musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser

April 13, 2009

I know there’s something good happening out there

I’ve been in a horribly bad mood, mainly due to family troubles of the kind that make me feel helpless and small — the news of the death of my oldest brother, and my dad’s loss of independence due to a stroke. I’ve also had some just silly bad luck at home, little things like stubbing a toe so hard a few days ago that I worried it was broken (it’s still sore), straining my back lifting a bag of cat litter yesterday, frustration over the economic crunch that everyone is feeling, when I really could use a newer more reliable car. Why is it that bad news and events seem to come in these overwhelming groupings that feel as if they’ll never end — or, if that isn’t what’s happening, why is it that my mind seems to make even the small problems feel big, once it starts on a downward spiral?

Today I knew I needed to crawl out of this hole I found myself in. I’ve been avoiding the news, because that usually just makes me feel worse, and worse was definitely not what I needed. I know some people think that’s an unrealistic attitude, but I find the news unrealistic, in its focus on everything bad and very little good except nonsensical news about the personal lives of celebrities — people who would likely just as soon be left alone when it comes to personal matters.

I decided to search for some positive news on the Internet, and I found this story on a blog called Great Pet Net that I thought I should share in case anyone else could use a lift: Jasmine the Mother Theresa Greyhound. Dogs tend to have a healing way about them, all around, in my opinion. But this one is exceptional. She certainly had a distant healing effect on me.

It’s a beautiful spring day here. Flowers are blooming, in spite of the gopher that keeps eating them. (Our gopher loves California poppies and nasturtiums. What does yours like?) The The Hooded Orioles arrived early from Mexico, and one almost flew right into me yesterday, maybe because I was wearing green and blended with the plants. Later I watched three Red-tailed Hawks circle the sky above our house. Clouds sail across the sky today in a stiff, delicious ocean breeze. My cat Tara is always up for a game of chase or a tumble with toys. Someone I care about is playing Bach on the piano in the next room.

Yesterday I spotted a long, sinuous cloud in the western sky that looked like a Japanese dragon. I didn’t get a picture, but if you’re familiar with the animated film, Spirited Away, it looked a lot like Haku in his natural form as a river spirit.

Now that I’ve set my mind back in its more customary direction, at least for the moment, good things are beginning to happen inside me again, too.

Every now and then I find it necessary to keep a gratitude journal, to find at least three things each day that I’m grateful for to write about. I think I’ll take up that practice again for a while.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 4:30 pm PST, 04/13/09

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

September 2, 2007

Right outside my door

When I stopped commuting to a busy office and switched to staying home most days, I worried a little whether my new life would be too quiet or uneventful to suit me. But I’m never bored, and I’m sometimes amazed how much can happen right outside my door. I’ve been able to slow down, tune into the seasons, and let them slide gently past. I can be a mushroom, staying indoors and focusing on my inner world, as writers do when we’re working, or I can step right outside and find endless variety, especially in the forms nature takes.

I posted earlier this summer about hummingbirds. There have been lots of birds this summer. The mockingbirds twirled in cartwheel displays, showing off the white of their wings, and flew in wild, veering trajectories to catch cabbage white butterflies. They sang for hours on end, and swooped at anyone who ventured within range of their nests. A nearby rooster crows most mornings and sometimes all day. I’ve seen a phainopepla, a few hawks, loads of crows, orioles, black phoebes, brown towhees, and house finches. My husband saw a California thrasher, who sadly chose a rare time when I was at the post office to stop by for a snack of insects. Now and then a flock of common bushtits flies through, chittering in light tones. They never seem to sit still, and I like their tiny, perfect round shapes, so like the birds in picture books that I read as a child.

We’ve seen butterflies of all varieties this year, as well as plenty of bees, lizards, bats, and the tarantula hawk, and the summer has seen a variety of mushrooms sprouting in the yard, which seem to be able to blend in with their surroundings. (Click on images to view full size.)

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Our daily visitors include the ubiquitous scrub jay.


I’ve noticed that a variety of clouds can inhabit different parts of the sky in the same moment.

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I even got to thinking about the little fuzzy-edged ones, and wondered if painters who pour watercolor ever pour white gouache to make clouds. That sent me on a lazy search that introduced me to the work of artist Vickie Leigh Krudwig.

We’ve had our hottest weather of the year in the past two days, and today promises to be even hotter. Thirty minutes ago it was 97 degrees Fahrenheit outside. As I write this, it’s 99. Yesterday’s sighting of a swallowtail butterfly almost as big as my hand, and this morning’s sunrise, almost make up for the heat.

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I’m attempting to ignore the fact that the sunrise was followed a few hours later by a 4.0 earthquake about 40 miles north of us, which jolted us to our feet. As I write this, thunderheads are forming just east, which looked like this an hour ago,


and like this half an hour later.


I don’t expect a triple whammy day of heat, earthquake, and thunderstorms. I’m looking for the next butterfly. But I may close the car windows just in case.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 1:35 pm PST, 09/02/07

July 27, 2007

Going with the flow

My “Quickie” horoscope on Yahoo! this morning said,

“If you wake up feeling weird, just go with it!”

Hmm, okay, but I wake up feeling weird every morning, especially since I began working at home. I’m finally teaching myself to go with the flow, to let my days be unstructured and still get important things done. But now summer is here, the time of year when I wish I could hibernate and have someone rouse my half-baked body when it’s over.

I haven’t been posting as much because I’m in the midst of my yearly hot weather adaptation phase. That’s the excuse I’m going with. My dread of hot weather and my seeming inability to adapt make global warming and menopause at the same time feel like a horrid revelation that hell does exist, and I am going there. Go with the flow? I’m swimming upstream from the heat as fast as I can. This weather makes me miss the job at the office where someone else paid for the air conditioning, and paid me to be there in it. How cool was that?

I’m a slug this time of year. But last night, before I went to sleep, I thought it would be nice to wake up early and enjoy the cool of the morning. Apparently that set my mental alarm clock, and I wakened at dawn. This has happened a lot recently, deciding on a time to wake up, and waking at that time, without the alarm clock. It’s like a new super-power.

This morning was lovely, with the kinds of clouds I’ve heard called buttermilk skies, and a soft, cool breeze. I should use my super-power more often.

How do you go with the flow?

— Barbara @ rudimentary 9:31 am PST, 07/27/07

June 12, 2007

Jacaranda blooming season

Jacaranda 02

The jacarandas are blooming in my neighborhood. They’re not natives here, but enough are planted in coastal Southern California that they sometimes seem to be natives, filling the landscape with lavender blossoms every May and June. Even with none planted in our yard, every direction I look I can see a jacaranda blooming. (Click on images to view larger.)

This period of late spring and early summer is one of my favorite times, when we have gray overcast or fog in the mornings, and sometimes all day. These weather conditions are nicknamed May Gray and June Gloom, or more correctly called coastal eddies. The clouds linger for at least part of the day, with a cool ocean breeze, sometimes followed by clear blue skies all afternoon. I relish every minute of this until summer’s heat sets in. I want to stay outdoors for hours at a stretch, or do the heavier housework that is best done with all the windows open, until summer’s heat makes me want to sit near an air conditioner and do nothing.

Jacaranda 03 Jacaranda 04

Jacaranda 05 Jacaranda 01

— Barbara @ rudimentary 12:45 pm PST, 06/12/07

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