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Rumilluminations August - November, 2018
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Wed, August 01 2018 - 2:43 pm

November 30, 2018 What I would have written had I been able to access my website through my Kindle at the Hampton Inn. (I tried but there were privacy issues through the entire three days we were in
Butler, PA)

We left Madison IN the morning and stopped for lunch in Sharonville, Ohio. Since the Indian restaurant we had targeted was closed, we ate at a Vietnamese restaurant in the same shopping center. It was good, although my partner was more ecstatic than I, not being used to eating a quart of noodle soup at one sitting. (We ordered small, but must have gotten large.) It was fun, though, greens and sprouts we added to the soup ourselves.

Alas, back in the parking lot we discovered our car lights on and the battery powerless to start the engine. My partner and I split up to find a solution to our problem. I was the lucky one.

I went to a nearby service station to get help, got into a conversation with a customer there (learned he hates to walk as much as I love to) who, having one of those portable battery chargers, offered to rescue us. What a wonderful person! A mysterious person also, for he said he was writing a book full of details about his career and would only identify himself as Bud. I'm so curious! I don't even know if I will ever get to read his as-yet-unpublished book!

I told him I would write about his kind act that very day, but was unable to keep my promise because of the nonfunctionality I described above. Thank you, Bud!

And dang! I confess I could have kept my promise via another electronic device had I remembered my own administrative address (or remembered I could Google it.) Alas, habit makes prisoners of us all.

(Actually written December 4th.)

November 21,2018
Madison IN

Maybe one reason I am not writing so much anymore is that I don't know how anyone could even find this site if they didn't know the name. 

When I Google a subject that I've written about even the inclusion of my site address doesn't call up a reference to what I have written. What's the use?

Then I look at my maploco (see end of article) and realize that yes, somehow people are logging in.

How and why, I have no idea - except for a few cities where relatives live.

Howdy, folks!

 November 19, 2018
Madison, IN

Why not write? Nothing to say? Or too much to say?

One story I have already told friends and acquaintances about our bedbug experiences is too good to leave out.

The exterminators hired by our landlords to deal with what turned out to be a widespread apartmental if not town problem were not seeing any bedbugs when they came to spray. They had to take our word for it and trust that we had collected our two samples in our own place - not that they were inclined at first to doubt us.

Week after week, though, they were, like the medical profession, treating an infection they could not see. They must have wondered. Where were these critters the size and color and shape of apple seeds that were supposedly causing so much trouble?

Finally, on a railing of the bed, the boss thought he saw one. Aha! Finally! He zoomed in for a closer look and found - an apple seed.

We never eat in bed. The apple seed must have been on someone's clothing.

Our savior from the almighty bedbug never saw it.

The whole bedbug experience is such a tragicomedy that I am surprised no one has made a movie about it. These days a large portion of the population could relate to it.

We are still waking up wondering if our itches are related to a new generation as are, now that we are older, are our irritations.

November 8, 2018
Madison IN

No education should take more than a decade to pay for. Our professional children should not be indentured servants.

Those without the intelligence or the interest or the ambition to go to college get jobs, buy homes and have families while those interested in knowing more about our world are forced to let go of the American dream.

This is not meritocracy, and it is no way to escape mediocrity. Shame on us.

October 21, 2018
Madison, IN

We two elders, my partner and I, have seen the wave of popular obsession with vampires in past decades with mystification.

It's a centuries-old concept. Why did it beome so popular in the final decades of the twentieth century?

Since then we have witnessed the rise of the zombies, an even uglier and more bizarre phenomenon. What is the appeal?

The Third Hotel, by Laura Van Den Berg, suggests that the zombies are seeking the overthrow of the culture that denied them justice in life.

That made me think differently about zombies and vampires, too. Vampires appeared when the older generation was living longer than ever, perhaps in the view of the young staying around eternally, sucking the life out of them. This even sometimes happens literally when the aged experience rejuvenation after the transfusion into their bodies the blood of a much younger individual.

In the case of zombies the movement is more societal: vast hordes of the undead attack and dismantle the living who represent the social structure that stymied and killed them. It's not hard to see why the young might relate to zombies since the parental corporations are eating their young and the government is to say the least not supportive.

We tend to sneer at popular fads, but maybe that is unwise. Our young are just creating their own mythology to express their feelings about the times they live in.

The ugliness of the creations that touch their psyches merely reflects the ugliness of what they experience at the hands of our society.

October 3, 2018
Madison IN

I LOVE the voices in my head. They distract me from the ringing in my ears!

October 1, 2018
Madison, IN

What we are going through with the bedbugs is epic. We are going to have our third professional spray treatment tomorrow. This means we have been basically camping out in our home for almost three weeks now, except this has been way more work than camping.

For those of you who think it is a cool thing to go out into public in your pajamas, please stop. You can have bed bugs and not even know it, and you might unwittingly bring them to the rest of us straight from your bed.


In a way I feel fortunate that I have an allergic response to bedbugs because it made me aware of our problem sooner than I would otherwise have known.

Sufferers, on top of itching and all the work of eradication, feel like pariahs. No fun.

Add this to what is going on in the White House, the Congress, and our formerly much-respected Supreme Court, this has been a difficult time.

Of course these tribulations are not as difficult as many in Indonesia are currently suffering, but somehow the consciousness that others are worse off doesn't make me feel better. I'm with Anne Frank on that one.

September 18, 2018
Madison, IN

For the past two weeks I have been working harder than I have for decades. Wash all your clothes and fabrics and dry them in high heat, along with already clean clothes and it brings home exactly how much stuff you have.

We have by now sorted through almost everything we own, and discarded more than ever before - not because of bugs seen but because of bugs imagined or potentially present. 

I have finally become an American. For the first time in my life I change clothes every day and bathe and wash my hair most days. This is a discipline that I feel is not good for my skin and hair, but is part of our regime. We do not want to share with the outer world.

The debugger comes Thursday to kill the pests. We will be living minimally because he will return a week later for another treatment.

Since our apartment was not painted before we moved in six and one-half years ago, we have decided to paint while it is clean and empty. It is nice to contemplate making positive changes in addition to merely restoring ourselves to pestlessness. This plan gives us added energy to face these last few days before the man from Venom comes.

He has, by the way, said that is not a question of if you will get bedbugs, but when.

Having said that, however, he adds that he hasn't had bedbugs in his own home yet.

A real problem lies in the fact that many people do not get itchy welts. They do not know they even have bedbugs until, perhaps, they are overrun.

Hopefully my role as canary in the coal mine will mean we can get rid of this plague. I'll keep you posted.

September 9, 2018
Madison IN

Setting aside our personal issues:  Graham Garrett, you got screwed in the British cooking competition for the Olympic Banquet! We think you should have been in the cook-off for the judges.

If you thought you were treated badly by the system, we agree, big time!

September 6, 2018
Madison, IN

After a half dozen years of pretty good fortune interrupted by minor medical glitches, we have had a few setbacks.

While my partner was at work someone hit our parked car. And, of course, ran. Maybe someone was envious that we missed the huge hailstones. Not seriously.

Far worse, as it turns out, is our recent discovery in our apartment of bedbugs. Yes, BEDBUGS! Those little critters that we used to joke about, thinking such a fate could never befall us.

First I got bitten or maybe, I thought, might be suffering from contact dermatitis. Itchy - raging itchery!

Spiders, maybe. When I started getting welts, my imagination grew darker. Bedbugs? Or, heaven forbid, MRSA!

Terrifying thought. The only one worse than - you got it - bedbugs.

I had just decided to call the doctor when, while fluffing up the pillows and smoothing the sheets, I saw one. A small bug heading for home, I guess. Isn't it just like a subadult to jeopardize the whole community. All he did was stay out late.

This bug was so small I couldn't tell what it was, so I got out my trusty hand lens - magnification 17x - and inspected my find.

Worst suspicions confirmed by comparison with internet images, the horror of bedbug occupation began. I will tell you all about the unfolding of events after that initial discovery over the next few days as a break from the throes of consequences we are still experiencing a week and a half later.

Our ordeal has barely begun.

September 1, 2018
Madison, IN

Why do we have to be either lovers or haters?

So much energy expenditure in emoting seems like a waste.

I say, either do something or don't.

I say, don't pick up arms: run for the hills, run for office, vote, or sit home. Why stew? Why subject yourself to so much internal agitation?

I'm not a lover; I'm no hater.

I'm a shrugger.

August 29, 2018
Madison, IN

Indignation and obfuscation
Playmation and creation
Workery and slavery
Mocha rye and mockery
Flim flam and battle cry
Splat and float
Misperception and perspicuity
Scram and babble
Just a bunch of words and nonsense.
- what's the matter? Not feeling playful?  

August 21, 2018
Madison, IN

You hear a lot on the media these days about the lack of civil discourse.

Such an understatement that is. Civil discourse? Hell, these days people don't even want peace.

Peace is boring. And the strangest thing - the more narrow and mean and impoverished life is, the more boring peace and quiet is.

How odd!

Except even the super rich must hate peace, because they have the power to buy it with a better distribution of wealth and goods - in other words, with a higher level of civil behavior. Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

Except for a few individuals, however, the super rich must hate peace.

It's too bad.

August 20, 2018
Madison, IN

The other day we were watching a TV show about British chefs competing for the Olympic banquet when someone made a comment about pigs going to market.

For the first time in my seven decades I realized that that big fat little piggy, the big toe, was not going to market with shopping bags but assuredly to leave the market in them.

This almost three hundred year old ditty was probably a gentle way of introducing to a child's unconscious, at least, an understanding of the realities of farm life.

My jaw dropped in horror with this realization of the real meaning of a game my parents played with me and I played, all innocent, with my babies.

No wonder the little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home!

August 17, 2018
Madison IN

Ribberfest is in full swing. I'm listening to the concert from my living room. I could sit on the balcony to hear even better, but that's okay.

I've been meaning to report that the Lighthouse Restaurant has been getting a new paint job. The last I saw, the decorative lighthouse was gone. I guess it will be up again soon, new and improved, if it hasn't been replaced already.

School is back in session. So early! I feel sorry for the poor kids, but I understand the teachers won't have to spend as long going over old material to catch up.

I am under no illusion that my childhood was one long happy dream, but I sure did enjoy those long seemingly eternal and joyously interminable summers.

August 16, 2018
Madison IN

Where has the time gone? I have been doing a little Spring cleaning (snort) sure, but not so much that I couldn't have written a little.

What is the opinion depresser? Mindless video solitaire, maybe? Political frustration and discouragement? Lack of retention of all my brilliant ideas until I find the opportunity to write them down?

(Nothing to prove they weren't brilliant, if they are never written down!)

I can't really claim writer's block.

I'm not sitting at my dress in open collar and suspenders, staring scowling at a blank sheet of paper.

It's more like writer's procrastination, or worse yet, writer's amnesia.

Oops! Gotta go brush my teeth.

August 12, 2018
Madison IN

This morning, worshipping the universe under the vault of the sky on a route chosen for the shade of trees, it occurred to me that I was taught to fear internal evil more than external evil.

I was taught to be alert to signs of self-indulgence and to do a lot of self-repression. Maybe my parents went too far in requiring this kind of soul-searching and I am not going to say I never rebelled.

I have to say, though, that I usually don't feel much fear in dealing with the other beings in the world - at least of the two-legged variety. On the whole I don't jump to take offense at the behavior of others. I'm too busy evaluating my own.

Sometimes I think the polarization of our society - no matter what the definition of "us" and "them" is - contributes more to our transgressions against others and our own ill health than we realize. This represents an externalization of conflicts that, as Gandhi observed, really should remain within our own breasts.

Oh, and that goes for physical indulgences, too. That serving of coffee ice cream isn't going to land on anyone else's thighs.


August 11, 2018
Madison, IN

Warning! Your phone is probably listening to you.

No, I'm not talking about accidentally cued-in conversations, accidentally overheard. (Although this has happened to me personally once. In Valparaiso I overheard a young woman within my visual sightline wondering why people would talk about some disease which a friend and I had been discussing over the phone within the last day or so! And really, I don't know whether I am more amazed at the coincidence of hearing her mention it (after all, my voice might have unconsciously triggered her memory) or at her overhearing it, or her surprise that people should be talking about a disease (not an STD) over the phone.

I guess some people are offended by the very mention of disease. I have met such a one or two in my life.)

But, no! I am not talking about a conversation accidentally heard.

I am talking about my daughter mentioning to someone that her hair seemed to be thinning a little AND HER PHONE SENDING HER NOTICES ABOUT PRODUCTS SHE MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN.

She turned off her Siri function and this particular form of invasion of privacy seems to have disappeared.

It seems that Siri is not only an officious e"personality" that volunteers unwanted advice, but "she" is also a nosy little bitch.

Er, except that in my daughter's case, "he" was a nosy little bugger who gave her a lot of attitude anyway.

She's definitely better off without "him."

August 10, 2018
Madison, IN

I can't really complain too much about never making money writing; I never spent much postage trying to get published. My joke is that I don't handle rejection well. If it is a joke.

Karma, however, would also dictate that I should not make a fortune writing, since precious few writers have ever earned a penny through me. Lending libraries were too abundantly endowed and plentiful, and my wallet the reverse, to make it my habit to haunt bookstores.

Bookstores were places to which I might make a rare pilgrimage in order to buy a special gift.

Still, now that I think about it, I have probably spent more on the written word than I have made from it - excepting clerical and paralegal paying jobs.

And those, being precious little fun, hardly count. When you are writing, you are a little god. When you are taking and delivering and filing messages and correspondence, you are a little donkey.

August 6, 2018
Madison, IN

Are women on TV these days trying to torture us? Their voices are high, distorted, and produced from (I swear!) above their vocal chords.

My theory is that they are using so little air to produce their words that only their shorter, higher pitched chords are being activated.

This is a sound and style I associate with a California "valley girl" and is atrocious. I can barely stand to listen to these women, let alone understand or care about what they are trying to say.

I don't get it. Isn't part of visual communications the sound of your voice?

Even men are veering in the direction of the same style.

The presentation these days is all about about mouth, teeth and smile. What happened to eyes, the windows of the soul? (Sorry for being trite, but...).

What happened to the beauty of sound?

All this is from a person who has been criticized all her life for her overly loud voice, but at least it is low.

At least I know how to produce my words from my diaphragm.

August 3, 2018
Madison IN

Today all I did was walk around into different neighborhoods than usual and I really felt that I got out of a little bit of a rut.

That's all most ruts are, aren't they?

They are pretty shallow, for the most part. They aren't big walls after all.

We are mostly to blame if we are in a rut, I believe. Ruts are the result of habit and lethargy and a certain amount of learned helplessness.

After I came back from my walk up Walnut Street to find the location of the future Georgetown Memorial Garden, which is still a weedy former parking lot, I tackled a mess of paper I had allowed to pile up around my recliner.

Putting that to rights took no time at all! After finding a new street and a new lane, finding the livingroom carpet turned out to be no challenge at all.

Luckily my rut wasn't made out of mud.

It was mostly comprised of guilt.

August 2, 2018
Madison IN

Grateful here for slightly cooler weather. In fact, I am inclined to blame the hot humid heat for my zombie mental death freeze and addiction to that most ancient of computer games, solitaire. For a while addiction reigned.

Still, you notice there is no real message here today. Merely creative fudgery and desultory fuggery which my electronic editor tried to change to thuggery.

Ha, ha, everyone wants to put his two cents in, including artificial intelligence!

But tell me, how can intelligence be artificial?

Oh! Oh! But I just saw something new! There's a red and white motorboat going downstream with a jet ski riding its wake!

Or is it a water skier?!

Life on the river O provides lots of action.

August 1, 2018
Madison IN

A week or two ago we had a bad hailstorm here. Every car in the lot and over much of the town had hail damage.

A neighbor said she got the damage to her car appraised and the insurance company will pay the amount of repair to the company that repairs the damage.

Does that sound right to you? Isn't traditionally a dollar sign attached to the damage and that amount given to the owner?

Oh, I well believe that this is the way it is done nowadays. If you don't want to throw away the money making yourself whole again (or rather your car honk honk) the insurance company won't pay out.

This seems unduly harsh. What if you need food? Why should the insurance company control what should be your own money?

I maintain that if they want so much control, the insurance companies should make the repair appointments, deliver the car to get its repairs, pick it up and bring it back to you. Oh, and of course, make sure you have transportation while it is unavailable.

If they had to do all that,maybe they would be happy to simply send off a check.

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