musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser

December 23, 2007

Trading holiday madness for holiday joy

A lot of people have been stressing over holiday preparations. I decided a few years ago that I would no longer fall into that trap. This is the first year I’ve managed to do it without much residual guilt, so this year is sort of a strange witnessing experience for me, where instead of being caught up in my own holiday madness, I have the opportunity to be aware how everyone else runs around doing what they think must be done or . . . or what? The holiday will fall on our heads like a big rock? Santa will fall out of the sky? Rudolph’s red nose will explode? The days will keep getting shorter instead of lengthening again, until they disappear? The Solstice is past now, so we can rest assured that didn’t happen. Whew!

In truth, each person tends to accomplish the things that are most important to that person. I know that sometimes in the past I wasn’t even conscious of what was really important to me. I was more conscious of what I thought was expected of me, or what everyone else seemed to consider important. I wanted everything for the people I loved, forgetting that what everyone really wants is . . . love. I felt guilty about what I didn’t do, or sometimes even resentful about what someone else didn’t do to help. But the important things got done just the same. Why can’t we be content with that and spend the rest of the time enjoying each other’s presence, or our memories of those who can’t be with us? (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 3:03 pm PST, 12/23/07

December 9, 2007


We got quite a bit of much-needed rain last weekend. This week’s storm didn’t bring as much where I live. I think the storm dumped most of its moisture on Oregon long before its tail end reached us. But yesterday afternoon, clouds moved in from the west again.

Clouds Sat pm

I was sure this one meant business. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 1:58 pm PST, 12/09/07

November 30, 2007

A Roar For Powerful Words!


Bev Jackson has awarded me the Shameless Lion Award. This award originated with Seamus Kearney of (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 1:40 pm PST, 11/30/07

November 22, 2007

Over the river, and through the wood

We have holidays for a reason, and every culture in the world has had them. But sometimes we need to take a look at our reasons for celebrating, and exactly what it is that matters. We need a way to mark the passage of the seasons, to remind ourselves with lessons from the past why we have reason to celebrate, to review our mistakes as well as our blessings.

When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about this song that I learned as a kid for Thanksgiving: (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:22 pm PST, 11/22/07

October 26, 2007

Home safe and sound

We’re fine, our home is fine, and all our nearest neighbors are fine, as is most of downtown. We got home today and found everything just as we left it four days ago. In the meantime we stayed with my sister, her husband, and her two dogs, who kindly took us in along with our dog, and made us feel very secure and cared for. Thank you, all of you who contacted us and expressed your concern.

I’d never been evacuated before. It’s a surreal experience, especially early on when you don’t know whether you’ll have a home to return to. All I can say is that the more information local governments can provide evacuees the better, whether it’s positive or negative news. Information makes people feel less helpless and forgotten and tells them what they need to do, how to begin as soon as possible to get back to normal and to find a thread connecting them to their future. Sitting and waiting without much information doesn’t work for most of us. I learned in the past four days that it definitely doesn’t work for me, and I usually think of myself as a fairly patient person. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 4:13 pm PST, 10/26/07

October 22, 2007

San Diego County is burning . . . again

Yesterday felt like a rerun of my birthday four years ago when I spent the day worrying about a fire at nearby Camp Pendleton. That year the wind changed to a Santa Ana, carrying that fire away from us. But a few days later the Cedar Fire started, and burned 280,278 acres, 2,820 buildings (including 2,232 homes), and killed 15 people. About a year and a half before that was the Gavilan Fire, which came within 1/2 mile of my home.

When I was a kid I thought Santa Ana winds were sort of exciting, though even then I didn’t like the heat that came with them, or the dry air that made my hair crackle and my skin feel like paper. But now, after so many fires and worries, I’d rather be out of town when this weather kicks in. The humidity was in the single digits all day yesterday, and it’s every bit as dry today. I slept very little last night, spending most of it listening to the wind tear around the house, creaking the walls and whipping things around outside, and wondering whether all of Ramona (36,000 population) and all of Potrero got evacuated, and how far the fires would spread during the night and all that wind.

This morning I woke to a phone call from my sister, who’d heard on the news that there was a fire in Rainbow, about 5 to 10 miles from me. So today is a fire watch day, hoping the wind will settle down, hoping the air will moisten, and hoping our firefighters aren’t stretched too thin.

I turned 51 yesterday. I think I’m getting too old for this.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 10:14 am PST, 10/22/07

October 15, 2007

Politics and the environment collide again

This is a political and diplomatic soup I never expected as a result of global warming, but I never was all that good at chess either.

Political dramas are playing out over the Northwest Passage, igniting fresh strife regarding who owns northern waters and the numerous islands that are revealed as ice melts.

If you’d like a look at what’s happening by way of the now-familiar backward chronology of a blog, check out BBC News’ Diary: Taking the Northwest Passage. It chronicles an actual passage by David Shukman on board ship with the Canadian Coast Guard. He includes information about the disputes that have risen in the past and may again in the near future. Shukman also answers questions from readers, with the help of Professor Jean-Eric Tremblay, the chief scientist of the expedition, in Northwest Passage: Your questions answered.

If you wonder how much global warming could change your nearest coastline in the next two decades, take a look at ABC’s What Global Warming Looks Like. It features the work of Edward Mazria, an architect who turned to spreading information about global warming and the contribution to it by the building industry. He’s produced a set of images showing what he predicts some large coastal cities in the US will look like in 2030, with projected rising water levels due to global warming.

Thanks to Georganna Hancock at A Writer’s Edge, for her post, Writing on Blog Action Day, and its heads-up that today is Blog Action Day for the Environment.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 4:45 pm PST, 10/15/07

October 9, 2007

Yearning for fall

I’m in one of those quiet times when I think about things to write, and sometimes even write them, but I don’t post. So the blog is quiet. This is not an apology. I’ve decided that irregular blogging doesn’t require apology. It usually means we’re living more outside the blog or the Internet, and that is often for the best.

We’re getting our typical early fall weather, which isn’t really fall at all, but an evaporated extension of summer. A few cool, rainy days fooled us into thinking this autumn might turn out otherwise, but not so. Now we’re getting the really dry weather that saps the moisture out of every living thing, including me. My skin doesn’t like it, my hair doesn’t like it, and neither does the rest of me. Every contact with a metal object results in a little blue spark, making me cautious and twitchy. Maybe that caution extends to writing and is what keeps me from posting.

This is the time of year that I envy those who live where fall turns spectacular colors. Here we get drab yellowing, and maybe a little dull orange if the leaves don’t dry up and blow away in a Santa Ana wind before they have a chance to turn. I love fall colors, so I gravitate toward pictures of true autumn, and I’m grateful to all the bloggers in other places who share their photos of fall. Fall is my favorite season, and I crave as much as I can get.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:02 pm PST, 10/09/07

October 3, 2007

Five years ago today

According to PRNewswire, Dennis Kucinich, in an impassioned plea five years ago, made a point-by-point argument against going to war in Iraq. He analyzed what he knew of the intelligence, and he persuaded 132 other legislators to vote against going to war. You can read the text of his speech five years ago in this PDF document.

Where would we be today if more people had listened?

— Barbara @ rudimentary 1:03 pm PST, 10/03/07

September 27, 2007

Blogging, books, the faeries, and me

I was thrilled a few weeks ago to be asked to contribute some of my thoughts about blogging to a project called, Blog Your Book to the Top. It’s an ebook published by CyberBookBuzz to help authors use blogs to promote their work.

What little I know about that apparently went over well, so I’m one of the 15 authors whose blogs and tips are featured in the book. You might want to take a look, if only for tips from others who know far more than I do about using a blog to promote their work. Nancy Hendrickson, who asked me to take part, is a freelance writer in San Diego and creator of Blogging Authors and Book Talk Radio. She’s included dozens of great tips about author blogging, and blogging in general, in Blog Your Book to the Top.

One of my particular thrills resulting from this project is to see my name on the summary page for the book — on the same page as a blurb by Jessica Macbeth, author of The Faeries Oracle. Her excellent book accompanies Brian Froud’s Faeries Oracle cards, which I love so much that after I lost my first deck last year I immediately bought a second one.

How cool is that?

— Barbara @ rudimentary 10:59 am PST, 09/27/07

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