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Rumilluminations December 2017
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Fri, December 01 2017 - 7:00 pm

December 31, 2017
Madison IN

On this last day of the year (I almost said of the world (sob)) I can't help but wonder if Trump is planning to take over the government via attrition.

He hasn't appointed people to fill numerous vacancies in our diplomatic ranks and the judiciary. He has effectively immobilized agencies by appointing leaders to them who have philosophies antithetical to those organizations of which they are now the titular heads.

I'm indulging this doom and gloom rumination now because tomorrow is the first day of the New Year when I would much rather be merry and bright.

Especially on what is supposed to be the coldest day since Christmas.  Brrrr humbug!

December 30, 2017
Madison IN

Three times within the last week I have seen the same word misused. You are not creating a prize when you succeed in removing a lid from a jar or opening a jammed door. You aren't prizing anything.

The word is prise. It is a homonym with the word prize, maybe, but not a synonym. The two words are not spelled the same!

Happy sixth day of Christmas!


If I had written yesterday I might have written

December 29, 2017

The other day my daughter took a $4 train ride from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.

From the window she saw a group of sandhill cranes being stalked by a coyote. Oh, and bison! She said from her perspective they looked like babies.

When I took the same trip a couple of years ago I saw a group of antelope.

Countless rides on Highway 25 never yielded wildlife sightings like that.

Take the train!

December 27, 2017
Madison IN

Hope I haven't written about this before, but I think it's worth repeating.

We don't have to worry about machines taking over. We are ourselves becoming machines!

Mentally programmed by the latest technological developments, with artificial organ replacements when our birth parts fail, our bodies are a good start.

Add to that, we are becoming more and more merely the tenders of programs that do our mental work for us. Diagnoses, investments, navigating programs - who needs people?

Only people need people, and more and more people seem to much prefer dogs, cats, goats and horses. And rodents.

Ha, ha, ha, ha! Happy 4th day of Christmas!

Maybe sudden climate changes will be extreme enough to arrest the technology that threatens to transform us. I just hope we aren't throwing ourselves to the nonexistent mercies of nature at the same time.

December 26, 2017
Madison IN

I'm getting mixed messages from local businesses. On one hand, they seem to appreciate the business local residents provide. They are often friendly enough.

On the other hand, local businesses often don't seem to live up to their commitments with regards to their hours.

 A couple of days before Christmas I went on a walk up to the Hillside Inn. That's a goodly little climb.
My plan was to walk first, then come back down to the stores right after they opened.

As I made one crossing I noticed a couple who seemed to have the same idea of doing some quick last-minute shopping. They tried the door of one store, and finding it locked, started to hurry on. I looked at my watch, intending to reassure them that the store would surely open in a couple of minutes.

I couldn't. It was already three minutes past when they were supposed to open. Hurrying on, the pair tried to enter another shop. That, too, was still closed. They turned back up the street, while I continued on to my destination, confident that the business I intended to patronize, at least, would be open. They had a website, after all, which stated they were supposed to open at ten.

Finding someone unlocking the door at 10:20, I held the screen door for her, thinking to be helpful. She looked completely startled - she was making a phone call! I backed off and waited for the opening, which I thought would be imminent in spite of the note I saw on the door: "Open at 10:35" After all, I was hanging around, obviously wanting to come in.

The woman who finally let me in at 10:35 was a different individual entirely. She helped me with perfect cordiality and I spent over thirty dollars.

I want to say parenthetically that I have rarely entered that specialty store without buying anything. I don't take the treatment I got as a personal commentary on how I deserve to be treated.

The next day, Christmas Eve, the story was similar. The owner of yet another Main Street business had said a day or two before that he would be open Saturday. When I went by, the closed sign was up.

It is a mystery to me why we, the residents of a small town, should feel obliged to shop locally at greater expense to ourselves to support local shopkeepers, when those very people who claim to want our business can't even observe their own business hours?

If store owners want to be taken seriously, maybe they should take themselves seriously. Oh, and take us, their local support, seriously also! Give us a modicum of consideration.

That's my Second Day of Christmas gift to the local business operators!

We all want a vibrant downtown, don't we?

December 24, 2017
Madison IN

This morning my partner and I went for a walk through the woods, which have largely been turned into a park. My partner commented, "No squirrels, no birds, no deer. Nothing to interfere with the townsfolks' appreciation of nature!

Appearances notwithstanding, we know some wildlife survives in spite of the fact that we didn't see or hear anything but ourselves.

An early Christmas Eve sighting of a fox in the parking lot of our apartment building made me fear for the safety of a couple of very fat squirrels I have seen waddling and wheezing in the neighborhood.

Maybe even Santa's reindeer would do well to beware!

December 23, 2017
Madison IN

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat..."

and so am I!

I am living with an off-duty trained chef who loves to cook at home.

Along with my many blessings I'm counting pounds.

The way the hungry crave a full belly?

I crave hunger.

Er... bring on the dessert!

December 22, 2017
Madison IN

I'm unknown. Baring all, I'm your secret source.

No one will ever know.

Maybe I'll get a t-shirt screened. I'll wear it and only my closet closest will know what it is - the stigma of the hated (in Indiana!) blahgist.

This state hates bloggers more than anything else, supposedly, so of course that is what I must be.

The old lady talker, whiner, complainer, ranter and laugher in the wilderness!

I have missed me.

Not being myself has almost muzzled me and silenced me, but no more!

The darkness was at its height last night, but now the light has begun to return and so have I!

(But please don't tell anyone.

I am, after all, your secret.)

December 21, 2017
Madison IN

Wow! I have had a real vacation!

We have been feeling a little restive lately and went to Athens, Ohio to take a look at it for a possible move. In the past we saw the wonderful brick road center of town and breathed the clean air and liked it. Also, it is a big University town, and is three times as big as Madison!

We thought we would take a look, and we did. We had lunch at the local Indian restaurant, which was, unfortunately, not to die for. 

We looked at some apartments comparable in price to what we have here in Madison. They were smaller and offered none of the changes we would look for if we moved.

There was no view of the Ohio River! Of course we knew that. The Hocking River cannot compare. Well, we knew that too. For now, at least, we are staying put in Madison.

We went, we saw, we shrugged.

December 16, 2017
Madison IN

Yesterday I got up, put my tights on from the day before, and walked up the Heritage Trail and back. That was over three miles.

Later in the day I walked back and forth from a shop in town three times to pick up an item that wasn't finished.

In the evening we were watching a comic when I felt something inside the left leg of my tights - along my thigh. I thought it was a clean sock that had clung to my tights in the laundry.

I reached down and pulled it out. It was the pair of underpants I had been wearing the day before! Good thing I was wearing a knee-length skirt over the tights.

I had walked five miles without noticing a thing!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

December 15, 2017
Madison IN

A year ago, right around election time, I developed a big pain in the ass. A literal pain that made it difficult to sit. I waited for it to go away. It didn't.

Around about January I went to the doctor to make sure I didn't have cancer. I didn't have cancer. As a joke I told the doctor that I thought that the election had something to do with my pain. He seemed to think that was pretty funny and seemed inclined to agree.

Now the pain is diminishing. I believe it will be gone before too long - like what I believe to be its cause. 

I'm hoping it won't be long now until it is completely banished. Nothing but a bad memory.

December 14, 2017
Madison IN

Relax. Everybody just relax.

Stop beating yourselves up. (If you are not being hard on yourself, this shoe is not yours.)

In one week winter will be here!

We need as much good cheer and serenity as we can summon to face the dark wintertime.


Fa la la la la

Deck the halls!

December 13, 2017
Madison IN

Today I noticed for the first time - how many Chinese phrases do you know? Me neither, but two of them are Tai Chi and Chai Tea.

Odd, no?

I'm trying to think of similar sets of two words in English...

Dog food and fog dood

Lucky dog and ducky log

Careless shrug and shareless drug

Red bloom and bled room

Shun sin and sun shin

                                                                                ... that mean anything.




December 12, 2017
Madison IN

An election to the Senate of a probable ephebophile (one who has a sexual interest in adolescents aged 15-19) and has been accused of inappropriately touching a fourteen-year-old (hebephilia) is happening in Alabama.

It is very discouraging because, in the same way Trump's racism has emboldened other racists, the willingness of a large number of our population to overlook Roy Moore's proclivities will encourage others of his bent to misbehave.

If they see that a President and a Senator can get away with abusing minors there is very little to deter them.

Worse yet, they can have some confidence that their victims will not be believed.

From one ad for Roy Moore I saw, I got the impression he could sit a horse well. After seeing him bouncing in his saddle away from the polls after voting this morning, I was glad after all that I hadn't praised his seat on a horse.

It turns out, I guess, that I have nothing good to say about Roy Moore. In fact, when he and (I guess) his wife rode away from the news cameras, there were more than two horses' asses in the picture.

Wait! Maybe Moore isn't going to win! This election is very close. Almost as exciting as a Presidential election.

I hope this is a turning point in the country when it comes to children's rights.

December 11, 2017
Madison, IN

Do you understand bitcoins? I don't. Evidently it takes a ton of energy, so now without understanding it I have to be against it on principle.

Remember the old saying,"If you haven't tried it, don't knock it"? Stupid saying.

One mines for bitcoin. Fancy that. It seems that people set their computers (and sometimes other people's computers) to solving mathematical problems or setting up mathematical algorithms in return for bitcoins, which they can then spend.

What does one buy with bitcoins? Bytes?

There is a world out there I have no clue about, and many sources of information still seem to want me to read about the latest celebrity salvation-from-drug-addiction story.

I must come to the conclusion that the average American is addicted to stories about addiction.

Personally I am sick of the subject. Everybody is considered cool for doing all the forbidden stuff until all of a sudden they realize why the stuff was forbidden and we are supposed to admire them for overcoming their stupidity and saving their own lives (with hours of time and energy from others.)

Meanwhile these tales of woe deter the inexperienced from nothing. They plunge right into the seductive excitement of making the same lame mistakes.

The whole story is as old and boring as religion.

December 7,2017
Madison IN

Trump didn't really want to win the Presidency. So when he won, he lost.

How seriously he lost remains to be seen.

The American people who did not vote for him lost in November of last year. That, at least, was the beginning of our losses.

The majority of people who did vote for Trump thought they had won. Now it's clear they are losing, also.

It is evident that the person most obsessed with winning is the biggest loser, perhaps, in U.S. history.

Except given the political destabilization of the world he has created (and his disregard for planetary conditions responsible for the stability the human species needs to survive) we are all, potentially, the biggest losers.

I'm not sure even revolution can fix the mess Donald Trump is stirring up.

December 6, 2017
Madison IN

The 21st Century, I have decided, is the Century of the Introvert. It is the Century of the Antisocial.

Agoraphobia is in. You won't ever have to go out.

Virtual Reality is the virtual reality, which is good enough for users. So much easier than real reality.

Well, good. Only the real extroverts will be outside. They won't have to deal with any more sneers, snubs and snide remarks from the people who take what is in their own heads more seriously than anything else.

Just think how many fewer people there will be on the streets! No more bumping and jostling, weaving and wending.

Traffic will be way down! No more rush hour!

Yay! The real world will be a safer place for ME!

Er, wait a minute. Can it be...?

No, certainly not!?!

No. Certainly I could not possibly be... Introvert?

December 3, 2017
Madison IN

Instead of looking forward to Christmas I find myself looking backwards to Halloween.

I'm trying to figure out why some folks have taken against Halloween so ardently, calling it tantamount to Satan-worship.

Halloween actually seems to me more like a catharsis - a playful acting out of one's shadow side in a harmless way, or a fulfillment of a positive dream in fantasy.

I suppose to some it is an exercise in extortion, involving a threat if the resident doesn't pony up, although to tell the truth I never thought about it that way before today.

I'm not saying I never heard such an interpretation, I'm just saying I would have refused to see Halloween in that light. Halloween is just for fun! The only time I waxed someone's property I felt very guilty about it, and most certainly did not come equipped and intending to do wrong. I was led into it and never repeated the offense. You might even consider Halloween to be an object lesson on the kind of behavior that is absolutely forbidden in ordinary life.

Halloween is an admirable equaliser. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live in real life. On this one night of the year you can pretend to be someone else and share in the bounty given to all. Those who cannot afford or don't care to participate simply turn out the porch light.

(I didn't realize until I was an adult how many curmudgeons there are among us. Children aren't keeping track - they just run towards the lights!)

Christmas has the same door-to-door tradition in caroling, but unfortunately caroling has fallen by the wayside, although even in my youth in the fifties we didn't associate it with free handouts the way folks might have a century before.

Christmas also has a similar cast as Halloween in the dressing up as an elf, or as Santa Claus himself.

What do you know, here I am looking forward towards Christmas after all!

It must be that being the beneficiaries of Halloween largesse and having our hungry appetites gratified abundantly on Thanksgiving helps us become able to be more generous and giving ourselves.

Viva Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, all!

May they signify the advent of the spirit of giving!

December 1, 2017
Madison IN

Read an article in The Week excerpted from a larger work about Trump supporters. They still support him.

My country right or wrong.

His supporters throwing good money after bad.

One garden center I worked for didn't grow their own plants because of what they called "grower's remorse." If you grow something yourself you have trouble tossing it even if something goes terribly wrong and the plant can't sell.

Sometimes women can't let go of a bad relationship because she has made too much of an investment in it.

All kinds of resonances in the inability to admit that with Trump his voters made a bad bargain.

Hopefully the investigation into members of his administration and inner circle will proceed unobstructed. Hopefully Congress will do what it needs to do if impeachment is called for, even a GOP congress.

Impeachment - what a funny word. Peaches are a wonderful fruit. Sounds like impeachment would be a process making its subject all peachy again.

Now, there's a derivation to be explored! (Ah, it turns out peach and impeach are apples and oranges! That is, the noun is Greek referring to Persia (the fruit came to Europe from China via Persia) while the verb is from a Latin word meaning to trap or ensnare.)

We better hope that the wheels of justice continue to grind smoothly, because those who voted for Trump think he's a peach, show no sign of buyer's remorse, and give every indication that they would vote for him again.

Peachy keen.

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