Monthly Archives: December 2013




As the year winds down, I am grateful for a wonderful Christmas visit to Oregon. I reflect on the candlelight Service; I remember the woman in front of Patrick and me thanking us for singing the hymns with our deep voices behind her; I ponder Patrick doing all his culinary preparations — he has the motions of a chef now — and I can only marvel at the skills he has acquired; I delight in the unique home-made jelly Christian gave me; I muse about the sleepy hedgehog Hannah showed me that bit me (my fault for smelling like a chicken taco); I remember the great Christmas dinner Big Patrick and Sanae made, and chuckle about the cats hiding from me. Thank you for a peaceful Christmas God.

3. Advent

As I think about the day today, evening has slowly come. The full moon is rising in the east, peeking through some branches in the distance. The sun which has now set, was low on the horizon today as I took an afternoon walk, half closing my eyes while walking, marveling at it’s warmth in late December — a real treat after the cold spell last week. Church was sparsely attended this morning — I guess a sign of the times, as people forget, or don’t know the real reason for the season, the birth of God’s son. I am grateful I could attend. As Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered in my name”. After a busy week, with the joy of seeing both my sons briefly and enjoying their culinary skills, it was a quiet Sunday today in comparison. I had to chuckle as I sat in my chair for a cup of tea, having lit the third Advent candle, as my cat Calvin, the little doofus, decided to chase a pistachio across the floor at full speed oblivious to the peace of the candles.

Have a blessed week

Sea Shells, C’est Gratuit

9780983535119I am delighted to announce, that my second book “Sea Shells, C’est Gratuit” was just published on December 1, 2013. It is a color version of my book Fish Camping, and has an additional short story in it, that takes place in Oakland, California. It features the beautiful artwork of my sister-in-law, Anne Leue.

1. Advent

1. AdventIt’s hard to believe it is December already. From the shower window, I can see my “Botanical Garden”. Yesterday the rest of my potted plants migrated from my neighbor’s house, who had been taking care of them, to the back courtyard here, after which I trimmed, weeded, mulched, and watered them. It is nice to have them back: the maples, the princess flower, the wild rose which now has rosebuds. What a difference potted plants make in a concrete yard. No time to sit outside among them with coffee this morning though, as I don’t want to miss Service. I do open the first window of a chocolate Advent calendar that my son Christian sent me, a surprise that came in the mail yesterday. Unfortunately, the chocolate behind the window is nowhere to be seen, it has fallen below window No. 1 which is at the top, and I am thus deprived of what I anticipated. I will have to wait for a window in the lower elevations to reap the bounty later. This unfortunate incident can be ascribed to the substitute mailman, who stuffed the calendar into my mailbox, thus wrinkling it.

Outside church, I see a lone red rose that has just started to bloom. I’m not sure which countries or Lutheran churches celebrate Advent besides Germany, but of course it is more than just candles — it is celebrating the coming of Christ.

In the early afternoon, I finally get to sit among my plants. Surprisingly, I hear the unmistakable, but perhaps a bit unseasonable jingle of an ice cream truck. Someone overslept it seems. I opt for a walk, as warm sun in December should not be wasted. A peaceful quiet engulfs the streets. I stop, and look up to admire about seven or eight hawks who are circling delightedly under the blue sky. A few blocks later I am greeted by a leftover — a Jack-O-Lantern in the form of a paper lantern, with a big grin on his face. Unseasonable too, but it makes me laugh. Coming home, I slip through the fence in the back — something I observed one of the people in my apartment building doing the other day, much to the surprise of my cat Calvin, who did not expect me to come from that direction.

Have a peaceful 1. Advent