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Saturday, August 29, 2020

using a quote for today

 by Rain Trueax

This week, we finished reading aloud from Edward Abbey's One Life at a Time, Please every morning and now afternoon (at 115ºF too hot to do things outside). One essay was on Ralph Waldo Emerson, and he chose some quotes from Emerson to share. The ones that resonated most with me were chosen from his essay Self-Reliance and there were several.
"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
 That is so powerful for our time. It is so much easier to find a bubble and settle into it to express only views that suit the bubble. Do bubble fans think when they are alone that maybe some of what the group wants is not really what they want? All I know is that when I express my viewpoint in a group that sees things differently, it can turn nasty fast. The ability to discuss issues is gone when only one side can be right and good (and believe me both sides see it that way today). To compromise is evil.

Recently an ideology group (I prefer not using names to avoid trolls showing up) went into where diners were eating outside due to the virus. They demanded that the diners raise their arms in a closed fist to assure agreement with their ideology. If they didn't do it, they would take their pictures and put them up on social media to shame them. Silence was defined as racism. 

From what I have seen, many have become fearful of this accusation and must agree that racism is everywhere, that every white person is a racist. I don't think they demand that all colored people must be one. It's all about white privilege, which is apparently being taught in our schools.

Shouldn't it be up to each of us to look into our hearts and decide if we operate with racism? If we have spent a lifetime seeing people by their actions and not judging them by their skin color, does that make us a racist? 

I can't remember if I wrote here about cognitive bias. The first time I heard about it, the word bias went beyond what we are against but also what we are for. What experiences have led us to interpret events certain ways? If someone walks toward you, do you automatically see them as one way or another for a danger? It might save your life if you evaluate your biases fairly or lead you to needless fear if you don't. 

Cognitive bias is followed by confirmation bias. This is where we reinforce our beliefs by hanging with those who will affirm us. This is particularly prevalent on social media and where we go for news.

When I go to Facebook, I see memes to inspire hate or anger-- aiming both ways since I have friends on both sides of the divide. Recently the Senate put out a report on the Russian troll farms and what they are attempting to do. Basically, it's that left and right, they create memes that they believe will stir people up in a negative way. The goal is to cause dissension in our country. I am not sure what that gains Russia, but i know it doesn't do us good. But here's the thing-- if people didn't pass these things on, they'd not be effective. Even if you only pass on those that you know your bubble will appreciate, you might be adding to anger or fear. What does that gain you or them?

Back to Emerson's words, written so long ago, do you dare speak out what you feel when you are meditating on what's going or are you driven to suit the mob-- and yes, sometimes, it's a mob. One woman at a restaurant told them that she agreed with their goals but would not do the fist bump. Brave woman.

Finally from Emerson: "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles."

We should all make sure we know what our principles are and whether they help the community or hurt it.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

By Diane: Mini-art respite from caregiving update #16: Just making plans or fantasies

by Diane


Thursday, August 20,

After our party, a son-in-law took this selfie. 

Fantasies of a family and friends' reunion with some of us staying at the Siletz Movie House and a boat fishing procession to a wayside park and beyond into Siletz Bay. We will celebrate old and new memories. Anybody ever heard of a portable organ we can play at the park. One of Don's brothers is looking for a portable piano keyboard. What we do all hinges on the Covid situation and we are all flexible. We might down-scale our reunion to McDonald's forest cabin.

I have many fantasies. Like keeping the house and inviting couples to stay with me  when one of them wants to just paint and the other plans outings on the ocean or rivers or mountain trails. After our meeting on Friday a granddaughter and boyfriend brought an array of his family's Mexican foods. so comforting! Enough for all and the visiting Hospice nurse! Granddaughter and boyfriend are returning next Friday to paint with me. By then I hope to have new canvases - large ones.

Tuesday August, 25th.

My colonoscopy canceled.

Don's impacted bowels are slow to clear and I am scrambeling to get him a cough assist machine so he won't need to take so many constipating medications.

The good news in addition to the ALS Association can loan us  a donated cough assist machine, we won the appeal for almost $900 for the the current respiratory devise. he uses to sleep at night.

In the very warm kitchen window I've been soaking dried acrylic paint in the jars from my palette. I accidently left the the lid off my palette Friday and didn't discover it until late Saturday evening.  So this is a good time to clean and fill my jars up high in anticipation of painting larger this coming Friday.

Between cleaning up paint jars and cleaning up poop that seeps around the impactment now I am giving away pears and apples because there is no time to can or dry them.

Now and then, yesterday and today I make headway on four old paintings that only need a few brush strokes of change. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday in the desert

 by Rain Trueax

Barrel cactus in Tucson

Someone we know was in Portland last week, the northeast part, an area of small businesses and ordinary homes. He was there to buy a canoe to take his sons camping.  He related what he saw as being so sorry for what is happening in Portland, a city we have all loved. In that area, next to those nice little homes, on the streets and in the parks were homeless people, living and wandering the streets. It's bad for the homeless, and it felt sad what it must be like for the ones owning those homes.This isn't a rich neighborhood but ordinary working folks who worked hard for their tidy little homes. They have no way to know who will wander by or camp there.

What comes below might seem political to some. I think it's more cultural... Of course, I do lol if that's not of interest to you there is one more thing of interest at the end. One of my eBooks is free. Skim down if cultural issues are not of interest or you've read enough.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

By Diane: My Caregiving Mini-art Respite #15: I must do what makes me happy to be good to Fisherman Hubby

by Diane 


      First, before calling the Hospice nurse about this weekend's vital signs and medications, I watch the bees in the wild flowers. Photograph the poppy. To overcome the washing out effect of over exposure on the poppy  I reduced the light setting in my Iphone which used to be the aperture. 


And pick yellow pear-shaped tomatoes. Eat a mock curry made with just plum sauce, cumin and ginger flavoring in oat milk and a tablespoon of keifer plus veggies left-overs. The Buddha bowl is with an accompaniment of a leafy green salad topped with cottage cheese. 

My mind is an escapist when it comes to current events. But a time will come when I will.

      I think about whether my Covid party painting is finished or not. My goal is getting some 3' by 4' canvases and replenishing my paint supply.

      Tuesday I picked up my new glasses.  Since catarct surgery last year my eyes settled down and I could not see with the old glasses  I looked at the painting of our grandson teaching a young child to fish. His eyes are almost done. Just a little touch on the left lower eyelid. Also the left pupil needs to be grayed and enlarged a spec.

    To be able to enjoy the nature around me and expressing what I feel in paint makes me happier.  Certainly enhancing Fisherman Hubby"s life.

    Sooner than later will be dealing with Fisherman Hubby's incontinence,  but at the same time he has made more space available as he sells his shop tools so I will have space to work space.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

small things

 by Rain Trueax

Here I am again with nothing to say that I feel is positive. I am not happy, but why should I be given the world situation as well as what is closer to home? Like most of you, I am doing the best I can for where I am. I am trying to think ahead to a future that will be brighter instead of writing about what is going wrong-- in my opinion. Why depress others by writing about my own negative situations right now? If I wrote what I am thinking about politics, half of you would agree and half be offended. Besides which, does anyone think what we write in blogs or on FB convinces anyone? I doubt it.

I did find one interesting thing this week in terms of how we decide what is worth believing, how do we figure out what is truth. It was that we need to look at our own cognitive biases. What in our experiences has us wanting to believe or disbelieve something. The theory was that we all have cognitive bias and need to be aware of it in terms of how we read what is out there. That is followed by confirmation bias, which basically says we tend to go where we already are comfortable and what will reaffirm us. The point was watch out for it when we assess something that we recently learned.

 Other than that, I finally got the new blogger. It works for me, but I can't say I like it. It is not the disaster for me that it is for my blog partner, Diane. She can't format or add photos. For that and other reasons, she may need a break from blogging. We're trying to work that out. IF we try to take this blog back to legacy, will that continue to be supported? I am uncertain from what I can research.

So, how about some more desert photos of the cacti? Better than what I am actually thinking ;) Nature is also life and right now the only real consolation for the pain the world is experiencing. The lesson from nature is that life goes on...

 One thing about these late summer cactus-- watch for them. A day later, the blossoms will be gone. Something to think about where it comes to valuing small things.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

By Diane: Caregiving Mini-art Respite Update #14: Backyard Covid-distanced Paint-out Party

 by Diane


 SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 The more the merrier! Even masked and distanced the party will be a precious memory painting. The party included my painter sister-in-law, a long time painting pal, plus one granddaughter and her boyfriend. 

 While we painted, the yard holly trees shortened to bushes and general weeding in pasture was done by next younger brother to Fisherman Hubby. Early, before the guests arrived, I set-up my easel in our vegetable garden enclosure. 

The party caused me to depart from the illustration of a future Fisherman Hubby's book. I felt uncomfortably uncertain of any painting direction. Before the party I was thinking color and energy and not specifically of my guests being important in my painting. Serendipity intervened. Two of these painters were previously central in landscape paintings from when we were painting together. My view just happened to, most importantly, include where our group spread out under the patio cover. 

thumbnail detail of the painting

SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 This week I am grateful for all the yard help we received. My spirits are lifted every time I look outside. Who would guess friends would be so caring. Tina Price Green is a master gardener supreme bring her home grown veggies and even is a superwoman gardener quickly managing weeding and trimming. Hot weather is drying the ground while the flowers dry up quickly. Fortunately our yard has many dry weather plants.

Saturday, August 08, 2020


by Rain Trueax
I went online Thursday morning with no idea what to write about for Saturday's blog. My head was spinning with ideas-- so many of them negative. I like to be positive, but how is that possible when my nation is so divided filled with people who see what should be done diametrically opposed to each other. Soon they will be voting, me too, and it could send the country spiraling in a totally different direction where it comes to taxes (try a 39+% capital gains tax); environment; packing the Supreme Court; Green New Deal and how much fuel we can use: immigration; adding new states; legal system; ending the Electoral College; no more filibuster; etc. etc. Or we might be staying the course (which some see as the road to hell) and finding more rioting in the streets because it didn't turn out right... or rather left.

It's not enough these days to disagree on what is right to do or for whom to vote, the one
voting wrong must also be condemned.

Of course, then there was the explosion in Beirut. More upset. The newspaper was full of it, but since you also likely read papers, no need for me to repeat it all here. Just more heartbreak.

When I got to Blogger-- things had changed. After hearing about it for over a month, I now had the new version. Like so many have said, I don't like it as well. It seems awkward; and so far I haven't been able to find all I want, but it should be manageable... Maybe. I guess we can go back to the original but not sure for how long. I wonder why computer gurus want to change things in a time where there is already so much chaos...

So instead of trying to pretend all is hunky-dory, I figured I'd go with the standby-- the desert. The barrel cactus were not planted by us. They could be natural or planted by a former owner. They aren't attracting the bees like the saguaro blossoms did, but their fruit is loved by the javelina and rodents.

The Texas Ranger (many photos below) is our contribution to bring xeriscape plantings around the pool and house, leaving the rest of our land natural to the desert terrain in which it sets.The bees love it. We aren't sure where the hive is but any bees in Tucson are the ones called killer bees. They don't seem that aggressive so far...
As far as monsoon storms go, which I had been looking forward to being here to experience, they haven't happened much. Rain in early June was good; but since then it's been mostly sprinkles. The storms I used to watch march north up the valley have clung more to the mountain behind us. Rains have been heavy in a few places but not here. There have been some beautiful clouds sail by, but they saved their moisture for elsewhere.

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.