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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Creativity and its other side


Thursday, November 03, 2005

the other side of creativity

For me, creative expression is the wind beneath my sails. It's what I do, how I feel good, how I express me. This comes through writing, sculpting or painting, but I have tested the waters shallowly in many mediums-- made a few quilts, sewed, done some macrame, tole painting. My creative expression shows up in my home, garden and lifestyle choices. When I explain who I am, being creative is high on the list.  

Lately I haven't done much sculpting but these are some of my clay sculptures. Most set in the attic as I have not been successful in selling them, but then I haven't put the effort into selling that I did into creating. I feel a mix of emotions about them and my other work-- a stack of paintings are up in that attic as well as 11 completed manuscripts on my hard drive (ranging from 85,000 to 140,000 words). I feel proud of what I have done-- finished works, skills learned-- but not so proud that I haven't worked harder to get them out into the world. I have done a lot of things in my years but marketing well is not one of them. It feels like a mix of failure and achievement when I think on my works. Like I let them down. 
 I don't have one clear reason for why I have not been better at doing what I see as the other part of creating. Some is not fitting the market. I can say that about the books at the time they were rejected-- those that ever got submitted. 
When we hope to trade our artistic work for someone else's dollars, we have to meet their needs. I don't blame the market when what I have done didn't succeed in that. But that's only part of it. Part of it is I haven't tried hard enough and this goes back to another part of creativity. We create it and then we put it out for the world to judge through sales, showings or even contests. These paintings, manuscripts and sculptures are pieces of me. They are my babies and when someone else looks at them and says pedestrian work, not enough interest to them, it's like they are saying it about me. 
An artist who has the whole package believes in their work, believes enough to get out there and send it again and again to publishers or to galleries. Maybe I'm not a true enough artist or maybe it goes back to the recent reading I received from the medium where she saw the negative patterns in my life. Number one was I didn't trust enough, that I felt I would lose whatever I gained; and number two was I didn't have enough belief in myself or my abilities. I would guess that's true of a lot of us and the way past it is to take the risks and keep taking them until the barrier is broken-- but the reason we don't goes back to the patterns. Sometimes not believing in my work is not a mistake. I mean it's not wise to kid myself on what I'm doing. I am not as gifted a painter as my friend at Golden Acorn. I don't know if I never quite developed the craft side of painting or just don't have the gifts, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying painting. It does cause me to often not show it to others. What ends up on the canvas has not yet been what I had seen in my mind. 
When I got online for the first time some years back, I learned how many people can write well. It was an eye-opener. The main difference between those who have published books and those who have not is at least to a degree marketing skills. I intellectually know the process, have read how-to books, talked to agents, other writers, but it is one thing to know what you should do and another to face your baby (and creative work is your baby) being rejected yet again. Wait a minute. Those characters were good. Didn't you laugh at that part? What was not to like? Sometimes an editor says you can change this or that and we'll consider again except either you can't do it or it goes against your sense of what the work was supposed to be about-- creative integrity vs marketing reality.
I am working on getting past these blocks. My problem has not been in having ideas or finishing my projects. Or maybe it is. Is it really finished stacked in a dusty, cobwebbed attic or will it only be finished when it has moved to someone else's hands?

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Dreams from 2005



For years I have gone through periods of time where I get dreams that are vivid, in story form, and applicable to either my life or creativity. I have dreamed story ideas, paintings, seen troubling options illustrated for their consequences and very much enjoyed the times of the vivid dreamworld. 
The idea for this painting came from such a dream where the woman had feathers, was like a kachina or Isis and it led me to rereading who Isis was, some sketches and finally a couple of paintings that varied around the dream. I believe it's important when I first wake to try to retrieve any dreams that are lingering and sometimes I lie for a few moments putting together the stories, the colors and any images that are clear. Most times there is nothing important to remember. 
This week I had ones I call medicine dreams (as in their meanings go beyond what I was doing and are for helping me). Two mornings I could remember the important aspects but not today. Although I remembered it when I first woke, by the time clear awareness came, it was gone. All I know for sure is it was negative and not sure why I lost it. The earlier dreams illustrated current life situations-- one night being full of barriers which I have been feeling a lot in my life and the world at large. 
Sometimes without any help I can come up with the meanings of the dreams but other times by looking in a dream dictionary I can consider meanings that would not have been obvious to me. I went looking for that site after the night I dreamed of a skyscraper, elevator, dragon, and a couple of other symbols that were not part of my regular life and seemed odd to be in my dream. I live a certain kind of rural life that normally is used in dream illustrations. I have come to believe for the most part that in my dreams the people in them aren't as critical to the meaning as what happened. I think my subconscious uses whoever is handy to illustrate the needed lessons. 
Although I do not, as some do, keep a journal alongside my bed to write down everything, usually in the morning when I am up, I do write down the gist of the dreams as only a few will I remember well years later. The dream dictionary was a helpful source when I had a dream where I was going to jump from a rocky ledge into bright red, molten lava and then opted to decide that would hurt too much and reconsidered it with instead throwing myself in the cool blue of a beautiful ocean. Both were symbolic of optional ways of solving life problems and actually could be figured out for myself if I stopped to think-- anger vs peace. I have never had truly prophetic dreams but I often have very illustrative ones of what is going on with my life, and I try to remember and use them.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Passion or an obsession from 2005

The first of my old blogs after I sorted through them before losing internet. I found enough to cover every Saturday until September 4th. I might or might not be able to  put out some things midweek, but it will depend on getting internet and at the farm, that means cell coverage, which is not in the house at all. Will it be in the vacation trailer? If so, it'll not be a lot. I am taking my water based oils and acrylics; so might do some painting, which doesn't require internet :)

The below picture might be where the trailer ends up... All undecided for now. The mobile home you see beyond could be an eventual more permanent solution when we visit. It was my parents' and they both died in it. Might I also??? Life is so uncertain. It needs a LOT of renovation before that can happen and this year, with all the needed farm work, that's not happening to turn it into a tiny house.

As for this topic, in some ways, it's an old one but then we see people getting too close to wildlife with that desire to be one with them and it's not really that old... Well, that and how we separate passion from obsession for ourselves.

Passion or Obsession?

I have been reading Grizzly Maze the story of Timothy Treadwell's fatal obsession with Alaskan bears-- in particular grizzlies. It has made me think about the whole thing of when passion crosses the line and becomes obsession. Is one healthy and one not? If so, what converts passion into obsession? 
 The dictionary says obsession is preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling. Passion follows along the same line, even to the state of being in pain but doesn't say it's unreasonable, but then there is the Passion of the Christ. Was that passion or an obsession-- certainly if we used commonsense, as we think of it, it'd be an obsession that brought Christ to the cross. Maybe obsession is what takes someone into a realm of creativity or action that changes worlds whereas passion just leads to the bed-- figuratively speaking. 
Treadwell certainly had an obsessive desire to be with bears, to become one with bears (something he actually succeeded in albeit not quite as he had doubtless planned). Still he lived his life exactly as he chose, lived it right on the edge and while it eventually did kill him, was his a fitter end than overdosing on a Malibu beach? Perhaps his obsession saved him from mediocrity even if it did shorten his lifespan. If he had sat at home where it was safe, read books on grizzlies but not gone out to live amongst them, might that have been called a passionate interest? 
The bear experts have fits to imply that Treadwell did any good but is it any less valid to do what he did than sit on the sidelines measuring and observing? Treadwell lived a vibrant, passionate life and used all the tools at his disposal to maintain doing that. Did it accomplish anything? Does anything in the end? A life well lived-- even if a bit unusual-- might be the only real accomplishment anyone can claim. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw 
There is nothing reasonable about obsession, you can't argue with it or talk someone out of it-- at least not until they are ready to release it, but have obsessions been why we had a Van Gogh who painted even though no one bought his work? Is obsession why we have electricity? Is an obsession why we had Lewis and Clark or Columbus or so many others who set out on an exploration with no certainty they would return? How about Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull? Are great deeds logical? Was the concept of a Round Table and Arthur's Knights a passionate quest or an obsessive one? As best we know it, it led to Arthur's death and failure of the experiment-- except the dream grew possibly into something more than it ever was in history and even today lingers on in men's hearts. Can great deeds be attained by acting sensibly? 
Is a life lived sensibly superior to one that bucks the odds and reaches out for that obsession even if they fail? Certainly for every person who had an obsession that led to a medical breakthrough, there were thousands or more who had it and it led to madness or an old age of disappointment. I have experienced more than a few passions in my life given my nature but I believe-- at this point-- I have only had one obsession. It definitely wasn't sensible or logical. Even today I think on it and my blood rises, my heart beats faster. I don't necessarily regret that experience, but did it get me anywhere to go through it? I don't believe I handled it well but was that the fault of the obsession or my being unprepared to handle it given we live in a culture that stresses mediocrity as the safest venue for anything. Risk implies failure as part of its nature. Obsession is risky. When I began writing this, I was convinced obsession was bad and passion good. Now I wonder if obsession might be a gift we don't appreciate enough. I think I may do some more research on the topic...

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

living space

 Because many aren't aware of what vacation trailers offer, I thought I'd post a few photos before losing internet. I think not having it will be the biggest deal for me, but we aren't sure if we can have some at the farm... maybe. In the meantime, we set this trailer up well for working. The first photo is what you see as you climb the steps to the entryway.

The person from whom we bought the used trailer had changed some things for his own use-- a big one was taking out the booth and two TV watching chairs on the slide. That worked well for us as we then used that space for two desks and a work table, more fitting our needs than the booth would have been. More changes might come as we and the three cats live in it next week for a few months.

There are things we still want to change and get more workable for us-- also finding places for dirt boxes, one of the issues when traveling with cats. We also are not sure we'll get much use out of the outdoor entertainment area but time will tell. That and creating an outdoor yard for the cats to be safe and not too far from home base. You can see the small bathroom through the open door. It also has a door to enter from the bedroom, equally tiny but the main space is for the living area.

Saturday, May 22, 2021


Casa Espiritu garden

I have mentioned changes coming ahead and want to say a bit more about what is next for this blog. Before that though, I had another health issue arise and would like to inform others in case this kind of thing could catch them by surprise as it did me.

Recently, I experienced a bout of low blood sugar, hypoglycemia when it is permanent. I woke up one morning and didn't feel right at all. We did the usual poke the finger to get a blood sugar reading (which I wanted to check for diabetes not imagining low blood sugar). It's not like the first time it's happened, but this time was unconnected to nightshades. What happened is I was shaky, felt tired already, unsteady, didn't want to eat anything. My husband recognized the symptoms based on experiences with his mom. 

The numbers confirmed I was going the wrong way with my blood sugar. 70 is just barely okay, but it was not okay for me. So some sugar, honey, toast I didn't want, orange slices, and we got the numbers up to the 90s and later in the day mid-80s. Those are okay numbers but the reason for all of this is not okay. The reasons people develop low blood sugar readings are various but it's not a good place to be.

This chronic problem is hard to diagnose or deal with but we've been reading about it. It leads to a lot of symptoms I've been experiencing, like anxiety, odd heart beats, shakiness,
etc. etc.

Time for more diet adjustments, which means more complex carbohydrates, which many of us have avoided. I've not been eating healthily for getting something like low blood sugar. I've had a normal breakfast, my lunch has been light, and I've skipped the evening meal because I just didn't want food then. Guess my body disagreed.

Another is no whiskey as it can be a trigger especially as I was using it to feel normal for my blood sugar. As with so many things, it has other impacts. I never liked feeling drunk but sips of it off and on during the day to deal with the tremors had other implications.

If you have experienced hypoglycemia and know what someone can do to avoid the symptoms, I hope you will share.

So, our trip north has become dicey as to when we leave with so much to do once we arrive. Due to my illness and the weather, we will wait at least a week for going. Will reservations be more difficult in June? who knows. Either way, we are going-- getting in hay, fertilizing fields, separating cow calf pairs, selling a few, getting a crew out to cut the bad limbs off the huge oak trees, and on it goes. Not to mention getting there with three cats who will hate it all, then building a safe fence for them to be outside but not as they once were. The farm has new dwellers, including a cat.

That doesn't impact the blog but lack of internet does (no cell cover at the farm) and a lot of the RV parks say they have internet, but they do not. As best I can figure it out, it will be October or maybe early September before we are where I'll be able to publish a blog. Again, who knows as life can take some abrupt turns.

To keep this blog active, when I cannot be online, I had one idea-- my older blogs that I can pre-publish, where most readers today won't have seen them and some (in my opinion) are worth considering. I won't include comments with them as sadly many of the early blog commenters have since died. A reminder of the shortness of life.

Another possibility would be if someone wanted to take over the blog for a few months. I had hoped that would be Diane, but she had other directions to travel. I'd like to keep the blog active even if it's old thoughts-- they all are things with which I still like to think-- not like I agreed with all I wrote back then. I've changed in many ways. What I will share the next few months will be those ideas that I still consider relevant to my life. You won't know what I am doing from the posts, but I already told you-- living in a vacation trailer.

Photos above are of the garden Ranch Boss created at our Tucson home. Fortunately, we have nice neighbors who will look after the house, pool and maybe eat some of the veggies and pick the flowers until we can return. As it stands, we have no idea when that will be but we love this place. The trailer in the photo below is one we may have to sell if we keep the new (to us) one. That will be decided in the fall.

Saturday, May 15, 2021


 My first experience with staying in a vacation trailer came the summer after we got married when my husband's uncle towed their small trailer up into the Cascades for us to spend a few nights. We enjoyed the experience. I'd slept in tents since I was a child but never a small trailer. I wish I had a photo of it and might but it'd be in Oregon if so.


In 1972, we had camped with our babies in tents but decided to get our own small trailer--an Aristocrat and about 15' maybe. It had no bathroom but did have a refrigerator, sink, table and enough beds for us and our toddlers. That trailer went with us camping around Oregon and to Arizona. With no air-conditioning, we had to rethink a few routes south-- like not heading straight to Tucson and instead to the Grand Canyon where it'd be cooler. Photo above was the Metolius in Oregon-- many happy days spent there.

We stopped using it as the kids grew too big for the beds and went back to tents as well as resorts-- but didn't give up on road trips to the Southwest. The times were memorable but then the kids grew up, found their own lives, and it was just us.

The first time we went out with our Astro Van for our camping was I think 1990. I loved the freedom of not pulling anything and being safe in a van with curtains I made and a cushy big back bed. If we didn't feel secure somewhere (and that did happen), we'd just drive off. The sad part was that van began having more and more problems with the 'improved' versions. When the last one locked up on steering, we needed something different and a lot safer.

That led to 2012 when we had a truck big enough to pull a bigger rig (as well as a trailer full of hay). It had a bathroom, bed, cooking ability, cabinetry, table, sofa and a good set up for us and our cats, which sometimes were 4 and other times just 2 depending on old age or illness taking some from us

We loved the Wildcat by Forest River, but along came a new need this year when we must spend months in a trailer for helping with the work on the Oregon farm (we meaning one of us). Although the windows were great in the Wildcat, it didn't have the kind of space we needed for living. For now, we have not sold the Wildcat as maybe the bigger trailer won't be a long time need. We will have more space for work and the rest, we're still sorting out. We've been buying some 'things' to make it feel more homey. We will see how that works out.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Why a blog

 Since it's only me writing here, as it was for many years, I don't need to say by... I thought I might write a bit about why I have done blogs. It's been a lot of years. I think I began in 2004, but felt it wasn't going anywhere, as I had no feel for it, stopped it, then found someone had taken my 'name' when I decided to try again. And this one, since 2006 has continued and will continue. 

Why do a blog?

For me, it's about communication and sharing. It's about my ideas but also those who come across the words. I don't do much to bring readers here, as in reading a ton of other blogs. I count on putting out ideas that will attract those looking for such ideas. I avoid using keywords that might draw trolls. Nobody should want trolls as they aren't about ideas but about destruction. Why is that fun? I have no idea.

Blogs are not just about the writer but those who come to read the words. I feel a responsibility to them. I though have never done a memoir type blog where I tell readers all that is going on with my marriage or family. There are such blogs but I never wanted my blog to be about my personal life-- instead, my ideas, oh yea, definitely that.

This blog draws from nearly a thousand viewers to a hundred with very few who comment. I suspect that's because I don't comment other places-- with a few exceptions. What you put out, you get back--mayb.

It will change over the next months as my life will-- this time, it's about me. We are heading north with a new vacation trailer (new to us) as we have to live in it for a few months. I'll write more about that in the future as we leave our Arizona home and head back to the Oregon farm. More next Saturday on the trailer that will take us north...

Saturday, May 01, 2021


 by Rain Trueax

Despite the calendar telling us that summer doesn't begin until the Solstice, in the Pacific Northwest, it begins May 1 with Beltane. Celtic festivals follow nature and reflect it unrelated to religious demands-- pagan or otherwise.

For Beltane, there used to be the May pole to dance around but not sure many still do that. Where I live, and in the lands where the Celtic religion originated, it is the time of hills turning green, trees in leaf, wildflowers everywhere and gardens full of color-- although times of drought tend to dampen the colors.

No matter what the dryness, the days are growing longer; the birds are building nests. It is a time for eager anticipation of summer weather when we can swim in rivers and hike in mountains that winter denied us (unless we snowshoe). It is a time to celebrate the renewal of life. It was the day in 1910 when my father was born in South Dakota.

What I hadn't known about Beltane, until I researched, is that it is also the time of the coming together of the god and goddess, of male and female.
"Handfastings (Pagan marriages) are traditional at this time. It is a time of fertility and harvest, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown. Celebrations include braiding of one's hair (to honour the union of man and woman and Goddess and God), circling the Maypole for fertility and jumping the Beltane fire for luck. Beltane is one of the Major Sabbats of the Wiccan religion. We celebrate sexuality (something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings), we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it. The myths of Beltane state that the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins."            From  The Shaman's Well, link above

Romance is the bread of life. Love is a worthy of celebration as artists and writers seek to capture the elusiveness of human reasons for mating.


I love thinking of Beltane as a not just a celebration of spring but one of sexuality and love. It is what the continuation of life is all about. And it's not all about opposite sex relationships as love between adults is love wherever it's found. And love, for those who have found each other through all the pitfalls (and there are plenty) is always a precious thing to celebrate.

When I painted, I liked to paint emotional connections between people. When I did sculptures, I looked for poses that illustrated the same. Now it's books; but it's always what I am drawn to capture whether in clay, paint or words.

The sculptures are all fired clay. If I get back to painting again, I hope I can do more couples in various poses reflecting love's moods.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

rainbows from sunshine and rain

 By Rain Trueax

Originally, I thought Diane was going to post here to explain why she told me a few days ago that she will no longer be at this blog. When she didn't, I felt I should as I know some of you probably would wonder. She had thought she'd start a new blog of her own but that didn't work out-- yet anyway. If you have her on Facebook, you can maybe get more information on where to find her next and her reasons she wanted this change. She will be missed here but everybody has to do what works for them. 

So, no regular blogs on Wednesday unless I post something now and again. My future posting will be a little uncertain as in May (sometime), we head back to the farm with our new (to us) trailer to help with fertilizing, fencing, sorting cattle (I use the term we very loosely as it'll be our son (future Ranch Boss in training) and Ranch Boss who do the work while I herd cats and try to figure out how to make living in a trailer work with no cell coverage). You did know that not everywhere in the US has cell or internet coverage-- if you didn't, we are one of those places at the farm. A lot of this is a plan in progress... using the term plan very loosely.

Because Saturday is Beltane, I won't be writing then about the new trailer and what we are doing to make it a work in progress. Maybe the next  Saturday. Life should be flexible, right? *s*

Anyway, Diane is fine but just going her own direction.


We got a lovely rain on Tuesday, much needed, which also gave us a rainbow.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

what lies ahead

 by Rain Trueax


My life is about to get more chaotic, which might last through the summer (or even into fall) and makes it hard, among other things, for me to know where I will have internet. We are hoping to work something out... I can't say I really want what is happening next, but it's not bad and it's necessary for assorted reasons. I might write more about that later or maybe not. At any rate, it doesn't involve health as such and hopefully it will all straighten out with time... 

Given my own uncertain future, I thought I'd mention a couple of cultural issues, with which our country (and the world) is wrestling:

(1) Having changed things in our country has been a pandemic that nobody invited-- that we know of. What do we do about it to protect ourselves? Masks? Isolation? Vaccinations? It totally is not what people agree upon with half the United States against having the vaccine and some not wanting to wear masks.

(2) we also have a time of cultural violence-- which most of us have no idea from where that came, but when people shoot others for no apparent reason, or they come to a restaurant and demand those there leave, that's violence whether someone dies or just gets scared badly leading to other problems. How about a police force that doesn't know how to keep order as things stand-- or does anyone want order from the police? Are the police at fault or are they facing what the rest of us will eventually-- just, they are first.

(3) Not of lesser importance is worldwide desire for expansion from some nations (Russia and China come to mind). For those of you who thought kumbaya was in store, read a little bit more about what's happening around the world. Well, those trying to take over (Crimea, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.) do want one world government-- but under their control. Pay a little attention to what that would mean and it's not kumbaya.

(4) How can we not add in global warming, which some believe is behind the violence in our communities but whether it is or not, it definitely could impact our weather and food supply? What will it do regarding migration?

Recently, I discussed our decision regarding getting the vaccine. Personally, we don't have to rethink, the deed is done, I have though seen pros and cons on whether we should have gotten the vaccine. I still am glad of the choice we made. As for the rest... I literally don't know. Can we change any of it by what we personally do? Some think we can, but I am not so sure.

On a more personal level, we may not have internet through the summer, which would mean no blogs for a few months. It's unknown as the farm does not have cell phone coverage. Then, there is how do we take care of our cats with a changing environment? A lot to consider. I am working through it and will share more when I have a better handle on it.

The desert wildflowers didn't happen this year due to drought. The cactus have had less blooms. If this extends longer, I don't know what it will do to the habitat. We have given up on planting fruit trees down here and are saving any extra water for the plants on our little acreage. We can only do what we can do and we really hope this summer has a real monsoon even though we will miss it by being in Oregon (which is also drier than usual as it seems the East Coast is getting all the rainfall).

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

by Diane: Unforgettable Birthday


Yesterday  contemplating my soon to be birthday, I felt sad for awhile.   I would not enjoy going to Fred Myers with Fisherman Hubby to buy Geranium and snapdragon starts.

Fortune shines on me today.  Twice the zinc impulse sprinkler doused me in the face as I attempted to blindly without directions adjust it to water my birthday gift to myself - a newly replenished lawn in an attempt to get rid of the uneven gullies sunk between shoulders and a low spot left by the removal of a tree stump two years ago.

I enjoyed the company of my youngest Granddaughter and Honorary Grandson.  They painted tiles and took them to Surefire Design so they can be fired and be ready Thursday. Two days sooner than expected. I can't wait to see how they all turn out for my kitchen.

Also enjoyed a phone call with an old family friend that never fails to inform me of stories of my great Grand Uncle.

Well I am feeling so much better than yesterday.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Changing Times Also--

 by Rain Trueax


Growing up, westerns were my favorite series TV and movies. The good guys used guns and they always won in the end over the bad guys. There was no problem figuring out who was who. As I have mentioned, right now I am watching no TV; but even before, I didn't go to the channels with the old westerns. Maybe someday I will, but right now they don't draw me to them.

There were a lot of television westerns that I loved back in the day. One of them was called Gunsmoke, about the marshal of Dodge City, Kansas and the woman he loved. Oh, I know the woman he loved never came to fruition while in the shows, but it was there in the expressions and the looks Matt and Kitty gave each other. If it had been in a different time, maybe it would have, but in those days the hero either had to marry the heroine or it needed to stay suggested. The emphasis was always on the marshal and his job.

What I came across on YouTube is, how many people had created the love story we all craved to have seen, the one we imagined. There are a lot of these videos. They go back ten years or even more where the music is put to clips from the shows. Here's one--

Behind Closed Doors

Gunsmoke ran from 1955 to 1975, following an earlier radio show. In the last year, Kitty had left the show. Maybe the star got tired of never getting her marshal.  

This question is whether the heroine and hero never connecting (many in those days) led many western writers to want to create romances where happily ever after was required. If I had begun publishing my own books back in the 50s, would it have influenced not allowing a marshal to have as a lover, a saloon owner (or bordello madam). Could they kiss? Not a chance. 

My first books were written in the 60s but I didn't have the sex in them either-- the rough drafts that is, as in those years I wrote but didn't publish. By the mid 1970s, the word for romance novels changed and steamy was part of the plots. Personally, I think it was good for women to read such books where healthy sexuality was a part of a serious romance (well, some weren't probably so healthy back then). 

My first historical western where the hero was a marshal was Book 2 in the Arizona series. The marshal had been in book 1 as had the future heroine. How to make their story challenging led to a lot of research as to what being a US Marshal meant back in those days. Many towns, like Tucson, had a marshal and a sheriff. The marshal's job was more federally political while the sheriff was run more by local partisan politics. But, both were political.

The Marshal's Lady (original titled Tucson Moon) dealt with a man and woman with very opposite ideas on guns for instance. He used one as part of his responsibilities. She despised them. What really brought them together, to work past this, was the arrival of his estranged nine year-old daughter when he had no idea how to be a father. The heroine stepped in with her sympathy for the girl and from there romance grew.

Unlike Gunsmoke, I had no compunction against bringing these two together sexually, but it had to make sense that it could happen and it had to take into account the nature of the times politically and culturally. Because it was set in Southern Arizona, I enjoyed writing it as it moved outside of Tucson and involved characters from my first Arizona book.

If you are interested in such a story, politics was very much part of it, as it  is of our world today, it's at Amazon and other eBook sites. 

One other thing: I got a notice from Blogger that they will no longer be notifying those, who signed up for RSS, as of July 21st this year. I don't know how most of you find your blogs but if you counted on an email or phone announcement, you might want to reconsider and do what I do (I never signed up for this service). When I have blogs I want to read I bookmark them and check when I know a new one is likely. In the case of Rainy Day Thought, that would be Wednesdays for Diane as she weaves her way through widowhood and her career as a painter and Saturdays when I write about whatever has struck my mind that week. Always new entries on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Oh, and don't forget The Marshal's Lady for a taste of what life was like back in the 1880s and a book where a happily ever after is going to happen-- even after many struggles (of course). Although the link is just for Amazon, the book is at Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc.

The Marshal's Lady

Friday, April 16, 2021

by Diane: Joyful distractions from painting mount;

 My nails show I have been working the earth in my yard. The yard waste is almost filled ready for the yard waste truck today.  I am not used to the heat we are having so will not do more trimming and weeding today.  The hard for me yard work these past couple days has me concerned that without help, I will not be able to keep my place free of ragweed or is it pig weed that make my allergies worse than need be.

 My 8 inch tiles for the  kitchen sink back splash is here. I have invited my youngest granddaughter and her other best friend to come and paint one each. Started taking pictures of  cross sections of my radish and watermelon. This will be the most fun distraction of all.

Not so fun will be calculating how much canvas I need to stretch over about 16 stretcher bar frames.

So stay tuned maybe by next Wednesday, I will have 2 patches of wild flowers and a new lawn planted. Meaning more time to paint. Painting is my priority.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

by Diane: Viewing my entire stash of painting supplies but I am joyfully distracted

 I never dreamed of spreading out all my stretcher bars to visualize a new oil painting series in a big room devoted to oil painting. What a luxury I have. I am so thankful. I never dreamed I would have a large supply of boards just for painting. I did not realize I have old timber stretcher bars that are less apt to bend into warped canvases. Seeing the empty stretcher bars on my painting wall is a glimpse of my future.

Tuesday, April 13

I am going to a friend's filbert farm. Such a generous invitation. Even though it is windy, I am prepared to sit low to the ground and do small watercolors in preparation for oil paintings from memory. May take some photos to jog my memory. Since I am used to looking and seeing differently than what my iPhone camera will record, I do not give the photos much authority. best to sit with the subject and  soak in the atmosphere and naturally struggle with the wind.

Then Susan took me for a ride around near by farms where there were a variety of barns and sites for future painting. At home I prepared ground for the beautiful geraniums. The poppies and vegetable starts wait for tomorrow. As I needed to mow and water the geraniums and lupin seeds that I planted yesterday.

It was a big day and I am tired. 

The large yard is going to be in competition with painting tomorrow. Some lupin and wildflowers have sprouted and both plantings of snap peas are growing. The thistles are going to seed and I have not finished weeding out the ragweed. now it looks good in the spring but change is coming. The clay earth has cracks over an inch wide. Tomorrow I will continue to thread the hoses back on the faucets. Too tired tonight to try and figure out how to turn on the sprinklers.

Tomorrow April 14

Stay tuned, I will calculate the amount of canvas I will need and how to make the best use of it. Will order gesso.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Changing Times

 by Rain Trueax

After a year of not much changing, the vaccine has now gone to about half of all Americans. I've read that there are those (1/3 of Christians and 1/2 of GOP men) who won't get the shots for assorted reasons. I know of those who fear the side effects, and for some there have been unpleasant side effects or worse for a very few. Some see it as some kind of spiritual test. I wish those who refuse the best of luck as the virus has side effects too. At any rate, the fact that a vaccine exists is a positive thing for life getting back to normal-- whatever that will be.

It's spring when everything will be changing. Now that we have had the booster to the Moderna vaccine and it's been three weeks, we have supposed immunity-- as best they know it. That's the one thing with this virus-- they are learning as we are going. Still, I believe, it's better that more of us have had it and we appear to be heading toward herd immunity. Onward and upward as a friend of mine used to say.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

by Diane: Painting Out There with the West Coast Kona, Hawaii Plein Air Group


On the Kona coast of Hawaii every Friday year round a fantastic hard core group of talented artists meet on location to paint mostly the coast ocean beaches. These artists are Aloha welcoming and will generously give any asked for assistance. After painting for about three hours the group gathers to share their work. Some eat lunch. Some continue to paint.

It has been about 8 years since my first painting time with the Plein Air Group. Richard the organizer greets me by welcoming me back home. And it does feel like home. I watch the artistic development of the artists on Face Book usually posting the Friday's paintings by Monday with updates on small changes they make in their paintings. On line and in person the experience informs my painting.

Maybe influenced by Hawaii but I did this 11"x14" canvas board treated with lightly tinted Plaster of Paris in gesso to make it absorbent to watercolor. Also used acrylic white ink and some Heavy body cadmium  substitute Yellow Deep.

I am feeling defensive of the comment that this is a technique, when a good painting friend who works in a traditional process of drawing her subject on the surface, making a value sketch and then painting in area by area her subject. Yes every process involves a technique of one sort or another to get the paint from pallet to painting surface. My process is a journey with only a rough idea of where I am headed and open to change to have a conversation with what the paint is doing. 


Saturday, April 03, 2021

when morning comes

 by Rain Trueax

For the month of March, with no plan to do so, I watched absolutely no television, movies, nor listened to any radio talk shows. It started because of my bout of nightshade intolerance, but it went beyond that as I could not stand the idea of watching the television screen. After a week or so, I began to consider what television had been doing to my daily life. What I learned is it was filling in time. Although I had already reduced (not none until March began) watching political news, I still had cable for HGTV, documentaries, and a Hallmark movie once or twice a week. We also had Curiosity Stream for nature and historic films, but they seemed too simplified and more aimed at kids than adults. Pretty and all but nothing much to learn.

As I recovered from being sick, things changed for what I wanted my days to look like. I cut back on the Internet-- for a while none, and then very little, but gradually found a reasonable amount of time to check on friends at Facebook, and of course, read newspapers and online magazines with news stories. Still, it was nothing like it had been.

The cable, political news that I had been watching had had some events covered, but a lot of it had been by pundits to tell me what I should think about what I'd seen. If I had been a right winger, I'd have been watching shows like Newsmax or if I was a left winger, it'd be MSNBC. Neither one was going to give both sides of anything. That's not what their audience expected from their pundits.

So, what did I replace that time with-- what am I still replacing it with? Well, watching the clouds in the sky as they changed outside my bedroom window. I got some info on the names of cloud types (cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus). The problem quickly became that clouds mixed together and finding pure cloud shapes wasn't happening often. Clouds have many varieties. Maybe just enjoying them was the ticket.

I enjoyed watching the trees move with the wind, the birds fly past the window, and the mountain about three miles or so away. In some ways, it was all nothing. In other ways, it was my real world.

Reading aloud continued, but we left behind the non-fiction to try a book I'd never read, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I didn't expect to like it but got into these characters. We ended up buying more books in the series of five. Currently, we are working on the fourth in the series-- with the third waiting on the dresser. They weren't in order but the fourth didn't need to be. I do not plan to read the fifth given reviews I'd read of it. Ranch Boss has been doing all the aloud reading, which has been enjoyable for us both as the dialogue in those books is fun. 

The three cats got used to the idea that I was not in the living room but rather our bedroom. They adjusted to that and I enjoyed watching them as they worked out their own relationships-- not always in good moods.

March also got me my second Moderna and finally I am, at two weeks after that, which theoretically means fully protected, only the more you read, the more you know it doesn't always work that way. Still, I am glad I did it and hope that those who can will do so. What we need to know about viruses is a long way off, I suspect.

From not watching television, I got used to not trying to think and just be. I didn't need to fill the space as just being was satisfying. I thought of many things for issues politically, some I might share here someday, but for now, this is it. 

My own conclusion is that television may not be doing our brains or emotions a favor. Like so many things, everyone needs to evaluate that for themselves.

These photos are all from April 2nd as the sun rose with clouds providing a show.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

By Diane: Trip

 from Diane

Just arrived back from Hawaii at 11:55 PM, March 30 finally arriving home at 5:30 AM March 31. One of my Granddaughters and my Adopted Guy helped me in my travels while I introduced them to the Big Island.

Highlights of our eight days in Kona, Hawaii included an awesome walking tour of the Kona Cloud Forest. The three hour tour moved through the dense vegetation literally standing on intertwined roots all above the lava. Ordinarily impenetrable and dangerous, our guide made trails and maintained them to reveal to the public his passion to save the cloud forests now reduced to less than 1% of the Earth's land mass. Kelly Dunn, always entertaining, has a visionary poet's questioning of  scientific classification.  I am asking more questions in retrospect. Do we really know what we know about the relationships in the natural world?

Adopted Guy's favorite adventure was walking through the newly reopened Lava Tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Forest. At the entrance a friendly couple of women and us exchanged taking pictures.

My painting and life essentials were tightly packed into a roll-on suitcase. Most of the stuff was stashed in a sheet and pillow case bag with separate compartments.  My easel and walking stick was in collapsible chair bag. Also a hat and rain coat are essential. my art things in their compartment left room for  only a very few shoes and clothes. A lot to carry when I also need a c-pap case.


The three of us had a good trip with many new memories. But as always there are some inconveniences or in our case problems that occur that must be communicated if something distresses us.  This time I did not realize that the refrigerator was not cold enough.  Tummies were a little upset from the chicken vegetable stir fry. I experienced gas but thought the chicken was well enough heated. Thus I did not worry about the refrigerator in time to have something done about it. I notified the owners only the evening before we left. And then I discovered the automatic ice machine did not function either. Hope the repairman can fix the refrigerator. This year the Bears Place Guest House has had it hard with Covid. Of course they are optimistic that business people who can work via computers can live anywhere. They can work in the early hours and then go surfing after work. At 1,000 feet elevation, the guest house cools down to cmfortable.

Saturday, March 27, 2021


 by Rain Trueax


From the time Covid-19 hit American shores, we've been bombarded by information-- often contradictory. People have had to make choices whether to isolate, wear masks, wash hands, stay out of crowds, etc. etc. Some have gone one way. Some another. Those in care centers didn't get to make choices as they were made for them-- and not always to their benefit.

Then after the election was over, we were told the vaccines were going to be ready before the end of the year. We watched our leaders get the shot, like President Biden, and knew eventually we'd have to decide for ourselves. Yes or no for a shot that had only recently come out of testing.

To begin, I wasn't sure. We can isolate being retired, but still would the vaccination be a good idea? To begin, Moderna or Pfizer were our main options. We began to read all we could get our hands on. Because Ranch Boss is a chemist, he went to professional journals. We basically decided if we chose to be vaccinated, it would be Moderna. 

At a certain point, we decided we wanted to do it and then got an opportunity almost immediately with the early part of February. It was perfect with a "drive-through". I think I wrote about it here. We, neither one, had a reaction and were eager to get our second. Ranch Boss his got second on schedule, but I had been sick with the nightshade intolerance and depressingly had to cancel, then hoped I could get it later. That worked out at 6 weeks after the first one, I also got the second-- again with no reaction other than some redness at the vaccination site. My arm wasn't even sore as had been Ranch Boss'. 

Since then, we have been learning more . Like that the morphing of the virus has about 25% of the current cases in Arizona being that California variant. Will the vaccine protect from the dire results of getting Covid when it's a variant? So few answers for now. 

Another thing we read is it might be better to wait up to 3 months to get the second dose, to be more effective. Also that it might be better to have it be Moderna for one and Pfizer for two. Those aren't easy options to take given you usually get it through the same source.

I felt it was important that people who could, would get the vaccinations. The disease morphs in animal bodies. The less opportunity(cases) it has , the less chance it'll become a bigger and bigger problem.

Some believe the vaccine isn't helpful. Well, it does not necessarily promise you won't get it. It promises you have less chance (94%) of it being serious if you do. Still, everyone has to decide and for some, it might be too risky based on other things they already have.

For Covid and the vaccine, I have a personal story and it's why you saw that picture at the top of this blog.

My husband made a friend when he went to the Oro Valley Library writer group. He and Helmut Seifert met a few times at restaurants and then began regularly talking on the phone often for Paul to help Helmut with his book, which he had published and which was very important to his life, but they had a lot of other things in common, interest in each other's lives. They could talk hours but usually once a week.

March 2021 came along and Ranch Boss realized Helmut hadn't replied to his last text and hadn't called in longer than usual. When he went off to get his second shot (me ... stuck at home), I looked in the paper for obituaries and there was Helmut's. It was a shock as he wasn't yet 65. I had never met him due to the virus but I cried. Later that day when my husband talked to his wife, he learned the cause of death had been Covid-19. 

The story goes like this. They had had Helmut's parents living with them. His mother had fallen, could no longer do things by herself, and it was decided she needed more care than they could provide. The idea was getting his parents both into a good assisted living place. That ended up with health aides coming into their home-- quite a few. Before that, since the whole virus thing hit us, Helmut had been very careful to isolate but there no isolating from this.

Helmut's wife said when their family showed symptoms, three tested positive but she did not as she had had the vaccine (she was in the health care profession). She had tried to get the shots for Helmut but protocol denied him because he was a few months shy of turning 65. As his illness worsened, he and his dad were hospitalized. His mother had tested positive also but with a light case. Helmut and his father, hospitalized on the same floor of the hospital, passed within 2 weeks of being tested positive. His wife, even though vaccinated, was not allowed to be with him.

Was there a logical reason his wife didn't get sick other than she had had the vaccine? 

While it's true that for some getting the vaccination could be risky, for most it's not. Will it prove effective enough? Time will tell. We all need to think it through-- what will be our choice? I read that 30% of Republican men say they will not get the shot. I hope they don't find themselves exposed to the disease as Helmut did. He had more books to write...

The book Helmut had published was his dream. It encompassed a story but also what he had learned about life and wished to pass on to others. If you have ever had such a story inside you, you can understand what it meant to him when he finally saw it in print, his desire he perfect and make it all he could. It is not a romance but more allegorical science fiction. It was a book difficult to put into genres. He was working on a second when he died. One was all there was to be and here is its link. Check it out. (be sure, if you go there, to read not just the Blurb but the reviews. They help to tell more what this unusual book is about.)

Nobody's Coming