Author Archives: matthiasleue

About matthiasleue

Matthias Leue is a fine art landscape photographer and travel story writer based in California.

February weather

A few days ago I was riding around town, taking advantage of a sunny day (a sparse occurrence after months of rain). I thought it was now or never, as rain is forecast for days ahead yet once again. The reward was bountiful: yellow acacia blossoms in full bloom, the bright “here I am” pink of the plum blossoms (which don’t last very long, so you have to pay attention), a few magnolias in their pink and white dresses, and the snow-white blossoms of trees whose species escapes my knowledge. How grateful I am to live in California.

Sure enough: foreboding, dark and ominous clouds the next day, and a wind just whipping through the trees and playing havoc with the water down at the pier: seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves the wind was stirring, seeming to cherish the motion; a flock of pigeons stirred up by a four-footed miscreant doing their aerial acrobatics in formation to move to a safe distance from the disturbance; sandpipers scurrying along on the island where normally the pelicans reside. Brisk chilly air that made you feel alive.

 Have a blessed and peaceful week.


Right focus

It has been a rough week emotionally, to say the least. Speaking briefly with the pastor’s wife after coming out from service, she told me that the only thing all the kids talked about this week in the after school program was the violence and hate they saw on TV, and didn’t understand. Bad being called good, wrong being called right, fighting, bad language.

I’m sometimes asked why I post comics on my social media page – “that’s for kids”, I’m told – well quite simply put: the world needs humor, laughter, uplifting stories – focusing on the good, and positive side of life. And besides, I love kids.

The proliferation of modern technology in our age makes us aware of any given situation in the world almost instantaneously, and we are bombarded with information all the time, much of it lies and exaggerations. I think this may be subconsciously sucking us into a negative downward spiral. On a side note: I saw an article which explained that a new scientific study now shows that people who spend too much time on their smart phones suffer from sleep disorders. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

Just spending a half hour down by the water this evening looking at the phenomenon of the bright yellow “super” moon, the soft ripples on the water, pink reflections of the sunset fading from the edges of the clouds, a fisherman casting out his line – almost a silhouette in the evening light, and a small dog of rather humble stature relieving himself on one the poles right next to me, brought life into perspective again.

I’m shutting down the news this week. Perhaps longer.

Have a blessed Sunday evening. In Jesus name, Amen.

Seafood taco

Sustainable seafood taco I should say, as I look at the subject line above. The good intentions were there to get up early today, and I did briefly wake up at seven, before falling asleep again and then waking up at ten. I guess I needed sleep. Today is Coastal Cleanup Day, and as I don’t have any work right now, I figure I might as well make myself useful where I reside on our blue-green planet. Today is a day when Californians all over the state volunteer to pick up trash on the beaches. Last year over 68,000 people volunteered to pick up trash. Of course one should chide the litterbugs who made this mess to begin with, but thank God, that so many people treasure our beautiful state and it’s beaches and are willing to tidy up.

With an orange bucket containing a pair of gloves hanging on my handlebars, I start heading down the street. A truck pulls to the right of me to turn, and the driver rolls down his window, advising me that carrying the bucket in this manner is dangerous. Perhaps in traffic, but hardly on a deserted street I think. The bucket police strikes again. Smiling, I tell him that life can be dangerous. With dual buckets he may have had a point.

Arriving at the cleanup check-in site, I hand over my signed waiver form. This seems kind of silly to me, since this is volunteer work, but we do live in the age of litigation. The last claw for picking up trash goes to the person ahead of me – oh well, I guess my hands will work too – I chuckle. The check-in person who is also a teacher has been there since 8:30 and tells me she is ready for some lunch. I concur. I however need to earn mine first. To expand some more on the subject line above: I am handed a small business card with the California Coastal Commission logo on it, entitling the bearer of the card to a sustainable seafood taco – courtesy of a restaurant chain. There is a BBQ at noon I am told, before my bucket and I make our way down to the shoreline.

There are lots of kids and a few parents here already with buckets and trash bags. This part of the shore seems very clean, so I walk over some slippery rocks to another section of the shore. Bingo! Several aluminum cans, a horseshoe, many pieces of glass, some plastic. My bucket is delighted. I pass a mom who is taking inventory on a clipboard of the stuff that two of her boys are collecting. A third boy is playing in the sand, oblivious to the world around him. I joke with her that she has the easy job. Coming around the next bend, the rocks are very slippery and the reeds make it difficult to continue. As I bend down to pick up a bottle after this rather perilous endeavor, a woman on her cellphone on the balcony above me barks at me, that this is private property. “Want the bottle back?” Civic engagement seems to be a bit lacking here. I edge my way back to the original shoreline where I find a crab shell minus the interior. I pick up the crab skeleton and give it to the two boys I had met earlier who are just thrilled.

My bucket now half full, I return to the check-in station where my trash in the bucket is weighed. “Six pounds!” the teacher exclaims surprised. “That’s tops for the day”. I ask her if this means that I get to eat six pounds of hamburgers at the BBQ. Sure, sure, she says half-serious. A boy on a bicycle then directs me to a dumpster nearby where I empty my bucket. The dumpster is from the same company that picks up my apartment building’s  trash – their trucks being known by my cat as the “blue monsters”, and held in very low esteem on his behalf.

Lemonade, steak sandwiches with BBQ sauce, and a mango-strawberry popsicle are the reward for the participants. Yum. Naptime.

Pretty fishy

I was standing at the fish monger’s counter at the supermarket yesterday, waiting while the customer in front of me was getting their complicated order. There were some delicious seasonal specimen on display, including halibut, ahi tuna, and cod, all of them fresh and wild caught, but all a bit above my budget. The trout however looked really good too. Once the customer in front of me received their order, the fish monger turned to me and thanked me for my patience. I proceeded to order the trout filet which was on sale, and he told me “you know that’s by the piece not by the pound”. I affirmed this. He then added an extra filet at no charge (I’m guessing because I waited patiently) much to my delight, while telling me a story of going fishing recently near Mammoth Lakes, and catching his limit of trout, but having to run with his catch, after hearing somebody shout: “bear coming your way”. Another fish enthusiast it seems trying to obtain his daily limit.

Food musings

I came across this forgotten draft today. OK – get to work, finish your food musings Mr. Author, as you like to call yourself…

Although basketball seems to be highlight of the Bay Area these days as far as sports are concerned, and deservedly so, I must report that I was privy to a sushi lunch at the time these notes were taken, that focus on a now off-season sport.

Musing No. 1:

Making my choice from the menu, I order the 49er roll, in yes – you guessed right – a Japanese restaurant. Said roll is composed of tuna and avocado. I don’t quite understand the avocado part, although the color of the tuna may be regarded as reflecting part of the team colors in a vague sense I suppose. Still pondering the, by the way, rather tasty avocado, I took note of another interesting feature inside the restaurant: chairs covered in fake leopard skin. Not your typical interior decor for a Japanese restaurant I would suspect, but at least no animal came to harm here.

Musing No. 2:

I had read the menu in the window of this restaurant when I was passing by once, and had made a mental note of their spinach omelette –  a fine choice for lunch as it turned out. As I was eating my omelette, I watched a little girl at the next table devour a large stack of pancakes. She went at them rather sophisticated for her age, armed with knife and fork, taking her time to slowly eat each one, pausing every once in a while to pour a large amount of syrup over the stack that remained. A gourmet in the making. She was so focused on her pancakes, that she was oblivious to the rest of the world. I decided to order some blackberry bread pudding for desert, which I ate with equal abandon.

Now go have some lunch…