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Rumilluminations Dec. 2013
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sun, December 01 2013 - 12:48 pm


December 27, 2013                             Madison, IN

Today the weather called for a good long hike (all the way from home and back up the Heritage Trail in the 45-degree "heat" of the day.

I got an explanation for the curved parallel tracks I have been seeing on the Heritage Trail.

Skateboards!  Met some nice people - a polite skateboarding kid and his very sweet dad who let him skateboard for three hours today!

The river is so high I wonder about all the mammals who usually populate the riverbanks.  Their territories must have shrunk drastically if temporarily.  The birds near the river seemed completely convinced it is Spring.  The human parents were all out giving their kids a chance to bicycle and walk as well as skate-board.

The forecast for a few days from now has been changed from 20-something to the low thirties.

Yeah, we can definitely live with this.






December 25, 2013                             Madison, IN

M is for merry morning mess
E is for expectation, Esther and, oh well, Everyone!
R is for renewal,
R rebirth
Y is for the year that's passing and YOU

C is for caroling, cards, and cajoling
H is for heraldry and hearing about your Uncle Harold
R is for ristra!
I is for imagining and Instagram
S is for glamorized stockings, and socks
T is for tree!
M is for Mass but not for me
A is for assortments of chocolate and tea
S is for multiples, the pluraler the better

! is for enthusiasm, no matter the weather!!!           







December 21, 2013                             Madison, IN

Considering that this is the shortest day of the year, and a cloudy rainy one at that, it has had some amazing bright spots.

There was no lightning!  Considering that thunderstorms were predicted for the region, no bright flashes constitute a bright spot.  Paradoxical, but true.  It meant I could go for a walk.

It was warm!  I could go for a walk wearing a raincoat and boots and armed with an umbrella.

The beginning of the walk was not so bright.  Rain, after all, and the presence of a couple of crumpled Jack-o'-Lanterns on someone's front steps four days (!) before Christmas was depressing.  Were the inhabitants of the house okay, or are their children performing a science experiment?  The latter would not be depressing - just unaesthetic.

Up the drive to the Hillside Inn brought no deer sightings, but what is usually a little bare line coming down the hill was, with all the rain today, a little rivulet complete with miniature waterfalls.  Charming.

Tromping down toward the Ohio River, I saw that the supports of the bridge were completely obscured by the mists rising from the water.  Then - unexpectedly - a tow emerged from the fog.  The barges which preceded it were completely invisible, so its sighting came as a nice surprise.  A truck blocks behind me crossing the bridge made more noise than the tow did!  An eighth of a mile downstream the boat became invisible once more.

Short as the day is, it has been long on surprises.









December 19, 2013                          Madison, IN

Today feels like a spring day.  It is supposed to be in the fifties, and it is sunny - a good dose of optimism for the next three days which are supposed to be very rainy.  Flood-inducing rainy.  Take care, folks!

  I feel as if I already had Christmas, because my daughter and her boyfriend were here for a week starting Dec. 4th, which turns out to really be a very Christmas-y time here!

We enjoyed the visit very much, so we will not feel at all family-deprived on the actual day, when it will be just the two of us.

I am assured by the residents of this apartment building that the flooding of the Ohio River will not be too high at the same time they delight in regaling me about how a few years back the river got up to the driveway!

One of the second-floor residents wished me a good morning today with the cheeriest grin I have ever seen on his face.  I almost commented that he was full of Christmas cheer, then I paused.

"Going out to play some golf?"

"That's where I'm going right now!"  Big grin.

Yes.  We all find ways to feel the holiday spirit.

Have a great game, neighbor!




































December 16, 2013                             Madison, IN

Took a walk in the mid-twenties weather yesterday.  Walking along the river, I was amazed at the amount of debris brought by river levels elevated by the recent snows and rain.  Sure the water was high, but the debris was massive!

I saw an old door - a very nice door! - leaning against a tree.  I wanted to collect it, but had no excuse for doing so.  It would only lean against the wall on our balcony.  Today I plan to go on a walk to see if it is still there.  I am willing to bet it will be gone.  It would be perfect for a door into an outside garden.  Maybe that is what it already was before it got washed away.

Bottles galore, at least three balls (one a new-looking fluorescent chartreuse), driftwood aplenty, including a tree trunk still embellished with large whitish mushrooms.  A man to whom I pointed out the door mentioned an overturned boat high up on the bank downstream.

I think I saw the boat, but it was a block downstream from our apartment building - and did I mention it was 25 degrees out?

I went home and made myself some nice hot chai!

P.S.  As of an hour or so ago, the door was still there.

This time I looked at the boat.  Metal with OH 1279 BL on the side, for what it's worth.  Anyone upstream from Madison, IN looking for a lost boat?


December 15, 2013                             Madison, IN

I know, I know.  I know all about what labor unions did for the worker.  I know that the New Deal which even established a minimum wage was revolutionary.

What I can't seem to get into my head is that these battles have to be fought over and over again.

The battle for a decent living wage.

Civil rights for blacks and women and other used and abused minorities.

The end to capital punishment, which is just plain stupid and stupidly applied.

I can't believe these fights are not over yet and will be going on long after my death.

Individuals who work for these benefits for others sometimes fight for them for their whole lives and does it change the world?

Well, yes.  For a generation.

If I have heroes, they are these people.

What I don't understand is the people who fight like crazy on what I believe (with many others) is the wrong side of these issues.  What do they get out of their struggle?
















December 14, 2013                           Madison, IN

Heard an interesting tidbit on Up on MSNBC this morning. 

One third of bank tellers are on food stamps!

One third of bank tellers are on food stamps!

That used to be considered a decent job!  I'm sure in the old days when I was a lowly farm worker or library clerk or food service worker they made significantly more than minimum wage.

Otherwise, how would they have managed to pay for their higher-scale clothing necessities?  Their cars?

I fail to believe that in the 1960's bank tellers were unable to afford decent cars.  After all, banks don't want junkers hanging around in their parking lots.  (I think I may have failed to get a job in a law office once because I was running late for an interview and parked in their lot instead of a safe two blocks away.)

Now the Republicans are generously considering the possibility of linking the minimum wage to inflation.

That will be great if they jack the minimum wage up first - say to at least $10.00 - $15.00 per hour.

Otherwise the paltry percentage increase will be used as justification for no baseline increase in the minimum wage ever.

Gee, remember the days when you felt that the minimum wage was okay?  I used to work part-time and subsist on the minimum wage with, for example, no car.

Remember the days when you believed that Congress cared about whether the people could work for 40 hours a week and survive without charity?  When you really believed that they were on top of this kind of legislation?

I do.  Did I believe in something that never existed?



December 8, 2013                             Madison, IN

Don't mean to neglect my writing duties, but let's face it - family is visiting and that is way more fun!

Yesterday was especially busy with the Christmas something-or-other tour of home including the Lanier Mansion and a home also designed by Francis Costigan in which his whole family lived for at least a couple of years.  Very interesting, there were rounded walls (and in at least one bedroom, an acute triangle for a the corner).  The spaces formed allowed the existence of closets behind the curves.  I've never seen anything like it before!

We enjoyed the Christmas parade with bands nobly performing in what was at least predicted to be sub-freezing weather, and we tried caroling in the evening near the fountain - which is, by the way, ornamented with water-imitating lights for the season!

Quite a day!

December 3, 2013                             Madison, IN

Today was a red-letter day.  I bought PENS!

Pretty lame, huh?  It matches my excitement when I buy SOCKS!

Well, maybe it makes sense.  If I am anything (besides a Jill of all low level trades, I am a writer, and my favorite thing to write about is WALKS!

(er, or is that about the only thing I have to write about?)

A sobering thought, that, if I were drunk.

But I'm not, so, Ha ha ha ha ha!  So what if I rarely use pens when I write any more?  I love them.  Found a new "black ink infused with color" set by Uni-ball.

The Universe is mine!


December 1, 2013                             Madison, IN

The Heritage Trail has been especially interesting walking for the last week or so.

For the first time I noticed icicles on the cliff by the meadow (gone now!) and experienced the startle of chunks of ice falling down, sounding like the crunch of wildlife in the leaves.

I had mourned the falling of the leaves off the trees, but the increased visibility of the Ohio River and other features of the land makes it worth it - at least for a couple of months!

You can see the Clifty Inn cross-country from the trail.  Makes me want to thrash through the intervening hills (and probably a river) for a visit and maybe a nice hot meal.

I doubt I will do this unless I am feeling very grubby already.  Plus I am a little timid about what I'm sure is forbidden.  We are supposed to stay on the path.

The bridge has a surprise I hadn't noticed before, and the town is having lots of Christmas events and celebrations!  Where was I last year, anyway???

















































































































































































































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