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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


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

a break

 Diane had mentioned in her last blog that she was taking a bit of a break from the blog. Everybody needs that once in a while. She thinks she'll have something new April 7th. 

This photo is from down here and early in March. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2021

a break

 by Rain Trueax

Because I get my second Moderna vaccination this week and because I have no idea what effect it will have on me, given what I've heard from friends, I am setting up this blog to be photos from March.

We have had interesting weather with clouds sailing past some days and then snow on elevations just above us (our elevation got rain-- hallelujah). My life is quiet and may stay that way or not, after I am past the vaccination thing. I believe in those of us who can to get vaccinated and help our country get back to normal. Nobody though knows how the vaccine will impact them.

Since I got so sick from the nightshade debacle, I haven't been able to stand TV. That means no news there since February 27th and no movies, not even our own. My attention span is limited. For awhile, I didn't want to be online but that got close to okay-- still not as much time as before.

Mostly I enjoy lying on the bed, with the cats near, having my husband read news to me or from a book and a lot of time to just be. I like looking at the sky, trees, birds, and mountain. I've begun to try to identify clouds and it all reminds me of this [Joni Mitchell-- Clouds].

Such quiet times, I find it more satisfying than many things I used to enjoy but now wonder if they were just filling time. Eating is something I look at with great concern-- like will that have a nightshade in it? It has led to eating less for sure.

Anyway, photos after the jump break

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

by Diane: My widowhood dream

 by Diane

The early morning dream was just before I would awaken for the day - a time for almost lucid dreaming.

The dream took place at an Arizona highway gas/deli convenience store. Coming back from the toilets, Fisherman Hubby beckoned me to go back to the van across the street to leave.  I didn't want to leave before eating at the cafĂ©, but I followed reluctantly across the street where the others were gathering to leave.  I was tardy being last in the group to leave. As I slowly walked across the street towards the van, I was flabbergasted. At the right of us was a large black cinder cone-shaped old fumarole. 

 I turned to Fisherman Hubby, " The fumarole has eroded a lot since we were here last." No answer. I turned away towards the increasingly quickening to fall black stones running as fast as water into a hole surrounding the fumarole.  The falling black shiny stones were not threatening me. To the contrary, they were falling into a deep hole in the ground.  The glittering black rocks were moving too fast to see their actual composition but they reminded me of semi-precious jet. Jet like Jean-Val-Jean the convict turned his convict identity around by establishing a factory making black jet buttons and with the profits he became a philanthropist.  

I waited for surely I would be missed and the van and Fisherman Hubby would come right back for me. When it didn't, I felt a little empty  with thoughts of never seeing Fisherman Hubby ever again.  I was mostly concerned about not having my purse with ID and credit cards. As I walked back towards the Deli,  I didn't look back. I entertained thoughts of how I could manage now. Be like an amnesiac? I now am free to make a new identity separate from my marriage identity entwined with Fisherman Hubby. 

In retrospect after being fully awake I see the black volcanic cone like the unexpressed anger that grew in our relationship between me and Fisherman Hubby as his ALS progressed. Also my growing fear that his anger would erupt. For short spirts before exhaustion he was frightfully strong in legs, arms and hands. Plus he was not aware, how in his need to control me, he could push his fingers into my chest hard enough to really hurt me. I did once yell at him not to push me and his feelings were very hurt that I would think he could and would.

In my new beginnings I revel in the spaciousness of our home. And I continue to find it hard to give up some of his things. Do I really need two really heavy 5 foot long crow bars? I just gave away to a grand child Fisherman Hubby's waffle maker.

With this post, I am thinking the widowhood series is winding down and I am taking a short recess until April. In April when the shop/studio will be useable and I will be sharing the results. Now on to doing taxes and such.

Friday, March 12, 2021

more about nightshades than you ever wanted to know

by Rain Trueax


According to what I read about nightshades, 38% of Americans are in one way or another impacted by them. Some to a lesser degree and some, like me to a disabling one. If you are among the lesser, you might feel less yourself a day or two after eating say a tomato sauce or a baked potato. You likely wouldn't connect it to anything you ate as nightshades do not do their toxic work right after eating. It's a day or two later.

I have tried, since I learned a few years back, to avoid nightshades and didn't think it'd be that difficult. How hard is it to not eat an eggplant? I might feel like something was missed but considering the results, it's worth it. What I didn't know is in how much processed food nightshades are being used. Looking at what we routinely ate, like processed pickle relish-- guess what else is in it, green bell peppers. Spices are hidden under (some spices). The only safe way for me to eat is totally unprocessed and I have no idea if restaurants will ever work for me again. 

So my latest debacle from nightshades was after eating homemade fish tacos. We had them two nights in a row. One of the spices in them, had been in a third dinner.

I woke on  Saturday and worried something wasn't right but couldn't see how what I'd eaten could be the cause.

An hour or two later, I knew it was as I was very shaky, feeling weak, and nothing was possible to eat. Even trying to eat a saltine cracker led to throwing up. A few hours later, It got worse when I realized I couldn't get off the sofa without help. That led to checking blood sugar, another symptom of nightshade poisoning. I am not going on beyond that as frankly, who wants a list of what someone else has gone through. Fair to say, many of the symptoms listed under nightshade intolerance fit my next few days.

I'd not even write about this-- at all, except people need to be aware as many just don't feel well but have no idea why. If you get sick off and on but have not nailed a cause check this out.

 So, it was an unpleasant few days (putting it mildly) but then I realized it was going to cost me my second Moderna shot. They have a sheet you sign that asks if you've had an allergic reaction in the previous two days, but it's more than that. I still was not well. Now, with a very convenient shot set up for me, I knew I'd have to go on the hunt again. I cried because I wanted this done. Who knows when I can reschedule. When we cancelled this one, they said they did not know when they would get more vaccine. Later when my husband went to the site; they said none yet. Next time he went, it said slots filled. This is not going to be fun but hopefully will eventually get that second shot in time.

Did anything good come from this? One I can't stand to watch the TV-- nothing, nada, nil and that means no news. I think that's been a plus. I do though get news or did during my down time. My husband, whose desk and computer are in a room across from our bedroom, would read me the headlines. If we both felt they mattered, he'd go on to the text. It was fun and then we could talk about it. We continued that on after I was feeling better.

 Another, spending a lot of time lying on our bed, I found doing nothing, thinking nothing to be oddly soothing. I'd study the ceiling, look a the sculptures at the other end of the room, take delight in finally being able to walk more normally... kind of, and most of all loved watching the clouds move outside the window. 

 I have also learned no more processed foods of any sort. You'd be amazing at how many places our culture secrets nightshades including with those unnamed spices. That will limit eating out at restaurants, but I have not been one to eat out often either. It's just with the possibility of red pepper or paprika or potato starch in something, just checking for the major nightshades, isn't enough. 

Update March 13: After multiple online attempts, the right papers finally popped up with the ability to submit from the same clinic doing the shots last time and I have an appointment for Thursday :). Of course, since then I've read of people dying from the vaccine (very very few) but I don't care. I don't want to die, of course, but I believe in getting the vaccine for the overall good of the country. To me, it's worth the minuscule risk. It will also be good for me to feel more free to go out and not worry about spreading or getting a disease that proves deadly for too many. This is no time to take this disease for granted. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

by Diane: My life shaping 1962 Portland State Basic Design Assignment


  In 1962 I never would have guessed how just one assignment in the art class, Basic Design, stuck with me. How of all the other ideas I was exposed to at Oregon's Portland State College just before it became a  University,  Art instructor Mrs. Glaser's class assignment would be pivotal in shaping some of my life decisions as I age.  Mrs. Glazier's mindful exercise was to map and count our steps to prepare a meal in our kitchen. The assignment was before it's time of advocating mindfulness. This exercise stemmed from her being the wife of an original thinking architect. She shared with us how he influenced their working kitchen with complete disregard of trending examples featured in glossy magazines featuring what manufactures want to sell. She said don't look to architectural design magazines. Beauty in her eyes exposes the structural function for the use of a space. I was amazed to the point of remembering the assignment seeing photographs of how she did away with all cupboard doors and how beautiful their hand made plates were in wire racks and the thoughtful arrangement of all they used in cooking. 

      Mrs. Keizer's teaching was an extension of the philosophy of the head of the Art and Architecture Department, Professor Fredrick Heidel. He had say in the building of the art studio classrooms where ceiling piping was proudly displayed. His painting of urban renewal around Portland State College reviled the all important plumbing underground. Consistent with memorializing the how to structure  his watercolors in the 1980's when examined closely reveal his process of layering and adding drawing as he painted.  

      Heidel surrounded himself with diverse faculty who were process oriented.  For one the clay and bronze sculptor Fredric Littman shaped and cut his forms with a stiff stainless steel knife allowing the marks of the knife to remain to show his process. Richard Muller, Colescot, Kassel, Grimm, Prasch, and Kimbrell were often in the  informal commons area along  with students eating lunch, visiting or resting. Art process includes community.

        In 1966 I went back to Portland State College on a visit. I spoke to Heidel. I explained how in Tucson, I minimized the work in preparing Fisherman Husband's and my meals.  My meals like food was a necessity to be over with as quickly and easily as possible to get on with painting or studying.. He showed disappointment in me because enjoying creating bread and good food was central to his life as a creative artist to be enjoyed among family and friends.



     To bring the utmost of enjoyment to eating, I am working on being mindful counting my steps and mentally mapping my journey of how I move while preparing food, eating and clean up. Organized movement eliminates the stress of trying to find a space among the clutter to put a cutting board. Or pushing thing aside to place a hot pot off the stove. I notice that the time saved by the smooth flow of preparation is put into care of a delicate kitchen sink and polishing the beautiful glass top range. I am trying to believe that I am exercising and enjoying the beauty of the stove and sink.  

         Yes, there is the good side and the down to my choices in the kitchen. The kitchen sink is a brushed stainless steel Ariel Work Station. When opening the package I got a warning label which of course was not listed in the advertisement.  California Prop 65 Warning no less for cancer and reproductive Harm. Wow, how in the world can I always keep the sink perfectly dry when not in use. It is almost in perpetual use. I dry it before going to bed at night period.  There is no mention of a preferred disinfectant. But I am not suppose to use bleach as was my habit. Maybe peroxide? Luckily I seldom add salt to foods, I do not drink citrus juice or even eat the interior of citrus, or use mustard or pickles  I clean up right away not leaving steel or cast iron cookware in the sink that after time could leave iron particles that will corrode the sink.  

          As for the stove: It has a convection oven and a warming center on the cook top.  Now I can cook small side dishes which I move to the center while cooking the body of the meal on larger burners. The warming center is a plus for reducing stress to get all parts of the meal done at the same time. 

         Vigorous wiping of the cook top with a cleansing polish is also rewarding. So I am trying to make lemonade aid out of the shortcomings of todays products and focusing on enriching my art experience. I wish to follow in the tradition set by Claude Monet, as described in Clarire Joyes' book, Monet's Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude .... 

Friday, March 05, 2021

One of those weeks

 by Rain Trueax

 After a weird time where I seemed to have nothing to write about due to isolation in the Covid era, I started a time on the 26th (full moon shot above) that was totally different and right now just not writable about. Too many thing are ranging through my head and I can't put them into logical order; so this is a very short blog, especially for me.

I'll be back next week hopefully with a steadier head-- and a cooperative computer. Some I might write about and some not so much. I am playing it by ear and time. Time determines so much

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

by Diane: One improvement leads to five new needs

It is so easy to get side tracked from necessary improvements for safety for aging in place to dangerously counterproductive cosmetic not so lasting improvements. And then uncover bad mistakes.
   The big renovation of both the house and conversion of the shop started with the urgent need to replace the impossible for me to close barn doors. They were replaced by sliding glass doors. That led to making the shop into a space for oil painting which led to insulating the attic, a radiant heater, not to mention needing warm water and a toilet, pocket doors and sheet rocking which led to painting.
The added pop out by the kitchen sink was always hateful because of the danger of climbing over the sink to clean. When the pop out was demolished the exterior needed to be finished in siding and cedar has been difficult to maintain. First the south wall was replaced with hardy board. That looked good so did the entire outside of the house. All these exhilarating changes I love happening so easily and quickly.
Now I have a beautiful laminate photograph of blond hickory flooring. And the scent of saw dust that irritates my nose already dealing with allergies. Will the scent go away after cleaning up all the exceedingly fine sawdust?