Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about experiences, ideas, nature, creativity, and culture. The latter might appear at times political, but we will try to speak to the broader issues that impact a culture. This is just too important a time not to sometimes speak to problems that impact society. Expressing different views is welcome when it's done respectfully and are able to agree to disagree.

Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome but must be in English, with no profanity, hate-filled comments, or links (unless pre-approved).

Fantasy, the painting by Diane Widler Wenzel, cropped a little to fit the needs of a banner.





Friday, January 22, 2021

Standing Alone

 by Rain Trueax


If you've had enough politics, here is a good place to stop reading and come back next Saturday, which I promise will not be about politics. Today, I am writing about the last week and what I am thinking. I didn't want to do it; but you know sometimes, even when you know you will lose readers, it's important to speak out. I no longer belong to a political party. Until 2018, I had been a lifelong Democrat. I just had enough of them both and am now unaffiliated, where I figure to stay. I do vote. I have always voted. My not belonging to a party means I don't see things like either one, which was always true but just became a bigger deal as things began to change on issues. Whether I left the Democratic party or it left me is a valid question. Some could call the change progress.

by Diane:Letting go of old things is hard

 January, 21

 

Today my wonderful daughter was so kind to bring the Suburban so she could take a pile of lumber. Old lumber that won't warp like new growth lumber only available t  So I am not entirely letting go of Fisherman Hubby's lumber at home, My daughter took some  yew wood Fisherman Hubby picked  out of the rubbish when he worked at Georgia Pacific in Bellingham. The grain is very close and did not cure as well as we would have liked so there are many cracks. I at least narrowed the extensive collection down to a few curly maple, mahogany, magnolia, birch, cedar barn wood, pine and oak pieces plus two unfinished cedar siding planks for maintenance on the house.

When I get hung up on a keeping streak, I like to go look at the progress on the new to be studio.  The space looks bright, and roomy. Then making life decisions is easier.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

by Diane: "You have a lot of things going." The appraiser's understatement

Monday, January 18

 The Oregon State death tax requires me to get an appraisal for Fisherman Hubby's worth the day he passed away. Today the appraiser took a look around the home property. She saw the shop undergoing modernization of windows and doors.  Sadly the barn doors were on the burn pile. I guess the neighbor decided that one of the Dutch doors was too big for the tree house he was building for his kids. The Dutch doors are so cute; perhaps Habitat for Humanity will accept them. In the garage that is part of the house,  Piles are stacked high with small pieces of oak, maple, birch and other wonderful wood types from years of projects. Today I failed in selecting pieces of wood that I could give to Habitat to Humanity. I never expected to be so attached to lumber. What am I doing?  I may not want to stop painting to make frames.

 It could be folly but today I bartered away the 1985, 13' 4" Almar Lite aluminum boat.  This boat and motors traded for small room renovated for a utility sink and a toilet and window, new ceiling and  insulated walls.  

Every where the appraiser looked - a different project in process.  On the fireplace mantel are a broken dessert wine glass and a broken nutcracker toy soldier and superglue to repair them.  A children's book I was putting together for the contractor's boys are on the high art table in the living room.  In the dining room is a cabinet Fisherman Hubby built brought in temporarily from the shop. It is now devoted to a papermaking project to make bio-degradable urns to spread Fisherman Hubby's ashes at sea. I need to go change the bedding on my bed now. It is my bedtime. I finally got around to laundering sheets today.  Time for bed now.  Tomorrow I will have what is left of a nail removed from the right foot's little toe next to the big toe.  Supposedly I can return to my regular activity on Wednesday.  Tomorrow afternoon I will have a break and can read.

Though it is tempting to volunteer to show my art, I will pass by. Today Tina Price Green who manages the events at OSU LaSalle's Steward Center stopped by with a much needed bag of spinach.  She off handedly mentioned that after the Vistas and Vineyard's art exhibit comes down in less than a week she had no idea what will be showing. Anyone prepared to contact LaSalles Stewart Center with a lot of art ready to hang?

Tuesday, January 19

The removal of the nail was easy. The experience of using Call a Ride and Lyft was difficult because at 9:45 it is not busy. Drivers for Call a Ride  can come over 30 minutes early.  The time around 10:40 to noon is busy for both services so I impatiently summoned a very nice neighbor to pick me up and bring me home. Maybe I will eventually be prepared and know what to expect. Or I will have less going on in my life to daydream about while driving. Maybe I will deem myself able to make faster decisions while driving. But on the other hand the stresses in the ownership and care of a car maybe more weighty than inconveniences of waiting for or rushing to be ready for a ride. 

This afternoon two great developments. My dentist office called with the news that I over paid $300 for services for both my Fisherman' Hubby and myself.  Then a neighbor bordering the west side of our property was hoping I would want to sell the lot with all the grass for the sake of preserving some nature.  At first I was happy about selling.  Now I have my doubts about converting back to three lots now that the studio/shop can be connected to the sewer and water.  The grass field and shop property is one lot with only one connection to sewer and water.  Got to call the county clerk to see if the grass field can be added to their property leaving the shop as one lot and my house as one lot. That would lessen the burden of caring for so much garden.

I wonder if I continue to live on my own, if I will be able to be careful and not spread myself too thin. I am leaning towards donating most of the wood and radial arm saw. I am not giving up my assemblages, and papermaking for a year. Lots of painting is in my future.




Friday, January 15, 2021

the law of attraction

 by Rain Trueax

 

In our reading aloud to each other, we started one book in 2020 and finished it early in 2021. I had heard a recommendation for it from a Facebook friend. In 2007, I had read the book on which it was based, The Secret, and bought the DVD. The theory is there is a secret to getting what you want from the Universe and you can learn it as many others have. This particular book is titled, How The Secret Changed My Life by Rhonda Byrne. It is supposed to be real people with their stories in where their lives were and how The Secret came into them and they got what they had always wanted. The DVD actually came out before the book but both were created by Rhonda Byrne.

So... my history with earlier reading and seeing The Secret was that although I do think there is a law of attraction, I think the book simplified much of what life is about. We do not draw all to us nor can we. Follow the steps all we want but in the end, stuff happens. But I was open to reading how it had worked in other people's lives-- and hoped the stories hadn't been created and that they had been investigated to be sure what the writers claimed was what happened.

In a simple way, you ask for what you want. Believe you will get it, feel grateful you did and then you receive. There is more to it than that with visualizations, gratitude journals, etc. but the general idea is the Universe has all you want. Just ask and believe you will get it, making room to receive.

The video is much like the book with various philosophers talking about how it works. I have the book in Oregon and brought the video down here as I planned to loan it to a friend before the virus changed everything.

I believe in the law of attraction to some degree. If we wallow in hate or fear, we draw it to us. Hence, the need for positive thinking, something you can find in other books as well as the Bible where it comes to prayer and when Jesus said if you believe you can move a mountain.

What I don't believe is this explains all that happens to us. How the Secret Changed My Life goes into many people's story with how they used it for love, relationships, health, career, and money. 

We read it all as we have been doing but definitely didn't agree that it explains all of life, which means we don't believe and hence that means it won't work. I just have seen too many times where things happen to people that don't remotely seem they brought on.

Still, it doesn't hurt to ask, believe it will work, and make room to receive. It''s not like it costs anything unless you make that a substitute for good health practices, responsible spending, and getting training for the career you would like better than what you have. Positive thinking.

One more thing goes along with this, and it's a dream I had recently. I don't recall it all, but at the end, I had been given two ways to do magic to get to where I wanted something to be. I looked at them and thought, well, I can just go beyond them to the next level. The thought I woke up with was-- don't skip steps.

by Diane: My scariest day yet as a widow

 For starts a credit card would not approve a purchase. Credit Card customer service said they had not received a payment since the 20th of October. Have to call their rebate office on Monday. But the scary thing is I text two credit card numbers to a possible scammer who identified themselves as a customer service rep for the company selling a convection wall heater for the shop/studio.

But on this Friday a big crew worked on the shop including an electrician named Jake who has the distinction of living off the grid and enjoying the hard work it takes to be practically self sufficient without electricity. His fortuitous presence was calming almost.  I thought of two options when I could not turn off the internal vacuum cleaning system in the garage attached to the house.  I could pull over a bigger ladder near by and stand on the very top so I could try for the third time to pull the plug just under the ceiling or I imagined running out to the shop without a mask, hysterically calling for help.  With great effort and care not to fall backwards when the plug finally pulled loose, I actually succeeded.  I was shaking and fearful that the motor on the vacuum was overheating.  After finishing in the shop Jake came and inspected the wiring and gave his approval.   The vacuum works for him.  But he said keep that ladder handy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

by Diane: In response to a FB Norwegian friend - What is going on?

One of my  Face Book friends posts mostly pictures of his wife and the marvelous food she prepares in a tiny kitchen, plus pictures of them enjoying their balcony garden in their Oslo apartment.  He asked me upon learning of the attack on Congress, "What is going on?"  First, as best as I can, I relate my own journey in coming to my viewpoint. Then how I see what brought about the break into the Capitol by racist extremist groups.  Finally, I write about my eventual optimism for the future.

From five years old, I felt the privilege of living in the United States was uncertain for me and my family.  My paternal Grandmother said it was not a good idea for a nation to be wealthy because other nations will be jealous and attack us. A maternal grandmother who worked in  Washington DC said that the government was in a very bad way during the Kennedy administration. She was a Republican and sure very soon the United States would completely fall apart from the way the Democrats behave. Spending, Spending and spending.  At home I was traumatized because the FBI threatened deportation of my father a full naturalized citizen. My parents discussed the Loyalty Oath placed upon University of California Berkeley faculty. How a childhood friend of my father's was in prison because of his out spoken poetry and writing. It was the McCarthy Era.

Fast forward to the Spring of my Senior year in high school.  Two CIA agents visited and told my mother and I that my father would be deported almost immediately.  Some how father reversed the deportation at his trial and we were sort of free. 

About the same time my grand father made his last visit and declared what I was learning at school did not cover the truth about China. He said maybe someday I would like to study Chinese history. I was overwhelmed for awhile. I  wondered how studying alone I could understand what really happened where our scholars have missed something important. His carefulness to convey his meaning was hidden in his poetic symbolism. He gave me a two sentence myth about a dragon. The symbolism made it hard for me to understand. And my grandiose fantasy was frightening. Could a look into the future be possible to one such as me?  I am not a genius by any means. I worked hard for excellent grades.  How could I become knowledgeable of the key to save the world and go forth and reveal it to the world.  I am nervous when I have to speak in front of a group. How could I learn the key to resolving times of famine as my grandfather wanted me to do?

As big a weight on my shoulders of imagining that I could do something significant in creating world peace it not only over whelmed me but it was irresistible to try to believe I could understand the workings of the political world  even though it was seldom a topic of discussion at home during my childhood. So I collected notions with out  a great amount of scholarly looking into each notion. And I am bewildered to support them in the usual political discussions that often put me in my place. I feel more normal talking to someone who can bring me to understand better.

So what is happening with the terrible inability of opposing political sides to communicate and effectively govern? 

 Ever since graduating from college in 1966 I observe through the lens powered by a smattering of sociology, social anthropology, the history of science, and former Portland mayor Dorothy McCullagh Lee's class on city government. I observe myths play a big part on our nation 's government. Rugged individualism was seeded by the Boston Tea Party, for example. The myth can be cleverly interpreted. History can be rewritten by extremists wanting a revolution. Myths raise emotions and are more vivid markers than factual persuasion. 

Words are important in persuading us to think and take action or not. The British vaccinate by giving jabs. We say shots. When people do extremely bad things we  have a separate word from bad to label them - evil. The French do not have an emotionally charged word for bad.  "Mal" serves for both bad and despicable, horrid, unholy bad like the single word we have -  "evil".  So for very bad behavior they can't demonize others as readily as we do.

 When giving a speech communication is better when considering the listener.  So the choice of words will be understood as intended.  If the listener to Trump before proceeding to Congress has carefully and fully planned a break into Capitol with inside information about the whereabouts of unlabeled offices that they wish to gain classified information and if they wish to take members of Congress hostage, they come with a handful of constraints.  The leaders will want to interpret Trump saying "fight" as go ahead and break into the Capitol and be violent.  

An important opportunity presents itself for a more complete investigation to reveal the dynamics and causes of the widening crack that has always been in our Democratic Republic.  A trial,  where our nation's citizens will see the workings behind the build up to the assault on the Capitol. The trial could set a positive example of opposite sides expressing themselves while also listening.  A trial done in a slow sober way can enlighten us resulting in bringing  our divided nation back to a functioning nation. 


Friday, January 08, 2021

Reading Aloud

 by Rain Trueax

 

We took down the last of Christmas-- the tree-- on Epiphany, which seemed an appropriate time given the story of the Wise Men. Who knew it'd all prove such an upsetting time in the US. Because I wasn't watching TV, I didn't see the actual footage of the mob. Later I got clips and read about it. I am attempting to stay informed but have no interest in writing about something when the facts often change depending on the source.

At first our home seemed incredibly sparse without all the greens, but I've settled back into it. I love this simple little house and feel grateful many times just walking into a room that is so us. It is full of art and furniture collected over many years with no idea it'd end up here when it was purchased. It's not finished as in changes may come, but that's the beauty of life. We can change.

Earlier this week, I got curious regarding how many books we had together read in 2020, our way to escape into other worlds. We began reading aloud, taking turns, last January and it has proven a good experience. Previously, Ranch Boss (need a new name for him that relates to the desert since our son is running the ranch) had done very little reading aloud; so it was a new experience for him, which he came to like. We often talk over what we read when we are finished with the snippets. People did this for many centuries, once books were available (before that maybe they related myths), but then other entertainments became more appealing. I think this is one that bears a new look as a way to share.

 

Our choices were all nonfiction, some originally published as articles in literary or nature magazines. Many were kind of memoirs-- sharing a small part of the authors' lives. They are set in the Southwest with a couple of exceptions. Most we had already owned. A few led us to buy a book that carried on a theme. A couple I had to buy that I knew I owned in Oregon, but a used version was cheaper than asking our son to find them and mail them down here. I didn't think to write titles down as we finished them last year but we searched them out. They are not in order. Two of them we mailed to our son for him to read (the first two below).

The Happiness Equation

The Dude and the Zen Master

The Desert Year

The Hidden West

Chulo

Taos Memory

Home is the Desert

One Life at a time, Please

Book of the Hopi

Pumpkin Seed Point

The Desert Smells like Rain

The Dancing Healers

The Theft of the Spirit

Kindling Spirit.

I was surprised to find we had read 14 with one more that we started in December but didn't finish until the new year. I might write more about it-- unless something else comes up for next Saturday.



Wednesday, January 06, 2021

by Diane: My joyous art expression and today's storming of the symbol of our Democracy

 Tuesday , January 6

 In times like these I cannot box my art off from the tragedies I witness. I am deeply sad. If I would take time away from my pet project of constructing an art studio, the paintings might be disturbed and angry or they may be about our shared humanity in hopes they will touch people to be aware of what we have in common. They would not be what others call me - elites. such a label discounts my opinion and self . The painting would not depict hate. I do not hate politicians whose behavior I condemn. My painting will not diminish and justify hate of anyone. My paintings will not be envisioning a future that is hopeless. Today I found a conviction for future paintings in the shop.  

Tomorrow a contractor will come to make an estimate on future changes to the shop and house.

by Diane: Little accomplishments are reason to celebrate but..

 Monday, January 4, 2021

Today I awoke with the wonderful sense that today would be filled with many tiny accomplishments. Being a visual person I often look at the order I am creating with satisfaction. Today I saw three months worth of  daily tiny accomplishments that resulted in transforming the sick rooms into a living space for my creating art. The past week I have been sorting through the somewhat disorganized wood/metal shop, the small accomplishments were big in results.  The more spacious and organized it looked the more I became impatient to make structural improvements to the shop building.  My impatience drove me to work harder and longer than I should have when I was expecting company. Wanting to rush the shop project, I spent too much time there yesterday morning before an artist friend arrived. I forgot when she was coming and  I did not check the calendar for when she would arrive. Too early I  started on our individual art project, instead of eating lunch.  I ate lunch before joining her on similar projects and interacting about our discoveries. I feel I mucked up our time together being out of sink eating while we had planned to work. To me friendship is more important than immediately getting projects done.


Friday, January 01, 2021

a new start and dreams

by Rain Trueax




We are in a new year and it's a time when many make resolutions or create vision or storyboards for what they want the year to look like. For many, 2020 was a year that seemed to destroy dreams. How do we plan what we want with a pandemic raging? Will some who lost their jobs with lock-downs ever get them back? What will happen as the political agendas change? It's unknown territory and mostly out of our control. Shouldn't we concentrate instead on our personal lives? Can't we figure out what we want, decide if what we have in our life suits us?

For some, who live long enough, we have to rework who we are again and again in life. When we are children, parents and society control a lot of our lives. Then we become adults and can make choices-- if we can afford them. Along comes middle age. Did we do what we wanted? Can we change it? There are choices of having children or not, careers, home locations, religions, politics, and on it goes.

In 2000, I wrote what I saw as my ideal day. The idea was focus on it and you will get it. Christ taught to believe and you will receive. A popular book, The Secret, came along later with much the same view. I  recently looked back on that ideal day of 20 years ago and thought-- why didn't I get it? Would it have been the wrong thing for my life? 

Part of it was a reality already. I painted and sculpted and wrote. At that time, being an indie writer wasn't a possibility but as soon as that opened up in 2012, for me, I went for it. I purposely left the name of the man out that day, as it was the relationship, not the name that mattered. The woman friend likewise represented my desire to have female friends in my life. It mattered their interests but not who they were.

The life I have today is very different, but maybe it's what I couldn't have imagined all those years ago. As an old woman, can I re-imagine again a different one ahead? That's the magic of life-- we don't know. (I should add it wouldn't be that one from 20 years ago. Different ages lead to different dreams).