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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.

Claire Wolfe

A day in the life, a walk in the rain

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My two biggest clients pay irregularly. Don’t get me wrong; they’re good people who have gone out of their way for me in many ways. But they may pay me quickly or … not. I never know.

Weirdly, they seem to conspire; in months when one is slow, the other usually is, too. I try to keep a cushion for bill paying, but this month the cushion got threadbare.

My income in the last 30 days was $200.42 — all thanks to you guys stepping up your regular use of my Amazon links. (You see why I ask you to bookmark that link and use it as your everyday entry point into Amazon?)

Yesterday morning I met a friend outside the post office. She asked if I needed her to pick up anything at Costco. I joked, “I’d tell you I need kibble, but until I find out what’s in the mailbox, I’m not sure whether I’m going to need to feed the dogs or eat them.”

Fortunately, both clients (see, they really are conspiring) had money for me.

And knowing what I’ve got stashed in my pantry, my friend laughed; the pups would be at the dinner table, not on it.


The day was rainy but mild. Getting paid made it feel light. I put Ava on leash and we walked the little downtown, paying bills, running errands.

At the thrift store I found the perfect winter jacket — nice, warm, rain-resistant Gore-Tex with giant fastenable pockets, velcroed cuffs, all the accoutrements, and a hood with a rain visor and fancy adjustments on each side. Looked brand new. It was even in one of my favorite colors. A real score.

However, I’m always in search of the perfect jacket (one in each vehicle, one in the bug-out bag, a couple in the closet, one for the mud room, one for luck (I hate being cold!)). So the cagey ladies at the thrift store have me figured out. They do their pricing ad hoc at the counter and this one cost a whole $6.00 — considerably more than the other perfect jackets I’ve bought there. Yeah, they’ve got my number.

But what the heck; yesterday I felt rich.

No winter jacket is perfect without gloves tucked in one pocket and earmuffs or a woolly hat in the other. (I’m downright paranoid about getting caught unprepared in the cold.) Found some of each, zipped them into the big pockets, and after that felt not only rich but ready for anything.

I donned my new perfect jacket, snugged the hood, and Ava and I tested it along the town’s pocket waterfront.


It’s beautiful here. But you know how it is; you could live in a suburb of Heaven and after a while you wouldn’t notice the view. Yesterday, I noticed.

We walked beside the estuary. The tide was running high enough to flood the lowlands. The floating pier where a few pleasure boats dock was lifted as high as I’d ever seen it. Herons waded in the submerged grasses and a gaggle of Canada geese took a break from their migration.

The hills downstream still wore a little fall gold, but were mostly muted and gray, with mists curling away from their tops and out of their hollows.

Walking further, we came to an old concrete bunker, probably a relic of WWII (I can’t imagine any Japanese soldiers or submarines had any real desire to end up here, though). Last summer the bunker was somebody’s squat. Now, down in the drowned grasses, a sleeping bag and mattress were edging their way toward the sea as the tide turned.

The water in the estuary swirled from bank to bank and over the banks but quietly, with no sense of urgency or danger. At the end of the walk, where the trail concludes at the wreck of a railroad bridge, I looked across the river and saw that the new, unoccupied waterfront townhouses were living up to their name; the currents were lapping peacefully at their foundations. The townhouses mimic midwest farmhouses, with broad, covered porches all ’round. They sit in row in a field of tall grass. The scene was pastoral and pretty and of course completely insane. This is, after all, just a normal winter tide. What’ll the buyers do when the water decides to get serious?

I live on the flat. But not quite that flat. Being glad my cozy old house has 10 or 15 feet elevation on those fancy new townhouses, I headed for home, the Beauteous Princess Ava Prettypaws trotting companionably at my side.

I dread winter and have I mentioned I really, really, really hate to the point of bug-eyed paranoia being cold? But this is such a beautiful place to live. Especially when you’re rich, like me.

33 Responses to “A day in the life, a walk in the rain”

  1. Pat Says:

    You’re waxing poetic, Claire. Sounds like a nice day.

    Too bad about the townhouses; somebody made a bad decision.

  2. Water Lily Says:


  3. MamaLiberty Says:

    Beautiful piece… I can just see you there. :)

  4. Kent McManigal Says:

    Sounds nice. I know what you mean about “after a while you wouldn’t notice the view“, but that generally hasn’t been a problem for me- except where I live now. As hard as I try I have a very, very hard time seeing any beauty here. Unless I look up at the sky- which I do a lot. Or get down on my knees and look at something close up (but then I’m likely to get “goat head stickers” in my knees and hands). This area has all the drawbacks of city living and all the negatives of rural life, without the positives of either one. It must have been difficult to accomplish that. LOL. I don’t like staying indoors, but there is nothing outdoors (without using gasoline I can’t afford) to get me out. I think I need a visitor from elsewhere to come look with “new eyes” and help me see.

  5. Scott Says:

    Kent, probably one of the most raggedy-@$$ places I lived was a isolated trailer in central Florida-at first glance, it looked abandoned(the only thing that looked remotely new was my McCullough moped), and the surrounding countryside looked a little postnuclear, but if you got out walking, or on a bike, there were all sorts of cool things,and I could walk to a dozen different places to fish. My (somewhat distant) neighbors, mostly retirees or lower end working class (like me), were all friendly. Even the most desolate place has something to it, even if you have to look harder.

  6. Woody Says:

    It is a wonderful feeling to know that you belong where you live. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Some people think I’m crazy because I like to walk in the rain with my dogs. The woods takes on a completely different character in the rain. It’s a shame that most people miss out on that. Even my dogs seem to think it’s a special treat.

  7. Claire Says:

    Woody — Don’t the woods smell amazing in the rain? Mostly, I scarcely notice the evergreen scent that pervades this part of the world. But when it first starts raining … mmmm.

    The dogs tend to disagree about the pleasures of walking in the rain. Well, they like walking (and running and rolling in weird woods stuff) any time they get a chance. But they always tell me that sun and snow are both preferable to the wet stuff. Yesterday’s rain was light and pleasant, though, and even the dogs enjoyed it.

  8. Jim Bovard Says:

    Claire, if only you could develop a taste for strong beer, winter would go so much easier for you.

  9. Woody Says:

    Claire, all of my dogs have a major percentage of Lab in their breeding so that probably explains their love of rainy weather. We’re a motley crew but we have fun.

  10. Claire Says:

    “Claire, if only you could develop a taste for strong beer, winter would go so much easier for you.”

    Yeah, but I’d have to heat it up to keep it from chilling my innards, wouldn’t I? So I have the choice between being cold or committing beer-drinker sacrilege.

  11. MamaLiberty Says:

    Try a nut brown ale, Claire. Ale should not be served cold. It is intended to be consumed at room temperature. Or mead… Oh, my goodness that’s delicious. And it is best at room temp. as well.

    I don’t buy any of it. I LIKE it… and it’s not cheap. :)

  12. Jim Bovard Says:

    A “Raging Bitch” will warm you up even when it is cold. 8.3% alcohol content helps.

  13. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit Says:

    All due respect to the hopsophile Mr. Bovard – winters just SCREAM for mulled wine.

    Having spent a year in Bandon, Oregon, working on the coast … I know this stuff. ;)

  14. Kent McManigal Says:

    Scott- This house isn’t bad, and other people like this area just fine. It’s just that there is nothing here for me, beyond family. I do travel around on my bike. I just can’t get far enough to get to the interesting stuff without using a car. I like desolate- I don’t like here.

  15. Jim Bovard Says:

    Claire has more readers than she expects. The web page for crashed after Lawhobbit’s comment because so many people used it to look up the word “hopsophile.”

  16. Claire Says:

    And that’s without counting the ones who were too drunk to navigate their keyboards or the ones who were already smart enough to pretend they knew what Hobbit meant.

    Mulled wine for all! But all you guys can have all that other stuff if you want to. Come to my place; we’ll have a party!

  17. LarryA Says:

    Down here rain is rare enough that everyone but the cat appreciates it. He blames me for bad weather.

    Yesterday we had our first cold spell. My hoodie felt good after we wound up a Hunter Education session at 10:00 PM.

  18. Kyle MacLachlan Says:

    A further suggestion to mulled wine (since I’m not a wine drinker) is a concoction from the 18th century known as “Ale Flip”.
    Here’s how to do it: Mix one quart of dark ale with one half cup of dark, spiced rum and sugar to taste (I would start with about a half cup and adjust the following batches to your liking) in a large, heatproof jug or bowl. Meanwhile, heat a fireplace poker in said fireplace until good and hot (dark red is about the right temperature). Now plunge the poker into your ale mixture; it will froth up quite a bit (hence the large container) and begin to smell like heaven on earth (I might be a bit biased here :-) )!
    Pour into a mug or glass and enjoy!
    In my humble opinion this stuff is to die for, but beware: It will hit you like a ton of bricks!
    Perfect for a cold winter night!

  19. Kyle MacLachlan Says:

    I forgot to mention that most colonial taverns had a special tool hanging by the fireplace for this purpose; it was called either a “flip dog” or a “loggerhead”. The latter word is still used in the expression “to be at loggerheads” since the patrons of old would snatch up the nearest weapon in the event of a barfight; the loggerhead was one of the closest at hand.

    For a modern day challenge ( and the only way to stump Google I’ve found so far) try doing a search for either word and see what you can come up with!

  20. Claire Says:

    Oh my. IF I drank ale, that would definitely sound like heaven — and spectacular fun to make, too.

    Hm, with the addition of rum and (very un-primal) sugar … could be worth a try. Now where’s that darned fireplace poker?

    Might have to stick with a crock-pot full of warm wine, oranges, and spices. That can smell pretty close to heaven, too.

  21. Kyle MacLachlan Says:

    You could always substitute molasses or (more primitive yet) maple syrup or maple sugar. The latter two are getting a bit expensive, though, unless you make your own.

  22. Concealed Carrying Cyclist Says:

    re: The Bunker you came across, and thought “I can’t imagine any Japanese soldiers or submarines had any real desire to end up here”…

    When I was a teenager, I happened across a tiny little museum at the far northern coast of California. It had, among other things, a samurai sword given by a Japanese Pilot, and a story of what would later be referred to the Lookout Air Raid (, when the Japanese bombed the Oregon coast with incendiary bombs.

    Not sure where in the PacNorWest you are, but it’s not so crazy to have a bunker there, and it turned out that it wasn’t really that paranoid to worry that the Japanese would have attacked the Con-US – because they did, even though most people aren’t aware of it.

  23. Concealed Carrying Cyclist Says:


    Why can’t I find a Gore-Tex jacket for $6.00? The cycling jackets they make are, no joke, at least 20x that price. I’d be happy to pay $60 for one in good condition.

  24. jed Says:

    Beer sacrilege? Well you know, the reason American lager is served cold is because that’s the only way it doesn’t taste bad. Back in my ill-informed youth, I was surprised when I first saw someone using a beer warmer.

    So I tried ‘flip dog’ at, and it’s almost all yoga and pilates. Changed it to ‘flip dog beer’ — try that, at Duck Duck Go and see what you get. I was amused.

  25. Claire Says:

    BEER warmer? Who knew? Um, don’t think I’ll be putting that on my Amazon wish list, though.

    Did the DuckDuckGo thing. Beer for dogs? Okaaaaaay.

    But fourth on the list: ale flip — and no ironmongery needed.

    Lordy it’s strange where these comment thread go sometimes.

  26. Claire Says:

    CCC — I had heard about the incendiary bombing of Oregon. I’ll have to follow those links to refresh my memory, but if I recall correctly, didn’t they even start at least one fire that killed people?

    On the Gore-Tex jackets … I know. This is why I get nearly all my clothes (except undies, socks & such) at thrift stores or garage sales. Takes months to find a find like that, but when you do, you feel like … well, the Great White Gore-Tex Hunter. ;-)

    Then you can go spend the money you saved on silver coins or ale or dog kibble or whatever.

  27. Claire Says:

    Ah. I was thinking of the fire-balloon attacks: (scroll down)

  28. jed Says:

    Well, maybe it didn’t work for you, but DDG displayed ‘dog beer’ in a highlighted box, flipped 180 degrees. Well, at least it understand simple instructions. And yes, I’m easily amused.

  29. furrydoc Says:

    Loved reading this. Nice picture, wish Annabelle and I could have gone walking with you. How is your supply of wool? Best way to ward off this damp cold we seem to get. I am always looking for classic Pendleton wool shirts at the thrift store. People often shrink them they they fit me perfect.

  30. Claire Says:

    jed — Oh. Yeah. I got that, too. I just didn’t notice it first time around. Duh. A search engine with a sense of humor.

    furrydoc — Wool! Yes. Lots of wool. Sweaters. Socks. Layers of wool. Wish somebody made wool sweat pants; those would be real gems.

  31. naturegirl Says:

    They do, Claire….Only they’re super expensive, and mostly for men (there is a small size that could shrink enough, maybe?) –

  32. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit Says:

    Beer for dogs – got a friend who likes his beer and Mrs. Hobbit actually keeps the fridge stocked up for him when he visits. Once in awhile he’ll splash some in the corgi’s bowl and the dog loves it.

    He has a bulldog that has apparently become intoxicated on more than one occasion……

    furrydoc is right – wool is still waaaaay better than most of the synthetics out there both for durability, resistance to yuck, and just plain better in PacNW winter weather.

    Though out here in the desert we get the dryer cold….

  33. Claire Says:

    naturegirl — I shoulda known somebody made wool sweat pants. There’d be no need to shrink them for me; I buy men’s sweats all the time. But boy, yeah, they’d have to shrink that price, fer shure. Still, oh, wouldn’t they feel wonderfully warm?

    And Hobbit — yep. Wool, being the only fiber that’ll keep you warm even when it’s soaking wet, is perfect for the NorthWET. (Funny, never even occurred to me you had a Mrs. Hobbit.)

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