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.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

by Diane: Mini-art respite from caregiving #12: Life inteferring with art making

By Diane

A few days with minimal mini-art respites, I am easily diverted to other easier to do activities like cutting back the dahlias for their second bloom of the season. Even writing a blog is easier than getting started again. 

And I am more visually inclined than verbal. When my Fisherman Hubby showed me how he put the painting I was doing as a cover illustration for an update on his book, SCIENTIFIC ANGLER, A STEELHEAD FISHING MANUAL, I get the idea he does not want to share his knowledge in this way. Still easier to go back and make the man in the painting, the grandson who loves fishing. So where do I go from here in art making? 

The heat has driven away the swallows I liked painting earlier. Do I continue to work on Fisherman Hubby's fishing manual even against his wishes? What else could I do more meaningful? Maybe splashing paint on a big piece of paper and see what it suggests ?? Thursday, July 30, We had our second visit with Lumina Hospice nurse and first visit from physical therapist. 

Friday, July 31st I mailed a much labored over an appeal to a declined health insurance claim. My heart is dancing in joy to have that behind me. It was hot outside but the air conditioning made the house comfortable. Yet when the hired help had to sit down wiping her head with a wet wash cloth instead of working, I was thrust into the role of not only care-giving for Fisherman Hubby but also wanting to insist she go see a doctor. This experience was the last time for visits from the in home care-giving company. I not only canceled mostly because my expectation that Fisherman Hubby would like to receive help did not materialize. When I cancelled the service, I told the manager my concerns inspite of my scruples. Her condition might be life threatening and I wondered if I would have to call 911. I fear she will lose her job after working 23 years. Maybe she was not paid enough and she did not get a health insurance benefit. She said she did not like going to doctors but I doubt that she could afford them. 

Saturday, August 1, I felt exhausted and not quit ready to start a new painting journey. So I made and mailed a birthday card. Then once again for a few minutes painted the eyes of the father looking into the eyes of a child just learning to fish. Sunday, I am delighted with company. Short visits are sweet and the day is perfect. I enjoy the rest from having to make phone calls to resolve health issues. I have time to paint. I am in the process of making plans to have a painting friend come to paint Saturday. 

Monday, Fisherman Hubby didn't sleep well and his VPap mask is leaking. Hospice is having a respiratory therapist come to check the fit of his mask and replenish supplies. 

Puttered in our garden and watered. The heat has made the lettuce bitter. I am wordless today. The changes in Fisherman Hubby are dramatic. He sits trying to keep taking in fluids but very slowly. A meal is 1/2 a Hasty Freeze King berger with sauce, lettuce, cheese, bacon, and hamburger in squashed bun. A few bites of maple bar, some watermelon balls, and of course oatmeal for breakfast. Of course he has to have coke and coffee and hot chocolate and cookies. Pills taken with applesauce. A diet to fill him and die for. At this point I am taming my need to make it healthier.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

natural and tribal living

by Rain Trueax

While some talk about redoing our culture, they often speak of less freedom rather than more. They would limit what resources we could use, where we could live, how we could live, and take us to more of a city environment where control is by the ones they choose to have it. The US is going through a big shift as to where it all should be in terms of the control. The argument is-- what is required in a changing world? What makes life better for more people? It goes a step beyond to debate-- what is more important-- the individual or the larger community?

What I like, and have for many years, is to see alternative ideas and especially owner built homes. In Oregon, I have a lot of books by people who built their own homes in very 'unconventional ways'. The problem is, to do this, you have to get beyond zoning and be able to do their own thing, often very organic. Closed cultures don't like that, and the places this can happen are dwindling-- even in rural areas. Controlled societies want structure and where people can live must be approved by zoning. We learned for instance that we could not live in our RV on our own farm property. To fix up what had been my parents' mobile home, where they lived on a hardship exemption until they both died. For us to fix it up, to live in it now, would require permits not always easy to get. And this is a rural county in Oregon.

There are, however, a few places where people can do their own thing. Some become Wild West but some, like communes, are very structured but the rules are made by the ones in the commune. 

This California YouTube fascinated me for both the earth built home but also the communal approach to how to live and what to share. I don't know that I'd want to live in one, but it has always had an interest for me-- depending on how it was structured. I came across this because of my interest in tiny homes. It's worth your time to watch, I think, as whether one wants to live that way or not, sometimes there are ideas to incorporate. It is both artistic, natural, and about sharing in an organized way while still respecting the individual.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

by Diane; Mini-art respites from caregiving #11: A week that brought us to Hospice

I can't imagine how painful it was to Fisherman Hubby to make the decision to sign on to Hospice on Monday. Saturday evening after a busy day, he fell out of his preferred chair. Luckily able to get up on his own with only a road burn to his knee. The outlook for stopping his plummeting weight loss is dim. But we won't be making more fruitless trips to the ER because we call Hospice first. 

Painting art-respites this week consist of only working on the eyes of the father making eye contact with the child he is teaching to fish. Just changing the modeling of the surrounding eye socket or experimenting on how white to make the whites of the eye takes just a minute or two on each mini-mini-respite. 

Need to respond to the Home Guardian Medical Alert System before the 7 days after delivery is up. It looks complicated. Have an insurance denial for for about $900 to contest because of a regulation that does not take into consideration the Covid closures and shortages of respiratory equipment and the reality of a telimed conference not coinciding with the delivery of equipment. And then there is the garden with tallest ever tiger lilies and glads continuously occupied by hummingbirds.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What does it mean?

by Rain Trueax

If someone is trying to avoid thinking about earthly tangles, whether family or larger, the biggest thing for the month of July has been a rarely seen comet, Neowise. It has an orbit of 6800 years; so it wasn't last seen by humans during the time history was being recorded. To many of us, it came as a bit of a surprise but also an excitement as a reminder of the size and scope of our universe.

Think of it. They believe this comet is 4.6 billion years old, created with our universe. As it is visible here on earth for this month, it is still 100 million kilometers away at its closest approach which will be July 22-23. 

Comets, which I knew little about before this, are made up of ice (water) and dust (earth). Their trail is dust and ice. They have been regarded as symbols in some cultures. Not ours today so much, as we are very science or earthbound for what something means. What can it do for us? Is it dangerous? Can we get there and exploit it? Okay, next question-- can I photograph it? 

Many have tried and succeeded beautifully. We have been out of luck down here as the monsoons arrived with the comet's appearance and that means clouds, even when not storms. Still, it's been interesting to see what others have captured. Some spectacular.

Friday, July 24, 2020

by Diane; Mini-art Respite from caregiving #10: Self Publishing

Way back in Bellingham in the late 1970's or early 80's Fisherman Hubby and I self published a manual for Steelhead fishing on a black and white zerox machine.  Time for an expanded edition not only with color but also professional binding. Technology has gone a long ways to foster creative authorship in the decades since the beginning of a book symbolic of our marriage together.

Whether or not Fisherman Hubby chooses to actively engage in the update, I hope the memories it will kindle will enrich these final days.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

by Diane: Mini-art respite from caregiving update #9: A new meaningful direction

This painting might be close to finished.  It could be an illustration in Fisherman's Hubby's revised book about fishing that we did in the late 1970's or early 1980's when we lived in Bellingham, Washington. Since then he has expanded into fishing from a glass drift boat and aluminum Almar motor boat.
As his ALS prevents him from many physical activities, I hope he will join me in making a book that we can pay to be bound in a display book. Even if he doesn't feel like composing it, I am going ahead with this project with the assistance of the  Home Instead Senior Care caregiver.

This week has been very upsetting to me seeing Don suffer sometimes not being able to eat without choking or taking longer and longer to eat mostly staring at the food and not really wanting to eat more but still trying.  Don't know if he will engage in the book. Don't know if he will change his mind and accept tube feeding.  Wish us luck, yesterday we scheduled an appointment with his neurologist.

Excuse my short post I need to make sure that Hospice comes to asses us this week.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Monsoons and some more politics...

by Rain Trueax

The monsoon season started in early June but then disappeared until this week when it returned with the thunder, lightning, and sporadic rains. We got a good rain from one of the storms, but the one with the most lightning only gave us a little. Both had come at night. One brought strong winds but worse other places than here as in knocked out power for 600+ homes. That's a concern when the temps are over 105ºF and why we have a small generator and a room a/c unit. Knowing such things happen when you live on a farm tends  to make you be prepared.  The room a/c wouldn't do much for the whole house but would let us sleep at night :).

What I love about these storms is their energy. It's nice when they come with heavy rains but then desert dwellers know they have to be wary of the roads that dip into washes. Regularly people drown in such storms. I used one in my contemporary romance, Desert Inferno, as a threat to the hero and heroine as they were on foot in the desert wilderness. 

Here's what you can run into with these 'dry' washes in the monsoon season. Cañada del Oro Wash. It is worse this year after the horrific fire.

Ahead some political (maybe that's what it is or is it cultural???); so fair warning