to local charities.

They are putting on a fun event for us, the paying guest who receive numerous benefits.  Routes are planned, well marked, donuts and coffee, water, snacks, lunch and dinner are provided to those who can eat them.  The wineries are lined up and provide free tasting. Where else can you taste and compare world renowned wines at over a dozen winery’s for free.

Winery’s often extend event day discounts to us that are even better then their club rates.  The event sponsor (those men and women of the local cycling team), drive around all day during the event keeping us safe, carting our wine purchases from the winery’s to the finish of the ride and they provide sag for those who over estimated their abilities to ride 75 kilometers.

They provide us with a phone contact in case of emergency.  They have sag support vehicles on the course.  Of which you can be glad if you didn’t need them, but it sure is nice knowing they are out there.  My group of 12 was grateful for the sag support as one passed us while we were fixing a flat.  The sag guy stopped, took over and was way faster then us at fixing the flat and even had a top notch floor pump. And then, another of our riders realized he had a flat too.  Before we knew it, this kind cycling team race member, driving sag, repaired the second flat just as fast.  Cheerfully joking and visiting with us the whole time.

I’m sorry your dietary CHOICE wasn’t met.  I’m sorry you didn’t prepare and pack your own energy bar.  I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could purchase a snack for yourself at one of the winery’s.  Most of the winery’s had vegetarian food options available for purchase. I hope you have learned something from this event.

It’s nice to be taken care of, however, I sincerely wish many in this world would accept responsibility for themselves, their actions and words.

People are watching.  What example are you teaching?

I can’t find any research on the medical necessity for one to eat vegetarian.  If you are eating vegetarian for religious, environmental, you believe it’s healthier (research data is mixed on this), animal welfare, I get it.  But, that is your choice.  Again, if eating vegetarian is truly a medical necessity for you, then do what I do, and be responsible for your own dietary needs. (And maybe send me the scientific research showing the link to a medical condition thats treatment is vegetarianism. I’m open to learning.) EDITED: proof of a meat intolerance, learn something new everyday: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-gal_allergy

I found this quote.  Something to ponder.

“If any animal was hungry enough, it would cast aside any issues and eat you. Hunger must be fed in whatever form is available. If you are in a land hit by drought and the only thing standing in between you and death is a roaming chicken, your survival instinct would say eat the chicken. If you refused and died, that hungry chicken would certainly peck at your corpse.”

BTW if you’ve read this far, you maybe interested to know, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several years, but it was my choice. I CHOSE to be vegetarian in hopes that if would improve my health.  It did not!  I have a neice who is vegan, by choice, and several family members are varing degrees of vegetarians and have been for many, many decdes.. They choose to eat this way do to economics, animal cruelity and environmental reasons.  I respect that and I love to serve them food that meets their WISHES/CHOICES. But to demand and make a scene if I don’t provide them vegan options, that would be just plan rude and disrespectful.

Humans have canine teeth and teeth for cutting and ripping meat.  As a species it appears we are meant to eat meet.  Dairy (besides a mothers milk) and gluten on the other hand, appear to be possibly harmful foods for ALL humans.

Eating out, dining out.

Eating out, dining out.

So what is the allure of eating/dining out so much?  I live in a community that is populated with so many eating establishments that are always busy from the morning coffee shops, the lunch time cafe’s to the evening bars and restaurants. Come evening time, any day of the week, there is a steady line of cars headed downtown. And, they’re not all headed to the grocery stores which are often quite empty at this hour.

It’s not like the food prepared at most of these places is phenomenal or something that is so unique there is no way one could make this on their own.

I get the social aspect, but, frankly, the few times I eat out I find the ambiance actually annoying.  It’s usually too loud, too bright or too dark and the tables are usually kind of sticky gross. I’m not talking about “fast food” joints, but sit down dinner places with moderately high prices.

What am I missing?  The allure of standing around a bar, getting blitzed on over priced alcohol that is often a cheaper version then what I might serve at home and talking about the same shit with friends is lost on me.  Ok, I get that the people watching can be entertaining. But so is bird watching.

So, we ate dinner out last night. It was dear hubby’s birthday and he likes a good beer on tap, so I thought it would be nice to take him to the local brewery.  Fortunately, he said the glass of beer he had was actually quite nice. But the accolades for dinner out probably end there.

Being one with an auto-immune disease and super sensitive to gluten cross contamination I have to be selective about where and what I eat.  This evening was no exception despite my having contacted the brewery recently and their assuring me they could serve me gluten free food.  Hmmm…. well, the menu had a few little “wheat free symbols”: One starter, one veggie dish, two salads (questionable as one had blue cheese and the other is served with croutons), two more main dish salads with ground beef or Atlantic salmon each at about $20, and one main entree, grilled salmon.  Sucks if one doesn’t like salmon or salads. Yikes!

I ordered the garlic brussel sprouts side dish. They were “so so”.  I make better roasted brussel sprouts at home.  First, they weren’t evenly cooked. A bit too crispy on the outside and rock hard on the inside.  I like my brussel sprouts tender on the inside lending to a creamy texture.  These had way too much garlic and no other apparent seasoning.  I had to add table salt. Yuck!

I was pleased to see a “sort of” local hard cider on tap.  I ordered the Two Rivers Strawberry Apple cider. Granted, I’m a cider snob, but the only thing this had going for it was it wasn’t too sweet and it was fresh.  Otherwise, I would say it had a slightly off taste, maybe from some not so ripe apples.  Like the brussel sprouts, the cider too was bland.

I wanted to order the “wheat free” fries which are cooked in a dedicated fryer, but when the waiter comes back with the message from the chef, “if you’re sensitive to cross contamination, he wouldn’t recommend it as being safe”.  Grrr….. why even have gluten free menus?  Ok, but I need to eat more then just bad brussel sprouts if I’m going to consume a cider beverage and not feel it.  I ordered the seasonal veggies.  O M G, talk about boring!  Probably half a small green zucchini and half a small crook neck squash flash sautéed in way too much cheap oil (at least use olive oil folks), with a few strands of not even sweet white onion and again no other seasoning.  Had to add salt.  And then a bite of “what the heck is this”?  It was definitely a dried piece of pulled pork on my seasonal vegetable plate. Gross! Thank God I’m not a vegetarian or vegan.  And, seriously, seasonal vegetables for $8 and the only veggie is the squash that is currently selling for 0.99 cents per POUND at the local market. This is the end of summer when the summer bounty of vegetables is overflowing with goodness and diversity.

I was sort of hoping that I was being brave by venturing into the world of dining out again and maybe I could make this work. Sadly, that wasn’t the conclusion.  What I was reminded of again, is that it’s okay to buy the better cut of meat, the special vegetable I’m craving and maybe a pint of my favorite frozen treat despite their costing a tad more then my usual daily groceries.  Eating out is not cheap, not particularly healthy and frankly, doesn’t taste very good either.  So what’s the allure again?

For now, when I want a special treat and some good people watching time, I’ll still opt for that over priced and probably bitter cup of coffee from the local coffee shop after a serious bike ride.  Yes, for the price of one cup of not so great coffee, I can make myself a weeks worth of perfectly brewed Aeropress coffee at home. But, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else buy the coffee, grind the coffee, prepared it and clean up afterwards.

I’ll still be brave and try to figure out what the allure is of eating out so often.  I’ve chosen to eat out by choice a total of 3 times this year.  (Eating out while traveling is usually just survival and doesn’t count.) Once this year I bought a gluten free pizza to take to another restaurant.  Once we took our daughter to dinner at a 5 star, white linen place (and it was the exception, the food was amazing and the dishes were ones I truly cannot prepare at home (I’ve tried) and the price tag matched.) The third was last night for my husbands birthday dinner.

Ok, I have eaten at a couple of 100% dedicated gluten free bakeries/cafes when traveling and I could find them.  It has been wonderful to eat a “real” sandwich at these places.  They were in Morgan Hill, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.  I so miss Miglet’s, the dedicated gluten free bakery/shop in my town. Sadly, most 100% gluten free places that I find and then try to return to a few years later have gone out of business.

I’d like to think that someday restaurants will understand food intolerances and want to serve my type of people.  For now, I guess last night was just a good reminder of why I don’t eat out.  Fortunately though, one big positive from last nights meal out is I don’t think I got really sick.  Felt kind of bloated despite eating nothing more then bad vegetables but so far I haven’t had any of the other food intolerance reactions.

Eating Out Statistics

From: https://www.zagat.com/b/the-state-of-american-dining-in-2016

We asked surveyors how many times a week they go out to eat (not counting breakfast) and ended up with a national average of 4.5 times per week. At the high end, Los Angeles surveyors eat out the most frequently (5.2 times per week), while the country’s least frequent diners live in Boston at 3.8 times per week.

 

Total Eclipse 2017

Totality - 2017 Eclipse
Totality – 2017 Eclipse
Eclipsed

Edited: The difference between 99.9% and 100% totality is literally Night & DAY. 

Ochoco National Forest 14 or so miles north of Prineville, OR August 21st, 2017 10:20AM

A moment one will never forget and forever have a hard time putting it into words

The speed at which the shadow of totality hit was like hitting a light switch and seeing an incandescent bulb fade off in one second.  Twilight to totality in a flash as the shadow flashed over.  Literally felt like the sun went out. Bang! Gone!

Temperature drop, cool crispness to the air

Shouts and eruption of chatter, gasps of giddiness from our group

A flurry of pointing things out

look, there, Venus
look, at the horizon all around 360 sunset
look, at the ground – weird light shadow patterns
look, the corona – waves like flames
listen, silence, total nature silence where we were
look, red solar flares
look, a jet chasing the eclipse
look, it’s back, another diamond
quick, put your eclipse glasses back on

#oreclipse #oreclipse2017#ochoconationalforest #prineville#madrasoregon #centraloregon#eclipse2017

Is it gluten free?

Is it, or isn't it gluten free? Will I ever know?
Is it, or isn’t it gluten free? Will I ever know?

Yes? No? I don’t know! Oh, geez! I just want for once to be able to buy a product and not have to think twice about it after I’ve consumed some of it.

So, it happened again. I guess I let down my defenses. Twice in fact, in the last month.

Both times with Trader Joe’s products. I really should just stop shopping there. But the store is so close, it’s small, unlike those mega super marts, the people are friendly and the prices are really good.

So what happened this time? Well, a couple of weeks ago we had some friends in for a casual get together. My friends are amazing and are always trying to bring gluten free products over to our house. We do almost ALL the entertaining because, unfortunately, everyone is too scared to feed me. But seriously folks, still invite me over. I can and will bring my own food.

Anyway, someone brought Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus. A quick glance at the ingredients looked safe. I mean, come on, it’s hummus.  It was good. Someone else also brought some really cute little Trader Joe crackers. OMG, again the ingredients looked safe so I ate a few. I really liked them so I asked the person who brought them what they were called so I could pick up a bag at TJ’s. I get to TJ’s and I look at the fine print, “Processed in a facility with wheat”. Seriously? Seriously!

Okay, well, I can still buy the hummus, right?  I know how to make homemade hummus, but again, sometimes I just want to be pampered a little bit.  And, yes, by pampered, I mean not having to buy the raw ingredients, make it myself and clean up the equipment used in making the item. And, no, I can count on one hand how many times I eat out in a YEAR!

So, for the second time this week, I’m digging into this store bought hummus with my organic carrots and I think, “uh oh, this isn’t labelled GLUTEN FREE”. Well, but, the ingredients sound safe. Hmm…. no allergens are listed but then “gluten” is not required to be listed, just “wheat”.

Google if “Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus is gluten free”?  Well, I come up with a list of products that are gluten free and a ridiculous long explanation of gluten free which is just a bunch of crap that I have to read through and already know. The hummus in question is not on the list. Now I get this weird feeling that this maybe the trigger of some migraine’s and various other unmentionable symptoms I’ve had over the last few weeks.

“Hey, dear hubby, you want to finish this hummus?” Thank God I have a husband who can eat all the products I buy and then later doubt their gluten free status.

I don’t feel safe eating the store bought hummus anymore.

As #45 would say,” SAD, bigly SAD!”

Okay, gluten free rant over. You can be glad the rants don’t come as often as they used to.

#TraderJoes

#glutenfree

#Celiac

Why I marched, January 21, 2017

Womens March, Walnut Creek
Women’s March, Walnut Creek

I’ve been trying to come up with a blog post of why I marched in my local Woman’s March, January 21st, 2017.  I’m not happy with what I’ve written but I’ll share it anyway below.

First I’ll share this link to a blog that I think is outstanding.You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry. by Dina Leygerman, 2017 shared via Medium

Please take the time to read that blog.  You will be doing yourself some good.

Why did I march on January 21st, 2017

Why did I march?

Because I have felt unsettled.

Because I have felt conflicted.

Because I have not felt free to ask for the respect I deserve.

Because I have not felt appreciated.

Because I have not felt that equality exists between the sexes.

Because I have been afraid to speak up.

Because I have been afraid to go after what I want.

Because I have been afraid of labels. (Don’t be a bitch.)

Because I have heard from society that I have less value than a man.

Because I have had these messages drilled into me starting at such an early age.

Because I have for my entire lifetime seen women objectified.

Because I have heard “what do you know, you’re a girl?”

Because I have been told not to ask why?

Because I have had male doctors treated me as if Celiac was all in my head.

Because I often don’t feel safe

Because I have friends, adopted daughters, co-workers, and cousins children who are gay.

Because I have been fed messages since childhood that girls are weak and cowards.

Because I have got to change the messages I give to our daughters.

Walnut Creek Women's March
Walnut Creek Women’s March

Why did I march?

Because women need to stop saying “I’m sorry!” for everything.

Because women need the support of women and men.

Because women need to know they’re not alone.

Because women need to find their voice.

Because women can make a difference.

Because women need to become the change.

Because women need to ask “why?”

Because women deserve an answer.

Because women deserve to not be objectified.

Because women deserve to be respected.

Because women deserve to be appreciated.

Civic Park, Walnut Creek
Civic Park, Walnut Creek

Because women deserve to not be labeled.

Because women deserve to be heard.

Because women deserve to be loved for being human and not perfect.

Because we are only human.

Christmas in Norway circa 1850’s

Christmas in Norway in the 1850’s in some ways, in principle at least, isn’t that much different from how I think of Christmas today, in 2016.

Reading the memories from the attached document, at the end of this post, I see similarities. We still busy ourselves with preparations for the season in much the same way as my ancestors did. I stock the pantry for anticipated visitors. I bake holiday treats. I clean the house and decorate. I prepare the garden for winter. I put outdoor items into the shed and move things to under the protection of the eves.

I donate to the local homeless shelter and food bank. Though, I think if we had more face to face contact with those who have less, we would probably give more generously as I think my relatives did. To see the need in someone’s eyes is so much more moving then logging onto a charity website and clicking “donate”.

I think of my maternal family traditions which now must date back nearly 200 years and take pleasure in knowing that my great-grandmother passed on to her daughter traditions that continue to be passed on today.

Mom passing on the tradition to my daughters in 1994
Mom passing on the tradition to my daughters in 1994

My heart is softened to know that my daughters learned from my mother and me how to make the traditional Norwegian flatbread, lefsa.  We use the family recipe handed down by generations. BUT, with one significant change.  For, my paternal/father’s side passed down some interesting genetics.  I have had to modify the recipe, replacing wheat flour with gluten free flour.  Thankfully, gluten-free flour works wonderfully and the lefsa we make today is just as delicious as that from my childhood memories.

I would like to think that my ancestors live on in each of us.  I look into my youngest eyes, and though they are not of the dark deep blues of my grandmother, they are blue. My 3rd brother inherited the eyes of our grandmother.

I like that my family also does not have a feast on Christmas Eve. Fortunate for us, we don’t have many Norske miles to travel to church.  We can easily walk to Christmas Eve service. On Christmas Eve we keep things simple and have started some new traditions. After church, we head out to view holiday lights and decorations.  We return home and enjoy homemade sweet treats and a beverage. And, yes, on Christmas morning I toss some extra grain to our hens and a few more doggy biscuits to our sweet labrador retriever.

My oldest has introduced her husband to Lefsa and I know my youngest is a pro at making it too.

My youngest, home for the holidays a few years ago, making the lefsa.
My youngest, home for the holidays a few years ago, making the lefsa.

We think of the holiday starting with Christmas Eve and lasting through Epiphany.  I leave our decorations up as long as tolerable to brighten the dark days of winter. It’s sad that for so many, Christmas is now just a day.  We continue the celebrations with an annual New Years Eve gathering of friends. Bringing light into the darkness of winter.

Lastly, I do wish my grandmother had passed on her gift of descriptive storytelling. I will practice and with practice, just maybe I’ll get a bit better.

Attached is the copy of document recounting my grandmother’s memories of her mother’s stories about Christmas in Norway. May everyone be so blessed to have traditions to share.  What is your story?

Tollefson Christmas In Norway

Here is our family recipe: tollefson-lefsa-recipe

Stack of lefsa.
Stack of lefsa.

My year of iPhonography – 2016.

I was surprised to realize one doesn’t need to travel far to find objects or scenes of interest and intrigue. I picked 12 of my favorite images from 2016. Surprisingly, half of my favorites were taken within yards of my house, others from just a few miles away.

How did I pick these twelve shots? I quickly went through my images and labeled ones that were favorites. I then selected ones that created an emotion, feeling or memory for me.  Not just another record shot. I then sorted the 80+ images into sets: black and white, food, landscapes, macro’s, people, animals, insects, artistry shots and such. I then narrowed it down to one or two from each category.

I’m certainly learning what interests me and along the way I’m surprised that my passion in photography turned out to NOT be just macro’s of flowers. It will be interesting to see what 2017 brings as I acquired my new iPhone and DXO camera attachment towards the 2nd half of 2016. I’m just beginning to learn the new phone and camera features. I hope 2017 allows me the time to take more photos and to explore new ways to see life.

{"focusMode":1,"deviceTilt":-0.002298907437596753,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3}
Make Believe Fireflies
Shot with DxO ONE
First Shot
Shot with DxO ONE Image provided to yosemite conservancy limited one time social media use. 9/19/2016 saved Large 820x1200
The Classic Shot
Shot with DxO ONE
Lornful
Shot with DxO ONE
Fireside Light
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Curl
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Toy Life
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Wings Of Glass
Moonlight On The Mountain
Moonlight On The Mountain
Shot with DxO ONE
Evening Layers
Shot with DxO ONE
Forbidden Offerings
{"macroEnabled":false,"qualityMode":3,"deviceTilt":-0.1343905478715897,"customExposureMode":1,"extendedExposure":false,"whiteBalanceProgram":0,"focusMode":1}
One Last Look

On this day, November 8, 2016

Equality
September 2001

EDITED: November 22, 2016

Sadly, the election did not turn out as expected. The poles were wrong and we’re learning about the influence that social media may have played in affecting the outcome of this election.  I had hoped that 2016 would have been the year we saw a woman elected as President.  I still have faith that we will see a great woman leader in my lifetime.  The following is still my hope.

How wonderful it will be for all our daughters to live in a nation where a woman CAN and WILL be POTUS.  Confirmed by a woman leader that will help tear down the inequalities and help heal this nation.

Wondering what it will be like for my future grandchildren to never know any difference between who can be a leader.

WOMEN MUST VOTE

November 8th, 2016

Thankful for my therapy dog who faithfully stayed by my side while through out this election cycle.
Thankful for my dog who faithfully stayed by my side through out this election cycle.

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote.

Will we get our lives back?  Will the anxiety go away? Will “America be great again”? Wait, we aren’t great?

This years election cycle has been really ugly. What it has done is make me even more conscientious of my voting rights and choices as a woman.  I have always read initiatives and propositions but this year I went through them at least three times and read for myself the actual text of the initiatives.  None of this reading the arguments for and against or allowing myself to be swayed by the media.  I decide for myself.  I reflected on my personnel values and ethics and thought hard about the choices I was making.

The final work of filling out my ballot spanned 7 days.  That gave me time to really mull things over.  I like to think things through without being pressured.

It was nice when the first door to door canvasser came by yesterday I could say, “I’ve already voted.”  Yep, the ballot is in the envelop, sealed and ready to be dropped of this morning downtown. Almost a week early.

I am worried though, will the elected candidate for president be able to unify this divided nation?  The ugliness and marginalizing of fellow humans has me really frightened.  I’m concerned that some American’s are living with so much fear of their fellow humans just because they practice a different religion, have a different sexual orientation or are the opposite sex, their skin is a different shade or they are poor, a refugee or from another country. I also want a leader that leads by example with a high standard of morals and compassion demonstrated by their personal life and behaviors. And for God’s sake can speak above a fourth grade level.

Well, the waiting is almost over. I pray that the people of this nation will accept the results of the election.  I fear that there may be violence and unrest after the election.

I know how much thought and education it took for me to make my informed decisions on the 17  state initiates this year on the California ballot. California has the longest ballot in the nation this year.  I’m worried that the average American (a “C” student) doesn’t have the education to comprehend what they are voting for or why. Many are just doing as they are told and voting on emotions based on false ideals. By visiting rural areas of states like Pennsylvania this fall and speaking with locals, I get their frustrations.  It was good to understand better where they are coming from.

Now, back to that 19th amendment thing.  My mom was born in June of 1919.  She told me stories that she obviously was told about how her mother (my grandmother) marched and fought for this right of women to vote.  I wonder if she shared these stories with my brothers.  She always took voting seriously and all women must take voting seriously.

The time is right for a woman, mother and grandmother to heal this nation. This nation is in need of some serious mothering.

Thankful for my therapy dog who faithfully stayed by my side while through out this election cycle.

Yosemite Conservancy features my photo, The Classic.

Honored to have one of my iPhonography/DxO images selected and featured by the Yosemite Conservancy. https://instagram.com/p/BLbeTlsjhe5/