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.





Saturday, March 28, 2020

There is a time

by Rain Trueax


Quarantining, hunkering in place, self-isolation... Whatever you call it, many are trying to stay at home and away from possible contagion with Novel Covid-19, the virus that seemingly arose from nowhere and is devastating families, economics, and social interactions. Jobs that involve the public and are regarded as non-essentials are mostly shutdown for now. Some National Parks are closing for now while they figure this out. Even the Olympics will be rescheduled for a year from this summer-- first time in an odd year as far as I know. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

by Diane: Art escape update #5; Painting play with Platonic surfaces

Brussel sprout
At a time like this I enjoy the little miracles that I  see in  my food preparation as well as important family and friend relationships.
       My husband and I are tremendously thankful for our amazing family support; our two daughters, one experienced a 5.7 earthquake at the Salt Lake airport, but waited patiently until the airport reopened and flew to Portland, Oregon. Needless to say I did little painting, with company and the important doctor's appointment about the future of my husband's neuro motor disease. We were uplifted with being able to together start making plans for future needs. In another couple of months we will have a better idea of our future time frame.
        My family is encouraging me to go back to landscapes even on large formats. The warm weather had me yearning to get out the oil paints. At the same time I was able to view the Great Course lecture by mathematician Professor Devadoss on the topological Platonic solids' surfaces. Part of the lecture was illustrated with a child's toy for constructing solids.  This week I can report that I am resisting oil painting from nature that requires more complete emersion and energy sucking process. Instead I am incubating ideas of painting the Covid 19 virus which happens to be in the shape of a Platonic Solid.

Bok choy


Red cabbage

Saturday, March 21, 2020

row your boat

by Rain Trueax

Row row row your boat
gently down the stream
merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream.

Everybody knows the melody or maybe not younger generations but it is well known to older ones. It is credited to Eliphalet Oram Lyte, who is cited as its composer in the 1881 New York publication The Franklin Square Song Collection. It is thought the words have been around much longer.

It came back to me because of a book we are reading-- The Dude and the Zen Master


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

by Diane: Now is the time for me to shelter in place and day dream

  

This is my brain storming fantasy. In the year 2030 in the aftermath of some world pandemics, and populations fleeing the uninhabitable due to climate change, I witness the evolving of an ethical application of technology for a better quality of life.

In Rain's painting I see the the goal of my choice..
We can keep the best qualities of this preindustrial,
 loving community
in a high tech society.


A Science Fiction : My first vision of the possible: given that quality of life through community is a high priority

On my 87th birthday celebration my closest family and I will plant all the vegetables we will have to eat for the next year on a wall next to our neighbors' plots. One of my neighbors will be my doctor who along side of me is planting her or his plot. Every neighborhood will have a doctor. Doctors will practice medicine like an art for the sake of art not for the profit of an organization with no fear of being sued. Insurance companies have parished. DNA knowledge will  determine optamin health. Our sustenance will be from working together with our neighbors.
      We have reached a new point in civilization in 2030. Robots do the work nobody likes and all work that requires the human touch and heart is conducted like art.  Art for art's sake. Letters from family and friends living far away will be sent via technology. The roads not maintained and not needed with flying prevelent.
       We are still plagued by imperfect solutions. We are imperfect humans so all our doings will always need bettering to meet our future needs.

OK: My science fiction has more holes than swiss cheese: The point is I am directing my thinking away from "Ain't it horrible?" I do not blame politicians. Most importantly I am questioning what is quality of life and how do we get there?"

Saturday, March 14, 2020

putting it together

by Rain Trueax


Somehow, this blog is not coming out as i had intended...

Originally, I had intended to write more on MeToo. Particularly, I wanted to research if more info was out there on Congress's shush funds. Well, after some research, I got very little. These payoffs were only the part that the federal funds covered to stop someone from talking who had made a complaint, but they didn't all have to be about MeToo issues. There has only been $17 million paid out at the point I found figures. There was no info as to what it had covered or which Congressional employees. It also did not deal with private payoffs. Basically, I didn't feel I had enough to carry on with the subject. IF that changes in the future, I'll do more with it. 

I just want to add that it's good for there to be accountability whether it's movie executives, stars or political power brokers. There doubtless is still not enough being done.

So... what attracted my interest instead was another kind of cultural issue that was triggered by putting together one of my nighttime dreams, a popular reality show, and our political world. I was hoping I could write it in a way that made sense. 

Then,  I had second thoughts about that too based on not having the mindset to do it justice as well as all of what's going on with Covid-19, where it's causing such major disruption and has so much uncertainty attached to it. January 4th, I wrote about ['black swans']. The world has been hit by one of those with no idea where it's going. Not a good time for deep thinking where, at least for most of us, we don't have enough facts to put it all together...

So third plan. Photos of the desert and at the end a jigsaw puzzle, one of my current meditative distractions. Enjoy my piece of the desert where I find such peace and if i have to self-quarantine, I will enjoy my surroundings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

by Diane: I just realized my childhood doctor had the same Jewish principle as health care doctors on my father's side


I didn't see him as being Jewish, even when I had been his patient for years. The last time I saw Dr. Burnham I was 15. When I was 15 my parents and I moved from Berkeley, California to Portland, Oregon.

     In the 1940's my parents took me to Dr. Burnham Junior.  His office was upstairs above a street level pharmacy.  The art-deco waiting room was worn and past its prime. In places the wall paper was peeling. No Highlight Magazines or child's corner! I was drawn to the window watching students come and go through the University of California's Sather Gate on Band Croft Avenue. How ideal would it be for me to join them and read books outdoors under a shady tree someday?
    When I wasn't watching out the window, I studied the bold large tropical leaf wall paper on the opposite wall.  

      Dr. Burnham's Jr.'s office appeared to be his home inherited from his father's practice. His father was likely a Jewish, Yiddish speaking German immigrant. I remember my parents talking about the doctor's marital status but I didn't pay attention to the details. I saw no sign of his wife or children.

     The hominess of the medical office was complete - no reception office counter.  No-co-pays! No pay before service. The nurse welcomed us as soon as she was available. Her dress was one of the few sign that the home was a medical practice. Her uniform included a fascinating intricate starched cap, an immaculate white dress and white stockings and shoes. 

     When the patient before us was finished, the doctor showed the elderly patient bent over a cane to the elevator and then showed us to the grand room like a ball room in my childhood memory of sizes.  He was dressed in a suit covered with a white lab coat. Some details of the exam room were interesting enough for me to remember like an impressive collection of leather covered medical text books on shelves.  This was not a library. No doubt it was a doctor visit room because of the scent of rubbing alcohol and mercurochrome.  There was an exam table and tools on a cart.  There was a large glass container of cotton balls and another smaller container of tongue depressors. When needed, the nurse brought in the freshly sterilized hypodermic needles in a stainless steel container. By the door was a large black doctor's bag that showed wear and tear of many house calls. Also in the room were glass cases and shelves with bottles and boxes. The most memorable surgical tools were the scalpels. I don't remember him using his desk. He must have had a desk because I remember the lamp with the horizontal  kelly green glass shade and pull chain like the ones I had seen  in libraries. He sat in an easy chair with pencil and pad across from my mother and I where we sat together on a coach.

      For what seemed much too long my mother and doctor in a relaxed conversation talked about my symptoms no matter how insignificant. I cringe still remembering that strangers in the waiting room could hear every word. Yet, the doctor would get an almost whole view of our life – of course missing my input. children or seen but not heard.

     Dr. Burnham made as many as three house calls a day to keep me from having to go to a hospital when I had a high fever. He knew us like he was our neighbor.

        At the end of one memorable consultation when I was ten years old, he told my mother that I had cavities in my molars and they needed to be filled soon.  He boldly criticized my orthodontic braces. My teeth could not be straightened because there was simply not enough room for all my teeth.  Some teeth had to be pulled to have a success. His words that day remain in my memory because my parents did not heed them. Dr. Burnham Jr. was correct. My teeth are becoming more and more crooked.
       Looking back some aspects of Dr. Burnham's practice I truly miss. He probably billed his patients according to what they could pay. Though he was an authoritarian type, he healed through being theatrical. He had great faith in the body to heal if we would be just patient. He was not afraid to speak the truth.  I miss the personal involvement and caring that he expressed despite his outdated attitude that children should be present but not heard. Maybe worse is today's medical practices that protect the doctor from direct contact with the patient. Too many people and too few doctors. The primary care professional  deligates responsibility so many steps away from the patient, that the patient gets answers third hand.
      We did not have to deal with health insurance.  His biggest expense would have been just payroll for a nurse.  Most of his patients were his father's aging patients. He didn't care to make money beyond what he needed to live. He proved practicing medicine can be practiced as an art as opposed to practicing programed technology with minimal oportunity for heart felt connection. This history proves to me that we could have a more humane and less expensive health care whether we go with single payer medicare for all or less government involvement. Living the Jewish principle of repairing the world in his case through medical paractice could be more rewarding to a doctor than money. From what I know of the health care providers on my father's side the Jewish principle endures longer than observance.

 





Saturday, March 07, 2020

Me Too

by Rain Trueax

March Sunset from our desert home

Before I start on MeToo, I wanted to let readers here know that I have a free book at Amazon for Kindles. This is one of the benefits of making my books exclusive to Amazon (as well as that it can be borrowed for Kindle Unlimited members). So, if you have never tried a mystical realism novel, this is your chance for free-- Dangerous Match. It is supposed to show up free Saturday and Sunday but be sure it is before you hit buy.

~~~~~~~~~~~

While I no longer watch MSNBC for news, I used to have it as my go-to source. Even then, I wasn't fond of Chris Mathews. Something about his style of reporting turned me off. Still, when I read that he was forced out of his job there due to the MeToo movement, I read more about what exactly had happened.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

by Diane, Fundamental lessons from studying painting at Portland State College during the '60's

At Portland State College I was given important lessons in practicing art. They were to look and see for yourself, have confidence in your instints, and be an engaged citizen.
        Painting Professor Richard Prasch recommended before starting a painting, reflect on what you want to acheive and list them on paper. So the past 54 years I have kept a record of my goals in one large binder. In that binder I found a 1975 letter to the editor.
        




























Over the years there is a thread of consistency at Portland State College then and now Portland State University.  Paintings with social conscious content was praised and recognized.  The department provided programs for students to  reach out to the public like participating in the formation of an art gallery that had drew in participants from other disciplines at the college.
     I have dropped in to see thePSU art department several times over the years. With the retirement of the ceramics instructer, Ray Grimm, the ceramic studio  became small classrooms without natural light and offices for  instructors.  The central lounge  dissapeared.  The department office was moved over to what had been a basic design class. When Heidel was there, a large tapestry adorned the space behind a desk. Then during the 80's the painting studios were moved to an old commercial building. I can't imagine how painting in a low ceiling studio with artificial light would have been inducive to  the almost like outdoor painting problems. Sometimes I even painted from the balcony giving an Olympian view of the subject. Not to mention that the new cramped space would have fumes that would overwhelm me.
      An appolgy:  This blog is unfinished.  I intended to finish  with an explanation of how the Art Department's Graduate College of Art + Design had a cord growing out of the objectives of Heidel and other department heads in the 60's. Due to my roll as a care giver to my husband, I have yet been able to take up the invitation of Associate Director of Development and Alexandria Cleasby the Development Coordinator of PSU Arts. They offered to take me on a tour. With the slow progress and new issues in my husband's health, I do not know when I can take up their offer.