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 avoid partisanship 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. As she and I do, readers will find we often disagree and have for over 50 years-- still able to be close friends. You can do that if you can be agreeable that we share more than not despite the difference.

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 as it turns an article into a discussion, 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, May 27, 2020

by Diane: Update # 18; How Covid 19, caregiving, and my art escape are changing me

 Monday, May 25, first thing in the morning, I painted for a few minutes. Finishing a painting takes the longest. For days  many times a day I kept glancing at the painting hanging in our dining area.  Often I looked outside at the swallows in flight. Questions came to mind.  Watching swallows, I saw the closest ones taking up more of my field of vision and their swift flight is more blurred than ones flying farther away. Same as a  picture's surface the closest swallows would be more blurred if I painted exactly what I see. But should I paint what is counter to  the identifiable detail that the viewer expects in the foreground?
          My idea for continued work on this painting  is to turn the front swallow back into the painting. I am concerned about the beginning and ending of their flight and would like to make their flight more circular and continuous like I observe.
           Questioning improves my enjoyment of observing and learning.  Makes me feel more alive. 
          The Covid 19 self quarantine reduces some of the distractions in life so focusing on  what is around our home is proving far more fascinating than I used to think it was.
         Tuesday I made the closest swallow more contrasty and it's path transparent to express speed. I do not worry about overworking the painting. With Covid-19 and my husband's health, I foresee a time when I will need to move. More than ever I want to tie my body of work into a meaningful whole. I am slow to use the new aquaboards that arrived from Blick's catalog on line.

          Fisherman Hubby's blurred vision and shakiness was found to be low sodium according to the ER on Wednesday, May 13. He received a hydrating IV. 
           It hurts to see Fisherman Hubby either too cold or too hot because his body doesn't regulate temperature. While watching television he allows his head to drop down every half minute. Also see his shoulders jerk. His hands are less steady and he talks me into typing for him.
         Gaiter Aid is helping but still he feels that his ALS is worsening. What gardening he could do in one session the first week of May now takes three sessions. Tuesday our 2020 high school graduate Grandson mowed the grass, sprayed poison on the weeds, and removed three upright stepping stones that served as the cement dragon's back because they were a  tripping hazard for me.
         I am, also, doing more gardening which has always been a parnership thing Hubby.  Now gardening has moved from a small part of our  togetherness to our major connection we share.
       On Friday Fisherman Hubby received his Tobindynavox Ipad that will serve as a speech generating devise. If necessry it can be eye activated. It has canned conversation in files like "Can we watch a movie?" "I am not intoxicated. I have a neuro motor disease."  "You do not have to talk to me like that. My ears are fine and I can comprehend like a normal adult." Maybe when he starts feeling better he will take an interest in it.
      We were so lucky that when it arrived Friday afternoon one daughter happened to be here to help with the set up. We are so thankful for the care our daughters have for us. Plus we appreciate all those friends who also do errands for us.

      The painting is first a landscape and then there are birds flying through. I want the painting to be swallows flying in a landscape atmosphere. On a warm day a rain shower is followed by hatches of flying insects.
      I am hesitant and not sure of my next step in painting so I wanted to do some pruning.

                 The first of three wheelbarrow loads of trimmingsoff the rhodadendron!

             The next job will be to prune back the Fall crocus leaves and the forget-me-not.
It is good to feel the Fisherman Hubby sharing the satisfaction of making beauty together in our garden.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day bonus

by Rain Trueax

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, significant to many for assorted reasons. I thought in a troubled time such as we are in, posting a reminder that nature is not only reassuring for how it goes on in such times, but also good for blood pressure and to relax.

The videos are taken from our neighborhood. The first one came from a wildlife cam that our neighbor borrowed when they couldn't figure out what was walking on their roof at night between midnight and three or four am. The videos it shot gave the answer and we blended them into what you see. Besides the YouTube link, it can also be seen at my nature blog: The Night Visitors

This one is how the honeybees are drawn to the saguaro blooms. In Tucson, all honeybees are Africanized, often called killer bees. They are certainly mellow in the video where they are only concerned with gathering pollen to take back to the hive. The birds also love it when the saguaro blooms.  It can also be seen at my video blog for nature: Bees and the Saguaro Blossom.

To see nature at work, watching the birds, the clouds sail by, it's all a reminder to me that we are part of it. In troubled times, it is soothing to the soul to be reminded there is more out there than us.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

something good

by Rain Trueax

One of the blogs I read suggested that people come up with positive things that have come up for them through the pandemic. I literally could come up with nothing positive in this for me. Adding to the upset for me has been all the bitter partisan fighting. 

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi thought at all how many fat people she offended when her target was the President and she said he was morbidly obese. CNN did an article to explore if he was and turns out, based on his last physical, he'd have to gain 77 pounds to reach that level of obesity. He was barely at the level of being obese, according to CNN-- not exactly a fan of the President. Pelosi, in an interview discussing among other things what she'd said, clearly looked smug that she'd nailed him, but she also nailed at least one of the possible women Biden is considering for the next Vice President.

Another hot button issue this week was-- should the President be taking hydroxychloroquine, about which even doctors don't agree on whether it's potentially dangerous, useless for Covid-19, or might be a good thing to  avoid the virus or get a lighter case of it? The argument is at what level you begin to take it whether it helps. Some believe it has saved lives. Others claim it cost lives. One thing for sure is if it worked, it'd be much cheaper, and it's very available since already used for lupus, etc. Also, Pelosi's excuse for calling him morbidly obese (she also mentioned his age) would make him more in danger if he got Covid-19. Knowing he had an aide who tested positive for the virus, could be why the doctor felt Trump taking the drug along with zinc was a good idea.

One thing they are claiming is wearing masks whenever someone is out around people like for grocery shopping. The problem with this virus is how people can be out ad about before they know they are sick. Think of it as not about fear but what you do for others, like workers in the stores. Some say masks make them have panic attacks and hence just can't do it. I wonder if different kinds of masks would help. I mean if nothing else, the bandit bandana.   

Anyway, back to the first thought-- something positive from the pandemic. Can you think of something that has been positive about it for your life? Share it as as way of being uplifting to others. We all need that.  

  It is the time of the saguaros. The bees and birds love them and suck from more than any other cacti that I have seen anyway. The saguaro gives to many who find good from its blossoms.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

by Diane: Update #17 of Art Escape: Painting BreakThrough

Having a painting project in progress makes me feel good and optomistic. Now painting brings me closer to one of my favorite fellow painters. Via Zoom, last Friday, at home I paint out on the far end of our property.  My sister-in-laws in Portland generated the exciting energy I miss painting with others in groups like Vistas and Vineyards in the Mid-valley here in Oregon or the Painting Out There. The later group is in Kona Kailua, Hawaii.
      My art escape helps me relax when my caregiving worries unneccessarily demand an immediate solution.   Worrying about my paintings is more relaxing than being helpless in the face of my husband's health. .After a while painting, when I think about it, I notice the pain in my joints caused by tension is mostly gone.  When I paint, I am engaged in the beauty of the day.

A very old, one inch wide sable flat brush seperates at even intervals. With almost dry paint the brush makes parallel lines that reminds me of cubist painting "Nude Descending a Staircase".  

                                                                    Second detail
             Second break through is making the fast movement
                       a little transparent.


Tuesday, May 19, I had a few minutes to work and it might be closer to resolved.

Monday, May 18, 2020

is this true?

This was on FB. Is it true? Some of it fits what I've read but what about the rest? Here's the thing-- shouldn't we check on what is out there and make our own conclusions based on experience and what we read.  Right now, what I read changes day to day. 

Autopsies Prove that COVID-19 is a Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (Pulmonary Thrombosis)

It is now clear that the whole world has been attacking the so-called Coronavirus Pandemic wrongly due to a serious pathophysiological diagnosis error.
According to valuable information from Italian pathologists, ventilators and intensive care units were never needed.

Autopsies performed by the Italian pathologists has shown that it is not pneumonia but it is Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (Thrombosis) which ought to be fought with antibiotics, antivirals, anti-inflammatories and anticoagulants.

If this is true for all cases, that means the whole world is about to resolve this novel pandemic earlier than expected.

However, protocols are currently being changed in Italy who have been adversely affected by this pandemic.

The impressive case of a Mexican family in the United States who claimed they were cured with a home remedy was documented: three 500 mg aspirins dissolved in lemon juice boiled with honey, taken hot. The next day they woke up as if nothing had happened to them! Well, the scientific information that follows proves they are right!

This information was released by a medical researcher from Italy:
“Thanks to 50 autopsies performed on patients who died of COVID-19, Italian pathologists have discovered that IT IS NOT PNEUMONIA, strictly speaking, because the virus does not only kill pneumocytes of this type, but uses an inflammatory storm to create an endothelial vascular thrombosis.”

In disseminated intravascular coagulation, the lung is the most affected because it is the most inflamed, but there is also a heart attack, stroke and many other thromboembolic diseases.

In fact, the protocols left antiviral therapies useless and focused on anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting therapies. These therapies should be done immediately, even at home, in which the treatment of patients responds very well.

If the Chinese had denounced it, they would have invested in home therapy, not intensive care! So, the way to fight it is with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and anticoagulants.
An Italian pathologist reports that the hospital in Bergamo did a total of 50 autopsies and one in Milan, 20, that is, the Italian series is the highest in the world, the Chinese did only 3, which seems to fully confirm the information.

In a nutshell, the disease is determined by a disseminated intravascular coagulation triggered by the virus; therefore, it is not pneumonia but pulmonary thrombosis, a major diagnostic error.

Some world leaders doubled the number of resuscitation places in the ICU, with unnecessary exorbitant costs.

According to the Italian pathologist, treatment in ICUs is useless if thromboembolism is not resolved first. “If we ventilate a lung where blood does not circulate, it is useless, in fact, nine (9) patients out of ten (10) will die because the problem is cardiovascular, not respiratory.”

“It is venous microthrombosis, not pneumonia, that determines mortality.”
According to the literature, inflammation induces thrombosis through a complex but well-known pathophysiological mechanism.

Unfortunately, what the scientific literature said, especially Chinese, until mid-March was that anti-inflammatory drugs should not be used.

Now, the therapy being used in Italy is with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, as in influenza, and the number of hospitalized patients has been reduced.
He also discovered that many deaths, even in their 40s, had a history of fever for 10 to 15 days, which were not treated properly.

The inflammation does a great deal of tissue damage and creates ground for thrombus formation. However, the main problem is not the virus, but the immune hyperreaction that destroys the cell where the virus is installed.

In fact, patients with rheumatoid arthritis have never needed to be admitted to the ICU because they are on corticosteroid therapy, which is a great anti-inflammatory.
With this important discovery, it is possible to return to normal life and open closed deals due to the quarantine, though not immediately, but with time.

Kindly share so that the health authorities of each country can make their respective analysis of this information, prevent further deaths and redirect investments appropriately; the vaccine may come later.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

aging and releasing

by Rain Trueax

May 2020 and the high temperatures have reached Tucson.

Although I have called myself old for some years, I am only now getting to the age to recognize that being old is about more than looks. It's about changes in ways I had seen with others but not experienced until more recently. It is about accepting change and moving where it leads if one wants to have a happy old age-- one not filled with regrets and even bitterness. It means accepting what is and making the most of it. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

by Diane: Update # 16 of Art Escape: assessment and new plan

Pinned up drawings and hung new and years old paintings of swallows in preparation for a paint out this morning. The plan is to paint via zoom with sister-in-law interested in pushing color on surfaces like umbrellas in her Portland, Oregon back yard. I will try pushing color spectrum shifts to  the very fast flights of swallows. I will paint the swallows bluer as they fly away from me and more red as they approach me.

I am off to set up on the far end of out property. Will post results on my next blog next Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

by Diane: Update #15 to Art Escape; How painting the flight of Swallows reminds me of painting waves

Painting movement has been an interest as long as I can remember. When I was very young preschooler, I had an activity book with wildlife birds printed on stamps.  I still have one with ducks in flight.  Then my first painting in an 8th grade art class I painted falling leaves in front of a doe.

So later I tried to draw my children moving  and as they grew I painted them roller skating. I try for showing movement like I perceived it as opposed to what a camera would do. In recent years I am fascinated by the motion of waves in some paintings. At home I do not have an ocean in my back yard but I have the beautiful flight of swallows. I have lived in the same home for over 30 years and just found so many beautiful subjects I could have seen through painting.

by Diane: Art Escape #14, On changing direction a little

"Flight Patterns"
Graphite on 14' x 11" smooth bristol paper


Friday, May 8
Have not painted or sketched since Tuesday. Been trying to change my cooking approach with more do ahead preperation. Still just looking through out the day at the wind waves across seeding grass field, while cotton wood fluff is blown about by the wind. Just memorizing the look of swallows flying. Moiving the jet sled into the garage near the gas pilot light in the water heater. Bad decision. Husband does not see this move as his need to stake out his area as opposed to where my art would take over. We have agreed upon boundaries between my stuff and his.
        Well so much for writing today: I am going to sketch the flight path of swallows in preperation of painting over the entire surface of my most recent painting. It is windy enough that the swallows are not gliding as much.
         At about 11:00 AM one of my wonderful daughters came with groceries and we prepared rice and chicken dinners for two days and some to freeze. One was sweet and sauer and another honey and lime. From her food prep for fisherman hubby, I learned an easy way to remove chicken skin. Then in the late afternoon I was finally able to prepare my own food.
     In the evening I watched the swallows in our front yard. Don thought it was jouvenal flight school because some kept having to land on the driveway.

Sunday, May 10, 1:30 PM
Wonderful to get mother's day greetings from my children and even some surprise ones from others. My sweet fisherman husband started working on my request to fix the fumes in the garage. His jet sled boat was just parked in our garage near my painting storage and the gas waterheater and furnace pilot lights. As it warmed up these hot days, it made me fearful of combustion. And I did not want to expose myself to these fumes when I cook or paint in the garage. Because fisherman hubby cannot tolerate cooking odors, I struggle to accomidate his likely allergies and cook outside the main house.
    I am so thankful that removing the older of the two full gas tanks reduced the odors noticeably.

Monday, May 11
"Flight Paths", Graphite on 14"x 11" smooth bristol paper

Tuesday, May 12,
The dead line for entering the art About Agricultural competition " "Tention/Harmony" is June 27.  A sigh of relief!!  I have enough time to make something to enter.  I need a break from sketching and painting like I have been doing.  So my sister-in-law and I will do a virtual paint out.  She will be painting near her home in Portland and I will take a wagon of my art plein-air paraphernalia to a location near my home. On Zoom we will enjoy each others creative energy. Our daughter will be taking fishing hubby to physical therapy while I take this painting break.

Finished Tuesday, May 12
"On the Wings"
Graphite on 11"x 14" smooth bristol paper

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Ordinary days

by Rain Trueax

Trying to cut down the photos to a few for this blog is proving very difficult-- and that just for the ones from May-- a very colorful season for the Tucson area. Cacti are in bloom along with the ironwood and palo verde trees. It's a sea of pink and yellow all around our home.

Ironwood are particularly interesting as they don't grow everywhere in the Santa Cruz valley. Generally they are on ridges and maybe have soil requirements that I know nothing about. It is one of the blessings of this property that it's in one of their zones; so we have quite a few. They drop tiny slivers, which definitely are no fun to get one in your hands or feet. I have suspected the cats have gotten a few in their paws as they'll be licking and biting at it to get it out. 

When we bought the place we had three big ones right near the house, which provide shade and shelter for the birds. We lost one of them and couldn't do anything to save it even by giving it a waterer. Maybe it had lived its life. I will hate it if we lose either of the others even though smaller ones are coming up.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

by Diane: Art Escape update #13, Near disaster, but saved beef gravy to make a tasty meal

Monday, May 4

Up early! Watched a fledging swallow being fed and Red Tail Hawk also watching with interest. Had a leisurely breakfast. My good breakfast was a good start following an anxious night of feeling inadequate to mounting challenges. I had many ideas of what I could do as the primary care giver of my husband.
 Ignored the urgency I felt during the night. Reduced theplan for the day to one enquiry on Don's ALS medication. Continued painting,  reading Facebook, exercising and walking relaxed me after an anxious night not sleeping after 4:00 AM. Being relaxed was more important for my caregiving than acting on all my night time plans.
Today marked a landmark life changing event in my and my husband fishing life. We sold the fiberglass Slidrite drift boat. It makes us a little sad. I started to tear up as the new owner and his boy drove it away.  At the same time we were feeling good. It was sweet to think that the boat will play an important roll in a boy's awareness and caring about the future of fisheries .

Fisherman hubby on the Deschutes late 80's
One daughter on same Deschutes trip.
We have many memories of the 34 years of drifting down some of Oregon's rivers. White water on the Deschutes, Grande Ronde, and Salmon. The oh so many drifts from Sweethome to McDowel Creek on the South Santiam where even I could catch Steelhead but mostly I painted. Also the longer run from Sweethome to Waterloo. Fishing trips included the North Santiam, the Siletz, the Alsea, the Nestucca and the Trask.

We still have the jet sled that will now have a year round parking place in our garage.

Our dinner was a celebration dinner. I made broth from a WinCo 4 pound bag of soup bones. Carrots, celery and parseley addition was tasty without using onions or garlic or pepper which bother my husband.  The intention of making the broth was to make gravy to pour over steak that had to be tender, tasty and easy to swallow. Timing the gravy to be done the same time as a Fred Meyer meat and baked potato was slightly problematic. Usually I cook beef from Rain and farm boss's ranch and know how long it takes to cook it until tender.  The Fred Meyer meat turned out to cook faster than the rest of the meal. The gravy of broth, whole wheat flour browned in butter had too much fat so I tried to pour it into a fat seperator. Unfortunately I tried to pour it over a cooling but still hot stove glass top burner. Happily I scraped it off the burner before smoking the kitchen and setting off the smoke detecter. The detecter's alarm spoils the relaxing atmoshere we need. I get frazzeled trying to turn on the fans and opening windows.

Tuesday, May 5

Five is a good number for us. Last night fisherman hubby put on his mask and started his VPap all on his own. He only woke twice during the night and I slept well too. My VPap concerns evaporated.

A supplier of a speech generating devise contacted us with the news that the co-pay for this very expensive machine can be completely covered by Team Gleason. Filling out a form that only takes five minutes to fill out. Of course not so easy for us. There wasn't a courtesy e-mail saying they received the form. Precious time lost for painting or drawing.  Maybe now between 2 and 3 PM before starting dinner I can paint and post my week's painting here. I am still working on the one I started last Wednesday.

Last week it had the nice directness of having been done all at once.
This freshness was lost this week but I am learning and seeing  which is more meaningful to me.

Just might paint over 80%.  But first will do some more watching the swallows.
This is an early morning and they fly differently in the still morning air.


Monday, May 04, 2020

a bonus post and a different view

by Rain Trueax

Because I got this from Facebook, I wanted to share it widely. As countries and states open up, each of us will need to decide what that means for our choices. Do we go back or do we continue to self-distance? If it's a job, where we have no choice, do we demand protected working conditions, some changes that take the virus into account?

Having all the facts helps us make those decisions. That means hearing diverse opinions and weighing which seems best for us. Below is a different opinion from something I posted earlier. I believe it's worth reading. It made sense to me and pretty much is what I have believed is my personal choice when governors lift the various bans. 

One thing I have learned from my many years of following what should or should not be done. Experts constantly change their minds or disagree with other experts. In the end, it's your life and body. Get information and don't be afraid to look at different ideas for what might be best. Then make a choice. If you click on Read More, you will find what I consider to be a reasoned and non-partisan view of the situation.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

making a life

by Rain Trueax

sunset April 30th from Casa Espiritu

With the self-distancing and quarantining going on, there has been talk about how introverts handle such times better than extroverts, which does make sense. We tend to need a lot of time alone even when there isn't a virus running around. BUT I began to realize, as a lifelong introvert, that with this need for isolation, it's bothering me too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

by Diane: Update 12, Preparing to submit entries to Art About Agriculture Competition

Thursday, April 23, I got out my paints and set up on the back patio to paint the swallows in flight. The surface was a self prepared watercolor paper with textured Golden absorbent opaque acrylic primer for water media with addition of acrylic red color brushed in with the idea that I would paint a grass field.
Friday, April 24, the day was primarily devoted to doctor appointments and husband's future needs. Upsetting to realize his driving days are numbered. His doctor feels obligated to order him to turn in his driver's license.
Now I am walking on egg shells. He claims he is safe for the few times he drives to medical appointments. He wants an assessment - upsettingly difficult because during the lock down his occupational therapist is not conducting driving assessment services. He is on a list to be called when these assessments are being conducted. He is also trying to get on in Salem in case that is faster.
   Is the only option to turn in his driving license before his capabilities decrease?

 Saturday, April 25, I was happy and thankful that I planted a wee little garden of sugar snap peas, radishes, lettuces and carrots. I am thankful that most every time I look outside I see the swallows and I am coming to a greater understanding of how I want to express them in paint. 
There is another call to artists to submit to the Oregon State Art about Agriculture competition and touring exhibition 2020 called Tension/Harmony. The prospectus has an uplifting goal of envisioning the future. I am energized to continue my swallow series. Yes, I see a future of pest controlling swallows in balance in beauty. Swallow power better than insecticides killing too many insects, then swallows too.

 Monday, April 27, winds changed the flight path of swallows. They are faster and the axis of their body wavered side to side as they flew. Started a drawing outside but too late in the day to get maximum activity. This was a good day to add more paints to my palette. 
From my studio window I notice up high in the distance I might pick two swallows flight path may be a topology tangle. Finding a mathematical language to describe some of their flight might be possible under the right air conditions. Don't know if this kind of flight aids in their feeding.

Tuesday, April 28, the morning began with the sunshine on the woods behind the field and the light reflected on the shiny wings of the swallows seen against a shadowed field - my next painting. I hope I can remember the tutorial on how to pay bills. My mind was wondering thinking about how beautiful a friend of mine's painting was on the wall next to the computer screen. I asked for a repeat on how to get to the website. Hope I remember how to pay the bills next month.

The best thing about painting for me at this time is seeing and appreciating beauty.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

something to think about

by Rain Trueax

I've been torn on what to write here given the times. My gosh, we get all this information but which parts do we trust? How can we know whether we can shut down for months or even a year? If it's not until a vaccine is ready, can we still pick back up a viable economic culture-- one that families can support themselves with? If we don't shut down that long, could the disease claim millions of us? What to do what to do???

Sweden went with social distancing, not shutting down businesses, and herd immunity-- let people get sick. Some claim that worked and some claim they are yet to be inundated. 

Herding is something most my age remember well. The parents would just as soon we got the measles, chicken pox and mumps. The idea was get it and you'd be done with it. Did not work that way for everybody, and now we know chicken pox can lead to later getting shingles. 

Other diseases though like whooping cough, strep and scarlet fever were taken more seriously. Polio was something people tried to avoid for their children as it was deadly or crippling at the least. My husband's aunt had it, survived, but walked with a limp the rest of her life. 

How do we decide what would work for our country but also ourselves. This idea of keeping shut businesses that are not deemed essential has had appeal for many.

The thing is what is essential? For instance car repair might be deemed that (at a time they want to ban people from even going for pleasure drives). So if car repair is, how about those who manufacture the parts needed for it? 

It's hard to get our heads around what this is doing to agriculture with people unable to sell their products, get them packaged, or get them to a market with a lot of markets shut down-- like restaurants. Some farmers are saying they won't plant due to the uncertainty. That could mean a lot more shortages ahead-- and that doesn't take into account the meat packing plants that have had to close because of workers testing positive for Covid-19. Should this be a serious concern? [One opinion]

My son-in-law has a doctorate in virology. Years back he described a virus that would prove deadly and the way this one attacks is it. One that doesn't show its symptoms right away, doesn't kill fast and is very contagious. Here we are and all the uncertainty still here for us.

I've done social distancing for years during the flu season because although I do other vaccinations, the flu shots made me sick, left me with a lump in my arm for months and I decided I couldn't risk another as they'd been getting worse each year. Yet, I can do the
pneumonia and other vaccines. Go figure. So in the season, my husband, who has the shots with no reaction, goes into the stores. This virus has added him wearing a mask and wiping everything down and only going when essential. 

This year, we have self-quarantined here, felt lucky to do it other than being way apart from our family. Still, they are better off as it is.  Turns out that a lot, who call themselves snow-birds or sun-chasers, have found their plans also disrupted. But then life has a way of doing that anyway with little predictability and often equally little control.

So I debated sharing the article below. It's by a guy known as a bit of a bomb-thrower in terms of dire predictions and also in making money for his own enterprises. Still he has some interesting ideas especially that we are not all in this together given our differing circumstances. Until I looked him up, I had never heard his name. His opinions are controversial, culturally scary for where we are heading, but are they also true? Who do you believe?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

by Diane: Update 11: A challenging week and new directions.

In order to find ways to intice my husband with ALS to eat his vegies, I experiment on myself. Here is a wilted salad on my morning oatmeal. He makes the oatmeal while I sliced celery paper thin and wilt it  in sauce pan along with a handfull of spinach. No way would he like this much salad but the paper thin celery with paper thin carrots in a sauce might go down well - a challenge with his difficulty swallowing. Vegetables are not the only challenge but all foods have to be soft and just the right temperature. He needs more red meat than I. The desserts I make him are too tempting to me.
On line doctor visits was stressful just installing and bringing up the app. Got to go manage our password file so it is easier to use. Would you beieve even the beautiful weather is a challenge to my my best made plan to have an art escape. Solution: Change directions. I am now drawing  the swallows outdoors. I am using a Hobby Cream soft pencil made in Italy on charcoal paper.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

what to do in a troubled time

by Rain Trueax

 The candle came from San Xavier, a mission I love to visit and now and again light a candle there. Years ago, we had bought this one. Easter seemed a good time to light it. It burns for 3 days with the request still being heard. The mission figure, we bought, 20 years ago, at a small shop that brought them from Mexico or Central America. The dancer came when people were allowed to sell crafts along roadsides. It was a great time until local government stepped in to say they could not...

 This is a terrible time for me to write something here. Like so many, I am stressing, uncertain, not sleeping well, not interested in much of anything except watching the birds or out my window at the mountains. If something takes deep thinking, I'm out of there. That complicates a blog or my writing for books. I know it's depression, and it makes total sense.  I don't want you to think my life is terrible. It's that I am one with anxiety issues even at the best of times and maybe too empathetic. I'd be better off to put my head in the sand, but I don't do it.

So, more bird pictures. The baby quail are coming out to explore life. Although we'd been watching, we missed when they first were here.  On Thursday, they already had their topknots and the first feathers. The photos below represent two families. Cute, aren't they. The gila woodpecker was caught stealing hummingbird sugar water on a wildlife cam. We had set it out to figure out why the water was going down so fast. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

by Diane: Update of art escape #10: Enjoying the struggle framed

Feeling satisfaction in my framed painting of disturbed air in the swallow's flight path. It was a challenge requiring many trials painting ove ezch bird over and over.

But next week back to a simpler process.

I continue to observe.  The angles of the wings and tail as they change from wing movements to gain altitude then swooping in holding wings outright only changing axis of the body as they travel a curved flight downward.
Perhaps finished! I didn't intend to get so engrossed so much so that I might not be attentive to my husband's needs. Just as I thought he was doing better, balance and and breathing are concerns.

by Diane: Up date on art escape #9: Painting, painting, painting

Have much painting time now that husband's neurology symptoms are addressed.  Feeling lucky that before the mitigating phase of the pandemic we are better equiped to wing it!



stream of chaois :

Two more days until my regular posting time. Yikes. My hubby has been generous. He gets his snacks himself. We watch the birds together. I am plunging deeply into painting before writing this blog. Pardon my disorganization. The weather is great and the little biting bugs are not bugging me. The swallows are nesting and mating. Such subjects are exalting. Exausting!  I have a neat book to read and the review for the book club is next Sunday. Magie Anaton's Rashi's Daughters, Book I Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France. Love the walkers who parade past the other side of house, the street side. What's for dinner?

 Single serving of lasagne last night for hubby. I had gluten free my fan tye rice noodles with spinach and turkey. Not exactly Easter fare. Tonight chicken? Canned smoked fish casserole. We can both eat. Laundry is going. already painted some and it is 8:18 AM. In few minutes will cancel Zoom doctors appointment.to reschedule for in person visit. Got to talk about young grandson coming to rotatil garden that spading was too hard. Ought to get manure so to soften soil for good carrots this year. Got to throw away that unused mini pie shell I made two weeks ago and never filled. What should I order for Fred Myers pick up next weekend? canned beets, canned pumpkin, milk, freezer low on meats. distilled water, 9x9 baking pan for brownies. yogart. This is boring.
The sore on hubby's nose. his rubberband fix to his Bipap mask worked but a week old mask shouldn't fail. Lots of little cares. Loved the article by Gerald Parker about five phases of the pandemic. Sugar ants and rosemary! Wash hands. Great time to go for a walk.

Later:  Yeah, hubby will barbecue the terriaki chicken thighs. We are eating so well and sorry for those who are food challenged. My mind is blank. The jazz plays instead of the constant news. Wonder how our newly widowed neighbor is. Heard a couple on my walk argue about his dog getting into her flower bed. Dog on chain. Children chalk art and paper cut hearts pine cones with googlie eyes for sale. Getting low on cash. grandchild's birthday. Better go and make haste before mail man.

Time to water the garden: Time to go back to original art escape plan.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

moon thoughts

by Rain Trueax

April 6th and the setting of the Pink Moon

With my interest in full moons, I found two meanings for this moon. The first was that it's for the pink phlox and early bloomers. The second was it meant rebirth. Since Sunday is Easter, a time of resurrection for Christians, that's a good meaning. The time of rebirth. however, isn't always good. It means death first.

I have mentioned before that I am on Facebook. Currently, it's a good place for me. I like connecting with people there and sharing parts of my life. If someone asks an opinion type question, even on a topic I generally avoid, I will answer with my thoughts on it. BUT if it's peppered with insulting terms, if it's from someone I have considered a friend, I quit reading with the first of them and hide the post. If it's a 'friend' there that I don't know, I snooze them for a month and then unfollow if the nasty words are still there.

Some say they don't like coming to FB for the negativity. What I wrote above is a solution, which I need, as it's important for me right now as a place to connect with those I have gotten to know, where I am interested in how they are doing. The only way I can continue there is to get rid of what upsets me. Maybe it's my generation or how I was raised to be polite, but insulting words don't work for me even if I agree with them-- and once in a while, I might...

I have a thought on the virus, which I will share... read it or not as it works for you. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

by Diane: Update on my Art Escape #8

Happy Passover or Happy Easter! Happy? Well possibly an inept greeting during a pandemic for both Passover beginning tonight and for Easter on Sunday. I choose Beautiful.  So I wish everyone a beautiful holiday. It is beautiful to recall stories of overcoming bondage no matter which story is in your heart.
       One day at a time. My Father's wise mantre that supported his care giving for Mother! One day at a time. One day at a time. Do not over fill the day with too many tasks. Stay focused on each task and do it correctly. I am poor at coming up to his level. But I especially follow his example of
 escape into his topology book. Like him  I escape into a few minutes here and there into my painting of swallows' flights.

After painting over but maybe not finished
Hot press watercolor board takes flooding with water layer upon layer without warping.
 Like in topology I am putting a circle around two flights printed from a cut potato.
I like the repetative printing but want to do another while I am observing their flight.
       I find joy. The swallows are back yesterday just in time for my painting process to proceed. Only the cold rain showers means few flying bugs.  So the swallows fly swooping paths over a quarter mile range.  More difficult for me to see how their flight pattern is an example of a toplogy tangle if projected on my picture plane! But their presence allows me to observe how their wings flap and they change direction and elevation.
       I feel close to my father when I am inspired by topology to see nature in new ways knowing my father had joy playing with math. I imagine his being in awe of its beauty.

       Six more museum boxes arrived on Friday. Left them, as a precaution against Covid 19, over night in the garage. Then spent a happy day filling them and rearranging my studio. When I have time I plan to arrange the pictures in order labeling the memories of my life. My work is a visulat diary of my life.
      I was just waiting for an excuse to look through my art and clean my studio. I always like to arrange my art work before doing the more mondaine cleaning tasks.

 On the left is the Blick catalog listing for the 12 boxes that store my archives

Saturday, April 04, 2020

playing in times of stress

by Rain Trueax

To be honest, this whole time in my life and that of the world is getting to me. I would like to post something positive here but don't have it in terms of words. So, here's what I've found has been relaxing for me-- online jigsaw puzzles both to work the ones on the site and to use their tools to create my own to share with friends.

The following links are from my book covers. If you have time to play around with them, you can take the number of pieces they offer. If you want to work them faster, hit the box alongside OK and choose less pieces. These are from the fantasy romance series, the magical realism books.  Who can't use some magic about now.

I decided to offer the links without the images-- you will find a cover after you get the puzzle worked. If you like doing these while you are social distancing, let me know and I'll make more once in a while  both of book covers and scenery. The site lets you know how long it took. One of my friends had her little granddaughter take one of them over. It took her just over 17 minutes with the larger number of pieces. Another friend worked one in just over 3 minutes when she used less pieces.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

by Diane; Update 7 on art escape

Yesterday's resolved attempt to put the flight of swallows on topology tangles, though a break through, was a hasty attempt.

I have a better way to represent the birds. Plan to finish before next Wednesday.