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Rumilluminations November 2020
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Sun, November 01 2020 - 6:23 am

November 30, 2020
Madison, IN

So strange that one out of two minority Supreme Court justices and one of the three females justices are  such hard core conservatives.

Why are they running with the hounds?

November 29, 2020
Madison, IN

As if 2020 weren't full enough of grief and disorder, our water is off for the second time in a few months. It isn't a tragedy, just another stressful inconvenience - just another reminder that complacency is never really called for in life.


The silver lining in this particular cloud, though, is that we can congratulate ourselves for our preparedness and ingenuity in dealing with the so-far twelve-hour hiatus.

November 28, 2020
Madison, Indiana

Why do local and state governments have so much trouble separating church and state? If people in Los Angeles are not allowed to meet with people outside their families, why is an exception made for church services? 

Does it also apply to worship in Mosques? What about meetings of Freethinkers? Are they allowed to assemble?

What about movie-worshippers? Or people who worship other forms of art??

Failing to separate church and state risks not just our personal freedom but in a pandemic threatens our very lives.

Trust me, the corona virus is not in touch with how you feel about God. The members of any particular religion do not have antibodies against a new microbe emerging in any given population.

Politicians! Stop pandering to the prejudices (or should I say stupidities?) of your local and state communities!

Real lives are more important than your political life.

November 27, 2020
Madison, Indiana

Okay, all you tryptophan-laden, sugar-sodden oven-exhausted Thanksgiving celebrants who had their big day yesterday!

Today it's our turn, since my partner had to work on the day. And the news from the hospital is not good - they are going to have to start relocating patients if the numbers don't taper off.

Give your friends and families a break - this unseasonably warm weather calls for a visit to the great outdoors! Hopefully you have a piece of it within walking distance - woods, lake, river, or hills, oceans, dunes, mountains, or maybe just big sky.

November 26, 2020
Madison, IN

Since this blahg is named for Corvallis, Oregon, I suppose I should at least occasionally refer to its existence.

Hi, Corvallis! One thing you folks can be thankful for today is that your county corona virus deaths are lower per capita by far than in much of the country, including Madison, Indiana's Jefferson County.

Your citizenry must be taking preventive measures more seriously than ours. Or is it that clean ocean air that washes over miles of inland territory? For a while I fancied that natural barrier, the Ohio River, would help disperse the infection, and maybe it does - but not enough to keep us free of disease.

Benton County, Oregon has only seven deaths to date. (Only! Listen to me! Relativity has set in.)

Jefferson County, Indiana deaths are up to sixteen.

Let's all celebrate (if that's the word for it this year) Thanksgiving by staying home if possible, eating in place. 

November 25, 2020
Madison, IN

I guess this Thanksgiving promises to be very lonely for some people who are isolated from their families by disease as well as distance.

My partner will be at work this year but since it has been very difficult for years now to get together with family in winter because of distance I don't really feel much different than usual.

I'll celebrate washing machines tomorrow and Thanksgiving on Friday with a big turkey dinner that I did not cook. The "big" refers to the turkey, not the gathering.

Sometimes in life you have to observe celebrations by an appreciation of their absence. It means, after all, a freedom from obligation as well as missing a party.

Oh, yeah. This Thanksgiving I will be thankful for the gift of ambivalence!

November 24, 2020
Madison, IN

I'm in the middle of Cabin Fever, a book I purchased online by former Virgin Airline stewardess Mandy Smith (pen name?) that is basically soft porn. I'm caught up in it, so although I am somewhat revolted I intend to finish it. I am curious to see how she feels at the time of writing about the lives she and her co-workers led.

One thing I am noticing about online books is not about content, but about editing - or lack thereof.  (Come to think about it, this goes for printed books also.)

Spell check errors are becoming acceptable. If you don't know what you want to say, why should spell check care? "What, me worry?"

One of my favorite peeves is the use of "prize" when "prise" is meant. It makes me worry that people who bestow prizes will start to feel more power over their recipients than they have any right to feel.

The error I saw in the book I mentioned above, though, is more humorous. It certainly made me laugh in the middle of the author's description of a 24-hour sexual spree, when she described their "taught thighs."

Well, that's for sure.

November 23, 2020
Madison, IN

Someone on the news today was talking about the dangers of Trump's family continuing the cult of Trump. The commentator's response was, "Cults don't survive the death of their founder."

Tell that to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young! If what Joseph Smith was running wasn't a cult, I don't know what the definition of a cult is. Ask the Mormons today if they are members of a cult.

Yesterday's cult is today's religion.

November 22, 2020 
Madison, IN

If hindsight is 20/20, the year 2020 is hindsight for sure. The loss of relatives, an old lover, and the organist at my wedding (an old family friend) makes me look backward.

My mom chose my dad largely because he was a musician - of the keyboard variety, like his colleague, the organist at my wedding. His wife, another Valparaiso University colleague, played the violin.

They were highly talented, all of them, and had a wonderful colorful life in music. Music in those days was very social. Maybe it still is, in some circles and in some ways, but of the half dozen children in the two families none of us made a career of it. We became minister, skilled carpenter, active in theater, teacher, geologist and confused. (That last would be me, although I was an active amateur on the oboe for a while.)

Were our parents the familial aberrations, or did the world of music change drastically? Did we want to lose the lifestyle enjoyed by our parents, or did we have to?

I'm making it sound as if I am mourning the past and I guess I am. Although the present is beautiful enough it is certainly not as rich in texture as the past. But then whose is, when they are in their seventies?

I'm not envious of their lives, exactly. They had their trials and disappointments. I am able to be happy for them, departed though they may be. They really had lives to celebrate!

November 21, 2020
Madison, IN

Ha, ha Facebook deleted a comment I made because it was "hate speech." I had already been called on the comment by a friend who laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. She was right, and I answered that I didn't realize the scale of the problem with regards to numbers.

Got your curiosity up? Want to know what my comment was? The sentence that was so hateful it had to be removed from Facebook?

"I did not realize Americans could be so cruel and stupid." Okay, okay, I may have gotten a word out of order, but that is as close as I can get to my actual comment. I'm not allowed to read it any more.

This statement is hate speech? Naive, certainly. Stupid, probably. But I made the comment in response to an article about Nazis gathering in the U.S.!

Nazis! But I am the one who is being hateful!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

When Facebook gave me a chance to protest my decision with limited options I chose "other" but Facebook gave me no opportunity to say what my "other" defense would be. It would have been

"Are you kidding me?"

Hahaha hahaha!

November 20, 2020
Madison, IN

Wow! According to the World Health Organization we have seven global pandemics plaguing humans (and/or bats or pigs) today, including two - Marburg and Nipah, that I have never encountered before - and hope I never do.

Covid19 is bad enough, thank you. The WHO lumps all the corona viruses together as one of these categories, so there is a lot of opportunity out there to get sick.

Influenza, by the way, is also still considered a pandemic. That's why you (yes, you!) are encouraged every year to have the flu shot. Flu still kills.


Don't live in fear - but by all means, take care!

November 19, 2020
Madison, IN

What is going on right now politically is really scary stuff. Some state legislatures are considering ordering the electors from their state to change their votes from what the voters have chosen to what - who wants?

The state legislators themselves? The political parties? The sulky passive aggressive president of our country who is currently showing how much he wants his job by not doing it?

Anybody ever notice that when he does not get his way he is bullying either actively or by passive aggression?

Hell, he's a bully even when things are going his way.

This a scary time. Too quiet. It feels like the calm before a storm.

November 18, 2020
Madison, IN

Another day, another death in Jefferson County let alone thousands closer to a half million in the U.S.

The news about a vaccine being almost ready for production is encouraging, if we can only get the people to take it.

This is my heartfelt message to those who are willing to trust their genetic ability to throw off potentially dangerous microbes: it will take more than mindless good health for humans to survive in the world. It will also take balance and intelligent decision-making. Don't be too quick to discard the lives of the people who daily labor to save yours.

Later: deaths in Jefferson County now fourteen.

November 17, 2020
Madison, IN

Now twelve residents of Jefferson County have died from corona virus. My partner reported after working yesterday at the hospital that there were thirteen people in isolation plus two in ICU rooms with corona virus.

Since there were another four patients in ICU all those spaces were full. Let's hope the situation gets no worse!

On a more cheerful note: in spite of the bite in the air the river is sparkling and I saw a fourth variety of iris in bloom today! 

November 16, 2020
Madison, IN

November is over half over, and roses still bloom outside. This month I've also seen three kinds of blooming irises and violets.

Today was so sunny that it seemed bright even wearing sunglasses. Many fewer people outside, though, than usual on a sunny day along the river. Although I normally like people just fine, I didn't mind the solitude at all.

November 15, 2020
Madison, IN

Coronavirus deaths in Jefferson County, Indiana are up to eleven. Yesterday we got the news that someone in our building has contracted Covid19 and is isolating himself. This man is one of our favorites in the building and his age alone puts him at risk.

We were hoping the disease would not get bad here, but the fact that it is upon us is not a surprise, given the mindset and habits of our citizens.

I continue sleepless at night and dozey by day, and was wondering why, given that the election is behind us. My partner reminded me that the whole country is still under a lot of stress caused by our recalcitrant President and Senate leader. Yes, of course, and I am more afraid of violent skirmishes than most.

No wonder I can't sleep. In the dark.

November 14, 2020
Madison, IN

A week or two ago I overheard some folks talking about having Kentucky fried chicken for Christmas dinner, speculating that it might be a good tradition to begin. I kind of bridled, then thought, well why not? Special for once a year.

Last night I read in Walking in Circles about a pilgrimage circuit of temples on an island in Japan, that the Japanese think Americans have KFC for Christmas dinner, possibly because of some creative advertising ploy.

Wouldn't it be funny if that misperception ("art" if you will) ended up becoming reality?

Makes me wonder again... now where did pizza come from?

November 13, 2020
Madison, IN

Today we went to the Clark State Forest to hike. The office was closed and a notice board showed trails closed for timber operations, so we just walked around some.

We walked to the campground, where there was a pile of old picnic tables and brush big enough to make an impressive bonfire. Makes me wonder if someone has plans.

From the campground we walked the short trail to Oak Lake, which was peaceful with only one fisherman. A pristine little nut hatch we saw along the road back to our car was about the only wildlife we saw.

I65 is very close by this campground. I doubt there is a really quiet site there. Still, it was pleasant to be out in even truncated (heh) nature on this sunny day.

November 12, 2020
Madison, IN

Today I see the reported number of coronavirus deaths in Jefferson County is eight. I also learned that "community spread" refers to the contraction of cases from someone who didn't know they had the virus. Jefferson County's community spread has gone up to 'moderate'.

What does this mean for me?

It means I am going to start wearing my mask to, from and in the laundry room, and in conversations with people even if we are outdoors and distanced. I see people conversing outdoors all the time, and even unmasked they are underestimating six feet (which "safe" distance should be defined as twice that.)

I guess some people interpret my preoccupation with Covid19 as fear.

I just think I have had a lifelong interest in health issues and remaining as healthy as possible.

Did it begin as fear? Maybe, but I don't feel afraid all the time.

I just tend to be careful.

November 11, 2020
Madison, IN

My partner and I were having a lot of trouble with our T.V.
We got notices that the ROKU was overheating. Now he just routinely removes it every other night. That seems to have solved the problem.

The streaming selection we have is incredible, but there is a price beyond money to pay for it, and my partner pays it. Once in a while I feel guilty about it, but I don't learn things like that well unless I have to do them routinely, and we do most of our viewing together. I get altogether too much screen time as it is.

The outdoors is always calling.

November 10, 2020
Madison, IN

Is there a correlation between size of dose and pain while getting a shot? The flu shot for the elderly I got yesterday hurt more than I remember any shot hurting before.

It makes me more sympathetic than ever to people who have to have multiple injections.

Does having a flu shot make you less or more vulnerable to other microbes to which you aren't boosting your immunity?

Does a double dose mean twice the volume or twice the concentration?

These are questions I didn't get answers to when I asked them yesterday.

They are the kinds of questions which doctors and nurses often will not or cannot answer when I ask them.

I know some of them are unanswerable by any given practitioner, and I know that these days (I mean for the last two decades or so) they are very very busy.

Kind of correlates with the time I have the capability via the Internet to look up the answers myself.

Goody, goody. More homework.

November 9, 2020
Madison, IN

This is not November as I know it. Where are the low, glowering clouds? Where are the frost and the snow flurries?

I'm not exactly anxiously awaiting their return, but I do want an eventual snow. Somehow I can't believe we are going to get snow without a chilly overture.

November 8, 2020
Madison, IN

Being so obsessed with the election, I had not thought to look up our local coronavirus statistics for several days.

Today I see we are up to six deaths in Jefferson County, but the site I saw this on didn't give a date of reporting.

All the festivities that followed the announcement of Biden as President-elect, while happy and peaceful, were disturbing to me. People were almost universally masked but still not distancing themselves - not at all!

When I walked along the river today I wore a mask. There were so many people I felt I needed to for most of the time.
Most others still don't seem to feel the same, and some folks who just came of the pedestrian walk from Kentucky seemed to me to be a little sardonic.

That's okay - I can handle mockery. I'm not so confident of my ability to withstand microbes.

November 7, 2020
Madison IN

Another glorious Fall day with a minor mystery. As I walked on 2d Street towards 421 where it crosses the bridge there was a big orange-yellow sign with an arrow: Trail begins.

Wow! Maybe the path to the bridge walkway is finally open! I went that way. No such luck. Two blocks later was another sign saying Trail ends. The walkway was blocked.

I guess they were just construction signs. 

November 6, 2020
Madison, IN

On my walk through town the other day I spied a small cat gazing intently at me from a window.

It gave me a thrill such as I haven't had on my walks through more natural settings lately, where I have not seen much action on the animal front and brown leaves are falling all around.

Life! Just life.

November 5, 2020
Madison IN

The way a miser feels gloating over his gold is the way I feel when I open my drawer of - socks!

November 4, 2020
Madison IN

Turns out we are going to need the Electoral College after all to break a tie in a population that is seemingly split down the middle. The total number of voters doesn't seem to matter so much, perhaps - we get a representative sampling no matter how many of us fail to bother.

We need SOME way to determine a winner when the popular vote is 50/50.

I'm not saying it is - I haven't even looked at the election returns.

We all wanted a landslide, though. Maybe our point of unity can be our glum commiseration for not getting our own way.

And I cannot even drink to that!

Really sad.

P.S. Yay! As of right now I can start writing on my new Kindle!

November 3, 2020
Madison IN

Walked up Heritage Trail yesterday morning - not a mammal in sight, including the human species. No birds, either, although I heard a couple.

I did see quite a few feathers around the magnolia tree I suspect is a hawk's safe house - or maybe her blind.

It made me wonder how much the populations of the smaller birds increased when their predators were being decimated by DDT.

Not much, probably, because pesticides and herbicides aren't really good for anyone, including us mammals.

November 2, 2020
Madison IN

My partner reports from work that the number of coronavirus cases at the local hospital has gone up; they've had to designate more isolation rooms.

All too predictable, alas, and given the recent Halloween celebration downtown, the situation will probably get worse.

Interesting that our wonderful Soups, Stews, and Brews (or some permutation of it) was cancelled this year, but the Halloween candy orgy went on, with many (reportedly) unmasked monsters attending.

It doesn't matter if the offenders were costumed or not. They're monsters to me.

November 1, 2020
Madison IN

Rising Sun is very quiet. The casino isn't doing well; maybe that has something to do with it. We've never stayed there before, so we have no basis for comparison.

Rising Sun is definitely smaller than Madison, but I believe one reason it is more peaceful than Madison is that the parts of town we walked through had four-way stops at every intersection. There was no point in gunning your engine and tearing through the length of only one block.

In Madison this might be impossible because some of our blocks are very short. The expense might be prohibitive, and stopping traffic that frequently might be counterproductive and impractical.

Still, I can always dream....

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