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Rumilluminations July 2010
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, July 01 2010 - 7:47 pm

July 31, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

Aaaack!  I can't handle it!  July is almost over!

The fat-free yoghurt we bought a week ago tastes okay but it is slimy and now I feel feverish.  It has to go into the compost.  Hope it doesn't make the critters sick.

Was my malaise caused by the yoghurt?  A few hours ago I used the eyedrops my opthamologist prescribed for the first time and then I felt exhausted and very strange indeed.

That wasn't the start of it, though.  Last night I woke up from dreams that I couldn't breathe, but I always managed to start breathing again.  Is that apnea?

We didn't make it to the gym today because my muscles felt noodly.  I slept instead.

Up until yesterday or so I've been in really great shape.

Now it is the end of the month and I'm feeling feverish and strangulated and suffocated.

Is it really because I know that summer is passing?

Too quickly!

July 30,2010                                        Valparaiso, IN

Obscenity is in the eye of the beholder.

You know what I think is obscene?  Excessive wealth.

I agree with Raymond Burr.  He was quoted as saying that anyone who dies with more than $40,000 should be ashamed of himself.  That was on the order of twenty or thirty years ago, so the quote is just a gist of a quote and the amount would probably be more on the order of $100,000 today.

I read in a quote from an article by Robert Reich that the 1929 and the 2008 stock market crashes happened when the top 1 percent of the population took in on the order of 25% of the income.  The stock market crashed because the buying public had no money to spend on the rich people's (or anyone else's, unfortunately) products.

There is an Aesop's fable about a dog carrying a bone across a bridge.  He sees his reflection in the water, opens his mouth to capture the "other dog's" bone, and loses his bone in the process.  The moral, we are told, is that sometimes greed deceives itself.

Rich one percent, meet Aesop.  I won't make the introduction in the opposite direction.

He has obviously already met you!

July 29, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

Are your parents still living?  I have a tip for you that I wish I had when I was your age!

Keep a manila file, computer file, list in a desk drawer - something - in which you write down the high (or should I say low) points in your parents' medical histories.

My mother is due to go to a joint specialist tomorrow and they have sent an information sheet for us to fill out ahead of time at home.

In it they ask for a list of her surgeries.

I don't remember much, but I remember more than she does!

My parents were never communicative about this stuff.  They did not often let us know ahead of time about scheduled surgeries.  In fact, they often did not tell us afterwards until we went to visit them months or years later.

As soon as you get wind of these goings-on, write them down.  You will have much less uncertitude and embarrassment when trying to pin down Mom's gall bladder surgery.  ("Uh, in the '80's?"  Not very impressive!)

You'd be amazed, once you reach my age, how all those adult decades can run together!

July 28, 2010

Hypocrisy abounds.  The Far Right and even the - well, I take it back.  All the Republicans are far right!

Anyway, those guys, Republicans, would tell you that the government ought not to spend any more money.

No enterprise like spending money to build up infrastructure or give people unemployment compensation to spend.

No, we can't afford it, they say.

But any high school text talks about entrepreneurship and how it is all about taking risks.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

They don't want our government to take risks with our money for us.

They want to stay untaxed so they can keep their abundant funds for their own purposes - which may or may not be spending in ways that stimulate the economy and starting businesses that will give Americans jobs.

We Americans let these greedy folk persuade us not to spend at our peril.

While they are jet-setting to other countries for an evening to spend $500 apiece for a meal, the rest of us can eat our humble suppers in the fading evening light to save electricity.

Support Democrats in the Fall elections!  Don't let the schmoozing lies of the Republican Fat Cats make you believe that the recession is anybody's fault but theirs!

Not to worry.  They'll still be able to eat bread and cake and muffins and scones and puff pastries and Danish and croissants!  And cinnamon and sticky buns!

July 27, 2010                                    Valparaiso, IN

Whew!  What a day!  I'm washed up.  But then, why am I so sweaty?

I've petered out.  But I'm Esther, so why do I not have any carbon left?

I'm pooped.  What the hell does that mean, anyway?  I'm a turd?

I'm running on empty.  Actually I ate too much for dinner.  I'm crawling on full!

I've had it.  And so, probably have you!

Nighty night!

July 26, 2010                                         Valparaiso, IN

Our phlox and black raspberries are spilling over the sidewalk so much that in some spots there is almost no sidewalk visible.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico I would have already received a notice that I am violating an ordinance and a warning that I better clean up the public right-of-way.

I want to and I fully intend to - once the grand display is over for the year.  It is the best show yet.

I don't think that even a city official would have the heart to make me chop these flowers down.  Until next month.

Meanwhile I'm sawing down unwanted mulberry trees, weeds, and pulling out wild clematis, which is discontent with the triangular pyramid-style trellis dedicated to it this year and really wants to rule the world.


July 25, 2010                                 Valparaiso, IN

Too much attention is placed on the survival of the fittest individual.  I really think Darwin was speaking more of entire species.

His island finches seesaw in population numbers between large-beaked, larger-bodied individuals and smaller-beaked smaller birds depending on the seed supply every season.

The species survives as a whole because of the variety of individuals within it.

Variety may not only be the spice of life, it may mean life itself.

Viva la difference!

July 24, 2010                                Valparaiso, IN

I remember my amazement when I learned that some salamanders can regenerate their tails.  (Feet too?)

Of course I also learned that we humans can't.

But we regenerate a lot of stuff:  skin, linings of internal organs, bone - the list goes on and on.

Maybe we will be able to regenerate limbs too, with the right combo of hormones and order of treatment.  Maybe each of our higher systems, all of which do some regeneration already, could be induced to work together with the right differentiation enzymes (or whatever controls differentiation in eggs and fetuses.)

Ha!  I bet the scientists are already working on it!  Wouldn't it be wonderful to see even the most complicated high-tech protheses become obsolete!

July 23, 2010                                        Valparaiso, IN

I have read that learning to do something new with our hands enables us to have better mental skills.

If this is true, how about our feet?  I decided to start using my feet to spread lotion around on themselves, so I wouldn't have to wash my hands afterwards.

I'm sure I must be smarter now, but I can't for the life of me tell you how.

If learning to do something new with our hands helps our minds, is the reverse also true?

If one hand is paralyzed, is there a commensurate freeze on part of the brain or one of the brain's capabilities?  I don't remember anyone maintaining such a thing.

I'm sure people who can lift one eyebrow and wink and wiggle their ears must be smarter than I, but I can't figure out why I know this.

Imagine my surprise and chagrin to see beluga whales pictured in Audubon Magazine (July/August 2010) blowing rings of bubbles in the water.

I've tried to make smoke rings on pretty many occasions (considering that I don't smoke) and never succeeded in coming close.

The only positive thing I can say about our relative skills in this area of expertise is, that mentally or otherwise, I don't think the beluga whales and I are ever likely to find ourselves in foot to fin combat!


July 22, 2010                                              Valparaiso, IN

Talk about the regulating powers of the administration - where does the FCC fit into the Sherrod story?

The FCC regulates standards for TV transmission.  Surely they should be able to levy fines for gross manipulation of videotapes and slander.  Does a person have to be rich enough to afford an attorney in order to make the news industry accountable for what they do?

Isn't there some sort of truth-in-labelling law that can be applied to stations like Fox?  Instead of being called "news shows", should they be required to label themselves as "propaganda programs"?

Would Sharrod have been called a "public figure" before this fiasco?  After this 48-hour-news blitz of defamation and debate, will she be considered one now?

July 21, 2010                                             Valparaiso, IN

I take my mother on a drive every week or so.

Lately I've been trying to shorten the rides to save gas, but Monday we went farther.

It is really amazing to get out of town and realize how big the world is.  The world - hell!  Two counties of one state!

Even driving past endless cornfields, woods, and along the shore of Lake Michigan, it is obvious how few people there really are for how much territory.

The organization of the county roads is awesome.  It is interesting to note by the road numbers how much farther north the center of La Porte County is than Porter County's - a direct result of the climb of La Porte's northern border along the curve of Lake Michigan.

People who live here (and I guess in a good part of the Midwest) probably don't realize that out West roads are still much fewer and farther between, and that in the face of rivers and mountain ranges rarely follow a NorthSouthEastWest grid.

I find it easy to get lost in terrain that isn't punctuated with 250E x 600N signs.  If the sun isn't out, what then?

My partner, on the other hand, is more used to navigating in contours.

In the grid of streets that is Valparaiso, with few rises and falls of terrain and no towering landmarks at all, he feels like a rat in a maze.

Two many right-angle turns give him a headache.

If your town doesn't feel big enough, try walking it.

If the land reachable by car seems vast even during a two-hour drive, try biking it!

And then there is more and more and more of this stuff - land.

On the other sides of the oceans, too!

Australia - see it in the movies!  Ditto Alaska and Africa!

It is mind-boggling.

It is definitely not a small world.

July 20, 2010                                          Valparaiso, IN     

Trust Sarah Palin for complaining about a community Mosque going up near the 9-11 ground zero site.

Doesn't she know that Muslims died in those towers as well as Christians?

I have read that psychological and racial profiling doesn't work.  Americans raised as Christians have been terrorists (the KKK was doing it in the South for years (and the Midwest, and are still doing it, by reports I've heard)).

A murderer is one who murders.  A terrorist is one who terrorizes.

No definition I have ever read of the word "terrorist" mentions the race or religion of the doer.

We are defined by our actions.  That's all.

July 19, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

Went on the Porter County garden tour Saturday.

I made a triathlon out of it.  For the first sixteen miles or so south of town (the first three gardens) I biked.

Stopped for lunch, then walked to a couple more gardens.

For the last gardens, I drove the car to the north side of town.

I took a bath first, though.  Does that count as a swim?

It made for an enjoyable albeit hot and sweaty time.

It's always fun to enjoy flowers that someone else has weeded!

In one day I made sure to get a major dose of summer.

Fall won't come too early this year!

July 18, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

All my life I've heard about people who were "angry drunks" or "happy drunks."

I've used the expression myself.

Today I just remembered that there was a time during my marriage I started limiting myself to two glasses of wine during holiday dinners, because feast-day or no, if I drank more I would start being mean to my husband.

But when I was young and single, I used to be a happy drunk.

My conclusion?  There is no such thing as an "angry drunk."

What you have is an angry man or woman.

Are you an angry drunk?  Get help.  You are really angry 'most all the time.

And hell, that's no fun - drunk or sober.

July 17, 2010                                     Valparaiso, IN

Every once in a while I talk to the young'uns.

I say, Hey, young'uns, Watch out for this!  Or How come you're doing that?

Of course I'm probably too boring for most of the young ones.  Where are my moving images and my texting abbreviations?  I mean, really, how can I waste so much of everyone's time?  Whole words and sentences, indeed!

I have no answer to that, except age.

Sometimes I want to talk to the old ones.  I want to say, Hey, grow up!  Let someone else take over the responsibility!  Pay attention to what others have to say!  Just because you are the oldest, that doesn't mean you know everything!

Well, actually, sometimes I do talk that way.

But not in here.  Why would I write it in here?  The old folks aren't reading it, anyway.

But if one of you is, and you are over 91 years old, could I line you up to give a good talking-to to my mom?

She might listen to you, oh senior one!

July 16, 2010                                     Valparaiso, IN

At the gym where we work out there is a row of TVs set to a variety of shows:  sports, news, talk, and soap operas.

They are set on mute.  You have to have earphones to hear them.  The subtitles are on, a little too far away to read.

The soaps are pretty amusing.  A variety of people suffer a plethora of emotions, but I can't tell what they are talking about.

Recently the otherwise beautiful women have started looking pop-eyed when they are upset.

I'm trying to remember whether I open my eyes more or less when I am upset or angry.  When I try to simulate my emotions, it seems to me that, if anything, I narrow my eyes - or maybe avert them so that the recipient of my anger cannot perceive the murderous nature of my expression.  Looks that kill are more memorable than murder, for obvious reasons!

Is the soap opera all about vampires?  Is that why the female leads have such glassy stares?  They look like some sci-fi movie where human bodies are being taken over by aliens.

Lately I saw an article about new contact lenses that can make your eyes look wider.

Maybe that's the effect when you are wearing a seductive smile, but what if you're interrogating some lover about the lipstick on his toupee or the exact nature of his proposed body-changing surgery?

Is this really the effect the directors want?  This zombie I-just-saw-the-most-succulent-looking-corpse-ever-whoopee white-eyed look?

Maybe it's just as well I don't know what they are arguing about.

It might be about whose eyeballs are going to be used instead of grapes in the eyeball bowl of the annual haunted house.

Or worse yet - they might be arguing about what toppings to order for their next pizza!

Luckily I'm obsessed with shoes, not eyewear.

And I'm really enamoured of possessing all my toes.

Which reminds me, do you think those models who fall on the runways are having trouble balancing because they've had foot surgery to remove or reduce toes?

Ah, vanity, vanity!  Maybe that fixed stare is the consequence of feet that hurt!

July 15, 2010                                    Valparaiso, IN

At our book reading discussion about Buzz Aldrin's Magnificent Desolation the other day our leader brought up the subject of conspiracy theories:  was the moon landing a hoax?  What did we think of that idea?

There are so many conspiracy theories out there, and my main reaction is:  what a sad waste of time and energy!

This may seem ironic coming from someone who has spent so much of her life in what one version of the I Ching translates as "entangled fantasy."

Does a person's psychological make-up dispose her to indulge in such off-the-wall speculations?

I have known a few people obsessed with a conspiracy theory:  one of them had, in the words of a friend of his, "burned out his brains with LSD in Mexico City during the sixties."

Others have paranoid schizophrenia, I hear.

How many of the others who engage in this kind of conversation (and there are many of those who are "normal" and employed (I know because I and mine have met them at work) are just underemployed?

If your job is interesting and absorbing enough, you don't have time to think about that kind of stuff.  Life is interesting  and challenging enough without it, anyway.  Who needs make-believe?

On the other hand, tales of stranger-than-fiction goings-on behind the walls of power have emerged that give any sane citizen the right to doubt the official version of any story put forth by the powers that be.

It's a puzzlement!

July 14, 2010                                       Valparaiso, IN

Out mowing the lawn this morning, I had a few good writing ideas for today.

By the time I got inside and upstairs, they had pretty well vanished.

My partner and I had coffee and discussed a wide range of subjects, any of which might be a good point -

Aha!  I just remembered one!  He was talking about how the position of women vis-a-vis men did not become inferior until the onset of agriculture.  Before then the men went out hunting and the women were out gathering.  Once the men were "out there" and the women were not the women's status began to decline. 

And that reminded me of one of the ideas I had while mowing:

In the old days, men who married could expect to support a wife and their children.  Marriage was not something to be taken lightly.

Nowadays it seems men want a wife who has a good job and can bring in money.  Having a dependent could be the last thing on a prospective husband's mind.

The wife, on the other hand, once married, might be all too happy to cut back on her work load, or change it by starting a family.

These ruminations incline me to believe that there might be a myriad of factors that affect divorce rates!

How about the nature of household pets?  Do dogs help marriages survive?

The number of electronic appliances?  Is there a negative correlation between the number of appliances and length of marriage?

Board games?  An indicator of boredom?

Basements?  Do they subconsciously encourage householders to behave less consciously?  Are there likely to be more subterranean goings-on?

How about the number of fireflies in a couple's yard?

Gee, this is fun!  I could go on forever!

Hmmm... my partner's asleep.

Oh, well!

July 13, 2010                                         Valparaiso, IN

I like to feel brazen, but instead I feel craven.

I'd like to get high; instead I watch flies.

The light is departing, and I start farting.

My wishful thinking turns to behavior that's stinking.

Off the comic cliff I fall;  and it's very tall -

My plunge from ideal to real could be something to conceal,

But I'm not that subtile.

Superrealism is grander and to that I pander.

Language blazing and lazy exaggeration,

Hyperbole crazed and play-crazy expression,

Those are the tools of my digression.

Cattails and doggerel, pigpens and horsing around,

Fourth of July bombs and rhetorical stoking abound!

July 12, 2010                                          Valparaiso, IN

Some people just have to have a scapegoat.

BP spilling oil all over the Gulf?  Blame Obama!

The economy in trouble?  It's all Obama's fault!

Your car break down?  The Buick stops at Obama.

Bad hair day?  It's gotta be because Obama's in the White House.

Your shoe pinching your foot?  That's the shoe these people will try to force Obama to squeeze his foot into and call it his own.

The Blame Obamathon goes on and on and on and on...

July 11, 2010                                     Valparaiso, IN

There is a psychological syndrome which I like to call the "just one more push!" syndrome.

I don't know what makes it persist into adulthood, but it seems to be ubiquitous.

When you try to pay for a product with a check (not that I do, anymore - haven't for years! because) if you have a brand-new check with no address or phone number, the clerk will ask you for a phone number.  Okay.

If you have a check with address and phone number, the clerk will ask for another "work" number.

Does this make any sense?

My 91-year-old mother has taken to a variety of this syndrome I may have come across in my catering days, but which you have to experience multiple times to identify as a "just one more push!" syndrome.

No matter how many utensils I put at her place, she will want one more.  She won't ask for it, though.  She will laboriously push herself up by the edge of the table, slooowly walk around to the silverware drawer, struggle with it until it finally opens, and extract the desired implement (if she can find it) and slooowly return to her seat (hopefully not falling on said implement (hopefully not a knife) where she sits down heavily.  She doesn't seem to notice that before anyone else can let out the breath they've been holding so they can take another bite, she must navigate her journey safely.

A moon landing couldn't be more fraught with nervous tension.

I could give my mom a dinner fork, a salad fork, a knife, a steak-knife, a soup spoon and a dessert spoon and she would feel it necessary to rise to the occasion of searching for a pickle spear.

Maybe it is Mom's daily exercise.  I don't know.

Clerks and my mom aren't alone in playing "just one more push", though.

Other seemingly adult people will do this with - anything!

They make so many requests, one piggy-backing on the other, that I begin to feel like the last domino in a very long line of unstable on-end playthings.  A line of dominoes that ends at the edge of a cliff.

My tormentors, adult children playing, "Just one more push!" hanging around waiting for me to snap and fall over the edge.


July 10, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

Tonight there is a midnight bike run in Chicago, ending with the sunrise over Lake Michigan.  It is a fundraiser for the parks of Chicago, I hear.

Am I going?  On an all-night bike ride?  No.

This evening there is a pot-luck and summer party in the country.  Good food and good company are abundant, I'm sure.

Am I there?  In the face of the big rain earlier and my creeping social ambivalence and having to buy or create a potluck dish?  No.

No, I'd rather putter around the house in my already-donned nightwear and look at the golden sunset from an upstairs window.

I must be getting old.

And within a week, guaranteed, I'll be restless and wishing I had gone to the party.

Hell, I already do.  Hmmm... it's not dark yet!  Maybe I'll go after all....

And have to get dressed?  Nah.

July 9, 2010                                         Valparaiso, IN

Congratulations to Massachusetts and the court which said that gays married in that state can't be barred from federal benefits for married couples!  Now those perfectly legal marriages will mean more equality for those twosomes.

On the other end of the kudo spectrum, shame on the California court that let a policeman get off with a manslaughter conviction for what was evidently murder.

It sure feels better to congratulate ourselves on how far we've come with regards to human rights, than it does to realize how badly what should be a good system can fail.

The bp-favoring courts are another example of the scoff-laws of the judiciary.  Judges who presume to decide the fates of others should recuse themselves for conflict of interest when confronted with cases that affect them.  This is abc legal stuff.  For them to brazenly disregard the public safety in their rulings shows they obviously have no sense of shame.

We don't even need covert research to expose these people!  They, like too many tea-stained politicians these days, commit their sins arrogantly and right in the faces of the people.

I'm beginning to wish that I, a believer in the "social contract," had a prenuptial agreement, wedded as we seem to have become to corruption!

July 8, 2010                                     Valparaiso, IN

When we watched The Other Boleyn Girl the other day, I was thinking, good grief!  Did that really happen?

Well, evidently the creator of the novel did play a little fast and loose with the truth, but some of the truly horrid stuff really did happen.

So the movie is a misstory, in that it is not really historically accurate.  It certainly is also a history of misfortune, another mistory of sorts.

But we already have a word that sounds about like mistory - mystery!  When we speak of mysteries as a genre these days we usually mean murder mysteries.

Well, talk about stories of misfortune!

In Anne Boleyn's case, her death was essentially murder on trumped up charges.

Poor Anne!  A victim of mistory, mystery and misstory!

Victim, indeed!

July 7, 2010                                         Valparaiso, IN

Saw a movie today in which people had to pick through winter snow.

It made my blood run cold.

Brrrrr.  Well, we shovel so it is not so bad, but still.

Why do so many people acquiesce to winter?

Well, sure, I'm one of them.  But when I am free to flee, I will fly!

If nothing else, you can keep in better shape exercising in weather that isn't icy.  Right?

Admittedly, I haven't grown so old and cold-blooded that summer has become my favorite month, but winter?

My favorite month when I was three!

Brrr and winter no more, please!

July 6, 2010                                    Valparaiso, IN

Six months ago was the church celebration of Epiphany, celebrating the gifts of the Wise Men to Jesus.

I wonder if the church has such a gift-giving celebration on January 6 because at that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, nature is offering mighty little.  Sure, the light is returning, but who would notice?

What do the Christians do in the Southern Hemisphere to break up and make endurable their winters?

The Fourth of July doesn't mean much to them.  What do they do?

I guess I'll have to look it up.  (Um, well, I just did and it seems as if most places in the Southern Hemisphere don't really experience winter as we in the northern part of the U.S. do.  Maybe they need Christmas (or a regional substitute) in the summer the way we need it in the winter!)

Meanwhile, July is giving us bunches of stuff to celebrate this year.  Valparaiso seems a town completely given over to lilies, trumpet vines, sweet pea and Rose of Sharon, balmy nights and fireflies.

Now that's something to celebrate!

Not even the two sub-adult Japanese Beetles I killed while they were trying to break into our house via the back door after the fireworks the other night can diminish the glories of the first week in July! 

July 5, 2010                                      Valparaiso, IN

At the last minute yesterday evening my mother and I went - sans bodyguards - to the Valparaiso fireworks and watched them from a dark spot in the parking lot.

The idea, besides avoiding the crowd currents, was to get out of the parking lot right away after the grand finale.

It didn't work.  We didn't attain Roosevelt Road until at least twenty minutes after we got into the car.  .

Watching the wonderful Valpo fireworks, it is interesting to remember what they used to be like contrasted to what they are now.

Now you might see a couple that are like what most of them used to be - a ponytail of red, blue, green or white sparks.  Most of them, however, are like the ones considered "new-fangled" in the early sixties.  In fact, most are even fancier, more complicated and dazzling.  Still, for some reason, we heard no chorus of ooohs and aaahs.  Maybe we were too far away.

It set me off (ha, ha) into reminiscences of all my fireworks experiences.

Some folks have witnessed the Valparaiso works all of their lives.  If they are particularly interested, they could probably recount the evolution and development of fireworks, recalling star performers and stats like sports fanatics.

I, on the other hand, have been a wide-ranging amateur. In New Mexico I have seen fireworks in three cities and a private home in the hills.  (A modest little home, where the best part of the show was the diminutive family dog barking with joyous excitement at the fiery fountains and the buzzy swirling things that jerk around on the ground.)

I've had the opportunity to see fireworks set over water in three states.  I have seen the fireworks of NYC from a practically deserted side-street in Manhattan, New York City. My daughter and I gazed from a dock (uninvited but tolerated) in Newport,  Oregon at the fireworks set over the bay there, and with my husband's family I was treated to the big-river setting of St. Louis, Missouri where the booms echoed strangely and threateningly off the Great Arch under which we were seated.

Fireworks on water have a special appeal for me.  Maybe it is the distances achieved without intervening lights (except reflected ones) and massively peopled areas.

Overwater Fourth of July spectacles in Indiana I would like to see?  Fireworks from the beach of Lake Michigan and fireworks over the Ohio River, maybe from the lovely hillside perspective of Madison, Indiana.

If Madison sets off its fireworks on the Fourth, I might even be able to witness both celebrations in the same year!  Go to the early Chesterton/Porter celebrations at the Dunes Pavilion, then take a day's drive down to the other corner of the state to see another.  Whew!

Given the plethora of off-day celebrations, I could become a fireworks chaser!

July 4, 2010                                        Valparaiso, IN

It is odd.  Historically we all know men who have become as gods - Jesus, most obviously to Christians.  Oh, I know doctrine says he was born God, but still he was a real historical figure.

I just never thought that way about Jupiter and Juno.  After all, they came from Zeus and Heres, didn't they?  Their heirarchy came full-blown to me in mythology.  I never related them to historical figures at all. But somewhere in recent weeks I have read about Ceres (who is also Demeter, if I recall correctly) being a real historical figure.  As were, it seems, the original gods of Greece.

Maybe that is why the Bible makes such a big point of God making man after His own image.  It is a way of saying, "Look!  I am a real God!  Not just a god made in man's image!"

Well, I believe that whoever said, "If there were no God, man would have to invent him" was right on.  Except that there is no God, most likely, and we did invent Him.

There are rumors afoot now (and a painting in the Capital, according to Dan Brown in The Lost Symbol) about George Washington, our savior from the English, becoming a god.

Hmmm... if we put George along with the Triune God, what do we have?  A Quadriform God?  A Quadrune God?  Could we have God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and the God of Independence?

How many centuries away from a human life does humankind have to get to begin to perceive that human as a god?

Long enough that his hometown has been able to forget him, I guess, and begin to think that only a deity could accomplish what he did, and that what he earned for us was not a right, but a gift!

Well, Happy Freedom Day, you all that have it, and Happy Freedom-to-be, for those of you who don't have freedom yet!  In whatever country or culture you may reside!

July 3, 2010                                         Valparaiso, IN

I'm confused.  I always thought Independence Day was the 4th of July.  But yesterday evening when I consulted my computer oracle to see what celebrations would be around July 4, I discovered that most of them are "around", not "on" the Fourth.

One celebration I found most appealing, the Chesterton/Porter fireworks display, was scheduled to start an hour-and-a-half after I read about it - on July 2nd!  Unfortunately, my mother had retired for the night, and I didn't much think she would appreciate me rousting her out of bed for that one.

I would have liked to go.  Interesting that the display would be set off over Lake Michigan, and viewable from the Pavilion at the Dunes Park.  Interesting because when I looked up the park itself, it only said "fireworks are not allowed."

Well, okay, I only scanned it.  But I bet it did not have an announcement of the local celebrations.

Tonight, July 3rd, Chicago puts on its fireworks display.  I think those are too far away for my mom to see across the lake.  Maybe for anyone to see, but I wouldn't mind trying.

Valparaiso's celebration is at Thomas Jefferson Middle School tomorrow night - the only one literally on the Fourth.  I dread going to that one because of the flow of people afterwards that might bear my mom away the way a current of water carries a stick.  If she agrees to a wheelchair and three bodyguards, that might be an option.

Then at the supermarket this morning, one of the produce guys told me Wanatah (ten miles east of Valpo) will be shooting fireworks off next Saturday night.

Is the idea to give the whole region a week-long Fourth of July show?

Theoretically that sounds like fun, but I have a sneaking suspicion we will be lucky to make it to one.

And we will not escape the noise from that nearby display, no matter what the attendance plan!

July 2, 2010                                        Valparaiso, IN

In the summer I like to mow and do yardwork early to avoid the heat.

I have read, though, that early morning is not the best time to exercise too strenuously.  You are more likely to have a heart attack.

This morning I was thinking of a co-worker of my ex-husband who died while riding his bicycle.  At his memorial service, an EMT who had dealt with him said it was the most "almost idyllic" death he had ever seen.

I imagined myself dead beside the lawnmower.  Somehow that image doesn't have quite the same cachet.

Dying by the lawnmower (or hmmm, draped over it) doesn't convey the same peace as lying deceased by your bicycle.  I am not as happy mowing the lawn, I assure you, as I am riding a bike.

Best to take it easy, mowing lawn and weeding in the morning.  Well, I don't like to work hard anyway.

Besides, I'd rather die happy than be happy to die.

July 1, 2010                                           Valparaiso, IN

I am involved, it seems, in a vendetta.

I have warred with Japanese Beetles (I almost wrote Battles, ha ha) for years now.

They have all but disappeared from around here (knock on wood) but it seems we just cannot let this thing go.

My first Japanese Beetle of the yeear tumbled from a raspberry when my blind hand came near.  I saw it a nanosecond before it tumbled - it disappeared into the underbrush before I even thought of trying to nab it.

Yesterday we were walking home from Giggles, Wednesday sale pizza in hand, when I felt a pebble in my shoe.  Or something... my toe was beginning to feel damp, as if I had squished a bug... I knew even before I saw its poor crushed body that it was a Japanese beetle.

What was it trying to do, ambush me?

So today I was not surprised that one of its kin was making a rag out of a gorgeous red hibiscus flower.  It brazenly (and bronzely) hung around while I got a small bucket with a little warm soapy water in the bottom, came back, and tapped it in.

Are these the vanguard of a vast horde of retaliatory troops, or the limping, lame vestige of the species' former local glory?

Stay tuned for the next great adventure amongst the flora of Valpo!

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