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Rumilluminations August, 2013
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, August 01 2013 - 7:22 pm

August 31, 2013
                                       Madison, IN

I've decided to try not to use the word Fall anymore for the season when all the leaves turn colorful and summer turns into winter.

A fall is definitely not a good thing.  No wonder our spirits go splat when September looms.  We are set up for it.

No, from now on I go with Autumn.  I didn't used to like it so much; I had no associations with the word to speak of.  Somehow, though it reminds me more of the soaring cliffs of Yosemite than declination of the lower variety.

Ha, ha.  Another association we have with The Fall would be the loss of the Garden of Eden because of the intrusion into our psyches of the knowledge of good and evil.  Interesting that Fall means schooling to many of us as well.

As for the potential associations of the word autumn, I'll get back to you on that.  I suspect it might be related to the Latin word for gold.  (And I'll stand with that speculation, although it seemingly came through the French language from Latin, autumnus, which means, ha-ha, the season opposite Spring.  Do the trees in Rome turn gold in the fall?  er, I mean autumn?)

Which would you choose to come to you, gold - or a fall?

Or how about the earlier English word for the season, which was "harvest?"

I like that one, too.  Not for me, the Fall!

I choose autumn or a revival of the use of harvest as a word for the season as well as the activity, which wholesomely reminds us of the basic good of the season.

August 28, 2013                                        Madison, IN

I'll have to try to find out where the phrase "international community" came from, because yesterday it occurred to me that I don't believe we have one.

Maybe the invention of the phrase came from a belief in the power of positive thinking, the idea of shaping reality with language.

This kind of speaking could also set up in us a confusion about what reality is.

What is community, I ask myself.

It obviously isn't religious uniformity.  I believe in religious freedom and still feel that I live in community with the people around me.

Is it common goals?  Obviously not.  Our goals often cross and conflict with each other.

For me community comprises, no more and no less, a common understanding (or at least an attempt at legal consistency) about what is right and what is wrong.

I feel absolutely no community with a culture that thinks it is okay to excise a girl's genitals and sew her labia up (leaving only a little pee-hole for urination through the scar-tissue) to be broken only upon her marriage.  No wonder some of these cultures expect blood on the sheets on the wedding night!

Come to think of it, though, I know that our word "community" is only a formality even in the United States.  Our understanding of even our laws and how closely they should (and can) be observed is very, very, different.

Maybe "community" is the most romantic word in the English language!

August 24, 2013
                                        Madison, IN

Ha!  In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf pretends to be the granny.

Maybe one of the VERY subliminal messages of that particular fairy tale is - that that poor little seemingly helpless being will play the part of the wolf in your life if you let her.

Now that's one possible interpretation of the fairy tale not normally discussed!

(Not to mention the kind of mother who would send her little girl unprotected and bearing food into the deep dark woods where she could be prey to any number of unfortunate incidents.  Ha!  Sounds like a mother who was raised by a wolf.)

August 22, 2013                                        Madison, IN

Life without the Arts is like the Earth without the Moon.

August 19, 2013                                       Madison, IN

Ribberfest, the festival celebrated here in Madison annually at about this time of year, is pretty amazing.  When my partner got off work on Friday we walked over to the free portion of the festivities and were able to taste the remnants of the barbequing contest.  Maybe it was called by another name - we went because it was held in the park in front of our apartment building, and all along Vaughn Street for block to the east.  We had brisket with sauce, duck sausage, pork chicken and beef sausage, real bologna, and a variety of other tasty products.  We just had a bit or two of everything we got, and for health's sake it didn't total too much.  Just the way I like it anyway!  Variety is better than quantity any day.

Fortunate that we didn't start earlier in the day - too much of a good thing would have had us up all night.  The most amazing thing about it all is that it was a free offering!  A tasting experience to last a lifetime absolutely free.

Living where we live, the music was a free offering, also.  I have been told it does not seem that loud in the actual park, but I figure maybe the sound echoing from the apartments to the east and positively reverberating from the houses to the north of us was very, very, loud.

I finally gave up trying to sleep at the point when I thought it would drive me insane and picked up my Kindle and read.  I figured that would distract me and it did.  The next time I noticed anything, it was voices coming out of the driveway behind the house - voices coming out of silence!

So I'm trying to figure out a way to handle Ribberfest.  Spending the Saturday night up at the Hillside Inn?  Filling up on luscious home-made forbidden meat yummies and then taking off on a camping trip before the real celebrations begin?

Call me a party-pooper, if you want.  Ha, ha, it won't be the first time that has happened!

But come to Ribberfest yourself next year.  Pick and choose your experience.  I'm willing to bet you will have a wonderful time - especially if you are a meat-eating, amplified-music-loving night owl!

August 15, 2013                                       Madison, IN

I seem to have descended into some sort of plasma that keeps me from expressing my opinions about the movies we see every day.  I quit that maybe a year ago.

In the past month or two I've stopped writing about all the books I read.  Reading a great number of books one after another by a single author (on my Kindle) perhaps doesn't help.  When you read a different author every time their differences stimulate commentary.  To distinguish works of the same author one from another is possible, but somehow I can't seem to obsess about the work in quite that kind of detail.

Reading Tristram Shandy stymied me.  I mean, I read it, but there is so much to say about it that have trouble knowing where to start.  And I read it over several weeks, so even though I want to report certain ideas in it, I'm not sure if I remember them correctly.

One idea I remember is Shandy reporting the idea that each of us has an entity of the opposite sex within ourselves.  Literally the animus and anima of, I had thought, Jung.  When I read Jung, why did I not remember coming across this idea before in Sterne?  Oh well, Tristram Shandy does come across as so much ranting sometimes.

Here's a question for you.  Why does my spell check object to the word Tristram and not to the word Shandy?  (I saw the name Tristram in some movie credits the other day - it still exists!  Yay!)  Spell check accepts the word animus and not anima.  Is it sexist?  It accepts the word yeah and not yay.

I think I must be experiencing some kind of worrisome existential woe partly brought on by the death of my mother.  She is gone.  Do we poetic types (well, that is certainly self-aggrandizement!  Should I say unworldly types?  Ha!  Who would think me unwordly?  (Ha, ha spell check has made me aware that I have punned.  I would say I like it except I am afraid that punning is sinning.)  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, I was suffering an existential anxiety attack that people like me, who have not been very good earners and who try to exercise freedom of speech, when we try to expurgate ourselves and censor ourselves become unable to speak at all.

Ha, ha!  Anyone who knows me would know that they could not hope for that outcome from me!

Maybe I will be able to keep writing after all.

August 13, 2013                                       Madison, IN

Just saw the "outside the box" La Quinta ad again.  Guess who the folks are who aren't allowed outside the box.

A short overweight white guy, and older white man, a very big black man, and two women are told they must stay put.

Then I saw another ad I have always disliked, in which a truckload of husband-earned bacon knocks down and buries a wife at her doorstep.  (Actually she starts out on the porch and ends up in her living room, smilingly holding up a package of bacon.)

I have seen the ad before and never paid attention as to what it was selling.  Bacon?

Wrong.  La Quinta again.

I said I would never stay in a La Quinta again.  To be honest, I probably would not have anyway.  The last time (maybe the only time) I was in a La Quinta the free breakfast was inedible.  I forget whether it was stale oatmeal or bad yoghurt.

Ironic.  I don't think they offered bacon as part of their breakfast offerings.  Probably cold "continental."

These hotel chains are supposed to be consistent and the night I spent at a La Quinta happened several years ago, so I won't say where it was.

It's too bad about their advertising.  Over twenty years ago I dropped my wallet in front of the art museum in Santa Fe, and a man lodging at the La Quinta there called me so he could return it.  The last time I did stay in a La Quinta I left my little bag in the lobby eating area (probably frustrated by the lousy coffee and no breakfast) a patron called after me to return it.

I should have good associations with the place.

Evidently they used to attract really good people!

Too bad about their stupid ads, reflecting that the box they are outside of isn't really a very big one.

August 10, 2013                                       Madison, IN

Come to Madison, IN!  At farmer's market you can get a view of the wonderful fountain, and a full-sized rhubarb pie for 12.50!

A local craft store has gorgeous wooden bowls (handmade) for a mere $24.00.

The purchases you make will pay for your gas, and you will get the experience of a lovely 19th century town and the "beneficent" Ohio River as well.

Come on!

August 9, 2013                                       Madison, IN

I just saw the La Quinta ad (not for the first time) in which two men in suits talked about "thinking outside the box" and I just can't resist sputtering about it.

The men in suits get to hang around in plenty of space outside a large cardboard box occupied by at least a half dozen people, talking about thinking creatively.

A member of the team, inspired by the speech, tries to climb out of the box and is immediately pushed back in by the two suits.

That is corporate America for you, folks, and I am more eager to support individuals in their efforts to make a go of their lives outside the corporate box than ever.

Exactly what kind of marketing effect is an ad like that one trying to achieve?

One corporate box that I will never make the mistake of entering again will be a La Quinta hotel!

August 8, 2013                                        Madison, IN

For most of my life I have been health-conscious when it comes to diet.  My mom emphasized fruits and vegetables.  We didn't eat as much produce as nutritionists recommend today, but dessert was often a piece of fruit.

For the most part, the discipline seems to have worked for me.  I'm pretty healthy.

When it comes to my eyes, though, I wonder.  I used to hope that enough Vitamin A would keep me from needing bifocals as I aged.  I ate carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peaches, apricots.  I didn't eat liver for Vitamin A, but I sure crammed down the fruits and veggies.

They were very good for me, I am sure, but almost at the stroke of year 41 it became harder for me to read and pretty soon I was in bifocals.  (Progressives, so at least the fact wasn't so obvious as when you could see the line in the lens.)

Now my healthy diet has let me down again.  A year ago at my eye checkup, my opthamologist noticed the beginning of a little cataract in the corner of one eye.  No big deal, I thought.  It would grow slowly.

Well, not so slowly.  This year the cataracts (yup, now they are in both eyes) are quite a bit worse.  I don't have to have surgery yet, but I probably will in the future.

Forced to admit that what I have been doing hasn't been good enough, I looked up what is a good diet to prevent cataracts - or in my case, prevent them from getting worse.

Dang.  I do try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  I try not to eat refined flours and meat.  I just don't try hard enough to get the effects I need.

Do you know what one website (reporting scientific studies) said?  The best way to avoid cataracts is to eat a vegan diet.

Well, hell, it is the same advice people have been giving me for physical health for years.  I believe they are correct.

The only trouble is, when I go on a diet like that I go bipolar.  Maybe not clinically bipolar to the extent that I am in danger of being hospitalized, but bad enough to cause much grief and emotional anguish.

So it is back to the health tightrope for me.  Yes, I will try to do better in my decisons both eating and not-eating.  But I have come to see health as a balancing act as opposed to a soaring ascension act.

I'm not a transcender; I'm a circus performer.  With dimmer vision than I had a year ago.

My hope for this year:  holding steady.

August 6, 2013                                        Madison, IN

We have been experiencing intense scents in our walks around town lately.  We thought they were honeysuckle and privet.

There are not enough of those around, however, to account for the abundance of what I am tempted to call fumes.  These are powerful and almost excruciatingly sweet.

Today I walked by the downstairs neighbors' apartment and smelled this intense sweetness again.  No - it can't be TOMATOES?

It wasn't.  I looked again and saw a group of naked lady lilies, exuding not only pink color reminiscent of flesh but also a seductively heavy sweet scent.

These naughty ladies are bad in more ways than one!

August 5, 2013                                        Madison, IN

Everyone has secrets.  Even I have one or two, in spite of my self-revelation.  (Actually I probably don't have any, if you consider every little thing I have confessed to any person.)

Still, I do have secrets - probably even from myself!

The older I get, the less people's secrets surprise me.  In fact, I'm kind of surprised that people aren't nothing but secrets.

And those who don't gossip - they imply.  I don't think there is any virtue in that.  Imaginations can do more with inferences drawn from implications than they can with facts!

The fact is -  No.  Never mind.  I'm going to keep that opinion secret!

August 4, 2013                                        Madison, IN

You might think, reading this, that it is really very personal and uninhibited.

Well, yes and no.

Yes, my writings are often very frank if not shameless;

no, there is tons of stuff I cannot/do not write about.

I was at a corporate orientation the other day, and we were told re social media:  if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!

So does a corporation, all by itself, do away with constitutional rights.  Just like your mom, heh, heh!

No wonder Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy puts empty chapters into his work!

That's probably why I have so many empty pages in my blahg.

There is so much I am not permitted by society to talk about - that is, if I want to have any friends.

Of course, I could try to do as the Seinfeld character did, who covered up her own misdeeds by saying yada-yada-yada!

That would be great reading.  "Then, so-and-so said 'yada-yada-yada' and went ahead and expletived the whatchamacallit.  Yada-yada-yada!  What are we supposed to do?

No blahging, no blogging, no blagging no blabbing.

A blank page is preferable.

A big city used to be more private than a small town.  Now the Internet is making the world smaller.

Small like a small town?

Blankety-blank blank blank!

August 3, 2013                                        Madison, IN

As my mate and I turned to leave the landing pavement of the Ohio River in the dawning moments yesterday morning, our eyes were startled by a sudden switch from mad-made (ha, I meant to say MAN-made) to nature made wonders.

The great blue heron looked unexpectedly large in the dim light.  He also seemed to be watching the unusual goings-on.  Then his head stretched forward and he began to stalk, so we knew he was fishing.

The juxtaposition of the bridge undergoing destruction and the heron reminded me of the Point Pleasant Bridge collapse and the sightings of the "Moth Man," who some believe was a large heron magnified in the imagination of the locals into a preternatural being.

Well, this heron stayed a heron.  Some things are enlarged by dim light and diminished by bright sunlight - especially the things created by the imagination.

More inner-outer tension for you.


August 2, 2013                                         Madison, IN

Yesterday we heard the 2d of our four big BOOMS taking down the old bridge.  This explosion seemed a lot louder to me than the last.  I speculated the decibels were augmented by the immediate echoes from the nearness of the opposite shore.  (They had taken the quarter of the bridge closest to Milton down.)  My partner thought maybe they used more explosives to be sure the correct amount of bridge went down.

A good part of the bridge landed on the shore seemingly intact.

Early this morning I woke up from... something... and when I was up, heard a loud banging sound.  Metal on metal.  What time was it, anyway?  4:44 AM.  (!)

I peered outside and saw a bright sheen on the river like I had never seen at night.  And spotlights.  Of course I had to explore!

They were cleaning up the now-scrap metal on the other side of the river before 5 o'clock in the morning.  There was an interesting structure (floating?) with dark blue lights involved.  The whole display was quite showy.

Had they been at it all night?  I don't know, but late this afternoon there was a pile of beams on the shore that looked as if some big giant strong-toothed beaver was organizing to construct a new-age dam.

It is a recycler's dream over there.

August 1, 2013                                          Madison, IN

Is blood pressure equal and opposite to air pressure?  Water pressure?

Are internal pressures equal to external pressures?

I have been brought up to think not.

All our internal resources are only as good for influencing what happens externally as we are good at dealing with what happens externally.

But we really do feel the pressures, don't we?

Outward inward push me pull you.

The way we balance it all and make it all work (or not) is what makes us who we are.

"She asked for a ride" - to eleven years illegal imprisonment?  Sure.

What is within some people wreaks havoc on the rest of us.

How come the blood boiling within me doesn't oppress Ariel Castro's vocal chords?

Somehow I get the feeling that nothing external will penetrate the internal reality of the "not monster."

But he would, if he could, arouse pity within us for his sufferings under the pressures induced by committing kidnap and rape.

Oh, he is arousing something within us, all right.

And finally - finally! - we are imposing some physical external pressures on him.

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