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Rumilluminations IX
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Mon, November 19 2007 - 1:49 pm

December 17, 2007                                    Lincoln, NE

Today we started a trip to points West.  At one point, traffic got v..e...r...y slow.  Coming out of the bottleneck, I saw a crane labeled HOLIDAY.  Very apropos, I thought.  Then, right next to the crane, there was a tow truck labeled Holiday Wrecker!  Pretty funny, huh?

We had a real Eastern Indian lunch in Iowa City, which today was a winter wonderland of ice-coated trees sparkling in the sun.  (Take the University exit from I80 until you see a pedestrian mall in front of you.  Turn left and you will find the India Cafe toward the end of the block on your right.  Finding parking will be harder!)  Quite bland (to serve Iowan tastes, presumably) but still quite tasty!  They serve both nan and popadams (sp?) and offered a dessert I haven't tried before, a goat (I think!) "cheesecake" which has kind of the texture of halva.  Plenty of dishes and good vegetables!

Outside of Grinnell, Iowa, we stopped for gas at a KumandGo station (I don't even want to speculate in print about that name!) that had a price for super-unleaded that lead (haha!) us to believe that regular would be cheaper.  A classic case of deceptive advertising, because they didn't offer super-unleaded gas at all and the regular was 15 cents more!

Not savvy as to the acronym for ethanol I missed my chance to go green for hundreds of miles.  But then, some corn will be eaten.  A toss-up.

When I mentioned to the manager that I thought his set-up was misleading, he asked me where I saw the price as though he had never seen such a thing!  Ever uncertain of my own perceptions when put on the stand, I wasn't quite sure where.  He said if I saw it again, he would like to buy the gas (kidding, of course!)  I told him I would call him, he said his phone number was on the receipt.  Cool!

They gave me my coffee free.  "Why", I thought, if I had been unfair?  But oh yes I took it!

As my mom and I drove away, we saw the price again RIGHT THERE in front of the station!  I got out the receipt and guess what the phone number was?   Literally,  "????"

Hysterical.  He must have fun playing mind-games with the tourists.  And he needs the extra money to pay for his hair implants!  (Unfair?)  And I'm sure that the company will love this attention.  Any publicity is better than no publicity, right?  I did learn something from it all, though.  Just for kicks, I thought I'd try dialing ???? 

There is no question mark on the telephone pad!  No exclamation points, either!  How do the kids manage to text each other?

Last but not least, I am sitting in front of a computer here at a Best Western Motel (off exit 403) that has very clean rooms, a pool and a jacuzzi, and a gas fire in the very cozy lobby.  All of this (and more, probably!) for only $71 dollars with AARP discount!

Got to go - that hot tub is calling!

December 16, 2007                                       Valhielo (heh)

Ho Ho Ho!  I knew the day after I wrote my "what's the big deal about shoveling snow?" piece that come Spring I would probably be singing a different tune.

Fate said, "Why wait for Spring?  Tempt me at your peril!"

Well, I just finished shoveling 8-12 inches of drifting snow off the walk, and am told by a passerby there is another 6-8 inches to come!


It's a good thing it is a Sunday!  Lots of time to read and shovel (and not as many people have to get out on the road.  I've only seen a small plow-equipped vehicle and one car (which had trouble negotiating the corner!) on the road today.)

Reminds me of relatives (it's that time of year!)  Just because to some of them this snowfall is nothing, and to others it is more snow than they have ever seen in their lives, does not mean they have dropped off the edge of the human continuum.

Metaphorically speaking.  (As always, I am talking to myself as well as everyone else!)

Good travels and/or good holidays and/or just-like-every-otherdays, good people! 

December 15, 2007                                      Valparaiso, IN

So now what?  If "everybody does it" should "it" be considered fair play?  That would be okay with me.  That is better than an unequal playing field, with the rule obeyer unwillingly playing the role of sucker.

But the lesson I take from the whole baseball drug scandal is the one I hope others take:  there are always going to be people who are willing to do anything attain their ''dreams" - whether it is "earning" millions of dollars or achieving fame and fortune - and for most of us it just isn't worth it.

Oh, I'm not saying I don't have regrets and "what ifs" sometimes.  "If I had done this, by now I would have that."

But for such things there is just no guarantee.  There are many people who have taken steroids and bulked themselves up and undergone cosmetic surgery, saddling themselves with lifelong weight and health problems for nothing.

And what is life, after all, but a series of experiences?  It does not take millions of dollars to be very comfortable.  It does not take adulation to eat very good food and enjoy the company of people who are intelligent and fun.

Nicola Tesla, the man who invented the best dynamo, spent a year or two digging ditches in this land of opportunity, and there are plenty of other worthwhile people out there to converse with who aren't made inaccessible by wealth, security forces and layers of paparazzi.

After all, we are still, with all our achievement or lack thereof, human beings.  It is our nature to reach, to yearn, to be dissatisfied!  Mere fame and fortune isn't going to save us from that!

I have yet to see a product called "contentment" on any menu or in any catalog!

(Oh, yeah, I know, the latest pop culture rage will name a scent "Contentment."  If you do, pay me royalties for the genius name, okay?  I want to be rich and famous!  Ha ha ha ha!)

December 14, 2007

Every once in a while a word just pops out at me and I see it as I haven't before.

The word forgiving did that to me the other day.  I looked it up and it is "for" and "give".  Surprise surprise!

I don't know if it primarily evolved as a word for absolution of a monetary debt, which would make sense.  Instead of a debt, the money becomes for giving!

I like that.

It makes sense that from there it evolved to apply to things broken and not paid for, then maybe things like bodily injury, and from there, maybe to things not physical, like an emotional injury.

As the end of the year comes, I guess I am thinking more about forgiveness.

Does giving a gift imply forgiveness?  Does being willing to recieve a gift imply forgiveness?

I think so.  Otherwise the giving seems hypocritical.  What do YOU think?

December 13, 2007                                    Valparaiso, IN

Years ago in Santa Fe, I was at a poetry reading.  A man who just happened to be in the restaurant at the same time got up and started reading a critical poem he had written on the spot, saying, "What is this scene I'm in?"

That is kind of how I feel about being in the U.S. today.  Literally, today after seeing on the news yesterday that Drew Peterson, suspected wife murderer, put up a website asking for donations (and got them!) to help defray his legal expenses (and replace items, such as his cars, that were impounded by police.)

What is this scene I'm in?  This man has been interviewed on national television, appeared on the cover of "People Magazine" and now has opened up a website (which got 500,000 hits in the first 24 hours) because of publicity given to him by our media because he is a suspected wife murderer!

(Interestingly enough, he shut the website down as soon as he reached his minimum financial goal, even though he had said he was going to use any funds above his own needs to hire a private investigator to find out what happened to his wife.)

I'm not objecting to all of this just because he is a murder suspect.

Drew Peterson is not just a murder suspect.  He is a man who, by his first wife's daughter's report told his first wife that he (a policeman) "could kill her and make it look like an accident."

He is a man whom four wives found unliveable and whose third wife was found dead (originally ruled an accident, her death is now considered a murder).  His last wife, who has gone missing, expressed fear for her life to family and friends.

And this is the man, America, that you choose to focus attention on and give money to!

Me, I'm giving my Christmas donation to the American Friends Service Committee, whose many unknown and unsung heroes I praise!

I think the AFSC workers, who specialize in helping people whom the universe has railroaded, all deserve to be on the cover of People Magazine for all the right reasons!

Yay, AFSC!

(Drew Peterson?  Who's that?)

December 12, 2007                                         Valparaiso, IN

I have been reading lately about the development of electricity.  Some of its inventors and proponents, like Tesla, had a real desire to save mankind from the dulling manual drudgery that burdened and filled its days.

That is truly inspiring.  I am sure that one reason Americans are living longer is that our bodies aren't literally getting physically ground down as much by manual work.

On the other hand, work is often what gets you in contact with the natural world.  And that is a good thing!

Shoveling snow makes you intimately acquainted with that amazing form of water that can be slushily heavy, radiantly sparkling, and rosily reflective!

Weeding makes you realize that something seemingly insignificant and scrawny can have amazing strength and tenacity.

Getting in contact with the earth through, say, planting bulbs stirs up critters that you didn't know existed.  That makes you aware that there are creatures, forces, and complex hidden communities that you know nothing about!

And that is really an exhilerating feeling!

Why, I feel like a kid exploring the big wide world again just thinking about it!

Feeling malaise?  Feeling discombobulated and grumpy?

Get out there!  Confront a blade of grass!

Er, or a pile of salt-pocked, dog-urine-soaked snow?

Um.  Well, choose carefully!  If you look up, you might see a tree that is still red with autumn fruit!

December 11, 2007                                        Valparaiso, IN

The other day I was tempted to write about the letter "O" with relation to the Presidential elections, but I felt too silly.

I had looked at a list of Presidents' names (as listed, some had middle names and some did not - yes I am aware that this is very unscientific!) and found that only a fourth of Presidents did not have an "o" in their name as listed.  And look at the unusual percentage of "oo"s!  Hoover, two Roosevelts....

Last night on the news, though, (NBC, as I recall) the fact that Oprah Winfrey was supporting Borack Obama was a featured story.  The newscast called it "the O Factor."  So now I can't resist!  (Even if they were only referring to Oprah!)

So just now I looked in a local phone book (yes, very unrepresentative of names in this nation, I admit!) and tried to get an idea of what the overall percentage of "o" containing names is.

I got bored.  It still seems silly, especially since it would take so much time to get a really representative sampling!  (The fact that I randomly opened a page to the one containing almost all Donahues had nothing to do with the fact that I got discouraged!)

I think Hillary Clinton should research it, though.  She has the resources to do it!  She has only one "o" in her name unless she assiduously uses her middle name, Rodham.  That still leaves Obama ahead, because one of his "o"s is a capital letter!  That has got to be worth at least two or three small "o"s!

Now I'm sure that Hillary is an extremely rational person.  She would probably laugh at this piece (who wouldn't?)

But I still think she should beef up her O Factor with a slogan like, Oh Hillary, Oh!

Or would it be better without the "h"s?

O, Hillary, O! 

What do yOu think?

December 10, 2007                                        Valparaiso, IN

Spent an hour or two yesterday evening watching The History of Sex on the History Channel.

It was really interesting (and the pictures were certainly lively!) but it was also kind of depressing.

The lack of interest on the part of most ancient cultures in the quality of experience of women during sex was blatant, as was the wielding of power over women.

Yes, we are weaker (physically), I am reminded.  It is through the forbearance, love and respect of our male counterparts (not just for individual women but for our society) that most of us women have lives as good as we do.

The men who beat their wives and lovers, and in extreme cases kill them, are, thankfully, the exceptions.

The knowledge that for centuries Chinese women had bound feet because of the popularity of an entertainer who had very small feet (!) came as a shocker.  I had no idea how that horrible custom had come about, but for it to have been because of style - basically a fad - is really quite disturbing!

I guess the power disparity between men and women is what upsets me about the recent development in the U.S. entertainment industry of the idea that it is cool for a guy to lose his.

From Law and Order SVU (which I no longer watch) to teen-age idols indulging in childish pranks, a lack of control which in women (except for some literally big exceptions!) can seem insignificant or silly is downright scary when the violently acting-out person is a male.

When I was coming from Midway Airport into downtown Chicago on the El last week, a young man screamed (seemingly at the top of his lungs) in frustration about something.

I was immediately apprehensive that worse was to follow.  It made others uneasy, also, I noticed.

I did not look at him again.  We all sat there like stumps.

Hell, most of us were women, and we were scared.

I don't know where he went after that.  I was assiduously minding my own business.  (Yes, me!)

(Interesting that I had forgotten that Anti-Santa (wearing bright yellow!) when I wrote about memorable sightings on my trip home!)

  December 9, 2007                                           Valparaiso, IN

I am still wondering, in the wake of the suicide bombing last week in Iraq - the one perpetrated by a female - what impels a young woman to do this?  Is it done by girls who are kind of tomboys? 

Maybe the prospect of marriage to an unwanted partner?  That's what "they" say motivates most of the young males.

Maybe that was intended as a joke!

Anyone read anything about why a young woman would do this?

Imagine how crappy it would make anyone feel, male or female, to know that ten people had to die because someone didn't want to marry you!

Now that I think about it that way, I really hope that that explanation was a [sic] (ha-ha) joke!

As for other incentives, can you imagine a (fanatically conservative) Muslim male of any age promising a young woman seventy good-looking youths in paradise after committing a suicide-bombing?

Yeah, right.  She'd probably be sent out to die by her own hand just for entertaining the thought of such sexual wantonness!

December 8, 2007                                                  Valparaiso, IN

In my Christian upbringing, there were two prayers which at one time or another were (required?  requested?  strongly urged?) for memorization.

One was the one that begins, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

The image of walking in the "valley of the shadow of Death" is unforgettable, as are the ones of being fed and made to "lie down in green pastures."  It is a beautiful poem, really.

The other is the Lord's Prayer.  Last night I was saying it to myself (anachronistically!), and started wondering why I usually turn to it instead of the other really more beautiful one.

I decided its communality is the key.  It is not all about I, me, mine.  It is about our daily bread, sins, and temptations.

The assumption of community makes all the difference.

I think I have spoken before about the young man who prayed at an office dinner thanking God for "saving us from our follies."

Yup, that "we" assumes lots of common interest.  That spirit puts us all firmly in the same boat.  Somehow it makes us work together better, don't you hope?

December 7, 2007                                           Valparaiso, IN

If you can dream it, you can beam it!

Did I just make that up, or get it from some Trekkie?  Well, I don't necessarily think that is real-life true, but it sure is in the world of illusion!

And at any rate, it sounds cool!

But now, down to business.

What is with our society, labeling personal characteristics syndromes?

So I tend to think literally, tell the truth too much, run around the streets at night, don't look people in the eye much (not all of these characteristics are mine - ha, ha, fooled you, didn't I?)

Why are those traits called syndromes and picked over and pored over and made allowances for?  I mean, sure, we want to help everyone adjust to and be effective in society, but aren't those traits kind of relatively benign?  As soon as you label something a mental disease, or a syndrome, the person who "has" it is considered to be very "different."

What about people who bully other people and spew anger and hatred against people of other religions just because they have different beliefs?  (The thing that kills me about all these people is they profess to practice love!)

What about people who can't stand it if someone has a different opinion from them?  What about people who only want to associate with people exactly like themselves?

What about people who try to take away our right to free speech (and make no mistake, they are not only in the White House!  They're everywhere!  They're everywhere!)   

What "syndrome" do they have?

(And if you are wondering, I myself fall through the societal crack (cleavage or butt-crack?  Ha, ha!) of "looney enough to have some trouble in society but not looney enough to get diagnosis and help for it."

The quote is me talking.

And NO - I don't want a diagnosis!  I've already got enough of them!  I'm like a medical student!

Help!  Help!

(I mean, No help!  No help!  Thanks, anyway!) 

December 6, 2007  Valparaiso, IN, same as yesterday

It has occurred to me that since my site is so geographically misnamed when it comes to these Rumilluminations, I should put my City, ST when I write.

Don't want people to think that it snows this much in Corvallis!  Has it ever?  Don't know!  Not in my three-plus year experience!

But today I want to talk about fat.

There is a furor today about our young people getting fat.  They are eating too much.

Well, that is true, perhaps.  But it seems to me to be that everyone I see reporting on this is being rather short-sighted in analysing this problem.

Historically people got fat to prepare for bad times.  A rich person was often fat.  (And that, my friends, might be an explanation for hostility towards fat people!)  A fat person has a better chance of survival in times of famine.

Remember Darwin and his study of evolution?  I think he was talking about evolution over the course of generations of species.  But did you also read about a more recent study of the same sparrows Darwin studied?  Natural selection with regards to sparrow size and seed availability happen almost seasonally and brutally quickly!

So yes.  Obesity is not good for these kids in the long run.

But maybe they are not just greedy.  Maybe, for some reason, they are insecure.

Kids are not stupid just because they are young.  They may be doing what they are doing unconsciously, but that doesn't mean they don't have reasons.

They see news on TV.  They see the TV writers going on strike.  They see reports about factories closing and people getting laid off by the thousands.

Perhaps they even see their own parents struggling to find work and keep food on the table in a country that believes that the automobile is more important than good food.  (Remember, sugar and fat are cheap!  Fast food is cheaper nowadays than cooking from scratch!  We domestic cooks cannot compete.)

Our children might even be in unconscious rebellion about social security payments to their parents that last decades.  (I'm talking about the parents that have been too busy working to survive to give their children as much time as they might otherwise have done.)  (Never mind that the Iraq war is what has put this country into trillions of dollars of debt in the last few years!)

Do you blame the kids for feeling insecure?  For maybe wondering if there will be a place for them in the financial life of the USA?  I'm sixty, and I'm insecure!  I spend at least part of, well, almost every day speculating and mulling about alternate sources of income in my lean mean sixties!  (Alternate to a traditional job, that is.  And social security, which at best probably won't be enough!)

But at least I have had sixty years.  These poor kids are just starting out in life!

The solution?  Hell, I don't know. 

I don't know how we can slow down the corporate culture that is crunching out creativity and individuality.

But closer to home?  Solutions for the immediate symptom, obesity?  Move closer to work, if possible, to save money and put that money towards fruits and vegetables.  There are no labor laws outlawing children working in the home.  Get the kids to wash those fruits and vegetables and place them on the cutting board before you get home?

Anybody else have solutions?  Oh, I have an idea!  Provide an example for your kids!  Don't stuff your own face with sugar and fat until you have had lots of yummy fruits and vegetables.

My mom had no problem rationing our allotment of sweets.  She was a depression baby and two cookies at the end of the meal was probably heaven to her!  She rationed TV too, that now has those larger-than life color ads of all kinds of unhealthy food.  She gave us a two-hour-a-day limit.

How about boycotting shows that advertise those foods?

Hey, striking writers!  Have you been reaching out to us, the TV viewers?  Do you want us to turn off the TV entirely?  Or has the media smothered your messages?  I have seen nothing from you in the way of an appeal to the people that would give you some clout!

Oh, gee.  That's right.  Maybe the people don't have any clout anymore!

Sorry.  No ha-ha's today!


December 5, 2007

I was outside shoveling snow before breakfast this morning.  Some people might (resentfully, because of my blatant virtue!) think I was doing it because of some Puritanical or martyr impulse.

Not so!  I was doing it at 6:00 AM before breakfast before any of you had a chance to compact ANY of it down and make my job harder!  A pre-emptive strike for laziness!

And now, at the luxurious hour of 8:00 AM, I can look down with contentment at a job well done that I don't have to do now.  (Pat, pat... that's me patting my own back!)

Until it snows again, that is.

This is the first shovelable snowfall of the year.  What I lifted off the sidewalk and driveway varied between four and eight inches - a significant snowfall!  And it only took me about forty-five minutes.  (I know, I know, one of you teenagers could have done it in twenty!  Or could you?  Have you ever shoveled snow?)

I don't understand what is the big thing about shoveling snow.  It is beautiful out there, all white and peaceful.  The trees kind of playfully drop twigfulls of snow on your shoulders.  The people who walk by are even friendlier than usual, even though they walk in the street instead of on my newly-cleared walks!

Not enough of us old-time snow-shovelers left!  It's easier just to walk in the street!

December 4, 2007

One time I taught a workshop at a grade school in Tesuque, New Mexico.  We made pinecone turkeys.

A year or two later I met a mom from Tesuque who told me her son, who I had been taking care of with a bunch of other children (not in my home, and not regularly) was in special ed but "never forgets a face."

 I hope he has found some sort of occupation in which it is highly valuable to never forget a face.  It would be terrible to waste a resource like that!

I am just the opposite.  If I had had her son in that class, I did not recognize him.  I usually have to see someone at least three or four times before I can recognize her out of context.

Even if I see a movie or TV star, it takes me a while to realize that this is not someone I have seen around town for years or someone who comes out of my distant past.

Yesterday I saw a man that, in my memory, looked exactly like a pastor of our church when I was a teenager forty-five years ago.  I idly wondered if he had taken to driving a truck when I realized with a start that he would not look now like he looked then!  A son, maybe?  Well, I have given over asking questions of that sort!

I saw a man last week in Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields) in Chicago I thought I knew from somewhere.  Then I realized he looked exactly like the psychiatrist (psychologist?) in Law and Order SVU!

Well, if I were better at faces, I would swear it was he.

You know what I am good at - recognizing people from a block or more away by their figures and the way they move.

Is that a marketable skill?

December 3, 2007

We people may not want to be animals, but animals we are.

Look at our most basic daily productions.  If we really had a choice, who would produce that kind of yucky stuff?

People like to think we are more than animals.

Yes!  We are!  We're animals with pretensions!

If our consciousness allows us to believe that we are above animals, why do we so often choose to behave worse than the animals, who do nothing out of real malice or spite?

December 1, 2007

Time to turn over a new leaf!  Oops, too late!  Will I get sticks from Santa?

I actually had some wonderful sightings on my trip:  the Benton County Courthouse impressively decorated for Christmas, with real frost-ing.  (I'm heartbroken I didn't get that picture for the website, but now you will have to go to Corvallis yourselves to see it!)

Between Corvallis and Portland, a tall shopping mall Christmas tree under generous cover of blue, purple, and other darkling mini-lights.  What other colors?  All around a corner and out of sight!

Adorable little girls in a downtown Chicago Dunkin Donuts in boots and long flannel pajama bottoms!  Just finished with a rehearsal for a production of The Nutcracker Suite?  Or is there a new all-the-rage fad/fashion I don't know about?

A serendipitous meeting with a human angel named Gabriel who showed me the way to the South Shore Station and then supplied me with great conversation for an hour or two!

And back home, after I shut the door on an unbelievable $8.50 trip home from Midway airport* - our first inch of snow!

*  The orange line metro elevated ride from Midway to the Loop - $2.00.  South Shore Train from Randolph Street at Milennium Park in Chicago to the Dunes Station - $5.50.  V-line bus from the Dunes Station to the Student Union at Valparaiso University - $1.00.  Unbelievable - a miracle all by itself! 

(By car the trip, counting wear-and-tear on the engine and gas, could arguably eventually cost you $80!  Not to mention unexpected expenses like accidents or traffic tickets!)

Let's take advantage of these cool non-expressway modes of transportation so they continue to be available to us!

November 30, 2007

Boyoboyoboy - the last day of November, one of my least favorite months of the year!  Late in the afternoon, a difficult time for me!

I read stuff that I wrote about other people's books and was reminded of what a college roommate told me - that sometimes other people (those old, jaded college-student types - ha! ha!) resented my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed attitude (her words!)

Late in the afternoon on the last day of November I have kind of the same reaction to myself.  Who is that obnoxiously high-spirited brat who is so sassy and saucy?

Well, me, I guess.  But I'm glad I write that audacious stuff down when I feel like it.  If nothing else (I flatter myself) it is entertaining.  Even if in the late afternoon I must admit, possibly only to myself!

Well, congratulations, Esther the Brat!  Esther the Queen of Introspection doesn't have the lid on you all the time!  Ha ha ha!

Meanwhile, folks, keep reading, and tell me about books that you have enjoyed!  I'll try to read them and report back to you in my most ardently critically ambivalent mode!

November 29, 2007

Several times in my life I have received (and given!) those pretty little blank-page books.  My first response to them is "Oh, cool!  Now I have a place to write my poetry!"  Or journal, or short stories.

The second response is often intimidation.  "Well, I want this to be like a published book.  No cross-outs, no false starts.  This book is too pretty to mess up with ink-blots."

At this point, often the book gets put back on the shelf - blank.  And stays there.  Forever blank.  Nothing is ever good enough for it, it seems.

Eventually, maybe, the intimidation wears off.  Nature abhors a vacuum, (and so do I - the noise!  ha ha) and writers perhaps hate a blank page.  So the book is written in.  At that point, it gains the status of a real book.  Poetry and other stuff that would never survive in loose-leaf binder form tend to gain status from the location: a real bound book!  You might want to destroy the work within, but the quality of the cover and binding inhibits you.

My apologies to my readers for my inconsistencies, but I don't want this website to be like the blank-page book that is never written in.  Admittedly, my daily entries are not always my best thoughts - or even thoughts at all, sometimes.

But I fear that if I am too picky about what is site-worthy, I will have such a long fallow period that I will stop writing in here at all.

I don't want that to happen!  My aim, whatever it may be, may vary from day to day, but the flow must go on!

November 28, 2007

Christians who strive to maintain that Christianity is the only way to be "saved" often quote Jesus' words saying that the only way to be saved is through him.

Maybe that was true in the society in which he found himself at that time.  Maybe, looking around, he saw no one else who could offer them the spiritual education and necessary for their salvation except himself.

Or perhaps, as I choose to believe, once you get to the point of enlightenment (or spirituality) that Jesus attained, it is a floodlight of love and acceptance that is made up of what had been many souls.  His way was the highway (ha ha yes there is still room for levity here!) of universal love and compassion.

Jesus' way, in other words, may be the only way, but it is not a narrow one.  It has plenty of room for those of any faith who can open themselves up to cosmic love.

Many people have said that the presence of holy people is so full of love and acceptance that even ordinary people are sensitive to it and respond with love.  That state of grace, according to many religious disciplines, is what makes for salvation.

Me, I'm just rumilluminating.  I have attained no such state and have no such teacher!  (Except through texts, which according to Rumi, as I recall, just don't cut it.)

I try to be open to such a once-in-a-lifetime sighting!

November 27, 2007

This is the time of year I feel as if I am in a cave.  What can you do but introspect introspect introspect?  (Or study study study something outside of yourself?)

It isn't cold enough yet (this year, anyway!) for ice-skating.  Leaf-raking is over with, snow-shoveling hasn't started.  I walk in every weather, but cold rain is not conducive to many hours on the trail or hours on the road on a bike!

Maybe it is a psychological habit.  All of us little cubs were put into big caves (called classrooms) at this time of year and basically not let out until spring.

Introspection has not much to offer me today, except the statement that my speech shines a light on me (not a favorable one, according to my internal commentator...)

Hmmm... I started a book the other day... time to burrow, circle around a few times and settle into the introspective ruminations of someone else!


November 26, 2007

Between watching Dirty Jobs and hearing people get into their vehicles and drive off in the dark at 6-8 in the morning, I'm feeling a little guilty.

I have to keep reminding myself that I, too, have done it for years.  I have even been one of the people who worked nights!  (Well, for six months, anyway!)  When I was working 45-hour weeks, I consoled myself for not going to medical school and being a doctor by enjoying the fact that I didn't have to get out of a warm bed on an icy night and go to the emergency room at the hospital to treat a patient.

Now, to tell the truth, I feel a little bit guilty.

When I was in junior high school, I had at least imaginary impulses towards altruism.  Somehow in succeeding years they went bye-bye.  Now, well, I'm trying to assuage my guilt for my presently easy life by thinking to myself, well, I'm older than the ones doing most of that work.  Most of them.

Someone has said we only have it as good as we can stand it.

I'm holding up pretty well.  I'm still celebrating Thanksgiving!

May you allow yourself the good life too!

...and you understand it is all relative... no limos, chauffeurs or mansions here... no golf courses, either.

How come I feel so lucky?  How come I can't seem to stand it that good?  (Never even tried it!)

November 25, 2007

Howdy!  Wow!  I took two days off in a row from writing!

Actually, I tried to write yesterday but I'm on someone else's computer and (frustratingly) kept losing my stuff before I saved it.  (Actually, for those whose log-ons don't register here, I did save something, but it was obviously confused and unworthy, so I deleted it again.)

So I will start again.  Wish me luck!

Is there some emotional sense that, when it is lacking, fails to protect us in the same way the loss of sense of smell can lead us to eat something that might make us sick?

What in us fails to recognize emotional toxicity?

When you can't smell, you don't taste your food as well.  But people can be fooled into not tasting (or smelling) accurately.  (A good example of this is the people eating yoghurt out of strawberry-labeled containers rating relative strengths of a flavor that was not there at all!  (As seen on 20/20).  What fooled them?  Sweetness?  It sure couldn't have been texture!

Many women who get involved with con-guys say that when they first met these men, they did get intuitive warnings, but that they failed to heed them.

For one thing, we are all so worried about judging unfairly and prematurely!  In the case of the yoghurt-eaters, failing to believe the honesty of the label might be perceived as paranoia.  Same with people.

Then there was a failure on the part of the yoghurt-tasters to consider all the possible motives of the testers.  Maybe emotionally we do the same thing - take people at face value and fail to look at a bigger picture with relation to the individual.  The bigger picture that might include ulterior motives, that is.

A person without a sense of smell can still enjoy his or her food.  He still has a rudimentary perception of salt, sweet, bitter and sour, and umami - the ability to taste glutamates.  He also can still enjoy texture - fatty smoothness, crunchy, chewy.

What in dealing with an emotionally toxic person corresponds to our appreciation of texture in food?

Well, maybe our relationships are just relationships.  Maybe food is just food.

But "bittersweet", "saccharine", "soured" relationships -we compare and contrast the two a good deal.

The intuitive "sense of smell" against toxic relationships has been described as "bells and whistles," and "red lights."  I myself have experienced dreams of mountains of chocolate and images that almost defy rational literal interpretation.

Why do some people, like serial killers, fail to trigger these instincts in us?

I kind of think they do.  But for some reason, we don't pay attention to ourselves.

Or, do some of us just not have an emotional sense of smell?  



November 22, 2007

Thank Thanksgiving for a new perception and insight about myself!  It turns out that I do succumb occasionally to emotional blackmail!

Thanks also for the warning sighn (ha ha!) I have that correct spelling is not coming automatically to me anymore!

Thank you, Thanksgiving, for big fat snowflakes that may be enough to keep people who don't want to come from hitting the roads, but not enough to keep away people who really do want to come!

Thank you most of all, Thanksgiving, for feasting!  (I do love feasting!)

And thank you, Dear reader, for reading!  Maybe someday we will all celebrate Thanksgiving together!

Sign up today! 

November 21, 2007

It is really pretty funny that we are not all relativists.  Everybody with half an education knows that we don't know which way is up and which way is down - except relative to our own experience, that is - as defined for us since birth by others!

Black is absence of color, and so is white - except when you are talking about white light - which is all bunches of color.

Most of us experienced pain as a bad thing.  But when I told a doctor I hated pain, he looked over his glasses and said, "It is a good thing.  It let's you know when something is wrong."  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  But it is harder to look at the bigger picture when you are hurting.  Besides, it is bad when something is wrong, right?

Well, "thank you God" (or whatever) "for everything", anyway, in the words of our most commonly-used table prayer in my parental home.  Just in case my mouth is too full to say anything tomorrow!

November 20, 2007

How comfortable are you folks around guns?  Once I was taking my children to the theatre and a man walked in wearing a cowboy hat and a holster with a gun in it.  He looked like an aging cowboy, and an okay guy, but I was tempted not to take my children into that theatre!  I reassured myself that probably nothing would happen, and nothing did.  (It only occurs to me now that maybe he was just dressed up.  Nah.)

Nowadays I probably would not have gone in.

Just like having a swimming pool on my property would make me nervous.  It should; they kill more kids every year than guns.

When I was living in Santa Fe, I saw a police note with an odd juxtaposition.  A home was burglarized.  Stolen were ten cases of girl scout cookies - and a three guns!

(I may have altered the numbers, but I'm pretty sure there was more than one gun stolen.)

That makes me nervous.  Does it make you nervous? 

November 19, 2007

I guess today is health tip day.  The other night I was talking to a former nurse about not being able to take aspirin regularly because it messed up my stomach.  I said I couldn't even take enteric-coated aspirin.  She told me that that was because the aspirin, no matter where it dissolves (or is injected, if they ever do that! (my words)) affects your stomach lining in a way that exacerbates stomach-lining problems.

Another little note about aspirin - I was told many years ago that it will tend to annul the effectiveness of an IUD.  Do people even still use IUD's?  I don't know, but it is worth knowing, anyway, just in case!

Aspirin is supposed to be good for say, one hundred years!  Can anyone shed any good light (regarding public health, not finances!) on why aspirin bottles have expiration dates?

As long as I'm on the health subject, a friend has given me a further tip anti-constipation:  after you put your hands up high and sway them back and forth a little, try putting them behind your head.  (Like the chimpanzees at the zoo, he said.  Ha, ha!  I've tried it - it helps, too.)

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