Category Archives: L I F E

Daily ramblings about my life the the people who are associated with me by choice or circumstance

Photos from Patinges…Again…

We’re coming of a super busy three weeks now with time to breath before another weeks tours before the first vacation to Provence this year. We’ve had an amazing bunch of clients so far this year at Le Vieux Moulin It’s a bummer how fast time flies when you’re having as much fun as we did. I haven’t had much inspiration with the camera lately, but still shooting at interesting things for fun.

Wednesday was a family trip to the market in Sancoins.  Fresh strawberries were in season along with the beginning of cherry season.  The Loup de Mer and Coquille St. Jauques were very fresh from the fish monger and made for some delicious suppers the following nights.  I went very simple with the Loup and pan seared it to medium rare and had it with some simple butter/cream potatoes with glazed carrots fresh from the market.  It’s amazing how good food is when it’s in it’s natural freshest state.  No photos of it though as I’m still working on lighting for food shots, not enough time in this world to learn everything we want.

Here are some photos from the week in my life…

Baby chickens from the live animal room at the market in Sancoins

Baby chicken photo Sancoins France 2008

Monster rooster across the isle from the babies, might have been Daddy.  Probably not but he did start posing when he noticed me taking his photo.

Monster Rooster photo Sancoins France 2008

Slugs and snails are a bountiful pest here in central France.  We caught this one in the garden the other day and decided photographing him before relocation to the forest down the road was a good idea.

Huge snail caught in the garden

Wandering around the island at home, waiting for the dragonflies to come back on a gray day.  These are the first lillies to come up after the flood last week.

Lillies on the L'Aubois river Patinges France June 2008

One of the first apples from the tree we planted in Tree’s memory.  The label said it would not produce fruit for 3-4 years and his tree has about 20 of these soon-to-be delicious specimens on it.  Pommier r Blanche du Canada is what the tree is called, with sweet/slightly sour fruits.

POMMIER r Blanche du canada Patinges France

I suppose that’s all for now.  I’ll be back in a couple weeks with more updates on Julien and photos from Provence.

No Photos Today…

My cat is gone…The irresponsible people at scanned Julien’s EU microchip and put him up for adoption. The people who adopeted him took him to a vet and they killed him. They said he had a stomach ailment and he died of some mysterious German stress illness. May he rest in peace, those at may you pay for your negligance, in one way or another.

I have not had the heart or mind to take any photos, I’ve been spending time with my daughter drawing and thinking. I will be back in a few weeks.


A little birdie, sitting on my branch the other day…

Bird Illustration

Miscellaneous flower…

Flower Illustration

Nothing much to report today

The Julien saga is on hold right now, at least for the weekend.  My man at Lufthansa gave me the information on the person who let him go from the shelter in Frankfurt yesterday, but low and behold it was a European holiday.  Today I call her myself and she had left for the day.  He said she would call me, so I figured she would dial a phone and call me.  Stupid me…

I’ll keep both of you posted.

On a lighter note, i’ve entered the highly competitive world of thumb wrestling on an international level!!! Not really I’ve finally made it through all of the hoops to be a “contributor” to IStockphoto, which is one of the best in online images for advertising and design on the cheap.  They’re pretty tough to get with but their comments are correct when they tell you that your photo sucks.  We’ll see how it goes, I’ll have a bunch up there soon. Check em out.


This post today is a bittersweet, though I feel the need to write it to the semi-public audience that may or may not ever read it. Nothing about photography but the story of my trip from Denver to Paris a few weeks ago.

I flew Lufthansa airlines from Denver to Frankfurt with my dog Thelma and my cat Julien. Both of them have and were in their airline approved travel crates and I sent them off in Denver after a quick check in the bomb detection room at Denver International Airport. This is not the first time for their travel so I did not have much apprehension about the trip but then things went bad.

The flight from Denver to Frankfurt Germany was about 30 minutes or so late and I missed my connection flight to Paris. The same thing happened last year as I was flying through Washington DC on my way to Denver and the animals were stuck in baggage for an extra 4 hours while we waited on another plane to take us home. It was hard on the animals but I had clear communication from all airport staff that they were fine and in a secure area. So, with this experience, my apprehension of something going wrong was muted a bit.

Julien the cat relaxing in the sun after a hard day of eating mice

Well, the desk at Lufthansa in Frankfurt could not tell me anything about their status this time. I asked the desk person several times and she kept calling down to the tarmac and the baggage handlers and no news. I finally went and sat by the window at the terminal to see if I could catch a glimpse of the crates being loaded and I told myself I would not get on the plane if I didn’t see their crates. Well low and behold, a single tractor with both crates showed up in front of the plane. I could see Thelma in hers and Julien’s crate was right next to Thelma’s so I though all was good and I boarded the plane without another word from Lufthansa.

Welcome home to Paris…The flight from Frankfurt to Paris is quite short at about an hour and I arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport and made my way to pick up my suitcases before going to the large item pickup for the animals and I heard my name over the loudspeaker to go to baggage area one and I assumed it was just to get my cat and dog.

Well that’s when everything went wrong. The lady at the Lufthansa desk said someone had let Julien out of his crate while taking him out of the plane in Frankfurt, they are denying this now, but more on that in a bit. She had a report in front of her, written in English that said the cat was let out of his cage and escaped during the deboarding process and they have not found him.

So Lufthansa had lost my cat in Frankfurt and they let me board the plane thinking he was on board. I’m in Paris now, helpless to go and try and find my frightened cat who I assumed was smashed by one of the maniacal tarmac vehicles at the airport. The desk person at Lufthansa in Paris made a couple calls to Germany and I suppose her supervisors and in the end she wrote Julien missing as a lost cat carrier. During all of this frustration and anguish, Thelma had not been brought down to me yet, so my tension was through the ceiling. Michelle and Margot were waiting on me outside the secured baggage area with no news and no way for me to speak with them. After about 5 minutes more they brought the empty cat crate to me with no words, they just handed it to me. Why in the hell did they give me the empty crate?? After running up and down the baggage area at Charles De Gaulle looking for Thelma with two of the staff members from the baggage desk, she came in safe and sound about 10 minutes later. The longest wait I’ve ever had for my dog coming off the plane, in all it was about 45minutes to an hour for her to get from the plane to the terminal. Julien is missing and assumed dead or living in the forest surrounding Frankfurt airport.

Now it was time for me to go out and see Michelle and Margot after a month apart and explain to my 4 year old daughter why her cat is not in his crate. After our initial exchange of hugs and kisses, Margot asked why the cat crate was empty and looked for Julien to be on a leash behind me (which he would never stand for a leash). I took the easy way out and said that he got off the plane and decided to live in Germany for a while and I hoped that he would choose to come home soon.

Next steps were for us to take up the issue with Lufthansa, hoping they would be working finding the cat and staying in communication with me. Well I was wrong. I called Lufthansa in Paris the next day to find status and what my next steps will be. She was actually somewhat polite for a customer service person in France but she said there was no status and I should just check on the website for any new news and there would be no more reason to ever call her again. Stuck. Next, I called United Airlines with whom I made the reservation for this flight and they were very apologetic and quickly sent me a voucher for $200 in flights. What the hell am I going to do with a $200 flight coupon and what kind of restitution for an animals life is that? I managed not to cuss him out but simply hung up on him and decided my fight would be best spent in Germany with Lufthansa. So, I call the baggage claim office of Lufthansa, I’m not sure where this was but it was a 1-800 number and I met with a very nasty lady who said that the crate had not been found, remember I have the crate, and I reminded her that it isn’t a crate and that they lost my cat. She, in a few words, told me to get bent. She could not do anything and she told me to check the website. My only recourse was to send a letter to Lufthansa customer service, which by the way does not take phone calls! You can only initiate communication with these people via a web form, fax or email. I’m very frustrated at this point and begin to give up.

Michelle in her infinite wisdom, goes to the web for help. She finds someone who listens to this story and sincerely cares. She finds where Chris agrees to help us. Chris sends our story to the media relations department of Lufthansa and within a day or so, we were contacted by a team lead at Lufthansa “Customer Service”.

The gentleman at Lufthansa is at least somewhat appologetic and begins to help me find Julien.  He asks the right questions by getting a description and photo of Julien along with his EU microchip number for valid ID.  He goes on to tell me that there is no way that someone would have let him out as it is against the law but I heard and read differently in Paris.  The cage is not damaged in anyway and it was locked when it showed up to me at CDG.  The flight was long but I don’t think it was long enough for my cat to figure out the lock on his travel carrier.  I am trying not to be accusatory towards anyone at this point of the case, i just want my cat back.

A short time after providing him this information, he calls back and says there is good news and weird news.  Julien is alive and well!!!  They found him at Frankfurt airport and sent him to a shelter where his microchip was read and he was put up for adoption!  His address and information is to us in France on his chip, the shelter in Frankfurt still let him go.  So, at this point my temper is about to explode but then it gets even worse.  He tells me that Julien must have been a very charming cat as they are usually not adopted so quickly, and the family that got him wants us to let them keep him.  What do you say to that???  I said hell NO!!  Just get me my cat back!  You lost him and it’s your responsiblity to right the wrongs that happened with the baggage services at Frankfurt and you’re baggage people who did not take any information at the time or the people who let me leave Germany without my cat.  I’m at a loss, he says he’ll make some calls and see what he can do.

It is now Monday morning in France and I have several more hours until he’ll be working in New York, so I wait.  I will keep this post updated as I learn more.  If you have stumbled upon this post and have read this far, please send it to everyone you know who travels with pets.  It is important that airlines take responsibility for people who have to travel with their pets.

Julien the cat on the bridge, at his home in Patinges France