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Friday, February 26, 2021


 by Rain Trueax

Still no words. We are supposed to get our second Covid vaccine about the time we are reading the more advanced viral version might be resistant... How joyful.  How about some pictures from the Arizona house when words currently aren't working for me. Yes, I could write about politics. What kind of joy would that bring???

Hopefully the cats and I will have something more next week... well nothing catastrophic, of course. Sometimes peaceful isn't a bad thing. We are still reading aloud. We liked the book by the poet, Richard Shelton, a lot -- Going back to Bisbee. The current book not so much and hope it improves.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

by Diane: Hiring help and forecast for a stay in place widow

 Thankfully the means just fell in place for my being able to manage as the only occupant of our home we shared for 35 years.  In the not so distance past I thought my being a widow meant I would naturally seek out assisted living. But before Fisherman Hubby's diagnose I thought the change in living quarters was years in the future. I thought Fisherman Hubby who was slowing down a little each year and I would seek out a senior living community as soon as next five years or so.  But then his rapid decline between February, 2020 to his death in October, 2020 from bulbar ALS caught us all by surprise. I commenced my journey into widowhood October 8, 2020.  

    Among the the happenings that started my desire to stay in place were our previous yearly consults with our financial advisors. Our advisor planted the seed of aging in our own home. Still might change my mind and look into a senior living option, but the prospect of independently perusing my desires is now looking exceptionally good.

  Family and friends give me great support emotionally and with assistance in shopping and high tech assistance as well as home maintenance.

    Another most important help is having an experienced contractor and all around handy man with a work record of 35 years, David Torres. The right person to hire is rare.  I believe our relationship is good partly because I follow my mother's example of how to  relate to hired help. She showed them positive enthusiasm that I try to emulate. When a worker is feeling appreciated he is happier and does better work. I still have a lot to learn on hiring and communicating my needs to hired help.

    Working on projects with Fisherman Hubby gave me experience on how to draw plans and present the tasks I need being done.

    When I started sorting through Fisherman Hubby's shop and garage things, I came to realize that both of us were cramped for space. Little by little on my watch I found good homes for his clothes, his sports paraphernalia and manly garden tools.  Some of his inventive hand made tools are finding new purposes. A giants eye dropper made with a rubber horn squeezer has an additional curved spout making it sound like a  faint blow horn.  Doing as best I can, I have a  representative number of his tools on display behind his work bench. Electric sanders, saws and drills are saved in the house garage so when the studio shop is complete, they will become permanently saved in the shop room. The shop/studio still is half his and a challenges me to do a little woodworking.

Some want to call my studio a "she shed". I like how poetically "she shed" rolls off the tongue. She sheds are the work of creativity but my studio is a vessel where creativity and freedom of movement is the reason for the studio. A place where I can paint big because my aging body needs to keep exercising.  Contrary to movement is being confined to a chair where I would quickly get stiff from my age. And I would make tight creations.

So much has changed at my home in the past four and a half months, I am very happy. Even with the challenges of the pandemic. In my case because of the pandemic I feel an urgency to live as much as I can now. I celebrate being able to do all that I do.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Tending the garden

 by Rain Trueax

As I seem to say often lately, I don't have a lot to say. Life is quiet as we stay isolated other than to resupply. In Tucson, we are not dealing with the extreme weather issues that some parts of the country are experiencing. Personally, I am dealing with anxiety issues, which go back to my 40s as I try to find ways to feel normal. I do remember what normal used to be. Maybe as an old woman, I have to find a new normal. I just want it to feel okay, to feel good. 

I very much appreciate much of my life. It's a simple one. Not a big house-- either of them. We are lucky enough to see our son move into our farm and manage it. My gosh I am proud of how he's gone through what he has to be the kind of man who helps others. Same thing is true of our daughter. They are caring people-- those who give back. I cry when I think about it. I wish we were closer to them but that's a choice also.

Recently I read an article where Keith Urban was talking about how he tends his relationship with his wife. He sees it like a garden where you have to work with it to keep out the weeds and nourish what you want growing there. Good wisdom and not just for a marriage. Relationships need tending. Being a long way from my family makes that harder other than the love is always there.

Then, I saw this YouTube and it seemed to fit. I thought I'd share the link here. It's about relationships -- and how they don't always work but we have to do what we can to make things as good as they can be. It's not particularly long, not experts but people's experiences-- in this case celebrities.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

by Diane: As a widow I see my poor past attempted activism; Planning redemption

 In 1985 our newly purchased home came with this barn that was transformed into a garage, then a shop and now a painting studio. 
      I do not remember the grass as being so tall; maybe the photo just does not reveal the thistles.  In order to make this property look cared for we used poison.  It might be crazy to think I can keep the weeds controlled without poison. Actually I like the grass and weeds but because of fire danger and living in the city the weeds must be cut to the ground before summer fire danger. 
     My future redemption will be making myself an example that I want others to be as well.  All my life I was politically challenged and too easily discouraged. Like in the early 60's my family was being watched by the CI A and two agents came and threatened deportation of my father. Probably because he had an unauthorized Swiss passport when he entered the USA in 1929 as a student.  Or probably because of his being born in Siberia and had Asian residency where  one of his family members was politically active and seen as criminal by the US government. My level of fear was too high to  publicly object to the Vietnam War.

     Later again I was not courageous. In the late 60's just a little over a block away the city was about to approve a railroad running right next to my children's elementary school playground.  A Bellingham, Washington citizen group formed to oppose it and my job was to phone membership to remind them of their meetings.  I spaced out once and forgot to call. Immediately I was dropped from the membership.  I could have still attended their meetings.

    At present as a widow I think I am stronger and it remains to be seen how activism will be reflected in my art. I have already decided as a good citizen, I will do my part. I have signed up for a vaccination.  I'll try to be an example of what I would like to see others do simply by being a good steward to the environment on my own property. Stop using pesticides, and herbicides. With the size lot I have, that will be challenging. I see an electric lawn mower in my future. Change my energy usage!   By implementing afternoon breezes, I will direct cooling  air flow through the house and try to eliminate air conditioner use. Better screen doors and window coverings!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

By Diane: Ice Storm and how I as a widow process the second acquittal

Rose buds incased in ice but the freezing rain did not last. Though others in Albany were without power for day, our neighborhood was much more fortunate with only a short outage.   

Friday I wanted some comfort food when I woke with no power.  Going outside for firewood at 4:30 AM, the only light was from the sky lit by surrounding areas with power.  The dim sky light was enhanced by light bouncing back from the ice covered earth. Silence everywhere until I heard the crack of trees breaking. But I did not fear for myself because I knew the sound was not on my property.  Fisherman Hubby took care of our trees. And last week my grandson and girlfriend pruned the fruit trees severely.  Several years ago the rotting birch tree was downed. We did not have shade in the summer, but in winter I feel a little better for not having big, old trees around the house.
        I got a good fire going with just one match. I felt a surge of confidence. Just maybe I will be OK living in place.  It took awhile for the firebox to get hot but I did finally have hot chocolate and left over roast beef with fresh steamed vegetables on two corn tortillas. I learned a faster meal could be had by placing the tortillas on aluminum foil. I was satisfied.  
        Almost 7:00 AM I was surprised to get power back. But not trusting the outcome later, I emptied the ice from the wheelbarrow and brought in wood from the stacks between the house and studio. 
But still nearly no contact with the outside world until afternoon!  My server was down. Then OP B TV coverage was down but finally figured out the radio option on my lap top. 
         I heard the closing statements of the trial of the impeachment. So my thoughts went to how these arguments are being received. All that really maters is public opinion. His Senate trial is not a criminal trial. Trump should be tried as a criminal in State and Federal courts. 
         Though I am very much  a Left Liberal, I believe Trump should not be the main target of disgust. I feel collectively guilty. I'll explain later in another post tomorrow.
         All afternoon rain or shine I heard chain saws in the distance. By 3:00 PM most of the ice had melted. And after listening to the last part of the trial on the radio, I could turn on TV for a short while listening to pundits speculate on the motives of the Republicans who voted not guilty.
         I believe we are all human and mostly good but sometimes do very, very, bad, bad things. Criminal behavior is real;  the trouble with using the word "evil"  as a hot button word is that it can be used to categorize behavior so continued searching for meaning is stopped.  Like in destructive, polarizing propaganda, in my opinion, on both sides.  Bad propaganda often is based on the core conviction that bad tendencies dominate behavior. When our core shifts to the belief that we are mostly bad, we will believe statements that validate this core belief without examining the complexities.
         Watched cartoons and children's programs instead of repetitive news analysis and predictions.  I read some of my first issue of January and February "Mother Jones" and ordered "Nation" to inform my more Liberal opinions.
          For a snack I had microwaved sweet potato dipped in ground almonds. For lunch I had steamed salmon, salad and fruit. For dinner I had Romaine lettuce salad, home made chunky beef pot roast soup and sweet potato/salmon mash softened with milk and a thin melted pad of butter.
         Sunday morning I was treated by Mr. Rodger's trip to a museum. In addition to a wonderful demonstration of how to make the experience exciting for preschooler to early youth, I learned that a Van Gogh country landscape had similarities to finger-painting. The grass fields forming a patch work quilt of fields moving back to the horizon.  Van Gogh's brush work can be likened to thumbs making vertical short lines in the foreground.  Then with each more distant patch  progressively smaller fingers make lighter shorter vertical lines and the sky moshed around and round with all fingers. His mark making so much like the marks of a hand and finger might be part of the appeal of his style.  Can I develop this connection in my own paintings?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Protecting us...

 by Rain Trueax

In the middle of the night, I had this post written perfectly, knew exactly what I wanted to say... Come morning I only know the gist of it; so it might be a short one if I don't get into it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

By Diane: Progress in repurposing shop to widow's art studio

The studio's new door and window overlooking the memorial garden to the left where bulbs are poking first leaves out of the earth.  Some very tiny white crocus are blooming already.

        The studio was the former owner's horse and chicken barn around 1975 - 1980.  Then after Fisherman Hubby and I purchased our home with this out building, we transformed the barn into a garage for restoring model A’s between 1985 - 1995. There was one corner by the door where I did airbrush paintings and photo restoration. Most of the time the Model A pick-up bed was filled to overflowing.  We liked the process of restoration but did not care about touring with a Model A Club. He sold the Model A's when he purchased more fishing boats.  My painting started taking up more and more space so the garage/shop became a shared metal and wood shop.   Between 2015 and 2020,  the corner where the Model A used to be, was sort of my space for paintings. My space was shared with lawn mowers and rototillers, house paints and garden tools, outdoor chairs and anything else that did not have a designated space.  I also shared the small room with the big air compressor and coils of wires and hoses. In the current metamorphous the once upon a time barn will be an art studio with a corner wood shop. Many smaller tools I still hold dear.
      A year ago I never dreamed I would have all the space to myself. I only thought of us together having to move where Fisherman Hubby could get better care.
      Since October I've gradually removed his equipment and supplies.  Each piece of wood, cement mix with colorants, band saw, and welder brought back pleasant memories of shared projects. The most recent item I was clinging to was the air compressor. I thought I would use it to spray sealer on watercolors eliminating the need for  a frame and glass.  A smaller air compressor is on my wish list.
       Thursday I let go of almost all things copper and brass. There were handles and hinges I purchased at an auction at Hammond's Cabinet and Frame Shop in Bellingham around 1976 when they were moving their frame shop to a new location closing the cabinet making part of their business. Screws, bolts, washers, electrical and plumbing supplies went to Habitat for Humanity thanks to the help of my youngest grandson and his girlfriend. I love the new windows and doors.  Saturday in the brightly lit studio, with a warm wood fire in the stove, I had a preview of the comfort of painting in my studio - priming the indoor trim for windows from wood left over from frames Fisherman Hubby made for me. I feel so blessed that Fisherman Hubby left me with such a wonderful place to grow a rich painting involvement.  

Friday, February 05, 2021

One of those dreams

 by Rain Trueax

My, what I call, movie dreams have plots and characters that make them interesting. I consider them to be gifts from the muse. I don't always write their descriptions, but I did this one from October 10, 2019. It is followed by how the dream could be used in a book. I've had some that worked into a story or even gave me a plot.


 A couple are in the wilderness but apparently about to arrest someone. The man is a sheriff or something. He wears a gun. He is attacked by the person using a knife, stabbing him in the shoulder and chest. He does not reach for his gun. The heroine has a gun or takes his, not sure but she kills the attacker, then has to help the hero with his wound.

They both head for a small town in the mountains. She is still with him but now does not respect him for not fighting back. Is he a coward? In town they request if any property is available to buy. She has $10,000 which was the reward for the man she killed. The people point up the hill to a small log church. It’s been upgraded they are told.

When they get to the church, it’s pretty inside but the sanctuary is still being used by someone preaching. They go around back to where the quarters are for a pastor. It obviously has no one living in it but it’s nice with tidy living room and sofa, kitchen, inside bathroom and bedroom. Dream ends


I wake thinking how this could be a novella connected to my Oregon historicals with one of the grown up kids. If the hero had a backstory where he’d used his gun too many times. Looks at the living man coming toward him and knows he can’t do it again. He didn’t see the knife in time.

She is offended that he doesn’t protect himself but she tends his wound, aware of his ropy muscles. She’s been in love with him but can’t love a man who has become a coward.

They travel to that small woodsy community where there’s only a store, homes, a stable and blacksmith. They ask for a house to buy with her reward money. It is on the hill. A log church where the pastor moved on with the gold fever. Some still go there. It’s only $6000 and has living quarters upgraded.

I see the potential of them getting the cabin, marrying to look proper as she still loves him but won’t be the mate of a coward. She takes on the job of sheriff in the community.

The church is the interesting thing for him. What if he becomes the pastor there for the small flock where theirs had left and they are doing it themselves. What if instead of religion, he teaches responsibility and love, consequences, spiritual connection to nature. What if he cuts down trees on their land to expand the cabin. She works as the sheriff but not much happens there.

Then a man comes into town who is looking for the killer of his brother. He would shoot her but the hero stops in, draws the man to him, knocks the gun out of his hand and gives him enough blows to send him to the ground where she can cuff him for their small jail to wait for the US marshal to come through.

What if she sees him differently and they consummate their desire? Did it take him doing something brave for her to recognize the man he really is? If so, is that a character flaw in her? Lots of 'What ifs'

I wrote down possible characters from previous books and the dates they had been born if I did the book and set it in a certain time period: Laura Kane 1855; Elijah Stone 1856;  Elizabeth Kane 1857; Jeremy Forester 1858; Rufus Kane 1859; Jessica Forester 1862--  the children of the Stevens family adopted and born.


For me, movie dreams are about the fun as they make a time of dreaming into something else-- a time of magick. I used to do digital paintings from some of them. That gave them a physical reality that dreams usually don't have for me. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

by Diane: Can't praise my hired handyman enough: my widow's bucket list grows

 by Diane

   Since 2018  when household renovations caused Fisherman Hubby's more and more frustration, as his ALS disease progressed, he tried so very, very hard.  He tried to show he was capable of keeping up with the household maintenance. We seldom hired out help. When we first lived in the house, he poured cement in what was part of a horse's stall in the she shop studio. About 30 years ago we hired a professional to pour a concrete slab under the patio cover. When he would have done the roofing like he did in his younger days, three years ago we hired professional roofers for both the house and the shop.  His yearly upgrades and maintenance projects became smaller.  He would quit before putting tools away and say proudly, "Look what I have done, and I wonder why I am so tired." I quit making To Do Lists.   What could I say when he was firm about no house changes instead we were both proud and happy we could help our children and grandchildren especially so they could get a good education.

      I could not argue when Fisherman Hubby denied that many parts of our property were running down. I believe he knew way before the diagnose that he wouldn't make it much longer. 

        Now I thank Fisherman Hubby for not making great changes to make the house suitable for an invalid who still required one of his boats plus most of his fishing gear, and tools. Now I am spreading myself into what was his sacred spaces.  For decades I took on very willingly the discipline of containment.  I kept my best work, recycling, or repurposing unfinished work, or retiring it to the burn pile. He gave me much space but limited space for me on both the walls of our home and in the storage units he built. The limit helped me to make a stronger body of work.

        Now I can't imagine how we managed to have room enough with two different space usage requirements. I marvel at how quickly my art materials occupy his space. Thanks to my daughters and grandchildren's support plus I am also blessed with a handyman of 35 years experience, David Torres from Eugene. Says he tears out the old as swiftly as a Tasmanian Devil. And this month I will have a  workable studio building separate from the house. A place to do oil painting maybe not just in the summer but all year round.

        About three years ago at one of my high school class reunions, I was asked what was on my bucket list. I remember being  blank. I didn't have a bucket list of my own.  I  truly wanted to do whatever Fisherman Hubby's wishes were. And he wanted to do travel that would make me happy. In 20018 he took on too much for me and fainted from dehydration the night after he was trying to fish over three hours standing out on black lava and I was painting in the shade with the Painting Out There Kona Hawaii Plein Air Painters.

         My bucket list of travel includes going back to Hawaii with my granddaughter McKenzie and Enrique who also like to paint and cook. Another trip to visit a great granddaughter and a visit to Rain. I want to visit family where ever they live.  Another bucket list includes meeting every need in my home so I can age gracefully in place. 

        The advise for grieving widows is to wait a year before making definite life changing plans. But I have a handyman who can remodel my bathroom to be safer now and eventually accommodate a wheel chair. The kitchen can be made safer by demolishing the kitchen sink addition returning to the original wall of the building.  Such happy marvelous decisions so close at hand leaves me with asking is this real.  I like where I am at.