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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 by Claire | Comments Off

STICKIED. Scroll down for newer posts.

Thank you for using my Amazon links for your online shopping.

Cleaning out the closets of the mind

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 by Claire | 14 Comments »

When I moved into this house, nearly 18 months ago now, I didn’t have time to do it right. So many urgent things had to be done — and I’m talking bleach-the-mold-off-the-walls urgent, rip-entire-walls-out urgent, tear-off-rotted-rooms urgent — that many niceties got neglected. Boxes went unpacked. Stuff got stuffed … wherever.

Besides, after having lived small for 10 years (between Cabin Sweet Cabin and that crumbling fifth-wheel in the desert), I had just spent the previous three years in house with an attic, a basement, and a garage. This house … not so much.

Then there was the teeny, tiny problem of closets. This place had not a single one. Not. One. Closet.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas traditions

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 by Claire | 7 Comments »

Well, I guess there are Christmas traditions and then there are Christmas traditions.

I have to admit I rather admire the one that involves arson. ;-)

Monday links

Monday, December 15th, 2014 by Claire | 12 Comments »

Working on a longer think-piece from the hermitage. Meanwhile, thinking of you …

  • Okay, you know the .22 LR shortage is desperate when people start reloading the stuff. S, who sent the link, says he’s not about to start personally risking his eyeballs packing gunpowder into tricky little rims; YMMV.
  • Turns out that execrable CRomnibus spending bill (which rewards every pork-seeking group in the nation, with special attention to funding the D & R parties), has at least one good feature: it defunds the war on legalized cannabis.
  • But Australia banned guns! So how can this possibly be happening???
  • Well, the Olympia non-compliance rally didn’t draw as many who had signed up for it. But by every other measure it was a grand success. Here’s David Codrea’s take. And Mike Vanderboegh’s. And video of Mike’s speech. Activists burning their concealed carry permits and cops making no arrests as they watched protestors repeatedly violate the new law. Oh yeah …
  • 75 little hacks for making everyday stuff easier. Very clever! (H/T AG; note, the servers at are having some problems right now, apparently from sheer overload. But once you can access this, it’s worthwhile for sure.)

And a big thank you to they buyers who’ve lifted my Amazon sales into healthy territory in the last week. This may not be a classic December, but it’s safely into the territory of becoming a good month. Thanks to many — but special nod to a seamstress, a rifle shooter, a skateboarder, a fitness fan, and a very fancy cat fancier!

After being so rudely interrupted

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by Claire | 19 Comments »

… by WordPress eating the last third of this morning’s blog, I thought I’d quickly check back in for a little catching up.

It’s definitely looking more and more like batten-down-the-hatches time for tomorrow. Aside from winds gusting into the 70s and 80s, it’s wet, wet, wet and about to get wetter. This afternoon I took a drive outside of town and at high tide (we’re heavy on salt marsh and tidal estuary hereabouts) the water was already only inches from rising over the roadway. By tomorrow’s high tides, things could get messy.

The windows of my house overlook a wetland that in winter usually has small channels of water running through it. It’s a solid lake now, broken only by a few grassy hummocks. Another inch or two of rain will make it a solid river.

Yeah, definitely battening time. It feels great to know I’ve got heat, food, light, and water on hand. As long as the trees and the hill behind the house stay put, what more could a body need?


I was nearly done with this morning’s maundering when WordPress gobbled it, anyhow. So I’ll let that go for a while.

I just wanted to add that other books I’ve found helpful (as well as entertaining) are Oliver Burkeman’s The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and Sam Harris’ Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. (Sam is no relation to Dan from that earlier blog, but they do know each other. Oddly, Sam — the famous atheist — is less of a skeptic than Dan, whose book 10% Happier is now my gold standard for “skeptic spiritual seeking.”


And on the subject of Amazon links, because Karen and Ellendra asked, I tried to find that bounty program I thought I’d seen for those of you who sign up for that flat-rate $10/month plan for Kindle books. But either I imagined it or it’s gone now. So for heaven’s sake, if you’re thinking of signing up for that, just do it. It’s great of you to think of me, but it’s not a biggie.

However, if anybody downloads the free Kindle Cloud Reader (for non-Kindle devices) using this link, it’s a $1 bounty credited to my associates account.

If you give Amazon Prime as a gift this Christmas using this link I’ll receive a $10 bounty. (This is strictly for gift purchases, not your own Prime memberships.)

Sign up for your own 30-day free trial of Prime membership using this link and I’ll receive a $3 bounty even if you cancel.

Now, if all you need from Amazon is a little holiday fantasy and humor, check out the links Dana dropped into comments the other day. Don’t miss the hilarious product reviews.

On a more practical note, if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the freedomista-survivalist-gun-owning-pet-loving-bacon-consuming-book-reading person on your list, last year’s seven-part gift series might offer inspiration. (The link goes to part VII; scroll down for links to earlier installments. Probably a few broken links by now, but you’ll find what you’re looking for.)


Stay warm and dry wherever you are!

Dispatches from the Hermitage

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by Claire | 10 Comments »

It’s been howling and pouring for the last two days — and now the weather folks are telling us the news: a big blow is coming! (That news story is California-centric, but its map is not.)

We’ve been having this-and-that warnings all week. High surf warnings. Travel advisories. High-wind warnings. At one point the Seattle area was under 14 different warnings at the same time. Portland, about the same. The pineapple express, usually semi-rare, has been running on a regular schedule this season. Even with the big storm less than 24 hours out, meteorological models are still arguing with each other about whether we’re expecting hurricane-force or fizzle. But what we’ve already gotten is impressive enough.

Of course, no matter what I can say about this part of the world, somebody else always has more drama. And welcome to it.

Whatever the weather where you are, may you be safe and cozy from it.


The howling woke me at 2:30 this morning. The wind was lifting decorative plaques on the outside wall just over my head, then slamming them back down against the siding with various thumps, chitters, clangs, and chatters.

Nevertheless, I woke feeling an uncanny peace. Normally I can’t meditate in the middle of the night, but my breath, and a nice, relaxed focus, came easily. I just went with it.

Eventually, both dogs and the cat realized I was awake and wedged themselves against me — kitty to the right, Ava to the left, and 50 pounds of Robbie lying on my feet.

So serene. So warm. So pleasant — until my legs demanded a little more circulation.


I’ve finally found a book that’s seriously helping my hermitting. A book from an unlikely source. Its author, Dan Harris, is, of all things, an ABC news guy (Nightline and Good Morning America).

He lives in New York City. Loves to travel the world. Had a loving, upper-middle class upbringing. Was raised hippie-artsy-liberal. Has been fiercely ambitious in a cutthroat career. Is happily married. Has a junkie’s craving for thrills and danger.

In short, he ought to be my opposite. I should have nothing in common with him. But OMG, the guy shares some major part of my brain!

His book is called 10% Happier.

More precisely, it’s called 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story.

That his opening paragraph reads: “I initially wanted to call this book The Voice in My Head is an Asshole. However, that title was deemed inappropriate for a man whose day job requires him to abide by FCC decency standards” … just makes it better.

He started out as an insecure, thrill-seeking young reporter (in over his head and knowing it). Then, with religion having become political, anchorman Peter Jennings chose Harris to be his religion reporter. Harris had zero interest in religion. He spent his early years on the beat mostly doing snarky stories about evangelical Christians. But then, in a winding course having to do with people he interviewed, he gradually became intrigued by, then interested in, then serious about, meditation.

Where the totally unexpected brain-sharing comes in is that Harris, like me, is not only a skeptic, but he’s somebody whose hackles rise at the merest hint, the slightest whiff, the faintest breeze of woo. Or of pseudoscience. Or unlikely claims. Or phoniness. He takes nothing on faith and believes nothing that can’t be either scientifically proven or empirically replicated. His BS detector goes off … well, about as often as mine does. And mine goes off so often and so loudly that I can’t even read most “spiritual” books or listen to most “spiritual” gurus without wanting to gag.

I have long been stuck with a combination of feeling intense “spiritual” longing and total fed-upness with overblown claims, fantasies, wishful thinking, lies, threats, myths, cheesy money-wheedling (whether ala Sedona or ala TV preacher), false fronts, spiritual fads, sentimental glurge, and airy wafting. This has made it really hard for me to progress spiritually — because spirituality is always wrapped in layers of such stuff.

When people try to pitch their belief systems at me (or even when I pick up someone’s “spiritual” book on my own, hopefully seeking), my response is: give me the facts. Not quotes. Not statements of your (or anybody else’s) personal belief. Not dire warnings about what your god will do to me if I don’t comply. Not gooey stories about guardian angels giving kittens to little girls dying of cancer. Not speculations about “astral bodies” or reincarnation or eternal souls. Not high-flown, but content-free, language. Just point me toward the facts that back your position and if I discover that those facts hold up under dispassionate examination, then and only then, will be interested in hearing more.

I had begun to conclude that I was never going to learn anything useful about matters of the spirit. I had become so soured and stubborn that, no doubt, I was rejecting some decent “core” stuff because it was wrapped in such thick glops of you-know-what.

Well, so did Dan Harris. But he got past the glop and got somewhere (and not by lowering his standards, either). Now I’m getting somewhere, too.


At this point, WordPress ate the rest of my post. So I’ll be back later after I recreate what got lost. Will — I hope — post that and some Amazon links people have requested this evening or tomorrow a.m.

Christmas presents

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 by Claire | 17 Comments »

I’ve already had a couple of readers ask what I’d like for Christmas. And my answer is: You already gave me fabulous presents.

Last summer’s roof-raiser was all I could ask for — and more. You bestowed such bounty on me that I’m still struggling to feel worthy.

Been a weird year. One thing after another went wrong, but no sooner had it gone than somebody would pop up with a helping hand. It’s been really amazing.

So no. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I had Christmas already.

If you’re in a giving mood may I suggest again this year that you send a little something to Joel over at TUAK. His eyeballs are working again now, thanks to last year’s generosity. But he’s got that broken-down Jeep and … well, he just works his tail off and never has much. So think of Joel, not me.

Or drop a few coins into the tip jar over at Rational Review. Or at Carl-Bear’s blog. Or another favorite freedom site. Oh. The Zelman Partisans has a donation button, too (and may soon be offering a few special gun-related deals to contributors). Right now, no TZP people are paid, but someday we’d like to see all the writers — and what a fine bunch they are — getting a little something.


That said, however, you can help rescue my Amazon links if you’re shopping online.

Suddenly, my Amazon commissions have cratered. Seriously. Cratered. Collapsed. Imploded. Fallen into a black hole. I’m in shock.

I assume my hermitting (even though it’s turned out to be only quasi-pseudo hermitting) triggered the downfall. OTOH, maybe the economy’s collapsed and the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. Or you’re all on the outs with your relatives and not buying them anything for Christmas this year. Or you’ve all taken a no-spending pledge. (I can sympathize with that.)

In any case, we’re not just talking “a little bit off.” We’re talking bottomless pit.

November is usually very strong. This time it scraped bottom, coming in well below a typical month. December is always a barn-burner — generally bringing in three to four times the commissions of an average month. I’ve never seen it fail. Now? Sales are below average, and I don’t mean “below average for December.” I mean … 75 to 80 percent off a normal December.

So no, I don’t want gifts (though thank you very much). But IF you’re buying at Amazon anyhow, please use those links.


P.S. Before I could protest, one Santa already dropped a very welcome present down the chimney. While I was grousing in the cold, a big, beautiful kerosene heater arrived. That thing is capable of warming the whole house! Like my smaller, less powerful, Buddy-type propane heaters, it’ll be used only for emergencies. But it sure did warm my heart.

Thank you (once again), Family A. I know you just went through a long, stormy power outage and are very aware of how useful a powerful heater like that one can be.

Sunday-Monday links

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 by Claire | 12 Comments »
  • Love it! Trekkies (and fed-up fliers) tell the TSA who’s boss. (H/T S.)
  • For this couple, energy-efficiency has jumped the shark. At least they now understand and are willing to say what a pair of idiots they were to build such a house.
  • Wow. That was some impressive pistol shot!
  • Lyrics NSFW and hip-hop might not be to everybody’s taste. But Freedom Feen Neema Vedadi (with Mason Moore) has a way of putting freedom right in the face of a new generation: “See My Chains.” (Tip o’ hat to MD)
  • If you’ve never been to the Buffalo Bill Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, you might want to make a detour next time you visit Yellowstone. Unless you’re Ian McCollum, it’ll show you more than you ever wanted to know about guns and their history. I’m noting this here because the firearms museum now has its first female curator — and from her qualifications it’s clear she’s no affirmative action hire.
  • Distracted and diverted from the police state. This one’s a couple of months old, but quite apropos.
  • And this one’s right up to date: Christmas. Is it the most menacing time of years? Troy Senik says it is if you really listen to those song lyrics! ;-)

“It stops here”

Friday, December 5th, 2014 by Claire | 9 Comments »

Of course, it never stops. Government thuggery, I mean. Because the incentives all go in the direction of tyranny.

I elaborate over at The Zelman Partisans.

Knappster’s Big Freakin’ Book Of Stuff

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 by Claire | 5 Comments »


Thomas Knapp has been around the liberty movement forever … well, about as long as I have, come to think of it. Now he’s compiled nearly 20 years worth of selected columns into his first actual book. (Kudos and congrats on the achievement, Tom.)

You can get it here in dead-tree, e-book, and free PDF versions. Prices are very reasonable (free is as reasonable as it gets, but the other versions are priced just right for what they are, too.)

If you enjoy classic Knappster (and who doesn’t?), you’ll like this. The book is divided into topic sections: Israel, Ron Paul, the LP, and a pair of Miscellany chapters (past and more recent). The essay titles alone are fun to read: “Did You Ever See a Meme Walking?” “Axiom Attic” “Paulitics 101″ and “Homeland Security and Three-Card Monte” just for samples.

He also includes a handful of eloquent obituaries for freedomistas who’ve died in the past decade or so. I suddenly feel old. But that’s a different story.

Some stuff I’ve been saving up

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 by Claire | 11 Comments »

Before I shut down for the day to return to hermitting, here are some links I’ve been collecting for you.

And to get you in the Christmas spirit:

Via Borepatch: “The Carol of the Bells” writ rather large.

This 2014 commercial for the British store Sainsbury’s apparently infuriated a lot of people. I think it’s lovely. The only infuriating thing is that the guys in this famous WWI story went back to killing each other the very next day.

M-m-m-monday m-m-musings and guilty pleasures

Monday, December 1st, 2014 by Claire | 20 Comments »

With the gas fireplace now officially kaput (and with queries sent to the manufacturer and the propane company), I’m huddled in an alcove between two space heaters, drinking hot coffee and eating warm comfort food.

It’s funny. Fifty-nine degrees feels perfectly decent outdoors. And considering how humans have lived for most of their history (and how some, like Joel, still live), 59 indoors is a relative luxury. Heck, electricity is a luxury. Nevertheless, I’m exercising my prerogative of feeling like a Dickens character. In the snow. Barefoot. Tubercular. Selling matches. (Or was that Hans Christian Andersen? I forget.)


Another thing the Little Match Girl didn’t have was a DVD player. And I admit its among my very favorite escapes from the cold. And from myself when the hermitting bit gets too intense.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday musings

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 by Claire | 11 Comments »

Yeah, as jed mentioned in a comment, it’s definitely been too quiet around here. I hope that means everybody’s having a relaxed, peaceful Thanksgiving weekend.


Tomorrow is the hump day in my two-month retreat. Mixed results so far. I’m glad I’m doing it, but instead of peacefulness, I’m actually feeling quite a lot of stress and anxiety. Partly that’s over decisions I need to make. Mostly it’s just a lot of “old stuff” coming back on me. Really, really old stuff. Like things I thought I’d moved past years ago.

Boring to go into, but I find myself longing for busy-ness.


It doesn’t help that the only real heater in the house has gone out twice in the last two weeks. Both times in the middle of the night. When the temps outside have been in the low 20s. And on weekends. I swear, it’s a conspiracy.

« Read the rest of this entry »



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