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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

by Diane: Savoring peaceful time by myself envisioning a future

There is light on the other side of the tunnel of estate paperwork. Every day my efforts reward me with the satisfaction of trying food recipes that create aromas to me that an ill fisherman hubby could not tolerate. Every day there is progress in repurposing the house as a living studio for art making. This week everything was removed from the attic. Christmas day was a delightful nostalgic discovery day. Among the treasures was the childhood art work of my youngest daughter. Children's art is so inspiring, I will work off of their expressiveness. 

   I cannot entirely accept feeling so good because what is missing is Fisherman Hubby needing me and feeling that I am playing an important role in his success. Instead I consider what role I will play in the lives of those I love. It was one thing for Fisherman Hubby to be so controlling in demanding me to be there for him in the past few years during his decline in health, and another to take on a co-dependent relationship now. Plus I should not so burden my loved ones by being overly dependent.

My NEW YEAR resolutions, as much as I appreciate the cocoon of warmth and caring that shelters me, is to develop and learn in matters that I can accomplish by myself. And ask those who are sincerely ready to give to fill true needs of mine.

Friday, December 25, 2020


 by Rain Trueax

We are through much of the holiday season with New Year's the only one left for many of us as we move into a new year, hoping it'll be better than 2020. I hope you all have had a good holiday season. This will be my last blog for the year although Diane might have one for Wednesday. 

I tried to think of an appropriate post to end but didn't come up with much. I do think one important thing about 2020 has been the subject of illusions. We are so often told what to think or expect and it doesn't turn out that way. That can lead to an inability to trust in anything.

An example is the recent conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter that some believed might've been the star over Bethlehem. It last happened over 800 years ago, which caused excitement. I have to say that's unlikely to me for it being the Bethlehem star.

We did, however try to get photos but in the end, it didn't look brighter than Venus. That didn't mean it wasn't interesting to see these two planets appear so close but it also wasn't as dramatic as a few photos I saw suggested it would be. It was cool though to see photos of Jupiter's moon and Saturn's rings.

The photo at the top of this blog actually is not either of the planets. It's an illusion created when Ranch Boss took a photo of the moon while he was on the hunt for something dramatic with the planets. I could have put it here and let someone think it was what was seen. No, it is the trick of the camera.

We have often thought a photo will be evidence. Not in today's world where with digital, anyone can create illusions, move people to where they never were, etc. etc. 

Can we trust our eyes? Sometimes. 

The magic of the camera is very cool as it gives us memories we can draw upon. Here are a few of ours from 2020. For me, the best ones are about nature-- healing as it can be.

The angels belonged to my mom before she died. The sideboard came from Europe and we got it at an antique store. Fun to put together a home from many sources. No illusions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

By Diane: First Christmas as a widow

 Despite the pandemic, a puddle of water on the floor next to the wood burning stove, the barn door that mysteriously opened and the fact that I need help to close it, despite the long to do list, Christmas is here.

Monday the 20th of December

Feeling a little down yesterday by the immense number of to do's posted on my refrigerator, late into the evening I cut up all the small tasks into small individual pull notes and tapped them to a sheet of paper so every time I complete a task, the small paper can be pulled from the backing paper or new asks can be easily added. One 8 1/2" X 11" paper currently has 18 tasks. Small tasks include replacing burnt out light bulbs, donating books to the library, ordering a remote for a slide projector, and any task that can be done just once - not the usual every day vacuuming and dishwashing.  Another sheet has jobs like contracting a roofer for the shop or planning a budget.  Yet another sheet has jobs I am delegating to friends and family.

After making half a dozen calls today setting into action numerous future needs and appointments, I had completed succssfully my list for today.  My sense of being on top of my affairs is restored. I am looking forward to painting again soon.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Something is coming

 by Rain Trueax

With the virus and our own distance from family, this is a different Christmas with just the two of us. In another year, without a pandemic, we might've been in Oregon, or if down here, invited friends to get together. There are too many unknowns to do that this year. So it's us, our desert home, and our cats. No complaints given we've both had some wonderful Christmas times. Things change and getting on a plane or asking family to do that (they wouldn't) is not in the picture. Most of us understand that the virus is not over-- not yet.

So, we had this fun artificial Christmas tree. We bought ornaments and lights, then added a couple of other images for the tree. When we bought them, I hadn't thought of the symbolism, that I very much like. Humankind (represented by the Nutcracker); nature (by the owls) and the angels to represent the spiritual world. In the past, I only went for pretty ornaments, old family ones, but this kind of gives this new tree something special. I am so glad we did it after years of no tree at all. Artificial or not, it soothe the soul in a time like this.

 Then there are the green wreathes and our cats. Two of them are near one of the greens. The third was with Ranch Boss' shirt and an afghan my mom made for us years ago. Again, it all appeals.They are family as many pets are for those who love them.

 The so-called Christmas or Solstice star is due the 21st, when the days gradually will lengthen. I hope we can get photos of it given clouds are iffy right now. Here is where the two planets were converging earlier this month. There are some astrological possibilities for it. Check those out if you are interested. It has been over 800 years since this was last seen. I hope we get some photos as we won't be around when it happens again. Will mankind?

Finally, i have some thoughts on the virus. I know many are sick of hearing about it; so good place to stop if that's you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


 Diane is painting something new. Nostalgia :) For those who don't know, rollerskating was a big deal for her and her girls for many years. Otherwise, she is dealing with business issues related to her new life as a widow.

Friday, December 11, 2020

gifts for the season

 by Rain Trueax

Image from Stencil

One of the sharing things we like during the holidays is give or exchange gifts. As part of that tradition, I put some of my Christmas oriented eBooks on sale in Amazon. The sale lasts until the New Year. Now, 99¢ isn't exactly free to the reader, but it virtually is to the writer. As Amazon takes most of the price (70% + their normal nominal charge). We like to do it with the hope some new reader will find a book they'd never tried and maybe find some holiday cheer. 

The poster shows the five books on sale. Four of them are novellas, two historicals (which are books 5 and 8 in the Arizona Dreaming series) and two contemporaries; but this year, we have a fifth, which is a full length novel (Book 2 in Arizona Dreaming). All stand alone but often have secondary characters from earlier books.


While Christmas is not central to The Marshal's Lady, it is important in the development of relationships. As a father, Marshal Cordell O'Brian, who has been kept from his daughter, is trying to finally establish a connection with 9-year old Grace as she is sent to him in Tucson. Will she ever accept him as her father?

Priscilla Wesley, the woman he is attracted to, but knows it'll never work out, has taken Grace under her wing and now is trying to teach them both about the joys of a holiday neither has really known.


Snippet from The Marshal's Lady, as Cord takes on a new responsibility to the laughter of his deputy.

“You’re doing what?” Rafe asked with a laugh.

“You heard me and don’t bother making jokes.”

“No jokes but come on. Geronimo is supposedly signing a peace treaty soon, but he hasn’t yet. There are always renegade bands just looking for easy pickings.”

“I am not easy pickings.”

“Give me a chance to adjust to this.” Rafe chuckled again and leaned back on two legs of his chair. “You are going out Old Spanish Trail then up in the Rincons to cut a Christmas tree?”

“What? You heathens don’t cut trees?” Cord asked finding an old scarf to wrap around his neck and cover his ears if it got too cold. Where the desert floor wasn’t too bad in December, if he had to go above four thousand feet, there’d likely be snow. As he remembered it, there was a slot canyon where pines grew of the right size. It’s where he’d head, hoping he could avoid going higher.

“When we cut a tree, it’s to build a home. Hell, we even revere flowers as sacred. A tree oughta be more so.” His smile said he took none of it seriously.

“Well it’ll be decorated up real pretty until it gets cut up and burned in a fire. That seems special to me.”

“Want me to go with you?”

“For what, to laugh? No, I want you to stay here and keep an eye on the town. Sheriff Adams is out of sight again, most likely drunk in the backroom of a bar somewhere or maybe in one of the girls’ rooms. Whatever the case and wherever he is, he’s not answering to anything.”

“No surprise in that. Why doesn’t the damn town get rid of him?”

Cord shrugged as he buttoned his coat. Outside the drizzle was cold. Any direction he went, this wasn’t going to be much fun. Usually when he got stuck with such hunts they were to go after a bad guy. Who’d have figured it’d be to chop down a six or seven foot pine tree.

“All right, I’ll do it, but I’d rather ride into the mountains and let you stay here and look after town,” Rafe protested one last time.

“And have you feel you had damaged some ancestor’s special something? Not a chance.”

“We could both go.”

“I told you why we won’t.”

“Are they picking up Evans today?”

“Supposedly but that was supposedly yesterday too.”

“I gotta admit I’m glad your girlfriend got Ben off the hook.”

“She’s not my girlfriend, not my friend, and yes, I am too. Judge Emerson was still chuckling as he delivered the orders.”

“She has a way about her.”

“The kicker was she’s hiring Ben, which will work fine so long as he doesn’t drink.”

“James’ll keep an eye on him. He likes James. He likes Miss Wesley even more.”

“Hopefully it’ll work out for them all.” He had a few reservations mostly connected to his jaw, which had almost gone back to normal, but still hurt when he bit down wrong on something. 

“Well watch out up there. See you tonight.”

Links in Amazon for eReaders:

 The Marshal's Lady--

The two historical novellas both have older heroines. They have given up on love but has love given up on them: 

Rose's Gift--

Frederica's Outlaw --

 And then come the contemporary novellas, both with Christmas rather prominent. 

In A Montana Christmas, the heroine (from an earlier full length novel, From Here to There, has it mind that a ranch Christmas is a time to heal her husband's family rifts. Or will it only create more pressure?--

In Diana's Journey, a retired teacher is facing a change in her life. With so many lost memories, Christmas is the last time she wants to think about. Can it prove healing for her in a small southern Utah community? --

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

something for now

 by Rain Trueax

Acoma pot, artificial greens, and a fun little owl where two are on our artificial tree and two here with the sculpture and pot. One of those on the tree had to be put higher as Raven decided it looked like a cat toy and reached up to bat it off... We moved it higher :)

Since I know many of you are concerned for how Diane is doing, she is taking care of real life business but will be back at the blog when she can-- maybe even later this week, but if not, hopefully next week.

The holidays can be a tough time for anybody. What do you do when things aren't as you wish but you have to plug on? How do you avoid depression when others are cheery around you? Any secrets? I go to FB and see so many with health, relationship, and economic problems. Pets that were deserted when they felt they had someone they could trust. We see so much, more than any other era. Is the answer head in the sand? That doesn't seem possible for long-- or is it?

Friday, December 04, 2020

What does Christmas mean to you?

 by Rain Trueax


Because of the season, I got to thinking about what does Christmas mean to each of us? To me? 

It has changed totally in my lifetime from when someone else determined what happened that day (family). Then, we had the years when we made the decisions. It also involved family. The photo above was our first Christmas at the farm. 

I thought about it because this will be the first year, thanks to family changes and mostly the pandemic, that since 1977, we have not been at the farm.  In fact, it goes farther back then that for how many years it's been since we weren't in Oregon at all (1966). It feels weird to me, but I realize some move more often than we did; so not odd at all for how Americans shift around due to jobs or family changes. We did some of that in our early married life but not at all later. Land and livestock tend to ground a  person.

Christmas for us this year will be very different as we don't really have a community (thanks to the pandemic) and our family is far away. We no longer attend a church for Christmas; but if we wanted to do so, the pandemic would have taken that away. Will it change things once the vaccine is here or, along with the new experiences from the virus, that some things changed forever?

What we have done for this year is the artificial tree, which I have come to love, along with lights and ornaments. What does the day though mean for us? Maybe we have thought about it more because of the book we have been reading, Book of the Hopi, that goes into their yearly rituals. Their community, family, and religion are complicated, more so than I had remembered from earlier reading the book. They celebrate a year based on the earth and their need to plant and have rains at the right time. Rituals are very important in their lives.

One cool thing this year will be the Christmas star. It will come with the Solstice and involves two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, coming so close together that they appear as one. I don't know that it has significance spiritually, but it's been 800 years since this last happened.

So what grounds us today as a people? Religion? Political persuasion? What does Christmas mean to you at whatever point in life you are? Some people have a life that changes a lot even if they don't move. For others, it stays the same. I'd enjoy hearing what Christmas means to you today.


The planets approaching each other, the full moon, and the last lovely sunset from November. The dove posed perfectly


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

by Diane; Update #2 on seeking a new normal : A new widow's winter holidays

 Sunday, November 29

Just as I was reveling in my studio/living room at 2:30 AM in the morning my nose became super congested and started dripping relentlessly. Couldn't breath with the c-pap even after wearing a stocking cap and sitting up higher.  I started sneezing. Maybe six times in a row. Never had a cold start so abruptly. Was it allergy? So at 4:30AM I started the day with breakfast and an antihistamine. Did some writing on the computer and even read a magazine. Then went back to bed for an hour but didn't sleep.  So some of my fancier plans for the thanksgiving meal went to the way side but still made delicious roasted chicken breasts with roasted vegies and a mashed sweet potato/pumpkin dish topped with fresh pineapple, chopped ginger, and coconut milk baked in the oven. I ate my dinner in the company of a zoom meeting with Wenzel family and even some of son-in-law Sam's Edge family in Calabash, North Carolina.

 Friday I continued to be symptomatic and I isolated myself with the remote possibility that I had COVID.  But Saturday in the middle of the night the symptoms went away.

Pictures about Don's life spread out on the kitchen table. Draft after draft of his life story continues. But now beginning to have it processed enough to write a smaller version to submit to the Albany Democrat-Herald as an obituary.

Monday, 7:00 AM, November 30
   My day schedule:
5:50 AM  get up and try to think of something to be thankful for. Like Don trained Kevin to use the sprayer so he could spray bleach on the moss covered driveway making it less slippery.
6:30 AM  Three Bob Mill's gluten free pancakes with bumblebee salmon, chopped celery, blueberries, butter and real maple syrup,  fresh pineapple, and a slice of avocado.
7:00 AM  Shower followed by Tai Chi
8:00 AM call furnace dealer for repair and cleaning
                 Then call Rainbow Disaster Repair for mold extermination estimate
                  set up rides to and from Mammogram and physical therapy to improve posture
9:00  AM  bring plexiglass cabinet on wheels to bedroom studio and move paintings from garage into cabinet
10:00 AM  second small breakfast ( for mild GERD) and fiber supplement in juice from stewed prunes
Rest of the day maybe a walk maybe cutting down dry foliage and planting bulbs.   Work on surprise Christmas gifts and usual Holiday celebrations. It wasn't suppose to rain.

Tuesday, 9:00 PM, December 1
I had precious time to paint for an hour. Since my cataract surgery a year and a half ago colors on some paintings are way different than I thought. Dancing with my five grand children was started before two of them were born in 1997 or 1998 and I have been working on it ever since. Today I moved my hip out and cut out some of my front torso to make more room for the youngest grandchildren. The yellow band at the bottom was too yellow so I covered it with non-toxic cadmium red deep by Liquitex.
Talked to a friend about the furnace and found out that the radiant oil heaters in each room left on at a low setting works without any forced air moving molds around the house. And if left on low is no more expensive for her than the furnace but ours is a gas furnace.  So confusing what to do. Happy though that I am now addressing long term problems.