musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser


November 27, 2008

Thankful for rain, I think

Yet another weather blog. That seems to be all I have to write about recently, for which I apologize.

There’s an old saying about rain in California, that it doesn’t rain but it pours. Last night and this morning are a perfect example of that, here in my vicinity, and a day or two earlier with the evacuations of burned areas north of here for fear of mudslides.

After Election Day — the results of which pleased me extremely on the presidential front — we settled into another hot, dry spell with high temperatures in the 90s for too many days to count. I’m trying to put them out of my mind now, but I think this was the first year I ever used the air conditioner here as late as the third week of November. October is supposed to begin our rainy season.

Now the rain. No, now the RAIN. Last night it was so loud it woke me three different times, and once scared the cat so she wailed something about whether the sky might be falling and needed to be reassured. I gave her a hug. (I needed a little reassurance myself.) It wasn’t windy. The noise was just rain. Lots of it.

This morning it’s still raining, but it’s a less frenzied kind of rain. There seems to be less rush to dump all the moisture in the sky on us at once. My estimate is that we might have gotten two inches last night. But I don’t have a rain gauge, so I’ll have to verify that. It sounded like two inches!

And yes, I meant what I said in that last post. Now Tara is nearly 8 months old (Saturday the 29th), and this is her second rain. It’s her first really big rain, since that Election Day rain turned out to be merely a wimpy drizzle after all. And now our fire season is officially over — until the next long dry spell, which hopefully won’t begin until July. The reservoirs are low, so we could use quite a lot of rain this year in Southern California, as well as a nice thick snow pack in the Sierras. Besides, our amazing, intrepid firefighters need a vacation.

In spite of this being a much bigger rain than I hoped for, I’m grateful. The sun is peeking out between clouds now, and I’m wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wherever you are and whoever you’re with, have a wonderful day!

— Barbara @ rudimentary 11:06 am PST, 11/27/08

February 2, 2008

Groundhog Day

Some of our holidays have quite a lot of history behind them, and Groundhog Day is one of my favorites in this regard. I probed the pagan history of Yule a few years ago, so now I think it’s only fair to peer briefly into the past of Groundhog Day, earlier known as Candlemas or St. Brigid’s Day, and before that as Imbolc, which comes to us from the ancient Celts. The name Brigid has its roots in Celtic paganism, with the Goddess Brigid, also known as Bride. As a goddess she had three faces, each having to do with fire, according to the web page, Brigid: Goddess or Saint?

  • Brigid, the ‘Fire of the Hearth’, was the goddess of fertility, family, childbirth and healing.
  • Brigid, the ‘”Fire of the Forge’, was like the Greek goddess Athena, a patroness of the crafts (especially weaving, embroidery, and metalsmithing), and a goddess who was concerned with justice and law and order.
  • Brigid, the ‘Fire of Inspiration’, was the muse of poetry, song history and the protector of all cultural learning.

(read more at Brigid: Goddess or Saint?)

According to Wikipedia, Imbolc:

“is traditionally a time of weather prognostication, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:

Thig an nathair as an toll
La donn Bride,
Ged robh tri traighean dh’ an t-sneachd
Air leachd an lair.

“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.”

“Fire and purification are an important aspect of this festival.”
(read Wikipedia article)

The verse quoted above, and in the Wikipedia article, is from Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations, Ortha Nan Gaidheal, Volume I by Alexander Carmichael (1900), and can be found on line at Sacred Texts Archive, where you can read even more about Bride.

Then there’s the perfect non-religious Groundhog Day celebration for our times, which is simply to enjoy the Bill Murray comedy by that title. That’s how I like to celebrate it.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 10:30 am PST, 02/02/08

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

Snow

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 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

February 9, 2007

Cockatoo love

I love birds, in fact we both do, but after the death of our last little parakeet friend, Kiwi, we decided we didn’t want to keep birds in cages anymore, so the bird cages we’d collected over the years, actually quite a few of them it turns out, now hang on our patio in a kind of empty-cage symbolism—or pile of junk, whichever your preferred interpretation.

We enjoy bird friends at greater distance these days. When I came across the linked story today, I decided I had to share. It’s a love story, just in time for that love-related holiday around the corner—if you’re reading this post while it’s fresh. But why wait until a particular time of year to celebrate love?

Here for your enjoyment, straight from Australia, is a tale of love among cockatoos. Note when I originally posted this it was an article, but the link no longer works. However, I did a search and found someone had reproduced it in two videos:

— Barbara @ rudimentary 5:14 pm PST, 02/09/07

November 24, 2006

A little late but Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not because of the food so much, but because it’s not religious, not limited to any special interest or group like mothers, dads, veterans, lovers. No one need feel left out. It’s universal and focused on simply being grateful for what we have.

Hope you and yours had a peaceful and abundant day, and I wish you many more.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:50 pm PST, 11/24/06

July 29, 2006

After a gray morning with lonesome gusts of wind

The heatwave broke, yesterday, leaving me with a slightly higher tolerance for the summer’s warmth. I didn’t flinch when the temperature rose to 83 in the house today. It’s nothing to me now.

The sky today has been mostly gray, thick clouds parting to reveal a diaphanous, silvery powder blue in places. Finally the clouds shrink to gray puffs against that blue this afternoon. A gust of wind now and then sets everything in motion, tumbling through wind chimes.

I always feel better once the first heat wave of summer passes, with a new higher range of personal comfort, and the assurance that I can make it through to autumn. Autumn here begins late. We always used to spend the first weeks of school with sweaty palms and skin sticking to the varnished chairs and desks. Around Halloween, the air finally cools enough for sweaters at night, at the same time kids dress up to make their ghoulish rounds. Three months to go.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 3:43 pm PST, 07/29/06

January 19, 2006

I started writing by hand

in the privacy of my bedroom, as a teenager, with colored pens. This involved lots of doodling as well as writing. Little hearts, daisies (shudder). I’m better at drawing the daisies now.

Later I taught myself to type on an old Smith Corona typewriter my mother or her mother purchased when Mom was in her teens or early twenties. She was born in 1923, if that gives you a clue to its age. It’s one of those typewriters that could be used to trace a murder suspect because of the way it slightly superscripts certain characters. I used it while seated on the floor of my bedroom beside my bed. Sometimes the typewriter rested on the floor, sometimes on a little castoff maple end table.
(more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 5:47 pm PST, 01/19/06

December 19, 2005

Merry Whatever and a Happy New Year

As someone who is neither pagan (though I have pagan leanings and wonder why no one capitalizes “pagan”), nor Christian (though I have Christian leanings), nor Jewish (though I have Jewish leanings), nor atheist (though I sometimes have atheist leanings, and I notice no one ever capitalizes that, either), I find the so-called “war on Christmas” disheartening. I’m not offended by Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Yule, or Merry Christmas. The “HAPPY” and “MERRY” parts are what count.

The days are too short, the nights are cold, the traffic is terrible. If you’ve ever walked through the toy department this time of year, after the crowds have picked it over, you have a special understanding of the term “Armageddon.”
(more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 9:15 pm PST, 12/19/05


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