I Love Spring

It’s been a joy to finally see the rain during the past few weeks. The gray hills that looked so barren a month ago, are a lush bright green once again, as the sun kisses them, waking up the orange poppies to new life. It never ceases to amaze me, just how quickly this change happens after just a few heavy rains. Although I was able to capture some of the beautiful green hills in my photography (http://mleuephoto.wordpress.com/), the smell in the air just can’t be done justice to in a photo.

Speaking of green: my cat Calvin was sitting in my office window this morning — making sure that the gardener visible in the distance was doing a good job of cutting the grass (Calvin really does have a very nice vantage point on the window sill — one that he frequents often). Taking a cue from the feline supervisor, I decide on a walk, which leads me by the “supervised” lawn, which is trimmed to British standards (although a Brit might object to my hasty comparison). There is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass — I stop to breathe in deeply. In the distance I see pink and white blossom filled trees competing with each other — or perhaps a better word would be complementing each other. I just love spring.

Have a blessed week

Cats and Dogs

I went out for brunch yesterday, well — perhaps “Linner” would be a better word, as it was already pretty late in the day. The place I sometimes go to had its outside tables set up  – I noticed with joy, as I love to sit outside when the weather is good. The waitress brought me a menu to peruse, and as I did, an older couple sat down opposite from me, at the remaining table, which had four empty chairs. They had two spaniels with them — both on leashes — pink in color — so I’m guessing girls. The larger of the two spaniels hopped on one of the remaining two free chairs, filling almost the entire chair. What a big butt I thought to myself, and pretty audacious and spoiled for a dog, usurping a chair like that. The dog must have read my thoughts, because it turned around and gave me a stare that was quite unpleasant. I must exercise caution in my thoughts. The waitress at this point brought out a take-out box filled with water, that the other dog — who was properly lodged under the table welcomed eagerly, by lapping up some of the water. The tension was thus eased all the way around. As I waited for my order to arrive, I started to read a new book that had just come in the mail — a narrative from a cat’s perspective. Funny enough, the first chapter dealt with the unruliness of dogs. Better not laugh out too loud, as the rotund resident in the chair opposite from me might decide to turn around and glare at me again.

After finishing my meal, I strolled back towards my apartment and saw a car with two bumper stickers: One read “Life is short, play with your dog”, the other said “cat mom”. A fair distribution of both species in the same household, I thought to myself.

My last stop along the way was to pet an old golden retriever, who usually trods slowly up to the fence when he sees me, tail wagging — always happy to be petted.

Have a blessed week

Thüringen

Thüringen

Thüringen

This watercolor is from the back cover of, and it is also contained inside my latest book “Sea Shells, C’est Gratuit”. The state of Thüringen lies in the former East Germany, and after the fall of the wall (which is now probably considered ancient history), is accessible to all people once again. It is especially beautiful in the summer, when the golden wheat fields, flanked by long rows of trees (Alleenstraße), exude the abundance of a harvest yet to come. Sweet smells, sounds, and colors of the country — dragonflies and butterflies doing their summer dance; red poppies peeking up through the wheat stalks, cornflowers boasting their Prussian blue. I recall many years ago, visiting my parents with my young sons — when Germany was still divided and Thüringen was not accessible. We took a trip to the border — Thüringen was in plain sight — and saw an East German rabbit blatantly trespassing from East to West, oblivious to the ominous guard towers (I don’t believe he was in possession of a passport either). Thank God, the Wall is now long gone. The rabbit’s descendants (the ones, that have not landed in their proper place — a pot) must surely populate a united Germany now.

Not Just Broccoli

Cats must have a kitchen homing instinct. No sooner had I started prep work tonight, when Mr. C. appeared in the kitchen yet once again, from playing, or perhaps exploring outside. Surprise, surprise — it’s only broccoli I’m cutting up and washing — you doofus. As he sat there looking up at me, I walked over to the fridge, and got out some chicken breasts to trim and then season. I love using rosemary — and I miss my rosemary bush I planted in Oakland in my old place, where I could just walk out the front the door and pick a few sprigs. So — Mr. C. knew indeed, that there is more to a meal than broccoli. You are very smart my friend. Did I mention, that Mr. C. understands probably close to 30-40 words — some English, and some German? Speaking of German, my niece Jacqueline enjoyed it when I sang the cat food song (that I composed and rhymed) to her on the phone, that I sometimes sing to Mr. C. before I feed him. Granted, it’s not Mozart, and she is 10 years old and not very critical (neither is Calvin), but it sure is fun. Oh-oh, I smell some yummy chicken in the oven, so it’s time to leave the keyboard alone, and tend to the more important matters in life.

Have a blessed week